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Living Free From Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘fearless’

340. Autophobia, Isolophobia, Anuptaphobia Oh My!

Posted by John Smith on June 23, 2017

John 14:16-18 NKJV  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—  (17)  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  (18)  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

Hebrews 13:5 NKJV  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.”

Autophobia or monophobia is the fear of being alone.  It is closely related to isolophobia a fear of being isolated, ignored.  But neither of these fears need plague God’s people for we are never alone.

Before His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, Jesus said that He would be going away, but that He would not leave us orphans.  Thankfully He will return for His Church.  In the meantime, He still did not leave us alone.  Instead He sent the Holy Spirit who abides with us forever.  When we were born-again the Holy Spirit took up residence in every Believer.  We are never alone.

The Spirit of God is a friend like no other.  Ever present.  Full of wonder.  Giver of Truth.  Possessor of Wisdom.  A Heavenly Coach that will walk with us through every circumstance or trial we experience in life, leading us through and into the abundant life that is ours in Christ.

Most of my childhood and adolescent years my parents left for work before I went to school and returned home after I had been home a few hours.  During the summer or winter breaks, I spent a lot of time at home alone.  Sometimes it was fine.  Sometimes it was great.  Sometimes it was scary.  The cracks and creeks of the ranch style house or of the towering trees in the woods behind our home, or the shadows of an animal passing one of the windows would cause be to jump.  I felt alone.

But as a child of God, I am never alone.  I have God the Holy Spirit with me everywhere I go.  Ephesians 1:13 tells us that when we believe in Christ we “…were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”, and he will never leave me nor forsake me.  And if you’ve been born-again, He’ll never leave you either.  Fear Not; You are Not Alone.

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339. No mo’ FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Posted by John Smith on June 16, 2017

John 14:16 NKJV  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

One might think that nomophobia is being free from fear and having No-Mo-phobia… but it is actually the fear of being without your mobile device.  It is one of the fastest growing fears and anxieties in our culture.  Studies have shown that about 66 percent of adults feel extreme anxiety if they lose connection with their mobile device.  Before we start spending too much time on discussing this phenomenon let’s just jump to the root of the fear. People are afraid of being out contact… perhaps FOMO (fear of missing out) is partly to blame too.  But people increasingly become anxious the longer they are out of contact or the ability to be out of contact with others.

This phenomenon leads us to isolate and be alone even when together because we feel we must keep up on what is going on so we don’t miss out.  In reality we end up missing out on present opportunities to connect, laugh, and live life with others.  Don’t let FOMO steal from you and what you can have right now.  In John 14:16, Jesus said the Holy Spirit is with the Believer all the time.  Hebrews 13:5 tells us that He will never leave us.  You are never alone.  With the Holy Spirit with you, you are never alone and you are never missing out.  It’s ok to check your social media from time to time, but don’t let FOMO keep you from experiencing all that God has for you through a living and vital relationship with the ONE friend who you can always utterly depend on.  You don’t have to miss out on anything in life when you pull in close to the Holy Spirit, who desires to make sure you walk in and possess everything that Christ died for you to have.  Through your relationship with Him you can have no mo’ FOMO.

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338. Rejoice and Fear Not; Fear Not and Rejoice

Posted by John Smith on June 9, 2017

John 12:15 NKJV  “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SITTING ON A DONKEY’S COLT.”

This verse quoted by John from Zechariah 9:9 indicating a prophecy regarding the Messiah was fulfilled as Jesus entered Jerusalem the last time prior to His crucifixion at what many refer to as the triumphant entry.  This verse is interesting because in Zechariah 9:9 God’s people are told to “Rejoice greatly” but John quotes it as FEAR NOT.  You see you can’t be in fear when your rejoicing greatly in victory.

The Hebrew word rejoice used in Zechariah 9:9 means to spin around violently under the influence of a powerful emotion (Strong’s) either great excitement or fear.  Context from the previous verses in Zechariah 9 talks about great deliverance from their oppressors who will no longer pass through.  This is a glorious freedom that was prophesied would come and did come in Christ Jesus.  No longer would sin oppress God’s people for it would be dealt with in Christ.  No longer would the law exact judgement upon His people, because it would be fulfilled in Him.  No longer would the fear of death oppress them for Jesus would deliver them from that bondage (Hebrews 2:15).  They would rejoice greatly because they would be delivered from all reason to fear.  This is why John quotes Zechariah 9:9 as Fear Not.

We are to rejoice greatly because Jesus has come and delivered us from anything that would try to terrorize us.  Our King has come and set up His throne in the midst of our hearts by His Spirit.  Meanwhile, He is physically sitting on the Throne in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, where we are reigning and ruling with Him as joint heirs with Christ (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:17).  So rejoice and fear not.  Fear not and rejoice.  Either way you look at it they go hand and hand because the King has come and has set us free.

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337. Gratitude Empowers Us to Live Fearlessly

Posted by John Smith on June 2, 2017

John 9:22-25 NKJV  His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.  (23)  Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”  (24)  So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”  (25)  He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”

In John chapter 9 we meet a man that was born blind and has spent his entire adult life begging (v8).  He was well known by those that visited the temple at the Mt. of Olives.  As Jesus left the temple after supernaturally avoiding being stoned after He revealed Himself as I AM he passed by this man and healed him.

Later this man’s neighbors saw him seeing, questioned him about who healed him, and took him to the Pharisees when he told them that some guy named Jesus healed him by putting mud in his eyes and sending him to go wash it off at the pool of Siloam.  Everyone was shocked that this man could see.  The Pharisees sought confirmation from his parents that he had indeed been blind from birth.  Once they confirmed they were asked how Jesus could heal their son and what they thought about Him.  That’s when they became afraid.  His parents believed that this miracle pointed to the reality that Jesus was the Christ, but didn’t know how they could even begin to scripturally explain their belief.  They also knew that saying such a thing would have them excommunicated from the synagogue and they would be harshly criticized.

Sometimes people don’t speak up because they are not confident in their understanding of Scripture to answer all the arguments that people have.  Praise God, you don’t have to.  In verse 25 the man previously blind speaks up saying, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know; that thought I was blind, now I see.”  His statement proves you don’t have to have a theology degree to speak up about Jesus.  All you have to do is tell others what He’s done for you.  But what about His parent’s fear of being criticized and socially outcast… well they did kick this man out of the synagogue, but then Jesus found him, strengthened him, and ministered to him.

I hear from people that tell me they are too afraid to tell people about Jesus.  First of all that is selfish.  People are dying and going to Hell because they don’t know Him and they are concerned that someone won’t like them.  Well if they wake up in Hell and know you could have at least told them about Jesus they really won’t like you.  Sometimes they tell me they just don’t know enough or how to answer the questions that people ask.  Neither did this ex-blind guy in John 9 but he told them what he did know.  He told them what Jesus had done for them.  Nobody can argue that.  Secondly, so what if you are ostracized.  This man was kicked out of the synagogue and then Jesus strengthened and ministered to him.  His parents fear kept them in the in crowd, but it also kept them from being personally strengthened and ministered to by Jesus

What freed the man born blind from fear?  Perhaps it was that his whole life he had already been a kind of social outcast relegated to begging for an income.  If you’ve never really been accepted the threat of rejection might not hold as much power.  Or maybe it was the fact that he had a LIFE CHANGING encounter with Jesus that was so fresh to him, he simply couldn’t keep his mouth shut.  I lean to the latter.  Keeping ourselves grateful and in mind of all that Jesus has done for us empowers and emboldens us to share what He’s done with others without fear.

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336. Speak Up

Posted by John Smith on May 26, 2017

John 7:13 NKJV  However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

The Jewish feast of Tabernacles was at hand and families were busily with their final preparations for the feast.  People were cleaning, picking up items from the market, etc… Just think about the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving morning and you’ll probably have a decent picture of the hustle and bustle.  And just like at your family or community gatherings around holidays everyone is swapping stories about the most recent television news broadcasts except in Jerusalem Jesus was the topic of the hour.

Some liked Him.  Some hated Him.  Some believed He was Messiah.  Some thought He was a charlatan.  Unfortunately as seems to be the norm, the doubters, haters, and negative folk were not silent about their thoughts concerning Jesus.  Their bombastic hate filled rhetoric cast fear into the hearts of those that had heard, seen & experienced His teachings, healings, signs, and testimonies of those that were familiar with His ministry, so that the best they could must up was to say that He was good (John 7:12). 

These tactics are favorites of the enemy who continues to use them effectively against the church.  At least the people had not yet experienced the wonder of redemption through Christ nor encountered His amazing grace through which we have been born-again by faith in Him.  Yet there are many such people who have experienced the goodness of His grace and have been radically changed having become a new creation in Christ, but from fear of ridicule, shame, or persecution have been silenced by the clamor of those that refuse to believe.

The word translated “openly” in John 7:13 could also be used as boldly.  It wasn’t that people didn’t say anything, but they just didn’t make it fully know what they believed.  Instead of saying, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God” they might’ve said, “Well he really seems like a pretty nice guy to me.”  There is increase in societal pressure to not speak about Jesus and the new life we experience in Him.  Jesus conquered fear on the cross when He gave His life for ours, now we can live in His freedom boldly living for Him.  Don’t give in to the pressure and fear to profess who Jesus is and what He’s done.  He wrote a letter on your heart (2 Corinthians 3:3).  Stand up, read it, and speak up.

“Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them.” Rabindanath Tagore

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335. Help is on the Way

Posted by John Smith on May 19, 2017

Luke 21:25-28 NKJV  “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;  (26)  men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  (27)  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  (28)  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Some of my friends only read this Scripture to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem.  I have to just smile and respectfully disagree.  I’m convinced that Jesus was referring to both events the destruction of Jerusalem and the last days.  Still, Jesus said that what was going on would be do devastating that people’s heart would fail them because of fear.  The picture painted here is that people would be so overcome with fear that it would take their breath away or faint under the anxiety of what is occurring around them and the thoughts of what will come next.  Sounds horrible.

However… regardless of how you want to read this Scripture (destruction of Jerusalem, tribulation period, or both) it talks about a horrible breathe taking fear.  Fear can literally cause you to hyperventilate and “lose your breathe.”  But Jesus went on to let them know that even in this difficult time they didn’t have to fear, but could lift their heads and look up with anticipation to their coming redemption.

In other words, even in the darkest of days where there seems to be no hope in sight and only terror abounds, Jesus told us not to worry about these things.  Instead we are encouraged to look up because help is on its way.  For the Believer, you’ve already received your redemption.  But in difficult times it is easy to forget that.  In our darkest days where anxiety, worry, and fear seek to overtake us, we must remember to embrace the freedom that is our in Christ by following His advice and lift our heads to look upon Christ our Redeemer.  Even on the darkest of days, the sun is shining above the clouds.  Look to the Lord and take a deep breathe, and Fear not, help is on the way.

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334. Jesus says, “Do not be Terrified.”

Posted by John Smith on May 12, 2017

Luke 21:9 NKJV  But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.

Luke 21:11 NKJV  And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Though most Christians universally agree that Jesus was speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, many believe that He was also speaking of the climate of the world prior to his second coming.  Regardless of how you interpret the Scripture, Jesus’ advice not to fear still holds true.

We live in a volatile world with wars and commotions erupting constantly around the globe.  In addition, the frequency of earthquakes and other natural disasters are also on the rise.  The nightly news is constantly filled with armed conflicts, civil unrest, and devastating storms, all of which are fearful sights.  Still we do not need to fear.  Jesus knew they would take place.

No matter how you interpret the passages in Luke 21 or Matthew 24, the Lord is not surprised.  He is the Alpha & the Omega, the beginning and the end.  He saw your present circumstance before you were ever in it.  He saw the decisions lawmakers and world leaders would make and nothing surprises Him.  That’s good news for us.  That means that our loving Father knew what would take place and is working to lead away from harm before we get in it.  For the circumstances beyond our decision making control, we have promises that He has provided a way of escape (1Cor 10:13).

So listen to Jesus, “…do not be terrified.”  Jesus isn’t surprised of the circumstance and He has a plan for you to bring you through it in victory.

“If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.” –Seneca

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333. He’s a Good, Good Father

Posted by John Smith on May 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by John Smith on April 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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331. Don’t Be Afraid to ASK Questions

Posted by John Smith on April 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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