Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reverence, not Ritual

Good morning, Dear friends and Prayer Partners! This is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it! When I stepped outside early this morning, the half moon was shining brightly, as usual, and stars were visible, which meant a beautiful day! Then, a short time ago, fog came rolling in, but now, that has also lifted. This is the time of year, when we don't need heat or A/C. Glorious!

I was determined to walk in the Park yesterday, and found that the tree trimming crew was there, and had the boardwalk to the tower blocked off. They were working on cutting down a very old maple that was leaning over the walk, and had a ladder about fifty feet high propped against the tree. No way would I climb that high!

So, I walked the Hammock trail instead and enjoyed it very much. I took frequent pauses to gaze over the rail down into the swampy areas. I was really surprised at the water all the way until higher ground where the old orange orchard used to be. Unfortunately, when the new boardwalk was built some of the lemon trees were cut down. Since the trees have been trimmed, the orange trees have fruit very high up, so I was unable to reach any. Though the oranges are very sour and not edible just to squeeze or eat, they make wonderful pies!

God has a plan for everything!

From Quiet Moments with God:

He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?"
Luke 24:38

Have you ever met people who, when something good comes their way, start wondering when God is going to take it back?

Long ago, pagans in Germany and Holland believed this way. If Johann met Hans in the forest and said, " Hey Hans! I got that horse I wanted--good price too!" in a second both men would gasp. Johann would run to the nearest tree and start pounding on it.

The pagans believed that the gods lived in trees, and if they heard about any human happiness, they would cause mischief. Johann, realizing his mistake in the listening forest, would rap on trees to drive the gods away. Even when it was no longer a custom to literally "knock on wood," the phrase sufficed to fill the same purpose: "May my good fortune suffer no reversal."

In our lives, it's wither " Thy will be done" or " knock on wood." Either God is working for our good, or we must be working for our good.

How sad it must make our Heavenly Father to see us robbed of joy as we receive His blessings, simply out of fear! Furthermore, some people feel the only way to hold onto the joys of life is to perform good deeds.As a result, those parts of the Christian life that should bring us closer to the heart of God often end up as rituals performed out of duty and fear.

When the city of Hamburg was stricken with the plague and large numbers were dying, the healthy---in mortal dread of becoming ill---flocked to the city's churches. It was not a reverence for God that drew them to church, but the fear of cholera. As soon as the plague abated, their zeal for the worship of God also abated.

The Lord desires an intimate, honest relationship with you--not a relationship rooted in your fear of loss or failure. The "fear of God" does not mean you're afraid of God; it means you have respect for Him. This reverence is born out of trust in His love. Turn to Him this morning, to experience life, not merely to avoid disaster. When you do, you'll meet a Heavenly Father who loves you completely and unconditionally.

Don't come to the cross
out of fear of hell.
Come to the cross out of
Love for Christ.

I always give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers with thanksgiving, joy and love!

Love and hugs,