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Posts Tagged ‘John Smith’

346. Supernatural Boldness

Posted by John Smith on August 11, 2017

Acts 2:43 NKJV  Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.

A great reverence and awe fell upon this entire community as 3,000 people gladly received Jesus as their Lord, were baptized, and devoutly continued to follow the teachings of the Apostles.  It was just a few weeks before that many of these same people had been shouting “crucify Him” and now they have believed on Him as Messiah.  The verse records that a great many wonders and signs were now also being done through the Apostles of Jesus.  Now notice the first word in this verse. It says “then”.

Before this great reverential fear took hold of the community, before these many signs and wonders were done, before these 3,000 people were saved and baptized, Peter overcame fear.  On the day of Pentecost Peter, who 7 weeks prior had denied even knowing Jesus when inquired by a lowly servant girl (Luke 22:54), stands up with the other apostles and addresses a large crowd that had gathered after hearing the sound of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:2,6) and then hears the disciples off Jesus who were in the upper room all speaking and praising God in many different languages not previously known to them.  Something happened to Peter.  A few things actually.

The first thing to note is that Peter had been born-again.  Peter had seen and spent 40 days with Jesus after His death, burial, and subsequent resurrection.  Peter knew Jesus was alive from the dead and determined to follow the risen Lord (John 21:1-10, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 1:3).

Peter also received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  This new encounter and relationship with the Spirit of God not only empowered Peter and the others for the supernatural ministry that would follow, but also brought an increased confidence & boldness through this encounter that Jesus he would, “receive power” through to “be witnesses to Me (Jesus)” throughout the world (Acts 1:8).

Thirdly, Peter wasn’t standing alone.  Although there would be times he might be physically alone in the future, this day he had 119 of his closest friends and supporters nearby.  Acts 2:14 says that as he stood to address the crowd and explain to them what they were seeing and hearing the other 11 apostles (original 10 and Matthias chosen to replace Judas) stood up with him.  It is easier to be courageous when you have support.

All these things added to the boldness of Peter as he ministered to the multitudes that day.  He had received the fearless nature of Christ through the New Birth.  He had received supernatural power and boldness through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  And he had a core group of people that were standing with and supporting him.  He fearlessly stepped out to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and explain the move of the Spirit, “THEN” a holy fear came upon everyone in Jerusalem.  You too can be bold and live fearless.  Be born-again giving your life to Christ.  Pray for and receive the baptism in the Spirit (Luke 11:9-13).  Congregate with other like-minded Believers that will encourage you to step out in faith and be the light you are.  Then stand up and be bold for Christ, who knows… maybe a holy fear will fall on your community too.

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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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328. Do What He’s Asked You to Do

Posted by John Smith on March 31, 2017

stepsoffaithLuke 5:10-11 NKJV  and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”  (11)  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

This story was a very personal one to Valarie and I as we began in ministry.  We had been very active in serving in our local church and in a para church ministry, but as our second child was born and Valarie who had been on a professional track was transitioning to serve at home and as a full-time volunteer for the church we were about to help plant and I was looking for a new job… stuff got REAL.

I knew that the Lord had called me into ministry and specifically to serve with my pastors at FCFTucson.  In my lightning quick mind, I also knew this meant I needed a job that allowed me to be off Sundays and evenings and would be flexible so I could be available for other ministry meetings and conferences as needed.  I also knew that my wife and children enjoyed being housed, clothed, & fed.  Luke 5:1-11 was a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness, provision, & encouraged me to be courageous in the face of all the questions and fears.

I don’t know about John & James, but I know Peter was married and had his mother-in-law living with him.  This meant he had natural responsibilities to make sure that their basic needs were met.  John & James were employed by their father and at certainly didn’t want to hurt their fathers business by up and leaving and what about their obligations.  Still, the Lord has called them serve Him and learn from Him in a full-time traveling capacity, which would raise all kinds of fears and worries for any normal person let alone ones with family pressures.

It was the miraculous catch of fish, their faith in Him, & Jesus’ words “Do not be afraid” that encouraged them to quit their jobs, change careers, and leave their families for weeks at a time to obey the call of God and fulfill their purpose.  Their very identity was about to change from fishermen to fishers of men, but it was God’s goodness, faithfulness to provide, & His Word to them that they put their trust in.

Valarie and I have made a lot of decisions through the years that would impact our finances, where we lived, what we wore, what we drove, what we ate, and how much we give.  But once you are sure of what God has told you to do, you can do it without fear.  That is the message I want you to hear today.

You may not be called to be a pastor or have a traveling ministry, but whatever God has asked you to do (pray for somebody, give a significant gift, serve in your church, shift careers, etc.…) you can do it without fear knowing the Lord will provide for you.  He’s proven His faithfulness in His Word and in the goodness He’s shown toward you.  Do not be afraid, do what He’s asked you to do.

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326. You Don’t Have to Respond in Fear

Posted by John Smith on March 17, 2017

53035-cheer-up-its-fridayLuke 2:48 NLT  His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” His mother said to Him, “why have You done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for You everywhere.”

Now I want you do go back and read that verse again keeping in mind that Jesus’ mom and step-dad have been looking for him for 3 days now.  I can imagine what their voices would have sounded like.  I’m sure they were filled with relief, excitement, as well as a bit of confusion, frustration, anger, and probably a bit gravelly from having searching the streets calling out for him day and night.  They had to have been terrified.

As a son in this situation… I too would have been terrified.  I would have been terrified that my daddy was gonna ream me out good and that I’d be getting some kind of punishment.  Some kids would have copped an attitude and said, “Chill mom, I’m good. I don’t need you looking out for me, I can take care of myself.”  Some kids like me would have been horrified of either punishment or in my case that my parents would be gravely disappointed in me and respond either profusely apologetic or like I imagine I would have been solemn, sincere and offer a horrified apology.  Yet Jesus wasn’t either of those.  Jesus didn’t respond in fear.

Jesus was confident and calm when He responded, “Why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s House?”  He wasn’t afraid of losing His mother or step-dad’s approval of Him.  He neither pushed back with arrogance nor shuddered in fear.  He didn’t have to… He was confident in who He was and in His relationship with the Father.  It is our confidence in who we are in Him and in our relationship with the Father that secure us so we can always respond calmly and with confidence in any situation and never have to react or respond from fear.

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322. Fear Not Your Prayer is Heard

Posted by John Smith on February 17, 2017

9305740605_8e6b23968c_zLuke 1:11-13 NKJV  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  (12)  And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.  (13)  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

Zacharias has gone into the temple of the Lord to perform his priestly duties and suddenly an angel appears right next to the altar he was preparing.  Certainly this would be a startling situation and many would become afraid having never seen an angel before, afraid of what he was going to say, or afraid of any number of other things one might begin to think when and angel from the Lord just shows up in front of you in the middle of your work day.  But I want to focus on what happens next.  The angel tells Zacharias, “Fear Not… for your prayer is heard… (KJV)”

What a powerful reason to not be afraid and another wonderful reason to pray.  The angel told him not to fear, because God had heard his prayer.  WOW!

God always hears you when you pray.  The 65th Psalm verse 2 addresses God as, “O You who hear prayer…” the word for hear used here means attentive listening and understanding.  The Lord is always attentively listening to our prayers and even when our prayers make little sense to us… He understands them.

Our loving and incredibly gracious Father is attentively listening to our prayer.  He always hears you when you pray.  Therefore we never have to fear.

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319. The Gospel Message Will Free You From Fear

Posted by John Smith on January 27, 2017

the-gospel-and-fear-1024x657Mark 10:32 NKJV  Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him:

Jesus and His disciples were traveling to Jerusalem for what Jesus knew to be the last time.  The disciples were committed to follow Him and though they were accompanying Him, they were amazed by the readiness and cheerfulness of Jesus at traveling to a city where He has so much opposition and so many powerful enemies.  Though Jesus was fearlessly leading the way the disciples became increasingly afraid the closer they came to Jerusalem.  “Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him:”

In ministering to His now fearful disciples, Jesus instructed them about the plan of God for the redemption of mankind.  He taught them from the Scripture prophecies that foretold of the events about to unfold in His suffering, death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection from the dead. This was Jesus’ method to address their fears… He boldly told them He would die.  Thankfully, He also told them He would raise again.  He preached to them the good news of the Gospel.

We live in turbulent times for sure.  New threats and terrors are occurring daily in the world around us, but like Jesus’ first disciples our Lord Has sought to silence our fears with His Word.

He told us that the world would become increasingly volatile, that wars and race conflicts, natural disasters and terror would regularly occur (Matt 24) as signs of His return.  The Bible tells us of the early churches persecutions and we see a rise in the persecution of the Church of today as well, but He doesn’t want us to fear.  And the answer to the fears we face today is the same answer that He gave to His disciples on that last trip to Jerusalem.  The answer is the Gospel.

It is the Gospel of Christ that allows us to boldly and fearlessly walk in turbulent times.  Jesus suffered, was crucified, and rose again rescuing us from death, redeeming us from sin.  When we place our faith in Him our eternity is secured and peace is found.  Because of what Jesus has done for you and me and the promises found in the Word to reside in peace no matter the external storm we can live fearless in life.  Maybe it’s time to take some time aside with the Lord and allow God the Holy Spirit, our teacher to review all He’s done and secured for us through Christ.  The Gospel Message will free you from fear.  Fear Not!

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305. His Hand on Your Shoulder

Posted by John Smith on October 21, 2016

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Matthew 17:5-7 NKJV  (5)  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”  (6)  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  (7)  But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”

Peter, John & James had gone up the mountain with Jesus to pray.  While they were there some amazing things happened and even though according to Luke they fell asleep and missed most of it, they had woken up in time to see Jesus light up with the glory of God and talking to Moses and Elijah.  Peter wanted to camp out in that religious experience and build three tabernacles to worship and remember this amazing moment, when God spoke in an audible voice recapturing the awe and magnitude of the moment.  Peter, James and John fell face down in holy terror.  This was one of those, “I can’t believe I just said that” moments.  While they lie on the ground trembling in fear, Jesus approached them touched them and told them, “… do not be afraid” it is going to be ok.  I picture Jesus just putting His hand on Peter’s shoulder as He spoke those words filled with grace and compassion to His friend.

Though very few could relate to how Peter, James, and John must have felt in that moment, we have all experienced fear and moments of anxiety that filled us with at least momentarily debilitating dread.  BUT no matter what the situation is, no matter the fear, no matter the worry and no matter the dread, JESUS is right there.  He has come alongside, laid His hand on your shoulder and with grace and love filled words said, “do not be afraid.”

Praise God, what is there to fear when Jesus is near.  Jesus is with us in our most terrifying moments letting us know we don’t have to fear.  He didn’t condemn them for having fear… but He didn’t want them to stay there.  Jesus has come and made contact with broken humanity touching us with the hands of His grace and love.  Fear Not!  Jesus has come, put His hand on your shoulder and said, “…do not be afraid.”

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302. Don’t Fear the Lord Moving In Your Life

Posted by John Smith on September 30, 2016

faithfearMatthew 14:25-27 NKJV Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. (26) And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. (27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

Early one morning after sending His disciples on a boat without Him hours before, Jesus unexpectedly shows up in a remarkable way that REALLY took the disciples by surprise. They weren’t afraid of JESUS, but they were afraid because they of how He showed up and their unbelief in how it was possible.

Will you give the Lord permission to move in your life in a way that is unexpected?

Sometimes in our lives the Lord shows up and begins to do things in a way we didn’t expect. The disciples certainly expected Him to get to the other side of the sea, but they never imagined Him walk on the water to get there. Many times we pray and believe God to move in situations in our lives, meet a need, heal, reach a loved one, etc… and we have our own notions about how He should or is going to do something. Then when He begins to move in our situation, our life, our service or in us we freak out and say, “that can’t be God” because He is moving in a way we didn’t expect and never could imagine.

One time while walking to the entrance of a grocery store to get some supplies for dinner, right out of the blue and very unexpectedly the Lord told me to go minister to a worker on break and told me to tell them that their friend who died the night before was with the Lord and God just wanted them to know not to worry and that He loved them. WHAT?! I wasn’t sure what to do and I was a bit scared. I thought, “Lord, is that you?” even though I knew His voice and recognized that it was Him speaking to me. You see He spoke to me and though I know He is with us all the time by His Spirit, I certainly wasn’t expecting Him to “show up” at the grocery store and want me to do something. I was afraid of being wrong. I was afraid of being embarrassed. And I was afraid of the idea that God really might just use me at any moment if I’d make myself available.

I obeyed and she was blessed and turns out had just received a call about a good friend who had been shot the night before. God’s timing and method was perfect. It was totally unexpected by me and by her, but the Lord knew what He was doing.

Other times we just miss the Lord because we can’t believe its Him moving in an unlikely way at an unlikely time. Learn to know His voice and recognize His Word. Then when the Lord begins to move in your situations you’ll recognize Him and not fear. If the Lord always showed up and did things the way you think that He should… we’ll He certainly wouldn’t be as effective as He is and we’d never grow in awe and in faith in how amazing He is. If the Lord showed up in your life or situation in a way you didn’t expect or understand, would you be afraid? Or would you recognize that it was the Lord, celebrate, and fear not?

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Fearless Friday #298

Posted by John Smith on September 2, 2016

Matthew 10:26 NKJV Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

light-shining-in-the-darknessThese words were spoken by Jesus to His disciples concerning the topic of persecution.  There were a number of religious and political leaders that were threatened by Jesus’ popularity.  They had many back room conversations about Jesus, lies were spread, and secret plans were made to harm Him.  But there really hadn’t been any direct threat toward any of His followers at this time.  Jesus was letting the disciples closest to Him, the ones that He is about to send out on their first solo outreach ministry adventure, know that if they did these things to Him that they would also be subject to the threats, but that they needn’t fear.

Nobody is getting away with anything. Everything done in the dark will ultimately be revealed. Justice is always meted out. Everyone has a day of reckoning. We don’t need to fear because the justice we deserved was met with God’s amazing Grace and abundant Mercy.

As a Believer our day of reckoning occurred at Calvary, but we will still stand before Christ and have a face to face conversation about the things we did and didn’t do as His representatives on the Earth. Thankfully our salvation is not measured by our works, but by His atoning sacrifice. Those that have not believed on Christ will also have a day of reckoning before the Throne of God where they will be judged according to their works. This will be a horrible day for all those in that line, because no deed done will be hidden and every atrocity will be met with justice. God’s justice always prevails.

How is this comforting? Jesus is telling His disciples that although no one is standing up to defend Him nor putting a stop to the evil being plotted against them that every deed will be judged. Nobody is getting away with anything. We don’t need to fear what others might say or do to us, those deeds will either be met by the Blood of Jesus if they believe on Him or judged at the Throne of God. Justice will be served, but our focus should be on sharing with others the Love of God that has forgiven and washed clean all the sin we have done in darkness allowing us to stand fearless and boldly before our God.

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297. Fear Not the World Needs You

Posted by John Smith on August 26, 2016

ps34picMatthew 10:25-31 NKJV It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! (26) Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (27) “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. (28) And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (29) Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Jesus was boldly telling His disciples that the same people and forces that persecuted Him, would also come after them, but that they need not fear. Just prior to this section of verses Jesus told them that if they get ran out of one town to go to the next. Who said being a disciple would be easy?

I have heard it said that if you just follow and do what the Bible says everything will be just great. This kind of sunshine and roses talk… just isn’t Biblical. Sure we have victory and are to walk in an overcoming faith, but Jesus told these guys they were going to suffer difficulty for doing the right thing and telling people about Him. NEWS FLASH: Some people don’t like it when you do the right thing. The devil sure doesn’t like it and will use whatever forces including persecution by others to get you into fear so you will stop telling people the Gospel of Christ and giving God opportunity to demonstrate His Word through accompanying signs and wonders.

Jesus tells His disciples and us by application not to fear persecution for sharing the grace and love filled message of Christ. He tells them to be bold and openly share, “speak in the light; and… preach on the housetops.” He tells them the worst thing that can happen is their physical body is killed and they go to heaven and reminds them that it isn’t about them because they are in the Kingdom, but those they are ministering to are doomed without Christ. Then Jesus reminds them of their incredible value. Just in case you don’t know; you are priceless. The priceless blood of Christ was paid for you.

Jesus loves us so much that he gave His life for us. If our Lord loves us this much and has promised to keep us, why should we ever fear living our lives openly for Him every day? I can’t promise that following Him will make everyday sunshine and roses, but I can promise you a fearless confidence that we will live together forever with Him. We hold the Word of God and the Reality of Christ in our hearts that others don’t have. If they don’t hear, they can’t believe. If they don’t believe, they won’t share in the glorious eternity before us. Instead they will encounter eternity in Hell. Your security is established and complete in Him. Fear Not, the world needs you.

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