Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. -Psalm 100:4 (HCSB)
Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6 (NRSV)
1 a : an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion
2: anxious concern : solicitude
3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God
4: reason for alarm : danger
(Courtesy of Merriam-Webster)
With the exception of the third, the rest of those definitions of fear sound pretty bad. It is true that there are times when it is good to have a “healthy fear” of something, like stepping out into oncoming traffic, confronting a wild animal, etc.
As children of the most high God, there is little reason to fear people, places and things in this world because we know we have membership in a family that is awesome and eternal. We are protected by Him. If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? Yet, so often in my own personal life, it’s the middle of the night and I find myself anxiety-ridden over things which I usually have no control over and often have not even happened yet! Just the mere possibility can derail me. Why does this happen? Because I still think I am in control way too often for my own good. I was recently reminded by God through circumstance that I am not as far along in my faith as I would like to believe I am.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Luke 12:27-31 (NRSV)
Time spent in prayer and simple meditation around these verses (and many others like them) will replace the bad thoughts and feelings with good ones. Remember, feelings are born from thoughts. think positive, loving thoughts and be blessed with a life full of positive, loving things.
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. -1 John 4:16-18 (ESV)
It seems that I cannot escape the need to ponder these verses and the depth of meaning they have for me right now at this time in my life. I have heard these verses over the weekend from my pastor, in a book I am reading and also this morning from a Bible teacher on television. I think there’s a message for me to look at.
God loves me and I love Him. That’s a fact. However, equally true is the fact that there is no way I can ever love Him with the same depth He has for me. As a result, Satan would love for me to believe that I don’t measure up and shouldn’t even try. Of course, in Christ, I am told that I do. Because of what He has done for me, I can measure up. That alone, despite anything that may be going on in life, is cause to be thankful and celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday!
I have been experiencing the fear of what is ahead for my wife and me financially. Such a fear is unwarranted, as it is serves no useful purpose and what *I think* could happen may not. It is the unknown I am fearing, when I should not. The love of God is certainly known to me– and is enough to cast out fear. I need to spend more time in prayer and meditation around this. How often do we not grasp the love He has for us? I could go off on a tangent about the error of legalism in light of His love, but that’s for another time and post.
May God bless you with an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving and beyond.
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
-Psalm 95:1-2 (ESV)
Lately, I have been dealing with some fear about the financial future of my wife and myself. With her being out of work due to an injury, it is hard to know whether or not she will be working again, in what capacity and at what rate. It is frustrating dealing with the greed of insurance companies and the bureaucracy at large. I am reminded greatly at this time of the need for me to recognize God’s love and that he always makes provision for me. fortunately, I have not received what I deserve but have been given God’s unending and immeasurable grace instead! for that I am so very grateful– especially at this time of year when gratitude should be the first thing on the menu.
Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. -Psalms 102:25-27
In a world where everything seems to be constantly changing, it is comforting to know that the most important thing in the universe (and especially in my life) is the God who loves me. He never changes! I could do a lengthy post on this Scripture alone, but I think the reader gets the point! the way to know this unchanging love is to know the one from whence it comes: His name is Jesus and waits for you.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. -Mark 16:15-16
I heard a guest preacher [at Gateway Church in Texas on a podcast recently] talking about the importance of leading people to the Lord. Note I wrote leading, not dragging. I know that I didn’t respond to the Gospel because a preacher screamed threats at me or some Christian tried to intimidate me into it, I responded to fill that nagging hole in me that only God could ever fill. This preacher in a podcast said that most people don’t care about what you know, they just want to know that you care. I love that statement, because it really says what I need to hear often in my Christian walk. Not only do I need to hear it, I need to be living it.
REMINDER…The “God University” Conference is coming to Calvary Chapel this weekend! That means a Friday evening and Saturday of great fellowship and speakers to check out. For those who live in the southeastern Connecticut area, God U is held at Calvary Chapel of Uncasville, 126 Sharp Hill Rd. The cost is a mere $20 and includes refreshments Friday evening (6-9PM) and lunch on Saturday (the event is from 9AM to 4PM). Hope to see you there!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. -Psalm 1:2
Before you go screaming “legalist” from the mountaintops, think of why it is important to embrace the law. Nowhere in God’s Word is the law abolished. God doesn’t change His mind on what is right and what is wrong. Jesus makes it clear that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. So what does all that mean? Are we supposed to keep the law? Of course, to the best of our ability– especially the Ten Commandments (which should be the essence of government). As Christians we should in particular hold up the spirit of the law. Why was the law created? Surely it was for our benefit and out of love that our Heavenly Father gave us the commandments. As children in the family of God, we are joint heirs in Christ and, therefore, one would think we are subject to the same things as the children of Israel were so long ago.
Now how does all this affect the position of our ancestor Abraham? Well, if justification were by achievement he could quite fairly be proud of what he achieved—but not, I am sure, proud before God. For what does scripture say about him? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’. -Romans 4:1-3 (PHILLIPS)
We know clearly that it was by faith that Abraham, David and all the great heroes of faith have been saved (Hebrews 11). Abraham (and surely all those of faith in days of old) knew he could never live a life of total obedience to God in the flesh. Sin had entered man in the garden of Eden in the days of Adam and Eve and wasn’t going anywhere. But he, like the others of faith, knew that God loved him and would take care of him if he put his trust in Him. In much the same way, we as Christians know that, today, God’s love has been proven to us through the person of Jesus Christ our Lord. If we accept His offer of salvation and believe in what Jesus did for us, we are forgiven. As we accept (more and more in our walk) the transformation that happens through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to desire the law and apply it to our daily lives. We do this because we want to and are grateful that God has revealed to us how He wants us to live in service to Him. James understood this and gave examples of how our faith would be made known to others by the way we live in the fruit of our Christian labor. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. -James 1:27 (NLT)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. -2 Timothy 2:15
First and foremost, most of us realize that any Bible we read in English is a translation. Not a copy of the manuscripts, but a translation (and, at best, a more literal translation of copies of copies of the original manuscripts). There are some people who think that the King James Version of the Bible (a favorite of mine) is the infallible, inspired Word of God that has been made available by Him to us. While I agree that it has been made available to us by God and that it contains the inspired Word of God, it is still a translation. I won’t get into a whole big thing on the manuscripts from which it is translated compared to those used by more modern versions, but will put forth the idea that there is nothing I can see that changes any doctrine. I will go on record, however, by stating that I think the manuscripts used to create the English version of the New Testament by the King James translators (and also Geneva, NKJV and MEV) known primarily as “Textus Receptus” are probably closest to the originals and therefore more trustworthy. But, that’s just a feeling I have.
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. -Hebrews 4:12 (AMP)
All that having been written, on to what I consider my favorite translations/versions and why. My two most favorite Bibles are the King James Version and the Amplified Bible. There are many other decent Bibles and I adhere to a “to each his/her own” point of view when it comes to picking a translation. I guess if I could only have one Bible, the King James would probably be it. Why? Because it makes me think more, look up words and really ponder the meaning of many verses that I might otherwise skip over or give barely a glance. Moreover, I admire the beauty of the Psalms and many passages in the King James that seem to have been lost over time. Words like “behold” aren’t used much any more and, yet, really grab my attention– as they were designed to. There is also a value to “thee, thou and ye” that many miss (singular vs. plural identification). Furthermore, the deity of Christ and the fullness of the Godhead are made quite clear throughout its pages. Lastly, it is true that memorizing Scripture verses is easier when using the King James Version. I’m not sure the exact reasoning for that, but I know from personal experience that it’s true.
Another Bible I use daily in my personal study and often quote from is the Amplified Bible. I first became familiar with it through watching Joyce Meyer teach from it on television. I find it opens up the meaning of certain passages better than any other translation I use. I also find it to be strong on the deity of Christ, something that should be of the utmost importance to every believer. Is it sometimes very lengthy? Yes. Maybe too lengthy? Perhaps sometimes– but no translation I have used is perfect. It is an invaluable tool for me in personal study. If I could only have one Bible, I stated earlier in this post it would be the King James, but perhaps it would be the Amplified. It would be a tough choice, if I had to choose between the two. Thank God I don’t have to! I can use them all!
Whatever Bible translation you choose, whether more literal or dynamic, pick it up and read it daily. Actually, don’t just read it– study it. You will find a wealth of blessing in its pages just waiting for you to unlock. In the Word there is power beyond imagination!
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. -2 Timothy 2:15 (AMP)
The “God University” Conference is coming to Calvary Chapel this weekend! That means a Friday evening and Saturday of great fellowship and speakers to check out. For those who live in the southeastern Connecticut area, God U is held at Calvary Chapel of Uncasville, 126 Sharp Hill Rd. The cost is a mere $20 and includes refreshments Friday evening (6-9PM) and lunch on Saturday (the event is from 9AM to 4PM). Hope to see you there!