I like informality. I love working from my home office in flip-flops and bermudas. Ceremony is not my bailiwick. Most people today are non-traditional as well. The laid-back approach has won the day in our time.
That kind of approach, however, does not work well with God, not even having gained the right to call him Father. Continue reading
Timidity is infectious. Many a church would be stronger if it were weeded out–just as Gideon’s army was. Its weakness lies in its great numbers, not because numbers necessarily weaken–but because there are so many half-hearted people on the church roll. They have lost their interest, if they ever had any, and are indifferent, without thorough consecration. They add no strength–but only hinder the other members and dampen their zeal. —J.R. Miller
It is true, to a great extent, that great numbers weakens the church, because weak people are in the numbers. More can and ought to be said about helping the timid and fearful in those numbers to come to faith, but when sought outside of the will of God, the desire to have greater numbers weakens the church and undermines its mission and health. Continue reading
I’ve put this stanza by Whittier in an image, to preserve the spacing. It comes from his poem “The Reformer” and spoke powerfully to me this morning.
To fear God is to recognize him for who he is. It means to show deep awe, reverence, respect. After all, he can destroy both body and soul in hell! Fear also means to respond appropriate to him as Creator and Sovereign, by obeying all his commands. This fear is a companion to love for God. Let us praise him for being the Devouring Fire!
So much unknown — how this disturbs the mind!
But what we know should cause us greater alarm:
Our sins have doomed us! Self has brought us harm!
To seek the Lord, the devil has made us blind.
Revere the Lord with fear and trembling! Terrifying thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, the righteous Judge! His name is holy — woe to him who speaks it without meaning! The glory is God’s, and we must honor him fully or face the consequences!
To God belong both power and love,
Both glory and might — in gladness and light,
Let hearts and lips, with heavenly host,
Sing throaty praise — great throng of saints!
Let never escape the Name of God
From lips in vain, that lack in awe;
Hold high the Lord — the holy Lord —
His work and love and word and will.
by J. Randal Matheny © 2015
Trio of death are doubt, fear, and gloom,
Where faith, success, and certainty find no room;
‘Tis almost better to err than to despair —
Better still both truth and zeal to share. Continue reading
Tony Robbins was wrong. Our fears are not the most powerful motivators. The love and mercy of Jesus Christ move men more deeply, more quickly, more strongly.
But Robbins, who likely does not know that love, is right that fear is a powerful motivator. Absent the presence of Christ, fear moves us more than any other stimulus. Continue reading
Fear kills joy. Trust feeds it. At the end of the first main block of material in Isaiah (chapters 1-12), the prophet describes God’s salvation (“God is my salvation,” v. 2 ESV), by means of a figure of fountains of water.
Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.
Isaiah 12:3 NET
In this chapter of only six verses, the hymn of gratitude pours out the feelings of the people for their salvation.
The Christian remembers that he who thirsted on the cross brought to the world the living waters.
Father, I will not be afraid, but I will trust in your promise, and rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ. Amen.