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Tag Archives: the fear of the LORD

One Down,Two to Go

My oldest son James will be leaving on Saturday to begin his junior year of college.  Yet, as I began to think about his departure, this will likely be his last summer in our home.  Required to do an internship before his senior year, James will likely spend his final summer in Lynchburg, Virginia.  When you consider a seriously relationship with his girl friend Emma, marriage is not out of the realm of possibility.  Thus, as a parent, I guess its one down and two to go.

Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

If anyone could provide insight on the do’s and don’ts on parenting, its Solomon.  A husband of 700 wives and an additional 300 concubines, this former king of Israel was a father to over one thousand children.  Reflecting upon his role as a dad, Solomon uses Proverbs as a guide to help raise godly children.  This Old Testament book urges children to listen to their parents.  The key principle to pass on to daughters and sons is the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

The apostle Paul adds further advice to fathers hoping to raise godly children in the New Testament.  During his visit with members of the church at Ephesus, Paul noticed that some dads were being too tough on their kids.  This observation inspired Paul to encourage parents to avoid exasperating youth.  Instead, Paul reminds future parents to display (TLC) tender, love and care while exercising discipline.  Whether you are a former, current or want to be a parent, apply the principles of the Bible so that children will not depart from God’s will for their life.

by Jay Mankus

A Sign of Understanding

As a former high school teacher, I learned the importance of reading the body language of my students.  When I began to see stares of cluelessness, I knew it was time to slow down and repeat the point I was attempting to make.  After attending a seminar as part of continuing education, I adopted a new concept into my classroom.  Following a process of nominees, volunteering and voting, each class chose a representative to be the voice.  This person helped me comprehend who was lost and what needed more review prior to tests.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding,” Job 28:28.

In the spiritual realm, God has His own criteria for signs of understanding.  Job uses similar language to Solomon in the book of Proverbs, but adds another element at the end.  It’s one thing to have knowledge about a topic.  Yet, unless you apply what you know it’s meaningless.  Thus, the fear of the Lord is displayed when individuals shun evil.  According to Job, those who possess understanding steer clear of any traces of evil.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction, Proverbs 1:7.

When I was younger, I often heard parents and teachers repeat the same saying.  “If you play with fire long enough, eventually you will get burned.”  Based upon the verse above, fools refuse to listen to advice.  This leads naive individuals to be scarred by powers of darkness.  When evil is not shunned, the judgment of those who play with fire become clouded.  In view of this scenario, don’t just know what is right, apply God’s principles by shunning evil.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

An Evening of Enlightenment

When a historian refers to the term enlightenment, its likely bringing up the age of reason spanning from 1620-1789.  This intellectual movement was inspired by books such as Novum Organum and Critique of Pure Reason.  Francis Baker and Immanuel Kant were guiding forces which attempted to change the way people thought about life.  Yet, knowledge is not the only source for enlightenment.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life, Proverbs 9:10-11.

According to Solomon, fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.  Scholars who hear or read this might suggest “this is absurd.”  Yet, what I think Solomon is eluding to is that individuals who do not fear God become full of themselves, oblivious to the spiritual realm.  Meanwhile, those who fear God develop discernment and insight.  This keen awareness can lead to evenings of enlightenment when you keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple, Psalm 119:130.

Fasting, prayer, reading the Bible and worship are vehicles for receiving enlightenment on earth.  While some people set out to receive enlightenment daily, others are surprised by insight from a fast, moments in prayer, a rhema from the Bible or a moving experience in worship.  While on a retreat in Indiana, I had my own evening of enlightenment.  During the closing ceremony of the night, I received a revelation from God.  One day later, I traveled several hours to meet my girl friend Leanne, proposing shortly afterward.  When you follow through, faithful to God’s calling, enlightenment is not just an evening, its a way of life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Untouched

When my wife and I bought our home, we decided to forego cable initially.  On a good day for reception, 7 channels were available, with 4-5 normally visible.  Our favorite channel was Pax, tuning in weekly to catch Hope Island, a show about a pastor’s life outside of church and It’s a Miracle.  While each series had their moments, the testimonies shared on It’s a Miracle revealed a hidden truth.  Sometimes angels, divine intervention and prayer leave individuals untouched by trouble.

The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble, Proverbs 19:23.

In the Old Testament, it was common for Jewish families to recount previous miracles experienced by Israel to their children.  The Flood, Passover and possessing the Promised Land were popular stories to reflect upon.  These encounters instilled the power of God to the next generation.  Yet, King Solomon puts these accounts into their proper perspective by stressing that the fear of the Lord is the driving force behind protecting souls from trouble.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 40:10.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, its easy for some to read too much into every day events.  This sort of daily and or weekly analysis often results in a false sense of security.  Self-reliance can make an individual believe that human effort, knowledge and strength is the source of their protection.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking discounts the invisible actions of angelic beings.  Although human beings should take some credit, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and the force behind protecting souls from danger.

by Jay Mankus

 

Searching for Understanding

The other night I was counting my blessings; thankful for a having a healthy family up to this point in life.  Perhaps a spirit of pride entered my mind like a whisper proclaiming “I’m better than you.”  This feeling didn’t last long, crashing back to reality with my son being rushed to the hospital this week, then diagnosed with diabetes.

Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, Proverbs 2:3

In the hours and days which have followed, I’m in the process of searching for understanding.  Thoughts such as why does God let bad things happen to good people started this conversation in my mind.  Followed by why did my prayers go unanswered?  Drawing a blank, I guess I have to wait a while before I receive the first clue.

Then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God, Proverbs 2:5.

As a father, Solomon writes a letter to his sons, trying to prepare them for life in the real world.  Solomon urges his children to seek understanding, like Jesus urged his followers to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Yet, the first step begins with fearing the Lord.  The byproduct of this spiritual practice leads you closer to discernment.  In view of this advice from Proverbs, I have to go back to the drawing board, stop pouting and fear the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

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