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Posts Tagged ‘Devotion’

356. Stay Close

Posted by John Smith on October 20, 2017

Romans 3:18 KJV  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 Romans 3:18 NLT  “They have no fear of God at all.”

Romans 3:18 MSG  They never give God the time of day.

A wonderful woman of God whom my wife, Valarie and I know, said, “The fear of God isn’t being afraid of Him, it’s being afraid of being away from Him.  It doesn’t keep us at a distance, it keeps us close.” – Kim Saylor, Co-Pastor of Jubilee Bible Church.

As a child of God, the God who is LOVE, we need not be afraid of Him.  It is however, when I recognize just how awesome He is, that at the sound of His voice all that is was created that I realize just how fearless we should be.  Especially, when I see that from the beginning all He has done has been so He could express the very nature of who He is to me.

The more I learn of His great love for me the more I want to stay in His glorious presence.  It is a love that frees us from all fear.  Unfortunately, too many have a wrong view of God that either keeps them running from Him or just ignoring His attempts to develop a relationship with Him.  Give Him some time today.  The fear of God will free you from all fear and lead you closer into a glorious relationship with Him.

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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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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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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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333. He’s a Good, Good Father

Posted by John Smith on May 5, 2017

Luke 12:32 NLT  So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

Jesus uses the familiar imagery of a sheep and their Shepherd, which is familiar in Scripture because of how common the profession was that it makes for a great illustration to talk about the love of the Father God for His people.  Like a good shepherd for his sheep, God leads, feeds, guides, provides, watches, & protects His people.  Yet many times we still fall victim to fear that we’ll miss out or do without.  But we needn’t fear.  It is the Father’s great happiness and joy to give us all that the Kingdom has.

Jesus is telling us we don’t need to clutch the things of the world or fear we’ll do without, because the Father has given us all that Heaven holds.  We have received an inheritance of all He has and of all He is.  We are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and in all that He possesses, which is everything (Psalm 24:1).

The Father loves providing for and protecting His children.  He takes joy leading us to places of refreshing where we can find good food, both physically and spiritually.  The Father has purposed to care for us.  All we need to do is apply Proverbs 3:5-6 and Fear NOT!

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  (6)  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

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332. The World Can’t Take His Love From You

Posted by John Smith on April 28, 2017

Luke 12:4-7 NLT  “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that.  (5)  But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the One to fear.  (6)  “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them.  (7)  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Though Jesus is surrounded by a huge crowd too large to number He doesn’t specifically address the crowd.  Instead, He begins to speak to His disciples first warning them about hypocrisy both of others (Pharisees) and of their own (Luke 12:1-3).  He continues speaking to His disciples and admonished them not to fear people, pressures, and by direct implication Pharisees.

It is the fear of what others will say, what others may do, the pressures of life, and the pious lofty speeches of religious people who speak the word only to try to show how much they know and trap people in theological arguments that amount to nothing for the Kingdom that lead Believers to act in ways that are contrary to who they are (hypocrisy).  Jesus was encouraging His disciples in the midst of people that won’t always want to hear the truth and some that are there intentionally to argue that they mustn’t back down from the truth.  He further encourages them to remember just who it is that they are speaking for, the stakes for those who hear, and the absolute trust they can put in God who doesn’t overlook even what we might consider the most insignificant thing such as sparrows and the very hairs on our heads.

The reality is that the Lord is absolutely enamored with his people.  He loves you and are worth the very life blood of Jesus to Him.  Because of this love we can overcome the fears that would cause us to back away from the dreams and callings that He has for each of us to work with Him in letting the world know of His incredible mercy and grace.

Fear in the form of persecution and pressure to back away from sharing & living the Truth has always been around.  But to a Believer in Christ there is no fear for death is all the enemy has and we know that death is not the end for us.  Therefore we have an obligation to stand tall and make sure the world has an opportunity to hear of His great love.  We can be fearless in this knowing His love for us.  The world can’t take that away.

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331. Don’t Be Afraid to ASK Questions

Posted by John Smith on April 21, 2017

Luke 9:44-45 NLT  “Listen to Me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies.”  (45)  But they didn’t know what He meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.

 Whether you were in a classroom at school, at a sports practice, in youth group, or sitting around a restaurant table with friends or family there is a good chance at some point you had a question, but decided not to ask because you “felt” stupid.  For a lot of things today we just glance down at our smart phones and quickly look it up on the internet.  Other things you might just smile and nod your head as if you knew what they were talking about.  People do that because they are concerned about being seen as dumb or feel this is information they will be judged for not knowing.

Jesus just emphatically told His disciples He was going to be turned over His enemies and though they didn’t understand what He meant they didn’t ask.  They were probably afraid He would rebuke them for not knowing and none of them was willing to speak up.  Peter had just been rebuked for opening his mouth and saying something dumb by the Father God, while he, John, & James were with Jesus on a nearby mountain where Moses & Elijah appeared and Jesus began to shine with glory (Luke 9:27-36).  And the rest of the disciples had been rebuked by Jesus when He learned they had not been successful in casting the demon out of the young boy whose father brought him to them (Luke 9:37-42).  But living in ignorance is not bliss.

 Their lack of clarity led to greater fear later when Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the chief priests and turned over to Pilot to be crucified.  They had an opportunity to ask Jesus for clarity, to explain what He was talking about as they had done many times in the previous 3 years as He taught the masses in parables.  But this time they were afraid.  They probably felt like they should know what He meant and maybe they should have.  But they let the social pressure and desire to look smart keep them from understanding something their teacher wanted them to know.  But if they understood what was going to happen better, how might they have prepared and reacted differently at His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (it wasn’t just Thomas that doubted when Mary, Joanna, and Mary Magdalene told the disciples that Jesus had raised from the dead (Luke 24:10-11)).

 Don’t let social anxiety keep you in the dark and ignorant about things your children, your parents, your boss, your pastor, etc… are trying to tell you.  If you don’t understand, ask for clarity.  Understanding today can lead you to live fearlessly tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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