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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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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345. Macrophobia – A fear of long waits.

Posted by John Smith on August 4, 2017

how-long-would-you-wait-the-high-cost-of-wasting-customers-timeActs 1:7-11 NKJV  And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.  (8)  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  (9)  Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  (10)  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,  (11)  who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

I don’t know anyone that just loves to wait, but some don’t just hate it; they fear it.  Like any fear there are higher, more debilitating levels and lower levels.  If you spend some time thinking you will probably think of a number of people that have exhibited macrophobia.  It’s not that they are necessarily in a hurry but they are just anxious about waiting for the answer, the movie, the phone call, the amusement park ride, the doctor’s office, etc….  Some Christians even get anxious as we WAIT for His return.  I believe some of the people that saw the Lord ascend into Heaven experienced macrophobia.

Jesus just told them that it was none of their business when the Father would have Him return to set up His earthly kingdom.  Instead, He told them they should be walking in the power of the Spirit and providing evidence that Jesus is Alive.  Yet as He ascended, they just stood there staring up into the sky.  We don’t know how long they stood there looking, but apparently it was long enough that the Lord had to send some angels to them to tell them to get back to the important business at hand.

Sometimes I think He wants to send angels to us to tell us the same thing.  Many times under the stresses and trials of life I’ve told the Lord, “You can come back anytime now.”  Or said, “You know this would be a whole lot easier if you just came back already.”  And I don’t think I’m alone.  I look forward to the glorious day that our Savior returns for His Church, but sometimes I just want it now because I don’t want to deal with something or am under some other pressure and want relief.  Sometimes though, I just yearn to be with Him so bad that I no longer want to wait to see Him face to face.  You know what the Lord’s response to people that don’t want to wait is?  Stop waiting and go do something.

That’s it.  He said do something.  If you hate waiting for things, do something else.  Take a book with you to the doctor’s office, do some push-ups or crunches during commercials, or find something else use full to do while you wait.  For those waiting for His return or getting over anxious for it, reading and re-reading every eschatological book they can get their hands on; or for those just wishing He’d come back so we could avoid a difficult conversation or circumstance… Stop it!  Go do something productive for the Kingdom.  Jesus is coming back.  We’ve been commissioned to tell others about His return.  Get busy!

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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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342. “Fear Not, I Have Overcome the World.” – Jesus

Posted by John Smith on July 7, 2017

John 16:33 NKJV  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

At the conclusion of His farewell speech to His disciples, having told them yet again and very plainly that He is about to die and they will endure hardships, Jesus tells them to be of good cheer.  Literally He told them to be of good courage or to Fear Not.  Then He tells them why they needn’t fear, because He has overcome the world.  GLORY!

There is no longer any reason to fear anything in the world because Jesus has overcome it.  Sure there will be difficult times.  Sure there will be trials and trouble.  There will be less than ideal circumstances.  There will be opposition to your great ideas.  There will be obstacles to overcome.  There will be people that hurt you.  There will be betrayal.  There will be loved ones who die.  There will be loss.  There will be taxes.  There will be gray skies.  There will be pain.  There will be persecution.  BUT we needn’t fear any of it.  Jesus has overcome it all.  He has overcome ALL the troubles of life.

You and I can have peace in HIM even in the midst of the storms of life.  During the troubles that occur in life we can walk in peace knowing that Jesus has defeated them and that we walk in His victory.  Be of good courage.  Be of good cheer.  FEAR NOT.  Jesus has overcome the troubles of life.

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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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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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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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327. His Love Never Fails

Posted by John Smith on March 24, 2017

fishers-of-men1Luke 5:10 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.”

Peter, John and James where acquainted with Jesus. He had been preaching in the churches around the region for a little while now and He was already the talk of the town.  Just a few days before He had even ministered in Peter’s home, healing Peter’s mother in law before having supper and then proceeded to minister healing and deliverance to seemingly a pretty large number of people that came to him in need.

Now he has just finished speaking a morning message to a whole mess a people having borrowed Peter’s commercial fishing boat, after he and his partners in another boat returned from their daily fishing operations.  This particular day they caught nothing, but after His teaching, Jesus asked Peter to let the nets he had just got done cleaning and prepping for the next day back into the water, which Peter with only a little resistance obliged.  When he did a the nets were almost instantly filled with fish and the catch was so large Peter had to call for the other boat to come help and still both commercial fishing boats nearly sank because of the haul.

Being professional fishermen Peter knew this catch was supernatural.  It wasn’t the right fishing spot nor the right time of day to experience any success, yet it was more abundant than they could do with all their skill and knowledge.  Peter knew either Jesus had authority and power over the fish or He had supernatural wisdom where they were or both.  Overwhelmed and amazed Peter cries out, “I am not worthy to be with you.” And an awesome fear overtook him.

God has certainly been so good to me and my family through the years.  And I know that you could join me in sharing times, events, situations, etc… that the Lord has just done something amazingly marvelous for you and left you speechless (and I’m not even talking about the most amazing thing through our redemption and salvation in Christ Jesus).  But what Jesus says next to these men should always remind us that the Goodness of God we’ve experienced wasn’t just for a few events, but that He is calling us to live with Him in an ongoing state of amazement ever astonished by His wisdom and power.

Jesus told them, not to fear this outpouring of God’s goodness, because they hadn’t seen anything like the blessings, power, and favor that they had opportunity to see if they’d follow Him.  Just like Peter, John & James were invited to see even greater things than this catch of fish and not to fear either God’s amazing goodness nor that they’d never see anything like this again, we are encouraged never to fear in any circumstance for God’s blessings, power & favor have been made available to us in the net of the Gospel.  His love and goodness never cease and never fail.  Fear Not!

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324. Serve Him Without Fear

Posted by John Smith on March 3, 2017

fearLuke 1:74 NKJV  To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

For over nine months since Zacharias encountered an angel while taking care of his priestly duties in the temple of the Lord, he hasn’t spoken.  His lack of faith in the Word of the Lord is what led to his loss of speech.  But 8 days after the birth of his son when it was time to name him on the day of his circumcision, his speech returned when he named his son John as the angel had instructed him.  The whole house was in awe when he spoke… but then he began to prophesy.  This prophetic word recorded in Luke 1:68-70 was about the coming Christ (Jesus) and what would be his son’s role in preparing the way for Jesus.

In verse 74 Zacharias speaks of a promise of God to Abraham that would be realized in Christ freeing us from dead works, sin, condemnation, and from bondage to the Enemy so that we could serve Him without fear.  God’s heart toward us is that we would live free from fear.  We have been freed from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15) and we have been freed from the fear of the threats and curses of the law.  We are no longer in bondage to the devil nor to the law.  We are free.  Free to fearlessly serve our Lord.

“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me (us) free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).  There is an old Jewish saying, “Greater is he that serves from love than he that serves from fear.”  This was true in Christ as He served both the Father and mankind from love and it is true in you and me as we serve our Lord free from fear of what curse may come upon us, knowing that all of them were put on Christ, and instead from love of who He is and what He has done for us.

It is His desire that we would stand in His fearless nature and serve Him fearlessly.  We have been delivered from all our fear (Psalm 34:4).  There is no more curse of the law and the enemy has been defeated.  There is no fear of death for those in Christ Jesus.  So with our confidence in Him we can fearlessly serve Him and fearlessly proclaim all that He has done.  Jesus came and fulfilled a promise the Father made to Abraham and granted to us that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without FEAR!

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