344. Get Out of the House!

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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320. Identity, Purpose, Strategy

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.

267. The Ultimatum

Daniel 3:15-16 MSG I’m giving you a second chance–but from now on, when the big band strikes up you must go to your knees and worship the statue I have made. If you don’t worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” (16) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar, “Your threat means nothing to us.

When your boss or political leaders in your nation make a new law, regulation, or protocol that is directly opposed to what the Lord has established in His Word, what do you do? You may not be asked to bow down and worship a statue, but will you bow down to a statute? Lay down for a lie? Prostrate for a proclamation? When your boss asks you to fudge a few numbers on a report or stretch the truth on a statement, what will you do?

Although throwing people alive into flaming furnaces is a practice presently frowned upon in most of the free world, there are consequences that we will face if we don’t go along with the establishment. You could be passed over for promotion, lose benefits, be fired, potentially jailed or lose your 501c3 tax exempt status depending on how our government decides on some legislation presently and that will be before them in the future. What will you do when faced with very real, life changing, and fearful consequences? Life will present you with ultimatums; how will you decide?

Some choose the “flight” response and knuckle under to the fear and pressure, sacrificing their morals and uprooting their faith. Others choose to “fight” in response to the pressure and their fears forming protests and often lacing their opposition to the policy with hate and even threats or violence. Don’t get me wrong when our civil liberties are being taken away we should stand up and do something, but hate is not the answer. Thankfully we at least presently have a system of government that allows us to take legal action against unjust laws and the people still have a voice, although if we refrain from using that voice we won’t have it for long. Still, look at these young men’s response. They courageously submitted themselves to the present law of the land and its penalty, which was about to roast them alive, while respectfully declining to follow the ordinance.

These men were full of integrity and would not allow the fear of the fire to move them from doing what was right in the sight of God. They knew they were not to have any other gods besides Him and were to only worship the Lord God of Israel (Exodus 20). They chose to accept whatever the consequences of following God’s Word would be and they did it without malice or hatred toward the one imposing the command. How could they do such a thing? Their faith.

Daniel 3:17-18 MSG If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. (18) But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

They knew God was more than able to deliver them. They also knew that if they perished in the flames they would be in Paradise. The ultimatum from the enemy was a win-win situation for them. Either God would miraculously deliver them or they would be delivered and set free from the bondage they were in as slaves. All they had to do was remember that and not allow fear to drive them away from God. Their faith in God allowed them to both follow His Word and submit themselves to the law of man boldly and without fear. May we be as bold.

239. What is Physiognomophobia?

Jeremiah 1:8 NKJV Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 1:8 BBE Have no fear because of them: for I am with you, to keep you safe, says the Lord.

Physiognomophobia is the fear of faces. Some call it the fear of scary faces but it really could just be the fear of faces in general. This should not be confused with the fear of Facebook which, although it does not have a scientific name, is gain much discussion ground on Psychology sites that discuss Social Anxiety Disorders and other Social Phobias.

The point is God doesn’t want you to fear people, especially when they frown, smirk, shake their heads, roll their eyes, etc… at you for saying or doing what is right or sharing your faith in Christ. Jeremiah was being called by God to be a mouthpiece of the Lord and declare His Word to Israel and to surrounding kingdoms. Jeremiah was afraid of how people would receive these messages through him because he was still a teenager and God knew that many wouldn’t to hear and would reject His Word no matter who He sent.

I remember early on in ministry when I’d minister somewhere. As I’d be preaching and teaching, often fumbling my words out of nerves and lacking conviction in making many points unsure and concerned how they would be received, I’d be moved by the grim faces on the congregation as some shook their heads, expressed boredom with their silent exhaling grunts and crossed arms, the constant glances to the clock or their watches to check the time (I’ve developed a lot of sympathy for my school teachers remembering how I’d disinterestedly watch the second hand tick instead of paying attention), and even heard the audible yet muffled expressions of disagreement with what I said. It bothered me, impacted the delivery of the message, and sometimes I allowed it to keep me from saying or doing what the Lord put in my heart. I succumbed to the fear of their faces.

How about this? Have you ever need to have a conversation with somebody that you strongly felt they really didn’t want to hear and would make them mad? When you do speak to them often the hardest part is to look them in the eye when you tell them what they don’t want to hear. Why? It’s because you’re afraid of their face. You don’t want to see the anger, disgust, disagreement, etc… in their facial expressions. God knew that Jeremiah was going to have to say some things that would make a lot of people extremely angry and even want to harm him. His response to Jeremiah is, Don’t be afraid of their faces, I am with you and I’ll keep you safe.

He did it for Jeremiah and He’ll do it for you. Don’t fear their faces. Do what is right despite how others may react. Thankfully, I’m not nearly as bothered by those things as I once was. I’m also grateful that I’ve gotten ‘better’ at ministering in public and though I don’t like them I’ve gotten much better at having difficult conversations (there is something very wrong if you do like them). Once you realize God is with you and will keep you and protect you, even if you do flub your words or say something the wrong way, there is nothing to fear. Like Jeremiah, God’s called you to great things. Pursue them with boldness and don’t be afraid of the faces people will make; God is with you and He’ll keep you safe.

237. God Didn’t Send Your Problem

Isaiah 54:13-15 MSG All your children will have GOD for their teacher– what a mentor for your children! (14) You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness, far from any trouble–nothing to fear! far from terror–it won’t even come close! (15) If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, And if any should attack, nothing will come of it.

Some people erroneously believe that God is their problem. If God is your problem, you should quake with fear and dread. Thankfully, He’s not. God is not your problem.

In our last post, (236. God Is Your Teacher) we talked about how God, the Spirit teaches and mentors us in the glorious realities of who we now are in Christ. As we are built on Truth of God’s Word and grow in understanding of our righteous nature and all that means, we grow into our fearless and bold nature in Him learning that there is nothing to fear.

Now let’s look at verse 15. Just in case you might start to think that maybe the symptom or trial trying to bind you up in fear is from God, The Lord flat out tells us that it isn’t. He says, “If anyone (anything) attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them (it).” That’s some good news. Unfortunately there are some wonderful Christians that get bound up in fear because they believe that God might have brought the sickness, disease, or circumstance that they are terrified of in their life. He didn’t!

Furthermore the Lord who says that not only has He not sent nor will send any attacks against us, but should any attacks come, we don’t need to worry or become afraid because NOTHING will come of it. GLORY! Our teacher and mentor the Holy Spirit will train us up in God’s Word and the understanding of our righteous nature, coaching us into a place where we walk in our fearless nature. AND should any attacks come our way, He’ll be right there with us to teach us how to walk in the VICTORY and NOTHING will come of the attack. We simply just can’t lose.

225. Fear Not! He Calls You By Your Name

Isaiah 43:1 NKJV But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

There is a difference between knowing someone’s name and using it. For instance, you may know your Governor’s name, but doubt you’d ever just call out, “Hey (Jim, Jan, or whatever their name may be)!” if you saw them out and about. No. You would say, “Governor last name it is a pleasure to meet you.” or something to that effect. Now if you were best friends or classmates of the same person out to lunch or dinner together, you would be perfectly comfortable calling them by their first name. The difference is relationship.

When we call someone by their name instead of using a more formal way to address them such as Mr., Mrs., Pastor, Governor, sir, etc… this indicates friendship, a type of intimacy, a knowing of who they really are (knowing them as an individual). Well, our Heavenly Father knows you and me. He knows you better than you know yourself and He still loved you enough to give His life for you. He knows our failures, our concerns, and even the things we fear though we don’t have to.

In this verse the Father is telling His people and now under the New Covenant His children, FEAR NOT. Do not be afraid, because the God of all creation, the God who has redeemed you intimately knows you, loves you and calls you by name. You have a personal and intimate relationship with the King of all Kings. A relationship that gives you 24/7 access to His ear, His wisdom, His power, and His touch.

Yes He is King. Yes He is Creator. Yes He is God. But He is also Father and Friend, ever in your corner and on your side. The most powerful being in the Universe knows your name, is on your side and loves you. Fear Not!

223. Grab His Hand and Go

Isaiah 41:10 NKJV Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:13-14 NKJV For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ (14) “Fear not, you worm Jacob, You men of Israel! I will help you,” says the LORD And your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

When my children were younger and much smaller (they really do grow up so fast) they were just as curious and adventurous as they are today. The difference is they were not quite as bold. They wanted to go explore and see something up close at the park, the store, the church, Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland, but were afraid. So they would look up, grab my hand and then head toward their destination, dragging me behind them. They felt safe and secure hand in hand with their father, knowing I was there by their side.

Praise God we can have the same fearless confidence as we go through life. Isaiah 41:13 tells us that He will hold our hand and speak those empowering and comforting words, “Fear not, I will help you”. No matter where you are and no matter what is before you to do your Heavenly Father is right there with you. Just grab His hand.

While shaking hands with someone may indicate partnership, holding hands indicates relationship. It also establishes one location. You can’t hold hands with someone in another state or across the street. No, to hold hands they must be near you, usually right by your side (in the case of adventuresome children being drug about behind them).

Your Heavenly Father is always near. No matter what adventures, challenges, or giants you may face in life, you can simply look up into His glorious face, grab His hand and go. He will hold your hand, reassure your safety and that He will help so you can fearlessly charge forward through or to whatever is before you to do. FEAR NOT!