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Posts tagged ‘Fear of the Lord’

Should We Live in Terror of God?.


Verse: Proverbs 1:7

The phrase “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of… knowledge” (Pr 1:7) is the cornerstone of Proverbs. Fear is actually another word for reverence or worship, suggesting that wisdom begins when we properly acknowledge who God is and offer him the worship he deserves. It reminds us that life’s true significance is discovered when we approach God with an attitude of humility and awe, not dread and fright.

The remainder of Proverbs explains how we can fear God in our daily lives. Whether the topic is wealth, work or marriage, we are called to give God the honor due him by obeying his will in each of these areas. A wise person will humbly seek God’s perspective on a matter before acting, but the fool will throw caution to the wind and act on his or her own impulses. What’s the result of ignoring God and doing it our way? “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (Pr 14:12).

But the person who fears God, who daily worships and honors him, has nothing to fear in either life or death. Also see Pr 9:10Job 28:28Psalm 111:10.

This devotion is from The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

{ Day 20 }.


My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of GodProverbs 2:1-5

Why does our society have such an irreverent and lowly view of God? The answer is simple. The church has not proclaimed it! The church’s concept of God is much too small. The glory of God’s personhood has not been clearly proclaimed to our generation. But when even the faintest light of God’s surpassing greatness dawns upon our minds, we will walk carefully before Him as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, help me to reverence Your name and never to trivialize Your power and might. Teach me to praise You as the Creator and God of the universe.

For many Christians Jesus is more like Santa Claus
or a pop psychologist than the holy Other who will
judge heaven and Earth by His Word.

By MIKE BICKLE.

THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS.


By Ivan Maddox

West End Bible Fellowship

Atlanta, GA

Occasionally we run across words and phrases in the Bible that we do not understand clearly, but that we understand well enough to make sense out of the passage or passages of scripture we are reading. Because we understand the passage as a whole, we often don’t have or take the time to get a clearer understanding of the word or phrase in question.

A good example of this is the phrase “living water.” We understand what “living” means, and we understand what “water” is, but how many of us are sure what “living waters” are?

In John 7, Jesus spoke of “living water.”

  • John 7:3838 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
  • In the very next verse we are told that Jesus was referring to the spirit of God, so we don’t have to guess what he is talking about. We know that “his belly” here is what we would refer to as “his heart.” But even though we understand what is literally being referred to here, what exactly is “living water”?

    “Living water” refers to running, healthy water which supports life and is considered safe to drink. The opposite of living water is still, stagnant water, which can promote disease instead of health.

    Living water is used throughout scripture to represent other things which give or promote life. But, as we shall see, living water means something completely different when we look ahead to the time of Christ’s return.

     

    Living Waters in a Figurative Sense

    In Proverbs 13 there is a reference to a “fountain of life.”

  • Proverbs 13:1414 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
  • The scripture here is referred to as “the law of the wise.” God’s word is called “the law of the wise” because those who are wise treat God’s word as the law by which they live. When God’s word is dealt with in this way, it is a fountain of life. A fountain is the source of something; in this case, life. God’s word preserves and prolongs the lives of those who heed it by enabling them to avoid and escape snares set to kill or harm them.

  • Proverbs 14:2727 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
  • We respect and obey God’s word because we fear God. The fear or awe of Jehovah is a source of life, because it results in obedience to God.

  • Song of Solomon 4:12-1512 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

    13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,

    14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

    15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

  • Here love is a source of life; but the life that springs forth from it is not the life of the object of its love. Rather, love gives life to a garden of pleasant fruits, springing forth from the heart of the lover, to the delight and refreshment of the object of its love.

  • Jeremiah 2:1313 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
  • God Himself is here compared with a fountain of living waters. He is contrasted here with a cistern, which is a reservoir prepared to catch rainwater or other water for later usage. This is still water rather than running water, and provides a limited rather than limitless supply of water. A broken or leaky cistern is the last thing you would want to depend on for your water supply.

    God here compares His people’s forsaking of Him and substituting other gods with exchanging a fresh water spring for a leaky cistern. His people’s act was as senseless as it was deliberate. This comparison is echoed in Jeremiah 17.

  • Jeremiah 17:1313 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
  • Jesus spoke of living waters in two vivid passages of scripture. He first spoke of it while conversing with the woman at the well in Samaria.

  • John 4:10-1410 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

    11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

    12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

    13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

    14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

  • Here Jesus does not explain what the living waters he is referring to represent. However, he does make it clear that the end result of drinking of the living water he provides is eternal life. The living waters in Proverbs were concerned with prolonging this life. The living waters here are concerned instead with life in the ages to come, or life in the coming Kingdom of God.

    In John 7, Jesus spoke again of living waters.

  • John 7:37-3937 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

    38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

    39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

  • In John 4 the emphasis was on drinking the living water. Here the emphasis is on the living water becoming a source of life from within the one who drinks it.

    We are explicitly told in this passage that when Jesus spoke of living water here, he was speaking about the holy ghost, or holy spirit, that would be given after his ascension. This connection between [living] water and the spirit is seen again in I Corinthians 12.

  • I Corinthians 12:13.13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
  • We have all been made to drink of one spirit, and as a result, living water is supposed to flow out of our bellies, or, as we would be more likely to say today, out of the depths of our being, or out of our hearts. But what does it mean to have living water flow out of our hearts?

    I think a parallel to this is found in the fruit of the spirit. In John 15 we are taught that God wants us to bear much fruit. In Galatians 5 we are introduced to the fruit of the spirit: characteristics of God that He wants to see reproduced in us.

    While fruit benefits the tree that bears it, especially with respect to reproduction, it is specially designed to benefit someone or something other than the tree that bore it. Fruit trees don’t eat fruit. The fruit they bear is designed to give enjoyment and nourishment and refreshment to those who eat it rather than to the tree.

    In a similar way, the spirit of God is designed to benefit the person who has it; but its benefit does not stop there. The spirit of God is given to us for ministry to others, both inside and outside the body of believers. Having the spirit of God enables you to minister life to others.

    Just as the Law of God and the fear of the Lord protect us from traps and dangers meant to kill us or harm us, so also when we minister to others by the spirit of God, we protect and bless others by helping them to walk in obedience to God. And even more wonderfully, God has given us the privilege of ministering eternal life, or life in the ages to come, to people by means of His word and His spirit.

     

     

    The Literal Living Waters

    But there is another use of the term “living waters” that has to do with neither flowing, healthy water nor with water used in a figure of speech. Rather, it has to do with the hope of Christ’s return.

    Psalm 36 speaks of both a fountain of life and and a river of living waters. At first glance, this record appears to be speaking figuratively.

  • Psalm 36:7-97 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

    8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

    9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

  • This is a beautiful passage, and it speaks to us of God-given abundance and pleasures and life and light. Were this the only passage on the subject, we could easily conclude that the river of God’s pleasures and the fountain of life were symbols of God’s blessings on his people in this lifetime. However, Psalm 46 also makes reference to this river, and suggests that the reference may be to a literal river.

  • Psalm 46:1-41 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

    2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

    3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

    4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

  • This passage begins by assuring us that God is ready and willing to help His people. It then seems to soar into lofty heights of hyperbole, giving us examples of troubles so far outside the realm of our experience as to seem impossible. The passage seems to be saying, in colorful language, that even when our whole world seems to fall apart, God is there to shelter and protect us, and to deliver us from the very worst this world can do to us. The “river” in verse 4 seems to represent the heights of joy and glory to which God exalts His people when the world has done its best to beat them down.

    This is certainly a valid application for this passage. But the passage takes on a new and deadly seriousness when we realize that there is a literal future event that seems to correspond closely with what is described in verses 2 and 3. This event is the final earthquake described in Revelation 16.

  • Revelation 16:17-21.17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

    18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

    19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

    20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

    21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

  • The earthquake described in this passage is mentioned in prophecy numerous times in scripture. It is one of the final great judgments unleashed on this planet prior to the return of Jesus Christ to judge the world. This earthquake is also mentioned in Hebrews 12.

  • Hebrews 12:25-27.25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

    26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

    27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

  • In short, the world in that day will be divided into that which can be shaken, and that which cannot be shaken. Even in the midst of this terrible judgment, God’s people are not to be shaken, but are to put their trust in God for protection and safety.

    But if the earthquake refers to a literal future event, it would seem that the river would likewise refer to a literal, but future, river.

    Joel gives us a new detail about the fountain which is the source of this river.

  • Joel 3:1818 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
  • This verse, which is filled with imagery, tells us that this river has its source in the house of the Lord. Because of the flowery language used in the first half of the verse, though, it is not at all clear that this is meant literally.

    Zechariah 13 tells us the purpose of the fountain, but doesn’t add much else in the way of details.

  • Zechariah 13:1-21 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

    2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

  • This fountain will be a cleansing fountain, and seems to correspond with a cleansing of the promised land that will take place at that time.

    Zechariah 14 picks up from here, and sets for us the historical context of this future event.

  • Zechariah 14:1-91 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

    2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

    3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

    4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

    5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

    6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:

    7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

    8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

    9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

  • This fountain will not exist until Christ returns to establish his kingdom on the earth. There will be two rivers, going in two different directions, issuing from the same source. The river going west will flow into the Mediterranean Sea. The river going east will flow into the Dead Sea.

    Ezekiel 47 fills in a lot of the details for us. The context of this passage is the millennial temple which will exist during Christ’s reign on the earth.

  • Ezekiel 47:1-121 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.

    2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

    3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.

    4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.

    5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.

    6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.

    7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.

    8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

    9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

    10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.

    11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.

    12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

  • This passage might look like an allegorical vision begging for some kind of interpretation to make sense of it, but nothing could be further from the truth. The events described are taking place in a vision, and the man with Ezekiel is an angelic being, but the rivers being described are real. They do not yet exist, and will not exist until the time of Christ’s return.

    The “house” in verse 1 is the Temple of God which will exist at the time of Christ’s return. It is the same temple described in great detail in Ezekiel 40 — 46.

    The temple is the source of the living waters. This makes it the location of the fountain of living waters. This means that, symbolically at least, God and Christ are the fountain, or source, of the living waters.

    The waters flow out of the temple and out of Jerusalem through the east gate. The waters will be quite shallow at that point, but about a mile from the city they will turn into a full-fledged river.

    We saw in Zechariah that there will be two rivers of living water: one going west, and one going east. Ezekiel deals only with the one going east.

    The waters flowing into the Dead Sea will heal its waters, so that they will support life. The waters of the Dead Sea will become abundantly filled with many kinds of fish.

     

    There are three passages dealing with living waters that we need to look at in Revelation.

    In Revelation 21 we have moved at least a thousand years past the events described in Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14. The earth that exists now has been destroyed by fire, and new heavens and a new earth have been created.

  • Revelation 21:1.1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
  • In verse 6 of this chapter, God makes a beautiful promise to those who are given the privilege of living in this new world.

  • Revelation 21:66 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
  • Here God promises that those who make it to this new world will have free access to the fountain of living waters, and will be able to quench their thirst there.

    It is not clear in this passage whether a literal fountain of living waters is meant, or whether God is speaking in a figure.

    However, chapter 22 makes it clear that there is a literal river of living water in this new world.

  • Revelation 22:1-21 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

    2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

  • We would expect to find the throne of God and of the Lamb in heaven. However, we are informed in Revelation 21 that God’s throne will be with men in New Jerusalem.

  • Revelation 21:2-3.2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

  • In the Millenial Kingdom, the kingdom of the Messiah during his thousand year reign on earth, the living waters flowed from the temple of God. In the new earth, though, there will be no Temple.

  • Revelation 21:22.22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
  • In the new earth, the living waters will flow from the throne of God and the Lamb, which takes the place of the temple.

    And in Revelation 22:2, the tree that grows alongside the river of living waters is identified. It is the tree of life.

    There is one other passage in Revelation that makes reference to living waters.

  • Revelation 7:13-1713 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

    14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

    15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

    16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

    17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

  • Here we are told that those who endure and remain faithful until the end during the great tribulation will receive a very special privilege: They will serve God day and night before His throne, in His temple. We are told that their robes will be made white by being washed in the blood of the Lamb, meaning that they will be made righteous by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    We are also told that the Lamb will lead them to living fountains of water. We are not told whether this will be in heaven or on earth (though all previous references to living water have to do with earthly waters), and we are not told when this will take place. All we know is that it will happen.

     

     

    Conclusions

    The passages that use “living waters” as a figure are understandable even without a clear understanding of just what living waters are. Understanding what living waters are in nature adds clarity to our understanding.

    But “living waters”, as the term is used in scripture, ultimately have reference to the time of Christ’s return, and to the great hope that God has given to His people. Understanding living waters in this sense intensifies the emphasis in those places where they are referred to in a figurative sense.

    Natural living waters support and promote life and health by remaining clean and pure. True living waters do more. They don’t just support life and health; they impart healing.

    Those things that are compared to living waters actively heal what they touch. God’s word heals. The fear of the Lord brings healing. Israel rejected the One who gave them life, opting instead for the contaminated water of broken cisterns.

    But we also gained an added benefit. In the process of trying to clarify the meaning of a phrase used as a figure, we got a glimpse of an aspect of Christ’s coming kingdom that few people see or understand. As we come to understand the our hope in greater detail, our anticipation of it should grow, so that we look forward with greater and greater eagerness toward the things that God has prepared for those who love Him, and live our lives accordingly.

    { Day 328 }.


    Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his GodIsaiah 50:10, NKJV

    Isaiah 50 describes the person who walks in the fear of the Lord. Part of the process of spiritual maturity is coming to the edge of our understanding, then walking on ahead without knowing what will happen next.

    God sometimes calls us, as He called Peter, to walk on water—to proceed in faith, but with uncertainty.

    Walking in darkness as it is used here doesn’t refer to moral darkness that comes from sin or demonic oppression. It simply means walking in unknown territory without clear light and reassuring direction.

    God’s silence forces us to grow in our confidence in Him as a person while we walk through the darkness,

    lacking a sense of direction. We eventually realize He was nearby all along. In this way, we develop our own personal history with God.

    { PRAYER STARTER }

    Give me the courage, Father, to walk with You in blind faith, even when I do not understand Your plan and purpose. As long as I can sense Your presence in the darkness, I will confidently place my trust in You.

    Do not manufacture an artificial light out of your frustration with the darkness.

    By MIKE BICKLE.

    Bless the Lord.


    Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. —Psalm 103:20

    When the Word of the Lord goes forth you must decide immediately whether you will speak and walk in His Word or ignore it.

    At the moment of His Word, the Spirit discerns the intentions of your heart.

    God knows if you are going through the rigors of religiosity or if you are committed by faith and prayer to move out into the harvest.

    This should be the declaration of your mouth:

    I send forth the holy angels of God right now.

    They are commissioned to minister on behalf of the heirs of salvation.

    I am an heir of salvation.

    I am washed in the blood of Christ.

    I am blood-bought, Holy Ghost-filled, and fire-baptized.

    I am not waiting to get into the kingdom of God.

    I am in the kingdom now, and the kingdom is in me.

    Every day you can declare under the anointing of the Holy Spirit:

    In the power of the Spirit and under the authority of the Word, I declare that the holy angels go forth and become reapers in the fields which are white unto harvest.

    I bind every hindering spirit on my life.

    I release the anointing of God with His angelic hosts to bring in my harvest. Amen.

    By ROD PARSLEY.

    Instrument Rated.


    Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. —PROVERBS 2:5-6

    Pilots of small aircraft are required to be “instrument rated.”

    This means they can fly without depending on their vision.

    In a storm, pilots can lose all sense of direction.

    Their only hope is to lock onto their instruments and depend on the aircraft’s guidance system to show them the way.

    The Word of God is our spiritual guidance system.

    We must not depend on what we can see with our eyes or feel with our emotions.

    The devil attacks us in the realm of our senses, but the Holy Spirit guides us in our spirit (John 16:13).

    Are you trusting your sight or His?

    The writer of Hebrews calls faith “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

    No matter what is happening around you, put your faith in the true, undeniable Word of the living God, and He will see you through.

    You will weather the storm not through “flying by the seat of your pants,” but through flying with His Word as Your true compass, pointing you in the direction of righteousness.

    Lord, You are not my co-pilot; You are my pilot, my aircraft, my instruments, my power, and the wind beneath my wings.

    I will fly only where You send me. Amen.

    By ROD PARSLEY.

    { Day 365 }.


     

    My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

    Search the Scriptures and look for new insights into the ways of God with His people.

    Study the history of revivals.

    Wisdom and errors are easier to perceive with the luxury that hindsight affords.

    Encourage people to rejoice in that, whether or not they have personally been manifestly touched by the Spirit, God is visiting the body in general.

     Let us not be so individualistic in our thinking.

    May we all trust the Lord to give us our personal portion in any visitation and be glad for what He is doing in others.

    This attitude puts us in the best possible condition to be able to receive what God does have for us as individuals.

    { PRAYER STARTER }

    Thank You, Father, for all that You are doing in my life.

     I commit my life to searching Your Word and Your presence for new revelation from You.

    I want to be fully engaged in Your destiny for my life.

    I want to be counted worthy of manifesting Your marvelous love to others.

     I am Yours, Lord.

    Use me in any way You choose—now and forever.

    Encourage people to rejoice in that, whether or not they have personally been manifestly touched by the Spirit, God is visiting the body in general.

    By MIKE BICKLE.

    The Seven Non-Negotiables for Life.


    If you’ve ever purchased a car, you’ve seen the owner’s manual. It’s the book that tells you about the “non-negotiables” for maintaining the car. These are things like changing the oil, filling the tank with gasoline, topping off the transmission fluid, and having tires with adequate tread. We spend a lot of time making sure these non-negotiables are done so that when we get in the car, it runs properly.

    The same principle is true for the life of a believer. We must spend time on the non-negotiables so that our lives may glorify God. But what are the non-negotiables? They must be defined in order to maintain and fulfill them. In seeking the Lord, I have discovered what I believe to be seven non-negotiables for life. Each principle is centered on the Lord, bringing the glory to Him alone, and the fulfillment of each is essential to the healthy Christian life.

    #1: Seek God, not sin.

    For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, “Seek Me that you may live.”Amos 5:4

    God is the life-giver. We will find life in no other. But as sinful creatures, our hearts are naturally prone to wander from our Creator. Our souls were made to pursue God, know God, and walk with God—nothing else.

    It’s only as we pursue Him that we live. In the book of Amos, God tries over and over again to get the attention of His people. He allows them to experience famine, drought, and pestilence and yet, as God says in Amos 4:11, “you have not returned to me.” But Amos 5:4 reminds us of where life is found. God says, “Seek me that you may live.” These words should get our attention. We will only find life in seeking Him.

    #2: Fear God, not men.

    The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.Proverbs 19:23.

    Our God is holy and is the Lord God Almighty. When I think of the power He holds, I can’t help but fear Him and hold Him in reverential awe. Do you care more about what men think of you than God? Then learn to fear God, and you will be preoccupied in walking in His presence, not wondering what other people think of you. You will begin to live your life in light of eternity, and the temporal views of men won’t matter anymore.

    The fear of the Lord also keeps us from evil and sin. A.W. Tozer writes, “It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate.” When we lose the fear of God and don’t respect Him and His commandments, we are going to live our lives without accountability to God and one another, which is the cause of a number of sins.

    #3: Love God, not the world.

    Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.John 2:15-17

    What is the object of your affections? Power? Recognition? Hobbies? Not too long ago, I visited an unbelievable house, and as I walked around it, for just a moment my thought was, “I could have had a house like this.” But I was reminded that a house is not what life is all about. The world is seeking to seduce us into a love affair, but we must love God and be preoccupied with pleasing Him alone.

    When I first fell in love with Barbara, no one doubted that I loved her; I was preoccupied with pleasing her. We must also love His people and be concerned about their eternal destiny. We must look at them with compassion, like Jesus, and be moved with action to do something for them. Those who love God will do what He wants and be concerned about His mission and His will, and they will fulfill His calling.

    #4: Believe God, not the deceiver.

    You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44

    In 1938 a man in Long Island ordered a very expensive weather barometer. He unwrapped it and realized that the arrow that was supposed to reflect the weather he was experiencing was stuck at the bottom, pointing at “Hurricane.” So he slammed it down a few times, and when it didn’t respond, he wrote a hot letter to the manufacturer and mailed it off on the way to work. When he came home, he found that a hurricane had hit, and everything was gone.

    As believers, sometimes we don’t want to believe the truth. When life and Scripture collide, which one do you believe and trust? The deceiver wants us to believe the lie. Will you believe God? The Scriptures tell us that without faith it is impossible to please God, but our nature is to move toward unbelief. Never forget that your adversary is the father of lies. He wants to destroy you, so he works to make us doubt the promises and to accuse the brethren.

    #5: Obey God, not your appetites.

    Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
    1 Corinthians 9:24-27

    Our appetites are the passions that we have within our flesh, contrary to the spirit, craving and battling to be satisfied. If you give in even the slightest to these desires, the enemy can use that to launch an attack in your life. At the same time, the same trivial act in obedience to God may be used to launch a powerful life-changing ministry. Our passions must be subordinated to the cross.

    Obedience to God demands two main things. It demands courage to say no to self, no to appetites, no to lusts of the flesh, no to what’s easy, and yes to carrying the cross. It also demands faithfulness—the plodding endurance to God, to his call, and to that which He calls you to suffer. Only by yielding to the cross can you obey God, not your appetites.

    #6: Serve God, not self.

    Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”Isaiah 6:8

    The concept of becoming a “bond slave” in the Scriptures means that we are the slaves, and He is the master. That means that we must surrender completely, without reservation. Many would see this type of service as lowly, and it is humbling, but it should be seen as a privilege to serve such a loving Lord. In 1972, in the first year of our marriage, Barbara and I decided that before we would give anything to each other we would surrender our lives in writing to Jesus Christ, giving Him everything we ever dreamed of having. We gave it up and gave Him the contract and title to our lives. Looking back at that day, I see now we gave Him nothing, but I am amazed to see that He has given us everything in return.

    #7: Worship God, not comfort.

    Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.Habakkuk 3:17-18

    I don’t know anyone who enjoys suffering, but I do know many who have benefited from the growth that occurs as a result. Are you celebrating God and worshiping Him in the midst of your pain or do you seek comfort by escaping it? When suffering comes, you must move through the pain to the God who allowed it to come to fruition. When you escape, you miss the comfort God gives in the midst of that pain.

    Barbara and I have given thanks for short paychecks, for the deep waters of misunderstandings and unmet expectations, for a teenage boy with muscular dystrophy, for the loss of friendships due to the call of God—the list goes on and on. Pain has pressed us against our Savior and reminded us that we are not in control. Pain results in growth and greater fruitfulness for Him. We worship God through music, prayer, God’s Word, and baptism. But we should also worship God in the midst of suffering and pain.

    These seven non-negotiables are the basics for the solid Christian life, and if any of them are neglected, we will be the ones to pay, not God. Now that you know what the non-negotiables are, why don’t you sit down in a quiet place and meditate on the areas where you are taking good care of your spiritual life and then ask the Lord to show you the areas where you need help. And then choose a close friend or accountability partner and share with him or her the areas where you need help and prayer. Soon, you will begin to experience a healthier life—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Copyright ©FamilyLife.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

    By Dennis Rainey.

    Put Your Fear In God.


    A fistfight broke out in church during choir rehearsal. I can’t remember what caused the argument that led to the nasty brawl.

    Two girls in the youth choir just went at it like a couple of mad alley cats. I was shocked that anyone would be bold enough to fight in church! 

    My youthful mind saw church as a holy, sacred place. It’s where the sovereign God lived; where we went to confess our sins, not commit them.

    The fisticuff grieved my spirit and left me in tears. If I took such offense, I wondered how it must have hurt God.

    What had possessed His daughters to have such utter disregard for Him that they felt ok fighting in His sanctuary? Did they not fear the Lord?

    That was more than 30 years ago. Since then, it seems man’s fear of God has deteriorated even more.

    Perhaps it’s because we don’t know what it really means to fear the Lord. Or perhaps we really don’t know God. For to fear God is to Know God.

    Proverbs 1:7 tells us: “The fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

    Christianity today defines godly fear as holy reverence and respect.

    But that seems inadequate. The Supreme, Majestic Lord who governs the universe deserves much more.

    You can give holy reverence to a minister or someone who wears a priestly color. You can respect, even venerate the Queen of England.

    But our noblest and best attempt to define reverence relative to the Almighty God falls woefully short. That fear entails true worship, adoration, honor and obedience.

    Godly fear is clearly captured in the biblical account of Joseph.

    During his captivity in ancient Egypt, Joseph had to fight off his master’s lustful wife. Several times she tried to seduce the Hebrew house servant.

    But Joseph vigorously rejected her advances and fled. He knew to refuse her would cost him his job and likely send him to prison.

    But Joseph’s love and reverence for the Almighty God was stronger than any temptation. To injure God and violate His sovereign law was unthinkable.

    In Genesis 39:9 Joseph said: “How could I do such evil and sin against God?”

    Joseph put his fear in God. So, he was not afraid of what man or woman could do to him. He stood firm on his moral convictions because he knew God.

    And to know God is to esteem Him highly. It’s to respect Him as the Creator who has no equal, and rules with unparalleled power and glory.

    The prophet Isaiah got weak-kneed and fell limp in God’s presence. His brief vision of The Almighty made him realize just how unclean humans are. He said, “I saw the Lord, high, exalted and seated on a thrown.”

    All Isaiah could do was cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy.” He later hollered: “Woe to me! “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.” Isaiah 6:5

    In this dispensation of grace in which we live, Christians are privileged to have God living in us. But don’t let “familiarity breed contempt.” We run the risk of making the Sovereign, Mighty God “common” in our eyes.

    That suggests a lack of fear, and a lack of knowledge of who God really is. Those who know God won’t be found handling Him casually. Neither will they handle His commandments with callous disregard.

    When you put your fear in God, you put your faith in Him too.

    In doing so, you won’t have to be afraid of man. Neither will you feel compelled to fight your own battle, in or out of church.

    Scripture Of The Day: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” – Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

    By Sharon Frame.

    Eliminate The Fear Factor.


    Are you afraid of heights? Or do you become hysterical at the mere sight of spiders? Perhaps you live in constant fear that you will never get ahead in life.

    Whether you are afraid of heights, spiders or failure, let’s be clear on one thing; it is not good to have any amount of fear in your life.

    I have heard people say, “A little fear is good for you.” I disagree. Fear is not good at all. It is a trap used by the enemy to keep you from operating in the will of God.

    The opposite of fear is faith, and Hebrews 11:6 says, “…without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is…”

    Satan knows that you must have faith to believe that God’s promises will come to pass.

    If he can get you to doubt God’s promises, he will accomplish his goal of taking you out of the will of God, thereby keeping you from receiving your blessing.

    Ask yourself these three questions to find out whether you are believing God’s Word or walking in fear:

    1) Whose word is getting into my heart?

    Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but fear comes by hearing the words of Satan. Negative words can get into your heart by entering through your eyes (what you watch) and your ears (what you listen to).

    Eventually those things will enter your mouth (what you say), and once you begin to speak negative words, those things will ultimately become a part of your life. Be sure to put God’s Word into your heart to increase your faith.

    2) Who’s side am I on?

    The world system operates by fear. The kingdom of God system operates by faith. The world system says that you have to be educated, have a certain degree, be the right color, come from the right neighborhood, say the right things or wear the right clothes.

    If you contradict this system, you may be challenged by feelings of inadequacy, which comes from fear. But in the kingdom of God system, God is not a respecter of persons; He is a respecter of faith. It’s up to you to decide which system you will follow.

    3) What am I connected to?

    Fear is a spiritual connector and so is faith. Faith will connect you with the Word of God. Fear will connect you with the very thing you fear. For example, fear of death will connect you to the death that you fear.

    Fear of lack will connect you to the lack that you fear. Fear of cancer will connect you with cancer. Don’t allow fear to connect you to negative circumstances. Instead, use your faith to release the blessings of God into your life.

    Scripture Of The Day: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

    By Dr. Creflo A. Dollar.

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