Where Has the REVERENCE and AWESOMENESS of God Gone?

 

 

I want to begin this study with a question:  Do you ever feel like something has changed in your life where maybe you used to get excited about something and then, it has just become part of the day in/day out a mundane living?

It seems the longer we are occupied with something, the more it becomes a part of our life and the more likely that we become less excited over it.

Before I retired from the mechanical contracting business, people would ask me if my job was exciting and typically I would answer that it’s a job like any other.

But it wasn’t always that way.  It always was a daily challenge with the responsibilities that came with the different positions I held, but there was the daily excitement of accomplishing and succeeding and new things.  Doing my best was always in place because of the way I was raised, but going beyond the best and succeeding was thrilling.

Looking at Marriage Relationships

Before I was married, the excitement of talking to my intended on the phone, seeing her in person, the getting ready to go on a date, putting on cologne and nice clothes, looking my best, the getting married, the wedding night and honeymoon, even the first couple of years.

Then you get into a routine and the excitement and awe seem to fade.  And even in our relationship with God, the routine can set in without notice.

When you first become a Christian you couldn’t get enough of the Bible.  You wanted to be talking to others about Jesus whenever and wherever you had a chance.

And right now you’re still enjoying being in God’s Word, but the same AWE and EXCITEMENT isn’t always there.

Hebrews 12:28-29 (AMP)

If we are truly going to worship God in Spirit and Truth–to be true worshippers, there needs to be “reverence and AWE”.

“AWE” – Definition: “Fear mingled with reverence and wonder” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – 1996)

“AWE” –  “a very strong feeling of wonder, reverence (or fear) caused by something grand or powerful” (www.Wordsmyth.com)

I asked myself the question over the last several months: Am I worshipping on Sundays and the rest of the weekdays with AWE as it’s defined?  I have reverence for the Lord, but sometimes, I confess, I don’t have that sense of awe and wonder.

And when we lose a sense of awe of God, the scripture tells us that we fail to worship God acceptably.  I don’t know about where you are right now, but I want you, us, to return to a sense of being In AWE of God.  Maybe you’ve never experienced that sense, but it’s available for all.

To do that though. I think it’s important to ask ourselves some questions.  We know that it happens, but why does it happen? Why do we lose our sense of awe?

I believe as we become all too familiar with anything, including our own faith in God, it starts to become commonplace.

There is a balance for us to maintain.

As we grow with the Lord, our understanding and relationship with Him will grow as well and we become closer and more familiar. 

We need to recognize that when we approach our heavenly Father with confidence and with closeness, as a child approaches his daddy (Abba), but at the same time, we need to approach with a sense of awe and wonder that we have God Almighty as our Father.

We need to avoid our faith becoming common, that we look at God as we sometimes look at our earthly fathers as someone who pays the bills and lets us borrow the car.

How do we do that?  How do we maintain or get back our sense of AWE for God?

I think it originates in our heads, in our thinking, or lack of thinking.

In my marriage, if I was thinking each and every day how blessed I am to have a wife who chose me to spend her life with, who is there making our house a home, and who cares for me and about me, I know I would have a better and more grateful attitude toward her than I sometimes do.

But it all starts in our minds.

And the same is true about our Godly relationship.

Our minds need to be focused on the relationship so that we can recapture our AWE for God.

Instead of just focusing on God, we need to be focusing on specific aspects of God and it starts by recognizing who God is.

I believe there are some specific things we need to focus on about who God is if we’re going to have that sense of excitement and AWE for God.

  1. RECOGNIZE GOD AS CREATOR.

The Scriptures support this approach as well.  Often when Awe is being discussed, it’s in context with Creation.

Job 25:2 (NIV)

[2] “Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes order in the heights of heaven”

Psalm 33:6-9 

God has made all of Creation, sustains all of Creation and if we stop to think about it, it’s absolutely unbelievable and awe-inspiring.  The problem is, we often don’t think about it because we live here and this too has become commonplace.

With that thought in mind, I want to take the time here to refocus on this place where we reside that God has made and created for our benefit.

  • The Universe–the vastness of the universe.
  • The Body–the intricacies of the design of the human body.

We have 30 to 100 trillion (with a “T”) cells in our body that work independently, yet must work in coordination with the other cells.  I’ve worked in offices for over 30 years where 10 people couldn’t work in coordination with each other. And yet, the body is self-healing; it has reproduction properties.

Beauty of Creation

So often in our world, it seems we need to give up beauty and creativity for functionality.  Not so with the world.

Our world not only functions orderly, but the BEAUTY of what God has created is amazing! And if we can keep our minds focused on the awesomeness of Who God is as Creator and recognize the awesomeness of His Creation on a daily basis, then I think we will go a long way toward having an AWE inspiring view of God.

Each day we should seek to view the Lord’s creation in a specific way that recognizes this awesomeness.

Each and every day, even on the way to church on Sunday morning…make it a point in the car to point out God’s awesomeness,  And by the way, it’s a great lesson for our children as well.

But we need to not only be AWED by God as Creator, but we also need to realize and recognize God as Judge  (Hebrews 28-29).

God is a “consuming fire” and He will JUDGE the world in regards to His Holiness.

That brings to mind, that “If one receives Jesus Christ as Savior, then they won’t be judged, right?”

You will not be judged to your salvation.  That’s a gift from God.

But each one of us is going to face the judgment seat of Christ in eternity for what we do in terms of our rewards in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:10).

For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing].  (Amplified Bible)

That’s for every one of us!

And because God is a JUDGE, we should stand in Awe of Him because of His JUDGMENT & AUTHORITY over us.

Just as we enter a courtroom we’re expected to show respect for the power and authority there and if we don’t we may be held in contempt and judged accordingly for those actions.

Therefore, with that premise in mind, should we show any less respect on Sunday morning worship–coffee mug in hand, baseball hats on our heads, Smart Phones checking out the latest sports scores, etc.?

We should always stand in Awe and respect of God for the One Who will JUDGE ALL of our actions and attitudes.  And as a Christian, even more so, we should stand in Awe of God as our Judge.

In addition to recognizing Who God is as Creator and Judge, which will help us stand in reverence and Awe, there’s one more thing I think is necessary for us to understand and focus on for standing in Awe and reverence of God, and that’s…

Recognizing who We  Are.

I believe it’s imperative that we have a proper view of ourselves for us to be able to have a proper view of God.

READ what the apostle Paul’s viewpoint regarding who he was and how it gave him a proper, awe-inspiring view of God:

1 Timothy 1:15-17What Paul is saying to me, perhaps to you as well, having a realistic view of our own sinfulness and how it should help us to be in Awe of God.

Are You Standing In Awe of God?

Maybe you have lost that Awe, or maybe you’ve never experienced the Awe at all, and in either case, you’ve been going through the motions of being a Christian and haven’t been feeling the Awe of God that you should be experiencing.  Here some suggestions that I’ve found to start with for all of us:

Open your eyes to God’s Creation and really see things around you.

  • Notice the sky and the Sun.
  • Notice the number of people driving our highways at all hours of the day and recognize God is the creation of each and every one of them and knows every hair on their head.

Think about God, the great and mighty judge of ALL MANKIND that will one day stand before us.

Be on Awe that we will stand in the presence of the greatest authority in the universe, greater than the Supreme Court of the land, with the Son Himself our mediator.

Recognize your own selfishness and the fact that God’s loves you and me anyway and still desires to use us even though we don’t deserve the privilege of being used in God’s plans in such an awesome way.

I want to pray for those who may be feeling a little unconnected from the Lord, that over these next days, weeks and months, that you might be awed by the Lord, God Almighty, our Savior and Judge, and find your self, standing in Awe of Him!

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CREDITS

YouTube Video:  I Stand In Awe Of You

Photo Images:  Google Images–Settings, advance search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version; Amplified Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has Church Doctrine Become Culturally Conditioned? (PART ONE)

CHURCH LEADERSHIP IN THE MIRROR

I think most reading this blog have a pretty good idea on how to define Biblical Christianity–but just in case, here’s but one definition:

Biblical Christian (Luke 8:15); a person who trusts in Christ alone for salvation.  As a result of a SAVING FAITH, has the desire to be obedient to God’s principles out of the overflow of a grateful heart (see Romans 1:5).  [ See Footnote {i} ]

And then there is the Cultural Christian definition:

Means, pursuing the God we want instead of the God Who is.  It’s the tendency to be shallow in the understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle grandfather type who spoils and lets them have their own way.  [See Footnote [i] ]

SCRIPTURE 1 Timothy 2:12 (ESV):

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Have our Churches today become Culturally Conditioned?  Should women teach men in the Church?  Should women lead men in the Church?

Paul the apostle seemed to say, “No way!”  And in this blog, it is his teaching, empowered by the Spirit upon which I want to focus.

From the Spirit to the Apostle, to the Believers of All Time –

There is a way to find the perfect will of God.  And, there’s a way not to find that will.

There is a way to know exactly what God says and wants–and there’s a way to arrive at a system of guesses.

Many believers, some even known as “scholars”, have fallen into the trap of guesswork, based on culture, history, and semantics.  The statements I make in this blog will be based on the words given by the Spirit, the apostles, and prophets.

God’s Way of searching for answers is even prescribed in the Scriptures:

Psalm 119 for example, says it in 176 different ways: the written Word of God is our source.

eg. V. 2:  “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart.”

V. 30:  “…Your ordinances have I set before me.”

V. 31:  “I cleave to your testimonies;…”

V. 42:  “…for I lean on, rely on, and trust in Your Word.”

V. 75:  “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right and righteous…”

Many such sentiments given by the Psalmist, are then coupled with the wise words of the apostle Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:15, 16 (NIV):

[15]  and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  [16]  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”

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…and the  strong warning in chapter 4:1-4 (there isn’t a break in the original document):  “I CHARGE you therefore…Preach the Word…for the time will come when they will not endure sound teaching, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears…they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned to fable…”  (NKJV).

Thus, “God’s way” is to see the clear statements of Scripture and find in the Bible, examples and patterns written expressively for us through the men of God.

This discernment of the Spirit will reveal, that the tendency to want more or less than the prophets have spoken, is from the one who appeared in the Garden so long ago, who spoke to our first parents:

“Did God REALLY say that? Oh my,

he actually MEANT this!”

His LIES are so convincing and only a few care to challenge them and cling for dear life to what God has said.

So why is the Church today looking for “explanations” of the passages regarding female leadership?

Are we somehow afraid of political powers that now reign in the World?  What is wrong with the Scriptures as they are and as they have been believed all these many years?

Some folks reading this may feel the questions I bring up are a bit too harsh a way to introduce the subject at hand; which many I’m told, believe to be a topic of relative insignificance.  I stand with the tone of my words based on the following grounds:

#1.  Every Word of God is pure–Proverbs 30:5:  “Every word of God is tried and purified…”

And Jesus, in Matthew 5:19 says “Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”  (Amplified Bible).

The Holy Spirit still quickens His Word to the hearts of men.  Whatever He says is PURE and HOLY.  Let no one despise even the smallest of the commandments of God.  And yes, in dealing with the topic at hand…we’re dealing with commandments and not suggestions of true prophets and true apostles.

Let every mouth be silenced as He speaks!

#2.  CONSIDER how important this topic is, even in the Word.

FIRST, there are direct statements in the Genesis Record, she was taken out of man, he shall rule over you.

1 Corinthians,  Let your women keep silenced as the law says (14:34), and 1 Timothy,  I do not allow a woman to teach (2:10).

“That’s it!  just two verses?”

These concepts are backed up with a multitude of examples throughout Scripture which we’ll look at in this Series.

#3.  CONSIDER also the great numbers of women affected by this teaching.

As the spirit of lawlessness continues, especially in the Western Church, more and more women will be drawn into this desire of authority over men.

#4,  CONSIDER the effects of this teaching on men.

A strong woman in a local church will put male leaders in the background.  Many of them will not rise up and take their place in the secular world.

#5.  A feminized church can’t model the marriage of Christ and His Church.  A feminized church cannot picture the Fatherhood of God.

Oh God, give us the men to stand up for Christ!

#6.  Even if this teaching were but a “little truth”, is it not a truism when “little” lies become embedded in a congregation, it will not be long before bigger ones are at home too?

#7.  If any reader still believes this all to be a “minor” issue, let them hear Isaiah’s sadness over backslidden Israel (3:12):

[12]  “Youths oppress my people, women rule over them.  O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path”  (NIV).

Let’s CONSIDER now, the Scriptures.  Surely the Lord hasn’t left us without GUIDANCE on such a serious matter.

Let us investigate the Truth by searching the beginning of ALL things.

It was here that JESUS sent His disciples when questions arose concerning MARRIAGE.

He sends us here too, for MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP is the heart of the matter.

To understand MARRIAGE is to understand the role of the WOMAN at home.  And…to be secure in that RELATIONSHIP is to solve the Church issue as well.

Before SIN came into the world, God created FIRST, a man.

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Then in response to man’s need, and out of man, God created woman– woman is from man, woman was brought to man.  Woman was to be a HELPER for man.

THAT IS THE DIVINE ORDER.  All else falls short of His glory!

We must remember that this was before the CURSE!  When that CURSE came, the natural submission of women to men became law.

Now in Christ, the CURSE is done away with.  Men are to “rule” in LOVE and WOMEN return to natural and holy submission, as before SIN came into the world.

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The error into which women fall in our day is the departing, not only from the days of the CURSE, but from the very order of Creation.  This, the apostle Paul tells us, cannot be in the true Church.

Paul’s Letter to the Corinthian Church lists some straightforward commands.

FLEE SEXUAL IMMORALITY–

FLEE FROM IDOLATRY–

EARNESTLY DESIRE THE BEST GIFTS–

LET ALL THINGS BE DONE DECENTLY AND IN ORDER–

Few of us would not have a problem with any of the above.

In the middle of all of this, the command giving (Chapter 14), is the command of equal authority (verse 34):  

“The women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place…”

Oh my!  We have a serious problem with that one.

“That was cultural; that was historical; that was temporary.”  I’ve heard all three of those particular explanations.

Oh, a multitude of “reasons” are lifted up to truth status by those who would excuse the woman teacher, for this is not an age when one wants to confront WOMEN’S RIGHTS!

Now that’s a good place to pause and take up the conversation in PART TWO.


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES

Footnote [i] :  Patrick Morley, Charisma News. “Are you a Biblical Christian or a Cultural Christian?

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified bible, except where noted in the text.