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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

338. Rejoice and Fear Not; Fear Not and Rejoice

Posted by John Smith on June 9, 2017


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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313. Who Can This Be?

Posted by John Smith on December 16, 2016

who_is_itMark 4:39-41 NKJV  Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  (40)  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”  (41)  And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?!”

When I talk with people about overcoming fear, I often stress a few “Fear Not” Scriptures where Father God revealed some very important reasons not to fear. “I am with you.” “I am for you.” “I am in you.” “I am faithful.” But none of those are very powerful unless you have a revelation of just who He is.  In Mark 4, the disciples were in a terrible storm and all natural evidence said that they were going to die until Jesus came to their rescue, rebuked the storm and brought peace to their situation.  Then the disciples were overcome with awe as they tried to process what just happened to them and get a grasp on the revelation of the reality of who Jesus is and the amazing power within Him.

One reason that they were afraid and why so many Christians today live in fear is because although we know about Jesus and believe He has given new life to us when we believed on Him, we still fail to see Him in the reality of His awesome nature.  Jesus IS God. (Psalm 45:6, Hebrews 1:8, John 1:1, Philippians 2:6, John 5:18, etc…)  “Amen!” we shout in our churches, while we cry “oh me” in our homes.  Because as much as we profess this as truth we struggle we often lose sight of His Nature in the midst of the storms of life.

The disciples wondered, “Who can this be?”  We must get a revelation of who Jesus is?  It will light a fire in our belly.  Then we must continue to grow in the revelation of who He is.  The faithful God of all creation is for you, with you, and in you by the New Birth.  You and I can live even more fearless than the disciples.  Their fearlessness was dependent upon their physical proximity to Jesus.  But now by the Holy Spirit of God, He is ever present with every Believer.  Furthermore, by the New Birth we share in His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and can use our faith to speak to the mountains (Mark 11:24) and storms of life that rock our boats and those of our loved ones causing fear.

Only when we see Jesus as He is can we begin to see ourselves as we are.  We grow in this revelation by time in His presence and through the Word of God.  It is a continual process, but it is one that will cause you to #LiveFearless because you’ll never again ask, “Who can this be?”

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312. FEAR it Believes & Receives

Posted by John Smith on December 9, 2016

Mark 4:40 NKJV  But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

FEAR is very similar to faith in at least one point and that is they both expect something.  Both faith and fear believe something and they both receive what they believe.

Jesus and the disciples were taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee when an incredibly violent storm arose.  The storm was so bad that even Peter, James, & John, who were all experienced sailors/fishermen believed that they were going to die (Mark 4:38).  They weren’t in faith at the moment; Jesus even told them that here in verse 40.  He said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

You see fear has an expectation.  It expects a negative or a bad outcome.  Bible faith on the other hand always expects a positive or a good outcome based on a promise from God.

Fear expects things based on circumstance, experience, and just for the sake of fear itself.  It expects something to be stolen.  Fear expects things to be taken away or to be prevented from having something or joined with someone.  Fear expects things to fall apart (relationships, finances, cars, etc.) and to be destroyed.  It expects sickness, disease, death and even more fear.  And the worst part is fear eventually receives exactly what it is expecting because, like faith, fear believes and receives.

God doesn’t want you to fear, because He knows the power of your expectation and the words that follow that belief which then shape and change our circumstances.  Instead of having fear based on circumstances, experiences, or imaginations we can have faith in God.  In fact, Jesus told us to, “Have faith in God” in Mark 11:22.

What is it that you are afraid of?  Why is it that your faith is deficient in light of your fears?  Don’t ever forget for a moment WHO is with you in the boat.  When we allow the reality of God’s present nature with us to slip fear will creep in.  And when we take for granted the awesome truth of His immense power and ability we also become subject to fear seeing our circumstance in larger light then Him.

Fear expects the worst.  Faith expects God to perform His Word.  Fear believes and receives just like faith.  If you still don’t believe me, just ask Job (Job 3:25).  So don’t let the reality of God’s presence with you diminish, remind yourself constantly.  I used to have a post-it-note on my steering column that said God is here to remind me.  And not only is He with you in the boat of life, but He has already released the power to save you, heal you, and deliver you from every circumstance toward you when He raised Christ from the Dead.  Fear believes and receives.  So stop fearing and only believe

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311. Joy is Greater than Fear

Posted by John Smith on December 2, 2016

Matthew 28:8 NKJV  So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, & Salmone had just visited the tomb of Jesus where they encountered an angel who told them that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but that He was alive and they’d see Him back in Galilee.  This verses says, “So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.”  Doesn’t that sound funny?  It says they had both fear and joy.  How do you have fear and are happy about it?

It’s because their joy FAR outweighed any fear they were experiencing.  At that moment there were any number of anxiety inducing, fearful thoughts going through their heads.  Jesus is alive from the dead… what’s going to happen now?  What does this mean for us?  What do you suppose He looks like now?  Does He look the same?  How is this even possible?  What are the chief priests going to do next?  What about Pilate and Rome?  How will they respond?  Beyond that the shock of boulder moving angel had to still be in their minds.  Still, they knew that the words this angel had told them were true and the joy of knowing that JESUS is alive outweighed their fear.

What if every time fear began to attack your mind, you allowed the reality of Jesus’ resurrection to consume you with all the joy that revelation brings?  Jesus being alive means that we no longer need to fear death (Heb 2:15).  Jesus being alive means we no longer need to fear lack.  Jesus being alive means we no longer need to fear sickness, disease, depression, people, public speaking, or even being without the ability to use our cell phones (nomophobia).

The joy that comes with knowing JESUS and knowing He is alive allows you to have GREAT JOY in the midst of any trial or terror.  In John 15:11 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  His desire is that we would stay ever filled to overflowing with His Joy.  And when we are… fear has no hold on us.  The joy you have in you is greater than any fear.  Joy is greater than fear.

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