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Monday, March 12, 2007

Whoopie Pies
Whoopie Pies - A Lancaster County favorite that graced the table where we enjoyed eating with our friends who invited us to their home on Sunday afternoon.

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"The Fear of the Lord"

"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure" (Isaiah 33:6).

I recall a very embarrassing moment that happened several years ago.  I took my family to a large concert and when it was over we walked out to the parking lot preparing to leave. Recalling the general area I had parked in, I found my car but the key wouldn't fit in either my door nor the passenger door.

I tried several times without success. I finally attempted to find my secretly hidden key, but it was missing.  I went back to the driver's door and once more tried to make the key work when a man hollered, "Hey, what are doing trying to get in my car?" while Ester said at the same time, "Daddy, this isn't our car!"  Rather humilated, we walked over to our almost identical car, parked only about ten spaces away!

The world offers plenty of keys that people try to use in futility to meet our deepest needs of love, joy and peace.  But so many people go through life using the wrong key.  The daily verse is a real gem.  It's one of those great treasures found deep in the Old Testament.  The verse is speaking of the Lord, who is exalted and dwells on high (33:5).  Today, some 2,700 years after Isaiah wrote this, our God is still exalted and dwelling on high!  He ever remains, "the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge."

O, how we long to live on a sure foundation in our times and experience a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge.  This is an expression of our deepest need.

The last clause is vital, but so lost by the majority in this world, and I earnestly feel many in the church as well. "The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure."  The notion of "fearing the Lord" seems archaic to many. One of my favorite authors is Jerry Bridges who writes, "There was a time when committed Christians were known as God-fearing people. This was a badge of honor. But somewhere along the way we lost it. Now the idea of fearing God, if thought of at all, seems like a relic from the past."

It is my opinion that the fear of the Lord is underemphasized and in some settings never mentioned.  It seems there is always a struggle for balance in Christian theology.  As I study sermons of the past it seems as if the theme of the "fear of the Lord" was sometimes to the extreme.  Hellfire and brimstone sermons abounded and at times presented an unhealthy fear of a loving God which brought little peace or assurance to the believer.  However in recent decades the love and grace of God has been the chief theme to the point of completely deemphasizing the proper understanding of the fear of the Lord.  Both themes are essential and part of Biblical revelation.  

A Study Bible gives helpful insight to the meaning of the "fear of the Lord" – "A reverent awe of God's power, majesty and holiness produces in us a holy fear of transgressing His revealed will; such reverence is essential to gaining a heart of wisdom.  The NT indicates that the sincere fear of the Lord in our hearts will be accompanied by the comfort of the Holy Spirit."  

Many years ago I developed a sermon on the need to have a healthy, holy fear of God and I earnestly believe this healthy, holy fear is vitally needed for our generation.   Today let us indeed walk in the fear and reverence of the Lord for the Bible says, "Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways" (Psalm 128:1).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, we are a generation of people who seek more and more knowledge.   In this information age knowledge is promoted as the key to success and fulfillment.  While learning is vitally important, wisdom and understanding is even more vital.  Help us, as believers, to realize that all knowledge must be filtered through our understanding of Your truths as they are applied to every area of our life. Amen.

Additional Resources

A brief online article concerning the "fear of the Lord."

Here's a longer article with lots of Scriptures and a sermon outline approach.

I have been blessed by this series of three minute audio messages including several on the fear of the Lord.  

As I studied for today's message I also came across this website which I do not recommend as in any way expressing truth.  It illustrates the utter craziness of psychobabble.

Today we share a song that Brooksyne suggests titled, "We Choose the Fear of the Lord." This is a church service version (crying babies and all) audio file

Thursday I shared message about the Bible and a reader sent this helpful acrostic to remember what the Bible is.

Mud Sale

Saturday I went to a Lancaster County Mud Sale. These are auctions held by volunteer fire departments to raise funds.  They're called "mud sales" because the large fields they're held in are extremely muddy! I saw and experienced it firsthand.

Mud sale overview
Overview of Gordonville mud sale. This shot captures about 20% of the scene. Thousands of people attended this sale and I would estimate 80% were Amish. Here's an article from our local paper.

Corner ball
Corner ball is a distinct game played here in Lancaster County by the Amish. It's sort of like dodgeball but with a small baseball-sized ball. While I was watching I got whacked on the back of the arm by a stray ball and it sure stung! The spectators hollered and cheered just like at any other sporting event as they watched the participants.

Mud sale
Why they call it a "mud" sale. The mud in places was up to your ankles. Seasoned participants wore muck boots (rubber boots that fit over regular shoes). We practically got stuck leaving the muddy parking lot even though we were in a four wheel drive pickup.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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