JANUARY 19

Going to the Chapel

I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. JEREMIAH 32:40

Many years ago, I was asked to marry a couple in a state where I wasn't licensed to perform weddings. No big deal—on the Friday I arrived in town, I figured I'd just go down to the county recorder's office and sign the right paperwork. But I was really tired when I arrived that particular Friday afternoon, and I talked myself into taking 15 minutes to stretch out on the bed and rest my eyes. Fifteen minutes turned into more than two hours. When I woke up it was 4:15—too late to get the license.

At this point I had a choice: call my buddy to see if he knew a licensed minister who could assist me, or just let it go. Who would ever know? I was comfortable in my Plan B decision. But that night at the rehearsal, the groom asked me, "Hey, did you get down to the courthouse today and get registered?" I blinked twice and then answered, "Oh yeah, sure." My, how my conscience ate at me throughout the ceremony. And for months afterward. The Lord tightened the screws on me until I knew I had to confess.
I finally worked up the courage to call my friend and met with him. I told him, "Uh, you're not going to like hearing this, but I owe you an apology . . . and you're not legally married."

Sure, he forgave me. Yes, we went down and took care of it. But it taught me a great lesson about the state of my heart and my deep need to fear the Lord. Fearing God is what helps us keep our promises. It's what makes our word good. It's what builds faithfulness into our lives. Fearing the Lord helps us stay true to Him, true to others and true deep down within ourselves.

DISCUSS

When have you suffered from not having a right fear of God? Anything right now that's troubling you?

PRAY

Thank God for being displeased with your faithlessness—and for caring enough to keep pursuing you and calling you toward obedience.

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