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November 12, 2013

Colorful leaf (Photo by Peter DeHart)
Our friend Peter DeHart shares this photo of a single colorful leaf.

"A Spiritual GFI"

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"Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning'" (Exodus 20:20).

"'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear."

Outside receptacle coverSeveral weeks ago John, a friend of ours, drilled some holes through the brick wall on our home so I could install two outside receptacles in areas around the outside of our house where we periodically need power. Mike, another friend, helped me to install a GFI receptacle. GFI, which stands for Ground Fault Interruptor, is a safety device that instantly shuts off the current to any receptacle that shorts, such as if you would drop an electric line in water. Most homes have these devices near sinks. According to code all outside receptacles should be GFI and I was concerned because one of the outlets I installed powered a water pump. Electricity and water can make for a dangerous combination!

GFI receptacleWell, this got me thinking and as regular readers know I often draw spiritual lessons from the ordinary experiences and observations of life. It occurs to me that we need a GFI type device in our own spiritual lives. Among the many topics that some employees speak to me about is their addiction to pornography. A number of men have approached me seeking help in this regard and Brooksyne has dealt with women who also have struggles related to the pernicious effects of pornography. It would be so helpful if I could offer a GFI type device that would instantly shut off the source of evil, in whatever form it may appear. Perhaps it might include a stunning shock as well, much like a shock collar for a dog about to go outside his safe boundaries!

But when a GFI works properly it can be annoying. Let's say I'm working on a project using a corded electric drill, that unbekownst to me has a short. I plug it into a long extension cord that is plugged into a GFI protected receptacle and begin my project only to have the power trip off. I go back and reset the GFI and try again. It again trips. I decide to bypass the GFI and run a cord through the window. Was that a smart move or stupid?

I was musing with another friend, Bill, about this concept and a spiritual application for GFI. Bill suggested "Grace Fault Interruptor". Brooksyne suggests "Grace Fault Intervention". Today let us consider an aspect of God's grace that creates a healthy fear of sin and its long-lasting consequences.
Aren't you thankful for that?

It seems to me that John Newton likely had this in mind when he wrote:
"'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear." This is one of the best known hymns that many of us know word for word. But have you ever stopped to consider what John Newton meant when he wrote these words?

The Word Of God is a powerful tool the Holy Spirit uses to bring a healthy fear and sobering conviction when we sin. Just as we need to have a healthy fear of electricity we need to have a healthy fear of sin.

Today's text is in the context of Moses receiving The Ten Commandments and his mighty encounter with God on Mount Sinai. The people were terrified at the presence of the Lord and in verses 18 & 19 we read, "When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die'.”

Our daily text follows:
"Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning'" (Exodus 20:20). On the surface the statement may seem somewhat contradictory. He seems to be saying, "Don't be afraid" and then affirms the power of the fear of God to keep from sinning.

Through grace we need not tremble in fear of God's presence but we do need to fear God in the sense of His awesome, divine Being. In the New Testament Peter wrote these simple commands,
"Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor" (1 Peter 2:17).

The famous hymn "Amazing Grace" states in the remainder of the second stanza:

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Indeed God's convicting grace brings about a fear and conviction of sin. God's saving grace brings forgiveness and release from sin. God's grace really is amazing!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your amazing grace provides for us Your undeserved favor, forgiveness of sins, treasures of eternal worth, and blessed redemptive fear. Just as parents teach their children a healthy fear of the dangers present in their daily surroundings, so also Your grace teaches us to fear that which brings danger to our spirit in our daily battle with the enemy of our soul. We thank You for Your redemptive grace that sounds the alarm when we're entering enemy territory. It comes to us through the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts, through the Scriptures that convict us, through a concerned Christian brother or sister who prayerfully approaches us when they see us headed in the wrong direction, and it comes in the consequences we experience following the good or bad choices we make or the consequences we view in others' lives who've made bad choices. Above all, it is Your loving grace that teaches us a healthy and reverential fear toward You, that we might walk in obedience to You and say no to ungodliness, worldly passions and live a self-controlled, upright and godly life in this present age. Thank You for the grace that becomes a personal reality the hour we first believe. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Amazing Grace"  Video  Soweto Gospel Choir  A powerful version of this wonderful song!

"Grace Alone Video  Maranatha Singers

"Teach Us Your Way"  Video  Evie  It's interesting how in the course of looking for theme music on YouTube you can come across old songs that once ministered to you but have been long forgotten, until you hear it again and it comes right back to your memory.

"Teach Me Your Ways"  Video  Paul Baloche

"Your Grace Is Sufficient"  Video  Shane and Shane

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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