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Thursday, December 27, 2012

PRAYING FOR THE MESSIAH

At the conclusion of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus Mary and Joseph bring the babe to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord. They are met there by Simeon and Anna. Anna had been praying and fasting in the temple night and day into her 84th year. What had she, and as I suppose, Simeon, been praying for all that time. They were praying for the Messiah. Only His presence would suffice for the world.
We too can pray something similar. I often pray for people whose needs are obviously more complex than I can fully fathom. But I can pray for our Lord to touch them personally. He is the only answer that will do.

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

TREMBLING AT CHRISTMAS


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.[1]

Holy fear has been a natural part of Christmas from the beginning. The angel calmed their fears with the good news of great joy. Today both the fear and joy of Christmas are lost in worldliness. And the lostness is so deeply ingrained in our own hearts as well as our society. Nothing is powerful enough to break its hold upon our hearts but trembling in fearful joy over the good news of great joy that the God of the universe has come to us.



[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (Lk 2:8–9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

CULTIVATING THE FEAR OF THE LORD


I had a conversation this week with several men about the fear of the Lord. One of the men asked the obvious question of how you develop the fear of the Lord. I have several suggestions on this concern.

First, I think the question needs to be directed in the primary position. The first question is not “How do we raise the fear of the Lord in society?” We must first ask how we cultivate the fear of the Lord in ourselves. I believe there are three crucial factors in developing fear in our own hearts. (1.) We need to expose ourselves to the reality of God primarily through scripture. The absence of the fear of the Lord is an intellectual disconnect from the reality of God. John did not have to cultivate fear when he saw the glorified Christ in The Revelation. Isaiah did not have to work it up in his vision in the temple [Isaiah 6]. (2.) We must ask God to reveal Himself to us. We need to be supernaturally drawn nearer and nearer into God’s presence. (3.) Praise the Lord. Speak about His majesty, holiness, greatness and glory. We are stirred by God’s glory as we express it in our words.

From here we do not turn the question directly to society. We must next ask how to stir the fear of the Lord in our families and in the family of God. The same three steps must be applied to these circles. (1.) We must expose our families conjugal and spiritual to the glory of God primarily through scripture. (2.) We must ask God to reveal His glory to us. And (3.) we must express His glory for the ears of those gathered. This is one obvious means for the fear of the Lord to become contagious.

Now, how does this apply to society in general or to an entire people-group, our own or another? Well these same three elements are necessary. Only here I would suggest that the order becomes crucial and needs to be rearranged from what I have listed in the two categories above. Prayer must be the first element. It may very well be the most deficient in most of our efforts. And where revival or an awakening broke out in the past, prayer, extraordinary prayer, was always most prominent.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TREMBLING TOGETHER

Most of us are aware that the wonderful directions for worship in Ephesians 5 are plural. We are to sing and pray and give thanks together. But most of us have not thought much about verse 21 the concluding verse of the passage. “Submit to one another in the fear of Christ.” Grammatically this verse is part of a sentence that begins with verse 18. The only active verb from verse 18 through verse 21 is “Be filed.” All of these things, singing, giving thanks and submitting to one another are applications of the filling of the Spirit. We tend to think of the Spirit’s filling as individual. But the verb “be filled is also plural. There is obviously some individual participation in this matter but the picture is of the church being filled together with the Spirit of Christ. In this context verse 21 brings in the fear of the Lord. We often take these words as the reason for submitting to one another. And frankly, I believe that to be a legitimate application. But I also think it is calling us to tremble in together in our worship. The fear of the Lord can be contagious in worship as the Spirit of God moves on the body of Christ.