Farmers of the Word

unrecognizable ethnic farmer walking on path between rice plantations
Photo by Maria Orlova on

“Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” Matthew 13:3

Jesus walked down the rocky hillside to the sea below. A throng of people followed eager to hear what the teacher would say. Would he tell them a new story? Heal the sick? Call out the Pharisees? No matter they all wanted to hear him.

He begins, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow.”

We don’t know much about the sower, the one planting the seeds. He seems a bit careless  – losing seed along the way, some among rocks, and others in the thorns. Any good farmer knows if you want the best crop, the ground needs cleared of rocks and weeds. And the hard ground needs plowed. Otherwise planting reaps little to no harvest.

It I had been this farmer, I would have felt discouraged, maybe even tempted to quit. I know how disappointing it is to work in a garden only to have the racoons and deer eat it. That’s when I need to hear Paul’s words to the Galatians in chapter 6, verse 9 –

“And let us not be weary in well doing:

for in due season we shall reap,

if we faint not.”

We, who are followers of Christ are called to be sowers of the word of God.

“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord …

Go ye into all the world,

and preach the gospel to every creature.”

2 Corinthians 4:5; Mark 16:15

One plants the seeds, another waters them, remembering it is God who brings about the harvest. Keep in mind, not all seeds will yield a crop.

Lack of crop may come through careless planting –  not preparing another to receive the seed of the Gospel.

  1. The ground may not have been broken up – a heart hardened by circumstances beyond their control takes time, friendship, and love to prepare it to receive God’s word.
  2. Or it may have rocks of misunderstanding from false religions and the world’s philosophies needing removed by hearing the truth in love.
  3. Or the weeds of worry may choke out hope of anything better, requiring time invested in deeper teaching of the word and a faithful friend.

Hosea chapter 10 verse 12, explains how to prepare the heart for planting the word.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy;

break up your fallow (hard) ground:

for it is time to seek the LORD,

till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

Weeds sown in the heart are no different than those planted in our gardens. It takes time and diligence to overcome. But a harvest is promised through seeking the Lord till he comes and rains righteousness upon us – upon the seed of his word.

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

it shall not return unto me void,

but it shall accomplish that which I please,

and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,

and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:

and it shall be to the LORD for a name,

for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Isaiah 55:10-13

One final word of encouragement to all you farmers of the word.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren,

be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye now that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

What seed are you planting? It determines the fruit you will harvest. More on that next time.

Prayer & Praise in the Garden

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD:

my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”

Psalm 84:2

Each morning about sunrise there is a stillness interrupted only by the blue bird singing praise to its Creator. The reds, oranges, and yellows rising in the sky remind me my heavenly Father is faithful to meet me and walk with me in his garden. Here in his courts my soul finds its strength. Here a song of praise fills my heart.

“I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart –

“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness; and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high…

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together… 

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” 

 I will shew forth all thy marvellous works –

“And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation…

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who health all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s…

O, Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” 

 I will be glad and rejoice in thee –

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, will bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield…

Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness…Psalm 5:11-12; 97:12

 I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.” Psalm 9:1-2

“That men may know that thou,

whose name alone is JEHOVAH,

art the most high over all the earth …

The LORD reigneth: let the earth rejoice: let the multitude of isles be glad thereof …The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory…

For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth:

thou art exalted far above all gods.” 

Here in the garden of the Lord, my praise turns to a prayer:

Our Father in heaven –

  • May our soul long for you and cry out to our living God.
  • May we learn to praise you with our whole heart.
  • May we, your children magnify you name in all the earth today and forever.
  • May we remember in Christ Jesus you have forgiven all our sin, healed our diseases and redeemed us from death.
  • May we show your lovingkindness and tender mercies to others as you have to us.
  • May you renew our strength daily and open our mouths to praise your name.
  • May we rejoice in you  our God.
  • May we hold your name Jehovah holy in our lives for all people to see your glory.
  • May we remember who our God is and confess your name through our words and deeds.
  • May we always walk hand in hand with you in your garden as we walk through this life. For here there is peace. Amen.

Scriptures are from Psalm 7:17; 34:3; 86:12; Psalm 35:9;103:3-5 ; 51:15; Psalm 5:11-12; 97:12; Psalm 83:18; 97:1,6,9

The Garden of the Lord

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion:

he will comfort all her waste places;

and he will make her wilderness like Eden,

and her desert like the garden of the LORD;

joy and gladness shall be found therein,

thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

Isaiah 51:3

She knelt beside the tender plants being careful to pull the weeds from around the red, yellow, pink. and purple frilly edged poppies waving in the morning breeze. Depending on the time of year, her garden of carnations, snap dragons, fancy tulips and Easter flowers smiled at family and friends walking up the garden path. But for Mabel, my mother-in-law, her garden had a different purpose. It was her garden of the Lord.

“Often I watered it with my tears,” she explained. “Then it rewards me with joy and gladness in its beauty. It’s here I meet the Lord and find strength to go on.”

Mabel knew what it was like to walk in the garden of the Lord, not unlike what Adam and Eve must have experienced.

The events of creation tell us –

“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden:

and there he put the man whom he had formed…

to dress it and to keep it”

Genesis 2:8, 15.

Unlike Mabel’s garden no weeds threatened the beauty, but the Lord did instruct Adam to care for it. The beauty and the fruit of it were his to enjoy – all except for the one forbidden tree. Until Adam’s disobedience to that command he and Eve enjoyed the presence of the Lord. He walked and talked with them “in the cool of the day.” They knew the nearness of God.

Mabel knew the nearness of God in her garden, especially when faced with the many trials and heartaches she experienced through her life. But in her garden she found comfort, joy, and gladness. There is a garden of the Lord for all who will draw, as the old song says, “Near to the Heart of God.” As Asaph and the writer of Hebrews tell us –

“But it is good for me to draw near to God:

I have put my trust in the Lord God,

that I may declare all thy works…

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,

and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;

(for he is faithful that promised;)”

(Psalm 73:28; Hebrews 10:22-23)

Mabel drew near to the Lord in her garden. Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in his garden. The garden is that place we find ourselves nearest God. It’s the place we come for his comfort and leave with his joy and gladness.

Where is your garden?

The First Tomato

bunch of red tomatoes
Photo by Suvan Chowdhury on

Do you like to plant a garden? What about seeing the first flowers of Spring? Around my house this time of year sees my husband, Tom, tilling our garden spot and ordering seeds. My aunt Margaret and Tom competed in a friendly race every year. Each Sunday Margaret would come into church with a sly smile and glint in her eye. For she didn’t wait until Spring sprung to plan her garden. She began early in February planting her seed inside. She would have the first ripe red tomato before July 4th. Try as he may, Tom never had the first. So he relinquished himself to trying to grow the biggest! Me? I enjoyed the first fruits of their labors. Grocery store tomatoes cannot compare with the taste of a fresh garden ripe juicy tomato.

The first fruits are the best for they hold the promise of more to come. God commanded Israel to offer him their first fruits back in the days when they approached the promised land – at this time fruit for which they had not labored.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead,

and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

1Corinthians 15:20

The apostle Paul tells us Jesus Christ is the first fruits of the dead. He took on the corruptible flesh of humans in all its weaknesses, including death. He was planted in a borrowed garden tomb. He was raised to life in a new body to never taste death again.

The Lord God received Jesus’s completed sin offering as proven in his resurrection – which came to pass on the day of Israel’s first fruits.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead.

  • It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption…
  • sown in dishonour…raised in glory…
  • sown in weakness…raised in power…
  • sown a natural body…raised a spiritual body.
  • And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul;
  • the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-45.

Being the first fruit of the dead meant more would follow- born of the same root.

“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy:

and if the root be holy, so are the branches… 

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,

that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

Romans 11:16; James 1:18

Jesus is the vine – our source of life. We are the branches – branches to bear his fruit.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches:

He that abideth in me, and I in him,

the same bringeth forth much fruit:

for without me ye can do nothing…

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,

longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,

faith, Meekness, temperance… “

John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23

God plants the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of Christ’s followers. It bears the fruit of Christ in us. We are a taste to the world of what is to come, and the final harvest is gathered. May our lives create a hunger for more of Christ.

For now, we reap the benefits of Christ the first fruit from the dead. He is our hope in trials, in disappointments, in discouragements. His Spirit in us is our hope and strength – our guarantee of never having to taste  death.

Unlike the gardens we plant and the first being the best, our first taste of life in Christ offers us more than the world can, but the best is yet to come.  If you have not experienced the first taste of the fruit of Christ, God invites you –

“O taste and see that the LORD is good:

blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

Psalm 34:8

He will fill your life here with His goodness even when life throws rotten fruit at you. My aunt knew this truth as she battled Parkinsons and began losing her memory. She never lost the glint in her eye nor that sly smile. She knew the best was yet to come.

What difference does the resurrection of Christ make in how you live life today?

The Last

The last day of school opens the first day of something different. A last event begins the preparation for the next. The last is not an end but a time of transition.

“And he took bread,

and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying,

This is my body which is given for you:

this do in remembrance of me.

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,

This cup is the new testament in my blood,

which is shed for you.”

Luke 22:19-20

Matthew’s gospel adds,

“which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

The Lord’s last supper with his disciples became the first meal of the new covenant. The last gave them much to remember. The first would, with understanding, establish God’s promises of forgiveness and new life in Christ. It revealed what was hidden in the last supper.

The Bread:

This is my body which is given for you…

  • “But he was wounded for our transgressions,
  • he was bruised for our iniquities;
  • the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
  • and with his stripes we are healed…Isaiah 53:5
  • And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him …
  • blindfolded him… struck him on the face…Luke 22:63-64;
  • When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing…Then released he Barabbas… and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified…
  • the soldiers … took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
  • And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand …
  • they spit upon him,
  • and took the reed, and smote him on the head…
  • and led him away to crucify him… from Matthew 27.

When we participate in the new covenant meal we are identifying ourselves with Christ. We are joining him in the fellowship of his suffering.

  • “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
  • The bread which we break is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
  • For we being many are one bread, and one body:
  • for we are all partakers of that one bread… 1 Corinthians 10:16-17;
  • That I may know him,
  • and the power of his resurrection,
  • and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death … Philippians 3:10;
  • Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him,
  • that the body of sin might be destroyed,
  • that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” Romans 6:6-7

Jesus’s broken body provided our entrance into the holy of holies when the veil of the temple was torn in two, and his life blood sprinkled the mercy seat of God making us acceptable.

The Blood:

“For this is my blood of the new testament,

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood;

and without shedding of blood is no remission…

Hebrews 9:22;

But  now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry,

by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant,

which was established upon better promises…8:6;

Neither by the blood of goats and calves,

but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place,

having obtained eternal redemption for us…9:12;





Hebrews 9:22; 8:6; 9:12; 10:16-17

which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

  • “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…Colossians 1:14;
  • Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from  your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
  • But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…1 Peter 1:18,19;
  • And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
  • Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood … Revelation 1:5

Many will share the cup of blessing and the bread through this Easter season as an outward confession of the new covenant purchased through the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It’s our confession of accepting his suffering and death as our own – until he comes. Maybe this will be our last covenant meal on this side of eternity for He has promised, “FOR YET A LITTLE WHILE, AND HE THAT SHALL COME WILL COME, AND WILL NOT TARRY.”  Hebrews 10:37

May you celebrate this resurrection Sunday looking for Jesus not in the empty tomb but in the Eastern sky. When that happens we will have another first to look to – our first covenant meal with Jesus our King at the marriage supper of the Lamb. May we celebrate Resurrection Sunday with our risen Lord, “the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

The Last Sermon

Christ’s most famous sermon was his first – the Sermon on the Mount, which included the beatitudes or blessings. His first sermon presented the people with the heart of the kingdom of God. Taking the letter of the Law and giving it a heart and spirit. Then Jesus summed up the whole in what we call the Golden Rule:bloglove-699480_960_720

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,

do ye even so to them:

for this is the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 7:12

Then He admonished the people in entering the kingdom of God.

  • “Enter ye in at the strait gate:
  • for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
  • and many there be which go in thereat:
  • Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
  • and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

He warns them to be careful who they follow by leaving them with this question.

“Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”

Luke 6:39

Fast forward three years and we hear Jesus’s last public sermon. In this message, He gives birth to a saying I’m sure many of us have said or alluded to: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Jesus has entered Jerusalem hailed as King. He has cleansed the temple, healed a few blind and lame. A day or two has passed. Passover draws nearer. The cross is in view. To read the whole of his last message to the multitude see Matthew 23. Below are a few of his points addressed to those who are leading others into the ditch – those who have –

“shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13

They are the scribes and Pharisees who –

“sit in Moses’ seat: Jesus says,

“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do;

but, do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

Jesus describes them by their works.

  • They lay heavy burdens on the people but won’t, “move them with one of their fingers.”
  • They do to be seen of others.
  • They desire the honor of being called rabbi, master, father.

In contrast, Christ makes us one with one Master and one Father:

  • “all ye are brethren …
  • call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
  • Neither be ye called masters for one is your Master, even Christ.
  • But he that is greatest among you shall be  your servant.
  • And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased,
  • and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

We are of the kingdom of heaven serving one another in brotherly love. We are those who have entered the narrow way.

Next He addresses those walking in the kingdom of this world, the scribes and Pharisees. His comments are harsh, pointed, and steeped in sadness. His first warning came because they knew better but chose the worst.

“therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”

He then explains why.

  • “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
  • For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:
  • these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
  • Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel…
  • for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward,
  • but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
  • Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men,
  • but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

These have a heritage of killing the prophets and will continue to do so. Jesus will be the next Prophet they kill. They will cry for his blood to be on their hands. He cries for what could have been.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,

thou that killest the prophets,

and stonest them which are sent unto thee,

how often would I have gathered thy children together,

even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,

and ye would not!”

There are no sadder words to hear after been given the opportunity to enter the kingdom of God than, “and ye would not!”

If you haven’t already now is the time to –

 “Enter ye in at the strait gate…

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Are you among the few who have found the way?  Jesus is the way, the only way to the Father. Or are you one who will hear, “And ye would not!”

What message would you want to speak if you knew this was your last opportunity ?

Shout to the Lord

Over two thousand years ago: The people heard the news. Disciples multiplied. Grabbing palm fronds, willows, and even their cloaks, the multitude rushed to make a way for their king. Soon they would be free. People gathered before him and followed behind him.

Image by pixabay.

“And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives,

the whole multitude of the disciples

began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice

for all the mighty works that they had seen;



peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

Luke 19:37,38

The scriptures describing what is known to the Christian world as the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ were probably read in more church gatherings this weekend than any other scripture. With one voice our King was identified and praised. It was during this reading I noticed something I hadn’t seen before – the whole multitude of the disciples were the ones praising God. I don’t know about you but twelve does not constitute a multitude. We learn after his resurrection upwards of 500 followed him. All of these and thousands more filled Jerusalem during Passover week. As one their voices praised their King.

All the hallelujahs caught the attention of the followers of another – their father – the devil.

“And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

And he answered and said unto them,

I tell you, that, if these should hold their peace,

the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19:40

We are of one crowd or the other. Let’s join the disciples and praise our God with a loud voice for all his mighty works. David Guzik, author and commentator, says, “Nothing tells Satan and his followers that they have lost like the praises of God ringing in their ears.” We can start ringing ears with the works Jesus related to John.

  • “The blind receive their sight,
  • and the lame walk,
  • the lepers are cleansed,
  • and the deaf hear,
  • the dead are raised up,
  • and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5

If you don’t identify with these, there are more. He is

  • Our Creator,
  • Our Redeemer,
  • Our eternal hope of glory, and
  • He has destroyed the power of sin and death in us.
  • He is our coming triumphant King.






And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God. Saying,

We give thee thanks,

O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come;

because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned…

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,

who only doeth wondrous things.

And blessed be his glorious name for ever:

and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen…”

Revelation 11:15-17; Psalm 72:18,19

peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.”

“And the angel said…For unto you is born this day in the city of David

a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord…

And suddenly there was with the angel

a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men…

Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

To the praise of the glory of his grace,

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Luke 2:11,13-14; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 1:6

Two thousand years later an auditorium filled with an eager multitude. Some came seeking truth. Some to see someone famous. Some to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Some to hear the word and praise God with one voice.  What ever the reason the Billy Graham crusade drew a crowd. On this occasion a 1,000 voice choir lead in praise. It was the nearest thing to what I can imagine will take place or does take place in heaven when our voices join the “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” of angels saying,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain

to receive power, and riches,

and wisdom, and strength,

and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Revelation 5:12.

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God,

be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy 1:17

How about it Christians? Let’s set the enemy’s ears to ringing.


Prayer & Praise; Fear & Knowledge

bloggratitude-1201944_960_720“Praise ye the LORD,

Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD,

that delighteth greatly in his commandments…

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings:

his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.”

Psalm 112:1,7

Fear of the Lord produces delighting in his commandments – obedience. Not out of fear but out of the knowledge and understanding of our holy God who delights in giving us good things –  wisdom, strength, and help through the gift of his Holy Spirit living in us.

Praise Him for you are blessed with –

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,

and cometh down from the Father of lights,

with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth…”

James 1:17,18a

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,

and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 2:38

Pray to –

“be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess,

but be filled with the Spirit…

If we live in the Spirit,

let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:25

“be ye doers of the word,

and not hearers only,

deceiving your own selves.”

James 1:22

Praise God for the gift of knowledge of the holy ­–  through Jesus Christ

“No man hath seen God at any time;

the only begotten Son,

which is in the bosom of the Father,

he hath declared him…

If ye had known me,

ye should have known my Father also:

and from henceforth ye know him,

and have seen him…

he that hath seen me hath seen the Father…”

John 1:18; John 14:7,9

And through the witness of the Spirit of Christ in every believer –

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,

that we are the children of God… 

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us,

because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Romans 8:16; 1 John 4:16

Pray to reflect the glory of the holy abiding in us through the Spirit of the Lord –

“But as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Because it is written, BE YE HOLY; FOR I AM HOLY…

But we all, with open face

beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,

are changed into the same image from glory to glory,

even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

1Peter 1:15,16; 2 Corinthians 3:18

Heavenly Father, we praise you for you have blessed us with every spiritual blessing – all good things we need to approach you the holy One. Thank you, for Jesus Christ who revealed your glory. Thank you, for the Holy Spirit dwelling in us that we can reflect your glory in a lost world. Be our strength to walk in the Spirit and not after our flesh. May we bring you glory, honor, and praise. Amen.

May we gather as one in the Spirit of Christ throughout the world and praise his holy name together as we pray for one another. Have a blessed weekend.

Fear and Knowledge, 2

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

The Israelites, in yesterday’s post, Fear and Knowledge, trembled at the power, might, and glory of God displayed on Mt. Sinai. They feared He would consume them and wanted to keep their distance. Opposite to their reaction we see Moses. When invited to come up to God, He went without fear of retribution. He saw the same power, might, and glory. But his knowledge of the holy God understood God’s desire to make a way for his people to approach him, not flee him.

The Law explained the way writing the requirements on tablets of stone. Jesus Christ provided the way fulfilling all that was written. Now the requirements are written in the heart of each believer with the Spirit of the living God.

“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly

declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us,

written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God;

not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”

2 Corinthians 3:3

Faith in the work of Christ has written righteous across our hearts by the working of his Spirit in us. In His flesh He became our sin and our payment for sin. When His body was broken the power of the law of sin and death written on stone was broken.

“Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said,

Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you:

this do in remembrance of me.”

1 Corinthians 11:24.

The next morning He was hung on a cross to take our sin and give us his righteousness.

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB

Before breathing His last, He cried out, “It is finished.” At that moment,

“when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And, behold, the veil of the temple

was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;

and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”

Matthew 27:50,51

The way opened for us to come to the mercy seat of God.

“Having therefore, brethren,

boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,

through the veil, that is to say, his flesh…

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 10:19,20; 4:16

Perfect love conquered the fear of death.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood,

he also himself likewise took part of the same;

that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,

that is, the devil;

And deliver them who through fear of death

were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Hebrews 2:14,15

Perfect love conquered the fear of judgment.

“Herein is our love made perfect,

that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:

because as he is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love;

but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.

He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:17-19

The God who is a consuming fire is to be feared by the unbelieving for He has the power and authority to cast body and soul into hell. The believer’s fear differs. It brings us to bow down before him in worship and praise for He alone is worthy. There is none like him in all heaven or on earth. This fear honors him with a life surrendered to Him who loves us, paid our sin debt, gave us new life and poured the living water of the Spirit of Christ into our hearts. We are His letters not written in ink or tablets of stone but in a fleshy heart with the Holy Spirit.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service…

Jesus stood and cried, saying,

If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said,

out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…” Romans 12:1; John 7:37,38

What part does the fear of God hold in your life? How is it mixed with His love?

Knowledge and Fear

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:

and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

lamb of God

Did Jesus fear the Lord God? Think about it. If He did, shouldn’t we? Isaiah tells us Jesus, the righteous branch of Jesse (King David’s father), walked the earth in the fullness of the Spirit of the Lord. We’ve explored the Spirit through Isaiah’s writings in this month’s posts. Isaiah mentions the last characteristics of the anointed Branch in chapter 11:2.

“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him…

the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”

Without the spirit of knowledge of the holy, there is no understanding of the holy. Without understanding the holy, there is no fear of the Lord.

When the Israelites heard the voice of the Lord on Mt. Sinai, they gained first-hand knowledge of the holy. Their knowledge revealed their unholiness. They feared God and trembled. They saw Him as one waiting to strike them down(Deuteronomy 5:22-33). They saw only one side of the fear of the Lord.

Knowledge of the holy should instill fear in the unclean – a fear that seeks to be made clean.

“knowledge of the holy”

“And one cried unto another, and said,

Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts:

the whole earth is full of his glory…

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone;

because I am a man of unclean lips…”

Isaiah 6:3,5

Isaiah feared to be in the presence of the Holy until his sin was purged (vs. 7) The knowledge of the holy reveals first our own sinful heart – the spirit we were born with. Once we grasp the knowledge of the Holy and believe it to be, we are in a place to receive his favor – his grace. The unclean sinful spirit should fear a holy God. For His holiness demands a new spirit born of the Holy Spirit of Christ. Without this new birth, we will die in our sin.

“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23.

This speaks not only of the physical death all face but of the spiritual death that lives throughout eternity. This death separates us from God and all that is holy and good forever. Knowledge of the Holy tells us He has a holy wrath. It falls on all who refuse His gift of holiness through the redemption found in Jesus Christ – the only name that can save us from God’s wrath and bring us into his grace. For He, being holy, is the only one worthy to take God’s wrath for us.

“But God commendeth his love toward us,

in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood,

we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

Romans 5:8,9

Did Jesus fear God’s wrath? You decide. On the night of his death he walked to the Mt. of Olives with his disciples.

“And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying,

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me;

nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven,

strengthening him.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly;

and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood

falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:40-44

King David and Isaiah describe the wrath poured out on our Lord at his death. I’ve included excerpts from both Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52:14 and chapter 53.

  • “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
  • why art thou so far from helping me,
  • and from the words of my roaring…
  • I am poured out like water,
  • and all my bones are out of joint:
  • my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
  • My strength is dried up…
  • my tongue cleaveth to my jaws:
  • and thou hast brought me into the dust of death…
  • they pierced my hands and my feet…”

“his visage was so marred more than any man,

and his form more than the sons of men;

  • he was despised, and we esteemed him not…
  • he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;
  • yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted…
  • he was wounded for our transgressions,
  • he was bruised for our iniquities…
  • the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all…
  • He was cut off out of the land of the living;
  • for the transgression of my people was he stricken…
  • he hath poured out his soul unto death…
  • and bare the sin of many…”

The knowledge of the holy demands sin’s payment. This is his wrath poured out on His Son for us. If we do not receive his gracious gift, we will face his wrath. Do you fear God’s wrath? Jesus paid the price to free us from that fear. The choice is yours. Tremble at his presence or worship at his feet. The Israelites trembled. Moses worshipped. What is your decision?

In my next post I hope to look at another side of fear.