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Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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"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).
Very hot, humid weather has hit our area the last several days, typical for this time of summer. Although easily taken for granted, we are blessed with an invention made just over 100 years ago by a man named Willis Haviland Carrier. Carrier earned an engineering degree from Cornell University in 1901 and a year later invented the air conditioner. Initially it was used in printing plants for practical reasons but it didn't take long for people to recognize that conditioned (cooled and dehumidified) air was comfortable!
Our home is equipped with a Carrier air conditioner, named after its founder. This is the same brand that my dad installed in the sixties when he had a small business in Belton, Missouri.
In the time span of human history air conditioning is a rather modern invention. Very early on mankind learned how to heat dwellings, a necessity in living in the colder climates, but for most of human history there was no means of cooling and dehumidifying a dwelling. To this day many have never had air conditioning in their homes. However, quite honestly, we sure appreciate having it, especially due to the humidity. When we visit with the employees of JK Mechanical, a heating and air conditioning company we serve as chaplains, we are told that people are much more inclined to call for service regarding a problem with their air conditioning than heat!
Willis Carrier solved one of mankind’s most elusive challenges, controlling the indoor environment. As a child, though, he had difficulty grasping the concept of fractions which is foundational in engineering. Realizing his struggles, his mother taught him by cutting whole apples into various-sized fractional pieces. He later said this lesson was the most important one that he ever learned because it taught him the value of intelligent problem-solving.
That prompted me to consider others who attribute a relatively simple childhood lesson as having a lifelong impact. Years ago Robert Fulghum wrote a book I suppose some of you read, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten", chronicling the simple childhood lessons we tend to take for granted that have a lifelong impact. I read the book many years ago and now I wonder how many of our problems are a result of people never learning nor applying these simple lessons we should have learned as children!
Today let us consider a lesson we all need to learn. Some learned it as a child, others have as they have aged. Sadly though, many have still not learned it. It's in our daily text and is described as "the key to this treasure". This treasure is the blessed assurance of a "sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge."
The world offers plenty of keys that people use seeking to meet their deepest needs for love, joy and peace, but all in futility, for they go through life using the wrong key.
The verse is a real gem. It's one of those great treasures found deep in the Old Testament. The "He" in 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 be settled on a firm foundation in these tumultuous times where we can draw from 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 in our generation.
Jerry Bridges wrote, "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 observation 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 "fear of the Lord" was sometimes preached to the extreme. Hellfire and brimstone sermons seemed to be the recurring theme and at times presented an unhealthy fear of a loving God which brought little peace or needed security 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. But both themes are essential and part of Biblical revelation.
A Study Bible gives this 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 New Testament 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 walk in His love with fear and reverence toward Him for the Bible says, "Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways" (Psalm 128:1). The fear of the Lord is indeed a vital key to understanding life.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, our generation seeks more and more knowledge all the while exercising less and less restraint toward that which grieves Your heart. In our information age knowledge is promoted as the key to success, fulfillment, happiness and financial security and yet we see so many educated people lacking in these areas. While higher education is important, godly wisdom and biblical understanding are the foundational tools by which we accept or reject current philosophies, basic principles, human traditions, and the practices of our day. Your Word helps us to interpret knowledge that is ever changing so that we are careful to build our foundation upon You, the unchanging Solid Rock. Any other foundation will sink when the rain falls, the streams rise, and the assaulting winds blow and beat against that which we have worked so hard to build. We choose to love You and have a healthy, holy fear of going against Your prescribed will for our lives. Amen.
Here is a list from Robert Fulghum's, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put thngs back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”
Our message today and consideration of air conditioning is in part due to the need for some service on our system. We are thankful for those that learn and work hard at the trades such as HVAC service techs. When they are needed the most is often on the hottest days and in our case our attic is very hot! This brings to mind going along with my Dad on service calls in the Kansas City area in the late sixties/early seventies and I especially remember rooftop units on days with temps around 100 degrees!
On another note: We have a young man in another company who had a construction accident Monday and broke both wrists in a fall. He just got married in May so this young couple is experiencing quite a trial. I will be making a visit to his home to encourage him.
Canning Pickles: Jesse Dourte, our 92 year old friend/farmer/preacher, called me last week and told me he had plenty of cucumbers for me. He and 91 year old Wilma continue to grow a large garden which I find amazing. I took him up on his offer and canned about 18 pints of pickles. Half of them are bread and butter and the other half are spicy hot pickles. I just opened a jar and gave Stephen a sample of the spicy pickles but forgot to mention that they were spicy. He took a bite and blurted out, "Wow! They're hot!" Perfect response as that's what I was trying to accomplish! The Amish make a pickle in our area called "Kickin' Pickle" and I think I came close to it with my attempt.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"How Firm A Foundation" Video Sovereign Grace Music Congregational voices are dominantin this arrangement with piano accompaniment. Here's a channel of music like this.
"The Solid Rock" Video Sovereign Grace Music
"We Choose The Fear Of The Lord" Video Maranatha Singers
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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