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Living Free From Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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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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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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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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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328. Do What He’s Asked You to Do

Posted by John Smith on March 31, 2017

stepsoffaithLuke 5:10-11 NKJV  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  (11)  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

This story was a very personal one to Valarie and I as we began in ministry.  We had been very active in serving in our local church and in a para church ministry, but as our second child was born and Valarie who had been on a professional track was transitioning to serve at home and as a full-time volunteer for the church we were about to help plant and I was looking for a new job… stuff got REAL.

I knew that the Lord had called me into ministry and specifically to serve with my pastors at FCFTucson.  In my lightning quick mind, I also knew this meant I needed a job that allowed me to be off Sundays and evenings and would be flexible so I could be available for other ministry meetings and conferences as needed.  I also knew that my wife and children enjoyed being housed, clothed, & fed.  Luke 5:1-11 was a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, provision, & encouraged me to be courageous in the face of all the questions and fears.

I don’t know about John & James, but I know Peter was married and had his mother-in-law living with him.  This meant he had natural responsibilities to make sure that their basic needs were met.  John & James were employed by their father and at certainly didn’t want to hurt their fathers business by up and leaving and what about their obligations.  Still, the Lord has called them serve Him and learn from Him in a full-time traveling capacity, which would raise all kinds of fears and worries for any normal person let alone ones with family pressures.

It was the miraculous catch of fish, their faith in Him, & Jesus’ words “Do not be afraid” that encouraged them to quit their jobs, change careers, and leave their families for weeks at a time to obey the call of God and fulfill their purpose.  Their very identity was about to change from fishermen to fishers of men, but it was God’s goodness, faithfulness to provide, & His Word to them that they put their trust in.

Valarie and I have made a lot of decisions through the years that would impact our finances, where we lived, what we wore, what we drove, what we ate, and how much we give.  But once you are sure of what God has told you to do, you can do it without fear.  That is the message I want you to hear today.

You may not be called to be a pastor or have a traveling ministry, but whatever God has asked you to do (pray for somebody, give a significant gift, serve in your church, shift careers, etc.…) you can do it without fear knowing the Lord will provide for you.  He’s proven His faithfulness in His Word and in the goodness He’s shown toward you.  Do not be afraid, do what He’s asked you to do.

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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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315. Fear Not, Only Believe II

Posted by John Smith on December 30, 2016

FearisALiarMark 5:35-36 NKJV  While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”  (36)  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

Jairus was doing everything he knew to save his daughter.  He went to Jesus and was on the way back to her with the Word of God (John 1:1) that would heal her.  Then he got the seemingly final news that his daughter was dead.  This report screamed out, don’t trouble the Master any longer it’s too late the battle is over.  But Jesus said, “FEAR NOT, only believe!”

Even in the worst of circumstances we can choose to believe God.  When we choose to believe God, a new realm of possibilities opens and all things are truly possible.  Now there will be a fight to keep your faith strong in the midst of the circumstances and reports be we can do it.  Jesus told us so.  “FEAR NOT, only believe.”

I’ve seen people in fearful circumstances attempt to FEAR NOT… rebuking the fear and the fear inducing situation, but they neglect to do the second part and “only believe.”  What is the point in rebuking fear if you’re not going to replace it with anything?  If you want believe God in any circumstance, you’re going to have to let faith OVERRIDE your fear.  This will only happen when you get in the Word.  As faith rises fear is displaced.  You don’t have to be completely free from all fears and doubts to see breakthrough… you just have to have enough faith to keep your heart fixed on Him.

Remember in Matthew 12:43-44 where Jesus talked about when an unclean spirit comes out a person it wanders around for awhile and then decides to go back and check out its old digs.  If it finds it cleaned up but empty it moves back in with more of its friends.  Fear works the same way.  If you are going to get rid of fears in your life, you’ll need to replace them with God’s faith-filled Word.  Don’t just focus on not being afraid.  Fill your heart with God’s Truth that overrides your fears.  That’s how we Fear Not and Only Believe.

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314. Don’t Fear Only Believe

Posted by John Smith on December 23, 2016

be_not_afraid_only_believe-386255Mark 5:33 NKJV  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.

I love the courage and determination in this woman.  She had experienced a constant bleeding for 12 years, which under the law required her to stay away from her family, friends, she wasn’t permitted to hold her children or her husband (if she had them).  She desperately wanted to be healed, had tried everything and spent all she had trying to find a cure.  Then she heard about Jesus and how many people were healed of all kinds of various diseases just by touching the hem of His garments (Matthew 14:36, Mark 6:56).  Faith rose in her and she was convinced that she would be healed if she could just touch that hem too. 

The problem was that she would have to break the law that commanded her to keep a specific distance away from people because of her condition.  Stepping out in faith, she courageously made her way through the crowd.  Touching the hem of Jesus’ garment in faith she drew from the power and anointing in Him and was healed.  Jesus knew that someone had just touched Him in faith because of the power that went out of Him, but He didn’t know who did it because of all the people pressing around Him and touching Him.  It was then that this woman began to fear.

This woman was healed on her own faith and now she becomes afraid at the thought of what Jesus and all the people around are going to think and respond to her.  She knew she was healed and now feared that Jesus or the people would tell her she somehow did it wrong or chastise her for using the wrong method.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard people “correct” and “chastise” people who stepped out in faith to believe God for finances, healings, deliverance and after they received what they sought the Lord about were told they did it wrong.  Praise God, she found the courage again to explain the situation and give God the glory for her healing.

We should try to be aware of others and follow protocols and procedures whenever possible, but ones that serve to keep people from the Lord or condemn them for having their prayers answered by their faith are wrong.  They don’t free people but only serve to put others in fear.  For example, I’ve seen some well-meaning Christians harshly overcorrect young believers for their “confession” (what they are saying) judging it as lacking faith.  Those young believers become afraid to say anything.  This is wrong.  Faith comes by hearing the Word.  Don’t let what others think or say derail your faith.  Don’t fear, only believe.

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