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Living Free From Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘christian’

355. Anchored!

Posted by John Smith on October 13, 2017

Acts 27:29 NKJV  Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

In the midst of a deadly storm the crew and captives of this prison ship carrying Paul and heading for Rome all thought they were going to die and had given up hope (Acts 27:20).  To stabilize the ship 4 anchors were dropped.  Although we are not on a literal ship in a storm there are 4 anchors for our soul (mind, will, & emotions) that will give us stability and protect us from the fear that destroys when storms in life strike.

1)   I Belong to God – Acts 27:23.  The enemy will try to get you to doubt or question your identity.  Be confident in whose you are.  You are a child of God (Romans 8:15).  God is for you and not against you (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 8:31).

2)   God Cannot Lie – Acts 27:25.  Paul said two powerful statements.  “I believe God.” & “It will be just as it was told me.”  When the thunderous threats producing fear come remember, God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18).  His promises are true.  Trust in Him and He will see you safely through.

3)   The Purposes of God will Prevail – Acts 27:24.  That doesn’t mean that everything you are supposed to or called to do will get done, your will is involved in the process.  However, if the Lord has given you something to do, you can stay steady, faithful, & consistent at it doing what is before you to do and He will make sure you prevail. It is His purpose.  If you’ll keep pursuing it, His Word will prevail.

4)   There is Always a Way of Escape – Acts 27:43-44.  Even in the darkest circumstances God has provided the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Get a vision of life on the other side of the storm.  Let the Lord open your eyes to His desire for your freedom and victory.  Even in the darkest of times, the Lord is there and He is faithful to provide the way of escape.  It is there.  We just need to listen to His guidance, trust and obey.

These 4 truths will stabilize your mind and emotions in the midst of even the most terrifying of times.  Drop these anchors and FEAR NOT!

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354. When the Winds of Life Blow

Posted by John Smith on October 6, 2017

Acts 27:23-25 NKJV  For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,  (24)  saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  (25)  Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

Paul is being taken as a prisoner by ship to Rome, when the prison ship he is on encountered a horrible storm.  The experienced sailors undergirded the ship and took all normal precautions to weather the storm (Acts 27:17-19) but the storm was too much for them and they soon gave up any hope that they would survive (Acts 27:20).  But in the midst of the terrible storm Paul had an angelic visitation that reminded him of what Jesus told him months previously back in Jerusalem in a vision (Acts 23:11) telling him that he must bear witness of Jesus in Rome.

In the midst of the terrifying storms of life, it can be easy to get our eyes off the Lord or the Word He’s given us and look at the circumstance.  Remember Peter walking on water and getting distracted by the wind and the waves.  Paul certainly wasn’t the only person to lose sight of what the Lord has said in the midst of a fearful situation, but he didn’t have to.

Thankfully, the Lord sent an angel to encourage Paul, reminding him of the mission and what Jesus had told him.  We all need reminded of the promises of God and His faithfulness sometimes when the winds of life begin to blow, but we may not all receive an angelic visitation.  Here are some things you can do to stay grounded and avoid fear.

1)   Remember what Jesus has said and His faithfulness.  Write these things down.

2)   Remind yourself of them.  Write them on the mirror, put them on sticky notes & read them often (weekly, daily or hourly as needed).

3)   Surround yourself with friends that will encourage you and remind you of God’s promises.  Paul had an angel remind him of what God had said and though an angelic visitation.  Though this would be pretty cool He has given us something even better, a family of Believers recreated in His likeness, filled with His power and glory.  Find yourself some good faith-filled friends and turn to them when you are feeling discouraged.  Not only will they remind you of what the Lord has said, they’ll also walk with you through the storm and back onto solid ground.

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348. Pistanthrophobia – Fear of Trusting People

Posted by John Smith on August 25, 2017

left-outActs 9:26-27 NKJV  And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.  (27)  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Pistanthrophobia is the fear of trusting people or the fear of putting any faith in people.  For some this is a debilitating phobia that not only isolates them from loved ones, it also makes it difficult for them to receive any of the kind of help that they need.  Though I’m sure most of you don’t suffer from this on that level, we’ve all experienced not trusting someone before.

*Disclaimer* I have had circumstances where the Spirit of God was warning me not to trust certain people I’ve met and I just knew in my spirit to be nice, but not to trust them.  I’m not talking about that… always follow the leading of the Spirit.  Is what I’m talking about are those people who many instinctively recoil from; those with a past.

We have all met people that have a not so great past and past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior… unless there is a REAL change.  But sometimes we meet people, find out about their past and immediately write them off as totally untrustworthy and though we know Theologically they are redeemable we’re reticent to believe they have changed.  This is what Saul experienced after his conversion.

Many of the disciples were afraid of him because of his past (he was arresting Christians after all) and though he didn’t cast any stones personally, he did hold the coats for those that stoned Stephen.  We have the hindsight to see that a real and genuine change had taken place in Saul/Paul, but these people didn’t….  Many churches push new converts or attenders away when they begin to get to know them, because of something in their past.  We all have a past that would raise somebody’s eyebrows and make them nervous if they don’t know us today, so how do we overcome this fear so we can begin to trust others and connect with them.

First, recognize that your suspicions may be unfounded.  Are you just negatively recoiling about how they look, speak, or their past?  A relationship with Jesus can change people.  It changed you.

Second, take them to leadership. Barnabas took Saul to the apostles who met with him and heard his story. These men were all very close with Jesus and were experienced with the leading of the Holy Spirit. It was also part of their responsibility to protect the people.  They should have a good sense about someone’s intentions and trustworthiness. NOTE: not all church leaders are as sensitive as these ones were either.  They might be wrong.

Third, spend time with them. Saul was invited to spend time with the Early Church Leaders (Acts 9:28).  They were able to watch him. NOTE: If you have a speckled past, submit yourself to the elders of your church. Somethings you have to live down and show over time through your actions that the change in you is genuine.  The apostles didn’t just immediately sign off on Saul and promote him to a leadership position.  Saul had to live down his past and prove himself.

Lastly, provide opportunities for people to earn your trust. Give them non-critical places where they can prove themselves and let them grow to greater responsibility as they do (Acts 9:28-30).

Following these steps will help you grow and strengthen new relationships while fostering trust within them.  The person you are afraid to trust because of their past, might just be the next Apostle Paul.

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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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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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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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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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272. There is a Higher Authority

Posted by John Smith on March 4, 2016

0006873Daniel 5:18-21 NKJV O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. (19) And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. (20) But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. (21) Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

King Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful leader and ruler of his day. During his reign there were no kingdoms that could compare to the strength and riches of the Babylonians. Daniel 5:19 records that “all peoples, nations & languages trembled and feared before him.” There was no one that could stand against him and everyone feared his power and the greatness of his kingdom. At least that is what he thought.

Nebuchadnezzar was greatly lifted up in pride and although God reached out to him, warned him and gave him a year to humble himself and repent of his pride, he did not. In one day, Nebuchadnezzar was driven from the palace to the fields and away from aristocratic society. He lived as an animal eating the grass of the field, sleeping on the ground, apparently unable to communicate or think like a man. He lived as a beast with his hair and fingernails growing like one. (Daniel 4)

During this time, he was not feared for his great intellect, strength or power. He may have been feared for his appearance, but no one feared the power he wielded. It had been taken from him and with it the fear of man toward him. After 7 seasons, his sanity returned and he had a massive attitude adjustment. He now understood that no matter how much power he may amass that the Lord was Most High and rules over all human kingdoms.

There are a few takeaways we can have here. One is to remember the dangers of pride and recognize that everything we do or accomplish could not be done without the Lord. Another and what I’d like to stress is that no matter how much real or perceived power a person, a group, or a government may amass, our God is still Lord Most High and the ruler over all kingdoms. At present there are many Christians throughout the world, as well as here in the United States that are afraid of political powers and figures. We are to love them, respect the offices they hold, but we are not to fear them or the power they possess.

We never have to fear nations, political leaders, or anyone because we are children of the Most High who rules over all kingdoms. It is in Him that we trust, serve and live. The just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17) and not in fear. Love God! Love People! Preach the Truth in Love! Do not fear! There is a Higher Authority.

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253. Fear Not All Will Be Well

Posted by John Smith on October 2, 2015

Jeremiah 42:11-12 NKJV Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,’ says the LORD, ‘for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand. (12) And I will show you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and cause you to return to your own land.’

Have you ever done something or said something only to immediately gasp and think, “What have I done?” Jeremiah is speaking to a group of soldiers and their men that were probably thinking the same thing. These guys had really gotten themselves in a pickle and were afraid of a major blowback from the king of Babylon, having committed a major crime against him by killing his appointed governor to the region. Now they were living on the run, tormented by fear and second guessing every thought about what to do next.

Though I am sure none of you have been in their particular situation, many of us have done or said something and then realized it may not have been our wisest moment. Often people will get stuck in the cycle of what is going to happen next and what will I do. This cycle is perpetual and often leaves people frozen in fear because they see every possible action as having unfavorable consequences and simply want to avoid all of them.

I imagine receiving this message from Jeremiah, must have been a breath of fresh air. He told them they no longer had to fear, because God was with them to save & deliver them, showing them mercy and make sure they didn’t lose their inheritance. That is incredible… but their journey to overcome their fear really began a few verses prior in Jeremiah 42:6.

Jer 42:6 Whether we like it or not, we will obey the LORD our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey Him, everything will turn out well for us.”

Their journey to escape the bondage of fear came when they made a decision that they would obey the Lord no matter what He told them to do, whether they liked it or not. Even though they had gotten themselves in a bad situation (by NOT consulting and involving the Lord), they knew that God is good, was for them, and had their best interests at heart. It was this understanding that allowed them to do whatever the Lord instructed them to do even if it meant marching home and facing the consequences of their actions. It is also this understanding that allowed them to experience peace from the onslaught of fear.

Many people quote Romans 8:2, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Yet they don’t allow God to work in their lives. They refuse to obey His written Word and ignore the voice and promptings of the Holy Spirit, because they don’t really believe that He is indeed for them and has their best interests at heart. Obedience and faith are tied together.

No matter how you got in your fearful situation, whether it was brought you by others, just happened because we live in a fallen world, is an attack of the enemy, or you did something and brought it on yourself, the Lord loves you and is for you. If you will decide to seek His will and council as to what to do, you can eradicate the fear knowing that everything will turn out well. Fear Not.

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241. There IS an Answer

Posted by John Smith on July 10, 2015

Isaiah 37:6 NKJV And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.

A general from the king of Assyria has shown up and begun intimidating and threatening King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. Assyria was a mighty force of the day and laying siege to kingdom after kingdom throughout the land. His speech was not only intimidating but it was quite articulate and given so that all the people of Jerusalem could hear.

King Hezekiah did a good job in the presence of his people to not show any emotion or give the appearance that he was concerned. However, when he got behind closed doors he began to freak out. He was afraid. Hezekiah knew that in their own strength they were nothing against the armies of Assyria, so he sent a messenger to make inquiry of Isaiah to ask if God heard the threats that were made against God’s people and how the general had mocked God. Hezekiah wanted to find out if God was going to do anything about it.

God’s response to Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah was, “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard…” Words have the power to inspire faith or inspire fear. They also have the power to release faith or to release fear. In this situation the Assyrian generals words inspired fear in the Hezekiah and his people, however none of them spoke their fear, at least not publically where it could spread. You have to be carefully what you listen to. There are a lot of people out there speaking words that are inspiring fear. Don’t listen to them.

With God on your side you never have to fear any negative report. Certainly don’t listen to words that belittle and mock God or His promises to you. When the general began to threaten the people of Jerusalem, he said don’t listen to your king if he tries to tell you to fight us because you all know you’re way too weak for us. He went on to tell them not to believe Hezekiah if he tried to convince them that God would somehow protect them, because they had defeated many peoples whose gods had promised to deliver them but were no match of their army or the Assyrian gods. In essence he told them, “Look, you all are going to be defeated and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t get any foolish ideas you can lick us and there’s not point to pray about it because there is nothing that your God can do to help you. So don’t even pray about it, that way you won’t get zealous and try something stupid.”

Have you ever need in a situation and told someone you were going to pray and they respond something to the effect of, “Like that’ll help.” If you listen to that junk fear will take hold of you in no time. God cares for you and is with you to deliver you and bring you through every circumstance and trial. When people begin to doubt and profess that God can’t help you, that’s a good time to begin to rejoice. Not only do they believe your situation is hopeless for you, but they don’t think God is big enough to do anything to help. They are WRONG!

Don’t give in to the fear and pressure of the situation. Seek the Lord. Look to His counsel in the Word. Listen to the counsel of His Spirit. He may give you specific advice or He may say something similar that He did to Hezekiah through Isaiah and tell you that you don’t have to do anything but wait and He’ll take care of the whole situation and show everyone just how AMAZING He is. Either way there is an answer and God is your deliverer. Fear Not!

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