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Living Free From Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘afraid’

347. Pray For Boldness to Stand Against Your Fear

Posted by John Smith on August 18, 2017

Acts 4:29-31 NKJV  Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,  (30)  by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”  (31)  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

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Peter and John had gone to the temple to pray where they encountered a man unable to walk from his birth sitting by the temple gate called Beautiful asking alms of all those that entered.  Instead of giving him money, which they did not have, the Lord used them to heal this man.  This made quite a scene as people as people who knew this man saw the miracle and began to rejoice and praise God along with him.  Then Peter and John took full advantage of the situation and preached Christ to the multitude letting them know it was Jesus, the risen savior, who healed this man and 5,000 people believed in Christ that day.

 

The priests and Sadducees were greatly angered and had them thrown in jail for telling people that Jesus was alive and how believing in Him brought salvation.  The next day they were brought up on charges, questioned, and threatened.  However, the priests could not deny that a miracle had truly been done so they couldn’t punish Peter & John, so they continued to threaten them and then finally let them go.

Peter and John went to some of their faithful friends and reported all that happened and then they began to pray.  Notably they prayed for boldness.  Reading Acts 3 & 4 one would think that they wouldn’t need any more boldness, but they needed boldness because the threats had sown some timidity and fear in their hearts.  You don’t need boldness unless there is some timidity to overcome.

Acts 4:31 tells us that they received a refreshing encounter with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with BOLDNESS.  They received the boldness they prayed for.  Let’s look at a few elements that bolstered their faith and destroyed any timidity the threats produced.

  1. They were not alone. When they were threatened and needed encouraged they went to their friends.
  2. They were open and honest with their trusted confidants. You need people you can be real with about situations in life. NOTE: Their friends encouraged them.  Don’t go to people that encourage your fears, go to people that speak life into you.
  3. They prayed for the solution and not against the problem. They didn’t pray that the mean and overbearing religious leaders would leave them alone… NOPE they didn’t pray against the problem.  But they prayed for the solution of BOLDNESS to proclaim the truth regardless of the threats.

Peter, John and some of the other disciples that saw what happened to them experienced some timidity and fear after the threats they received.  But they came together, encouraged one another, prayed for one another and left with BOLDNESS that destroyed their fears.  Who do you have that is praying for you about the fears in your life?

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346. Supernatural Boldness

Posted by John Smith on August 11, 2017

Acts 2:43 NKJV  Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

A great reverence and awe fell upon this entire community as 3,000 people gladly received Jesus as their Lord, were baptized, and devoutly continued to follow the teachings of the Apostles.  It was just a few weeks before that many of these same people had been shouting “crucify Him” and now they have believed on Him as Messiah.  The verse records that a great many wonders and signs were now also being done through the Apostles of Jesus.  Now notice the first word in this verse. It says “then”.

Before this great reverential fear took hold of the community, before these many signs and wonders were done, before these 3,000 people were saved and baptized, Peter overcame fear.  On the day of Pentecost Peter, who 7 weeks prior had denied even knowing Jesus when inquired by a lowly servant girl (Luke 22:54), stands up with the other apostles and addresses a large crowd that had gathered after hearing the sound of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2,6) and then hears the disciples off Jesus who were in the upper room all speaking and praising God in many different languages not previously known to them.  Something happened to Peter.  A few things actually.

The first thing to note is that Peter had been born-again.  Peter had seen and spent 40 days with Jesus after His death, burial, and subsequent resurrection.  Peter knew Jesus was alive from the dead and determined to follow the risen Lord (John 21:1-10, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 1:3).

Peter also received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  This new encounter and relationship with the Spirit of God not only empowered Peter and the others for the supernatural ministry that would follow, but also brought an increased confidence & boldness through this encounter that Jesus he would, “receive power” through to “be witnesses to Me (Jesus)” throughout the world (Acts 1:8).

Thirdly, Peter wasn’t standing alone.  Although there would be times he might be physically alone in the future, this day he had 119 of his closest friends and supporters nearby.  Acts 2:14 says that as he stood to address the crowd and explain to them what they were seeing and hearing the other 11 apostles (original 10 and Matthias chosen to replace Judas) stood up with him.  It is easier to be courageous when you have support.

All these things added to the boldness of Peter as he ministered to the multitudes that day.  He had received the fearless nature of Christ through the New Birth.  He had received supernatural power and boldness through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  And he had a core group of people that were standing with and supporting him.  He fearlessly stepped out to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and explain the move of the Spirit, “THEN” a holy fear came upon everyone in Jerusalem.  You too can be bold and live fearless.  Be born-again giving your life to Christ.  Pray for and receive the baptism in the Spirit (Luke 11:9-13).  Congregate with other like-minded Believers that will encourage you to step out in faith and be the light you are.  Then stand up and be bold for Christ, who knows… maybe a holy fear will fall on your community too.

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345. Macrophobia – A fear of long waits.

Posted by John Smith on August 4, 2017

how-long-would-you-wait-the-high-cost-of-wasting-customers-timeActs 1:7-11 NKJV  And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  (8)  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  (9)  Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  (10)  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,  (11)  who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

I don’t know anyone that just loves to wait, but some don’t just hate it; they fear it.  Like any fear there are higher, more debilitating levels and lower levels.  If you spend some time thinking you will probably think of a number of people that have exhibited macrophobia.  It’s not that they are necessarily in a hurry but they are just anxious about waiting for the answer, the movie, the phone call, the amusement park ride, the doctor’s office, etc….  Some Christians even get anxious as we WAIT for His return.  I believe some of the people that saw the Lord ascend into Heaven experienced macrophobia.

Jesus just told them that it was none of their business when the Father would have Him return to set up His earthly kingdom.  Instead, He told them they should be walking in the power of the Spirit and providing evidence that Jesus is Alive.  Yet as He ascended, they just stood there staring up into the sky.  We don’t know how long they stood there looking, but apparently it was long enough that the Lord had to send some angels to them to tell them to get back to the important business at hand.

Sometimes I think He wants to send angels to us to tell us the same thing.  Many times under the stresses and trials of life I’ve told the Lord, “You can come back anytime now.”  Or said, “You know this would be a whole lot easier if you just came back already.”  And I don’t think I’m alone.  I look forward to the glorious day that our Savior returns for His Church, but sometimes I just want it now because I don’t want to deal with something or am under some other pressure and want relief.  Sometimes though, I just yearn to be with Him so bad that I no longer want to wait to see Him face to face.  You know what the Lord’s response to people that don’t want to wait is?  Stop waiting and go do something.

That’s it.  He said do something.  If you hate waiting for things, do something else.  Take a book with you to the doctor’s office, do some push-ups or crunches during commercials, or find something else use full to do while you wait.  For those waiting for His return or getting over anxious for it, reading and re-reading every eschatological book they can get their hands on; or for those just wishing He’d come back so we could avoid a difficult conversation or circumstance… Stop it!  Go do something productive for the Kingdom.  Jesus is coming back.  We’ve been commissioned to tell others about His return.  Get busy!

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344. Get Out of the House!

Posted by John Smith on July 28, 2017

John 20:19 NKJV  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

On the evening of the day of His resurrection, Jesus who had already been seen by Mary Magdalene and proclaimed to be alive to a few other ladies by an angel is about to appear to His disciples.  These great men and women of God, who had been following Jesus for years now, were huddled together in a home with the windows drawn and the doors shut because they were afraid.  They were hiding.  They were afraid.

They had heard that Jesus body was gone.  They weren’t sure what they thought about Mary’s testimony that she had seen and spoken to Jesus, but they were sure that they were being considered as prime suspects in the disappearance of Jesus’ body.  They feared that they would be put to death as His disciples or apprehended as body snatchers so they hid.  Their fear kept them from living life, proclaiming God’s goodness, and certainly hindered them from hearing testimonies and remembering both God’s Word and what Jesus Himself had told them about how He must die and be resurrected.

Then Jesus walks in to the midst of their fearful situation and says, “Peace be with you.”  His presence and His Word bring us peace when we are overwhelmed.  When we realize that we have His peace and have been sent by God on a mission of mercy to the world we will leave the house.  Your house is whatever fears you allow to keep you bound up.  They prevent you from living life.  They keep you from embracing His Promises to you.  They also keep us from fulfilling our purpose and our call as His ambassadors in the Earth.

It is time to get out of the house.  It’s time to shed your fears.  And the Church is not exempt.  For LIGHT to truly be effective it must be in the darkness.  Fear keeps the church huddled up together and contained by the darkness all around us.  After Jesus walked into that home and said, “Peace be with you” everything changed for those men and women.  They knew it was time to get out of the house.  They knew they had destiny to do.

You have destiny to do too.  Jesus has come into your house and spoken peace to you in the midst of your fears just like He did those disciples that day.  It’s time to get out of the HOUSE.  The light in you is powerful; go shine it in the darkness.  You have His peace!  Fear Not!

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341. Your Peace is in Him

Posted by John Smith on June 30, 2017

John 14:27 NKJV  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I’ve heard it said that the benediction of speaking “peace” to people or to homes one might visit was a common practice in Jesus’ days.  Still, He went further when He said, “My peace I give to you.”  His peace (being God) is one that certainly only He can impart but then Jesus went even further to differentiate it from any other form or expression of peace saying, “…not as the world gives do I give to you.”  The world’s peace in inconstant, unsettling, and transient.  It’s empty.  As soon as you find the peace it was promising you through things, wealth, power, fame, etc… you realize it is already fading and you’re on the hunt again.  This is frustrating and troubling for our hearts.  It leaves us wondering and fearing that we’ll never find it.  But there is a better way.  Embrace the Peace that Jesus left for you.

 He’s made obtaining and maintaining peace so simple.  The peace of God that only He can impart, has already been given to us through Christ Jesus.  Our job is to renew our mind and live in the reality that there is no longer a struggle to find peace.  We no longer have enmity with God.  We have been reconciled to Him and all that He has He has freely made available to us.

There is no longer any situation that has the power to overwhelm us or cause us to fear.  The peace of God has been given to us.  It is always present.  It is always near.  The peace of God is filling and fulfilling.  His peace is one that is realized through the Son.  As we grow in understanding His love for us and His grace toward us we realize the joy and the peace that the world knows not.  We become utterly secure in the reality that we are In Christ and are safe in Him no matter what the situations of life may look like don’t allow your fear to trouble you… You have HIS peace.  If you can’t find what you did with it, look back at Jesus you’ll find it in Him.

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340. Autophobia, Isolophobia, Anuptaphobia Oh My!

Posted by John Smith on June 23, 2017

John 14:16-18 NKJV  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—  (17)  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  (18)  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Hebrews 13:5 NKJV  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”

Autophobia or monophobia is the fear of being alone.  It is closely related to isolophobia a fear of being isolated, ignored.  But neither of these fears need plague God’s people for we are never alone.

Before His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, Jesus said that He would be going away, but that He would not leave us orphans.  Thankfully He will return for His Church.  In the meantime, He still did not leave us alone.  Instead He sent the Holy Spirit who abides with us forever.  When we were born-again the Holy Spirit took up residence in every Believer.  We are never alone.

The Spirit of God is a friend like no other.  Ever present.  Full of wonder.  Giver of Truth.  Possessor of Wisdom.  A Heavenly Coach that will walk with us through every circumstance or trial we experience in life, leading us through and into the abundant life that is ours in Christ.

Most of my childhood and adolescent years my parents left for work before I went to school and returned home after I had been home a few hours.  During the summer or winter breaks, I spent a lot of time at home alone.  Sometimes it was fine.  Sometimes it was great.  Sometimes it was scary.  The cracks and creeks of the ranch style house or of the towering trees in the woods behind our home, or the shadows of an animal passing one of the windows would cause be to jump.  I felt alone.

But as a child of God, I am never alone.  I have God the Holy Spirit with me everywhere I go.  Ephesians 1:13 tells us that when we believe in Christ we “…were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”, and he will never leave me nor forsake me.  And if you’ve been born-again, He’ll never leave you either.  Fear Not; You are Not Alone.

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339. No mo’ FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Posted by John Smith on June 16, 2017

John 14:16 NKJV  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

One might think that nomophobia is being free from fear and having No-Mo-phobia… but it is actually the fear of being without your mobile device.  It is one of the fastest growing fears and anxieties in our culture.  Studies have shown that about 66 percent of adults feel extreme anxiety if they lose connection with their mobile device.  Before we start spending too much time on discussing this phenomenon let’s just jump to the root of the fear. People are afraid of being out contact… perhaps FOMO (fear of missing out) is partly to blame too.  But people increasingly become anxious the longer they are out of contact or the ability to be out of contact with others.

This phenomenon leads us to isolate and be alone even when together because we feel we must keep up on what is going on so we don’t miss out.  In reality we end up missing out on present opportunities to connect, laugh, and live life with others.  Don’t let FOMO steal from you and what you can have right now.  In John 14:16, Jesus said the Holy Spirit is with the Believer all the time.  Hebrews 13:5 tells us that He will never leave us.  You are never alone.  With the Holy Spirit with you, you are never alone and you are never missing out.  It’s ok to check your social media from time to time, but don’t let FOMO keep you from experiencing all that God has for you through a living and vital relationship with the ONE friend who you can always utterly depend on.  You don’t have to miss out on anything in life when you pull in close to the Holy Spirit, who desires to make sure you walk in and possess everything that Christ died for you to have.  Through your relationship with Him you can have no mo’ FOMO.

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338. Rejoice and Fear Not; Fear Not and Rejoice

Posted by John Smith on June 9, 2017

John 12:15 NKJV  “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SITTING ON A DONKEY’S COLT.”

This verse quoted by John from Zechariah 9:9 indicating a prophecy regarding the Messiah was fulfilled as Jesus entered Jerusalem the last time prior to His crucifixion at what many refer to as the triumphant entry.  This verse is interesting because in Zechariah 9:9 God’s people are told to “Rejoice greatly” but John quotes it as FEAR NOT.  You see you can’t be in fear when your rejoicing greatly in victory.

The Hebrew word rejoice used in Zechariah 9:9 means to spin around violently under the influence of a powerful emotion (Strong’s) either great excitement or fear.  Context from the previous verses in Zechariah 9 talks about great deliverance from their oppressors who will no longer pass through.  This is a glorious freedom that was prophesied would come and did come in Christ Jesus.  No longer would sin oppress God’s people for it would be dealt with in Christ.  No longer would the law exact judgement upon His people, because it would be fulfilled in Him.  No longer would the fear of death oppress them for Jesus would deliver them from that bondage (Hebrews 2:15).  They would rejoice greatly because they would be delivered from all reason to fear.  This is why John quotes Zechariah 9:9 as Fear Not.

We are to rejoice greatly because Jesus has come and delivered us from anything that would try to terrorize us.  Our King has come and set up His throne in the midst of our hearts by His Spirit.  Meanwhile, He is physically sitting on the Throne in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, where we are reigning and ruling with Him as joint heirs with Christ (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:17).  So rejoice and fear not.  Fear not and rejoice.  Either way you look at it they go hand and hand because the King has come and has set us free.

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337. Gratitude Empowers Us to Live Fearlessly

Posted by John Smith on June 2, 2017

John 9:22-25 NKJV  His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.  (23)  Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”  (24)  So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”  (25)  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

In John chapter 9 we meet a man that was born blind and has spent his entire adult life begging (v8).  He was well known by those that visited the temple at the Mt. of Olives.  As Jesus left the temple after supernaturally avoiding being stoned after He revealed Himself as I AM he passed by this man and healed him.

Later this man’s neighbors saw him seeing, questioned him about who healed him, and took him to the Pharisees when he told them that some guy named Jesus healed him by putting mud in his eyes and sending him to go wash it off at the pool of Siloam.  Everyone was shocked that this man could see.  The Pharisees sought confirmation from his parents that he had indeed been blind from birth.  Once they confirmed they were asked how Jesus could heal their son and what they thought about Him.  That’s when they became afraid.  His parents believed that this miracle pointed to the reality that Jesus was the Christ, but didn’t know how they could even begin to scripturally explain their belief.  They also knew that saying such a thing would have them excommunicated from the synagogue and they would be harshly criticized.

Sometimes people don’t speak up because they are not confident in their understanding of Scripture to answer all the arguments that people have.  Praise God, you don’t have to.  In verse 25 the man previously blind speaks up saying, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know; that thought I was blind, now I see.”  His statement proves you don’t have to have a theology degree to speak up about Jesus.  All you have to do is tell others what He’s done for you.  But what about His parent’s fear of being criticized and socially outcast… well they did kick this man out of the synagogue, but then Jesus found him, strengthened him, and ministered to him.

I hear from people that tell me they are too afraid to tell people about Jesus.  First of all that is selfish.  People are dying and going to Hell because they don’t know Him and they are concerned that someone won’t like them.  Well if they wake up in Hell and know you could have at least told them about Jesus they really won’t like you.  Sometimes they tell me they just don’t know enough or how to answer the questions that people ask.  Neither did this ex-blind guy in John 9 but he told them what he did know.  He told them what Jesus had done for them.  Nobody can argue that.  Secondly, so what if you are ostracized.  This man was kicked out of the synagogue and then Jesus strengthened and ministered to him.  His parents fear kept them in the in crowd, but it also kept them from being personally strengthened and ministered to by Jesus

What freed the man born blind from fear?  Perhaps it was that his whole life he had already been a kind of social outcast relegated to begging for an income.  If you’ve never really been accepted the threat of rejection might not hold as much power.  Or maybe it was the fact that he had a LIFE CHANGING encounter with Jesus that was so fresh to him, he simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut.  I lean to the latter.  Keeping ourselves grateful and in mind of all that Jesus has done for us empowers and emboldens us to share what He’s done with others without fear.

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336. Speak Up

Posted by John Smith on May 26, 2017

John 7:13 NKJV  However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

The Jewish feast of Tabernacles was at hand and families were busily with their final preparations for the feast.  People were cleaning, picking up items from the market, etc… Just think about the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving morning and you’ll probably have a decent picture of the hustle and bustle.  And just like at your family or community gatherings around holidays everyone is swapping stories about the most recent television news broadcasts except in Jerusalem Jesus was the topic of the hour.

Some liked Him.  Some hated Him.  Some believed He was Messiah.  Some thought He was a charlatan.  Unfortunately as seems to be the norm, the doubters, haters, and negative folk were not silent about their thoughts concerning Jesus.  Their bombastic hate filled rhetoric cast fear into the hearts of those that had heard, seen & experienced His teachings, healings, signs, and testimonies of those that were familiar with His ministry, so that the best they could must up was to say that He was good (John 7:12). 

These tactics are favorites of the enemy who continues to use them effectively against the church.  At least the people had not yet experienced the wonder of redemption through Christ nor encountered His amazing grace through which we have been born-again by faith in Him.  Yet there are many such people who have experienced the goodness of His grace and have been radically changed having become a new creation in Christ, but from fear of ridicule, shame, or persecution have been silenced by the clamor of those that refuse to believe.

The word translated “openly” in John 7:13 could also be used as boldly.  It wasn’t that people didn’t say anything, but they just didn’t make it fully know what they believed.  Instead of saying, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” they might’ve said, “Well he really seems like a pretty nice guy to me.”  There is increase in societal pressure to not speak about Jesus and the new life we experience in Him.  Jesus conquered fear on the cross when He gave His life for ours, now we can live in His freedom boldly living for Him.  Don’t give in to the pressure and fear to profess who Jesus is and what He’s done.  He wrote a letter on your heart (2 Corinthians 3:3).  Stand up, read it, and speak up.

“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.” Rabindanath Tagore

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