One of my favorite Dad stories began when my friend Katy and I made some chocolate pudding, and in devouring a bowlful, got it all over our faces. So we proceeded to paint mustaches and beards on our faces. When we noticed the similarity to blood, we decided to mix up an even better concoction to play a trick on my dad. Once perfected, Katy smeared some on my face, arms, and legs and I went running into the front yard screaming, “He hurt me, he hurt me!”

When he heard my cries, Dad bolted from under the car in our driveway and went crazy with questions. “Who hurt you? Where is he?”

Surprised at how easily Dad fell for it, I pointed up the street. Unfortunately, a boy just happened to be riding his bike away from our house and Dad took off after him. Boy could my dad run! In a panic, I ran after him as fast I could , screaming, “It’s a joke! It’s ketchup! Don’t’ hurt him, Dad!”

I was both relieved and terrified when my dad heard me and stopped to come back. The boy didn’t get hurt, but I just might.

When he got closer, I could see both anger and relief. His face was red and he was breathing hard as he knelt and took ahold of my arms. Dad gave me a little shake, and said, “Don’t ever do that again!” Then he pulled me in and held me, saying, “I’m so glad you’re ok. I was about to pummel that poor kid!”

We both cried. I was infinitely relieved I didn’t get a spanking, and vowed never again to decorate my body with ketchup.

That’s a picture of God. He loves us even more than my dad loved me, but He is also to be feared and obeyed. That’s why the Bible says:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
    To him belongs eternal praise.

Ps. 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but foolsdespise wisdom and instruction.

Prov. 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Prov. 9:10

Not only is it smart to have a healthy fear of God, it’s also a source of hope.

You’re never too young, too old, too bad, too inexperienced, too rich, or too poor to go to heaven. If you want in, you will not be denied. But you must believe that God is who He says He is in the Bible—Holy and Perfect, and that Jesus, His Son, died for your sins and will forgive you if you ask Him to. And then obey Him.

Believe.

Ask.

Receive.

Obey.

I loved my dad, but I also feared him. I wanted to make him proud of me, so I did my best to obey him. And we had a close relationship because I not only loved him, but respected him. That’s how I want to serve God, so He will be pleased with me, and so I will live with Him forever. That hope will never be cut off.

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Prov. 23:17-18

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
    If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Prov. 24:14

Hope that begins with fear is sweeter than honey.

“Holy Water” We the Kingdom