Today was yesterday's sigh of relief. ;-) It was a much better day than yesterday.
I woke up - with no help from emails, texts or Skype messages - at 0800. It was glorious. Actually, I was surprised I woke up with no help because I had gone to bed super late waiting for my husband to magically reappear online. Yeah, that never happened. I sent him and "I'm so going to bed" email and did exactly that. =P
Soon after I got up, my hubby was on Skype! Woo! We didn't video chat =( but we did message back and forth for a while. Then he ditched me for sleep (whatever ;-)) and I ditched him for a shower. Haha! I had to get ready for church, though and if I had stayed on much longer I definitely would have been late. I loathe being late to church. Sometimes I'm early, but more often than not I'm right on time. And the rest of the congregation comes in during the middle of the first song. That's Hawaii for ya.
Today I was early. I was fighting like crazy to get there early so I could get a seat! Why, you ask? Mr. John Bevere was the guest speaker at our church today! He and his wife have been in town for a few days (for a conference that I didn't attend...those get expensive), and he stayed to preach today. Man oh man. It was such an amazing service. When I remembered that he was speaking today, I knew I was in for a treat. I expected something amazing. And amazing is exactly what I received.
I'm going to share my notes with you, but after a while I sort of stopped taking notes because I was sincerely in awe of what he was saying. I'll try to paraphrase and remember as much as possible, but I'm making no guarantees. Hopefully, the podcast will be uploaded soon so you can check it out. =)
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." James 4:8
- We initiate and then He will come near.
- You determine how close you are to God.
- God desires a relationship with us - He yearns for us.
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand..." Psalm 139:17-18
- Do you know how much that is?! Think of all the sand in the world: beaches, river banks, golf courses, etc! That's a lot of sand!!
- In one cubic foot area of sand, there are 1.8 billion grains of sand. In just ONE CUBIC FOOT!
"God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him." Psalm 89:7
- You won't find God in an atmosphere that doesn't hold the utmost respect for Him.
- You have to come to God with reverential fear.
"Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them..." Leviticus 10:1
- Profane: to treat what is sacred as common; irreverence.
"So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, 'This is what the Lord spoke, saying: "By those who come near Me, I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified." So Aaron held his peace." Leviticus 10:2-3
- Because they offered profane fire to God, and did not regard Him as holy, they were killed.
- Verse 3 is a universal decree -- applies to every created being. Not just Old Testament, but New Testament as well.
- Holiness means we're His - completely His - and we fear Him
What is the fear of the Lord?
- It is NOT being scared of God.
"And Moses said to the people, 'Do not fear...'" Exodus 20:20
- The person who IS scared of God has something to hide.
- It IS being terrified of being away from God.
- You venerate Him: honor, esteem Him above everyone and everything else.
What does it mean to tremble at His Word?
1. To obey Him instantly.
2. To obey Him if it doesn't make sense.
3. To obey Him even if it hurts.
4. To obey Him even if you don't see a benefit.
5. To obey Him to completion.
"The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant." Psalm 25:14
- God shares His secrets with those who fear Him.
- The NLT version of the above verse says "The Lord is a friend to those who fear Him..."
- God is not everyone's friend.
- Moses and Abraham exemplify a friend of God.
-- God went to Abraham before He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. This is why Lot was saved - Abraham talked to God about it and changed God's mind.
-- Genesis 22: God told Abraham to take his son to a mountain 3 days' travel away and sacrifice him. Abraham went. As he was about to kill is own son - for God - God provided a ram as a sacrifice, instead of his son. Abraham was the first to see God as a provider: Jehovah Jireh. He shared His secret with Abraham.
- When the angels came to warn Lot of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction, he was just as surprised as all the people living around him. Lot was the only righteous man in Sodom. Yet, he had no idea it was happening. Why? Because he didn't have the fear of the Lord. Abraham knew God's plans because he had the fear of the Lord, and God shared His secrets with Abraham.
- Lot was just as caught up in the ways of the world as everyone else. He only knew God by what God did for Him.
"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." John 15:14
"If you love Me, keep My commandments." John 14:15
- Not everyone is a friend of God.
This is where my notes end. By this point, I do believe I was in tears.
I have been a born-again Christian (or saved. however you view it. both are accurate.) for most of my life. I grew up in church and always heard pastors talking about how we should "fear the Lord." I never understood that. As I grew up, I learned to view God as my friend...and then again as my Father - both of which are true. I never understood the fear of the Lord - what it meant and why it was so important. Today I do.
Rarely do I ever leave a service in tears - good tears. By the time the "altar call" came, I couldn't stop them from coming. I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably. It was a different kind of crying... It was...peaceful, I guess you could say. I realized that all this time I had read God's Word and prayed to Him with not as much reverence as I should have. I think it's safe to say that I approached God with a casual attitude. As I prayed with countless other people, I finally realized what it means to fear God. It's not scary, though. It's more like reverence... And it IS being afraid to be away from Him.
I know I have done a poor job at summing up today's message. Here is the link to my church's podcast list. When it's uploaded, it should be the first one on the list. I strongly suggest that you listen to it. It was amazing. I don't think my life will ever be the same. And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.
After the service was pretty much over, he told us that he had preached from the first (maybe?) chapter of his book, Drawing Near. I will be purchasing this soon. I'm doing another study at the moment, but this one is #1 on my list of books to read next.
The rest of my day was fantastic and lazy. =) I also got to chat with Joe again for a few minutes! I am still feeling the after-effects of today's service and I hope it doesn't stop!
Tomorrow they're calling for more of that crazy rain, so I think I might end up staying home and being productive. Let's hope for some productivity anyway.
Hope your week is off to a great start!