Fearless Fridays

Living Free From Fear

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322. Fear Not Your Prayer is Heard

Posted by John Smith on February 17, 2017

9305740605_8e6b23968c_zLuke 1:11-13 NKJV  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  (12)  And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.  (13)  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

Zacharias has gone into the temple of the Lord to perform his priestly duties and suddenly an angel appears right next to the altar he was preparing.  Certainly this would be a startling situation and many would become afraid having never seen an angel before, afraid of what he was going to say, or afraid of any number of other things one might begin to think when and angel from the Lord just shows up in front of you in the middle of your work day.  But I want to focus on what happens next.  The angel tells Zacharias, “Fear Not… for your prayer is heard… (KJV)”

What a powerful reason to not be afraid and another wonderful reason to pray.  The angel told him not to fear, because God had heard his prayer.  WOW!

God always hears you when you pray.  The 65th Psalm verse 2 addresses God as, “O You who hear prayer…” the word for hear used here means attentive listening and understanding.  The Lord is always attentively listening to our prayers and even when our prayers make little sense to us… He understands them.

Our loving and incredibly gracious Father is attentively listening to our prayer.  He always hears you when you pray.  Therefore we never have to fear.

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321. Are You Afraid of the Truth?

Posted by John Smith on February 10, 2017

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.Mark 11:28-33 NKJV  And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”  (29)  But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:  (30)  The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”  (31)  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  (32)  But if we say, ‘From men’ “—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed.  (33)  So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

People lie for all kinds of reasons.  People lie to try to obtain favor.  People lie to make themselves look better.  People lie to get stuff, to hurt others, and people lie because they are afraid.  These guys didn’t really care about the answer or what the truth was, they were afraid of being wrong and losing prestige.  They were afraid of the Truth so they didn’t tell the truth.

Never be afraid to speak the truth.  People that are afraid to tell the truth are often also afraid of the truth.  A commitment to honesty, honest interactions with others and living a life of transparency devoid of deception is a surefire way to destroy the power of fear in your life.

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320. Identity, Purpose, Strategy

Posted by John Smith on February 3, 2017

Mark 11:18 NKJV  And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.

You might remember the nursery rhyme, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? The big bad wolf? The big bad wolf…” But certainly not, who’s afraid of Jesus?  Yet the scribes and chief priests were threatened and terrified by the teaching of Jesus.  They were afraid of losing their power and position among the people they were called to serve, but instead looked at as people sent to serve them.  They were afraid of losing their power so much that they were willing to destroy others for it.

Jesus certainly didn’t want His followers to leave Him, betray Him, nor deny Him, yet He wasn’t afraid of them leaving Him either.  Jesus’ confidence in who He was/is, His purpose, and His commitment to serve others empowered Him to not fear when others weren’t so sure footed and left him.

Pastors, church leadership, ministry leaders, and church goers however often fear when they attendance begins to wain within a church.  They are afraid the bills won’t be paid, that the work won’t be done (or they will have to do even more of it themselves), other people won’t see them as influential anymore, that they aren’t a good speaker, or their own feeling of self-worth is being threatened all of which is distracting them from where their focus should lie.

You see whether its people leaving your church or leaving your life you will have the opportunity to fear, but you don’t have to.  It was Jesus’ confidence in His relationship with the Father and knowing who He was that protected Him from the fear that comes when our identity is wrapped up in people or what we do.  It was the surety in His purpose that allowed Him to fearlessly stand against the pressures that said you are going under and fulfill His purpose when nobody else was left to stand with Him.  It was His commitment to serve that protected Him from the fear of what others said about Him, fear of how many followed Him, or what they thought about Him.

In life and in local churches, people will come and go.  You don’t have to be moved to fear during those times.  The scribes and chief priests feared for selfish reasons… all fear is selfish, but knowing your identity, your purpose, and your strategy to see it through will keep you steady and fearless when people leave.

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319. The Gospel Message Will Free You From Fear

Posted by John Smith on January 27, 2017

the-gospel-and-fear-1024x657Mark 10:32 NKJV  Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him:

Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem for what Jesus knew to be the last time.  The disciples were committed to follow Him and though they were accompanying Him, they were amazed by the readiness and cheerfulness of Jesus at traveling to a city where He has so much opposition and so many powerful enemies.  Though Jesus was fearlessly leading the way the disciples became increasingly afraid the closer they came to Jerusalem.  “Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him:”

In ministering to His now fearful disciples, Jesus instructed them about the plan of God for the redemption of mankind.  He taught them from the Scripture prophecies that foretold of the events about to unfold in His suffering, death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection from the dead. This was Jesus’ method to address their fears… He boldly told them He would die.  Thankfully, He also told them He would raise again.  He preached to them the good news of the Gospel.

We live in turbulent times for sure.  New threats and terrors are occurring daily in the world around us, but like Jesus’ first disciples our Lord Has sought to silence our fears with His Word.

He told us that the world would become increasingly volatile, that wars and race conflicts, natural disasters and terror would regularly occur (Matt 24) as signs of His return.  The Bible tells us of the early churches persecutions and we see a rise in the persecution of the Church of today as well, but He doesn’t want us to fear.  And the answer to the fears we face today is the same answer that He gave to His disciples on that last trip to Jerusalem.  The answer is the Gospel.

It is the Gospel of Christ that allows us to boldly and fearlessly walk in turbulent times.  Jesus suffered, was crucified, and rose again rescuing us from death, redeeming us from sin.  When we place our faith in Him our eternity is secured and peace is found.  Because of what Jesus has done for you and me and the promises found in the Word to reside in peace no matter the external storm we can live fearless in life.  Maybe it’s time to take some time aside with the Lord and allow God the Holy Spirit, our teacher to review all He’s done and secured for us through Christ.  The Gospel Message will free you from fear.  Fear Not!

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318. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Posted by John Smith on January 20, 2017

reso2Mark 9:31-32 NKJV  For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”  (32)  But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

We’ve all been in a situation where someone says something that they obviously think we understand what they are talking about or are expecting us to do… but it reality we are unsure or have no clue.  We want to ask but are afraid that we’ll look foolish, ignorant, and the person will think less of us, so we just smile and nod our head uncomfortably while we try to figure out what they are saying.  Jesus just got done telling His disciples very plaining what would soon take place regarding His death, burial and resurrection and even though this wasn’t the first time He’d spoken to them about it they still didn’t understand and were terrified to ask Him.

It’s easy to fault them for not understanding, but none of these guys had been born-again yet so none of them have the Teacher the Holy Spirit living within them.  Besides that, nothing that Jesus was telling them lined up with their understanding or present day doctrines regarding the Christ.  They didn’t understand and were afraid of looking foolish or even of being rebuked.  They may have remembered the last time Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection, when Peter took Jesus aside and tried to rebuke Him only to have Jesus soundly correct Peter (Mark 8:31-33).  Peter too could have asked for Jesus to explain, but having been rebuked he was afraid too.

I often read the Word and come across things I don’t understand, when I do it’s easy to ask the Lord in the privacy of my family room or office what it means.  Often I’ll put a question mark next to the passage or write it down to look up later and inquire of the Lord when I have more time to study and let Him teach me.  But in public it is more difficult to ask for another explanation or for clarification because we become afraid of looking like a fool.

Well it’s better to ask a question and look like a fool for 5 minutes, then not to ask and stay one. If you don’t ask questions, you’re not going to find out what the answer is. Don’t be afraid of asking them, because ultimately people will appreciate your curiosity.  Even better than that, clarity will come and you can confidently continue with understanding of the subject matter or the expectations that you’ve been given.  So whether it’s your pastor, your boss, or your doctor; don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what they are saying.  It’s that simple.  Asking questions will alleviate anxiety and bring the information you need to move forward.

PS Unless you have a Q&A format in your church services you should probably wait to ask until after the service or call and make an appointment.

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317. Whack-A-Fear

Posted by John Smith on January 13, 2017

whack-a-moleMark 5:36 NKJV  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

(EMTV)  But Jesus immediately when He heard the word being spoken, said to the synagogue leader, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

(Darby)  But Jesus immediately , having heard the word spoken, says to the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not; only believe.

When fear or anxiety comes, don’t let it linger.  You must deal with it immediately.

Remember that game Whack-A-Mole.  After you put your token or quarter into the coin slot you’d grab a padded club and then little moles would begin to pop up out of the table in a random pattern and then you’d try to hit them as soon as they came up.  Well, that’s how you want to deal with fear.  As soon as it begins to pop its head up, you pop it on its head.

Jesus was teaching Jairus this principle here in Mark 5.  Jairus had just received a report that his daughter to whom Jesus was on His way to go heal had died.  Jesus, knowing that the terror this news brought was beginning to attack Jairus and destroy the faith he had in Jesus to heal her, immediately addresses the fear.  Instead of using a club like the Whack-A-Mole game Jesus played Whack-A-Fear when He spoke and commanded Jairus, “FEAR NOT; only believe.”  One commentator said the essence of this was Jesus quickly putting His hand over Jairus’ mouth immediately after the report came, before Jairus could even speak one word in the fear that now gripped him.

Don’t let fear linger.  Deal with fear immediately.  As soon as you recognize fear address it.  The moment it rears its ugly head.  Take the Word of God, whack that fear on the head and FEAR NOT; only believe.

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316. His Voice Empowers Us to Fear Not

Posted by John Smith on January 6, 2017

timetolisten-560x280Mark 5:35-36 NKJV  While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  (36)  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Jairus’ daughter is home lyingat the brink of death as he passionately is pursuing Jesus, who is making His way with Jairus towards his home.  Jesus has already stopped once to minister to a woman who had reached out in faith drawing healing virtue from him healing her of the flow of blood she has had incessantly for 12 years.  Then just as Jesus proceeds again toward his home and still in the midst of this horrible situation a man delivers the report to him that his daughter is dead.  But then right at that moment at the height of Jairus’ fear where all hope seems to be lost Jesus spoke to him.  “Fear Not, only believe.”

Jesus spoke to him in the midst of his storm and now Jairus had a choice.  First Jairus had to be listening and “pay attention” to what Jesus said and just hear words, which could easily be drowned out by the thoughts in his head.  Then he had to decide if he would trust and obey what Jesus spoke.  Jairus had to choose to stop fearing and mix what Jesus had said to him with faith.

No matter what you are going through or what may ever come your way, there will be a moment where Jesus will speak to you.  For me, usually the Holy Spirit will speak a scripture or a word or two to my heart.  Sometimes, someone will say something to me or I’ll hear a phrase on the TV or radio and the Holy Spirit will supernaturally highlight it in my heart and then begin ministering to me.

Once in the midst of a financial trial while seeking the Lord for wisdom, He simple said, “Look to your left.”  When He did, I looked over and saw a piece of equipment that we had but rarely ever used and hadn’t for months.  Then I heard, “There’s $220 right there.”  Then I got excited and said that’s not enough, but I know it’s just the start and immediately got up took a picture and listed it for sale, mixing what I heard with faith.  While doing so, the Lord showed me how to make another $1000 and within 3 days’ time we had $1220.

In the midst of your circumstance, the Lord will speak to you too.  Be ready for it and listen.  Sometimes people miss it or overlook it because of the distractions from the storm of life they are in, but He’ll speak to you.  When He does, do what Jairus did and mix it with faith.  Make a decision to follow His Word and believe Him.  If He gives you instructions, follow them.  Listening for His voice and mixing what He says with faith will not only empower you to FEAR NOT, but lead to your breakthrough too.

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315. Fear Not, Only Believe II

Posted by John Smith on December 30, 2016

FearisALiarMark 5:35-36 NKJV  While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  (36)  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Jairus was doing everything he knew to save his daughter.  He went to Jesus and was on the way back to her with the Word of God (John 1:1) that would heal her.  Then he got the seemingly final news that his daughter was dead.  This report screamed out, don’t trouble the Master any longer it’s too late the battle is over.  But Jesus said, “FEAR NOT, only believe!”

Even in the worst of circumstances we can choose to believe God.  When we choose to believe God, a new realm of possibilities opens and all things are truly possible.  Now there will be a fight to keep your faith strong in the midst of the circumstances and reports be we can do it.  Jesus told us so.  “FEAR NOT, only believe.”

I’ve seen people in fearful circumstances attempt to FEAR NOT… rebuking the fear and the fear inducing situation, but they neglect to do the second part and “only believe.”  What is the point in rebuking fear if you’re not going to replace it with anything?  If you want believe God in any circumstance, you’re going to have to let faith OVERRIDE your fear.  This will only happen when you get in the Word.  As faith rises fear is displaced.  You don’t have to be completely free from all fears and doubts to see breakthrough… you just have to have enough faith to keep your heart fixed on Him.

Remember in Matthew 12:43-44 where Jesus talked about when an unclean spirit comes out a person it wanders around for awhile and then decides to go back and check out its old digs.  If it finds it cleaned up but empty it moves back in with more of its friends.  Fear works the same way.  If you are going to get rid of fears in your life, you’ll need to replace them with God’s faith-filled Word.  Don’t just focus on not being afraid.  Fill your heart with God’s Truth that overrides your fears.  That’s how we Fear Not and Only Believe.

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314. Don’t Fear Only Believe

Posted by John Smith on December 23, 2016

be_not_afraid_only_believe-386255Mark 5:33 NKJV  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

I love the courage and determination in this woman.  She had experienced a constant bleeding for 12 years, which under the law required her to stay away from her family, friends, she wasn’t permitted to hold her children or her husband (if she had them).  She desperately wanted to be healed, had tried everything and spent all she had trying to find a cure.  Then she heard about Jesus and how many people were healed of all kinds of various diseases just by touching the hem of His garments (Matthew 14:36, Mark 6:56).  Faith rose in her and she was convinced that she would be healed if she could just touch that hem too. 

The problem was that she would have to break the law that commanded her to keep a specific distance away from people because of her condition.  Stepping out in faith, she courageously made her way through the crowd.  Touching the hem of Jesus’ garment in faith she drew from the power and anointing in Him and was healed.  Jesus knew that someone had just touched Him in faith because of the power that went out of Him, but He didn’t know who did it because of all the people pressing around Him and touching Him.  It was then that this woman began to fear.

This woman was healed on her own faith and now she becomes afraid at the thought of what Jesus and all the people around are going to think and respond to her.  She knew she was healed and now feared that Jesus or the people would tell her she somehow did it wrong or chastise her for using the wrong method.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard people “correct” and “chastise” people who stepped out in faith to believe God for finances, healings, deliverance and after they received what they sought the Lord about were told they did it wrong.  Praise God, she found the courage again to explain the situation and give God the glory for her healing.

We should try to be aware of others and follow protocols and procedures whenever possible, but ones that serve to keep people from the Lord or condemn them for having their prayers answered by their faith are wrong.  They don’t free people but only serve to put others in fear.  For example, I’ve seen some well-meaning Christians harshly overcorrect young believers for their “confession” (what they are saying) judging it as lacking faith.  Those young believers become afraid to say anything.  This is wrong.  Faith comes by hearing the Word.  Don’t let what others think or say derail your faith.  Don’t fear, only believe.

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313. Who Can This Be?

Posted by John Smith on December 16, 2016

who_is_itMark 4:39-41 NKJV  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  (40)  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”  (41)  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?!”

When I talk with people about overcoming fear, I often stress a few “Fear Not” Scriptures where Father God revealed some very important reasons not to fear. “I am with you.” “I am for you.” “I am in you.” “I am faithful.” But none of those are very powerful unless you have a revelation of just who He is.  In Mark 4, the disciples were in a terrible storm and all natural evidence said that they were going to die until Jesus came to their rescue, rebuked the storm and brought peace to their situation.  Then the disciples were overcome with awe as they tried to process what just happened to them and get a grasp on the revelation of the reality of who Jesus is and the amazing power within Him.

One reason that they were afraid and why so many Christians today live in fear is because although we know about Jesus and believe He has given new life to us when we believed on Him, we still fail to see Him in the reality of His awesome nature.  Jesus IS God. (Psalm 45:6, Hebrews 1:8, John 1:1, Philippians 2:6, John 5:18, etc…)  “Amen!” we shout in our churches, while we cry “oh me” in our homes.  Because as much as we profess this as truth we struggle we often lose sight of His Nature in the midst of the storms of life.

The disciples wondered, “Who can this be?”  We must get a revelation of who Jesus is?  It will light a fire in our belly.  Then we must continue to grow in the revelation of who He is.  The faithful God of all creation is for you, with you, and in you by the New Birth.  You and I can live even more fearless than the disciples.  Their fearlessness was dependent upon their physical proximity to Jesus.  But now by the Holy Spirit of God, He is ever present with every Believer.  Furthermore, by the New Birth we share in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and can use our faith to speak to the mountains (Mark 11:24) and storms of life that rock our boats and those of our loved ones causing fear.

Only when we see Jesus as He is can we begin to see ourselves as we are.  We grow in this revelation by time in His presence and through the Word of God.  It is a continual process, but it is one that will cause you to #LiveFearless because you’ll never again ask, “Who can this be?”

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