A man who is facing some serious health issues said to me recently that one of the things that he had learned during this difficult time in his life was the importance of gratitude. He shared that he had become much more grateful for all the little things in his life, for how people had been kind to him and prayed for him. Despite the physical challenges that were ahead, he told me he was very, very thankful.
During this month that we celebrate Thanksgiving, we should remember the importance of gratitude in our lives. In the biblical story about Jesus healing the 10 lepers, you may remember that only one of the ten turned back to say thank you. Most of us have so much to give thanks for that if we started counting our blessings we probably would spend most of our days giving thanks to God for what he has done for us.
May we live out lives of gratitude, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20 NIV)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” I John 4:18 (NLT)
A woman at church recenlty shared with me a story about her young son. There is a popular song titled ‘I Am A Friend of God’ that we sing occasionally in worship. The little boy was singing one night and got the words mixed up by singing, “I am afraid of God.” That changes the meaning of the song quite a bit!
A search of an online Bible or concordance will reveal that the words “fear” and “Lord” are joined together in many biblical passages. The Hebrew words translated as fear might better be translated and understood as awe, reverence, or honor. All three words make more sense to me – we should be in awe of God, keep God in reverence, and honor God. I have a hard time thinking that God wants us to cower in fear because God has done so much to try to reach us.
We believe that Jesus came not to condemn the world, or to create fear, but instead so “that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Paul puts it another way – “If God is for us, who can be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (Rom. 8:31-32). If God went to these extraordinary lengths to reach us, why should we be afraid? Let’s remember that there is truly no fear in love and no one loves us more than God. No one!