Fear Over Beauty

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In my opinion, the most beautiful of all God’s creation is woman. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, but women have the ability to be strong, nurturing, loving, supportive, and the absolute perfect companion for men. But Proverbs would attest that the best attribute a woman can have is a healthy reverent fear of the Lord. In Chapter 31, verse 30, it says.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

This verse is lifted from the very famous chapter often referred to as, “The Wife of Noble Character”. Even though this verse is in reference to the fairer sex, to reverently fear, honor and respect the Lord should be the goal of every believer; male or female. Charm and beauty are wonderful attributes, but they can only serve a woman here on this earth. We can’t take our charm or our beauty with us when we die. And even while on earth they fade over time. Proverbs says they are fleeting. But the fear of the Lord is useful in this life and will set our hearts in the right place when we eventually go to heaven and spend eternity with God. So remember Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

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I often think that beauty and charm are wasted when given to women of poor character; women who might use it as a weapon to manipulate men. But it is a breath of fresh air when found on a woman of noble character; a woman whose heart is set on honoring God. Proverbs says that a woman like that is to be praised. So I encourage you, even if God has blessed you with incredible charm and striking beauty, to remember this verse. Beauty and charm are universally attractive, but it is the fear of the Lord that is eternally attractive - so much so that it should be praised.

He Knows Us

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If you’ve read the Bible, when it comes to humanity, you know that God cares most about what is in our heart. Yes, he wants our obedience, he wants our praise and he wants our dedication, but if we give him these things with the wrong heart, he’d prefer that we not offer them to him at all. It is amazing how well God knows us. He knows our motives, he knows our intent, and he knows when we are trying to hide what is truly in our heart. But Jesus knew that too, even when he walked the earth. It says in John 2:24-25: 

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

When I read about how Jesus handled himself with the Pharisees and how he avoided the verbal traps they set for him, I am always amazed - and rightly so. It was as if Jesus literally knew what they were thinking, because in truth, he did. There are several times where we read in the Bible that Jesus knew what others were thinking and he responded accordingly. This would mean that Jesus possessed a supernatural ability to know the thoughts of men and the hearts of men while he walked the earth. And if that is true, how much more does he know us since he has returned to glory and sits at the right hand of the Father? I encourage you to consider just how well God knows you.

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Jesus knows each one of us more deeply than anyone on this earth knows us. He knows our complete past and he is aware of all of our weaknesses. He even knows how many hairs we have on our head! And in John, we learn that he knows our heart, our intent and he even knows our thoughts. But more than that, he is physically close to us. The Bible tells us that he lives inside of us, and that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. So God knows us intently. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And in spite of that, he still loves us intensely. I hope that both challenges and encourages you; that it challenges you to remember that there is nothing we can hide from God, but encourages you because regardless of that, he still loves us.

Know God

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The concept of the Holy Trinity can be difficult for us to wrap our minds around. How can three distinct entities, or personalities, be considered one? How can God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all be one and the same God? This notion may be challenging for us to comprehend today, but consider how confusing it must have been for the people of Jesus’ day. They had a hard enough time accepting him as the Son of God. But Jesus tried to explain it to his disciples in John chapter 14, verse 7, which says: 

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

He also says in chapter 10, verse 30:

“I and the Father are one.”

Jesus explains to Thomas that by seeing him he has, in affect, seen the Father. He says that because he and the Father are one, just as the Holy Spirit and the Father are one. The equation that 3 = 1 doesn’t make sense to us. That’s just not how traditional math works. Nevertheless, it is very true. So if we know Jesus, then we know the Father. And since we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we actually have God living inside of us. I challenge you to consider this truth today. By knowing any part of the Trinity, you know God.

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Do you know God? Jesus tell us that if we know him then we know the Father because he and the Father are one; three entities that have different roles but are all the same God. God the Father is our Sovereign Lord; he is our provider and our stronghold. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our advocate to the Father; that he sits at the right hand of God. And we know that the Holy Spirit is our Counsellor; that he lives inside of every believer. There are a list of roles and titles attached to each one of the Trinity working in concert as one distinct God. I don’t know about you, but that breaks my brain. We don’t have to fully understand it, and we may never fully understand it this side of heaven, but we are called to believe. We must have faith in this truth. Do you know God today? If you know the Trinity, then you do. Because God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one.

Great Mercy

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When you were a child and you disobeyed your parents, did you have a preference as to which parent would punish you? Did you consider that mom is a softie so you’d rather she deal out the punishment? Or that you have your dad wrapped around your finger so you’d prefer that he decided how to punish you? Sometimes we are able to agree, when we are disobedient, that we deserve punishment. But we are wise enough to know that there are different levels of punishment and we typically desire the fate of the more merciful parent. David felt that way when he sinned against God in first Chronicles, chapter 21. This is when David decided to take a census of Israel. Ignoring righteous council, David allowed himself to indulge in his pride, thereby sinning against the Lord. When God gave him a choice of punishment, David replied this way in verse 13 which says:

“David said to Gad, ‘I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.’”

God gave David three choices for his punishment: to experience three years of famine, three months of being swept away before his enemies, or three days of plague in the land as the angel of the Lord ravages every part of Israel. To David, receiving punishment from God was better than falling into the hands of men because he knew that, unlike men, our God is a merciful God. So Israel experienced a great plague. And true to his nature, the Bible explains that, “the Lord saw it and was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel, ‘Enough! Withdraw your hand.’” So I encourage you to remember we serve a merciful God. He doesn’t take pleasure in punishing us. But just like a parent, he does it for our own good.

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God is holy, righteous, mighty, and sovereign. When we sin against him, often times there is an earthly punishment that follows. But God is also merciful. He doesn’t take pleasure in seeing those he loves; those who have sinned and have repented, suffer his judgement. And in that mercy, God may relent. Like he did with David, God may choose to withdraw his hand. We can’t always count on the mercy of men, but we can always appeal to the mercy of God. So I encourage you to remember the kind of God we serve. Yes, he is holy and sovereign, but he is also compassionate and merciful.

Speak Out

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A believer once told me that it wasn’t his desire to proactively share his faith, but if someone were to ask him what he believed, he’d be happy to tell him that he is a Christian; a follower of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why any believer, especially at this time in our history, would be afraid to share their heart about the gospel of Jesus Christ; to proclaim that they are a believer and to associate what they believe with biblical truth, but that is what God wants us to do even if it costs us something. I believe that our heart should reflect the heart of Jesus who spoke openly about the Father’s faithfulness and the salvation that can only be found in himself. And I believe king David would agree. He wrote these words in Psalms chapter 40, verse 10:

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

It is human nature to fear rejection and persecution, but these things can, and often do, accompany the open proclamation of God’s word. Only in settings like church or Bible study is speech about Jesus expected and accepted. It is when we share about him outside of the context of a church or a Christian event do we typically encounter rejection. But Jesus both operated within the synagogue and in the houses of sinners and unbelievers. He spoke about salvation in love and grace, not with judgment and condemnation. But he spoke about it all the same. And I believe that we should strive to follow his example.

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When it comes to sharing about your salvation to those who don’t believe, I encourage you to be like David. Do not hide Jesus’ righteousness in your heart; Speak of his faithfulness and salvation. Do not conceal his love and his truth from the great assembly. If believers remain silent, how will the lost learn about the salvation Jesus offers? In his word Jesus told his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” I believe that command is for us as well. So I would encourage you to be bold, to share about Jesus in love much in the same way Jesus modeled for us in the Bible. I encourage you not to hide Jesus’ righteousness in your heart, but to speak out concerning his faithfulness and salvation.