What Gift Do You Give Someone Who’s Got Everything

A Fully Surrendered and Gratefully Responsive Heart Is What God Wants

What can you give God today to make him smile? Simply offer him your heart—that means all of you, body, mind and spirit—perhaps for the first time or maybe for the fiftieth time. Nothing moves God like those he loves (see John 3:16) fully surrendering and gratefully responding to his love.

i-give-you-my-heart-1

Read: Psalm 147 // Focus: Psalm 147:11

“The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

You and I have had the joy of being given something by another that just made our heart sing—a birthday present, a Christmas gift, a Valentine’s Day card or some other expression of love, appreciation or gratitude. But what can you give to God to move his heart? How do you make the Lord happy? He has everything he wants and can create what he doesn’t have.

God is all-powerful—after all, he created universe beyond universe beyond universe, and all the planets and stars within them, even calling all the stars by name: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:4)

God knows everything there is to know—there is no limit to either his power or his understanding: “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5)

God has fixed up this little globe called earth to run amazingly well, sustaining its ecological systems: “He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. (Psalm 147:15-18)

God has even ordered provision for the daily needs of his earthly creatures: “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.” (Psalm 147:8-9)

So accurately, abundantly and consistently does God care for the earth’s higher inhabitants that their utter and ceaseless gratitude is only fitting: “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp” (Psalm 147:7)

What, then, can you give to a God who has it all and does it all? Only your fear and your hope, that’s what! What satisfies God to the core of his being is the fear that arises not out of terror, but from the kind of reverence and respect that comes from knowing that he is the giver and sustainer of life itself, the rightful owner of Planet Earth and rightful ruler of your life.

What causes God pleasure is the hope that looks to him for protection, peace and provision: “For he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. (Psalm 147:13-14)

What causes God pleasure is the patience that waits for him to execute justice and fairness: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

What causes God pleasure is the trust that expects him to fulfill his good purposes to all those who belong to him: “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.” (Psalm 147:19-20).

What gift can you offer to the one Being who truly has it all? Just your very life, that’s all.

Do you want to bring a smile to God’s face today? I think you know what to do!

Making Life Work: What can you give God today to make him smile? Simply offer him your heart—that means all of you, body, mind and spirit—perhaps for the first time or maybe for the fiftieth time. Nothing moves God like those he loves (see John 3:16) fully surrendering and gratefully responding to his love.

Fear God – Fear Nothing

God Fearing Leads To God Blessing

When you fear God, you have nothing to fear. When you don’t fear God, you have everything to fear. To be consumed with love, fueled by faith, and characterized by obedience in a moment-by-moment walk with the Lord—that’s what it means to be God fearing, and that’s what it means to be God blessed. For sure, fear the Lord—and watch your step with those who don’t.

fearoflord1

Read: Psalm 128 // Focus: Psalm 128:1-2

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, began his most famous book by writing, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) What followed was a collection of wise sayings that were intended to lead the God-fearing person into a life that was blessed by the Lord.

King David, Solomon’s father, and Israel’s most beloved king, began his most famous book by writing, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” What followed was a collection of worship songs that expressed the blessed condition of one who feared the Lord.

Blessed fear—almost seems oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Fearfully blessed—same with that. Yet for the person who fears God, blessings are guaranteed. And for the person who lives a truly God-blessed life, there you will find fear of the Lord at the critical core of their existence.

To fear God, is one of the first and greatest duties of his rational Creatures. (Charles Inglis)

What does it mean to fear the Lord? This is by no means a theological definition, but for all intents and purposes, to fear the Lord means to make him and his purposes both the center and the circumference of your life. It is to be consumed with love, fueled by faith, and characterized by obedience in a moment-by-moment walk with God. That is what it means to fear the Lord, and that is what it means to be blessed by the Lord.

You see, blessing in the purest sense is to be consumed by your love for God, to be fueled by your faith in God, and to be characterized by your obedience to God. A person who lives that kind of life knows pure and unassailable joy at the deepest level. Earthly success, material wealth, personal popularity, and all of the other accouterments the world says are needed for the blessed life simply pale in comparison to a life that is characterized by blessed fear.

When you fear God, you fear nothing else, but if you do not fear God, you fear everything else. (Oswald Chambers)

When you fear the Lord, you are truly blessed. When you are truly blessed by God, you fear the Lord.

May God grant you holy fear, and may God richly bless you.

Making Life Work: If you sense that your “holy fear” metric is off, pray about it. Ask God to reveal his holiness to you. But be serious when you ask, you may just get a revelation that will rattle you to the core. And if you do, believe you me, that will be a holy moment.

Fear That Is Blessed

Make God’s Purposes Both the Center and the Circumference of Your Life

There’s an old Hasidic proverb that says, “Fear only two: God, and the man who has no fear of God.” To be consumed with love, fueled by faith, and characterized by obedience in a moment-by-moment walk with the Lord—that’s what it means to be God fearing, and that’s what it means to be God blessed. For sure, fear the Lord—and watch your step with those who don’t.

God Fearing

Read: Psalm 128 // Focus: Psalm 128:1-2

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, began his most famous book by writing, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) What followed was a collection of wise sayings that were intended to lead the God-fearing person into a life that was blessed by the Lord.

King David, Solomon’s father, and Israel’s most beloved king, began his most famous book by writing, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” What followed was a collection of worship songs that expressed the blessed condition of one who feared the Lord.

Blessed fear—almost seems oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Fearfully blessed—same with that. Yet for the person who fears God, blessings are guaranteed. And for the person who lives a truly God-blessed life, there you will find fear of the Lord at the critical core of their existence.

What does it mean to fear the Lord? This is by no means a theological definition, but for all intents and purposes, to fear the Lord means to make him and his purposes both the center and the circumference of your life. It is to be consumed with love, fueled by faith, and characterized by obedience in a moment-by-moment walk with God. That is what it means to fear the Lord, and that is what it means to be blessed by the Lord.

You see, blessing in the purest sense is to be consumed by your love for God, to be fueled by your faith in God, and to be characterized by your obedience to God. A person who lives that kind of life knows pure and unassailable joy at the deepest level. Earthly success, material wealth, personal popularity, and all of the other accouterments the world says are needed for the blessed life simply pale in comparison to a life that is characterized by blessed fear.

When you fear the Lord, you are truly blessed. When you are truly blessed by God, you fear the Lord.

May God grant you holy fear, and may God richly bless you.

Making Life Work: If you sense that your “holy fear” metric is a bit low, pray about it. Ask God to reveal his holiness to you. But be serious when you ask, you may just get a revelation that will rattle you to the core. And if you do, believe you me, that will be a holy moment.

Fruitful Fear

Reflect:
Psalm 128:1-2

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

Fear! The word doesn’t conjure up very positive images does it? These days in our cultural context, parents don’t usually teach their kids to live in fear of anything and teachers don’t instruct their students to be afraid. So why should preachers stand in pulpits and preach the “fear of the Lord” to their congregations? That seems a bit incongruent with our image of a loving and gracious God.

The problem is that we misunderstand what the Bible means when it talks about this kind of fear. A better way to think of it is the old term used a generation or two ago: God fearing. That simply meant to have a deep reverence for God and a healthy respect for his laws. It did not mean to cower in terror because a capricious and vengeful Deity was fixing to squash you like a bug if you displeased him in the least. Rather, while acknowledging that disobeying God’s law would bring painful consequences (just try ignoring his universal law of gravity and see how that works for you), it recognized that obeying that very same law would bring life-giving benefits.

To live with a healthy and holy fear of God provided the foundation for a prosperous journey through this life as well as preparation for entering into the joy of the eternal kingdom in the life to come. The fear of the Lord was what enabled people to navigate daily challenges with good judgment and grace. And the icing on the cake for a fear-of-the-Lord approach to living was the promise that God would add fruit, blessings and prosperity to our lives. That’s not a bad exchange: Fear of the Lord for fruitfulness in life.

Too many people today are trying to live a God-blessed life without a God-fearing life. It can’t be done! Living without deep reverence for God and healthy respect for his laws, including awareness of the consequences of breaking them—will only produce the other kind of fear: fear that our past will catch up to us, high anxiety because of what we’re going through today, and terror of what might happen tomorrow.

But those who fear the Lord have nothing to fear! In fact, they have every good and perfect thing to gain. If you can wrap your life around what it means to be God-fearing, this gracious God himself will give you the life you’ve only dreamed of—and even beyond that.

“Shame arises from the fear of man, conscience from the fear of God.” ~Samuel Johnson

Reflect & Apply: What kind of fear is your fear of the Lord? A healthy and holy fear, or one that is unhealthy and unholy? Spend some time today thinking about what it means to be a God-fearing person—and what changes you may need to make to be one.

Fruitful Fear

Project 52—Memorize:
Psalm 128:1-2

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.”

Fear!  The word doesn’t conjure up very positive images does it? These days in our cultural context, parents don’t usually teach their kids to live in fear of anything and teachers don’t instruct their students to be afraid.  So why should preachers stand in pulpits and preach the “fear of the Lord” to their congregations? That seems a bit incongruent with our image of a loving and gracious God.

The problem is that we misunderstand what the Bible means when it talks about this kind of fear. A better way to think of it is the old term used a generation or two ago: God fearing. That simply meant to have a deep reverence for God and a healthy respect for his laws. It did not mean to cower in terror because a capricious and vengeful Deity was fixing to squash you like a bug if you displeased him in the least. Rather, while acknowledging that disobeying God’s law would bring painful consequences (just try ignoring his universal law of gravity and see how that works for you), it recognized that obeying that very same law would bring life-giving benefits.

To live with a healthy and holy fear of God provided the foundation for a prosperous journey through this life as well as preparation for entering into the joy of the eternal kingdom in the life to come. The fear of the Lord was what enabled people to navigate daily challenges with good judgment and grace. And the icing on the cake for a fear-of-the-Lord approach to living was the promise that God would add fruit, blessings and prosperity to our lives.  That’s not a bad exchange:  Fear of the Lord for fruitfulness in life.

Too many people today are trying to live a God-blessed life without a God-fearing life. It can’t be done! Living without deep reverence for God and healthy respect for his laws, including awareness of the consequences of breaking them—will only produce the other kind of fear: fear that our past will catch up to us, high anxiety because of what we’re going through today, and terror of what might happen tomorrow.

But those who fear the Lord have nothing to fear! In fact, they have every good and perfect thing to gain.  If you can wrap your life around what it means to be God-fearing, this gracious God himself will give you the life you’ve only dreamed of—and even beyond that.

“Shame arises from the fear of man, conscience from the fear of God.” ~Samuel Johnson

Reflect & Apply: What kind of fear is your fear of the Lord? A healthy and holy fear, or one that is unhealthy and unholy? Spend some time today thinking about what it means to be a God-fearing person—and what changes you may need to make to be one.

Blessed Fear

Read Psalm 128

Featured Verse: Psalm 128:1

“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.”

King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, began his most famous book by writing, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) What followed was a collection of wise sayings that were intended to lead the God-fearing person into a life that was blessed by the Lord.

King David, Solomon’s father, and Israel’s most beloved king, began his most famous book by writing, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” What followed was a collection of worship songs that expressed the blessed condition of one who feared the Lord.

Blessed fear—almost seems oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Fearfully blessed—same with that. Yet for the person who fears God, blessings are guaranteed. And for the person who lives a truly God-blessed life, there you will find fear of the Lord at their core.

What does it mean to fear the Lord? This is by no means a theological definition, but for all intents and purposes, to fear the Lord means to make him and his purposes both the center and the circumference of your life. It is to be consumed with love, fueled by faith, and characterized by obedience in a moment-by-moment walk with God. That is what it means to fear the Lord, and that is what it means to be blessed by the Lord.

You see, blessing in the purest sense is to be consumed by your love for God, to be fueled by your faith in God, and to be characterized by your obedience to God. A person who lives that kind of life knows pure and unassailable joy at the deepest level. Earthly success, material wealth, personal popularity, and all of the other accoutrements the world says are needed for the blessed life simply pale in comparison to a life that is characterized by blessed fear.

When you fear the Lord, you are truly blessed. When you are truly blessed by God, you fear the Lord.

May God grant you holy fear, and may God richly bless you.

“Fear only two: God, and the man who has no fear of God.”
~ Hasidic Proverb

The Source of True Life

Read: Proverbs 8:1,5

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? … You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.

Nobody sets out in life to be a fool.  No kid ever says, “You know, when I grow up, I want to be an idiot!” As far as I know, there has never been a college student who majored in stupidity (although some parents may wonder). We are just not geared that way.

Have you noticed the booming market for self-help books and personal coaching? Just about everybody wants to improve their lot in life and will spend countless hours and untold dollars to educate themselves in order to have a better shot at successful living.

But wisdom doesn’t reside in do-it-yourself manuals or personal coaching programs. Wisdom isn’t even found in the classroom or in the university library. The true book of wisdom, the Bible, says wisdom starts with “the fear of the Lord.” That is the key.  Solomon says the beginning of the process for gaining knowledge, living wisely and being successful begins with the fear of the Lord.

So just what does that mean?  Well, what it doesn’t mean is to huddle in the corner in abject terror of the Almighty.  Only those who have no relationship with God do that.  Only those who have a jaded or limited view of God live in that kind of fear.  Only those who are, in fact, enemies of God, are the ones who rightly cower in terror.

The fear that Solomon is talking about is simply a loving reverence for God.  It is respect that evidences itself in submission to God’s will, obedience to God’s Word, awe of God’s power and love for who God is.  That is what it means to fear the Lord.

That kind of healthy fear leads us to grow in knowledge—the absorption of God’s Word.  It keeps us from living as a fool—one who is morally deficient and lives with no regard for God.  It allows us to develop wisdom—the correct application of Biblical truth.  It causes us to appreciate discipline—that which moves us to say no to temporal pleasures and immediate gratification in order to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  And the fear of the Lord leads to life itself.  That’s what Proverbs 8:35 says,

“For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.”

Do you desire to be a wise person?  Understand, then, that the attainment of wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.  And the fear of the Lord recognizes that wisdom comes from God.  God is true wisdom and the source of all wisdom.

And God will give wisdom to all who fear him.  Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom.”

Why not ask him today for some of it!

“The fear of the Lord is the convergence of awe, reverence, adoration,
honor, worship, confidence, thankfulness, love, and fear.”
~Robert B. Strimple

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

Commit Proverbs 8:35-36 to memory,

“For whoever finds Wisdom finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
But whoever fails to find Wisdom harms himself; all who hate it love death.”