Saturday, January 25, 2014

Maggie's Turn: Levi Meets Jesus

Sometimes grown ups tell stories in the most complicated way. They love all those details. Wonder Dogs, however, like the basics. My mama has been writing about when Levi and Jesus became friends. She's gonna take days to tell it, so I thought you might like the Maggie version. 
Levi worked collecting the taxes. No one liked to pay taxes, so they didn't like him either. He had a lot of money, but he was sick of his job. He didn't know what to do. 

One day, Jesus came in to His office. Jesus looked around and said, "Levi, this is a terrible job for you! Aren't you sick of this yet?" Levi looked around, too, then said, "Yes I am!!" Jesus just laughed out loud and said, "Great news! Why don't you come with Me? We will have a God-adventure together!" Levi thought that was a super idea! He hopped out of his chair, headed out the door with Jesus and never looked back. 

Levi was so glad to have his new friend that he had a huge party to let all his friends know. Jesus was so nice! He laughed and visited with everyone at the party. They wanted to be friends with Jesus too!

If you haven't met Jesus yet, you should! He is super nice and lots of fun!

Wonder Dogs like a simple point. Here it is:

Make friends with Jesus. 
He's where all the adventure begins!

The end. By Maggie the Wonder Dog

The Laughing Jesus

And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. (Luke 5:29 NASB)

Levi had been sitting in his tax collecting office, unhappy, longing for a change. Jesus came in, saw his need, and invited Levi to follow Him. Levi jumped at the chance. He looked around his office, said to himself, "I'm done here," and walked out the door. He spent the rest of his life following Jesus. 

Levi walked away from the lifestyle he was accustomed to enjoying, and his livelihood, with joy. We know that because his first action as a believer and disciple was to throw a huge party. This was not just a little punch and a few cookies. The Greek here indicates that he had a lavish feast in honor of Jesus. Only the best would do to introduce the King of Kings, and Levi instinctually knew that. 

Because tax collectors were considered traitors, they were shunned by the religious leaders.  Not surprisingly, they were not invited. Instead, Levi invited all his tax collector friends and "other people", common people. Well, these were not the "common" people of faith. They were likely what many considered "lowlife bad boys".  

Now here's where this party was different from their usual. Levi invited them in order to introduce them to Jesus. When he left his old life, rose, and followed Jesus, he was done with the old life, but he wanted to offer that same chance at a fresh start to all his friends. He didn't give them a tract or a book to read (although those certainly have their place), nor did he give them an argument or a sermon. What Matthew gave them was Jesus, and those men who had been so shunned by the scribes and Pharisees found that Levi's Jesus sat around the table with them, laughed with them, and accepted them.  He was an entirely different kind of rabbi. 

Sometimes I forget about this Jesus. I have an image of the suffering Man of Sorrows and the Risen Lord, but I don't always keep the image of the laughing, friendly, warm and welcoming-to-sinners Jesus at the forefront of my mind. I should though. It was that very kind, friendly, forgiving Jesus who saw this sinner woman and offered me a new life. It was that same wonderful Jesus who gave you a new life, too. 

I wonder how great an impact we could have on the world if we saw people stuck in a lifestyle of sin, the outcasts of society, the way Jesus did. What if we treated them the way Jesus did?  Perhaps our Jesus and the new life He offers would be as attractive to them as it was to Levi. 

Today, pray that we would have eyes to see those around us the way Jesus did and a heart to treat them with the acceptance He offered. Pray that the believers our loved ones encounter will offer that same grace to them. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday night with friends

Our guest blogger tonight is Katie Pennell Ruth. She's my much-loved niece who is wife to Dale and mother to Lindsey and Gracee. I've rejoiced to see the work of God in her life and I think you will be blessed by what she has shared.

Be sure to leave lots of sweet comments at the end of her blog to encourage her!  

Enjoy and be blessed!

Guest Blogger: Katie Pennell Ruth

I got an e-mail from a friend who was in a state of panic.  She wrote: “Its going to be OK, right? Things are going to work out and I am freaking out for no apparent reason, right?
She was scheduled to move into a rental house in a week, the landlord hadn’t given her keys, and the painting and renovation were still underway.  Her current lease was up on the first, and she HAD to have a place to stay on the first.  She couldn’t afford a motel room.  It was 11 degrees the night before and sleeping in her car for a night or two was definitely not an option, even if she had considered it!  Needless to say, most anyone would have panicked from not knowing what to do next.  
The verse that came to my mind is the same one that comes to mind when I hear the wind blowing hard outside of my bedroom window in the middle of the night, when I hear a bad diagnosis for a loved one, or see a ticked-off squirrel in the same tree that I am hunting from.  "When I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalms 56:3.  I learned this verse when I was in 5th grade Bible Drills. My grandmother always said it in a sing-songy voice, and that’s how I always say it over and over in my head.  Although storms will rage, friends and family will get sick, and squirrels will be mad about you being in their tree, God is a constant protector. There have been storms, but never one strong enough to lift my house and whirl me to Oz.  I have lost loved ones, but I was blessed to know I will see them again in Heaven.  I have hunted in countless trees, but I have never been bitten by a ticked-off squirrel.  God has been reliable, He has been constant, and  I know that he will be there for my friend.
My friend might not be able to move in on the first, but I have a couch she can sleep on.  I have a little money to put her up in a hotel for a night.  God will provide for her, just as He has for me.  
My answer to my friend:  
It will work out.  And if the first comes and you aren’t able to move in, we have a couch that you can sleep on until it’s ready…we can find a place for you, sweetie.  And then we will all be right there to help you move in!  Promise!! 
You will have everything you need, one way or another.  You can do this, but not alone. We were DESIGNED to depend on God, to trust His leadership and not to try to do things alone.  HE WANTS TO HELP US!  And when we come to Him, He makes things work out.  When you know that there is no way things will go right without Him and ask for His guidance, His provisions, His comfort, He ALWAYS comes through…it’s just the way that it works.  I drive my husband Dale crazy because I never worry.  I don’t worry that the bills will get paid.  They are often late and short, but they get paid.  I don’t worry that we have enough to eat.  We have ramen noodles and cereal.  I don’t worry that the house isn’t clean enough.  The roof leaks, but we are warm.  God provides.  Maybe not in OUR idea of perfect, but His grace is perfect.  His provisions are enough.  And His love is all we need."

I wasn't just spouting a bunch of words. What I told my friend is exactly how I live, depending on the only One who never fails. His provisions ARE enough and His love really IS all we need. 

Other verses to look at for learning to fully trust God:  Psalms 22:4, Deuteronomy 32:7, Isaiah 26:4


And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. (Luke 5:28 NASB)

When Levi (Matthew) left everything and got up, he did a very hard thing. He followed.  He followed Jesus. Matthew was a wealthy man and Jesus was a traveling teacher. To all appearances, Jesus was not wealthy or a part of the Sanhedrin. He didn't have the social standing that would make Him important. He appeared to be the least likely one for Matthew to follow, but follow is what he did. 

The thing about following is that it puts you behind. You aren't in the front or leading. You aren't the one making the decisions or deciding the direction to head. You are doing what someone else decides, living the way they live. That kind of total surrender and submission is not popular in our culture. We want to "be all you can be", to lead, to be the master of our own fate. That attitude, however, is neither following nor is it discipleship. Total submission, total surrender, total commitment to doing things the way Christ would do them is what following Jesus means. 

Matthew had spent years telling people to hand over whatever sum of money he wanted, with armed guards at hand to enforce his decision. When he left everything behind, he also left his right to command and became a follower. 

That's the kind of follower we need to be, too. We are called to walk away from our right to choose and submit to Christ's right to choose for us. We relinquish our ways and choose His. 

Today, ask yourself, "what kind of follower am I?"  Pray that we and our loved ones will leave our "right" to be in charge behind and simply follow Jesus.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Explosion at the Biodiesel Plant: The news becomes personal

Several years ago, the biodiesel plant was in its early stages. Because I knew some of those involved in its development as well as their concerns about the finances and the process, I was asked to pray for God's will to be done. It may have been one of those things you say without expecting a lot, but it was so heartfelt that I've left the biodiesel plant on my prayer list all these years. My path has frequently taken me down Hwy 15 and, as I've passed the plant, it has been a reminder of my promise to pray. In an odd way, through my prayers, I had begun to feel invested in its success.

When the breaking news alert about the explosion at the biodiesel plant pinged on my phone, I was stunned. My first thought was, "That's our plant, Lord!" I was not just stunned, I was broken hearted for our community and for those involved. I have listened closely for news and cringed as one explosion followed another. The fires that burned all night and were unquenchable because of the danger involved in trying to extinguish them were chilling reminders that circumstances can change in an instant, and in the most unlikely and unwelcome of ways. 

I know the people involved. The names we are seeing on the news are not just letters strung together. They are people I know and for whom I care. I've worked with some, been acquainted with some, and a few I know well. It disturbs me. I do  not like this personal acquaintance with events on national news. I much prefer our local reporter, Angie Barmer, to write a story about our Little Free Library or a recent board meeting. I'm thrilled for her to have an AP photo spreading across the nation, but so sad for the reason. 

I do not like this answer to my prayers. There is a part of me that wants to say, "What are you doing God?"  I want to remind Him that I've discussed this very plant with Him countless times before. I thought He was watching. A part of me is not happy about this. 

But there is an overriding part of me that knows He has been watching all along, and that He has not failed to take note of the need or of my prayers. I know this because, despite four explosions and fires that have raged for more than twenty-four hours, not one person has been injured. There has not been one death. I know prayers have been answered because air quality monitoring is still normal despite billowing smoke. Adjacent homes and buildings have been evacuated but are otherwise unscathed. 

I don't like these events, but despite the explosions, despite the fires, despite the smoke, I still believe the prayers of countless people have been, and will continue to be, answered. I still believe God has His eye on this little piece of Northeast Mississippi. I still believe that, although the plant is said to be a total loss, there remains a plan for all those who depended on the plant for their livelihood, and that plan is for good and not for evil. It's what Scripture says, and I choose to believe it. 

Despite my faith, despite my hope, I still grieve for those involved. I don't yet understand how this will eventually unfold nor what the final outcome will be, but there's one thing I'm sure about. One day I will. It may not be until eternity, but one day I will have all the answers to all the questions and all the understanding I need. That day, it will all make sense. Until then, I'm going to keep doing what I've done for years. Pray for the biodiesel plant and all those involved. Why don't you join me?

Already Gone

And he left everything behind, and got up and began to follow Him. (Luke 5:28 NASB)

If you were given these three verbs to arrange in proper order: follow, leave, rise, you'd almost certainly say the rising came before the leaving, but that would be wrong. When Jesus walked up to Matthew and said "Follow Me", He was also saying "Leave this tax collector job behind. Leave your wealth and your fancy house and toys behind, and follow Me."  The first decision to be made in following Christ was whether or not to leave the old life behind. Deciding to leave the old life behind made the rising and following considerably easier. In fact, once the leaving was decided, the hard part was done. All Matthew had to do was stand up and start walking.  

The problem for most of us is that we would prefer to rise and follow Jesus without leaving our old life and ways behind, but that's not the way it works. To follow Jesus, leaving the old life and ways behind is not just a good idea, it's essential. That deciding though, it's the really hard part. We've probably struggled with some "old life" leaving issues ourselves. It's to be expected that the life our loved ones have come to embrace is hard to leave. It's part of the process, but made much easier when we tire of the lifestyle we thought we wanted. 

Today, pray that our loved ones (and we also) would be so weary of their current lifestyle that the leaving will be quickly accomplished, and that, when they rise, it will be obvious that they'd already gone, leaving the mistakes and old ways behind to follow Christ. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Driving in the Fast Lane

Most of my morning drive is on Hwy 78/I 22 with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. Being in a particularly zippy mood today, my cruise control was set on exactly 70. I was in the left hand lane, aka the fast lane, and driving as fast as the law allows. Since I think 70 mph is fast, as does the MS Highway Patrol, I was confident that I was earning my place in the fast lane as I zipped down the highway. 

I actually prefer to drive in the right hand lane, aka the slow lane, but as traffic would have it, there was already a car in the right hand lane.  As best I could tell, I was going about 3 miles per hour faster than the big black right-lane SUV. In fact, I have calculated the whole business out, and I was traveling 264 feet per minute faster than the SUV. It is a simple matter of physics to see that I would fairly quickly overtake the SUV and be clear to move into my dearly loved right hand lane. 

Apparently the people in the three cars behind me did not understand the high level calculations abounding in the blue Altima at the front of the line. Perhaps they had several problems. First of all, they must not have known what the speed limit of 70 mph means. No faster than 70 means you can go less, but not faster. I think they may have skipped out on Physics class, too. Actually, a basic math class could have provided the information they so desperately needed. If one car is going faster than another car, the faster car will move ahead of the slower car. 

That was exactly what was happening. My car was going 264 feet per minute faster than the car in the right lane. Since I was already going so much faster, I saw no need to increase my speed any further. It was apparent I would soon be able to move to the right hand lane.  Those grouchy people in the left lane behind me were not happy. They had less than a minute to wait before their NASCAR audition, aka date with the Highway Patrol, but they were in an insane hurry. 

It is pointless to try to hurry me along by riding my bumper. I do not like that and there is just no telling what could happen. I can envision several scenarios and none are good. For more reasons than one. It is also pointless to try to thread the needle with your car, especially if my car is nearly parallel with the car in the right lane. Again, a basic math class could have been so helpful.  

Just so you know, I am not likely to be hurried, especially if I am already traveling  264 feet per minute faster then the car in the right hand lane! It is also not likely that I can move over into the right lane when my car is almost completely PARALLEL with the car in the right lane. Duh. If I move over, there will be a crash. Give me at least 60 seconds. 

I understand the need to get to work on time. That's why I get up at 5:05 every morning. It's why I follow a very tight schedule and leave on time every day. Well almost every day. On those days when I am late, I figure the patients will understand as they are often late, too. 

I do not understand this need to break the speed limit laws the first thing in the morning! What kind of day do they expect to have if they start by being a law-breaker? Being grumpy and sending not-nice hand signals are also not the way to start a happy loving day. 

If you are one of the bumper-riding, math-forgetting, speed demon maniacs behind me, I have this to say: QUIT IT. Pretty is as pretty does, and what I saw this morning was not at all attractive. If you slow down a bit, you could smile and wave at the driver of the blue Altima that will mostly be in the right hand lane.  You could also arrive in one piece, save a few cents on gas, and avoid an expensive ticket.

Tomorrow, try driving in the right hand lane.  Obey the speed laws. Use your hands to hold the steering wheel or to wave (not the other! What would your mama think?) Just be nice - in your car as well as out. 

Have a safe ride!

Out of the Booth and On the Road to Discipleship

After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me." (Luke 5:27 NASB)

The Roman Empire was an expensive operation, funded by tax dollars. The Jewish people had been conquered by Rome and were an occupied nation. As a result, they were forced to pay taxes to Rome. It was bad enough to pay taxes, but when fellow Jews served as tax collectors for the Romans, it was worse. The tax collectors worked in small booths or offices by the side of the road with Roman soldiers nearby to help enforce the tax they charged. The tax collector was responsible for collecting a certain amount of tax, regardless of the number of people he saw. Anything extra he collected was his to keep. Not surprisingly, the practice of charging a higher rate of tax was very common. Tax collecting was usually quite a lucrative business, and the tax collectors, who had gained their wealth at the expense of their fellow countrymen, were considered traitors, and treated as outcasts. No one who was "anyone" spent time socially with tax collectors. 

With that as background, consider what Jesus did next. He left the place where He had been teaching and started out. Along the way, He came to the tax booth where Matthew was working. We don't know if there was a ruckus, but the scene there captured Jesus's attention, and He noticed Matthew. This noticing, theaomai, is more than just seeing with His eyes. Jesus saw Matthew with perception and understanding, and in His look, Jesus could see that Matthew was ready for a change. Perhaps he saw shame, frustration, guilt, hurt. Whatever Jesus saw, he perceived it correctly. Jesus spoke two words, "Follow Me", and Matthew was out of the booth and on the road. 

Today, pray that He will see us and our loved ones with that same clarity of vision and that He will speak the words of release and freedom that are most needed. Pray that when Jesus calls us and our loved ones to leave the life we've embraced for the road of discipleship, there will be no hesitation, just instant obedience

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Called to a higher standard: leaning to be a leader

I'm not crazy about being a leader, although leadership positions have been thrust upon me repeatedly over the years. It's not that I mind doing the work at all. The problem with leadership is that the leaders have to set the example. There's something about knowing your life is up for inspection that's hard to me.  I probably need the accountability, so it's actually a good thing.  It's dIfficult to think that people are looking to me for an example, and yet, I want to set the best one I can. I'm not sure if I would do anything differently if I weren't such a public figure, but it definitely makes me more aware of my behavior.

This afternoon, the whole topic of leaders who are not quite so concerned about setting the example came up. There was a situation where a leader wanted special treatment, and several of us were shocked. The phrase that was used was "leaders are called to a higher standard".  It's not exactly what James 3:1 says, but it certainly catches the spirit of the verse.  

"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment." (James 3:1 NASB)

I've spent some time this evening considering what makes a good leader. The Leader I follow seems the best example of leadership, so I turned to Isaiah's description. 

"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4, 5 NASB)

There's nothing about special privilege in these verses is there?  

"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." (John 13:3-5, 15 NASB)

This passage in John is the Gold Standard for leadership. Jesus clearly knew Who He was and Whose He was. He knew where He was headed and how He would  get there. Despite all that, Jesus gathered up the wash basin and towel and started washing feet. He set the example for humility and for selfless service, and He instructed His disciples to do the same. 

This servant leader is the kind of leader Jesus expected His followers to be, and, as best I can tell, it is not optional. Every one of us is called to be a servant 
-leader who sets an example of selflessness, seeks to serve rather than be served, and who does the most menial task with love. 

Called to a higher standard? No doubt! We ARE called to a higher standard, and it's the standard of a Suffering Servant whose every action was governed by His great love for us. Is that how you serve those around you? If not, maybe it's time to don your apron, grab your basin, and start washing. 

In the midst of the crowd

But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, right in the center, in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:19 NASB)

My copy of the NASB uses the phrase "right in the center". Later editions have changed it to read "in the middle" or "in the midst" of the crowd. When the four men lowered that stretcher, they were right in the middle of the crowd, but also right in front of Jesus. 

I tend to think of being in the middle of the crowd as a bad place and a place to hide from Jesus. Instead, it was the place this paralyzed man met Jesus face to face and was forever transformed. In fact, the entire crowd was transformed by the power of the paralytic's transformation!

Today, pray that, even if our loved ones (or we ourselves, for that matter) hide in the midst of the crowd, they will come face to face with Jesus and be transformed into the godly man or woman they were created to be. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Delighting in Doing

In the fictional village of Mitford, the mayor's slogan is "We take care of our own."  In the very real town of Blue Springs, it is understood that "We take care of each other."  We aren't perfect at it, but we try. In a way, that's the "motto" of the body of Christ, too. I guess it would be more accurate for the body of Christ to say, "We see a need and we meet it."  

I've recently been involved with a group of young ladies who are doing just that. They have seen a need and are meeting it. To avoid spoiling their surprise, that's all the details you get for now. Here's what's amazing about their effort. Once the need was known, everyone has pitched in to help. One young woman is good with lists. She made a list of the needs. Others are good with meeting one need or another on the list. Each has risen to the occasion to meet the need that most fits their abilities. Over the course of the last few days, what has happened is nothing short of miraculous. Almost every need is already met, and in a lovely, coordinated way. 

It's not quite time to "spring the surprise" but these ladies are so excited about being a part of what God is doing that they can hardly wait. In fact, I can hardly wait with them. They are delighting in doing, and it is a lovely thing to watch. 

Several verses have come to mind as I have watched God at work, but one has seemed especially pertinent. It's from the description of the virtuous woman...  "She extends her hand to the poor, And she stretches out her hands to the needy." (Proverbs 31:13, 20 NASB).  That's what these young women are doing. Here's what's really exciting for me. These ladies are so focused on their task that they may not have realized they are doing something that comes with promised blessings. The last part of Proverbs 31 tells us the outcome for the virtuous woman, this helper of the poor and needy. 

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." (Proverbs 31:28, 31 KJV)

What wonderful promises! Nothing that has been done was with the expectation of praise or accolades.   One day, though, they will receive them, and it will be icing on the cake. For now, the joy of service is all the reward they want.

They've seen a need and they've met it, and had a glorious time doing it. Maybe you should find a need to meet, too!

Remarkable things

They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today." (Luke 5:26 NASB)

Their statement, "We have seen remarkable things" seems like the height of understatement doesn't it? Four men came in from the roof door carrying a stretcher on which lay a paralyzed man. Jesus spoke a few words and up he came, grabbed the stretcher and headed out, praising God all the way out the door. There's no doubt it was, at the least, remarkable. The word used here and translated as "remarkable things" is paradoxos and indicates that what they had seen was not at all what they had expected. Jesus was not at all what, nor who, they had expected, either. 

We all come to Jesus with preconceived ideas gathered everywhere from childhood Sunday School classes to popular media. It is only when we meet Him for ourselves, experience His cleansing power first hand, that we truly understand Who He is     

Today, pray that we and our loved ones will abandon those preconceived notions about Jesus and come to Him as a little child. Pray that we will see Him as He really is - Suffering Servant, Spotless Lamb, Coming King, Great Physician - and glorify God because of the change that is wrought.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Struggle With Words

The deal with guest bloggers is generally that they write for each other. When Dr. Leap and I talked about guest blogs, it included me doing one for him. I fully intended to do that, and had a topic in mind from the start. I knew part of the words I would write. 

Usually, it takes me about 30-45 minutes in the morning and about that much time in the evenings. If I have a starting point, I just start typing and quit when I get to the end. The post with the most-ever views was written with great passion in under 15 minutes. I usually scan it for typos and hit post. As crazy as it sounds, much of the time the first time I've actually read what I've written is after it posts. I know that's a little risky, but it's how I do it. 

Well, that's how I usually do it. The blog for Dr. Leap has been an insurmountable task for me. I couldn't seem to get it right. Yesterday, I worked on it all afternoon. I sent countless drafts to my sister, who kept texting back, "This sounds nothing like you. Why are you writing like this?"  She was right. Dr. Leap is a marvelously insightful writer with a beautiful and eloquent style. I wish I wrote like him. It turns out, I can write like him, but it doesn't fit at all with what I needed to say. Every draft I sent to my sister got nearly same reply. "Better but not quite there."

This morning, I sat down with the article and started praying. "Lord, You gave me this topic. What's wrong with this article?" The answer I heard in my heart was instant and painful. What was wrong was that I was trying to please Dr. Leap and his readers rather than the Holy One. Well, no wonder I couldn't write!  I invited The Lord to fix it, and in just a few minutes the article was on its way. 

The devotional this morning immediately followed. When I wrote, "For today, pray that we and our loved ones would be filled with such a holy fear that our greatest desire is to please Our Lord, that One who is the Lover of our soul," it was exactly what I needed to hear.  It was quick confirmation that my struggle with the article was all about pride and a jumble of priorities, but it seems we've got it straightened out now. 

I sent this final draft to my sister, who replied, "That one is it!!" and I think she's right. When Dr. Leap posts it, I will blog the link so you can read what God has given. I hope He speaks to you through what has been written, just as He did to me. 

Furnished With Fear

They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen remarkable things today." (Luke 5:26 NASB)

Filled with fear. It seems unexpected to be seized by astonishment, glorifying God and filled with fear all at the same time, but that's how it was. Let's look at the word translated as fear first. "phobos" is the Greek word here and is used 47 times in Scripture. It is used here to indicate not only a fear of God's power but also a fear of displeasing Him. It is a fear of displeasing God that is greater than our fear of being in the presence of the Holy One.  We need more of that fear, don't we?

This phrase "filled with fear" uses the Greek word "pimplÄ“mi", translated as fear. It can also mean "furnished". 

Selah. Pause and consider that idea of being furnished with the fear of displeasing God. 

What difference would it make in our attitudes and actions if we were furnished with the fear of displeasing God? Would you do anything differently? 

For today, pray that we and our loved ones would be filled with such a holy fear that our greatest desire is to please Our Lord, that one who is the Lover of our soul.