Friday, January 28, 2011

What does it mean to live in fear of the LORD?

The bible says "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" Psalm 111:10.   Fear meaning awe or reverence.  There are several indications of a life lived in "fear of the LORD".
1.  Obedience to God's commandments
        The LORD has given specific commandments in His Word, and He expects us to obey Him without regard to circumstances or situations.  No matter what others may say in offering "alternative plans", we must never choose the advice of men.  Man's ideas may seem to make sense but the bible says "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death".
Proverbs 14:12.
2.  Desire to be like Jesus
         Those who truly love Jesus as their Savior and LORD will want to be like Him by living in complete obedience to His Father.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to live as Jesus lived, it is our responsibility to ask Him to guide, help, counsel and empower us to obey.
3.   A life of courage
          Those who fear mankind and natural disaster suffer panic that paralyzes. Proverbs 29:25  "The fear of man brings a snare".  When you fear the LORD you find a courage that mobilies.  God challenges His people to live in confidence and to respond boldy and courageously to life.  "The people who know their God will display strength and take action" Daniel 11:32b
   Adapted from the CF Stanley Life Principles Bible.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Purpose of Testing

Have you heard it said that if you are a Christian you shouldn't have any problems, illness or difficulties if you have enough faith?  Friend that is exactly opposite of what the bible teaches.  Some preachers have taken a few verses out of context to come up with this doctrine but is is contary to the context of the whole bible.  Jesus is a perfect example and was Jesus Who said "in this world you will have difficulty, I have overcome the world".
    Tragedy, illness and calamity strike at every human being.  While adversity will strike, God will remove the problem or give me the strength to bear what happens.
     The refining processes of God have a purpose; that we might grow up and be patient and endure.  Now if your suffering is the result of your own bad choices it can be a refining process as well.  There are consequences for disobedience.
     Rather than ask God why, seek His face, trust Him, He will be with you.  I have discovered that often those things I feared would happen did happen and in spite of the fact that I prayed long and hard they would not happen.  What did I see when I stepped out in faith?  God was with me through it, He strengthened me in it and brought me out refined,
      Fear is a snare and a stronghold, it is the opposite of faith, I will go so far as to say it is sin.  Do you remember the parable of the talents, the servant who buried his talent in the ground, because of fear, Jesus called him wicked and lazy. 
      Let us seek the Lord today, pray the prayer that never fails "Thy will be done".  "when you walk through the water, I will be with you, God's promises are true".

Monday, January 17, 2011

Growing in spiritual maturity

    Last time we talked about how God gives us faith to believe He is there, the beginning of an opportunity to know Him, and our response to that revelation determines where our relationship goes.  Just as in human relationships, if you reach out to someone and there is a friendly response the relationship goes forward and real friendship can develop.  If the other person has no response to your overture, it is pretty certain they are not interested in a friendship with you.  This analogy fails if you assume you have only one chance to respond to God, you have all your life to respond, He doesn't give up on you.
    Now suppose you have heard God's voice calling you or felt the nudge of His Hand or had the urge to find out more about Him.  Suppose that is His outreach to you.  Will you respond by believing He is there and trying to know Him?  If so, you will begin by going to the Bible, His written revelation of Himself.  There you will find depths of personality which take a lifetime to plumb.  You will also seek Him in prayer, as you understand more about what He has accomplished for you, you will worship Him.  If you make the mistake of picking up books other have written about the bible you run the risk of erroneous belief.  Find out truth for yourself.
    And soon the time will come for you to surrender to Him by faith.  Another way of thinking about this is to pray the prayer that never fails, Thy will be done, and mean it.  As I respond to God in real surrender, He reveals more of His character and nature to me.  As He deals with the root of sin in me - self, I grow up in my faith.
    Surrender to God is the biggest step in faith, more about this next time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Peace with God

The Lord has answered our prayers and provided a better way to get the recording of our bible study, Light for My Path, from Florida to Loudonville.  There is always opposition to the teaching of God's Word because in the Word is Life, Truth, Peace, it changes hearts, lives and brings hope in trials.
    The storms of life may be rolling over you right now, how can you maintain a sense of peace?  The answer is a close, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.  One of my favorite songs is TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS, and that is the best advice I know.
    If you have stopped wasting your time asking why, a normal response, then turn to the One Who holds all comfort and security in His grasp..  No one, except God is equipped to handle our problems.  He never meant us to be strong on our own.  He wants us to find courage, hope and strength in Him and His Word.
    It was just a year ago when Tom and I faced the trial of his brain surgery and all the surrounding difficulties and shortly thereafter heart failure.  We were both exhausted and fearful.  I just spent my time in the Psalms, "Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness" was the instruction I grasped.  I believe that means "hang in there", trust God to bring you through in His time.  Accepting God's timetable and the limitations He places on a given situation helps hold back the rising anxiety.  The safest place is in the everlasting arms of Jesus. He paid on the cross for your peace, the peace you need today.
      Let His peace invade your heart.  Tell Him all you are feeling.  He understands, He is the One Who said "Peace be with you".  Our peace resides in our Savior, who loves us unconditionally.  He has promised to keep us and deliver us into the Father's loving arms.
     Adapted from C.F. Stanley, LIFE PRINCIPLES BIBLE.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Need for prayer

    Every week we are meeting one challenge after another in recording this bible study and getting it on the air.  None of the problems are major but each one requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of several people to solve.  There is no reason for this except there is always warfare against God's Word and its teaching.
    I am asking you to pray regularly for WZLP and all the dedicated volunteers (there are over 70 of us) who keep this station on the air by God's grace.  We want to honor God, bring glory to His Name and edify all who listen.
    We are dedicated to continue this work and the fact that we are constantly challenged by minutia is a sign that we are in a battle.  The victory has already been secured by Jesus, our Commander in Chief.  We will not quit, we cannot lose.
    May God bless you richly

Faith the Wonderful Gift

Romans 10:17  

       Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ.  When you read or listen to God's Word, your faith grows, it is a work of the Holy Spirit.
       Hebrews 11:1   What is faith?
    "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen"
In other words, faith is perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.
For example; I believe that Jesus was virgin born, lived a perfect life, was crucified, died, was buried and raised to life.  As far as I am concerned this is truth, it really happened, even though I have not seen Him.

    What are we trusting?  We are trusting in God's character, His Word and His work.

   What is the faith like that God produces? 
1.  It is a sure hope-I am confident He is able to do all He has promised,   know I will be in heaven with Him when I die, not because of anything I have done, but because I am trusting in the work Jesus has done.
2.  There is a certainty that God is Sovereign over all the world and over my life, He loves me and has a plan.  When trials come, He has promised to cause all things to work together for good for my life.

     What do I need to do in response to the faith He has given me?
1.   I choose to believe Him, trust Him and surrender my life to Him, by His grace, as Philippians 2:13 promises, "God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure".  That is He is energizing and creating the desire in me to trust Him.  As soon as I make the choice to believe Him, He goes to work in me.

      There is an "obedience of faith", responding to God is my responsibility
Romans 1:5.  This is not an employer/employee relationship, it is  a Father/child relationship for me to enjoy and to rest in, victory is mine.

      When you respond to God in a little faith, your faith is increased.  There is no limit to what God can do in us if we trust Him.
       Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.