Around the Web – Mental Health Edition Pt. 1

This is part one of two. The next one will deal with anxiety.

Can Depression Be Cured? Latest Research | HeadHeartHand Blog – There is good, but also disturbing news here.

Depression is a neurodegenerative systemic disorder rather than a chemical imbalance.

There is chemical imbalance in depression but the primary cause is a loss of brain tissue in key areas (and abnormal increase of brain tissue in one key area).

A number of areas in the brain are physically changed in this disorder of the stress response.

In melancholic depression (which affects 35% of those with major depression), the stress response is disordered in that when triggered it does not terminate quickly enough or sufficiently enough. It gets stuck in the “on” position.

The last paragraph above (which was actually earlier in the article) makes a lot of sense to be, as I experience this pretty much chronically.j

The parts about damage to the brain and the rest of the body is very disturbing.

I’ve always been reticent to say that ‘depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain’, because that’s mainly a guess. A few years from now, there may be other significant information to add to the equation. Unfortunately, this research is still in the beginning stages. (Maybe it’s past ‘infancy’?)

New Fast-Acting Anti-Depressant Drugs on the Way | HeadHeartHand Blog – What bothers me about this is cost, and efficacy over a long period of time.

New Depression Research: Appreciation, Critique, and Gospel Opportunities | HeadHeartHand Blog – Conclusion to the above

We can know that God created us and knew ahead of time what our how lives and bodies would end up. (Psalm 139:13-16) Believers can look forward to new heavenly bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:1-5)

Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!
Luke 12:27 HCSB

Substitute wildflowers with Thanksgiving Cactus:

Thanksgiving Cactus Flower
Photo © Jeff – Click on the photo to see a larger one

I take pictures of these almost every year, but this flower was so perfect, I had to do just one more.

Give Thanks In Bad Circumstances?

A Small Thoughts post.

It’s amazing how many times God tells us in the Bible to be thankful.

It’s mentioned three times within three verses in Colossians:

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:15-17 ESV

There are an infinite amount of things to be thankful for, and we can never be thankful enough.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says to “gives thanks in all circumstances.” But how do we do thanks in bad circumstances? Should we be thankful for them?

Back to Colossians:

We can always thank God for saving us who are believers–and all the other things he does–and for the offer for those who aren’t. This is always bigger than anything we’re going through, even though there are circumstances, sometimes ongoing, that can be absolutely overwhelming at the time.

May we experience the benefits of being thankful because of what God has first done for us. We know this is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Remember those who are struggling this Thanksgiving.

Photo of a Bible

Luther and Spurgeon on Books

After using Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System for a year and a half, while also having a dry spell for reading books at the same time, I’ve realized the importance of Scripture and have been less into reading books. I’m praying that my ambition for outside reading will return, but God has been using this period in my life to show me some things.

Scripture is what changes us and shows us who God is. Some of us really love our books, but I have to be sure to keep the right priorities. I hate to admit that it wasn’t until last year that I was able to spend much more time with the Bible than with books.

“In time,” Luther opined, “my books will lie forgotten in the dust.” This was no lament on the Reformer’s part. In fact, Luther found much “consolation” in the possibility — or rather likelihood — that his literary efforts would soon fade into oblivion. The dim view he apparently took of his own writings was intimately related to the high view he took of Sacred Scripture. Indeed, his high view of Scripture resulted in a rather dim view of all other writings, not just his own. “Through this practice [namely, writing and collecting books],” he wrote, “not only is precious time lost which could be used for studying the Scripture, but in the end the pure knowledge of the divine Word is also lost, so that the Bible lies forgotten in the dust under the bench.” Making the same point in more colorful terms, Luther complained of the “countless mass of books” written over time which, “like a crawling swarm of vermin,” had served to supplant the place which should belong to “the Bible” in the life of the Church and her people. In sum, Luther judged that folk would be better off reading and hearing the Bible than reading and hearing anything which he or anyone else had written, and the last thing he wanted to be found guilty of was producing words which distracted anyone from the Word.

–Aaron Denlinger, Reformation 21 blog

All other books might be heaped together in one pile and burned with less loss to the world than would be occasioned by the obliteration of a single page of the sacred volume [Scripture]. At their best, all other books are but as gold leaf, requiring acres to find one ounce of the precious metal. But the Bible is solid gold. It contains blocks of gold, mines, and whole caverns of priceless treasure. In the mental wealth of the wisest men there are no jewels like the truths of revelation. The thoughts of men are vanity, low, and groveling at their best. but he who has given us this book has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Let it be to you and to me a settled matter that the word of the Lord shall be honored in our minds and enshrined in our hearts. Let others speak as they may. We could sooner part with all that is sublime and beautiful, or cheering and profitable, in human literature than lose a single syllable from the mouth of God.

–C.H. Spurgeon, from the sermon “Holy Longings,” as quoted in Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke, pp. 27-28

Photo of a Bible

Difference Between Justification and Sanctification

This blog has been down for a while and I didn’t know it. I hope it’s fixed now.

I want to offer a quick quote now that it’s back up.

For at least the first decade that I was a Christian, I’m not sure if I could have told you the difference between the two, along with righteousness, or at least not explain it very well. Maybe this will be of help to some people.

Though justification and sanctification are not the same—yet God never pardons a sinner without sanctifying him. Justification and sanctification are not the same. Justification is without us, sanctification is within us. The one is by righteousness imputed, the other is by righteousness imparted. Justification is once and for all, sanctification is gradual. One person is sanctified more than another—but one cannot be more justified than another. One has more grace than another—but he is not more justified than another. The matter of our justification is perfect, namely, Christ’s righteousness; but our sanctification is imperfect, there are the spots of God’s children. Deut 32:5. Our graces are mixed, our duties are defiled.
–Thomas Watson, The Prayer of the Lord

There are those who like to use the word sanctification as ‘made holy’ when we are regenerated, and then use a different term for ongoing sanctification, like growing in Christ, or growing in our Christian life. The Puritans, like Watson, prefer the terminology in the quote, as do most of the other theologians I’ve read.

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11 HCSB

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 HCSB

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 HCSB

Vinca white

Who are the ‘Weak in Faith’?

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
Romans 14:1 NASB

Short version: read the quote below from The MacArthur Study Bible to see what ‘the weak in faith’ really means.

A few years ago when I was reading posts on Facebook, I came across a video that autoplayed (which has now been rectified) of someone dying in a car crash, or something awful like that. When someone who deals with chronic depression, or is just very sensitive sees something like that, it can send them into a deeper depression, with that image being added to all of the other images that bombard the mind, if the conditions are right. So I wrote to the person who posted it and asked him very politely if he could either give a warning, or not post material which can be so upsetting to people.

–As an aside, I wouldn’t do this now, for fear of appearing to be a Social Justice Warrior (SJW–you can look it up) These are not people who work towards legitimate social justice causes. These are people who are offended by any little thing, and I mean little. I didn’t know about them until recently. I’ve actually been less willing to talk about mental health because of this, although I’m probably over-reacting.–

Back to the story–he was extremely polite and took the video down. But, he said that he didn’t realize it may upset “the weak in faith.” I didn’t write anything back, I just let it go, because he was so understanding.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been reading Romans with some study Bibles. I found this in The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). It’s the best description I’ve seen of what the weak in faith really are. It’s definitely not people who deal with mental illness, or are extremely (legitimately) sensitive in this way for one reason or another.

weak in faith. This characterizes those believers who are unable to let go of the religious ceremonies and rituals of their past. The weak Jewish believer had difficulty abandoning the rites and prohibitions of the Old Covenant; he felt compelled to adhere to dietary laws, observe the Sabbath, and offer sacrifices in the temple. The weak Gentile believer had been steeped in pagan idolatry and its rituals; he felt that any contact with anything remotely related to his past, including eating meat that had been offered to a pagan deity and then sold in the marketplace, tainted him with sin. Both had very sensitive consciences in these areas, and were not yet mature enough to be free of those convictions.

passing judgment on his opinions. The mature believer should not sit in judgment on the sincere but underdeveloped thoughts that govern the weak believer’s conduct.

Certainly, there are similar things that would be applicable here. Anything that might fall into “a weakness of conscience causing him [someone] to think that something lawful is actually sinful”, as the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible puts it.

Study Bible Image

Puritan Prayer-Desires

This is a portion of a prayer from The Valley of Vision titled Desires.

Let thy Spirit help my infirmities,
for I know not what to pray for as I ought.
Let him produce in me wise desires by which
I may ask right things,
then I shall know thou hearest me.
May I never be importunate for temporal blessings,
but always refer them to thy fatherly goodness,
for thou knowest what I need before I ask;
May I never think I prosper unless my soul prospers,
or that I am rich unless rich toward thee,
or that I am wise unless wise unto salvation.
May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness.
May I value things in relation to eternity.
May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude.
May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have
thy blessing,
rather than be successful in enterprise,
or have more than my heart can wish,
or be admired by my fellow-men,
if thereby these things make me forget thee.

Reading these prayers is like reading Scripture that’s put together as a poem. I added these verses to go with almost every line of the prayer.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Romans 8:26 KJV (all)

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
1 John 5:14

Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Matthew 6:8

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 6:33

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:19

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:15

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness,
than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Proverbs 28:6

give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say,
Who is the Lord?
or lest I be poor, and steal,
and take the name of my God in vain.
Proverbs 30:8b-9

See their online devotional.

Praying

Philippians 4:13-What Is Everything or All Things?

This is a Repost from 2008 (if you’d like to see the comments), except a comic from Adam4d has been added here that a friend tipped me off to, and an addendum. Also, this post was written when the TNIV was the update of the NIV which they released in 2005, before they changed it back to NIV in 2011. (If that’s confusing, there’s basically an original NIV from 1978 and it has been updated, with the TNIV rendering the same as the [more] updated NIV.)

Comic - Philippians 4:13

Click on the comic to go to his site.

Philippians 4:13 NASB
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NIV [’78]
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 TNIV/NIV [2011]
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I really like the TNIV rendering. Can you imagine if the TNIV was the standard rendering throughout the years how this wouldn’t be constantly taken out of context (shown below) and/or misinterpreted? Even if it is a little bit interpretive.

Philippians 4:11-13 TNIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I’m not only learning the importance of context [and still am] but also that the word all or everything isn’t always “an amount or quantity from which nothing is left out or held back” even in English:

Everything
1.
a. All things or all of a group of things.
b. All relevant matters: told each other everything.
2. The most important fact or consideration: In business, timing is everything.
American Heritage Dictionary

Addendum:
This has implications for a lot of Bible interpretation.

Two books based on Philippians 4:11 are The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment and The Art of Contentment, both written by Puritans. I’ve read both and they’re excellent. The latter is shorter, but I prefer the former.

Will you be content by running up and down in the ship?

It isn’t often that the Puritan authors would write with such force, but sometimes it’s warranted. This is at the end of a portion where he is writing about the power and reach of God’s providence in everything.

So I may say to every discontented, impatient heart: what, shall the providence of God change its course for you? Do you think it such a weak thing, that because it does not please you it must alter its course? Whether or not you are content the providence of God will go on, it has an efficacy of power, of virtue, to carry all things before it. Can you make one hair black or white with all the stir that you are making? When you are in a ship at sea which has all its sails spread with a full gale of wind, and is swiftly sailing, can you make it stand still by running up and down in the ship? No more can you make the providence of God alter and change its course with your vexing and fretting; it will go on with power, do what you can. Do but understand the power and efficacy of providence and it will be a mighty means helping you to learn this lesson of contentment.

–Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

This is but just one of the many components of learning contentment.

Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13

Contentment

Romans 5:7 – Die for a Good or Righteous Man?

I’ve been reading Romans in a study Bible. I’ve never used a study Bible for reading. My wife and pastor friend have done it and benefitted from it, so I thought I’d try it for something different. I chose the Reformation Study Bible because I liked what I saw of the notes when I used it briefly in the past.

As I was reading through Romans 5, I saw that there isn’t a note for verse 7.

I used to get hung up on what type of a man, of these two types, was a better person a worldly person might die for. Now I think it’s just a literary device that Paul used. So I found these in other study Bibles, the ESV being especially helpful. To see how I came to this, you can see the Stuff and Bother below if you’d like.

As uncommon as such a sacrifice is, Paul’s point is that we were neither of these persons— yet Christ sacrificed Himself for us.

NASB, The MacArthur Study Bible, by John F. MacArthur

Rom. 5:7–8 On rare occasions, even a human being will die for a righteous (morally upright) person or for a good person (one who has done much good). God’s love, however, belongs in an entirely different category from human love, for Christ did not die for righteous people or those who have done good for others but for sinners, that is, for ungodly, unrighteous people living in willful rebellion against God. It is not just Christ’s love that was shown in his death but also God the Father’s love. While God’s righteousness and justice led to his plan of salvation through the death of Christ (see Romans 3:25–26), it was his love that motivated this plan.

ESV Study Bible

Stuff and Bother
As noted above, I’m using a study Bible for reading and more ‘shallow’ study. The notes, which I don’t read all of, can be helpful in tipping me off to things, like how trinitarian the first part of Romans 1 is, as an example.

When I didn’t find anything on verse 7, I remembered that I have the MacArthur Study Bible on my phone in Kindle format. Then I thought about how I have the ESV Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible, both of which have online versions (and the NIV somewhere too). So while reading chapter 5, I decided to use all four at the same time. The ESV and the NLT are each in a separate browser tab. The HCSB Study Bible used to be online, but apparently, it’s not anymore, or I’d use that too. I’ve chosen not to use the big commentaries for now, but I plan to next year.

I need to be lying down most of the time, so I can’t sit at a table with a lot of books around me. It’s a nice setup, although I probably won’t use it much in the future. I also have the ‘dead people commentaries’ in e-Sword if I need them.

I’d like to write more about Bible reading I’ve done and plan on doing in the future, if I have the ambition.

Photo of a Bible

Contentment in Self-Denial

One thing I’ve been noticing in reading the Bible, especially Psalms and NT letters, is how often we’re asked to be thankful, which I see as a parallel to the quote below.

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2

Whatever the Lord shall lay upon us, yet he is righteous for he has to deal with a most wretched creature. A discontented heart is troubled because he has no more comfort, but a self-denying man rather wonders that he has as much as he has. Oh, says the one, I have but a little; Aye, says the man who has learned this lesson of self-denial, but I rather wonder that God bestows upon me the liberty of breathing in the air, knowing how vile I am, and knowing how much sin the Lord sees in me. And that is the way of contentment, by learning self-denial.

The lesson of self-denial is the first lesson that Jesus Christ teaches men who are seeking contentment.

–Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Contentment

Puritan Prayer

A selection from The Infinite and the Finite:

Turn my heart from vanity,
from dissatisfactions,
from uncertainties of the present state,
to an eternal interest in Christ.
Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen,
and is only an opportunity for usefulness;
Give me a holy avarice to redeem the time.

Let me live a life of self-distrust,
dependence on thyself,
mortification,
crucifixion,
prayer.

From The Valley of Vision

Praying

Contentment – The Wrong Way

I’m reading The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs. About three years ago I read The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson. I don’t remember a lot about the latter except that there was a big revelation for me in that murmuring is sinful. That I haven’t forgotten (for the most part). I wrote a post about that.

In dealing with various conditions, contentment is one of the most difficult things. These authors don’t make it any easier. If anything, they explain how difficult it is, and how much grace we need to learn (Philippians 4:11) it. The Puritans don’t coddle the reader, nor are they harsh or without encouragement.

If you’re pressed for time, just read the first paragraph.

Let me spend my thoughts in thinking what my duty is, ‘O’, says a man whose condition is changed and who has lost his wealth, ‘Had I but my wealth, as I had heretofore, how would I use it to his glory? God has made me see that I did not honor him with my possessions as I ought to have done. O if I had it again, I would do better than I did before.’ But this may be but a temptation. You should rather think, ‘What does God require of me in the circumstances I am now brought into?’ You should labor to bring your heart to quiet and contentment by setting your soul to work in the duties of your present condition. And the truth is, I know nothing more effective for quieting a Christian soul and getting contentment than this, setting your heart to work in the duties of the immediate circumstances that you are now in, and taking heed of your thoughts about other conditions as a mere temptation.

I cannot better compare the folly of those men and women who think they will get contentment by musing about other circumstances than to the way of children: perhaps they have climbed a hill and look a good way off and see another hill, and they think if they were on the top of that, they would be able to touch the clouds with their fingers; but when they are on the top of that hill, alas, they are as far from the clouds as they were before. So it is with many who think, If I were in such circumstances, then I should have contentment; and perhaps they get into circumstances, and they are as far from contentment as before. But then they think that if they were in other circumstances, they would be contented, but when they have got into those circumstances, they are still as far from contentment as before. No, no, let me consider what is the duty of my present circumstances, and content my heart with this, and say, ‘Well, though I am in a low position, yet I am serving the counsels of God in those circumstances where I am; it is the counsel of God that has brought me into these circumstances that I am in, and I desire to serve the counsel of God in these circumstances.

–Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Monergism Ebook Edition

Don’t long for “the good old days.”
Ecclesiastes 7:10

Around the Web

What Every Book of the New Testament Is About

Matthew
“A distinctive feature of Matthew is its arrangement into alternating sections of narrative and discourse.”

Mark
‘The shortest Gospel, and perhaps the basis for Matthew and Luke. Mark is the “action Gospel,” with the word immediately appearing some 35 times.’

Luke
“The humanitarian Gospel, with much attention to marginalized members of society. The longest Gospel, covering more of Jesus’s life than the others.”

John
“The poetic Gospel, embodying much of its meaning in great symbols such as light, bread, and water.”

A Family Affair | Carl R. Trueman | First Things

I was reading Leviticus 18 a few weeks ago and noticed how homosexuality is apparently tucked into all of these other things.

“Never have sexual intercourse with anyone related to you by blood. I am the LORD.
7 “Never have sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your own mother. Never have sexual intercourse with her. 8 Never have sexual intercourse with your stepmother. She is related to you through your father.

22Never have sexual intercourse with a man as with a woman. It is disgusting. 23 Never have sexual intercourse with any animal and become unclean with it. A woman must never offer herself to an animal for sexual intercourse. It is unnatural.
Leviticus 18:6-8, 22-23 GW

So, much of our society demands that we think homosexual behavior is normal and good, but all of these other things are not. (Homosexual behavior is addressed all throughout the Bible, not just in the Old Testament.) So I was wondering if our society would ever see incest as OK, as long as it’s between two consenting adults. Carl Trueman addresses a real-life example of a mother and daughter in the article linked above.

How “Spurgeon’s Priority” Can Change Your Life – B&H Academic
“You may wonder how a person as accomplished as Spurgeon was able to spend so much time reading the Bible and praying.”

Thriving tradesmen are early risers, and thriving saints seek Jesus eagerly. Those who find Jesus to their enrichment give their hearts to seeking him. We must seek him first, and thus earliest. Above all things Jesus. Jesus first, and nothing else even as a bad second.

Underwater Dogs
Click the photo to see Seth Casteel underwater dog photos

The Fear of God

The fear of God has been one of my favorite subjects. Unfortunately, it’s very misunderstood. This may be partly because it isn’t mentioned much anymore, and many tend to understand the word fear as fright, and only fright. The fear of God is a very multi-faceted doctrine (teaching). It doesn’t just mean awe. There are some translations like the NET which have replaced the word fear with awe, and I think that really flattens out the meaning.

Although I haven’t read a book devoted to this subject, it’s mentioned very often in books, in addition to, of course, the Bible (Genesis 22:12, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, Psalms 2:11, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 50:10, Acts 9:31, Revelation 14:6-7, for a good representation). I’ve been learning that the fear of God starts out with the realization of our sin, and realizing what we’ve been saved from. Because believers have been saved from sin, and from God’s wrath, we want to obey God not because we’re afraid of him (1 John 4:18), but because we’ve come to appreciate how good his commands are, and to do what our Father tells us, because he’s spelled out the best way to live our lives (Psalm 119, Romans 12:2).

The dread of you makes my flesh creep;
I stand in awe of your decrees.
Psalm 119:120 REB

I will let my two favorite quotes speak about what it means, and there is a very short video below them if you’d like to watch and listen to it.

Biblical fear is not simply “alarm” or “fright,” nor is it simply “dread”; and even “awe” does not fully capture the fear that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Biblical fear—in its right and mature expression—is a humble and loving response to the character of God. Such fear rightly perceives the awesome and even terrifying power of God, but this perception is tempered with marveling that one so majestic is so concerned for his people.

God is infinite in power but intimate in love. He creates and sustains the universe and yet is present with us. As the earliest of biblical writers said, such knowledge is “too wonderful for me,” and its glorious revelation always takes the blood from our faces and the strength from our knees (Job 42:3). These responses may mirror the human behaviors before a tyrannosaurus, but we would be quite mistaken to say that biblical fear is anything like that fear.

Biblical fear is not merely concern for possible harm. Rather, biblical fear is proper regard for all God discloses about himself in his glory: lordship with love, infinitude with intimacy, an all-powerful hand with a redeeming heart.2 We do not have a single word that adequately translates the term for biblical fear, but we do have a clear example to remove all questions as to its basic meaning. Isaiah prophesies of the coming Messiah, saying that “the fear of the LORD” will “rest on him” and “he will delight in the fear of the LORD” (Isa. 11:2, 3 NIV).

Jesus fears God, and he delights to do so. This means that the relationship of God the Father and God the Son ultimately exemplifies biblical fear. Since we know eternal and infinite love exists between the Father and the Son, we must understand that Christ’s fear cannot simply be terror. Perfect love must drive out that kind of fear (1 John 4:18). Jesus’ intimacy and humility with his heavenly Father reveals that his fear is proper regard for the full spectrum of divine attributes—including his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and love.

Bryan Chapell, The Glory of God, page 191–chapter on A Pastoral Theology of the Glory of God

Christian said, “Without a doubt the right fear can be a good thing, for as the Word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’”1

“How would you describe right fear?” Hopeful inquired.

Christian explained, “True or right fear can be known by three things. First, by what causes it: the right kind of fear is caused by saving conviction of sin. Secondly, a good fear drives the soul to quickly lay hold of Christ for salvation. And thirdly, this fear begins and sustains in the soul a great reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. It keeps the soul tender, making it afraid to turn right or left from His Word and ways. It makes the soul sensitive to anything that might dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak against God.”

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, Crossway Edition

1 Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28

The Fear of God and A Sense of Sin from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Also see:
Saturday à Machen: Joy in the Fear of God | Bouncing into Graceland

Fear God

Around the Web: Prayer and ‘Advice’ for Sufferers Edition

Do You Pray Like a Nonbeliever? | Desiring God – One of the more important posts I’ve seen in a long time.

Seen & Heard – Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer | MOS – Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

There are a number of reasons that could be given as to why Christians should “Pray the Bible,” but the ones below combine to make a rather convincing argument:

  1. Praying scripturally will teach us what prayer is, even while we do it.
  2. It will correct “shopping list” views of prayer which abound in the Christian community. (emphasis added)
  3. It will begin to solve in our own minds the question of “unanswered prayer.”
  4. It will remind us of just how much there is to pray about day by day.

Stupid Phrases for People in Crisis – One of the best articles I’ve seen on this subject.

Suffering

Also see:
Complete List of Paul's Prayers | Scripture Zealot blog