Mar 16 – The focus of this week’s prayer letter is again on Kingdom Building, particularly on dealing with fear and the fear of the Lord. This is especially relevant as so many are fearful because of Coronavirus – Covid 19. Elements of what follows are drawn from the writings of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
There is a great difference between the Fear of the Lord & unsanctified fear. Unsanctified fear is any fear that leads a person to act irrationally, withdraw from life, & is the opposite of resting in faith in Christ. Even secular authorities recognise that fear can have a negative impact on people. The Collins dictionary defines fear as ‘a painful emotion aroused by danger; an apprehension of danger or pain; alarm; anxiety.’ It can also mean ‘that which can cause alarm, risk’ or the possibility of death or pain.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes that it used to be the case that society in general called Christians, “‘God-fearing’ people.” Lloyd-Jones added that this definition is a good one & is hard to be improved on. He continues highlighting the fact that the fear of the Lord does not mean a limiting, terrifying fear, the fear of the timid & weak who fear everything – this type of fear leads to a terror of God, “the fear that has torment.” Instead, it is the fear which leads us to the feet of Jesus recognising our absolute dependence on Him. Oswald Chambers wrote, ‘The remarkable thing about fearing God is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.’
Father, as we reflect on fearing You – this fear liberates us to be all You call us to be in Christ; instead of bringing us into bondage it takes us to the feet of Jesus depending on Him for freedom & the grace needed for an overcoming life! We pray for any who are limited, or even tormented, by unsanctified fear – may they be set free in Christ. 1 John 4:18 says that Your perfect love drives out fear – may Your love be perfected in my life. I pray for victory over unsanctified fears in all of the lives of all who come to our church. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Mar 17 – Unsanctified fear can be such a terrifying, limiting thing when it has got hold of a person’s heart & mind. It comes in many guises dressed as all sorts of fine-sounding ideas. It can be the fear of failure dressed as ‘don’t overreach oneself in case you fail & let other people down.’
It can be phobias of some kind or another which bring a terror with them that makes a person totally irrational & try to run away from the thing or place that causes their terror. Sometimes this fear is sown into a child’s life by living with a parent or parents or family who have the same type of phobia. It can also include a spiritual element in that the Devil often uses this type of fear to prevent a person whole-heartedly following Jesus.
Father, the fear of the Lord is to be a major part of our personal godliness, our relationship You in Trinity with the Son and Holy Spirit, and evident to others as we live godly & holy lives. This is a life absent of hypocrisy and which reflects the nature of the God who has saved us. The true Christian is of necessity, as Matthew 7 reminds us, “a man or woman who lives in the fear of God.” The Lord Jesus Himself lived a life that was God-fearing in how He always was careful to do the Father’s will (John 4:34, NIV, ‘“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work”’), and only do those things which pleased His Father. Holy Spirit, help us to follow His example & live such a life – it is key in building the Kingdom of Christ. Amen
Mar 18 – The Bible reveals the story of King Saul of Israel, its first king, whose character deficiencies & presumption opened him up to the effects of a ‘distressing spirit.’ The impact of this spirit produced a huge psychological & physical reaction, a similar reaction to that produced by a phobia. The main phobia that affected him was the fear of losing everything including his kingship, prestige & position. It is said that ‘he raved,’ his emotional & mental stability were adversely affected, & that he easily became jealous – particularly of one of his army commanders, David.
Father, thank You for the revelation also contained in this story – worship brings Your peace & produces mental stability. David playing worship songs helped to still the effects of Saul’s phobia & jealousy. Saul’s rejection of You & Your ways ultimately led to his downfall. In fact towards the end of his life he became evermore bitter & twisted.
Isaiah 61:3 says that the future Messiah would ‘bestow…a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.’ Lord Jesus, You are the Messiah, & You can set the prisoner of any unsanctified fear or phobia free! We pray that our church will have a special anointing from heaven seeing many people brought out from the bondage of unsanctified fears, phobia & worries into true, full freedom in Christ. Amen
Mar 19 – Martyn Lloyd Jones states that many Christians, “who may be able to give very bright & apparently thrilling testimonies of some experience they have had,” do not mention that they are God-fearing people. Instead, too often, we give the impression of being a people who are more fond of the world than God. This doesn’t contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom; instead, it reinforces the hold of the world & its carnal stranglehold on people. Its stranglehold is sin which always produces unsanctified fear & the death of hope, true life & peace – among many other forms of death.
There is a kind of hyperactive spirituality which some advocate which is all bright & breezy, that is casual, care-free & light-hearted. The easy confidence with which many approach God almost as another like-minded person to themselves means that there does not appear to be any great need for character reformation. After all if God is just like us, then there is no need for us to change to be like Him! Others think that God is bound to do what we declare He should because He is bound to answer the letter of our prayers without taking into consideration that our prayers sometimes are at odds with His will for us & His church.
Lord, we confess that we often follow the pathway of least resistance – taking the route that costs us least. Forgive, cleanse & sanctify us so that we will be free to walk the narrow pathway of discipleship following Christ as Kingdom builders. When we presume to act without consideration of You, Your word and Spirit, we ask for forgiveness, cleansing & sanctification so that we will walk in Your fear being faith-filled Kingdom builders diligent in seeking to live lives that please You. In Jesus’ name & for His glory. Amen
Mar 20 – In the Old Testament there is the terror of the Lord, an abject fear of God, His holiness, & power. The disobedient & rebellious often faced the awesomeness of God experiencing the outworking of His judgement without the hope of redress.
Father, thank You that the fear of You can be a positive thing for those trusting in Christ since it keeps us from presuming upon Your grace and forgiveness. We approach through the Lord Jesus Christ, who will one day judge the whole world. We proclaim that You are the Lord God Almighty who makes the mountains tremble at Your presence – You are more powerful than we can imagine. Teach us how to fear You so that we may not sin against You. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Mar 21 – At the burning bush Moses was afraid of the Lord (Exodus 3:6), & Job was said to be terrified of His presence, ‘the Almighty terrifies me’ (Job 23:15-16). The Lord challenged Judah, ‘Do you not fear Me?’ Will you not tremble at My presence’ (Jeremiah 5:22). Isaiah writes of the ‘Day of the Lord.’ This title is used a lot in the Bible, including by the Prophets in reference to the Lord intervening in human affairs. Elsewhere it is the day when Israel’s enemies come at God’s biding to inflict God’s judgement upon rebellious Israel.
Father, ultimately Your word refers to the Day when Christ shall return – what a day that will be when Jesus we shall see. His coming will terrify all those who are not saved in Christ. We pray for a great ingathering of souls so that many are made ready to receive their Lord & Your Kingdom’s values lived out in their lives.
On the great Day of Judgement we all will stand before Christ as He judges us – enable us to teach & preach about this upcoming event. It is so important that people know about it, understand its implications, & are saved in Christ so they face it without the fear of condemnation. Holy Spirit, enable us to do this under Heaven’s anointing, with Your authority & power, & so we see many men, women, young people & children won for Christ & saved from the fear of judgement. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Mar 22 – Father, when we walk in Your fear, we are stronger spiritually than we could be otherwise because we are submitting to You, trusting more & more in Christ for everything, & seeking to live in the Spirit’s fullness & power.
Living in Your fear is like a fountain that continually springs up with spiritual vitality & strength enabling Christians to walk in a cleaner, more godly, presence filled way. By living in this way, it draws us closer to Christ thus strengthening us against the temptations and traps of the devil. We pray for such a wonderful anointing upon the lives & ministries of all in our church – so that large numbers of men, women, young people & children are drawn into a saving, loving & faithful relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen