376. Don’t Be Turned From Your Purpose

484142_18_e9135bHebrews 11:27 NKJV  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Hebrews 11:27 BBE  By faith he went out of Egypt, not being turned from his purpose by fear of the wrath of the king; for he kept on his way, as seeing him who is unseen.

You don’t have to allow fear to turn you from what you began in faith.  Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt by faith.  Immediately after making starting the journey the thoughts rushed in.  Even if Moses himself didn’t have personal thoughts of fear, he heard the fears of the people. “What if Pharaoh changes his mind?” “How will we survive in the wilderness?” “It would have been better if we never left Egypt.”  But Moses was not turned from his purpose, even when it looked like they might succumb to the wrath of the Pharaoh when he led his army against the Children of Israel.  Moses stayed steady, endured, and kept on his way.

No matter what God directed journey you are on, there is an enemy that will try to turn you from the purpose God has given you.  His number one weapon is fear.  This verse gives us 3 great points to help us stay free from fear.

  1. Live by faith. “By faith he went out…”  Whether you are going to work, visiting the doctor, or playing a game with the kids, do it in faith.  Pray often and remind yourself of the Word, then trust in the Lord and walk in the Word.  Romans 1:17.
  2. Stay your course. “…not being turned from his purpose by fear… for he kept on his way” The opportunity to fear and doubt will come.  Keep your mind stayed on the Word and Spirit of God because you trust Him. Isaiah 26:3 tells us that doing so will keep us in His perfect peace.
  3. Look unto Jesus. “…as seeing him who is unseen.” Moses looked unto God and the plan and purpose that God had for him and His people.  We look, unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2.  Looking unto Him, keeps us in constant contact with Him and watching for any course correction or new instructions along the way that will keep us steady and in our lane.

We don’t have to be derailed by fear.  Like Moses we are to begin in faith, knowing the Word and Character of God.  We keep our minds on the promises of His Word and our eyes on the victory set before us.  We keep our eyes on Him and follow His leading which keeps us in our lane and out of the ditch.  Don’t be turned from your purpose. Live by faith, stay your course, look unto Jesus, and Fear Not.


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.

370. Don’t Give in to Fear

53035-cheer-up-its-fridayPhilippians 1:27-28 NKJV  Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,  (28)  and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

Philippians 1:28 NLT  Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God Himself.

Paul knew that the character, consistency, and commitment of a Christian to the Gospel of Christ served as a sign to the unbeliever that either makes them very angry or contrite in heart.  We cannot become terrified or intimidated by those that want would desire to silence the Church.  To be silenced by fear diminished our capacity to be the examples and light to the world that we are called to be. 

Paul wrote to the Philippians to encourage them to during a time they were experiencing considerable opposition from both Jews and the pagans of the region.  Yet Paul encouraged them to remain steady in the midst of the persecution.  Steady in their character and steady in their commitment to live for and share the reality of Jesus.  In essence he told them, “Keep living and keep sharing your faith.  Be kind and full of the compassion of Christ to everyone, even though there are many how oppose the Gospel there.  Your consistency in character, and commitment to Christ is making them wonder.  It is a sign that Jesus is alive.”

That is still true for us.  Don’t give in to fear.  Keep preaching Jesus and loving people.  It is a sign that makes them wonder and the world desperately needs us to stay steady and be the people of character committed to Christ and the glorious truth of the Gospel that we are called to be.


365. Quench Your Pastor’s Fears 2

0306_market_fears_400x400-300x3002 Corinthians 12:20-21 NLT  For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior.  (21)  Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

Last week we touched on Paul’s greatest fears that your pastor shares.  Your pastor fears that the people he pours his life into will lose the purity and simplicity of the Gospel message and their devotion to Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 Paul lists a number of things that he was afraid he might see upon a visit to the church in Corinth.  Honestly, there have been a number of days I’ve been afraid about what I was going to see or deal with when I arrived at our local church.  Today I want to help both pastors with this fear and empower congregants to help their pastor too.

If you’re a pastor or serving in any ministry, you’ve experience that fearful thought sometimes too.  Here is what you can do.

  1. Stay steady. Keep it simple.  Keep doing what you are doing and don’t quit.  You are making a difference. 2 Corinthians 11:12
  2. Never preach people into bondage with fear tactics. Preach God’s grace and never put people down when they fail. 2 Corinthians 11:20-21
  3. Serve Jesus. Your faithfulness will pay off. 2 Corinthians 11:23
  4. Work hard. Give it all you’ve got and leave it all on the court. 2 Corinthians 11:27

If you aren’t in ministry… wait, what? Stop right here. You should be. Jesus gave the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher to the Church for the purpose of preparing and equipping you to fulfill the ministry you are called to.  It might not be a church or Sunday morning ministry, it might be a ministry to other business leaders, lawyers, or sales clerks, but you have been called in the ministry and you have one.  That said, live a life of repentance.  Get right with God and stop it!  If you need help, your pastor and church leadership are there to support you.  Be faithful to your local church, support the vision there, grow up in the Lord, and help your pastor raise up more leaders that will do the same.


364. Quench Your Pastor’s Fears 1

preaching2 Corinthians 11:3-5 MSG  And now I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.  (4)  It seems that if someone shows up preaching quite another Jesus than we preached–different spirit, different message–you put up with him quite nicely.  (5)  But if you put up with these big-shot “apostles,” why can’t you put up with simple me? I’m as good as they are.

Reading through the book of Acts and Paul’s letters to the churches you quickly see his passion for the Gospel, reliance on the Holy Spirit and his love for the Church, the Body of Christ, especially the churches that he was instrumental in their founding.  In those letters he also shares his greatest ministerial fear.  It wasn’t ridicule, persecution, imprisonment, beatings, or even death, though Paul certainly wasn’t excited about those things he didn’t fear them (Philippians 1:23, Acts 21:13).  So what was it that kept Paul up at night?  Paul’s greatest fear was that the people he had poured his life into would be lose the purity and simplicity of the Gospel message and their devotion to Jesus.  Your pastor shares that fear and deals with it regularly.

He had this fear, because even in the early church there were people that preached with the wrong motivations.  Some used ministry as a way to get prestige, popularity, power, & money.  One way they did this was to preach NEW STUFF, extra Biblical stuff, their own ideas, and even made up stuff.  Paul’s heart broke when he heard these bogus doctrines and saw it corrupt the faith of some Believers.  Today there is even greater access to more bizarre and weird teaching.  It breaks my heart when I hear people repeating weird non-scriptural or contextually accurate ideas they heard at some church or on the internet.

Here is how you can help your pastor avoid falling prey to this fear.

1.   Show up to your home church regularly.
2.   Take notes.
3.   Be a Berean and study out what you’re taught.
4.   Put the WORD of God first and not just the words of somebody on line or on TV.
5.   Pray.
6.   Read the Bible for yourself.
7.   Remember your pastor isn’t perfect and is still growing too, it’s possible for even the best pastor to be wrong sometimes. Extend grace.

There are some other things we could mention, but this is a great start to help protect your pastor from fearing you will fall away from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ.


362. Encourage, Comfort, & Protect

fear-not1 Corinthians 16:10 NKJV  And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do.

The Apostle Paul in true spiritual father form, writes to the Church in Corinth to receive Timothy well and not to try to intimidate him should he come for a visit.  Seriously, the Church in Corinth was intimidating enough on their own.  They didn’t play nice with each other during communion (1 Corinthians 11), had to be corrected numerous times about sexual conduct (1 Corinthians 5-7), and apparently thought they were all super spiritual and got corrected for trying to show off about it (1 Corinthians 12-14).  All of that could make a seasoned ministry a bit anxious about coming in as a visiting minister.

But Paul’s heart was that Timothy be encouraged and not intimidated.  We too ought to look to see how we can encourage others so they can fearlessly fulfill their call.  This verse also speaks that Paul wanted them to protect him from any outside forces, to watch out for him and ensure that he wasn’t harmed while he was with them.  We too ought to look out for others and protect those within the family of God.

Paul’s heart to look out for Timothy ought to be our heart for others.  Watching out for, protecting, and encouraging them so that fear would not overtake any but that they would live courageously and free from fear. 

Lastly, Paul said Timothy should be without fear and specifically without intimidation because he does the work of the Lord.  Those who do the work of the Lord should not have to do it in fear.  They should be able to freely and confidently live and minister as the Lord has commanded them.  We could extend this to all of us, because we all have received a commission from the Lord and given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19).  He tied this idea of us fearlessly fulfilling our callings to the way the Body of Christ treats and responds to one another.  You see, there is plenty of opposition that will be intimidating in our lives as we walk this life of faith.  We certainly don’t need any extra fears coming from the Church.  Instead we should encourage, comfort, and protect those among us so they can fearlessly live out the Gospel and their purpose.


361. Is Your Dream Bigger than Your Fear?

Quotefancy-193998-3840x21601 Corinthians 2:1-3 NKJV  (1)  And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  (2)  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  (3)  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

Though Paul did not suffer from Hellenologophobia (the fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology), though many of us in ministry certainly fear trying to pronounce the Greek he used, his spirit-filled life was not void of fear.  Paul admits he experienced fear in 1 Corinthians 2:3.  But Paul was also a man of conviction whose heart had been touched and life changed by the Gospel of Christ.  His commitment to Jesus and love for people caused him to live a life not free from feeling fear, but free from being controlled by it.  Paul was a hero.

Jeanne Mayo once said, “Heroes are ordinary people who simply chose to place their dreams ABOVE their fears.”  This was Paul.  Having been threatened, beaten, jailed, whipped, and stoned on multiple occasions it is easy to see why one might have some in trepidation about standing and declaring the name of Jesus, for which he had endured all the aforementioned persecution.  In addition, Corinth was a city known for eloquent, strong, and well-crafted oratory.  Paul certainly was not foreign to this kind of speaking, yet he did not want his teaching to be merely judged on the intellectualism, delivery or structure, but on the reality of the content.  He feared not presenting the message in an effective way.  Though I can’t relate to the physical fears of punishment or abuse, I can certainly relate to the fear of not being effective.

Paul chose his dream (the vision the Lord had given him) above his fears.  He knew that the God who had saved him and called him into this ministry was with him and desperately cared for both Jew and Gentile even more than he did, who would have damned himself if it meant the salvation of all of God’s people (Romans 9:3).  He didn’t give into his fear and keeping his confidence in God ministered the simple truth of Jesus alive from the dead, which true to His word (Mark 16:20) was confirmed through signs and wonders.

Though we have not endured the same persecutions as Paul, the message of the Gospel of Christ is certainly frowned upon and ridiculed in our culture.  It can be scary when a situation arises that tests our devotion and commitment to the Word of God.  Sometimes we are challenged to either live the truth we speak or to speak the truth we endeavor to live.  Either situation can be scary as you wonder the reactions of those around and involved.  Nevertheless, Paul rose above the fear and placed his dream above his fear. 

Hopefully one of your dreams is to be a light to the world and live as a testament to the one who has redeemed you.  Like Paul you can be a hero.  Simply chose to follow Christ and allow your dream to be bigger than you fear.