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To Fear God??

To Fear God??
About forty years ago I once heard an Irish -American pastor, Alan Meenan, say this: “Modern-day Americans are afraid of many things… but not of God. By contrast, our Puritan ancestors of the 17th century were not afraid of most things, but they were afraid of God.” I have never forgotten these words. Recently my wife and I were reading in Proverbs, a book of wisdom written by Solomon. Right at the beginning, Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” So in its very first chapter, the wisdom book of Proverbs says that true wisdom begins with the fear of God! Many modern people do not like this verse, and there are at least two reasons:
First, many modern people totally reject a God who is to be feared. Somehow they fear the effects of the force of gravity if they were to step off a cliff into a chasm, but they do not fear opposing or ignoring the God who created the universe. Secondly (and on the surface m…

Confusion About Deep Truths of God's Word

As I wrote this a week or so ago, I was hospitalized for observation after receiving an experimental and investigational anti-cancer therapy. They have good food at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital, and you can order off of a gourmet menu.

Before I get to the specifics of the menu there is something else I want to mention in order to lay some ground work for my subject. Like many of my readers I have had the privilege of traveling and even living in other countries where I did not know the language. Like some of you I have held a dictionary in one hand and looked up words and tried, with difficulty, to figure out menus or directions or tourist information. Sometimes when you look up a phrase word by word in the dictionary, it just does not make much sense.

Many of the patients at M.D. Anderson come from all over the world, and some of them speak very little English . I was thinking of them the other day when I was reading the MD Anderson menu. It was describing a particular hotdog and this…

Learning From Animals

Learning From Animals
My cousin Nancy is a dog lover. She takes in strays and is connected with a rescue center. You don’t want to know how many dogs she has in her house at any givenmoment. Today I was reading something written by CS Lewis which made me think of her. He is talking about how God became man in Jesus.
“Lying at your feet is your dog. Imagine, for the moment, that your dog and every dog is in deep distress. Some of us love dogs very much. If it would help all the dogs in the world to become like men, would you be willing to become a dog? Would you put down your human nature, leave your loved ones, your job, hobbies, your art and literature and music, and choose instead of the intimate communion with your beloved, the poor substitute of looking into the beloved's face and wagging your tail, unable to smile or speak? Christ by becoming man limited the thing which to Him was the most precious thing in the world; his unhampered, unhindered communion with the Father.”C.S. Le…

Facing the Future with Joy and Aplomb

Facing the Future with Joy and Aplomb
Because I am going through a serious illness, I find that whether I am exercising at the YMCA, or shopping at the store, or doing something else, I frequently think about life and death issues. I expectantly pray for healing of my body now, but I also know that someday Jesus will call me, and everyone else, home. Not only do I reflect on my own death, but at times I reflect on the fact that everyone I see must also cross that chasm.Everyone I see on a day at the gym faces their own death in some future moment. This is quite a thought. It tends to make me pray for everyone.
Death is a certain trial that we must all face. No one can avoid it, but mostly we do avoid thinking about it, because, we think, “what good would it do?” Actually it might do us some good.
For most of us our own death is a “biggie.” It is huge, major… “a real bummer” as some in my generation might say. For those who believe that death is ceasing to exist---it threatens to crush an…

Get Free At Last

Get Free At Last
I am going to be writing in the coming weeks about a path all of us walk down—the path between life and death. Today I want to focus on the free gift of not being afraid of death, a gift which Jesus Christ freely offers to all those who will receive it. In Hebrews 2: 14-15 we read, “Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, He (Jesus) too shared in their humanity, so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
This passage says that the Eternal Word of God, God’s Son Jesus, took on a human nature, including death, 1. To destroy the one who holds the power of death (the devil) and 2. To free those enslaved to the fear of death! Contrary to what some people may think, death is not a part of God’s good creation.God made a world without death. Hebrews says the devil “holds the power of death.” Death is an enemy.In fact Paul writes in scriptu…
For All The Saints
On some Sundays when one of us is not feeling well or I am starting a new medicine, my wife Vicky and I worship at home instead of at Clear Lake Presbyterian Church. This past Sunday, as my doctor had just put me on something new, we did just that. When we worship at home, one of the things we like the most is singing hymns together. We sang many hymns, but only one of them brought tears to both our eyes. It is the hymn, “For All the Saints.”
The hymn was written by an Anglican priest and was first printed in 1864.It was a processional hymn, meaning it was the first hymn that would be sung at a Sunday worship as the choir and pastors marched in. The song was in a collection of hymns which could be used on All Saints Day, the Day when many Christians remember all “the dead in Christ,” those who have died united to Christ and are now in His blessed presence. I believe the letter to the Hebrews speaks of those faithful departed when it says we are “surrounded by a great…

Life and Living…

Life and Living…
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). In John 5:24 he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” The Apostle John expands on this idea in I John 3:14 when he writes: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers and the sisters.” Finally in John 17:3 Jesus says, “this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” All of this means, as I have written before, that believers in Christ have eternal life now. It will never end. Death cannot cause it to end!
Many people in our culture are very afraid of death. I talked recently to a Christian healthcare professional who shared that even when all the medical options have been exhausted, some patients want to stay in the hospital and keep attacking the disease—rather than to …