What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Reverence For God

In drawing closer to God and improving our intimacy with God, we need to maintain our respect for God. Yes, He is a loving, caring, saving God, but He is also the Almighty, Most High, All Powerful, Creator, Judging God. I think we sometimes forget that God deserves and demands our worship and our humble respect for everything He is. I think we also need to be careful that we, in our dealings with other people, only portray God as loving and caring, leaving out the truth of His pending judgment. The outcome of the judgment is dire for those who are not in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We must not lose sight of that.
Many of the Psalms make a connection between God’s holy character and a life dedicated to fearing (revering) God. As I thought about that I decided that if God did not have a holy character that requires my worship, what would we have to live upright lives for? If God is not holy and powerful, He might just as well be an idol or a statue that does not have the power and righteousness worthy of our respect. Unlike false gods, our God can and does act in this world. Psalm 115:4-8 talks about what “their” gods are like:
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
The have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have fee, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trust in them.
The Almighty God of the Bible can do all those things and He does every moment of every day and night. He is an active God. We need to live in awe of such a God.
Keeping in mind that when the Bible says, “fear the Lord,” it’s not telling us to be afraid of the Lord. In fact, in the other lessons on developing intimacy with God, I learned that it’s quite the opposite. We should draw near for He is an approachable God, who wants to be in relationship with us. Fearing the Lord brings us into a respectful attitude as we humbly bow down before this wonderful God. There are many benefits to learning to live a life that fears God. Psalm 111:10 gives us a couple of benefits:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.
Who doesn’t want wisdom and understanding? Psalm 115:11-13 also talks about the need to fear God and the benefits that result from doing so:
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
He is a help and a shield to those who fear Him. He will bless us without partiality. All we have to do is have a healthy respect and awe of all that He is. Whether we fear Him or not, He is powerful and judging. How much better it is to fear Him and worship Him, and get the resultant benefits and relationship with the ultimate Higher Power!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

God Is Responsive

God is responsive. In other words, He’s paying attention to us and answering our prayers – even those we didn’t know to pray. I’ve memorized and studied verses that tell us that God answers prayer, but I think I saw that as a child asking Santa for things on their wish list. I didn’t take into account that God knows better than I do what I really need. He responds to the situations in our lives, not just the things I remember to pray about. Of course, we have to recognize that sometimes His answer are “No,” or “Wait.” However, we can be certain that He is at work giving us whatever we need to live for Him.
The Psalmists recorded their experiences with God. They cried out, they trusted, they sought, and they feared (revered) God, and God responded in many ways:
·      Answered
·      Delivered
·      Saved
·      Rescued
·      Redeems
·      Satisfied
·      Lead
·      Had compassion and grace
·      Raised up
·      Gave food

Many passages of Scripture tell us why God takes care of us so well. It’s all because of His lovingkindness. Another word for lovingkindness is mercy. It’s hard to imagine the depth and breadth of God’s love for us. I’m not sure any of us can fathom the totality of God’s loving character. His love is what makes all things possible for us, from being rescued to eternal life. However, the Psalmists also recorded some areas we have responsibility for so God’s answers will be seen and recognized. In Psalm 34:11-14 explains some of the responsibilities:
Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And love length of days that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil, and do good;
Seek peace, and pursue it.
So, we are to keep our tongues from evil and lips from deceit. We are to depart from evil and do good. We are to seek peace, and pursue it. In other words, be righteous before God. Without God’s love and power we are unable to do those things, and we have to do these things to see God’s answers to our prayers, which include the ability to avoid evil and deceit, the ability to do good, and the ability to seek and pursue peace. Yet God promises He will make it possible for us to see His answers to our prayers.
Psalm 107 describes several situations His followers found themselves in and the specific ways He helped them in those situations. The Psalmist gives four vignettes each containing a problem, a prayer, a provision, and praises. It is interesting reading. I chose to memorize part of one of these situations, the part that tells me about the prayer and some of the provision (demonstrating God’s responsiveness):
Psalm 107:19-20
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
I need only to cry out to the Lord in my troubles for Him to save me. Ultimately, that is what He has already done for those who cried out to Him for salvation. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as the payment for our sin, and that act gave everyone the chance experience His lovingkindness. All we have to do is ask and seek His righteousness.