Fearless Fridays

Living Free From Fear

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330. Fearlessly Pursuing His Presence

Posted by John Smith on April 14, 2017

Luke 9:33-34 NKJV  Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.  (34)  While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud.

Some people get nervous in the presence of God.  It’s because they don’t know what to expect.  Unfortunately that’s because they’ve either never been there or they don’t spend a lot of time in His presence.

Peter didn’t seem to be too phased by being in the presence of Moses, Elijah, or even with Jesus after He was transfigured and His face began to glow.  But when another person of the Trinity shows up in a way unfamiliar to him, in the form of an overshadowing cloud instead of the familiar package of a man as they regularly interacted with Jesus the second part of the Trinity in, they freaked out. 

The verse says they became fearful as they entered into the cloud of God’s presence.  They were fine with Jesus lit up like a lightbulb and even with two old dead prophets showing up, but when the cloud of God’s presence began to overshadow them they became fearful.  They had already seen the dead raised and Jesus walking on the water in His ministry, but never had they been enveloped in the presence of God before.

I remember when Valarie and I co-founded FCFTucson.org alongside our pastors Virgil & Judy Stokes.  For about the first year, the majority of the people who came were either new Believers or had never been in a church that taught or allowed the Presence of God to move in their midst in any kind of real or tangible way.  We’d get to worshipping and when God’s presence would begin to show up and fill that little building, you could just see the looks of shock and “oh my… what now” on their faces as they encountered His presence in a way they had never experienced before.  It took a little while of teaching, explaining, and regular exposure for them to get comfortable just being in the Lord’s presence like that.  Now not only are they used to it but love and expect God’s presence to show up in our midst in amazing ways.

Regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced God’s presence in this kind of powerful way, you needn’t be afraid.  If you have, great keep fearlessly pursuing His presence.  If you haven’t, FEAR NOT you’ve got a glorious encounter with the Father just waiting for you to boldly enter in (Hebrews 4:16).

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329. I Fear Therefore I am Fearless

Posted by John Smith on April 7, 2017

Luke 5:26 NKJV  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Luke 7:16 NKJV  Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”

Luke 8:25 NKJV  But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Luke 8:35-37 NKJV  Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.  (36)  They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.  (37)  Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

In each of these Scriptures people became overwhelmed with the only good kind of fear… a holy one.  In Luke 5:26 they saw a paralyzed man walk carrying the stretcher he was lowered through the roof on.  In Luke 7:16 Holy fear fell upon all present when Jesus raised a widow’s only son from the dead.  In Luke 8:25 the disciples were overcome with fear after Jesus calmed the wind and the waves.  Then in Luke 8:35-37 we see town overcome with fear after Jesus delivered a demonized man.

These of these examples that left people in Holy awe and fear of the awesomeness of our Lord.  They show His power, compassion, mercy, and authority.  Each of them provide us with examples why we needn’t live in any fear other than one produced from getting a revelation of just how marvelous and mighty our Lord is.  It is that revelation of just who He is and how deep His love for you and me is that causes us to sense that Holy Fear.  It is also how we know He has freed us from fear and we no longer have to be afraid.  It is our Holy Fear that leads us to live fearless.  I fear therefore I am fearless.

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328. Do What He’s Asked You to Do

Posted by John Smith on March 31, 2017

stepsoffaithLuke 5:10-11 NKJV  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  (11)  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

This story was a very personal one to Valarie and I as we began in ministry.  We had been very active in serving in our local church and in a para church ministry, but as our second child was born and Valarie who had been on a professional track was transitioning to serve at home and as a full-time volunteer for the church we were about to help plant and I was looking for a new job… stuff got REAL.

I knew that the Lord had called me into ministry and specifically to serve with my pastors at FCFTucson.  In my lightning quick mind, I also knew this meant I needed a job that allowed me to be off Sundays and evenings and would be flexible so I could be available for other ministry meetings and conferences as needed.  I also knew that my wife and children enjoyed being housed, clothed, & fed.  Luke 5:1-11 was a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, provision, & encouraged me to be courageous in the face of all the questions and fears.

I don’t know about John & James, but I know Peter was married and had his mother-in-law living with him.  This meant he had natural responsibilities to make sure that their basic needs were met.  John & James were employed by their father and at certainly didn’t want to hurt their fathers business by up and leaving and what about their obligations.  Still, the Lord has called them serve Him and learn from Him in a full-time traveling capacity, which would raise all kinds of fears and worries for any normal person let alone ones with family pressures.

It was the miraculous catch of fish, their faith in Him, & Jesus’ words “Do not be afraid” that encouraged them to quit their jobs, change careers, and leave their families for weeks at a time to obey the call of God and fulfill their purpose.  Their very identity was about to change from fishermen to fishers of men, but it was God’s goodness, faithfulness to provide, & His Word to them that they put their trust in.

Valarie and I have made a lot of decisions through the years that would impact our finances, where we lived, what we wore, what we drove, what we ate, and how much we give.  But once you are sure of what God has told you to do, you can do it without fear.  That is the message I want you to hear today.

You may not be called to be a pastor or have a traveling ministry, but whatever God has asked you to do (pray for somebody, give a significant gift, serve in your church, shift careers, etc.…) you can do it without fear knowing the Lord will provide for you.  He’s proven His faithfulness in His Word and in the goodness He’s shown toward you.  Do not be afraid, do what He’s asked you to do.

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327. His Love Never Fails

Posted by John Smith on March 24, 2017

fishers-of-men1Luke 5:10 NKJV  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

Peter, John and James where acquainted with Jesus. He had been preaching in the churches around the region for a little while now and He was already the talk of the town.  Just a few days before He had even ministered in Peter’s home, healing Peter’s mother in law before having supper and then proceeded to minister healing and deliverance to seemingly a pretty large number of people that came to him in need.

Now he has just finished speaking a morning message to a whole mess a people having borrowed Peter’s commercial fishing boat, after he and his partners in another boat returned from their daily fishing operations.  This particular day they caught nothing, but after His teaching, Jesus asked Peter to let the nets he had just got done cleaning and prepping for the next day back into the water, which Peter with only a little resistance obliged.  When he did a the nets were almost instantly filled with fish and the catch was so large Peter had to call for the other boat to come help and still both commercial fishing boats nearly sank because of the haul.

Being professional fishermen Peter knew this catch was supernatural.  It wasn’t the right fishing spot nor the right time of day to experience any success, yet it was more abundant than they could do with all their skill and knowledge.  Peter knew either Jesus had authority and power over the fish or He had supernatural wisdom where they were or both.  Overwhelmed and amazed Peter cries out, “I am not worthy to be with you.” And an awesome fear overtook him.

God has certainly been so good to me and my family through the years.  And I know that you could join me in sharing times, events, situations, etc… that the Lord has just done something amazingly marvelous for you and left you speechless (and I’m not even talking about the most amazing thing through our redemption and salvation in Christ Jesus).  But what Jesus says next to these men should always remind us that the Goodness of God we’ve experienced wasn’t just for a few events, but that He is calling us to live with Him in an ongoing state of amazement ever astonished by His wisdom and power.

Jesus told them, not to fear this outpouring of God’s goodness, because they hadn’t seen anything like the blessings, power, and favor that they had opportunity to see if they’d follow Him.  Just like Peter, John & James were invited to see even greater things than this catch of fish and not to fear either God’s amazing goodness nor that they’d never see anything like this again, we are encouraged never to fear in any circumstance for God’s blessings, power & favor have been made available to us in the net of the Gospel.  His love and goodness never cease and never fail.  Fear Not!

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326. You Don’t Have to Respond in Fear

Posted by John Smith on March 17, 2017

53035-cheer-up-its-fridayLuke 2:48 NLT  His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” His mother said to Him, “why have You done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for You everywhere.”

Now I want you do go back and read that verse again keeping in mind that Jesus’ mom and step-dad have been looking for him for 3 days now.  I can imagine what their voices would have sounded like.  I’m sure they were filled with relief, excitement, as well as a bit of confusion, frustration, anger, and probably a bit gravelly from having searching the streets calling out for him day and night.  They had to have been terrified.

As a son in this situation… I too would have been terrified.  I would have been terrified that my daddy was gonna ream me out good and that I’d be getting some kind of punishment.  Some kids would have copped an attitude and said, “Chill mom, I’m good. I don’t need you looking out for me, I can take care of myself.”  Some kids like me would have been horrified of either punishment or in my case that my parents would be gravely disappointed in me and respond either profusely apologetic or like I imagine I would have been solemn, sincere and offer a horrified apology.  Yet Jesus wasn’t either of those.  Jesus didn’t respond in fear.

Jesus was confident and calm when He responded, “Why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s House?”  He wasn’t afraid of losing His mother or step-dad’s approval of Him.  He neither pushed back with arrogance nor shuddered in fear.  He didn’t have to… He was confident in who He was and in His relationship with the Father.  It is our confidence in who we are in Him and in our relationship with the Father that secure us so we can always respond calmly and with confidence in any situation and never have to react or respond from fear.

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325. Fear Not A Baby Was Born

Posted by John Smith on March 10, 2017

manger-crossLuke 2:9-12 NKJV  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  (10)  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  (11)  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (12)  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Can you imagine just minding your own business doing your job while at work and all of a sudden an angel just shows up and immediately you are surrounded by the glory of the Lord?  These shepherds were just regular people doing their normal day to day function when their whole night was turned upside down by something totally unexpected.  When the unexpected occurs and you’re faced with a situation you’ve never dealt with before there is a definite opportunity to become afraid.  Even if it is supernatural experience containing God’s glory and angels one can become afraid… but no matter the situation when the unexpected occurs we don’t have to be afraid.

We never have to fear because of what the angel that appeared to those shepherds said next.  “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great you which will be to all people…”  These shepherds didn’t have to fear because some good news was coming their way.  You see one of the reasons people begin to fear with something unexpected happens is because they immediately begin to think that it has to be bad news or the situation is hopeless…  Too many times people immediately gravitate to the negative instead of listening to or remembering the GOOD NEWS.  Don’t focus on the negative.  Get back to the reality of the glorious victorious nature of His news.

The message that the angel brought those shepherds that night hasn’t changed, though it has been completed.  The divine gift of Christ our Lord was given to all people.  He grew up and gave His life on behalf of man bringing the best of good tidings our redemption and justification through faith in Him.  The savior was born and the savior gave His life to save and the savior was raised from the dead so we can forever live with Him in God’s presence.

The angel told those shepherds, Fear Not a baby has been born.  Now that same angel would tell you, Fear Not a baby was born who has brought great joy to all people who believe in Him, Christ Jesus the Lord.

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324. Serve Him Without Fear

Posted by John Smith on March 3, 2017

fearLuke 1:74 NKJV  To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

For over nine months since Zacharias encountered an angel while taking care of his priestly duties in the temple of the Lord, he hasn’t spoken.  His lack of faith in the Word of the Lord is what led to his loss of speech.  But 8 days after the birth of his son when it was time to name him on the day of his circumcision, his speech returned when he named his son John as the angel had instructed him.  The whole house was in awe when he spoke… but then he began to prophesy.  This prophetic word recorded in Luke 1:68-70 was about the coming Christ (Jesus) and what would be his son’s role in preparing the way for Jesus.

In verse 74 Zacharias speaks of a promise of God to Abraham that would be realized in Christ freeing us from dead works, sin, condemnation, and from bondage to the Enemy so that we could serve Him without fear.  God’s heart toward us is that we would live free from fear.  We have been freed from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15) and we have been freed from the fear of the threats and curses of the law.  We are no longer in bondage to the devil nor to the law.  We are free.  Free to fearlessly serve our Lord.

“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me (us) free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).  There is an old Jewish saying, “Greater is he that serves from love than he that serves from fear.”  This was true in Christ as He served both the Father and mankind from love and it is true in you and me as we serve our Lord free from fear of what curse may come upon us, knowing that all of them were put on Christ, and instead from love of who He is and what He has done for us.

It is His desire that we would stand in His fearless nature and serve Him fearlessly.  We have been delivered from all our fear (Psalm 34:4).  There is no more curse of the law and the enemy has been defeated.  There is no fear of death for those in Christ Jesus.  So with our confidence in Him we can fearlessly serve Him and fearlessly proclaim all that He has done.  Jesus came and fulfilled a promise the Father made to Abraham and granted to us that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without FEAR!

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323. Don’t Be Afraid, You Have God’s Grace

Posted by John Smith on February 24, 2017

Luke 1:30 NLT  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” thgrace_724_482_80e angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!

When Mary began to become afraid at the sight and presence of the angel Gabriel, he told her not to be afraid for she had found favor with God.  Then he began to tell her of God’s amazing plan to bring forth His son who would save the world.

Look at how Gabriel addressed her fear.  He told her she didn’t have to fear because she had found favor with God.  This word favor in the Greek is ‘charis’ which is most often translated grace.  In essence, the angel told her, ‘Don’t be afraid (Fear Not); you have God’s grace.

You and I will definitely not serve the Kingdom of God in the same way in which Mary did, but the reason she didn’t need to fear the angel wasn’t because she had been specifically chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world, but because she had been a recipient of God’s amazing grace.  Mary needed a savior too.  God showed His grace through her, but it was also to her.  The same grace that justified you and me (Romans 3:24).  The same grace by which we were saved (Ephesians 2:8).  And the same grace we’ve been given access to the Father (Romans 5:2), has also been extended to you and me.  We don’t have to fear because God’s grace is near.

Fear Not! For you have found grace and favor with God!  Understanding God’s grace will free you 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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