One thing I’ve learned from my almost eighty-four years of living is to keep an open mind because there is always something to learn. For instance, scripture speaks of hardships and how they can be borne. God knows how many hardships 2020 threw at us and gives us the answer in 2nd Corinthians 4: verses 8 and 9.
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
And then verse 16 reads: Therefore we do not lose heart.
Life lessons can be be found everywhere if only we keep open minds.
Some people don’t like reading the Bible because it speaks of fearing God. But the kind of fear it speaks of is a reverential fear; more like holding God in awe, not being afraid of him as we would be afraid of an axe murderer.
Whenever I am reading the Bible and come across the word fear I replace it with the word awe. In that way I know what it means to respect going against his teachings. Why would I want to? It is with awe that I view the universe and a newborn baby, both of which he designed and created. It is with awe that I read the words spoken by Jesus after being nailed to the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Who does that?
So, yes, there are two types of fear; the fear felt when confronted with the terrors of the world, and the healthy fear (awe) felt when confronted with the teachings of God who himself said to Jacob in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Another of those teachings is about the birth of Jesus where we read in Luke 2:10-12: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
I heard a golden oldie the other day and it started me thinking about this humility thing. It’s not the first time I’ve posted on this topic, but sometimes reminders are good…especially during this time of what appears to be abuse of power on the world stage.
C.S. Lewis, author of Chronicles of Narnia, drew this conclusion about the topic: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
James 4:10 reads: Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.
2 Chronicles 7:14 reads: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
And that golden oldie? It was a 1974 hit of Mac Davis singing, in part: Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble but I’m doing the best that I can.
In my humble opinion humility is a strength rather than a weakness.
Two sets of parents very recently held funerals for their twelve-year-old sons just three weeks before Christmas. I can’t even begin to imagine their heartbreak. Even though it hurts just to think about the grief being endured, I take comfort in Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. May God grant them the grace to live each day in His strength.
Under these circumstances it is difficult to say Happy Sunday.