devotions

Awesome

The term “awesome” gets thrown around often in my life.  I have been known to tell people of an awesome new show I am watching, or brag about something that my kid has done that was just awesome, or in regards to a spectacular play made in the sporting arena.  I have even eaten some awesome food.  Over the years I have gotten in the habit of using the word so often, and in reference to so many things, that it has become essentially meaningless.

About a week ago my son let me know that the word awesome was not allowed in one of the classes of the school he attends.  I have to admit, I was shocked to find this out.  Why would such a word be banned in class?  I can understand curse words.  I can understand words that could have racist meanings or origins.  I can even understand words with a toilet humor attached to them.  The word “awesome”, though, seems to be a strange word to ban.

In an attempt to wrap my brain around why such a word would be on a banned list I asked my son if he had been told why the word shouldn’t be used, and he said something that I have to admit rocked me.

‘Dad, we should only stand in awe of God and who He is.  Awesome is a word that should be reserved for God.’

I have to admit that I had never thought of things in this way, but the more I think about it, the more I understand it to be true.  God is awesome.

In Scripture we find the word awesome used 33 times in the Old Testament, and One time in the New Testament.  Each usage is pointing to God in some way or another. I have no desire to seem legalistic, or to assign sin to the use of this word to anything other than God, but talking to my son has opened my eyes to how I should be using this word.  As an act of worship, I will only use this word in response to God.  There is nothing on Earth that compares to Him.

God alone is awesome

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Naked in the Cold

This morning I woke up and began to prepare to take the kids to the bus stop for school.  I looked at the thermometer and noticed that it was a brisk 16 degrees, and the wind was blowing strong.  According to the news the wind-chill was in the single digits.  Needless to say, it was cold.

In order to go out to the bus stop, even for just a few minutes I put on my thickest coat, my hat with ear flaps and my gloves.  I took every effort to remain warm.  I had my children do the same.  We prepared for the weather that was outside the door.

I never would have thought to go into the cold world naked.  I may not be the smartest man in the world, but I know that going naked into the cold would never work.  If I had, though, I would have rushed back inside almost instantaneously and it would be a long time before I went out again.

You may find this entire line of thought silly, but for most of us this is exactly how we approach Evangelism.  We do little to prepare ourselves during our day to day life, and in a moment of conviction we venture into the cold world to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are unprepared for the weather outside the door.

We of course know a couple of verses, and maybe (or maybe not) we say a short prayer before going out, and we can stumble our way though the Gospel message.  If anything deeper than that is required we do not have the tools to engage.  In many ways this is like going into a driving snow storm in shorts and a T-Shirt.  We have some clothes on, but we have not taken the time to fully dress for the weather.

It is little wonder that most Christians share the Gospel quickly and run back inside, regretting going out in the first place.  The cold was so great, and they were so unprepared, it will take them a long time to get the guts to go back out.  If they go back out at all.

Who can blame them though?  If I ran outside naked I wouldn’t go back out either.  In fact, I have to applaud the effort since I know the guts it took to do so were great.  Very few Christians even make it that far.

What would happen though if the Christian daily spent time in deep Bible intake (not just skim reading for mileage), and prayer?   The Christian would then venture into the cold world with a far greater covering.  The depth of the Christians spiritual growth would be the coat, pants, hat, and gloves.  They would be better prepared for the cold world that awaits them.

This doesn’t happen quickly or easily though.  Unlike bundling up for the cold these must be put on over time and they grow in thickness and effectiveness as the Christian grows in the Lord.  The longer the Christian truly practices Scripture intake and deep prayer the better prepared he/she will be for evangelism.  It may still be cold outside, and it probably will still be uncomfortable, but unlike for the naked Christian the job will be possible.

When evangelism is hard, and seems like an impossible task perhaps the Christian should not think that evangelism is too hard.  Perhaps they should consider their devotional life to see if they are practicing it as they should, or even practicing it at all.

We have been commanded to venture into the cold.  We better make sure we are prepared to do so…

J.W. Willard