building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Fear of God”

Revelation Needed Today

For the last few weeks, I have just been feeling a bit flat. Have you experienced a time when you felt flat too? I don’t know what contributes to this feeling. Maybe the stress of everything going on in the world – the outer reaches and the inner relational world – can get to the best of us. Maybe it’s a safety precaution to guard the heart from all the emotional turmoil. I don’t know. But personally I feel it deep within my soul. It’s a struggle to remain focused on the tasks in front of me.

You may have noticed I didn’t post a blog last week. The words were just not flowing. The flatness I felt in that moment just wouldn’t allow a word to be formed coherently. It was a jumbled mess so I laid it aside hoping the season would pass quickly. I don’t think the season has ended, but the words are flowing a bit better today (hopefully – it will all make sense in the end).

One thing I read this morning in my quiet time gave me pause to reflect – from Mark 7:37 – people were overwhelmed with amazement. Last Sunday night, I listened to a video from Matt Chandler on the Apostles’ Creed. He spoke of God as infinitely powerful and yet intensely personal. He said we need symmetry between those two characteristics of God. Powerful and personal.

In a group discussion, we were asked if we saw God in both of these characteristics. I must confess – I see God more as personal rather than powerful. Oh, I know God is powerful. But when I think of God – it’s more about Him being my Father rather than the Creator God of the universe who spoke the world and everything in it into existence.

When I thought of the passage in Mark – everyone was amazed at Jesus. I can look back in the Old Testament and see a great fear (awe) of God. The people in the Old Testament had only one view of God – awe – they saw the things He could do – traveled by the cloud in the daytime and by fire at night. They saw the sea open up and they walked through on dry land. They witnessed armies being destroyed before them – walls tumbling down. Water gushed out of rocks. The earth shook at His voice. Who wouldn’t be in awe of God if we witnessed those things too?

The New Testament people witnessed Jesus’ healing abilities. They saw Him cast out demons. Lazarus was called out of the grave by Jesus’ command. Waves and wind were calmed at His word. Again, awe-inspiring. Who wouldn’t be in awe of Jesus too?

In the group discussion, I confessed of my lack of awe today. I believe it’s not only my problem but a problem in our church body today. I think we have missed witnessing God’s power and missed Jesus doing things around us. Jesus said many times throughout His ministry He couldn’t perform the miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. Could that be the problem today? Are we experiencing more unbelief today – I mean in the church body, not unbelievers but the believers? Have we relied on ourselves to bring the miracles instead of Jesus?

Another message I heard this past weekend was concerning worship. My worship leader brought the message missions flow from worship. He referred to the Isaiah 6 passage where Isaiah got a glimpse of God sitting on His throne. Isaiah saw God’s holiness – His infinite power and realized his own sinfulness. Once Isaiah was cleansed of his sinful condition, he was ready to be sent to be God’s chosen one to speak for Him. It was a natural progression – recognizing God’s holiness, our sinful condition, forgiveness for that condition and the mission to tell others the Good News.

Like Isaiah, the apostle Peter saw Jesus’ holiness too. After Jesus asked Peter to use his boat for a speaking engagement, Jesus told Peter to catch some fish. Peter had fished all night with no luck. Peter knew it was the wrong time of day to fish. But because Jesus asked him to throw his net into the water, he did so and caught so many fish he couldn’t haul them into the boat. Peter fell at Jesus’ feet and asked Jesus to leave him because Peter was unworthy to be in His presence. Peter was in awe of Jesus and was overwhelmed by His presence. When Jesus asked Peter to follow Him, Peter dropped his nets and followed.

How ever much we see Jesus and God work around us, we tend to forget what we’ve witnessed in the past. The Old Testament people forgot God and did what was wrong in His sight. Peter too had moments of forgetfulness. We all are prone to forget all God has done. Sometimes we need a reminder or two of who God is and what He can do. We need to be reminded of God’s infinite power. When we see it again, we are much more eager to worship and tell others of this amazing God.

Like the current song by Elevation Worship, we need to see God do it again. It’s time to be reminded about this one true God who can move the mountains, calm the storms and bring healing to the nations. It’s time to fan the flame of our small faith into a roaring fire of righteous belief. It’s the only way we will see Jesus do amazing things again. It’s the only way to worship Him with our whole hearts and be ready to be His messenger. Remind us Infinitely Powerful and Personal Father, do it again! Let us see Your glory! Amen!

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:5-8


What’s in a Name?

How many times do we say “great” or “awesome” in any given day? “Awesome” used to roll off my tongue all the time, until I heard a comment from James MacDonald about it. A few years ago, he said that he would not use the word “awesome” unless he was talking about God or something related to Him. This past weekend, Pastor James spoke of the overuse of “great” as well. Both words used to denote a standard higher than average. They were used to describe something of significance, not average. But with overuse, the terms no longer hold much significance.

From the very beginning, Great and Awesome described our God. Back in the day (ancient days to as little as fifty years ago), God was feared. There was reverence in how we addressed Him. We understood the splendor and grandeur of our Great God. No one with a moral sense would ever take the Lord’s name in vain. Today, Jesus Christ has become a curse instead of a cry of adoration. We use the Lord’s name as a term of surprise (Oh my God! – now shortened to OMG!); or a term of exasperation (Oh Lord!). One day, every knee will bow at the name of Jesus – Lord of lords and King of kings. Do we get the significance of the greatness of His name?

This past Sunday, my pastor used the illustration of three chairs to show levels of commitment in following Jesus. One chair was still in the box. It represents one who does not have knowledge of Jesus, or has a rebellious heart toward Jesus. They are ones far from God. They are lost and have no hope.

The next chair is out of the box but not fully assembled. This chair represents those who know about Jesus, but they are not fully committed. These are the ones who are comfortable and have just enough of Jesus. They have one foot in church and one in the world. My pastor called them complacent and compromised. Revelation 3:16 calls them the “lukewarm” Christians – neither hot nor cold. Jesus was pretty harsh in His assessment of them and said He would “spit them out of His mouth” (or “vomit” as some have translated). Not a pretty picture of that type of relationship (“relationship” is loosely applied here).

The last chair is a fully assembled chair. It’s ready for use. You could trust this chair to hold your weight if you chose to sit in it. This represents the one fully committed – all in, as my pastor says – to a life devoted to following Jesus, no matter the cost. Their hearts are fully surrendered in all ways to follow Him.

Anne Graham Lotz said recently that the level of our commitment depends on our convictions. In this day and time, we suffer from a lack of conviction about who Jesus is and the message we are supposed to share. We have a “watered down” version of the Gospel message. There is no power behind the message. We have lost the “greatness” and the “awesomeness” of God.

God gave us ample evidence of His glory and majesty in His fingerprint of creation. I get a sense of wonder when I contemplate nature. Think about the earth. He holds it in the orbit that sustains life. It is tilted at just the right angle; it is placed at the right distance from the sun; it holds everything that we need in order to live and breathe. And He spoke it into existence!

What about our own body? Think about how the body works, without our conscious thought. The heart beats; the lungs expand to breath in the air we need; the digestion works (most of the time) to give us the nutrients to sustain us. And our feet are placed solidly on this earth to live a life worthy of our calling. And He formed us with His hands – in our mother’s womb. He knew us before He spoke the first word!

God placed the signs and wonders in the heavens to reflect His glory – to show the world He exists without uttering a word. Yet, He did not stay silent. He created and then engaged with us; not holding back His love for us. He gave voice to His Word so that we could hear and understand the Truth of who He is. That is pretty awesome!

He is the Maker of the Heavens. We have an awesome and great God. We need to discover Him again and be in awe of His glory and majesty. We need the respected “fear of the Lord” once again. Jesus Christ is the Name above all names. He is worthy of all our adoration. The Great I AM! The One who was, who is and who is to come! AWESOME!

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 (NLT)

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