This type of interview was a first for me, and I didn't know quite what to expect, but I believe that the LORD helped me answer her questions in ways that honor Him. I hope that you will make some time to listen to the interview, and I pray that you will be blessed as you do. You can listen via the player below:
What does it mean to fear the LORD? According to Scripture, to fear the LORD is to greatly delight in His commandments. God's Word says, "Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!" (Psalms 112:1 ESV). So, when you see the phrase, "fear the LORD" in the Bible, you can substitute it with the phrase, "delight in His commandments." Delighting in His commandments is the beginning of wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight" (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).
The person who fears the LORD will have a hunger for God's Word and search it, as a hidden treasure, for wisdom and instruction. They will obey God's Word. According to Jesus, we reveal our love for Him by obeying His commandments. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 ESV).
The main problem in today's society is not a lack of the Word (God's commandments). The problem is that there is a famine of hearing the Word. Amos prophesied, "'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the Lord GOD, 'when I will send a famine on the land-- not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD'" (Amos 8:11 ESV).
I believe that we are living in the days that Amos was prophesying about. It's a day when there is very little fear of the LORD, or delighting in His commandments. Many desire to delight in God's blessings, but not His commandments. Today, a preacher can build a huge church by just proclaiming God's blessings while totally ignoring the proclamation of the LORD's commandments. Sadly, that approach has been taken in some cases, and those churches have grown large in our day. They look successful because of their size, programs, and events, but the fruit has been unchanged people, neighborhoods, communities, and cities. Never attribute church success to church size. Instead, evaluate success on what is being preached. Is the fear of the LORD present? If it is present, lives are being changed, and cities impacted.
We live in the day where there are church buildings on almost every street in America and Bibles in nearly every home, but yet there are many people who do not fear the Lord; they are not delighting in His commandments. These people base right from wrong on what feels right, instead of fearing the LORD (delighting in His commandments). God's word declares these people foolish: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7 ESV).
I dream of a day when multitudes will not just delight in God's blessings, but also delight in His commandments. I pray, "Father, bring a revival that produces the fear of the LORD in our land. Amen!"
Beloved, continue to fear the LORD -- Delight greatly in His commandments. The blessings are eternal!
It’s all about Jesus. The Old Testament points to Jesus. The sacrifices, the feasts, the tabernacle, the furniture in the tabernacle, the placement of the furniture in the tabernacle; everything points to Jesus. Studying the types of Christ in the Old Testament is fascinating and faith building as the student sees God’s wonderful plan of redemption foretold in such detail.
Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:2-4 ESV).”
This speaks of the humanity and the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was both man and God; a concept that is hard for our feeble minds to understand, but a truth that we as believers receive by faith. It took a man to stand in the gap for our sins, but the man had to be sinless. God came into our world through Jesus Christ to be a sin sacrifice; a sinless offering for our sins. Jesus was a descendant of David and was birthed through a virgin. He was crucified as an innocent man. He was resurrected the Son of God and being re-glorified, He was placed back at the right hand of the Father.
Beloved, the good news of God is that He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take care of our sin problem. God wants to spend eternity with us, but sin separated us from God. At the cross, Jesus took our punishment for sin, which is death, so that we can have eternal life. We are God’s inheritance and He longs to spend eternity with us. Isn’t that good news? That’s the good news of God!
When Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (Romans 1:2 ESV),” he is referring to the Old Testament as the New Testament was currently being written with two thirds of it being written by Paul under the Holy Spirit’s unction. Throughout the whole Old Testament, we are given the promise of the good news of God. Everything in the Old Testament points to the good news of God, which is Jesus Christ.
Many people today have devalued the Old Testament since we are now living under the new covenant. Beloved, never devalue the Old Testament; read it; study it; understand it. It will strengthen your faith as you understand that God did not randomly react to our sinful condition. No, God did not randomly react; He graciously had a plan of redemption in place. The Old Testament points to and reveals God’s good news of redemption through Jesus Christ.
The LORD reveals Himself to us as we read the Scriptures, and the fear of the LORD is our response to the revelation. Some definitions of the fear of the LORD are "reverence, respect, awe, etc." While those definitions are true, the fear of the LORD is so much more. The best way to understand the fear of the LORD is to read through Psalms and Proverbs and write down the verses that contains the phrase "fear of the LORD."
...the fear of the LORD is delighting greatly in His commandments (Psalm 112:2) and knowledge of the Holy One (Proverbs 9:10)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom about God and His will (Proverbs 9:10)
The fear of the LORD brings about repentance - a change of mind, a change in our values, way of thinking, and living.
In over two decades of teaching, preaching, and pastoring, I have taught parishioners that any time you read a promise in the Bible, you need to start looking around for the conditions to obey in order to receive the promise. If you do your part in obeying the Scripture, God does His part, and the promise will be realized in you. It's a central theme throughout the Bible. The "Bible Promise" books that have been so popular over the years leave the conditions of the promises of God out, leaving people standing on the promises, but ignorant to the conditions to obey in order to receive them.
Now we have a book that explains how to read and understand Scripture finding the conditions that lead to fulfilled promises, and it is written by a friend and mentor of mine, Robert P. Holland, who has been pastoring since 1965. First a word concerning Pastor Holland, and then I will talk more about his book which I have completed reading and highly recommend for all those who are serious about understanding and receiving the promises of Holy Scripture.
Pastor Holland is one of my heroes of faith. I have known him for two decades and had opportunity to sit under his ministry for a short season prior to pastoring my first church in the early 1990s. Pastor Holland has a keen understanding of Scripture that is reflected in his life. He portrays the image of Christ more than any other person I have had the privilege of knowing. His ability to communicate and teach the Word is a gift given to us by God. Those who have had the privilege of sitting under his ministry have not experienced a famine of the Word under it, and have instead been given a bountiful feast that brings growth in the Lord.
I just finished reading his book, Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7, and highly recommend it. The book begins with an explanation of the title which is fundamental to the 44 chapters which follow. In each chapter, which Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom and Promise workshops", a Scripture promise and its conditions (Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom") are identified and proper exegesis, application and exhortation is given.
For those who will read the book, I believe that the Holy Spirit will bring attention to the areas of life where proper wisdom is not applied, and where promises are not being realized, allowing for proper application of Scripture to take place. I"m sure that every reader who has a desire to please God and live for Him will be able to properly apply wisdom and receive promises as they prayerfully read and glean from each chapter.
There have been some great books that I have read that I commit to reading again. With this book, I plan to incorporate it into my daily discipline of reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture, by reading a chapter each day for a while to come. In the days ahead, I will also be tweeting (@Gregory_Johnson) some quotes from the book and posting some quotes on my Facebook page (GregoryAJohnsonPage).
I encourage you to get a copy of the book today, read it, and let God speak into your life as you discover the wisdom and promises that God would have you receive. The book is available as a paperback and as an ebook on Amazon. Click here and get your copy today - Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7: Finding Wisdom and Receiving Promises.
I don't know about you, but I find myself having to intentionally work at listening more and speaking less, questioning myself "am I a slow learner, or just struggling with the human nature?" I'm probably a slow learner if no one else, but me, has to work on these.
Instead of being slow at learning, maybe the slowness can shift to my human tendency of getting angry. In dealing with these and other inheritances of the human nature, I thank God for prayer, the Holy Spirit that dwells within, and God's grace.
...And of course, I thank God for His Word which guides us to proper behavior.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. ~ James 1:19, NLT
Many years ago as a child in church camp, I was taught a song that I have never forgotten. It goes like this:
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had father Abraham
I am one
So are you
So let's just praise the Lord!
Many think today that God only blesses one nation.
In my country, America, you always hear people say "God Bless America."
Some believe that Jesus is returning for one physical nation.
Some believe that Jesus is returning for a physical piece of land in the middle east.
Check out what God promised Abraham:
Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. (Genesis 17:4-5 ESV)
According to the Bible, God is for all nations.
God's heart is that none should parish, but that all have everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.
Color of skin does not matter to God.
Language does not matter to God.
Gender does not matter to God.
Economic status does not matter to God.
Physical location does not matter to God.
Jesus is not returning for one physical nation.
Jesus is not returning for a piece of land in the middle east.
Jesus is returning for His faithful followers who have denied self and taken up the cross.
Jesus' return is the consummation of His Kingdom here on earth that is already within His followers and He is ruling over it.
His Kingdom is full of love, grace and peace with race, gender, economic, and health equality for all.
His kingdom already consists of people from all nations.
We live in difficult and often discouraging times. Many today are holding on to hope in the midst of sickness, disease, hunger, unemployment, despair and depression just trying to make ends meet. Beloved, keep holding on to hope and be encouraged in Christ today. He is our Blessed Hope!
I suspended the teachings in the Gospel of Mark over the last few weeks and instead made available Bible Messages that will build hope and faith in the midst if these very trying times. I expect to continue with the study in Mark soon as our Lord permits and leads. In the meantime, please listen to the Bible messages that we have made available in the last few weeks:
We stay strong and courageous by knowing and obeying God’s written Word. God tells Joshua "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:7-8 NIV)
God’s instruction to Joshua was 1) Talk about the Word 2) Meditate on the Word 3) Do the Word. God was telling Joshua to make God’s Word the authoritative guide for all beliefs and actions.
Beloved, we are to make the Bible the authoritative guide for all of our beliefs and our actions. It is so vital, especially in the day that we are living. The Word of God is the only absolute truth that we have to stand on. As we talk about the Word of God, as we meditate on the Word of God and as we do the Word of God, we will obtain strength and courage for the journey ahead of us. Whatever obstacles that we are confronted with, we will be able to overcome! Nothing, absolutely nothing will conquer us on our journey from earth to glory!
Joshua is an Old Testament type of Christ. Joshua points to Jesus. The name Joshua means “the Lord saves” and the Greek form of the name Joshua is Jesus. Jesus came to earth and showed us how to be strong and courageous on our journey. He talked about the Word, He meditated on the Word and He did the Word. He fulfilled everything that was written about Him in the prophetic books of the Bible. From His virgin birth to His death on the cross to His resurrection; He did the Word. He overcame every obstacle including an old rugged cross and a cold damp tomb.
Hallelujah Beloved! Talk about the Word of God. Meditate on the Word of God. Do the Word of God. God will strengthen you. God will give you courage. God will take you out of the wilderness and place you in His Promised Land! Glory Be to God!
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