The Fear of the Lord

Today is Monday, May 28, 2018. Memorial Day in the U.S. Day 21,991.

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” ~ Doug Larson (The Quotations Page)

The word for today is sacrosanct, an adjective which means, “most sacred or holy : inviolable.” Also, “treated as if holy : immune from criticism or violation.”

As mentioned above, today is Memorial Day in the United States. This is the day that is set aside to honor any in the military who gave their lives in service for their country. We celebrate by staying home from work, having cookouts, and drinking beer. At our house, we will actually only do one of those things.

In all seriousness, there will be a number of events around the country, some of which even occurred on Saturday and/or Sunday, where our fallen heroes will be commemorated. As far as I know, I don’t have any in my family who lost their lives in service, although there are several who did serve. Those we remember on Veteran’s Day. Today is for the ones who gave their lives.

We had a wonderful time at the horse races, yesterday. We reserved a six seat inside box, just one table away from the glass, so we had an excellent view of the home stretch. We invited our pastor, his mother, and his brother to come along, and they were all there. It was great fun. Did we win? Ultimately, no, but we didn’t do too badly. C came out the best, winning $34 out of $42 spent, so she only lost $8. S and I didn’t fair quite so well, although we did win in a couple of races. I had at least two where the horse that I picked to win was ahead in the home stretch, but another came out of nowhere to win. But that’s what happens when you pick a horse to win. If I had picked to place or show, I would have won something in those races. But the most important thing was that we had fun. S was with us, and she had a blast, and behaved very well.

Chris Sale had a rare loss in yesterday’s Red Sox game against the Braves. They lost 7-1, in a game with very little Sox offense. So far Dustin Pedroia’s return to the lineup has been unremarkable. Their record is 36-17, still MLB best, and they are one game up on the Yankees, who beat the Angels 3-1. The Sox begin a series with the Blue Jays, this afternoon.

The Rangers also didn’t fare well, and lost to the Royals 5-3. If I remember correctly, they split the four game series with them. The Rangers’ record is now 22-33, and they are 12.5 games out in the AL West. They begin a series with Seattle, this afternoon.

Just in case no one is paying attention, the Milwaukee Brewers currently have the third best record in MLB, at 34-20, only 2.5 behind the Sox. The Orioles occupy the bottom spot all alone, only a half game behind the White Sox and a whole game behind the Royals. The Rangers are sixth from the bottom.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Of David.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

Psalm 103 is probably one of the more famous Psalms, with several popular worship songs/choruses springing from it. It is definitely a powerful Psalm, with some inspiring/motivating words. We are encouraged to remember what the Lord does for us, including his redemption, his “steadfast love and mercy,” his forgiveness, and his healing. The thing we may forget the most often is that he satisfies us with “good.” How often do I forget that I have all the “good” that I need in God? I search after so many things that I might perceive as being “good,” but the ultimate good is with Christ in God.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 9:10

There’s a lot of profound truth wrapped up in that little sentence. We lack the fear of the Lord in our world, today, even in the churches, where it should be most prevalent. We lack “the knowledge of the Holy One,” to a serious degree, as well. I wonder, if you polled the members/attenders of a large metropolitan mega-church, how many of them could express any deep knowledge of God? I’m sure they could give you three alliterative steps to having a healthy marriage, or maybe even some tips on raising children. They might be able to tell you how to better use their finances. But could they tell you about the Holy One?

I’m not sure when this all started. But if you read the early Church Fathers, you will find a depth of knowledge of God, or at least the desire to have such deep knowledge. You would also find a great fear of the Lord, “fear,” perhaps being more appropriately defined as “awe.” A lot of people have tried to downplay the idea of “fearing” God, emphasizing his great love for us. While there is certainly nothing wrong about teaching people about God’s great love, I sincerely believe that the lack of the fear has led us down a precarious path. Even in my own life, it has led to not taking sin as serious as I should.

Multiple times, the writer of Proverbs tells us, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” We would do well to take that to heart.

Father, let me not forget the fear. I desire to be your friend as well as your child. I desire to be one whom Jesus calls “friend.” As I continue to work out the disciplines of this life, help me remember the fear as well as the love.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
Psalm 25:14

Grace and peace, friends.

It’s Not About the Parking Lot

Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Day 21,656. Yesterday, I was wrong. Today is seven days until our July 4 holiday.

“Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.” ~ Doug Larson
The Quotations Page

The word of the day is parallax, a noun meaning, “the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.”

Today is Sunglasses Day. It might be a good day for that, here. Warm and partly sunny. But the projected high seems unusually “un-hot” for the day.

I’m not sure what is causing this, but I was really thirsty all night. This started between dinner and band practice, last night, and continued all night long. I remember waking up several times during the night with dry mouth and extreme thirst. I kept a glass of water nearby, so I could drink it, and I’m having water instead of coffee this morning. That right there should tell you something’s up! I didn’t do anything different, yesterday, though, so I don’t know what’s going on. I’ll try to stay more hydrated throughout the day today.

The band practice went well, and we got out early again, which is always nice. We just ran through all the pieces for next Monday night’s concert. We’ll be playing at the Southlake Stars & Stripes event, starting around 8:00 PM, and finishing between 9:00 and 9:30, at which point the fireworks will begin. C and I both have Monday off.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; 
they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. 
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; 
they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits’ end. 
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 
He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. 
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. 
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Psalm 107:23-32
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 
Psalm 119:18
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”

Matthew 7:21-23
How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep! 
The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: 
that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever;

Psalm 92:5-7

(From Practice Resurrection)

Eugene Peterson was seventy-five years old when he wrote this book, and says that he has been “a participating member of the Christian church in North America” for all of his life, including fifty of those years as a pastor. During those fifty years, he observed both the church and the vocation of pastor being “relentlessly diminished and corrupted by being redefined in terms of running an ecclesiastical business.” He was barely ordained before he was being told that the expectation, or his main task, was that he would run a church in much the same way that his Christian brothers and sisters ran “service stations, grocery stores, corporations, banks hospitals, and financial services.” In one book, by a so-called “expert,” he read that the size of the parking lot had more to do with the success of the church than what text he preached from on Sunday morning. After a number of years of “trying to take all of this seriously,” he decided that he “was being lied to.”

Peterson calls this “the Americanization of congregation. It means turning each congregation into a market for religious consumers, an ecclesiastical business run along the lines of advertising techniques and organizational flow charts, and then energized by impressive motivational rhetoric.”

The next time, we will begin to look at his search for “church,” as he begins to seriously search God’s word for what church is really supposed to look like.

Father, forgive us for taking your church down such a dark path, but I give you praise for men like Eugene Peterson, who tired of the things that he was being told, and began to look at what you say about church in the Scriptures. I pray for a restoration of your people who are seriously intent on doing church the way you intended it to be. Not so much about form, as it is about purpose and relationship. Relationship. That’s it. Help us to enter into and maintain relationship with both you and our brothers and sisters.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

A Loud Song I Sing!

Today is Thursday, March 9, 2017. One day and eighteen hours until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.” ~ Doug Larson

Word of the Day

Newspeak ~ an official or semiofficial style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective, as in referring to “increased taxation” as “revenue enhancement.” Coined by George Orwell in 1984.

Today is Panic Day. For one day, disregard Douglas Adams’s advice. Go ahead and panic.

As is usual on Thursdays, there’s not much going on around here. The only “news” that I know is that the Cowboys are reportedly releasing Tony Romo today. I don’t think anyone is surprised.

It is the day for my monthly meeting at work, but it’s only a thirty-minute meeting, so it shouldn’t be bad. Half the time they don’t even last that long.

Only twenty-five days until Opening Day!


Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Psalm 57:8
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
Psalm 80:7
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.
Psalm 71:23
Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us.
Psalm 68:28

(From Living the Message)

“There are songs everywhere in scripture. The people of God sing. They express exuberance in realizing the majesty of God and the mercy of Christ, the wholeness of reality and their new-found ability to participate in it. Songs proliferate. Hymns gather the voices of men, women, and children into century-tiered choirs. Moses sings. Miriam sings. Deborah sings. David sings. Mary sings. Angels sing. Jesus and his disciples sing. Paul and Silas sing. When persons of faith become aware of who God is and what he does, they sing. The songs are irrepressible.”

Then I heard every creature in Heaven and earth, in underworld and sea, join in, all voices in all places, singing:
“To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb!
The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength,
For age after age after age.”

Father, I need to sing more. Open my heart and open my lips that I might sing praises to you! Even give me new songs to sing to you!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Life Is Hard, But God Is Good

“Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult not longer matters.”

Today is Saturday, February 25, 2017. Thirteen days until our Glen Rose weekend!

Quote of the Day

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.” ~ Doug Larson

Word of the Day

Hoary ~ gray or white with or as if with age. My beard is hoary.

Today is Clam Chowder Day. It’s not often that I will choose something over chocolate (it is also Chocolate Covered Peanut Day), but, seriously, if I had the choice between Clam Chowder and chocolate covered peanuts right this second, I would dig into that Clam Chowder! It’s grocery store day. I’m going to have to get some.

We were supposed to have our Night of Worship “missional gathering” tonight, but the leader got the flu this week. I’m not sure when we will have it next. Our next Night of Worship is a week from tonight, March 4.

We have a couple of things to try to get done today. A new tire for C’s car, and she needs to pick up glasses at the eye doctor’s office. S wants to go to Martha’s Mexican restaurant today. She must be feeling better.

Today is the day of the first Spring Training game for the Texas Rangers. They play the KC Royals this afternoon, in Surprise, AZ. The Red Sox played the NY Mets yesterday, and lost 3-2.

37 days until Opening Day!


Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
Psalm 84:7
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 
  Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 
  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

Psalm 57:7-11
For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:3-5

One of my father’s favorite books was The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. The first two paragraphs of this book present a truth that is so simple, yet so profound.

Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

I believe I latched onto this truth a long time ago, because, to me, it truly no longer matters that life is difficult. I have accepted it. And we, as believers in Christ, can add another phrase to it.

Life is hard, but God is good.

No matter what is happening in your life right now, the truth will never change. God is good. We may shake our fists at him in anger; we may cry out to him in anguish or fear. But he is good. In fact, according to Scripture, he is the only one who is truly “good.”

The Psalms are full of verses that describe this truth.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psalm 34:6-7
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 
Psalm 34:18
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:19
The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Psalm 37:39-40
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

There are many more. But the recurring theme of all of these is that, even though we will face difficulties, struggles, and afflictions, God will deliver us from them. There is never a promise that he will keep us from ever experiencing them.

Life IS hard!

But there are plenty of promises of deliverance out of those troubles.

But God IS good!

Remember this today. Whatever you experience. Or, perhaps, remember it in case you run across another person who is experiencing troubles and afflictions and knows not where to turn.

Life is hard, but God is good.

Father, teach us this truth. The only way we can truly rest in your love, mercy, and grace, is to firmly grasp the truth that, yes, we will encounter trials and difficulties in our lives, but, through them all, you are good. Thank you for being good. Thank you for your promises of deliverance.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.