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Living Free From Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

356. Stay Close

Posted by John Smith on October 20, 2017

Romans 3:18 KJV  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

 Romans 3:18 NLT  “They have no fear of God at all.”

Romans 3:18 MSG  They never give God the time of day.

A wonderful woman of God whom my wife, Valarie and I know, said, “The fear of God isn’t being afraid of Him, it’s being afraid of being away from Him.  It doesn’t keep us at a distance, it keeps us close.” – Kim Saylor, Co-Pastor of Jubilee Bible Church.

As a child of God, the God who is LOVE, we need not be afraid of Him.  It is however, when I recognize just how awesome He is, that at the sound of His voice all that is was created that I realize just how fearless we should be.  Especially, when I see that from the beginning all He has done has been so He could express the very nature of who He is to me.

The more I learn of His great love for me the more I want to stay in His glorious presence.  It is a love that frees us from all fear.  Unfortunately, too many have a wrong view of God that either keeps them running from Him or just ignoring His attempts to develop a relationship with Him.  Give Him some time today.  The fear of God will free you from all fear and lead you closer into a glorious relationship with Him.

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355. Anchored!

Posted by John Smith on October 13, 2017

Acts 27:29 NKJV  Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.

In the midst of a deadly storm the crew and captives of this prison ship carrying Paul and heading for Rome all thought they were going to die and had given up hope (Acts 27:20).  To stabilize the ship 4 anchors were dropped.  Although we are not on a literal ship in a storm there are 4 anchors for our soul (mind, will, & emotions) that will give us stability and protect us from the fear that destroys when storms in life strike.

1)   I Belong to God – Acts 27:23.  The enemy will try to get you to doubt or question your identity.  Be confident in whose you are.  You are a child of God (Romans 8:15).  God is for you and not against you (Hebrews 11:6, Romans 8:31).

2)   God Cannot Lie – Acts 27:25.  Paul said two powerful statements.  “I believe God.” & “It will be just as it was told me.”  When the thunderous threats producing fear come remember, God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18).  His promises are true.  Trust in Him and He will see you safely through.

3)   The Purposes of God will Prevail – Acts 27:24.  That doesn’t mean that everything you are supposed to or called to do will get done, your will is involved in the process.  However, if the Lord has given you something to do, you can stay steady, faithful, & consistent at it doing what is before you to do and He will make sure you prevail. It is His purpose.  If you’ll keep pursuing it, His Word will prevail.

4)   There is Always a Way of Escape – Acts 27:43-44.  Even in the darkest circumstances God has provided the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Get a vision of life on the other side of the storm.  Let the Lord open your eyes to His desire for your freedom and victory.  Even in the darkest of times, the Lord is there and He is faithful to provide the way of escape.  It is there.  We just need to listen to His guidance, trust and obey.

These 4 truths will stabilize your mind and emotions in the midst of even the most terrifying of times.  Drop these anchors and FEAR NOT!

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354. When the Winds of Life Blow

Posted by John Smith on October 6, 2017

Acts 27:23-25 NKJV  For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,  (24)  saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’  (25)  Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.

Paul is being taken as a prisoner by ship to Rome, when the prison ship he is on encountered a horrible storm.  The experienced sailors undergirded the ship and took all normal precautions to weather the storm (Acts 27:17-19) but the storm was too much for them and they soon gave up any hope that they would survive (Acts 27:20).  But in the midst of the terrible storm Paul had an angelic visitation that reminded him of what Jesus told him months previously back in Jerusalem in a vision (Acts 23:11) telling him that he must bear witness of Jesus in Rome.

In the midst of the terrifying storms of life, it can be easy to get our eyes off the Lord or the Word He’s given us and look at the circumstance.  Remember Peter walking on water and getting distracted by the wind and the waves.  Paul certainly wasn’t the only person to lose sight of what the Lord has said in the midst of a fearful situation, but he didn’t have to.

Thankfully, the Lord sent an angel to encourage Paul, reminding him of the mission and what Jesus had told him.  We all need reminded of the promises of God and His faithfulness sometimes when the winds of life begin to blow, but we may not all receive an angelic visitation.  Here are some things you can do to stay grounded and avoid fear.

1)   Remember what Jesus has said and His faithfulness.  Write these things down.

2)   Remind yourself of them.  Write them on the mirror, put them on sticky notes & read them often (weekly, daily or hourly as needed).

3)   Surround yourself with friends that will encourage you and remind you of God’s promises.  Paul had an angel remind him of what God had said and though an angelic visitation.  Though this would be pretty cool He has given us something even better, a family of Believers recreated in His likeness, filled with His power and glory.  Find yourself some good faith-filled friends and turn to them when you are feeling discouraged.  Not only will they remind you of what the Lord has said, they’ll also walk with you through the storm and back onto solid ground.

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352. Know Him; Fear Not; Fulfill Your Purpose

Posted by John Smith on September 22, 2017

0006873Acts 23:10-11 NKJV  Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.  (11)  But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

There are two instances of fear that we will look at in this passage.  The first is the fear of the Roman commander and the second is that of the Apostle Paul.  Both experienced fear, but their reasons were vastly different.

This commander had arrested Paul in Acts 22 after hearing an uproar by a number of Jews after Paul shared the testimony of his conversion.  He was going to have Paul scourged until he found out that he was a Roman citizen and had not been charged or found guilty of anything.  Fearing he would get in trouble he released Paul, but his curiosity lingered and he sent Paul to the chief priests.  After a brief dialogue Paul, being a Pharisee, managed to get the Sadducees and Pharisees arguing with one another. Their debate got so fierce that the commander feared there would be an uprising, that Paul would be killed, and that he’d be found responsible for the riot he was sure would ensue, so he had Paul placed in protective custody.

The commander feared he would be held responsible for whatever commotion took place.  If Paul had was not a Roman as well as a Jew, he would not have cared nor feared. He was afraid he would lose his status, his position and possibly face charges for not protecting Paul.

The next night Jesus appeared to Paul and told him to, “Be of good cheer….”  This phrase could also be translated, take courage or Fear Not.  Jesus told Paul not to fear.  Paul feared that the Sadducees, who were plotting against him, succeed in having him killed.  But Paul didn’t fear dying (he later wrote Philippians 1:21) so much as he was afraid he would die without fulfilling his purpose. His fear was certainly more “noble” than the commander but it was still fear.  Jesus not wanting Paul to fear, encouraged him that he still had work to do and that he had purpose.

Paul had Jesus come encourage him to Fear Not when he began to fear.  The commander had no one.  Relationship matters.

The commander feared for self-serving and selfish reasons; “What will happen to me?”  Paul’s fear was rooted in letting down His Lord.  Both fears need Jesus.  Hopefully the commander put his trust in Jesus and believed on him.  But we know what happened to Paul.  He was encouraged to stop fearing and keep focusing on what God had called him to do.  I want to encourage you to stop fearing what you will or won’t accomplish.  Instead know Him and just focus on what is before you and trust in the Lord, like Paul you too have destiny to do.

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350. 4 Keys to Fearless Living

Posted by John Smith on September 8, 2017

FrontCoverOnlyActs 18:9-10 NASB  And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;  (10)  for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

We all need encouraged from time to time and the Apostle Paul was no exception.  Entering Corinth, Paul immediately experienced some pretty stout rejection to the Gospel of Christ.  Heading to the gentiles he gained some traction, then the ruler of the synagogue believed and was baptized.  Still, the rejection Paul faced initially had caused him to experience some fear.

Then one evening the Lord appeared to Paul in a vision and told him to Fear Not.  He actually told Paul 4 key things that we can glean from to help us live free from fear.  He told Paul:

  1. Don’t be afraid. Fear Not! (This is a command from the Lord.)
  2. Do not be silent, but confront your fear. (For Paul that meant preach the Word)
  3. I am with you.
  4. You are not alone. “I have many people in this city.”

Jesus told Paul to stop fearing.  This is a pretty common message from Him (Mt 10:26,28,31; Mt 14:27; Mt 17:7; Mt 28:10; Mk 5:36; etc…).  Thankfully He also gives us some instruction on how to stop.

He told Paul to preach the Word and not to be silent.  Paul’s fear stemmed from the many painful rejections and the opposition he had face as a minister of God’s grace.  It was triggered by the hostile interaction he had shortly after arriving in Corinth.  Jesus encouraged Paul not to quit but to face his fear.  When fear grips us we must face it, we cannot remain silent and let it run rough shod over us.  Stand up.  Declare your freedom.  Then take a deep breath and confront your fear.

Next Jesus reminded Paul, the very one given the revelation of the mystery of Christ in us, that He was with him.  If you’ve been born again, then you are never alone.  Jesus is always with you by His Spirit.  But He didn’t stop there.  He went on to say that there were other people who loved God and would be a support and strength to Paul.  You have these people too.  They are found in your local church.

Jesus is always with you and is ready to walk with you as you confront your fears.  There are also many people in your city church that will support you, encourage you, and stand with you.  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t be silent.  Jesus is with you.  You don’t have to be alone.  There is a whole church waiting for you.  Fear Not!

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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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