Tag Archives: relationships

Becoming Perfect in Love?

Meditation Journey Day 20

Hi Friend,

…then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:5 promises us the understanding of the Fear of the Lord if we Perfect loveactually do what verses 1-4 instructs us to do. We have learned from many passages that living in the Fear of the Lord is a blessed state for a believer.
Yet, the term “Fear of the Lord” is confusing to many because they do not like the idea of fear and God being associated together. In 1 John 4 we read,
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

Let me defuse this confusion quickly. The fear John is writing about in this verse is the fear of rejection at judgment. When we understand whatCross of Christ great love Jesus demonstrated at the Cross and all that He accomplished for us there, fear is replaced with confidence. The Bible tells us that Jesus’ death pays for all the debt I owe, satisfied all the righteous requirements of God’s Law and removed God’s wrath from me. This love casts out all fear of God ever rejecting us.

The Fear of the Lord is different. It is a reverential honor of God. It is the attitude of awe/honor and reverence that should emerge in me as I realize the great love, mercy, sacrifice and grace He lavishly pours on me. Fearing God gives me a deep sense of peace knowing His Sovereignty is working everything together for my good and His Glory (Romans 8). It is the attitude of humble joy that erupts after I realize the depth of His forgiveness for my sins.

The “fear of the Lord” is the proper “anxious concern” we should have of ever violating such love and grace.

There is a place for fear when thinking about God. To reject God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ results in eternal damnation. Even Jesus said in Matthew 10, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him (God) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So how does one understand the proper kind of fearing God? Do you remember what “understanding” means? “Understanding” is the practical doing of what God’s wisdom says. When we actually do what we are instructed in verses 1-4 we will be walking in the “Fear of the Lord”!

If I actually reverence God in holy fear then, I will be receiving His word and memorizing His commandments. I will be turning/applying/tuning my inner ear to be attentive to His wisdom and inclining my heart to doing His will. Yes, I will be crying over my sin. Hungering and thirsting after His righteousness.  My continual attitude would be to search for Him and His wisdom as the greatest possession of my life. I would be setting my focus on the Lord to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and body.

The more I walk in this disposition, attitude and behavior the more I “Fear the Lord”. The less I think, live and act this way the less I fear Him.

Simply put we understand the proper fear of the Lord as we humbly follow His Word and do His will. We end here with the words of King Solomon as written in Ecclesiastes, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”

And this is how you become perfect in love!

Observation: The Fear of the Lord is part of the reward for seeking God. It is an attitude of awe/honor and reverence and a proper “fear” of violating His gracious love for me.

Interpretation: Understanding the Fear of the Lord comes as we do His will by living out His wisdom in humble faith. The more we do this the more we actually “fear/reverence God”.

Application Prayer: Father God, I humble myself before you knowing howFreedom inadequate I am to do Your will. My faith and confidence is in Your grace to work in me to will and the do Your good pleasure. (Philippians 2) Teach me to properly fear You as I walk in Your truth.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

Got Anxiety?

flat-tire-700x466Ever felt trapped? There is so much to make a grown person cry these days. Worries come from a variety of sources: personal problems, family issues, health concerns, and money problems. Add to this the constant stream of negative national and world news and the anxiety can eat away at your confidence and steal your joy.  Yet our worry changes nothing but our present attitude; it destroys our peace and produces fear.

Does the Bible have a solution?

Very much so! Anxiety and worry are addressed in many passages of scripture.

In Psalm 121 of the Old Testament, the Psalmist cries out, “I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

This reminds us that the mountains (meaning our troubles and obstacles) may be huge and seem insurmountable, but OUR HELPER is the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus teaches us how not to worry. “Therefore I tell you, do not Anxiety 1worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Your Heavenly Father Knows

Jesus tells us to change our focus from us to our Father in Heaven, from our problems to His solutions. It is this change of focus that reveals our trust in Him. God is in control of everything, every circumstance and every person. He is the Sovereign LORD of all creation. Focus on this and worry will leave.

When worry comes knocking at our mind’s door, it steals away our peace.  We must turn to Jesus and trust His promise that He is in control. Isaiah 26:3 gives us the secret in applying this positive truth to all our negative worry: “You (Lord God) keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.” When we focus on what God has said, light shines and darkness flees.

Finally, Christian friend, remember Romans 8:28: 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. These words are assuring because they cover all the circumstances we face. We need to rest in the confidence that God, in His wisdom and Sovereign Grace is working all our circumstances together for His glory and our good.

Do you love God? Have you trusted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross to open the door to God’s grace for you? If so, look toward God not your problems. He is and always has been working out your circumstances. Humble your heart to trust His care and power, and anxiety will be replaced by peace.

Got Guilt?

forgiveness

The Bible says we can be forgiven through Jesus Christ. He redeemed us to love us and to love through us. All the guilt and shame of our past is removed it is over and gone.

Psalm 103 declares: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

 Your past has past. Let it go. God has forgiven you and you need to forgive yourself. Yet even though we know we have been forgiven guilt can keep us focused on past mistakes, poor choices and wrong decisions.

In his book Devotions for a Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas tells this story:

“A relationship from my teen years still makes me wince -whenever the girl’s name comes to mind and I think about the hurt I caused her. One day recently I was wondering and praying about looking her up to tell her how sorry I felt for how I acted twenty-five years ago. One of my best friends — a marriage and family therapist from San Diego — adamantly opposed the idea.

“Gary,” Steve said, “I’m thinking this is more about you than it is about her.”

In his counseling experience, Steve has discovered that looking up someone after two and a half decades can be dangerous; you don’t know where he or she is coming from or what’s happening in his or her life.The potential for hurt is just as great as the potential for healing. But the clincher came when he said, “Look, why don’t you take all the energy you’re using thinking about this and spend it on planning how you can love your wife today.” That’s when it dawned on me: Guilt attacks us by using a dead relationship to distract us from a living one. Some things in our past can’t be “fixed.” 

You can repent, you can ask for forgiveness; but you can’t always go back — nor should you try. Some of us are more introspective and hold on to our guilt in such a way that we become blinded to our present obligations. When guilt comes knocking on your door about a failed relationship from the past, start praying about how to love your spouse today.”

And I will add not only your spouse, but everyone in your life. Don’t let a dead relationship pollute or weigh down a living one. Forgive as you have been forgiven; love as you have been loved. Christ has set you free from the past so live and love in the present.

I’m so glad my wife likes coffee.

Coffee cupI’m so glad my wife likes coffee. Not just because there are some healthy reasons to drink the brew, but because it is an easy simple gift I can give her every morning, every day. I have a routine of making the coffee either the night before, or as soon as I awake, and then I bring it to her while she is still in bed.

It’s the perfect time to tell her she is beautiful, I love her and thank God for her.

Yes, everyday if I can. When she is away on a trip, I send her a morning text with “here is your coffee, I love you” just to remind her.

Why? ….. because she so insecure that she needs that reassurance each day? Not at all! She is a very confident and competent woman. I just happen to enjoy loving my wife, and this is a simple easy way to let her know I cherish her each day. I also know I need opportunities to express the truth about her and our relationship. This is a simple and easy way to serve her and keep my heart focused in God’s direction towards my wife and our marriage.Coffee together

So what are the little rituals you have practiced in your relationship? You need them. Look for the routine moments of your life and turn them into rituals of grace to nurture your love for each other. How do the two of you say hello or good-bye? What do your children observe in how you cherish each other?

Keep it simple and easy to do each day. The impact will be little each day, but great over the years.