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What Does It Mean To Fear God?

About a month ago I had a lady e-mail me, and express that her boyfriend had a hard time acceptng the phrase “Fear the Lord.” To him the word “Fear” was a bad or negative word. Why does the Bible and GOD ask us to fear Him? You fear a bully in school, you have a fear of flying, or maybe you are afraid of dying. In our culture, “Fear” is an emotion that rules us by a negative. So why the word “Fear”?

Let me give you two examples that hopefully change your view of the word “Fear.” First off, let’s face it, who really fears GOD anymore? Today, GOD is not a god to be feared, HE is a passive being. We have taken this amazing being, and fit HIM into a box so our minds can think we can understand HIM. In our culture, usually when something goes wrong we end up blaming GOD. The reason that HE is passive is because we do not want HIM interfering in our lives, or we do not expect that much from HIM anymore.

When the Bible was written they did not have the scientific knowledge that we have today. So, to look at the use of the word “Fear” you have to look at it from the writer’s point of view. Here are two examples:

We understand what creates a tornado; warm air, mixed with cooler air spins together in the clouds, as it spins more violently, it reaches down to earth and destroys whatever it touches. We have taken GOD out of the creation of this, we call it science, or mother nature. Can you imagine Solomon witnessing a tornado? This cloud came from the heavens, it must have been GOD. If I were Solomon I would fear this tornado, and pray that GOD would protect me from this terrible thing.

Here is another example, imagine you are with Moses when the earth splits open and swallows up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. They went down to the grave alive with everything they owned. Then if that were not enough, fire came from the LORD and consumed 250 men for sinning. Numbers 16:31-35

To the men and women of the Bible, GOD was this amazing force that had the power to consume them if they were disobedient. They knew this was a powerful being, and respected it. To us….. well, we struggle some days to even believe that GOD does exist, and as far as HIM being powerful…… well….. HE never gives me what I want, so how powerful can HE be?

My other thought is that we misuse the meaning of the word “Fear.” I looked up “Fear” in a dictionary, and here are the results. I think that we should use or remember the meaning #4.

1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
2. A specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.
3. Concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4. Reverential awe, esp. toward God.
5. That which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.

Reverential Awe……. I like that much better, don’t you? I hope that maybe you have a different outlook on our Fear of the LORD or Reverential Awe of the LORD. đŸ™‚

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Are You A Toxic Christian?

Kim and I were out running errands a couple of days ago. While we were driving we passed a church, with a large sign on the front of it. I looked at it quickly, then I had to do a double take to actually read the sign. When I actually saw what the sign said, my heart was broken and angered at the same time. Here is what this LARGE sign said that was smack in the front of the church.

NO SKATEBOARDING
NO ROLLERBLADES
NO BICYCLES

I do now know why they did not say:

NO KIDS
NO FUN
GO AWAY

This is a subject that GOD has laid dear to my heart; Toxic Christianity & Toxic Churches. Do you know that it has been said that 8 out of 10 churches are dead or dying? How sad is that? There used to be a time that Christianity was the religion of choice. When a person wanted to search for GOD, they would have tried a Christian Church. But that is not the case today. Christianity is just a choice among many religions and gods.

We had one of our good friends prove this. Her daughter went through a shooting at a shopping mall, as you could imagine she was very shaken up. So she went searching for something……. she had a Buddhist saying tattooed on her back. The comment of her parents is that they were glad she found some god and religion. With the statement like the one above, no wonder she found accepting Buddhists.

Some of our churches have become toxic. They are so focused on them and looking inward, that they have totally missed Jesus’ last command. They are more concerned with looking good, what type of music fits ME, and not accepting people that are not like them or that would fit into their church mold. What our culture is boiling down to is our Christian Churches do not carry the weight it used to, WE have to carry that weight. We have to be shinning examples of Jesus love and acceptance. Who did Jesus hang out with? The pretty, religious people? Or the lost, hurting, ugly, prostitutes?

You might be saying “What can I do”? Hopefully you are involved in a church that is carrying out Acts 29. One good gauge is to look at your baptisms, do you have them regularly? If not can you remember the last one you had? WE have to be the example of Christianity, church or no church, we need to reach out to the lost, the kids, and hurting of our culture. OK, OK, OK…. I could go on and on.

I believe that you are going to see a shift in our churches in the future. I think that you will see more mini missions going out into the people, instead of waiting for the people to come to them. One good example is a link that Donna sent me yesterday. It is Skate Disciples. A father and son mission to reach the young skateboarders. This is an awesome example of reaching out to a certain group of people that are lost and mislead, showing Christs’ love and acceptance. Awesome job guys! So, where are you on the toxic meter?

You Were Created To Praise God

You Were Created To Praise God

You Were Created To Praise God

As we finish the Psalms I could not help but to reflect on what we had just read. A good portion of the Psalms are praises to GOD. Great men and women lifted their voices in prayer and praises to their Creator. They reflected on His great works or just exalted His majesty.
Have you also noticed that a good majority of the Psalms focus on nature in relationship to it’s Creator? Psalm 148 is a great example of this:
1 Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Have you ever received some flowers from someone? Or have you ever been walking or driving and seen the moon at it’s fullest on a bright and clear night? When you see these things of beauty do you ask, what is it’s purpose? Or do you just sit and appreciate it’s beauty for what it is?
I believe that sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying to serve GOD. I know that at times in my life I have felt like I need to do more and more to make GOD happy and take pleasure in me. We were made to praise GOD. By praising GOD, we are fulfilling our purpose. Just as the flower simply showing it’s beauty to GOD fulfills it purpose and brings pleasure to GOD. We were made to praise and worship HIM, by doing simply that, we are fulfilling our purpose and pleasing GOD.
Sounds pretty easy, does it not? So, do you spend some time each day, praising HIM? Not asking for this or that, just saying, “Wow GOD, you ARE amazing! Today, I noticed the amazing sunset you ended the day with, thank you!” I would encourage you each day to spend some time doing just that, praising HIM.
How Can We Pray For You Today?

How Can We Pray For You Today?

Search Me O God

Search Me O God

Search Me O God

Search Me O God

I was reading Psalm 139, and the idea that the writer was trying to express would either be very comforting, or it could be very scary. Here are the verses that got me thinking:

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

To the writer, there is no escape from the knowledge of GOD. GOD knows everything there is to know about him, even his words before they are spoken. He then goes onto to say that he tried to think about the majesty of this knowledge, but it goes beyond his human understanding. The writer understands that GOD KNOWS all, and he is OK with that fact. In fact the writer finishes with asking GOD to search him and reveal ANYTHING that GOD views offensive.

Do you have the same frame of mind? Are you OK with GOD knowing everything that is going on in your head and your heart? There is a big difference between a religion and a relationship. Most Christians today have a religion, and are not too sure about the relationship part.

Here might be a good analogy that might help you understand the concept of this. Imagine if your spouse, be it a husband or wife, or your parents, Imagine they knew everything that you thought and that was in your heart. To many, I am sure, that concept would scare them. If your spouse or parents were able to know your thoughts, I am sure that you would try very hard to keep your thoughts good and pure.

The same holds true to Christ, except He really does know all your thoughts. In fact, in our minds, anytime we put something before Christ, we make that item or thought an idol, which the Bible refers to as spiritual adultery. We all should be working on a more deeper relationship with Christ, which starts with being absolutely honest with GOD, and spending time in HIS word, which will lead us to being made more like Christ. Make sense?

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Are You A Toxic Christian?

Are You A Toxic Christian?

Are You Toxic?

Are You Toxic?

Kim and I were out running errands a couple of days ago. While we were driving we passed a church, with a large sign on the front of it. I looked at it quickly, then I had to do a double take to actually read the sign. When I actually saw what the sign said, my heart was broken and angered at the same time. Here is what this LARGE sign said that was smack in the front of the church.

NO SKATEBOARDING
NO ROLLERBLADES
NO BICYCLES

I do now know why they did not say:

NO KIDS
NO FUN
GO AWAY

This is a subject that GOD has laid dear to my heart; Toxic Christianity & Toxic Churches. Do you know that it has been said that 8 out of 10 churches are dead or dying? How sad is that? There used to be a time that Christianity was the religion of choice. When a person wanted to search for GOD, they would have tried a Christian Church. But that is not the case today. Christianity is just a choice among many religions and gods.

We had one of our good friends prove this. Her daughter went through a shooting at a shopping mall, as you could imagine she was very shaken up. So she went searching for something……. she had a Buddhist saying tattooed on her back. The comment of her parents is that they were glad she found some god and religion. With the statement like the one above, no wonder she found accepting Buddhists.

Some of our churches have become toxic. They are so focused on them and looking inward, that they have totally missed Jesus’ last command. They are more concerned with looking good, what type of music fits ME, and not accepting people that are not like them or that would fit into their church mold. What our culture is boiling down to is our Christian Churches do not carry the weight it used to, WE have to carry that weight. We have to be shinning examples of Jesus love and acceptance. Who did Jesus hang out with? The pretty, religious people? Or the lost, hurting, ugly, prostitutes?

You might be saying “What can I do”? Hopefully you are involved in a church that is carrying out Acts 29. One good gauge is to look at your baptisms, do you have them regularly? If not can you remember the last one you had? WE have to be the example of Christianity, church or no church, we need to reach out to the lost, the kids, and hurting of our culture. OK, OK, OK…. I could go on and on.

I believe that you are going to see a shift in our churches in the future. I think that you will see more mini missions going out into the people, instead of waiting for the people to come to them. One good example is a link that Donna sent me yesterday. It is Skate Disciples. A father and son mission to reach the young skateboarders. This is an awesome example of reaching out to a certain group of people that are lost and mislead, showing Christs’ love and acceptance. Awesome job guys! So, where are you on the toxic meter?

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Knowing The Purpose Of Your Pain

For the past couple of days we have researched “Why bad things happen?” I was just thinking how this question lines up with the Psalms. Most of the Psalms are humanity crying out to GOD, for situations that are happening beyond their control, such as King David being chased by men wanting to kill him, hiding out in caves. In today’s devotional I wanted to look at the hope we Believers have in Christ when these situations happen.

I have heard a statement this last weekend that made an impact on me. A guy that I was talking to, said that he could endure life’s “Whys” if he knew the purpose of them.

He had a good point, we humans live out life in either the past, present, or future. In the present when we are going through one of life’s “Whys”, it hurts and we can’t see the future or know how this is going to effect the future, so we want GOD to be our puppet and have HIM fix it now. We usually do not remember the past to see how we have gone through situations like this, survived, see how GOD was always with us, grown in faith, and one step closer to being more like Christ.

GOD lives in all three; past, present, and future. A good example of this is, if you ever taped a football game on the TV while you were at work; But, when you were driving home you heard the score and all the big plays made during the game. When you get home you can watch the tape, but, you know the final outcome. GOD is a some cosmic way is doing the same thing, He knows He plays in your life, and HE is watching your life being played out. He knows the outcome and where He has allowed and protected you from situations that will produce HIS final outcome for your life; to be like Jesus.

In closing I wanted to leave you with two thoughts: If your a believer you ALWAYS have eternal hope. These few years that GOD has given us here on earth will hardly compare to the joy that we are going to have spending an eternity with Christ. I know that when you are going through a rough time, it seems like forever. Try and always keep focused on the end of the race, try to imagine how amazing it will be to be at the feet of Jesus, meeting Moses, King David, and all your other favorites. People that do not have Jesus, yes these situations could crush you, that is why it is so important for us to give as many as you can Jesus’ hope.

The other thought is off a verse that I am sure you have heard before, and maybe it has been told to you when you were struggling. I know that while I was very sick, a lot of people quoted this verse. I hope to maybe bring some new light to this verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

There are two key phrases that I am not sure if you caught in the above verse. The first one is We Know. There are not many things in life that we KNOW, but Paul is stating here that he KNOWS this to be true. That is a very bold and confident statment.

The second is All Things. “All Things” are everything that is good from GOD that HE gives you, plus all the bad things you may or may not cause to happen. So, to give us some hope for the tough times of life, Paul states that EVERYTHING that will happen to you in your life, GOD will use for good at sometime, maybe not in the present, but in the future. Have a great day.

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Is Your Free Will A Good Thing or A Bad Thing?

Is Your Free Will Good or Bad?

As we spoke yesterday, in Genesis, GOD created the Heavens and Earth Genesis 2:2-3. GOD FINISHED HIS work and it was good. GOD gave us everything that we needed to live with HIM. Notice that GOD on the 8th day did not create airplanes, cars, spaceships, guns, bombs, knifes, swords, chemicals….. the list could just go on and on.

I believe that if GOD had wanted us to have these things, HE would have given them to us in the beginning. GOD gave us everything we needed to have a fruitful life in HIM. GOD intended life to be like this from the beginning. In fact if you remember that GOD was extremely disappointed with us that HE was set to destroy all mankind…… until Noah and GOD’s grace and mercy came into play, and GOD “Started Over” with Noah and family.

Humanity has a problem. We are never satisfied with what we have, we always want more, plus humanity desires to be GOD, then throw in our free will that GOD gave us and you have bad situations that we ask, “Why GOD?”. Here is an example, if GOD gave us everything we needed in the beginning, then GOD did not intend for us to fly. But, we, wanting to be more like GOD and wanting more, build this huge metal shell, put engines on it, and hurl it though space.

One time this metal shell with engines crashes into the earth killing everyone on board. So, we become angry at GOD and say, “How could you let this happen?” GOD looks down on us and says, “I never intended you to fly in the first place, it was your free will that chose to create such a machine. Your machines are not perfect and are going to fail, I am the only thing that is perfect.”

Free will is a double edged sword. We want to have our free will, but when something bad happens we do not want to take the responsibility for the choices of that free will. It will make your brain hurt if you think about it for too long. đŸ™‚ I know what it is like driving across country, our planes are a wonderful invention. But, I find myself as I am getting older, desiring a more pure life with Christ. I find myself taking my free will out of it, and replacing it with HIS. Would I want to go back to the way it was with Adam and Eve…….. honestly yes.

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Have you ever noticed that when GOD does some work in your heart, it is never just one thing. For me it seems to always be a series of events or heart changes. This past week has been a tough one for me. Plus, when you are going through these adjustments, does not satan always seem to do his work too. He tries to get you down and feeling discouraged about yourself.

I am somewhat of a work-a-holic. For me (maybe you can identify with me) I feel that I need to get certain things done for the day. I feel that if I do not make progress with work in someway, I will not provide for my family and we will not make enough money to support us. (Did you notice how many times I said I?) 

Sometimes “Life” happens and we do not get enough work done, this stresses me out. I become focused and the stress seems to keep building and building up. I become a jerk to Kimmy, and not much fun to be around with anyone. My focus turns from GOD to me and what I need to accomplish. If you think about this, my problem is that I am not trusting GOD to provide for my needs.

There are two thoughts that I would like to make. Today, The Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me these things.

He reminded me of how Jesus fed the 5,000. How many fish and bread did Jesus start out with? Matthew 14:16-17 Jesus had 5 loaves and 2 fish, and He fed ALL those people, WOW. The point that The Holy Spirit was making to me, is that Jesus does not need much from me to provide for me and my family. He does not need me to work tons of hours and enter tons of items. He will provide for me with very little.

So, if you are in your life and you are stressed about making it, and you are working more and more and more, Jesus will provide for you, put your priority on Him and have the faith that He will come through. Read Matthew 6:25-34 I LOVE this passage!

The other thought that I had, if you become as stressed out as I was. Take some time off, refocus with your family and GOD. You will be amazed what a difference it makes, and do not be surprised if while you are resting in the LORD and your family, GOD is still working for you and providing for you.

I did this today and spent some time with Kimmy, I could feel myself clam down and refocus on HIM!

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The Earth Has Nothing I Desire

The Earth Has Nothing I Desire

Psalm 73:25-26 is another Kingdom principle. Our human nature is to desire. We have desires that need to be filled by something. The world is full of “Things” to satisfy these desires, and most of us do try to fullfil these desires with what the world has to offer. Relationships, sex, possesions, technology, work, the list could go on and on, and I am sure you could think of some of the desires you have tried or are still struggling with.

The problems with these desires, is that when you obtain them, they will satisfy you for awhile, but the craving for more slowly comes on again. Jesus Christ is the only one that will satisfy your need for more. I know it sounds strange that this Being, could cure your desires, but it is the truth. The closer that we come to Christ, the more you want, the more He will give. It is a relationship that you will never get your fill of, you are always finding a deeper area, and Jesus always gives more and more.

If you are not at a point in your life where you can say, “All I desire is Jesus” I would encourage you to go deeper with Jesus, seek Him and He will show Himself to you, There is no feeling like being totally satisfied with your desire. Have a wonderful day In Christ! – Jim

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:25-26

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Let God Bear Your Burdens

Let God Bear Your Burdens

Let God Bear Your Burdens

I believe that some of us have this pre-conceived notion that GOD is up in the heavens looking down on us, watching us, and judging us. When we sin or are going through a rough time, HE may say AHA! You deserve what you are going through! Here is your punishment, now you have to suffer the consequences. Then He goes about being almighty again, waiting for us to step out of line again. That could not be further from the truth.

When I read the above verse, it tells me of a much different GOD. In Psalm 68:18 David praises GOD for bearing our burdens. There are three points that David wanted to make. First off, GOD bears our burdens daily, not weekly, monthly, or when HE feels like it. HE is there with us day by day.

Second, GOD bears our burdens. I looked up bears in Strongs Concordance; in Hebrew it means to carry, lift up, forgive. To me, GOD is right with us in our burdens. HE does not set himself apart, or keep any distance between us, HE is right there in the thick of things.

Third, is HE bears our burdens. “Burdens” goes deeper than sin. Sin is something that we know is wrong, yet we choose it anyway. Burdens are everyday heartaches, pain, ridicule, and sufferings that we may or may not have caused. God is with us for every emotion, pain, and hurt we have.

GOD chooses to do this. The Creator of the Universe chooses to share every tear, heartache, and pain with you….. everyday, moment by moment. HE loves you that much and wants to be with you that much. Where ever you are in life you need to KNOW that GOD is with you, sharing every emotion day by day. Maybe you feel like GOD is not sharing your burdens because you are still in those burdens. HE knows you and your future and loves you, and knows that these burdens are going to produce amazing results.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

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