The right approach..

I read a really good post recently by Andy at http://www.BerryBunch.family about approaching God with respect. It was called God, You and Me S3 E19- I recommend a read of the transcript or you can watch the episode. It reminded me of when I was discovering the “Fear of the Lord”.

A few years ago I posted a few thoughts about rediscovering the fear of the Lord which I’ve reproduced with a few updates below:

The early church prospered and walked in the fear of the Lord.

In Acts 9:31 it says “and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied“.

As Christians we long to see people coming to know Christ, finding salvation and having a relationship with Father God through faith in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit spoke to us a few years ago during a time of prayer and intercession about the fear of the Lord being restored within the body of Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I had never heard a sermon about the fear of the Lord and didn’t really understand what it meant.

I did understand that fear in this context is not about being afraid of the Lord – I’ll stress that again:

IT DOES NOT MEAN BEING AFRAID OF GOD

but I didn’t really grasp that it is:

an attitude of complete reverence in response to the revelation of God.

The dictionary explains reverence as a deep and profound respect, worship of or being in complete awe of someone. An outward expression of that deep respect would be to bow or prostrate yourself before them. In worship times we sometimes kneel, bow or prostrate ourselves before God.

It’s like Isaiah’s response in Isaiah 6 when he sees God’s throne. Isaiah realises how sinful he is and holy God is. He feels completely undone. It’s like John’s response when on the island of Patmos whilst worshipping in the Spirit he sees King Jesus in all His glory and falls to his feet as though dead.

When we have a revelation of our awesome Holy God as revealed in His Word, we respond by living in humility towards God and in loving obedience to Him.

It makes me consider again how absolutely incredible it is that as the Apostle Paul teaches us in Hebrews 4:16 we can now “boldly” approach God’s throne of grace because of Jesus. Not arrogantly through anything I’ve ever done or by treating Jesus’ sacrifice for me in disdain, but confidently because my sins are completely cleansed in Jesus, I’m forgiven and righteous in Christ alone. God sees me as redeemed in Christ.

So I guess the challenge to keep before me and to regularly consider is. What is my attitude when I approach God. Do I have an attitude of deep love, respect, reverence, humility and thankfulness. Understanding again the power of the blood of Jesus that has cleansed me and made it possible to even be able to approach God.

The Bible has much to teach us about the fear of the Lord and the promises attached to it when we live in that attitude.

Psalm 111:10 It is foundational to wisdom as this verse teaches us “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.

Job 28:28 “Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom”.

Psalm 25:12 “Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses“.

v 14 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him: and He will show them His covenant“.

Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”

Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence.”

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; And He who has it will abide in satisfaction, He will not be visited with evil

These verses from Proverbs help us discover the fear of the Lord:

Proverbs 2 1-5 “My son if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding, yes, if you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God“.

Jesus who is our example delighted in the fear of the Lord.

In Isaiah 11 verses 2-3 it says about Jesus- “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, Spirit of wisdom and understanding, Spirit of Counsel and Power, the Spirit of Knowledge and the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Jesus delighted in the fear of the Lord…. I had not considered it that way before. It’s a delightful thing. I too want to delight in it and learn to walk in it.

At the time we prayed this simple prayer from the teaching materials on this subject. If you feel led then please pray it too:

“Oh God my Father, I come to you through Jesus Christ my saviour. You have put in my heart a desire for the fear of the Lord. I am asking you from now on to lead me, to teach me and to impart to me this wonderful treasure of yours – the fear of the Lord. In Jesus name. Amen”.

A Warning Dream-false accusations

Morning all, I want to share a dream which I had last night which I believe was from the Lord following on from yesterday’s post about being prepared.

I saw an armchair in the living room of a house with someone sitting relaxing in the armchair. I did not know the person. It was a high backed chair (a winged back chair they are called I think) with arms. Unusually the chair was placed in the room so it’s back was to the window. It was positioned so that you could not see out of the window. The person in the chair could not see what was happening behind them outside. Suddenly, the house was attacked with large rocks being thrown through the window. Then the attack intensified with more and more rocks being thrown. It was like a machine gun spraying these rocks at the house. I could not see who the attacker or attackers were or were they were positioned.

I believe the house represents a Christian believer or believers. They are relaxed and comfortable and unaware of an imminent attack. This surprise attack will be in the form of false accusations/slanders which are represented by the rocks. These words break the windows of the house and so will cause disruption and damage. It will be a serious and relentless attack against this person or persons shown by the machine gun firing a constant stream of rocks. It will escalate. The word bombardment came to mind.

However, the high backed chair which completely covered the person’s back and the back of their head is significant as it protected them from the attack and the rocks. They were also hidden in the chair (which came all around them) from the view of whoever was outside attacking them. This speaks to me of God’s promises from Psalm 91. We are hidden in Him. I believe the chair represents God in the dream who is confirming His promise that He has us covered and is our refuge, defender and will protect during this onslaught.

In my dream I did not see the person jump out of the chair when the attack happened, run away or retaliate. This I believe is key. Keep your position and your eyes fixed on God and His promises. Do not turn around in this season but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Remain in God. Rest in Him and trust Him to protect and defend in this season.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Psalm 91:1-16

Bless you my friends,

Preparation and perseverance in the race – prize athletes

Morning all, today’s post is different to my recent posts with a return to sharing a word which the Lord has spoken to me recently. I am sharing what I believe the Lord spoke to my heart but as with any word please weigh and test it.

Last Saturday 17th July in a time of prayer, the Lord Jesus spoke to me again about preparation [for earlier posts on preparation please see Prepare, (Re-)Position, Let Go , Being prepared & persevere, Be ready for the “Suddenlies” and impressed upon me that His bride, the body of Christ has been in a season of preparation. The Holy Spirit has been speaking this word about preparation for some years. Those who have heard what the Spirit has been saying have responded, sought the Lord and started to prepare. However, many have not heard what the Spirit is saying or have heard but their hearts have not received the word.

I believe the Lord is encouraging those who have been preparing and also encouraging those who have not to act now. I heard the Spirit saying that this time of preparation is drawing to a close and a day of action/change is just around the corner. Believers need to be ready to respond in this new season – fit and prepared.

For some in this season there will be new difficulties to overcome, new obstacles put in our paths, new persecutions to be endured, new challenges but there will also be new opportunities to advance God’s Kingdom.

I wrote the following as I received it from the Lord- The day draws near – Purify your hearts and raise up holy hands for it is time to cry out to the Lord until He hears your prayers and answers. Those who bend the knee before My throne and not before man are the ones who will be heard before my Father in heaven. Seek Me in all things for I alone can guide and lead you in the times and days ahead. Great upheaval is coming even worse than the Covid that has ravaged nations. My body of believers must be prepared so that when they hear My trumpet call and when they hear My still small voice they can respond immediately.

I hear this challenge from the Lord – Is your heart prepared for Me. Is your Soul prepared for Me. Is your life laid down for Me.

Those who are not fully committed to Me, who are lukewarm – They will turn back. They will not finish the race to My heart’s grief. I want My children to run the race and complete the course but it requires discipline, commitment to Me and being prepared in Me to overcome and push through so that nothing will cause you to turn back or give up. The road is narrow ahead, the road is difficult but for those who persevere to the end they will receive the Crown of Life. They will understand what an honour they have gained in Me.

I have given all for you My children – I have it all for you. Come to Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest for your souls. Take My yoke which is easy to bear because we bear it together. Always remember that you do not run this race alone. I run it with you and so do the rest of My believers. You are running for yourself but also with others running with you on the same course. Some ahead and some behind but all going in the same direction and with the same purpose in Me.

Blessed children – prepare yourselves as prize athletes – for the time has come to be ready for the next phase of the race.

Dear friends – whatever stage of the race you are on or whatever lies ahead, I pray that you will be prepared and will overcome. That you will endure to the end and will claim the prize in Christ Jesus your Lord and Saviour. May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you to keep you in the times ahead. May all you do for His Kingdom prosper and may God use you for His Kingdom in ways that exceed your greatest plans, dreams and visions. Let the double doors be opened and may you go through – enter into all that the Son has for you and may you be filled with the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through you. To God be the glory and honour forever and ever Amen.

#Freedom Day

Well today 19th July has been labelled “Freedom Day” here at home in England now that more Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Given current circumstances though it’s not really a “Freedom Day” -we’re not all truly free as there are still restrictions in place and also a lot of people who can’t enjoy the full benefits for various reasons. Its not full freedom by any means.

I find it significant and interesting that our own Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak can’t participate fully in #Freedom Day as they have to follow the rules and self isolate having come into close contact with the Health Secretary who has Covid – although they did try some creative thinking or was it rule bending 🤔 to try and get the rule dis-applied to them. Thankfully they wisely did a U-turn and agreed to comply with current rules like responsible citizens.

You can’t write about #Freedom Day without thinking of true freedom and what that means. It will mean different things to different people dependent on their experiences and circumstances. As Christians we can truly celebrate a #Freedom Day that is available to everyone to participate in through simple faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who has set us free from the effects of sin and death so that we can live in true freedom and have ever lasting life. He took our punishment through His sacrifice and death on the cross. He was punished for us and we have obtained freedom through God’s grace and mercy.

My own personal #Freedom Day was 26th June 1976 when I asked God to forgive me for the wrong things in my life and accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I gave my life to Him and went on to be baptised in water as a sign of repentance and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Praise God that I’m truly free and I hope dear reader that you also have your own #Freedom Day to celebrate or if not, that you discover Jesus and become truly free.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:3-8

Although we may live under permanent or temporary physical restrictions, in Jesus we are truly free spiritually. Amen and thanks to our Father in heaven, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.

True freedom
Photo from 2015 trip to Robben Island. Freedom cannot be manacled

Stubborn as a mule

“Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way.” Acts 19:8-9

In these bible verses we discover another barrier or stumbling block to being open minded. It’s an attitude called “stubbornness”. Ouch.

Paul had travelled to Ephesus and was preaching in the synagogue about Jesus. He persevered for 3 months until the stubbornness of some in the Synagogue caused him to leave and continue his preaching elsewhere in the city.

What does it really mean to be stubborn? I’m sure that we have all encountered people who we would describe as stubborn but do we really recognise what it is and how dangerous a characteristic it is. Have you ever been called Stubborn? I know I have.

One of the dictionary definitions is:

having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments or reasons to do so.

In other words there is compelling evidence for you to change your position and it’s for your benefit, but you refuse to do so.

Other similar expressions to describe people who are stubborn are – “headstrong, obstinate, wilful”. It’s definitely not a characteristic which is mentioned as a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

My father in law tells the story of his daughter and his Dad (who were both stubborn people) getting into a deadlock over taking her medicine. She knew it would make her better but she refused to take it. Both sat either side of a table with the medicine in the middle refusing to move until one of them backed down. It lasted hours. In that situation one was determined and one was being stubborn.

If someone calls me stubborn then I have learnt to carefully consider the context in which they are saying it. Is it justified? The word “stubborn” can get bandied about as an accusation (wrongly) when someone just wants you to do what they say or want. If you refuse you are labelled stubborn.

The question to perhaps consider is this. Is there a good and valid reason and solid argument for me to change my mind? Is the evidence being presented credible and weighty. If it is and I’m not changing my position then why is that? Am I just being stubborn? If so, I need to do something about that attitude.

If on the other hand, there isn’t a good reason or argument to change and I am not convinced by the reasoning or evidence then I will stand firm, remain steadfast and not change or compromise. Being steadfast in my beliefs is not the same as being stubborn. Steadfast or stubborn…there is a difference.

Pride and stubbornness are often linked together and in my last post I considered being a A Know it all? Pride and thinking we know it all can make us stubborn. Does pride lead to stubbornness or stubbornness to pride.

So what did Paul go on to say to the Ephesians in his letter to them. He encouraged them to be humble.

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future”. Ephesians 4:2-4

He also encouraged them to resist the enemy, his accusations and lies and to be steadfast in their faith.

“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness “ Ephesians 6:13-14

Stubborn..me?? Really??