388. Your Relationship is Key

light-shining-in-the-darknessRevelation 14:6-7 MSG  I saw another Angel soaring in Middle-Heaven. He had an Eternal Message to preach to all who were still on earth, every nation and tribe, every tongue and people.  (7)  He preached in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory! His hour of judgment has come! Worship the Maker of Heaven and earth, salt sea and fresh water!”

This Scripture has two main interpretations.  Some preach that this is the last great evangelistic effort of the Lord, who sends an angel to make sure that every person living at this time on Earth has one last chance to repent and worship the Lord.  The other main interpretation is that this angel is encouraging the people still in the world by announcing that the end has now come and the Beast and those that follow him are about to be destroyed as the Lord comes in Glory.

However you understand this verse, we can be encouraged today in our relationship with God. This angel will be calling everyone to give glory to God and live in a way that demonstrates our awe, respect, and reverence for Him.  So shouldn’t we stop and ask ourselves that now?

Take a moment of reflection to examine yourself.  Are you living a life that gives Him the Glory?  Do others see the reverence and love you have for Him and the awesomeness of Jesus in and through you?  You and I don’t live this way because we fear His pending judgment, but rather, we live so that others may know Him through us so that they do not face His judgement.

Worship Him today with your LIFE… then do it again tomorrow! He desires that all would know Him and not face His judgement.  Whether the angel is preaching the Gospel of Salvation to the world one last time or is providing comfort and assurance that the Beast is about to be judged, we should be doing our part to reach people today.  It starts by living for Him in every arena of our lives.  One precious benefit is that as we do, the power of fear over us wanes as the fire for God increasingly burns hotter within.  Let’s worship Him with how we live today and let’s take every opportunity to tell others the Gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and His past, present, and future victory over every Evil.

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387. End Times Phobia?

endtimesRevelation 11:11-13 NKJV  Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.  (12)  And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.  (13)  In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Many sincere Believers regardless of their pre, mid, or post tribulation rapture beliefs fear their future days on the Earth.  While mid or post tribulation rapture adhering Believers fear the devastation and horrid trials through war, pestilence and ruthless men as such as the world has never seen in its history, pre-tribulation rapture believing saints fear the world wide calamities leading up to their rescue, selfishly not fulfilling their dreams, or that somehow they might miss the rapture and be “left behind”.  But Revelation 11 once again shows the awesomeness of the Lord God and that we never have to fear.

Revelation 11 tells us that for 3 ½ years two witnesses prophesy, bear witness, and provide evidence of the Lord.  Once they finish, the Beast will rise from the Abyss and kill them.  But God always gets the last laugh.  For 3 ½ days lovers of evil will party and rejoice over their death until the Lord God raises them up from the dead.  Then great fear will overtake them as they yet again see the overcoming power of our Heavenly Father.

Regardless of whether you are pre, mid, post tribulation rapture or even amillennialists this kind of terror is not meant for you.  The Lord God is AMAZING and we should not fear ANY days to come nor the signs, wonders, miracles, or events that we are seeing or hearing around us today.  Jesus has the keys of Hades and of death (Revelation 1:18) and is LORD over all.  He is alive and forever on the throne.  Best of all He loves you.  Fear Not!

386. Fearless and Faithful

il_340x270-1301284640_ix7bRevelation 2:10 NKJV  Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Faithfulness is the quality of being true and utterly constant in our lives.  It is more than commitment; it is the allowing ones commitment to permeate into every aspect of their daily life.  The faithfulness of God is one reason we never have to fear in life.  Faithfulness is also to be our response in the midst of a fearful circumstance.

In Jesus’ discourse to the church in Smyrna as recorded by the Apostle John, He warns them that suffering will be coming their way and admonishes them not to be afraid but to instead be faithful in the midst of their tribulation.  He tells them that suffering is coming their way and does not promise them exemption from it, but instead commands them not to be afraid of it and to simply remain faithful during it.

Despite what most of us would desire, the Gospel does not promise that life with Christ will be free from problems, difficulties, persecution or even suffering.  Jesus actually tells us, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NLT)”  In a world still, itself, suffering from the results of sin, it’s inhabitants even those who follow Jesus also find themselves impacted by the effects of a world infected by it.  But don’t despair, both of these verse give us direction and hope.

It is first important to note that the Lord is was not the author of the church in Smyrna’s suffering.  Nor is He the source of yours.  Suffering in the world is a result of any number of things: the fallen world, the devil, decisions of others, our own decisions, etc… but it is not because of God.  Instead He gives us hope.  A hope that tells us to remain encouraged, because He has overcome the world and though we are here in a messed up world, we are part of Glorious Kingdom and have been crowned with His everlasting life.  Therefore, no matter the circumstance or trial we can and should take heart, not fear, and faithfully live out His Word.

Allow your commitment to Christ to permeate every area of your life.  You can remain faithful and constant even in the midst of a horrifying situation.  Jesus is with you and He has given you the crown of life.  So fear not and faithfully live for Him now because no matter what you face you have already triumphed and been crowned victorious.  Let’s live fearless & faithful.

385. Jesus’ 3 Reasons Not to Fear

fear-notRevelation 1:17-18 NKJV  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  (18)  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

One day while John was in the Spirit (most likely meaning he was fully engaged in worshiping the Lord, praying in the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns & songs given by the Spirit, lost in meditation of the Word, or some other form of worship where his attention was turned totally toward the Lord), Jesus appears to him in a glorified way that he never encountered Him before during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  It says His eyes were like a flame of fire, His head & hair were white and wooly, His feet were like polished pure brass, His voice like a roaring waterfall, & His face was as bright as the midday sun.  This would truly be an overwhelming and fearful sight to most of us and John was no different, falling down on his face at Jesus’ feet.  Then Jesus picks him up and says, “Stop being afraid.” International Standard Version.

Then Jesus shares 3 truths with John that comforted him and abated his fears, before giving him 7 important messages to local churches of the day and taking him by the Spirit to Heaven where he would receive the rest of the Revelation.  These 3 truths not only helped subside John’s fear, but they will also help us in living free from fear today.  Jesus said, “”Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but look-I am alive forever and ever! I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (ISV)

  1. Fear not – Jesus is the First & the Last. This speaks to His Divine nature.  Remember, you don’t just have a relationship with a man, this man also happens to be a part of the Godhead and was a part of the beginning of all things.  Jesus is also the Last.  He always gets the last word in and at the end of time He will hand the Kingdom back over to the Father (1Corinthians 15:24-26) and we will all live together forever.  If we’ll really get revelation of Him and live in a constant reality that the faithful One who is the First & the Last is always for us, with us, & in us, we’ll be like John and quickly get up on our feet.
  2. Fear not – Jesus is alive. This speaks of His presence.  Revelation 1:18a in the Good News Bible says, “I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.”  There is no end to Jesus nor to His eternal love for us.  Hebrews 13:5 tells us He will never leave us.  As a follower of Jesus, we are never alone and therefore never have to fear.
  3. Fear not – Jesus has the keys of Hades and of Death. This speaks of His authority.  Hebrews 2:15 shows us that all fears ultimately stem from the fear of death (we’ve looked at this in previous blog posts and is discussed in my book Fearless Psalm 34:4  Living Free From Fear).  Since Jesus has authority over the thing that causes fear in the first place and has commissioned us to go in His authority and walk in fearless victory (Matthew 28:18-19, Romans 8:37), we can walk in His authority and live free from fear.

Jesus is picking each of us up today, helping us stand back up on our feet and saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

384. The Wrong Way

wrong-way-sign-1477308368hguJude 1:23 NKJV  but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:23 NLT  Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

As Believers we have been commissioned to share the glorious good news that Jesus is alive and has provided a way to have an abundant and eternal life with Him.  Certainly not everyone will embrace the hope that is in Him, but we are to as the Message paraphrase says, “Go after those who take the wrong way.”

In doing so we find ourselves talking to people both believers and certainly non-believers that have ideas, habits, and practices that may be very foreign to us.  These can often cause one to feel unsure about how to react, anxious, or even fearful.  Many times I’ve sat and had conversations with people whose lifestyles, beliefs and practices were outrageously abhorrent to me.  Some people’s sin really seem to bother other, but just because their sin is unthinkable to you remember that your sin was unthinkable to God too.  Our goal is to be tender to sinners.  To do so we certainly don’t embrace sin or are soft on sin, but we don’t fear the sin that people engage in.  Our job is to reverence God and watch out for spiritual pride.  If we don’t we’ll fall head first into our own mess.

Elisabeth Elliot, an author and Christian speaker, said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”  Part of the fear in these situations stems from the idea that somehow we must change a person’s behavior, feeling incompetent to talk to them, or even believing that somehow we’ll be contaminated if we interact with the “wrong” people.  This is selfish and only focused on our comfort.  I certainly don’t advocate living every moment of your life around non-believers, but Jesus said, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.”  Our mission is to try to reach them and this means you’ll have to put yourself out there sometimes.  However, that also doesn’t mean that everything depends on us.

Jesus is present and it is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction to the hearts of men (John 16:8).  Our job is to share the letter that He has written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3).  So don’t fear the fire of sin that someone is in and watch out for spiritual pride which is just as bad.  Instead, reverence God and love people.  If you must fear; instead of fearing someone or their sin, fear for them and work all the more to share His glorious grace and love to those who take the wrong way.

383. There is No Fear in Love

216a9-god27slovehasnolimits1 John 4:16 NKJV  And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:18 NKJV  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

“We have known & believed the love that God has for us.”  God loves us. That is such glorious news we should be telling people about it.  Oh wait, that is what we are called to do.  God’s reason for loving us, although It’s been expressed in a number of different ways, stems from the reality of who He is.  God is love.

This is important in the discussion of fear, because, “There is no fear in love…” (1 John 4:18).  God is love.  There is no fear in love.  Therefor there is no fear in God.  God is utterly and completely fearless.  That’s good news, because at the New Birth we were made in His image.  2 Peter 1:4 tells us we have become partakers of His divine nature.  We now share in the love of God.  It is His perfect love in us that drives fear away as His love is perfected in us.

This means that, Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival.” – Dr Steve Maraboli.  God hasn’t given us the Holy Spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  How could He?  There is no fear in Him.  Instead we have been given the Holy Spirit of God and remade in His loving and fearless image.

If we have fear, that doesn’t mean we aren’t saved or we don’t have God.  It just means that there is an area of our lives that we have not yet allowed to be made perfect by His love.  We all have areas that we have not allowed the Truth of God’s Word (His Love Story) to become the final authority in our lives.  But as we search out His Word, allow it to become real to us and live out of that reality applying it and continuing in it, His love is perfected in that area of our life and fear is diminished and banished from us.  Then we are able to walk in a new freedom partaking more of the loving nature of our God who is love and fears not.

382. The Law of Displacement

FrontCoverOnly1 John 4:18 KJV  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love.  In 1 John 4 we read that love casts out fear and there is no fear in love.  This always makes me think of the law of displacement. 

I remember this law being demonstrated in one of my classes when I was a boy.  My teacher had a large pitcher of water and added food coloring to it so it all turned a certain color, blue I believe.  This pitcher sat in a large basin so that the floor didn’t get wet during the demonstration.  Then he began to pour clean water into the pitcher.  As he did the overflow of water began to spill out into the basin.  The water in the pitcher slowly began to dilute and become less blue until finally he lifted the pitcher full of water out of the basin and it was completely clear again just like the water he was pouring in.  You see the water he poured in pushed out the water already in the pitcher until the blue colored water was completely replaced by the fresh clear water.

This idea is conveyed to us here in 1 John concerning love and fear.  Verse 18 says love casts out fear.  The more love that gets poured into ones heart, the more fear is displaced and is purged from it.

Unfortunately the converse is also true.  Remember, fear is self-centered and when one begins to get in fear their thoughts are turned solely toward themselves.  The fear focuses one on them self because of its selfish and self-centered nature and begins to push out the love of God for others in their heart.  Then fear begins to consume even more of their focus which leads to their fear increasing.  While one is thinking about them self they can’t be thinking about others.  This is detrimental and devastating to the life and walk of faith, because faith works by love (Galatians 5:6).

Faith works by love, so when you’re in fear it hinders your faith to believe and receive the promises of God and your deliverance in that situation.  Fear also keeps you from doing the things He’s called you to do.  This applies to all of us.  God wants us to be fearless so we can walk in faith and accomplish His purposes doing the things He’s called us to do.