372. Paul’s Advice on Living Fearless

apostle-paul1 Timothy 4:11-16 NKJV  These things command and teach.  (12)  Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (13)  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  (14)  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.  (15)  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  (16)  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

I really enjoy Paul’s letters to Timothy.  They are filled with such fatherly instruction, encouragement, and of course pastoral wisdom.  Timothy faced a number of obstacles as pastor of the church of Ephesus.  He had strong opposition from those against Christianity in the community.  He had opposition from those within the church that didn’t respect his leadership.  And he had opposition from within himself where he dealt with thoughts of self-confidence and self-doubt.  Throughout his letters to Timothy, Paul touched on these areas and exhorted Timothy.  We can learn some things here too that will help us in the face of opposition or any other kind of obstacles that might begin to cause us to fear.

In the face of fear or any obstacle remember these 3 things.

1.  Identity – Who are you?  Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong in who he was and live it out in every facet of his life.  Like Timothy we are Believers and we can be encouraged by Paul’s letter to be examples to others in what we say, how we act, how we love, our disposition, our faithfulness & confidence in God, & holiness of our lifestyle.  We can continue to grow in these areas as we study the Word and apply what we learn (Rom 12:1-2)

2.  Calling – What is your call?  Not all of us are called to pastor, like Timothy, but we all have a call and have been given gifts to assist us in that call.  Some will be called to ministry, some will be called to sort mail, design buildings, work in the medical field, teach, build houses, etc… for the Glory of God.  Our identity tells us who we are.  Our calling tells us what we are to do.  Even if you are not walking in your calling yet, it gives you direction in where to head.

 3.  Purpose – Why are you here?  Purpose tells us why we are here.  Your purpose and mine may be vastly different, but we share at least one commonality together with Timothy.  We are called to bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and teach them to do likewise.  Our individual purposes can vastly differ as do our callings, but that thread is entwined in the fabric of the purpose of every Believer.

Knowing who you are, what you are supposed to do & why you are here will encourage you to stand and press forward when you are tempted to give in to fear.  Take some time to reflect on who you are in Christ, the gifts and callings on your life, and why you are here.  If you are unclear or not sure yet, talk to your pastor and help them fulfill the vision of your church, re-read Mark 16 a written purpose for the Body of Christ and get busy doing those things before you to do.


371. Cibophobia – The Fear of Food

cibophobia1 Timothy 4:4-5 NET  For every creation of God is good and no food is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.  (5)  For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

 Some people suffer from a horrible condition and are actually afraid of food.  This is often confused with anorexia but they are entirely different as sufferers are actually afraid of the food itself.  Thankfully most of us will never know anyone who ever deals with this fear; however, we’ve all had a bit of anxiety about eating certain things before.  Especially those on the mission field.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling both here in the USA and outside of our nation and I’ve learned that not everywhere in the world or just down the street store or prepare our food properly.  Not only that, but there are different types of bacteria and viruses in other parts of the world that can get your stomach spinning in a hurry… I’ve been there.  Praise God eating in roadside restaurants and oversees has gotten much easier for me since I grabbed a hold of this verse.

You see I used to get nervous in some places and in the natural rightfully so.  I’d see the cleanliness of the place or see the meat just hanging with flies on it and get nervous.  Well, fear always opens the door to the enemy.  Listen up… you should use wisdom and listen to the voice of the Spirit of God all the time, but especially while traveling and eating in foreign countries.  Obey the Spirit of God, He’ll tell you if you should pass on a dish or not, but you do not have to fear.  You see when I first used to travel and people would give me something I had never eaten before, I’d get extremely nervous and afraid that I’d get sick and often I would get queasy feeling, sometimes even before I ate. Why? Because I believed the food would contaminate me.  And my faith often received exactly what I believed.

Now I’ve learned I never have to fear, because God has provided a way for me to enjoy every meal and eat without getting sick. Instead of eating in fear I can rejoice, thank the Lord and enjoy the food in faith.  When I sit down for a meal, especially in a place that gives me reason to pause I pray, “Thank you, Father, that this food is sanctified by Your Word and my prayer. Thank you for providing and protecting me.”  Then I eat in faith, receiving what I just prayed.  I also often tell people with me to watch what I eat and follow my lead.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies our food but He also knows what might not sit well overnight or is undercooked etc… Some folk have told me that isn’t faith and ate whatever they wanted after praying.  The next day many have felt different.

Through thanksgiving, prayer, and listening to the Holy Ghost, we never have to fear what we eat.  He will sanctify it, purify it, and lead to what to enjoy and what to skip on.  One time I remember the Holy Ghost told me only to eat one small portion of a stew, I obeyed and told the other gentleman with me that I believed we should only eat a little bit.  I obeyed and enjoyed my small meal.  Unfortunately, it was his favorite and he dug in and had a few large bowls.  The next day he was super sick and I felt great, other than getting to hang out with and pray for a sick friend.  Thank God for your food, listen to the Holy Ghost, purify your food in prayer and you won’t have to fear your food.

342. “Fear Not, I Have Overcome the World.” – Jesus

John 16:33 NKJV  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

At the conclusion of His farewell speech to His disciples, having told them yet again and very plainly that He is about to die and they will endure hardships, Jesus tells them to be of good cheer.  Literally He told them to be of good courage or to Fear Not.  Then He tells them why they needn’t fear, because He has overcome the world.  GLORY!

There is no longer any reason to fear anything in the world because Jesus has overcome it.  Sure there will be difficult times.  Sure there will be trials and trouble.  There will be less than ideal circumstances.  There will be opposition to your great ideas.  There will be obstacles to overcome.  There will be people that hurt you.  There will be betrayal.  There will be loved ones who die.  There will be loss.  There will be taxes.  There will be gray skies.  There will be pain.  There will be persecution.  BUT we needn’t fear any of it.  Jesus has overcome it all.  He has overcome ALL the troubles of life.

You and I can have peace in HIM even in the midst of the storms of life.  During the troubles that occur in life we can walk in peace knowing that Jesus has defeated them and that we walk in His victory.  Be of good courage.  Be of good cheer.  FEAR NOT.  Jesus has overcome the troubles of life.