Growing In Godliness Blog
“What an Awesome God You Are”
By Steve Gwin
After the church sings the song “Listen To Our Hearts” in one of our assemblies, I will have the chorus of that song in my mind for several days. I recently learned there is a name for that: earworm. The words in the chorus that reoccur in my mind most often are: “We will use the words we know to tell You what an awesome God You are.” Truly, “our God is an awesome God,” which are words in another song, “Awesome God,” that the church also sings. Let’s think about what an awesome God we have.
In the New King James Version of the Bible, awesome is used to describe God in several verses:
- In Deuteronomy 7:21, when the nation of Israel would soon be entering the Promised Land, Moses told them not to be terrified because the Lord, “the great and awesome God,” is among them. God is awesome in power to give victory to His people.
- In Deuteronomy 10:17 Moses explained that “the great God, mighty and awesome” administers justice for the fatherless and the widow. One reason God is awesome is because He cares for those in need.
- Nehemiah said, “I pray LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,” (Nehemiah 1:5). Another reason God is awesome is because He always keeps His promises.
- “For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth,” (Psalm 47:2). Our awesome God is King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15).
- As David praised God in Psalm 68:35, he wrote, “O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.” God is awesome in His holiness.
- “Holy and awesome is His name.” (Psalm 111:9) Every aspect of God is awesome.
- Jeremiah wrote of the hardships he faced from those who did not want him to tell them the Lord’s words, but Jeremiah took strength and comfort in knowing that “the LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One” (Jeremiah 20:11). In our struggles against evil, we can be strengthened and comforted by remembering that the awesome God is with us.
- When the 70 years of Babylonian captivity were nearing their end, Daniel prayed, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments” (Daniel 9:4). Daniel was confident God would keep His promise to return His people to their land, and we too can be confident that God will take those who love Him and keep His commandments to heaven, because our God is an awesome God.
The word awesome is used to describe God’s works, “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!’” (Psalms 66:3). After God promised David that He would set up his seed and establish his kingdom forever, David praised God, “And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name – and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land – before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods?” (2 Samuel 7:23). We should praise God for the awesome deeds He accomplished to deliver us from our sins.
The song “Awesome God” mentions four characteristics of our awesome God: His reign, His wisdom, His power, and His love.
- “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne,” (Psalms 47:8). When we hear news of nations developing missiles and nuclear warheads, our anxious minds can be put at ease by remembering that our awesome God reigns over the nations.
- “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen,” (1 Timothy 1:17). Because our awesome God has all wisdom, we should trust His way and not depend on our own understanding, (Proverbs 3:5).
- As King David neared the end of his life, he blessed the Lord before all the assembled Israelites, “ Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all,” (1 Chronicles 29:11). We, too, should bless our awesome God before others.
- The apostle Paul wrote of the awesome love our awesome God has for us, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39).
Let us use the words we know to tell Him what an awesome God He is!
Jesus Increased in Wisdom
By Paul Earnhart
Very little is known about the childhood of Jesus. Many fictitious stories have been circulated; some have even been dramatized on television. But all we really know is what the Bible tells us. And all that the Bible tells us about His life in Nazareth, before He was twelve years old, is found in Luke 2:52. That verse tells us that Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.
It is interesting to learn that Jesus increased in wisdom. Though He was the Son of God, it is evident that in becoming a man He gave up His divine knowledge of all things. The fact that He INCREASED in wisdom proves that He did not have it all as an infant.
Jesus must have increased in wisdom as all other young people do. Doubtless He gained some wisdom from the instruction of His parents. Good parents are important to a young person's development.
We can believe also that He increased in wisdom through life’s experiences and through observation of life around Him.
I do not know if schools were available to Him or not. From some source He learned to read and write, and we can be sure that He took advantage of every opportunity of this kind.
Prayer must have had its part even for Jesus as a child. James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God and it will be given to us (Jas 1:5). Of course, when we pray for daily bread, we work for it also. And as Jesus prayed for wisdom from God, He must have read and studied God's word which is a major channel through which God gives us wisdom.
Jesus is an example for young people and older people as well. Each one of us should take advantage of every opportunity to grow in wisdom.
Gospel for All
By Larry Coffey
The Bible clearly teaches the gospel of Christ is available for everyone who seeks it. While reading a book on the life of Walter Scott, a preacher in the early 19th century, I noted two good examples of this fact. Scott moved to Carthage, OH, a small village near Cincinnati and lived there 13 years. When he moved there, the village was described as flourishing with drunkenness, profanity, idleness, and neglect of the public and private duties of religion. The single redeeming feature was a Sunday school where an incident of interest took place on Scott’s first visit.
In one of the classes was a bright girl about 13 years old, who, along with others, had to find the answer to the question, “What shall I do to be saved?” She searched her Bible and found the answer in Acts 2:38. When the day came for the class to answer the question, she was the only one with a ready answer. With a feeling of childish triumph, she quoted the passage: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Rather than receiving the teacher’s approval, she was disappointed to learn she had not given a satisfactory answer. Soon the class was over and the superintendent asked the same question. She rose and quoted Acts 2:38, but her answer was not approved again. She cried and wondered why her answer was not accepted. Just after this, Scott preached in the village school house and the little Sunday school scholar was present. To her surprise his text was the very passage she had read in Sunday school. Her response to his lesson was a request to be baptized. Her example caused six men to step forward and be baptized at the same time.
These proved to be the first fruits of a great harvest. Many more soon also obeyed the gospel. Among the converts was one who had long held in the village an unenviable notoriety—a poor fellow who was regarded as the most hopeless of an exceedingly irreligious and immoral population. He was a clever, dissipated good-for-nothing by the name of Parker. When it was announced in the village that a strange preacher was to be there to hold a series of meetings, for reasons unknown, Parker decided to attend. After a few nights of sitting on the back row, he came forward to be baptized. Needless to say, Walter Scott looked upon him with surprise and astonishment.
After Parker’s conversion, he made this statement: “I was as great a sinner as any of you; a drunkard, a gambler, poor, miserable, and wretched. But now I am redeemed from my former ways and have become a man.” As far as was known, both Parker and the 13-year-old girl remained faithful the rest of their lives. The cases mentioned show that the gospel can be brought to the comprehension of a little child and its power can be felt by one as wicked as Parker. Walter Scott’s labors resulted in planting a church that had 200 members within about two years from his first visit.
Jesus Increased in Stature
By Paul Earnhart
Luke 2:52 tells us that in the years before Jesus was 12-years old, He increased in stature. This tells us something about both Jesus and His mother, Mary.
To say that Jesus increased in stature is to say that he grew normally, that he was healthy and strong in body. We know well what is required for such growth. It requires good wholesome food, exercise, proper rest and clean habits.
Many young people want a good strong body for appearance or for success in sports. But Jesus had a greater reason for taking care of His body. His body was given to Him by God, and it was God 's intention that He should use it for the years that He was on earth. So, Jesus cared for it and did what was necessary to increase in strength.
All of us can say that our bodies are a gift of God. They are to be used for His service. This gives us special reason to care for them, to observe the rules of good health and to avoid tobacco, intoxicating drinks and other drugs that weaken our bodies, scramble our brains, and shorten our lives.
Mary is also to be praised for her part in the physical growth of Jesus. Doubtless she was the one who prepared his good meals, encouraged him in exercise and taught him good habits of cleanliness. Mothers have a special responsibility along these lines. It is sad to see Mothers today who are too busy or too occupied with social affairs or pleasure to take proper care of their children. Solomon said, "A chiId left to himself is the shame of his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). That is still true. If you are a mother reading this message, what kind of mother are you? Are you the kind in whose hands God would have entrusted His Son? He has entrusted a child or children to your care. Be sure you help them grow in stature as Jesus did.
By Paul Earnhart
When Jesus was twelve years old, His parents took him to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. These journeys to Jerusalem must have been festive occasions. All devout Jews made the journey. A large company would set out from each village - friends, acquaintances and families travelling together, walking along the road visiting as they went. It is easy to imagine older people walking together while the younger folks and children walked with those their own age.
After spending perhaps a week in Jerusalem, the people began the long walk back to Nazareth. Historians tell us that it was common for worshipers as they were leaving Jerusalem to make one more visit to the temple. And it is likely that the 12-year-old Jesus became so deeply interested in what was going on there that He did not even know when His parents left. Luke 2:43 tells us that the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents were unaware of it. And verse 44 tells us that they did not even miss Him until nightfall. When they finally found Jesus back in Jerusalem three days later, they asked, "Son, why have You treated us this way?" (Luke 2:48) But the problem was not with Jesus, it was with them.
Why was Jesus lost? It was not that He was rebellious; it was not that His parents were wicked or selfish. Rather, they were careless; Luke 2:44 tells us that they supposed He was with their relatives and friends.
Millions of children are being lost today - spiritually. It is not that they are rebellious, or necessarily that their parents are wicked or selfish. It is just that parents are careless about the religious training of their children. Perhaps they think that someone else is taking care of that - maybe friends or acquaintances. But that responsibility is placed directly on parents, and they cannot escape it. Eph 6:4 says to parents: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”