Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)
When I was a child, the Reverend Bailey was a strong shepherd who taught with conviction and skill. He preached the fear of the Lord:
Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (NIV)
Sunday mornings at church found me snuggled as close as humanly possible to my mother's side while he exhorted warnings of hellfire and brimstone from his sturdy pulpit. Hearts were convicted and souls restored as God's healing hand moved from pew to pew.
My grandfather was a lay minister, and lively conversations about God's wrath were common around his dinner table in 1950. Being a woman of great discernment who was sensitive to little ears, my mother would make a point of reassuring my brothers and me that God was first and foremost a God of love. Love in the name of Jesus was the Bible's central theme. Mother taught us to trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what true or false preaching was.
I believe that my brothers and I learned a healthy fear and awe of the Lord. We were not afraid of God, but we understood that there would be consequences if we willfully disobeyed God's authority, such as our parents.
Since those days, hellfire and brimstone preaching has fallen out of favour, being viewed as possibly manipulative. Sermons now focus more on God's love. Consequently, most people are living more in the fear of the COVID-19 outbreak than in the fear of God! Leaders and citizens alike are seeking wisdom and guidance as we manoeuvre through this unknown territory.
Deuteronomy 6:24 – The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. (NIV)
Friends, perhaps it is time to bring back some of that old-time religion!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, may our hearts be convicted and our souls restored as Your Spirit renews our lives. May we grasp why the fear of You is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. May we rest safely under Your wings. Amen.
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I remember those days, Lois.
Thanks, Lois, for reminding us of what is important.
Thank you, Lois for sharing your lovely personal story with us today. Blessings on your writing.
Interesting post, Lois, this is a subject I have been thinking about too.
Thanks, and blessings to you!
Lois, yes, it may well be time to be remember that our God is just and righteous as well as a loving and redeeming. Thanks for sharing this reminder with us. Blessings.
Good Morning Lois and thank you for today’s devotional.
We should probably consider bringing back some of the other ideas with which we grew up as well as “old-time” religion!
Good morning Lois,
I just read your very interesting Devotion and I like you was brought up in “Old Time Religion” sermons. I miss these sermons very much and I also feel we need to bring them back. My heart longs for them, especially in these trying times we live in.
I thank you for your devotion, God Bless You.
Oh Lois! I can identify with this.
As little girl – not in a believing family – but sent out to Sunday school with up to 30 evacuees who lived with us during war years in England.
Sometimes we had to go to church the Sunday school children and in this little Baptist church it was very much hell fire! It was one way to instill that healthy respect for our God.
Well that definitely takes courage to suggest bringing back some of that old-time religion. I have been brought up in the believe that God is love. I have always substituted the word fear for respect in those verses because I could rationalize that with my belief in God. We all have to work through God’s Word with what helps us to grow our faith. I particularly don’t want to fear God because fear in me increases the feeling that I want to hide. It is good to have different perspectives to think about and that is one of the ways how our faith matures. Thanks for sharing.
There needs to be balance and sometimes there is not.
Good morning Lois.
A great message! I once saw an interview with a pastor that he is afraid of God – afraid to be away from Him! His reverential fear and respect of the Lord really resonated with me. A bit of dessert ministry is lovely, but we also need to eat our meat and veggies!
Thank you for continuing to submit meaningful devotions. May God keep you at it for as long as possible.
For Jesus’ sake.