378. The Faithful One is Always Near

god_is_nearHebrews 13:5-6 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.”  (6)  So we may boldly say: “THE LORD IS MY HELPER; I WILL NOT FEAR. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME?”

Over and over in the Scripture we see 4 powerful reasons not to fear.  They are:

1)Fear Not I am for you (Ex 14:14; Deut 1:29-30; Rm 8:31-32);

2) Fear Not I am with you (Heb 13:5-6; Ps23:4; Isaiah 41:10; Mt 8:26)

3) Fear Not I am In You (John 14:7; Eph 2:10)

4) Fear Not I am Faithful (1Cor 1:9, John 12:15, Heb 11:11; Deut 7:9).  Here in Hebrews 13:5-6 we see the culmination of all 4 of these principles.

We don’t need to fear because He is for us. You can boldly say, “The Lord is MY helper; I will not fear.”  He is for you.  He is on your team.  No matter the circumstance the God of the universe has your best interest in mind and is 100% for you.

We don’t need to fear because He is with us.  He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Because He is with you, you “…may boldly say: The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear.”  He loves you so much that He decided to take that a step further and live with you forever taking up residence in you by the Holy Spirit.  This ensures and gives evidence that He will never forsake you.  You have His eternal indwelling presence, so you can boldly declare, “I will not fear.”  And it is “He Himself” that has said these things.  The faithful God has declared His unending love, presence, favor, and help toward you, therefore you can surely say, “I will not fear.

There are billions of people on the planet, hundreds of diseases, & who knows how many others things to fear.  Yet when the God of the Universe, the faithful God is for you, with you, & living in you. There is nothing to fear.  What can man do to you?  Fear nothing and no one for THE faithful ONE is always NEAR.  There is no man nor force of hell that can ever separate you from Him or His love.

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374. Thanatophobia – The Fear of Death

Hno-fear-of-deathebrews 2:14-15 NKJV  Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  (15)  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

 I believe that every fear and every phobia are all directly related to the fear of death.  They may not overtly appear to be related, but they all deal with an aspect of loss that I believe can be traced back to the garden when Adam disobeyed God, knew something about his nature radically changed as God’s glory departed and he recognized his nakedness.  Then the thought came to a being that did not know sickness or death, “what did God mean, in dying you shall surely die?” “What is dying?” “What is death?” And thus fear of any kind was experienced for the first time and it was the fear of death.  All other types of fear have emerged and have their origins from this primal fear.  But we don’t need to fear death or any fear that has come from it any longer.

This verse tells us that Jesus has destroyed the devil and his power of death that he had over mankind through His death on the cross at Calvary.  Then through His resurrection, we were released to live in newness of life.  A new life of freedom in the overcoming life of the Lord Jesus Himself.  Death has been done away with.  The power of death has been destroyed.  And we have been released from the bondage of its grasp and freed from the fear of death.

Since every fear can be traced back to the fear of death, our freedom from all fears has been obtained.  We have been freed from the fear of failure.  Freed from the fear of the dark.  Freed from the fear that has held us in bondage to the opinions of others.  Freed from the fears that have kept us bound from living in the fullness that is our in Christ Jesus.  Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him; He is the risen Lord and we have been freed from all bondage to walk in His fearless victory.

You are no longer a slave to fear.  You have been freed to walk in glorious liberty.  Don’t allow fear to grip you and hold you in bondage any longer.  Declare your freedom from fear and cast of the chains that His victory unlocked.  The temptation to fear will come, but when it does remember that not only has Jesus set you free from the bondage of fear, but He is able and willing to help you when you are tempted.  So when you are tempted to fear, rise up in your fearless nature remembering that you have been set free, then call on His Name and ask Him to help you stand fearless in the midst of your situation.  You are no longer a slave to fear. Fear Not!

Hebrews 2:18 NKJV  For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

346. Supernatural Boldness

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.

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

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.

328. Do What He’s Asked You to Do

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.

326. You Don’t Have to Respond in Fear

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.

322. Fear Not Your Prayer is Heard

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.