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Living Free From Fear

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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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343. Honor Jesus

Posted by John Smith on July 21, 2017

honor_1110_624John 19:38 NKJV  After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

Joseph of Arimathea, had been one that had heard Jesus, loved Him, and believed in Him as Lord, but was too afraid to confess Him openly because of his social and political standing in the community.  He was afraid of being ex-communicated by the Jews, kicked out of the synagogue, and losing his status as a leader in the Sanhedrin.  Now moved by grief, yet inspired by integrity of Jesus and his faith in Jesus, Joseph boldly approached Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  This action alone would have been enough to have him ostracized and restricted from attending the synagogue. 

Joseph was no longer afraid.  The disciples were in hiding having forsaken Jesus, but Joseph moved by a sense of duty, obligation, a desire to honor, and mostly his FAITH in Christ rose up against his fear acknowledging Christ and his relationship with Him.

There are many situations that come up at work, around friends, and even family that can make us nervous about speaking up concerning Christ.  Some even buckle under the pressure.  But if you will listen and yield to the Spirit within you to do, say, and believe what He is telling you and RISE UP.  Your fear will fade as your FAITH focuses on simply doing what is right and honoring Jesus.  A commitment to honoring Jesus will help you rise above your fears.

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

Posted by John Smith on July 7, 2017

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.

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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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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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309. How to Stand When Others Faint

Posted by John Smith on November 18, 2016

Matthew 28:2-7 NLT  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  (3)  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  (4)  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  (5)  Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  (6)  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.  (7)  And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The chief priests and Pharisees had convinced Pilate to place guard around the tomb of Jesus in case any of His disciples would come to steal his body because of the statements Jesus had repeatedly made about how He would rise after 3 days.  Due to the immense pressure and political tensions around this entire event my guess is that Pilate assigned some of their best soldiers to this assignment.  These soldiers were on assignment when a few ladies (Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James & Joses, and Salmone mother of James & John) came to visit the tomb probably to see if they could get in to anoint the bandages and burial cloth of Jesus better and complete the embalming process (Barnes’ Notes).

Then all of a sudden the ground begins to shake, an angel appears, rolls the stone away from the tomb and then sits on it.  The guards were so terrified that they fainted at this sight.  Yet these female disciples though they were comforted by the angel and told not to fear they didn’t fall to the ground, scream, run, or respond in any ‘natural’ symptom of fear to the supernatural scene before them. 

These ladies were well aware of who they believed Jesus was and had been around, witnessing some pretty remarkable things in the countless services, healing, and miracles they had seen.  They were more familiar with the supernatural happening in their midst, so when the angel showed up, the earth shook, and he rolled the stone away they didn’t respond in terror.  They probably were struck with some Holy Fear, but I suspect it was also accompanied by a great anticipation and excitement of what is going to happen next.

I’m not one that thinks we should go around looking or trying to manufacture the spectacular move of God in our midst, but we certainly should expect it.  And when He sends an angel or shows up in a new and remarkable way we shouldn’t be afraid like these soldiers.  Instead we should be familiar enough to His presence and His ways that when He shows up in a new way or moves in a way we’ve never seen or experienced before that we 1st recognize His genuine presence and 2nd are filled with anticipation of what God is going to do next.  Then you we stand when others faint in fear.

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308. He Truly is the Son of God

Posted by John Smith on November 11, 2016

Matthew 27:54 NKJV  So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

It’s amazing how fast emotions can turn when people lose a sense of power and control.  When natural events like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods occur even the most powerful people recognize that there are some things that are bigger and more powerful than them.  Still, there was little that could prepare this Roman Centurion for what he experienced when immediately as Jesus cried out, “It is finished” and yielded up His spirit that the veil of the temple (as thick as a man’s hand) was torn in to, massive earthquakes took place that split the rocks sealing in a number of tombs, and people that had died and were sealed inside got up and walked out their graves.  When the centurion saw these things… he and the other soldiers became terrified (NLT).

These soldier’s world view and security was shaken and their fear let them know that they were not as strong and powerful as they had believed.  They recognized that there was indeed one greater than them.  But we never have to fear, because we DO recognize that there is one greater than you and I.  We KNOW that Jesus is Lord of all.  We know He is greater than earthquakes or any other natural, human, or unnatural disaster.  We know that He didn’t stay on the cross at Calvary, but He rose from the dead and is alive even now at the right hand of the Father.  We know that God is with us and lives in every Believer by the Holy Spirit.  We have nothing to fear.

The world becomes afraid because of the fear of death that holds them in bondage (Heb 2:15) when they lose a sense of personal power and control.  We never have to, because the God of all power is always with us.  The Centurion was afraid and said, “…this was the Son of God!” and was probably thinking what have I done and what am I going to do know?  But you and I say He is the Son of God and He’s with me, I will not fear.  This assurance comes from the inside and it comes from knowing that Jesus truly is the Son of God.

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