Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Fear, Another F-Bomb To Rid Ourselves Of

Hey gang!

Today marks one week on the countdown until we begin another fun project here at One Man Revival Ministries. On July 1, we will begin The Bible In 90 Days series. So that we don’t make too much reading material for those not interested in the course, I have set up a webpage for the 90 day study. If you want to join us, you can go to http://omr90daysthroughthebible.blogspot.com or join the One Man Revival Ministries Fan Page on Facebook and enter the event of The Bible in 90 Days there. This should be fun and will be going on July 1 through September 27.

Again, you can go through the entire study with us or you can follow along as you wish. I’ll be blogging each day with the thoughts and points of the lesson and my own personal thoughts. So come and join us for the journey.

And now, on to Wisdom Wednesday.

I’m sure that in your lifetime you have heard the phrase, “Dog is man’s best friend.” I used to never feel that way. When I was three years old, my mom and I were out on Halloween and I was raking in candy like I always did. There was always this house that had a doberman pincher. He was never tied up and ran free. Whenever you walked by the house, you were always supposed to be on the alert. Well, my mom was not that night. She thought what everyone would naturally think on Halloween. The dog would be tied up or inside. The dog came charging into the street and my mom went into self-preservation mode and tossed me in front of her. The dog bit me. I know you’re surprised.

Nine years later, I was selling tags for the local school patrols and went by each neighbor near my aunt’s house to raise money. A family had just bought a new dog and he was bought to make sure no one stole from this family. I didn’t know about the dog. I walked into the yard and you guessed it, he bit me. Not once, but about a dozen times. I still have a tiny scar on my left arm right below my elbow.

So I was terrified of dogs. If I heard barking, I would jump. A few friends of mine, mean as they were, took advantage of this little terror of the mind. They would hide behind trees and bark as I went by. Kids can be cruel. But any dog that wanted to jump on me scared me to death. My friend bought a little dog and I was in his house eating Subway one night. The dog went nuts. He wanted some food. He didn’t know about my fear. He jumped up on me and I stiff-armed him across the room. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to hurt this little dog, but he bounced off the wall and laid there for a minute. I thought I killed him. The dog jumped up, yelped and ran upstairs to my friend’s mom.

Let’s just say that trying to explain my fear didn’t make the situation much better. But fear causes us to do things. Crazy stuff. Like smacking a little dog across a room. It was years later, when I went to visit my dad in Alaska that I got over the fear. Dad had two huskies. Really loveable dogs. But those first couple days were really tense. They smelled my fear. Once I got used to them and knew they wouldn’t hurt me, it got better. Thankfully, I spent 30 days with these huskies and learned not to think that every dog was going to take a bite out of me.

All of us have fear. Fear usually brings stories like the one I just shared out. Something bad happens, we never forget it and it stays with us like baggage until we somehow overcome it. In all, the Bible mentions the word fear 258 times (New International Version). It’s something that even people in history dealt with.

Proverbs 3:25-26 tells us to, “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Do you worry about being overwhelmed by today’s life. Crazy economy, unemployment, businesses closing, stock market going up and down, gas and food prices rising again. You get the idea. But verse 26 tells us to let God be our confidence, meaning that he is with us in the storms of life and will help us weather it.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe,” is Proverbs 29:25. Do you live in fear that others are trying to bring you down? My wife does this sucking noise when people begin to get on her nerves. She’ll say, “I can’t believe this person is acting like this. They are sucking (followed by sound) the life right out of us.” People can suck the life out of us if we are not focused and trusting in the One that takes care of us.

However, some fear is healthy. In Proverbs, 15 of the 19 times the word fear is used with discussion on “Fear of the Lord.” The most famous usage is Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 1:7 strengthens this verse with, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

These two verses teach us something. Some fear helps us get smarter. Fear also helps us understand where the boundaries are. My fear of dogs helped me understand not to walk right up to a dog as if nothing will happen. Sure, I took it to an extreme to not let nice dogs play with me, but I and the dogs had to learn how much play there should be.

The Lord gives us wisdom in areas when we operate with this fear. The Lord tells us not to be wise in our own eyes and shun evil (Proverbs 3:7), this fear adds to life (10:27), this fear is better than great wealth (15:16), and it allows us to rest content, untouched by trouble (19:23).

In Proverbs 8:13, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” In this verse, God reiterates four of the seven things he hates from Proverbs 6:16-19. If you want to look back to April when I talked about these things, you can look at the article on hate there. But these four things, they are put in pairs meaning that they usually travel together. Pride and arrogance, if someone is being prideful, they usually are walking with an arrogant attitude toward others. And if someone is acting out with evil behavior usually the perverse speech is part of it. I once had a friend that used the F-bomb in every sentence. One night, this little girl overheard him in a restaurant and asked him who this person was. One of my friends spoke up, “Yes, he’s gonna change his name to it legally since he uses it so much.” Out of the mouths of babes.

The best of the verses may have been an encouragement to the man of wisdom. Proverbs 16:6 tells us, “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” I often wonder if God was imparting a little of the future in those words that Solomon wrote. Maybe he was telling the wisest king that ever lived that there would be a King that would come, and through his love and faithfulness, going to a cross and dying, that sin would be atoned for forever.

I love you guys!
Frank

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