Working Out

I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The following prayer is what I am using on Sunday, Nov 4, before I preach on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Holy God,
Martin Luther is quoted as saying,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me;
it has legs, it runs after me;
it has hands, it lays hold of me.
Oh God,
run and catch us.
Lay hold of and keep us.
Open our eyes and ears
that we may see and hear Your Word of truth;
for Your Word is a living word.
It’s active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Pierce our hearts and make us alive in Jesus.
Trim away the fat and make us lean.
May Your Word be all that is left in us,
so much so,
that You shine forth
and are glorified in and through our lives.
May we be so alive with Your Spirit
that we run after you;
working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
To you be the glory, now and forever,

The Pastor -|—

A Fear Check

You shall have no other gods before me. [Deuteronomy 5:7 ESV]

It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. [Deuteronomy 6:13-15 ESV]

Seems to be an important theme going on here. Back-to-back days I am reading this. Not that I am surprised because I know these commands well, but rather I am just as guilty of violating these commands as the next person. So I am thankful for this important reminder and conviction.

The command to
love God alone,
fear God alone,
worship God alone,
serve God alone
is vital.
Everything else that follows in the commandments is moot if our allegiance is not first and foremost to God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

What everything boils down to, then, is this one, crucial question:
Do you fear God?
Not in a Stephen King, run-for-your-life type of way but rather a God-is-awesome-so-I-want-to-be-near-him type of way. When we fear God like this, then obedience is not a duty in a do-it-or-you-will-be-punished type of way but rather I-want-to-honor-and-worship-God type of way. Obedience should be a joy not a burden.

Consider what happened to the people of Israel, as they took possession of the Promised Land. They eventually started serving other gods because they no longer feared God. Part of the problem was that they got all caught up in their own lives and did not pass the faith on to the next generation; but also, they became intrigued by the “freedoms” they saw in people of other nations.  And when this happened they saw obedience as a burden because it did not advance their own construct of freedom and rights. Therefore morality went down the proverbial toilet; as is happening today. And this is a natural result when the fear of God is lost in favor of becoming our own god who determines right and wrong.

Do you fear God?

This question can not be asked enough.
This topic can not be written about enough.

And I am thankful to God, for my Bible reading the past two days, as this question has been put in front of me. Because before I can hope to make any difference in this world I need to first and foremost check myself: Do I fear God? And once I do this I need to consider Deuteronomy 6: 7-9; You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And once I have done this I can fervently and honestly pray for our culture; that the fear of God may infect people and drive them to God’s holy Word. But if I don’t fear God then I am not going to care about the next generation or this culture. Thus I need to do check ups often and stay in God’s Word; being convicted and reminded of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So do a personal check up and then join me in praying:
Holy Father, mighty God, sovereign King, send now your Holy Spirit to convict Your children and install a holy fear of You in them. May we seek Your holy Word and strive to obey You as an act of worship for the gift of life we have through faith in Jesus. May we see at all times the joy of Your presence and the joy of following You. It’s in Jesus name that I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Fear: A prayer

Loving and Holy God…

I confess to you that I am afraid.  Afraid of:
~ all I have to do this week.
~ falling short of your’s and people’s expectations.
~ forgetting something important.
~ becoming impatient.
~ losing sight of you because of the demands placed on me.

Holy, God, there is much to fear in this world but I find comfort in the fact that you don’t turn away from us because we fear, but you confront our fears with your awesome Good News.
~ Joseph was afraid to take Mary as his wife but you turned his fear into a godly fear.
~ Mary was afraid and troubled by the angel’s greeting but your turned her fear into a godly fear.
~ The shepherds were afraid at the appearing of the angel in that night sky but you turned their fear into a godly fear.

In the same way, Oh God, turn my fear into a godly fear that I my glorify your Holy name and lead others to do the same.  May my fear of you drive me to run into your loving arms and soak in your amazing love for me.  May my fear of you be the source of my proclamation of the Gospel.  And lastly, may my fear of you dispel my worldly fears that Satan uses to drive me away from you.

Loving God, you are awesome and amazing and wonderful and worthy of all praise and worship.  May your children run to you and fall into your arms.  Through Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior I pray…


The pastor -|—