Fearless Fridays

Living Free From Fear

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299. You’re Worth Everything to Jesus

Posted by John Smith on September 9, 2016

precious-1199183_640Matthew 10:29-31 MSG “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. (30) He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail–even numbering the hairs on your head! (31) So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.

Matthew 10:31 NKJV  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

You are valuable to God. I speak to people, Believers everyday who… wait let’s go back to that first statement. You ARE Valuable To God. YOU, yourself, the person reading this right now. ARE, verb, present tense “to be” consist of, contain of, speaks of one’s nature and state. VALUABLE, a thing of great worth. TO GOD!!!!! Yet, believers everyday who I speak with live in fear that their Heavenly Father won’t take care of them and recoil from simple faith and trust in their loving Father.

I hate to admit it but I’ve even had moments where a situation seems so big and I’ve allowed the awareness of God’s awesome and loving omnipresence to diminish and begin to worry and think… what am “I” going to do. That is always a problem.

It isn’t what am I going to do… It’s what has HE done and desires WE (me along with His help) do? The creator of the universe has joyfully and lovingly bonded Himself to us as great personal expense to Himself, having paid the price of our discretions with His own priceless blood. His love is so great that, He knows even the most obscure details about each of us on a molecular… and apparently according to this Scripture a follicular basis. Bottom line – He love us.

Whatever bill, report, or symptom you are facing today, remember He loves you and is with you. You are not alone. Father loves you so much that He sent Jesus, who willingly laid down His life for you out of LOVE. When we begin to forget our immense value to the Lord, fear steps in and begins to isolate us from Him. Don’t let it. Take time to remember and rejoice that the God of all creation is your loving Father and cares for you so much that He paid the ultimate price. Then when that problem that was causing anxiety and fear begins to rise its head, instead of saying, “Oh no, what am I going to do?” remember He is with you and He has delivered you. You are worth everything to God. Fear Not!

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293. The Power of a Cause

Posted by John Smith on July 29, 2016

Matthew 1:18-21 NKJV Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. (19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. (20) But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (21) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 In 1999, when I was 21 years old, I got married and I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect after the wedding. What would life be like with my new bride, was just one of the hundreds of questions flying through my mind? I was also concerned and afraid of how my relationships would change with my friends. I wasn’t the first of my friends to get married. One of my friends had already been married and divorced by that time, which only added to the anxieties. I remembered how it changed our relationship and was concerned about how getting married would impact my relationships. I was afraid… because I didn’t know my direction and next step, nor how amazing marriage can be. NOTE: Getting married will change your relationships with others. This doesn’t mean it has to be in a negative way, but if your relationships don’t change and evolve with your family and friends after you get married… there is a problem. Still, I was afraid because I didn’t know what that would look like and how people would treat me. But my fears had to pale in comparison to Joseph’s.

Joseph was an amazing man. After finding out that the woman he is to marry is pregnant he loved her enough to not want her to be stoned to death or publically humiliated. He had to be hurt and angry, especially when he was told the ridiculous story that she was still a virgin and that she had been supernaturally impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Then an angel appeared to him and confirmed the story he had been told and instructed Joseph to go ahead and take Mary as his wife telling him not to be afraid to do so. He had to be terrified. He had already probably been attacked with the fears of what his family and friends would think when he broke off the wedding because Mary was already pregnant and now he is faced with the fears of what others will think of him in marrying this pregnant girl that everyone assumes is an adulterous.

Fear will always try to stop you from fulfilling God’s plan. That’s why God had this angel tell Joseph why this plan was so important. Having a WHY, a purpose, or a cause that is bigger than your fears will enable you to persevere through them. Just like the Lord had this angel give Joseph direction and explain the purpose of His instructions, the Lord desires to help you see His purpose in your life. He desires that you see the point in everything that He instructs us to do in His Word or by His Spirit. Because when we know our purpose, we are equipped with the power of cause to resist the fears telling us to run, quit, or back down and instead are empowered to Fear Not!

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291. Fear of Being Left Out

Posted by John Smith on July 15, 2016

Zechariah 8:13 NKJV And it shall come to pass That just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.’ left-out

 There is so much going on in this chapter. Both Israel and Judah have experienced plenty of oppression, bondage, and slavery through the years, but the Lord begins to shift their vision from their past and present situations to the glorious future of His people and His city Jerusalem. Over and over again the Lord reiterates His promises to His people encouraging and strengthening their faith.

 Almost entirely since the end of Solomon’s rule when the northern tribes of Israel separated from Judah rejecting Rehoboam as their king (1 Kings 12), each of two kingdoms are dealt with separately by the Lord and His prophets. But here in Zechariah 8:13 the Lord intentionally identifies both of these kingdoms and revives His covenant promise to them that He spoke to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12 “…you shall be a blessing.” And if you are going to be a blessing to others, you must first be blessed (Genesis 12:2). He made sure to let them know that NONE of them was going to be left out.

I love that this promise of blessing wasn’t just for one tribe or one kingdom, but it was for ALL of God’s people. Today, this includes all of us who have become heirs of God’s promise (Romans 4:16), through faith in the Lord Jesus. You never have to fear being left out. It doesn’t matter your denomination, non-denomination, or the nation you live in. If you have made Jesus the Christ the Lord of your life then you do not have to fear. He came to rescue us from bondage and the bondage of fear. He has set us free from sin and death. He has blessed us and we are called to be a blessing. “…Do not fear, Let your hands be strong.” (Zec 8:13)

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287. Running In Circles

Posted by John Smith on June 17, 2016

Running-around-in-circlesHaggai 1:3-9 NKJV Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, (4) “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” (5) Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! (6) “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” (7) Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! (8) Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD. (9) “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

 Fear is self-centered, because it is always focused on “ME”. Even when we fear for others (such as being afraid for someone’s safety) we are actually focused on how what happens to them will affect us. When we allow fear to drive us… we will always get our priorities out of order. This is what the Lord is addressing in Haggai chapter 1.

In Haggai chapter 1 the Jews have been released from Babylonian exile and have returned to their lands. Their focus was placed on re-building their homes and re-establishing their businesses. Neither of which is evil or a wrong thing in themselves, but their priorities were misplaced and this only led to more difficulties and delayed their progress. Their hearts were turned toward themselves and what they needed to do to address their fears. But when there was an attitude shift and their priorities to put the Lord first were realigned, the people began to enjoy the benefits of having the Lord’s presence among them.

Sometimes we lose focus on what our genuine priorities should be. We allow pressure of deadlines and fears to get our priorities out of order. God desires that our relationship with Him and our following His instruction through the Word and by His Spirit to be 1st in our lives. Keeping this priority 1st gives us strength and confidence of His presence with us as we, united with the Lord tackle any issues and circumstances that come our way.

Making the Lord first again begins with a shift in our attitude, which will lead to confidence and increased awareness of His very real presence, and then be seen in our actions. Prayer is a great place to start. It will also be seen and recognized in our devotional lives, how we see the things of God including meeting with others to worship Him, and in our service in the local church. Fear and self-centeredness will keep you running in circles. Getting our priorities right is the first step to seeing God’s plan unfolded and laid out before us so we can move ahead into all the good and great things He has in store. Fear Not!

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285: Completely Secure and Fearless

Posted by John Smith on June 3, 2016

secureZephaniah 3:13 KJV The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

 Zephaniah 3:13 GNB The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to anyone, tell no lies, nor try to deceive. They will be prosperous and secure, afraid of no one.”

Zephaniah prophecies of a time when God’s people will live in true righteousness; not doing wrong, lying, nor trying to deceive others. Instead they will live completely secure and fearless from anyone or anything that had ever previously threatened them. Though varying ideas as to exactly when this prophecy will be fulfilled in the lives of God’s people, this Scripture does give us instruction on how we can walk in these truths now. It tells us the reason that God’s people are prosperous, secure, and “none shall make them afraid,” is because they shall feed and lie down.

When we follow our Lord as sheep their shepherd (Ps 23) we have no cause for fear. Our Shepherd leads us to the choicest pastures to feed. He leads us to the pasture of His Word. Jesus the Christ is the Word of God made flesh. He has provided us with the fullness of His life giving Word, whereby we are strengthened, comforted, and built up in faith. His Word reveals what John Gill’s exposition of the Entire Bible calls the “Gospel provisions made in His house.” It is there in the fields of His Word of truth where we learn fearlessness.

It is in discovering the intimate realities of who we are In Him and the great lengths to which He has gone to rescue, deliver, and empower us that embolden us to know that we can surely rest fearless in Him confident that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5) and that He is greater than any challenge which may come against us. It is the nourishment in His Word and the rest we receive in His ever present presence that keeps us confidently secure and safe. It is our adherence to His Word and His leading that impacts how we live as people of integrity reflecting His nature.

Zephaniah 3:13 shows us God’s will that His people live righteous without lies and deceit in this world. It also show us that one day all of His people will live prosperous, secure and fearless in Him. The great news is we don’t have to wait. We can experience the rest found in His pastures and the faith to stand without fear of any situation in the manna of His Word. Let His Word fill your heart and enjoy the “Gospel provisions made in His house” and no one or nothing will make you afraid.

 Cyril: “When Christ the Good Shepherd Who laid down His life for His sheep, shone upon us, we are fed in gardens and pastured among lilies, and lie down in folds; for we are folded in Churches and holy shrines, no one scaring or spoiling us, no wolf assailing nor lion trampling on us, no robber breaking through, no one invading us, to steal and kill and destroy; but we abide in safety and participation of every good, being in charge of Christ the Saviour of all.”

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283. The Enemy Has Been Defeated

Posted by John Smith on May 20, 2016

Nahum 2:11 NKJV Where is the dwelling of the lions, And the feeding place of the young lions, Where the lion walked, the lioness and lion’s cub, And no one made them afraid?

 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

 In Nahum 2:11 Nahum was prophesying about the destruction of Nineveh, but many Bible Scholars also believe that it is also a reference to the destruction not just of that kingdom under Sennacherib but also of Satan’s under the Antichrist. This prophecy which was delivered about 100 years after Jonah prophesied to the Ninevites was seen fulfilled about 115 years after it was delivered according to John Gill’s exposition of the Entire Bible.

Nineveh had feared no kingdom but laid waste to all they faced. That is until they encountered the Medes and Babylonians. These kingdoms decimated Nineveh and caused the once roaring lion of the Middle East to tremble in fear.

In Nahum 2:11 Nineveh was referred to as a lion, similarly the devil is referred to as a lion in 1 Peter 5:8. The big difference here is which side of the cross they are from. While Satan may have had larger claws before the New Testament, Jesus “disarmed principalities and power” through His death and subsequent resurrection (Col 2:15).

The enemy has been defeated. In Nahum 2:13 we are told, “…the sword shall devour your (Nineveh’s) young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.” The lion that once was feared has had his teeth removed and been declawed. All he has now is the sound of his roar and the fear induced by its threats to wreak havoc and cause people to destroy themselves. We have nothing to fear.

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273. Don’t Fear the Lion’s Den

Posted by John Smith on March 11, 2016

Daniel 6:9-28 NLT thHJCPY6WN

Daniel 6:14 NLT Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.

Daniel 6:18 NLT Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.

If you go and read Daniel chapter 6 you’ll see that because of Daniel’s excellence of attitude, service, and knowledge, he is quickly promoted under the new ruler Darius after the defeat of the Babylonians. This caused some interpersonal issues with those in the Persian government that wanted Daniel’s position, so they appealed to Darius’s pride who signs a ridiculous law that anyone caught worshiping any god or man other than Darius would be thrown in the Lion’s den.

This kind of law that prevents or prohibits somebody from worshiping God under penalty of certain death could be pretty intimidating to say the least, but Daniel doesn’t even flinch. He wouldn’t bow to any God other than the God of Israel and he certainly wouldn’t obey any law that told him not to. So Daniel went on a normal and had his regularly scheduled 3 times of prayer throughout the day. Of course this was a trap and he was hauled off in front of King Darius, who now was in extreme pressure to hold to his own “stupid” law at risk of defaming himself and losing all respect from his followers, has Daniel thrown in the lion’s den.

There are many notable points through this section of Scripture about submitting to a law and authority while not obeying them, but I want you to see that throughout this entire situation Daniel never once appears to be moved by fear or concern. The plotting governors and satraps were moved by fear and a thirst for more power. Darius was moved by fear and then was thrown into fear now fearing for Daniel’s life because of his decree. Darius was so afraid that he spent all day trying to figure a way out of the situation and then all night horrified in his bedroom. All the while, Daniel just stayed in peace knowing the power of His God and the righteousness of His actions. In Daniel 6:22, Daniel tells us that an angel came and shut the mouths of the lions, but more than that the angel really pacified the lions, because even if they didn’t eat Daniel they would still have had some pretty sharp claws to use him as a human scratching post.

Daniel wasn’t afraid. He didn’t have to be. He knew he was righteous in his heart and in his actions. It was this confidence that allowed him not to fear no matter what laws his local government passed or threats they handed down.

Under the New Covenant our righteousness far exceeds that of Daniels, because our righteousness has been established in the Righteous ONE Christ Jesus (Rom 5:17, 1 Cor 1:30). That’s some good news. God’s righteousness enables us to walk in peace in every situation and never fearing the outcome. We can walk in faith and experience the peace of God in every situation just like Daniel or we can be moved by fear and experience the torment of Darius. Trust God, know your righteousness through Christ, and walk confidently in God’s peace. You don’t have to fear the lion’s den.

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271. Don’t Fear the Writing on the Wall

Posted by John Smith on February 26, 2016

Daniel 5:5-7 NKJV In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. (6) Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. (7) The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

When the fingers of a man’s hand appeared in the palace and began writing on the wall, the king knew it was bad. In fact, he was so scared that his knees began to knock together. John Gill’s exposition of the Entire Bible (E-Sword) tells us that in verse 6 when the joints of the king’s hips were loosened that this is a very nice way to say the king lost control of his bodily functions, wetting himself. WHAT?! Yes, according to John Gill, King Belshazzar was so scared he peed his pants.

Incontinence is certainly not a laughing matter, but it certainly can be a side-effect and symptom of extreme fear. I remember a couple of instances growing up where a scary prank took place that left someone with some wet pants and a lot of embarrassment. My heart still hurts for them thinking back on it. But the bottom line is God’s presence is only terrifying to His enemies. Now don’t get me wrong, God is AWESOME in the only true sense of the word and will cause even the most upright person you know to fall face down in reverence and a Holy fear. But He has called us to boldly enter His presence and into the PEACE and REST He has provided in Christ. The kind of AWE and Holy Fear we find in His immediate presence brings refreshing. Only those that don’t know Him are terrified and left drained of their strength and possibly with a pool of fluid on the floor.

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268. Oneirophobia – The Fear of Dreams

Posted by John Smith on February 5, 2016

Daniel 4:5 NKJV I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

Oneirophobia is the fear of dreams or dreaming. It is generally present in those who have had a traumatic experience or traumatic nightmare who fear dreaming about the experience or having a reoccurrence of the terrifying dream again. In this case, Nebuchadnezzar was having a prophetic dream about himself.

Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king and man of war from his youth. There was no man nor nation that he feared, yet “God can make the minds of the greatest men uneasy amidest all their glory, pride, and pleasure (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible).” Still, God wasn’t out to torment the guy. The Lord was trying to help him. Nebuchadnezzar was a very prideful man and the Lord was trying to warn him about the upcoming pending fall he would take unless he had an immediate change in his attitude. He didn’t heed the advice given in Daniel 4:27 and a year later while boasting on himself (v30), God spoke and the dream was fulfilled.

The most terrifying dream I’ve ever had was when I was about 11. It involved a cartoon version of the Incredible Hulk chasing me around my house and I hid in the clothes dryer prior to waking up in a panic. Hey, stop laughing! It was terrifying. I also used to have reoccurring night terrors where boulders like in “Indiana Jones” were following me. I’d wake up after physically running through the house and my Dad would have to grab me and helped me come out of the dream. Now, I doubt either of those were prophetic warnings from the Lord and am relatively convinced they were a result of bad diet both in what I ate and what I watched on TV, and because I hadn’t yet experienced the peace of God that comes with salvation. I certainly don’t discount the Lord speaking to people through dreams. Joel prophesied about it (Joel 2:28-30), Peter preached about it in Acts 2 and Paul experienced it in Acts 16:9. But none of these guys feared dreams. And neither should you.

Nebuchadnezzar feared because he was a prideful man, lacking reverence and Holy fear of God. Even so, the dream was only terrifying if he would not recognize that the God’s Lordship over him. God loved Nebuchadnezzar enough to warn him of where his pride was taking him and to show him that if he would mend his ways and submit himself to God’s Lordship that there would be nothing to fear. Is Jesus your Lord? If so, then Fear Not! If not, read Romans 10:8-13, believe what it says, ask Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and Fear Not!

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266. The Chief’s Dilemma

Posted by John Smith on January 22, 2016

Daniel 1:10 NET But he responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? If that happened, you would endanger my life with the king!”

If you’ve ever been in a leadership position and needing to make a decision, which if it goes wrong, would extremely negatively impact you future, you could probably sympathize with the overseer in this verse. He is the Chief Eunuch for Nebuchadnezzar in charge of Daniel and all the other skilled and intelligent men of Israel in captivity and selected to be educated in Babylonian ways for use as interpreters and for enhancing the Babylonians wealth of cultural knowledge. Many have talked about Daniels integrity to follow the dietary teachings of the Law as well as his faith in God to see him through… but what about this guy? He has tremendous respect for Daniel, yet hesitates granting the request because if the king saw Daniel looking weak or thin and found out then the Chief Eunuch would lose his position and most likely his life. Needless to say that was a difficult situation to be in.

Though it is evident that the fear he had for his life was very real and apparent, he didn’t just allow it to close the doors to other possibilities. When Daniel asked, he could have responded from his fear with an emphatic, “NO!” But he didn’t allow the initial anxiety and panic he was sensing to cause him to make a rash decision. Instead, he shared his fear and very real concern with a wise and trusted confidant, who just happened to be the person asking him the question (it doesn’t always work out this way).

If the Chief Eunuch would have just acted on his fear of his master and done nothing or forced Daniel to eat, who knows what would have happened, but because he didn’t respond immediately but took a little time to explore the problem he faced… Fear of death at possible outcome vs. Respect for a wise servant and looking for maximum result the option of a trial period was discovered, which eased his fears and gave him the opportunity to minimize the risk while showing Daniel that he trusted and respected him. That’s a win/win. To top it all off he got to bring Daniel and his friends before the King, who said they were unmatched in wisdom and that there were none like them among all the captives of Babylon. In other words the Eunuch was sitting pretty for a promotion.

Your situation may not always work like this. After taking some time to discuss the situation with your pastor or a leader in your church, or another trusted advisor, you may decide the wise thing to do is to not pursue the alternative course of action, but at least you didn’t just rashly decide out of fear. Fear drives us to make rash decisions. Remember the steward that buried his coins because he was afraid of his master… his fear stopped his thought process and left him with nothing, talking to one of his advisors might have encouraged him to at least put the money in the bank (Luke 19:21-24). Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. Take some time to identify wise people you trust and next time you’re faced with a decision and fear is rising up, give them a call, set an appointment, and talk it out. Fear Not!

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