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The Fear of the Lord

Fear Reverence Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Kory Ferree | Date Posted: 2014-04-03

Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:7 ; Proverbs 9:10

Author: Kory Ferree
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ILLUSTRATION

The world in which we live is full of countless things that make us afraid. Some fear spiders, others snakes, others heights, others highways, and some even fear tight spaces. 

As a boy in the third grade, I went on a field trip to a state park to explore caves.  In a single file line, we entered a small cave and I remember feeling very anxious about the tight quarters. I also had a fear of the dark and the cave was very dark in some areas. However, when the teacher asked if any of us had a problem with entering the cave, I did not want anyone to think I was scared or intimidated, especially not the girls in line. My fear of other people's negative perception was stronger than my fear of the cave.

APPLICATION

There are three types of fear: a Holy Fear, a Healthy Fear, and a Harmful Fear.  What is a Holy Fear?  This is the fear of the Lord.  It does not mean to be afraid of the Lord, but to be in awe of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is an awesome reverence, and altogether respect for the greatness, goodness, and the glorious nature of God. 

What is a Healthy Fear? It is the fear of doing something that may be dangerous or life threatening.  A young child learns to avoid playing too close to the road, or not to jump out of a tree  (a fear that some parents are only able to teach their children after a trip to the emergency room).  These types of fear do not hinder us, but help us, by setting up safeguards in our life.

What is a Harmful Fear?  Paul speaks about this type of fear to his understudy, Timothy, when he wrote, "God has not given you the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Timothy was struggling with fears that were actually hindering him. He was fighting against fears that if he did not overcome them, would potentially undermine his ministry for the Lord.  

Harmful fears are the consequence of the fall of man, recorded in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and their God consciousness was replaced with a self consciousness that made them perceive themselves as naked and vulnerable.  

However, the fear that should trump all fears is our reverence and awe of the Lord. This fear accomplishes two things: A longing to be near to the Lord and a love for what is dear to Him.  Just as that young boy stood before a cave, this grown man stands before a life to which God has called him.  It is when the fear of the Lord is greater than my fear of failure, inadequacy, rejection, inferiority, etc., that God is able to mold and make me into the man He desires me to be, and to empower me to accomplish what would have been impossible for me to achieve alone.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). 

Sweet Little Baby Jesus

Worship Jesus' Lordship Reverence

Contributed By: VERNON HAMMETT | Date Posted: 2014-01-01

Scripture: Matthew 28:18 ; Philippians 2:10

Author: VERNON HAMMETT
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ILLUSTRATION

In the 2006 irreverent comedy “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” there is a scene where Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) says a prayer at the dinner table. He addresses his prayer to “Baby Jesus.” His wife rightly objects to his disrespectful characterization of Jesus as a perpetual infant. He defends himself by saying “I like the Christmas Jesus the best. When you pray to Jesus you can pray to whatever Jesus you want to!” The rest of the family then proceeds to describe their own subjective preferred perceptions of Jesus ranging from a bearded older man, to a ninja battling evil.

APPLICATION

In the Christmas season there is a tremendous push for inclusive language and diverse opinions about the true meaning of Christmas, as if the birth of the Lord and Creator of the universe is a trivial matter. Baby Jesus is not terribly offensive to anyone because He's just a cute, cuddly, helpless, and harmless baby.

Cute, cuddly, helpless and harmless do not, however, reflect the true nature of the babe in the manger. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Our Lord Jesus Christ commands respect, honor, obedience, glory and worship. He is not some innocuous persona made to conform to our liking. He demands to be approached as Lord and Savior, not as we would make Him.

"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10).

Stomping on Jesus

Testimony Reverence Blasphemy

Source: "University Apologizes for 'Stomp on Jesus' Lesson" By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter, published Christian Post, March 25, 2013

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-03-26

Scripture: Hebrews 10:29

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

A professor at Florida Atlantic University asked students to write the name 'Jesus' on a piece of paper, place the paper on the floor, and then stomp on it. While most blindly complied, some refused to do so, and one student even went to school administrators to complain.

Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU who was enrolled at the class, told local media that he went to school officials to protest the assignment. "Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value … So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value."

Initially, FAU defended the assignment and the curriculum from which it was derived. They have since recanted and apologized. "This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused," said Florida Atlantic University, a multi-campus institution, in a prepared statement posted on its website.

The story made quite a splash on both news and social media outlets, with many decrying it as yet "another example of secularist anti-Christian sentiment."

APPLICATION

While this news story shocks and offends all who hold the name of Jesus dear (and even many who don't), I've got more news for you. You effectively "stomp" on the name of Jesus each and every time you fail to honor Him, whether that be in attitude, action, or principal. Before you call for sanctions against the professor or the school administrators, ask yourself, "How have I stomped on Jesus today?"

"How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:29) .

The Danger of Living A Virtual Life

Worship Worldliness Reverence

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2012-04-14

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Frightening News for Everyone With a Conscience

God's Holiness Reverence

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2011-12-28

Scripture: Luke 2:

Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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Feeding on the Word of God

Bible Devotion Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Jane Drew | Date Posted: 2017-10-28

Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:3 ; Ezekiel 3:3

Author: Jane Drew
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Eating Daily

Devotion Word of God Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2017-04-12

Scripture: John 6:58 ; Acts 2:46

Author: Thomas Bevers
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We Are Obsessed With Our Phones

Worship Devotion Intimacy with God

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-14

Scripture: James 4:8 ; Revelation 2:4

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Dramatic Rescue of Lobby Joe

Awe Man Love (Divine)

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-09-21

Scripture: Psalms 8:4 ; Psalms 144:4

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Eating Opens the Appetite

Spiritual Growth Worship Word of God

Contributed By: Shawn Nichols | Date Posted: 2016-04-26

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2 ; Matthew 5:6

Author: Shawn Nichols
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