Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What are we listening to today?



Ahhh, you see by the graphic that I AM paying attention to the calendar!

I wanted to post something for today.....a lot of thoughts in my wee head.... (Grin)

Here is the "$64,000 question," to use a phrase from a vintage television show: are we listening the world if we celebrate Halloween? Or allow our kiddos to participate? Or is it OK?

A lot of folks have opinions on this. Many Christians ignore the holiday, or boycott it. Some allow their children to participate, but only wearing "innocent" types of costumes. Some believers offer imaginative alternatives to the standard activities.
What's a Christian to do?
Let's explore this!
The history of the day has to do with Druidic traditions, and their belief that the lord of death sent evil spirits to attack humans....the only way to escape was to assume disguises that made us look like evil spirits. Then in the 8th century, Pope Gregory kinda grabbed it and made it a little nicer, by calling official attention to "All Saints Day," on November 1, making the "All Hallows Eve" on October 31st a little less important. It was an attempt to refocus the day away from the occult and toward the lives of faithful Christians.

Nowadays, the people who follow "Wicca" (the practices of witchcraft and the occult, including venerating Satan) claim Halloween as a high and holy day! For them, it's an opportunity to embrace the evil side of the spiritual world and to recruit others to it.

Some Christians will protest that their children are in no danger, that this is simply harmless fun. Others will say that we are placed here to be a light in the darkness. Still others will say that they use it as an evangelistic opportunity.  And it's difficult to know what to think, because quite frankly, there is no definitive word from the Word.
BUT....
There are some clues here that we can explore.
Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.  (Ephesians 5:7-11, NLT)

Perhaps participating in Halloween activities is taking part in "worthless deeds of evil and darkness"?
For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. 13 But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 18:10-13)
I know, right? I don't think that believers who send their kiddos to a Halloween party or out to "trick or treat" are sacrificing them as burnt offerings, or calling up the dead....

The debate over Halloween may actually be a "Romans 14" issue, one that is a disputable matter, with no clear instructions in the Bible. It may be that each believer must pray, study, and decide for themselves.....
I offer the next couple of paragraphs simply as an example of that.

Our family prayerfully considered the options, and made sure that we taught our kiddos that there was a world outside our home filled with goodness from God, and also filled with evil from Satan. We made sure that they knew that Christ has power over the darkness, and will ultimately win over evil for good. We talked about the fact that some of the folks who celebrate Halloween don't understand its roots. And we also talked about the fact that unbelievers watch Christians, and take note of their activities, and their testimony. We read I Corinthians 6:12 together, and talked about whether or not Halloween was "helpful" or "beneficial."

We focused on Romans 14, especially verse 13:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 
Our family's decision was that participating in Halloween activities might put a stumbling block in the way of another believer, or in the path of an unbeliever, too. And we paid a great deal of attention to that tenth verse in Ephesians 5 (above), too. "Determine what pleases the Lord"......

Rather than hide away in the face of evil, we joined other believers who created an alternative that was positive and uplifting -- that celebrated good over evil.  We decided that a fun environment to which we could invite others (both believers and unbelievers) could offer teachable moments in which we could share our testimony. And we made certain our kids understood that it was not "their department" to judge other believers by whether they celebrated or didn't celebrate.

How about the rest of y'all that study here? Your thoughts?
Instead of listening to the world today, let's listen to each other and pray for blessings for all who pause here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Peter 1:22-24 Love one another


Whew!
The last two weeks have been good weeks of study....lots of good feedback and insightful comments, and hopefully we have grown and matured in our walk.

We've arrived now at another important passage in this first chapter:
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,“All people are like grass,    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;the grass withers and the flowers fall,     but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (I Peter 1:22-25)
So many layers here!
Let's start un-peeling at verse 22 -- Peter assumes here that we have purified ourselves by obeying the truth. And he says that is what will result in a sincere love for other believers.

Obeying the truth....obeying God.....well, we all TRY to do that, right?
David said he did:
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.Create in me a pure heart, O God,    and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:7, 10)
Once we have an obedient spirit, James told us some instructions to follow:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4: 7-8)
Surely we must spend time in study of His Word, to know His commands. We can't be obedient if we have no clue what He has asked of us. Then we can follow His commands:
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (II John 1:6)
Paul makes it clear that obedience is all-out, give 110% effort.....words, actions, and even our thoughts!
 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
This obedience will result in the pure heart and the "right spirit" that David talked about.

The Lord is abundantly clear in the importance that He puts on our love for one another, no?
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
Let's get real here, OK?
This is not optional.
It's His command.

Aww, but he doesn't know how horrible Mr McGreedy is...He can't possibly mean that I should love that cranky ole Mrs. Meddlesome, can He?  Or that awful child, Tommy Whinesconstantly....

Ummmm, yes, He does know. And He does mean that.
Think about the fact that when we were unlovable, He loved us! Not because we were so cute, and so good, and so nice.....
Nope.
He loved us when we were sinners. And He still loves us as we struggle to become more like Him. Because it is His nature to do so.
And yes, He does expect us to show that same kind of love to others. Doesn't matter if they are cranky, or mean, or greedy, or whiny, or even stinky. And this is not a holier-than-thou, patronizing sort of love, either.
And mind you, it can't happen overnight! As Christians, old or new, we may try to force the issue, and that just can't happen. It actually takes practice!
I found this quote from Oswald Chambers really inspiring:
I should look within and remember how wonderfully He has dealt with me. The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline. (from My Utmost for His Highest)
Here's an "assignment" for all of us: the phrase "one another" is seen more than twenty-five times in the New Testament.....hmmmm, could it be for a really important reason? (Grin)
Let's look up some of those times before we study again, OK? Pay attention to what each verse is saying, and maybe make a note of it so we remember.
We'll talk about it next time we meet!


Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday slowdown

I'm not sure why some of this past week's posts are no longer showing up.....wonder if someone is uncomfortable with what we say here? (Grin)

Anyway, here is a song that means a great deal to me, and I hope it blesses you as well.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fear God because He planned it all (before creation!)


Finally, in our passage this week, Peter says to respectfully love our God and His Son, because all of this was planned before the creation of the world!
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (I Peter 1:20-21)
When God gets hold of a person, He doesn't let go, most times. He'll pursue them. Get their attention. Make them think. Make them listen. The Spirit calls them.

Do you find it amazing the holy God Almighty, Who spoke the universe into existence, would want to have a relationship with each and every human?
How far ahead of time did He come up with His plan for us?
God planned our salvation before He even created the world. You know, He didn't just find out about Adam and Eve and say, "Uh-oh! I didn't anticipate that!"
We can rest assured that sending Christ into the world was not an afterthought. Not a gotta-do-something-quickly-they-blew-it kind of plan. He knew that they were going to blow it, and that sin would bring death and destruction to the world that He so lovingly created.
Long before then, He had said to the Son, the Word, "you're going to have to go down to earth and save them from their sins."

God revealed His plan when Jesus came to the world. Did you see that Peter uses the term "last days" or "last times"?  (It depends on which translation you are looking at.) So many years, people waited for Him to come. The rabbis said, "The Messiah is coming." Year after year after decade.....
We have the privilege of experiencing what the prophets just puzzled over. What they waited for. Christ came, died, and rose again -- and the Holy Spirit now lives with us. What an awesome privilege!
We have a relationship with God -- we can honestly say that we know Him personally....and we're not bragging! Do we take that relationship too much for granted? The salvation that God planned, and revealed, and then applied to our hearts?

He alone gets the glory.... we choose our leaders in many countries. We vote for who we think will do the best job. Jesus wasn't elected by popular vote -- God chose Him to be our Savior, and He redeemed us with His precious blood.

Living in the fear of God.
That's where we started....two weeks ago. And I think that all of the practical instructions about living for Jesus are tied to that respectful love that we should have for Him. How can we take lightly what was purchased at so huge a cost?
We are here only a short time.
We will be judged by our Father God.
He loves us so much that He planned our salvation before the world was even created.

There's inspiration for living here -- and for falling on our knees in grateful prayer and praise!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fear God because Jesus' blood is precious


Today we are looking at the second of the three reasons why Peter tells us we should fear God. Here is our focus passage for today's study:
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (I Peter 1:18-19)
Peter sure packs a lot into a small space, doesn't he? (Grin)

There is a very old city in the state where I live. . . . it was founded in 1670 and has a rich history that is celebrated daily and that attracts many visitors, even from across the sea. Charleston grew wealthy by exporting rice and indigo, and became "home base" for many prosperous planters and merchants. This would not have happened so quickly had it not been for the labor force that was utilized; warring tribes in Africa would many times consign their vanquished opponents to the slave ships that plied their shores. These souls were brought to the fledgling colony and sold at what is still known as the Slave Market in the middle of historic Charleston.

There were slave markets in the first century, as well, and slaves were discussed in the pages of the Old Testament, too. A slave could be freed by working a certain number of years and then being released, by making restitution if he were a thief, or by being redeemed.

"Redeemed" here in I Peter is a word that means set free by payment of a price. The "going rate" for a slave varied from decade to decade, but it was commonplace for the exchange of silver or gold to happen, so that a slave could go free.
Before we were saved, we were (figuratively speaking) standing on the block at the slave market. We were slaves to sin, and we had no way of escape. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood paid the price to set us free. He became our Redeemer!
How often do we think on that? Would we rather call Him our Lord, our Savior, Father-God? If we use the word Redeemer, does it touch our hearts? Does it remind us of what it cost Him to save us from our sin? Oh, what a price He paid....the holy Lamb of God!
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,    and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,    nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:21)
Some who read here may not fully understand why we keep referring to Him as the Lamb....when the Hebrew families applied the blood of an unblemished lamb to their doorposts that night in Egypt, and then went in to eat their Passover meal, the angel of death came among their houses. When he saw the blood, he passed over that house.....the first born of that family was spared death. If a family's house did not have the blood on the doorposts, the first born died. In the same way, when the precious blood of Jesus is applied to our hearts by faith, God's judgment will pass over our lives, and we will not be destroyed for our sins and faults. Instead, we will be spared, and share eternal life with Jesus when we leave this world.
No amount of silver can do that. No amount of gold. They tarnish. They degrade. Christ's blood is ever-effective and covers all our sins.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14)
As I was working on this study, I came across another verse that I wanted to share....might make some of us uncomfortable.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
Some translations use the word "damned."
Ouch!
Sounds kinda intolerant, doesn't it?
Sounds mean-spirited?
But ladies (and gents if you are reading here) the Bible means what it says..... if a person does not trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and accept the redemption offered by His precious blood, that is exactly what will happen. If I offend you, I must apologize, but I will not back away from what I believe the Bible tells us. For some folks, this may be a wake-up call, and I encourage those people to click on the tab on the right of this study blog and learn how to have that saving relationship with Christ.
We are all going to live somewhere forever. Amen? Heaven and hell are the only two final destinations, so it's best to be shocked now, than to be lost later!
Here is where the rubber hits the road, as they say -- if we are fully aware of how doomed we are without Jesus, then we will count His blood as truly precious. There is no one reading this that has not sinned, and that sin separates us from God. But Jesus'precious blood saves us from that fate. We may think it is troubling, or inconvenient, or uncomfortable to think about hell. But isn't it better to think about it now, and accept His salvation, than to be there for all time?

If we think about our past, and our sins, we can count on the fact that He has removed them, as "far as the east is from the west." And when we do think about our past, the love we feel for Him will grow, and we will realize afresh just how precious His blood is to us. Come full circle with me: if we realize how precious His blood is, we will fear (respect and love) Him even more!

Lastly, look back at our verses......He redeemed us from our "empty way of life." His gift to us? A full and abundant life!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
You make known to me the path of life;    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
Let's end today's study with this triumphant verse:
How abundant are the good things    that you have stored up for those who fear you,that you bestow in the sight of all,    on those who take refuge in you. (Psalm 31:19)
This old hymn came to mind as I wrote.....I've been humming it ever since, and I hope it will bless you.
When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died.
My richest gain, I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God.
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Verses that inspire


What a blessing it was to dwell on this verse recently:
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14)
When I compared the NIV (above) with the English Standard Version, I saw this:
how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14)
Here's what caught my eye and set the gears and rocks in my head to rumbling -- before we are saved, before Jesus' blood cleanses us from sin, whatever "good stuff" we do, is actually wasted time!

One translation says acts that lead to death, which could include sins. The other says dead works! Elsewhere, "works" are mentioned as things that people do for various reasons, which they feel will make them better people. Make them feel better about themselves. Many an unbeliever has pointed to "good stuff" that they have done, and they kinda feel like they are earning their way to heaven.
But that doesn't work....
We have all become like one who is unclean,    and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.We all fade like a leaf,    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

It's not anything we can do.
It's not anything we can say.
It's totally our Savior.
Today, let's praise Him for His love, His mercy, and the salvation He gives us freely!

If you've a verse to share, I hope you will, in a comment below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fear God because He is our judge



This week we are continuing to work our way through to fully understand Peter's phrase "fear God." Last week we noted that Peter called his readers' attention to the miracle of salvation, and then gave three explicit instructions....
                                             
                                                                  Be holy
                                                                 Fear God
                                                           Love one another

This week we are continuing on the middle one!
The last time we studied together, we saw that Peter told us one reason to have this fear or respectful love for God was because our time here on earth is short.
Today, we are looking at the fact that He is our judge.
Peter says that we call on a holy Father God Who judges impartially.
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. (I Peter 1:17)
You know, to call God our Father is very comforting.
To say that He is our judge? Not so much.
Am I right?
It's the present tense -- He is watching us now, in the present, as we speak.  He is judging us at this very moment. And because He is the Great I Am, he judges impartially.
What do we mean by impartially?
Lawyers would tell us that it means "not partial or biased, treating or affecting all equally."

My commentaries tell me that the word here carries the implication of "without a mask." Think about that for a minute....When God looks at us, He sees right through the little masks that we put on. The ones that we use to make ourselves look better to others. Well, God isn't fooled!
“I the Lord search the heart    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,    according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

He looks at our hearts. And He looks at our works. The things we do. The things we say. That bothers some people....they begin asking, "But we are saved by faith, right?" And the answer is a resounding "YES!" We are saved by faith, but we are judged by our works. Let's not fall into the trap of thinking that since we are saved by faith, it doesn't matter so much what we do, nor how we do it.

Remember these verses in James?
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)
And this one in Hebrews?
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
And Paul told us this, too:
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (I Corinthians 3:12-15)

A faith that is secure in the Father, and that pleases Him, will always produce a life of good works. You see, our works will be judged, not to determine our eternal destiny (heaven or hell), but to determine our rewards in heaven. I know that some folks don't agree with me here, but hear me out... Paul says the sad part is that some people will discover that they wasted some of their time here on earth. They built with wood, or hay, or stubble. They paid attention to things that were not important in the long run.
Others, who loved and respected God, built with gold, silver, and costly stones. Their faith produced a fruitful life for God, one in which they tried to help others, witness to them, and live "godly in Christ Jesus." Are we paying attention to the important things of life? Are we distracted by the unimportant?

Are our hands busy working for Him? Are our feet carrying us to places where we can witness or minister in His name?
Sometimes I fear that we (and that includes me, OK?) are living as if we don't fear God. Maybe as if we don't even believe in Him. Let me explain. Do we let hurtful words fly out of our mouths when we should consider what we say? Do we tell "white lies" to excuse our behavior or our mistakes, when we should take responsibility for them? Do we hang on to our treasures when we should give freely to someone who needs our assistance? Do we have to win every argument, every competition, and be A-Number 1? Do we complain about persecution, or about how hard we have it, or how easy someone else seems to have it? Oy vey. We are living then as if we don't believe in Him. We don't love and respect Him enough to behave generously, patiently, quietly, as we witness for Him.

Does anyone besides me remember this song?



That may be a kids' song, but it has a lot of truth there!

God does look down in love, and we should watch our hands, our feet, our lips.....we love and respect God, and one day will face Him as He judges what we have done, or have left undone!


Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday slowdown

Take the burden from my arms
Take the anchors off my lungs
Take me broken and make me one
Break the silence and make it a song

Life is short; I wanna live it well
One life, one story to tell
Life is short; I wanna live it well
And you're the one I'm living for
Awaken all my soul
Every breath that you take is a miracle
Life is short; I wanna live it well, yeah

I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song
Even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong
Cause I can't take none of that through the door
Yeah, I'm living for more than just a funeral
I wanna burn brighter than the dawn

Life is short; I wanna live it well
One life, one story to tell
Life is short; I wanna live it well
And you're the one I'm living for
Awaken all my soul
Every breath that you take is a miracle
Life is short; I wanna live it well, yeah

I got one life and one love
I got one voice, but maybe that's enough
Cause with one heartbeat and two hands to give
I got one shot and one life to live
One life to live, yeah
And every breath you take is a miracle



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fearing God, continued


This week, we are studying the fear of the Lord....not something that we often hear about in church, or in conversations with other believers. We'd rather focus on what makes us feel warm and fuzzy, right? And it's true, He is our Friend, our Savior, our loving Father. But He is also a holy and Almighty God.
Our focus passage is this one:
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (I Peter 1:17-21)

The first reason that Peter gave his readers for fearing God was that "time is short." Nowadays, there are lots of signs and humorous phrases about the short time we have on earth. Some of them encourage us to eat dessert first, others encourage us to do the most good that we can.

Life is indeed short. Peter uses the same word, "strangers," as he did in verse one. Some translations use "aliens" or "sojourners." Kinda brings to mind the words in the Old Testament....remember when the Hebrew children, the people of God, were in Egypt? They came to Egypt small in numbers, a large family that needed help in the famine. Their numbers grew as they were blessed by God with children and strong, healthy bodies. So much so, that the Egyptians grew apprehensive, thinking they might take over the land. They were led out of Egypt as an example of the grace and providence and guidance of the Almighty God. They were just "foreigners" or "sojourners" in the land of Egypt.

Well, our life here on earth is a short visit, too. Not to be depressing, but no one is going to live here on earth forever..... our mortal bodies only last so long. We are born; we may live thirty, forty, even sixty years. If we are blessed by God with strength and vigor, we may make it to eighty or ninety -- some may even see 100! (My great-grandma lived to be 105, so I hope those good genes are in my blood!)
But it doesn't matter how long we live, if the Lord doesn't come back beforehand, we are all eventually going to die.
The difference is this: some of us know it, and the rest act like we're going to live forever!
Which way are we looking at life?
I believe that we should live as if we knew we were going to pass away tomorrow.... what kind of changes would that make? Would some things not be as important anymore? Would other things suddenly seem "top priority?"
Moses looked at it like this:
Teach us to number our days,    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
James told us this:
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
David talked about it, too:
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;    the span of my years is as nothing before you.Everyone is but a breath,    even those who seem secure. (Psalm 39:5)
A breath, a mist.
The old hymn tells us, " Only one life, twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."
What does this have to do with fearing God? With the loving respect and the respectful love that we discussed last time?
That respectful love will keep us doing the things that He would have us do. We will look at our lives through His eyes and look for opportunities to be His hands, His voice to others.
What we should really fear is that we may waste our time on things that don't matter. Or that we will be so preoccupied with life here on earth, that when He calls us, we aren't listening....

I studied the life of Gladys Aylward years ago, and I was impressed by her openness to God's leading, and her willingness to go where He sent her. In an era when men were the missionaries, and women were not readily accepted in some roles, she stepped out on faith and made a huge difference in many lives in China.
Are we willing to listen to Him? Are we willing to go "wherever He leads"?
A respectful, loving heart, a heart that fears God in the best sense of the words, will be a heart that listens, hears His call, and responds with action.

Oh, that we would fear Him in this way! What a difference we could make in our world!

Our studies will continue next week.