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Posts Tagged ‘no fear’

364. Quench Your Pastor’s Fears 1

Posted by John Smith on December 15, 2017

preaching2 Corinthians 11:3-5 MSG  And now I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.  (4)  It seems that if someone shows up preaching quite another Jesus than we preached–different spirit, different message–you put up with him quite nicely.  (5)  But if you put up with these big-shot “apostles,” why can’t you put up with simple me? I’m as good as they are.

Reading through the book of Acts and Paul’s letters to the churches you quickly see his passion for the Gospel, reliance on the Holy Spirit and his love for the Church, the Body of Christ, especially the churches that he was instrumental in their founding.  In those letters he also shares his greatest ministerial fear.  It wasn’t ridicule, persecution, imprisonment, beatings, or even death, though Paul certainly wasn’t excited about those things he didn’t fear them (Philippians 1:23, Acts 21:13).  So what was it that kept Paul up at night?  Paul’s greatest fear was that the people he had poured his life into would be lose the purity and simplicity of the Gospel message and their devotion to Jesus.  Your pastor shares that fear and deals with it regularly.

He had this fear, because even in the early church there were people that preached with the wrong motivations.  Some used ministry as a way to get prestige, popularity, power, & money.  One way they did this was to preach NEW STUFF, extra Biblical stuff, their own ideas, and even made up stuff.  Paul’s heart broke when he heard these bogus doctrines and saw it corrupt the faith of some Believers.  Today there is even greater access to more bizarre and weird teaching.  It breaks my heart when I hear people repeating weird non-scriptural or contextually accurate ideas they heard at some church or on the internet.

Here is how you can help your pastor avoid falling prey to this fear.

1.   Show up to your home church regularly.
2.   Take notes.
3.   Be a Berean and study out what you’re taught.
4.   Put the WORD of God first and not just the words of somebody on line or on TV.
5.   Pray.
6.   Read the Bible for yourself.
7.   Remember your pastor isn’t perfect and is still growing too, it’s possible for even the best pastor to be wrong sometimes. Extend grace.

There are some other things we could mention, but this is a great start to help protect your pastor from fearing you will fall away from the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ.

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351. Membership has its Privileges

Posted by John Smith on September 15, 2017

membershipActs 22:25-29 NKJV   And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”  (26)  When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”  (27)  Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?” He said, “Yes.”  (28)  The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”  (29)  Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

“Membership has its privileges” is a trademarked phrase by the American Express credit card company that was once frequently heard in all of their commercials.  Though I can’t speak of the benefits of being an American Express card member, the phrase is true when it comes to our relationship with the Lord and as members of the Kingdom of God.  It also benefited the Apostle Paul as a citizen (a member) of Rome.

Paul has just recently returned to Jerusalem for what he knows by both revelation and prophecy will end in his incarceration.  After properly following the purification ceremonies entered the temple.  It wasn’t long before a number of Jews from Asia, where Paul had spent a great deal of time ministering recognized him and after brazen allegations were made a mod grabbed Paul and dragged him out of the temple and began severely beating him and intended to kill him.  News got the Roman military commander who intervened before they could kill Paul.  Even though they bound him in chains to take him to the barracks, the mob persisted.  Paul convinced the commander to allow him to address the crowd and shared the testimony of his conversion and faith in Jesus as Messiah.  This did not go over well and the commander, fearing there would be a great riot had Paul taken to the barracks and ordered him scourged.

Here is where membership has its privileges.  Now back at the base, Paul reveals to the commander that although he is Jewish he is also a Roman citizen by birth.  As a citizen, to be punished without a trial was unlawful.  The commander was now terrified that he could have charges brought up against him and they backed off of Paul.  Paul’s citizenship of Rome had its privileges to relieve him from his present bondage, to now gain protection from the military who would keep him from being killed by the Sadducees the next day, and ultimately help him fulfill his calling to minister to the highest officials in the Roman government.  Membership has its privileges.

Membership has its privileges for you to.  Only instead of being a part of Rome, you have citizenship in Heaven (Php 3:20).  That means that Heaven is working on your behalf to protect you, to keep you, and to open doors for you to fulfill your divine destiny.  The road might look dark and scary sometimes, but Fear Not and walk on ahead.  Heaven is on your side.  Membership has its privileges.

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349. Impulsive Decisions

Posted by John Smith on September 1, 2017

fear-of-water-picActs 16:37-38 NKJV  But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”  (38)  And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.

Impulsive actions and rash uninformed decisions have a habit of getting people into fearful circumstances.  Whether it is buying a used car from a guy on the street without having a mechanic look at it, signing a contract without reading the fine print, or making a big purchase without thoroughly looking at your finances, not taking the time to ask questions and get informed can lead you into some fearful situations.

Here in Philippi, after Paul and Silas had cast a fortune-telling demon out of a slave girl who apparently was very accurate, making her master a lot of money in the business world, they were arrested as trouble makers and accused of trying to stir up obstinacy among the Jews.  There was no trial and no questioning, only anger and spite against Paul and Silas, who they perceived to be just regular Jews, who were under the oppression of Rome.  They were severely beaten and thrown into jail.

We know the amazing story that happened that night as Paul and Silas worshiped the Lord even while locked in stocks and the flesh on their backs ripped open and wound exposed.  While they worshiped the ground began to shake, every door in the prison sprang open and all the chains loosened, freeing all the prisoners in the jail, yet none of them walked out.  The jailer was astonished, and he and his entire household became followers of Christ and were water baptized.

The next day those that commissioned the beating and imprisonment of Paul and Silas sent word to have them released as there were no charges that could stick against them, but they would not leave.  Paul demanded to face the men that had them beaten without trial because Paul and Silas were both citizens of Rome.  The magistrates never considered that Paul and Silas might have been Romans.  They never asked about them and only made assumptions about them and the situation.  This new revelation and detail sent fear through men as they knew they could now be charged with a serious crime.  These men who had condemned Paul and Silas to be brought to their knees being beaten with rods, were now at their feet begging them to please leave town so they wouldn’t be able to press charges against them.

Impulsive, emotional decisions can lead to big regrets accompanied with fear.  You can avoid this by asking questions, getting informed, taking time to weigh your options, and give the Lord an opportunity to chime in to.  Don’t make half-cocked decisions; it will reduce your regrets and help you Fear Not.

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344. Get Out of the House!

Posted by John Smith on July 28, 2017

John 20:19 NKJV  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

On the evening of the day of His resurrection, Jesus who had already been seen by Mary Magdalene and proclaimed to be alive to a few other ladies by an angel is about to appear to His disciples.  These great men and women of God, who had been following Jesus for years now, were huddled together in a home with the windows drawn and the doors shut because they were afraid.  They were hiding.  They were afraid.

They had heard that Jesus body was gone.  They weren’t sure what they thought about Mary’s testimony that she had seen and spoken to Jesus, but they were sure that they were being considered as prime suspects in the disappearance of Jesus’ body.  They feared that they would be put to death as His disciples or apprehended as body snatchers so they hid.  Their fear kept them from living life, proclaiming God’s goodness, and certainly hindered them from hearing testimonies and remembering both God’s Word and what Jesus Himself had told them about how He must die and be resurrected.

Then Jesus walks in to the midst of their fearful situation and says, “Peace be with you.”  His presence and His Word bring us peace when we are overwhelmed.  When we realize that we have His peace and have been sent by God on a mission of mercy to the world we will leave the house.  Your house is whatever fears you allow to keep you bound up.  They prevent you from living life.  They keep you from embracing His Promises to you.  They also keep us from fulfilling our purpose and our call as His ambassadors in the Earth.

It is time to get out of the house.  It’s time to shed your fears.  And the Church is not exempt.  For LIGHT to truly be effective it must be in the darkness.  Fear keeps the church huddled up together and contained by the darkness all around us.  After Jesus walked into that home and said, “Peace be with you” everything changed for those men and women.  They knew it was time to get out of the house.  They knew they had destiny to do.

You have destiny to do too.  Jesus has come into your house and spoken peace to you in the midst of your fears just like He did those disciples that day.  It’s time to get out of the HOUSE.  The light in you is powerful; go shine it in the darkness.  You have His peace!  Fear Not!

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341. Your Peace is in Him

Posted by John Smith on June 30, 2017

John 14:27 NKJV  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I’ve heard it said that the benediction of speaking “peace” to people or to homes one might visit was a common practice in Jesus’ days.  Still, He went further when He said, “My peace I give to you.”  His peace (being God) is one that certainly only He can impart but then Jesus went even further to differentiate it from any other form or expression of peace saying, “…not as the world gives do I give to you.”  The world’s peace in inconstant, unsettling, and transient.  It’s empty.  As soon as you find the peace it was promising you through things, wealth, power, fame, etc… you realize it is already fading and you’re on the hunt again.  This is frustrating and troubling for our hearts.  It leaves us wondering and fearing that we’ll never find it.  But there is a better way.  Embrace the Peace that Jesus left for you.

 He’s made obtaining and maintaining peace so simple.  The peace of God that only He can impart, has already been given to us through Christ Jesus.  Our job is to renew our mind and live in the reality that there is no longer a struggle to find peace.  We no longer have enmity with God.  We have been reconciled to Him and all that He has He has freely made available to us.

There is no longer any situation that has the power to overwhelm us or cause us to fear.  The peace of God has been given to us.  It is always present.  It is always near.  The peace of God is filling and fulfilling.  His peace is one that is realized through the Son.  As we grow in understanding His love for us and His grace toward us we realize the joy and the peace that the world knows not.  We become utterly secure in the reality that we are In Christ and are safe in Him no matter what the situations of life may look like don’t allow your fear to trouble you… You have HIS peace.  If you can’t find what you did with it, look back at Jesus you’ll find it in Him.

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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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335. Help is on the Way

Posted by John Smith on May 19, 2017

Luke 21:25-28 NKJV  “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;  (26)  men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  (27)  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  (28)  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Some of my friends only read this Scripture to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem.  I have to just smile and respectfully disagree.  I’m convinced that Jesus was referring to both events the destruction of Jerusalem and the last days.  Still, Jesus said that what was going on would be do devastating that people’s heart would fail them because of fear.  The picture painted here is that people would be so overcome with fear that it would take their breath away or faint under the anxiety of what is occurring around them and the thoughts of what will come next.  Sounds horrible.

However… regardless of how you want to read this Scripture (destruction of Jerusalem, tribulation period, or both) it talks about a horrible breathe taking fear.  Fear can literally cause you to hyperventilate and “lose your breathe.”  But Jesus went on to let them know that even in this difficult time they didn’t have to fear, but could lift their heads and look up with anticipation to their coming redemption.

In other words, even in the darkest of days where there seems to be no hope in sight and only terror abounds, Jesus told us not to worry about these things.  Instead we are encouraged to look up because help is on its way.  For the Believer, you’ve already received your redemption.  But in difficult times it is easy to forget that.  In our darkest days where anxiety, worry, and fear seek to overtake us, we must remember to embrace the freedom that is our in Christ by following His advice and lift our heads to look upon Christ our Redeemer.  Even on the darkest of days, the sun is shining above the clouds.  Look to the Lord and take a deep breathe, and Fear not, help is on the way.

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333. He’s a Good, Good Father

Posted by John Smith on May 5, 2017

Luke 12:32 NLT  So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

Jesus uses the familiar imagery of a sheep and their Shepherd, which is familiar in Scripture because of how common the profession was that it makes for a great illustration to talk about the love of the Father God for His people.  Like a good shepherd for his sheep, God leads, feeds, guides, provides, watches, & protects His people.  Yet many times we still fall victim to fear that we’ll miss out or do without.  But we needn’t fear.  It is the Father’s great happiness and joy to give us all that the Kingdom has.

Jesus is telling us we don’t need to clutch the things of the world or fear we’ll do without, because the Father has given us all that Heaven holds.  We have received an inheritance of all He has and of all He is.  We are partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and in all that He possesses, which is everything (Psalm 24:1).

The Father loves providing for and protecting His children.  He takes joy leading us to places of refreshing where we can find good food, both physically and spiritually.  The Father has purposed to care for us.  All we need to do is apply Proverbs 3:5-6 and Fear NOT!

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  (6)  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

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329. I Fear Therefore I am Fearless

Posted by John Smith on April 7, 2017

Luke 5:26 NKJV  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Luke 7:16 NKJV  Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”

Luke 8:25 NKJV  But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Luke 8:35-37 NKJV  Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.  (36)  They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed.  (37)  Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.

In each of these Scriptures people became overwhelmed with the only good kind of fear… a holy one.  In Luke 5:26 they saw a paralyzed man walk carrying the stretcher he was lowered through the roof on.  In Luke 7:16 Holy fear fell upon all present when Jesus raised a widow’s only son from the dead.  In Luke 8:25 the disciples were overcome with fear after Jesus calmed the wind and the waves.  Then in Luke 8:35-37 we see town overcome with fear after Jesus delivered a demonized man.

These of these examples that left people in Holy awe and fear of the awesomeness of our Lord.  They show His power, compassion, mercy, and authority.  Each of them provide us with examples why we needn’t live in any fear other than one produced from getting a revelation of just how marvelous and mighty our Lord is.  It is that revelation of just who He is and how deep His love for you and me is that causes us to sense that Holy Fear.  It is also how we know He has freed us from fear and we no longer have to be afraid.  It is our Holy Fear that leads us to live fearless.  I fear therefore I am fearless.

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309. How to Stand When Others Faint

Posted by John Smith on November 18, 2016

Matthew 28:2-7 NLT  Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.  (3)  His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  (4)  The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.  (5)  Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  (6)  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.  (7)  And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The chief priests and Pharisees had convinced Pilate to place guard around the tomb of Jesus in case any of His disciples would come to steal his body because of the statements Jesus had repeatedly made about how He would rise after 3 days.  Due to the immense pressure and political tensions around this entire event my guess is that Pilate assigned some of their best soldiers to this assignment.  These soldiers were on assignment when a few ladies (Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James & Joses, and Salmone mother of James & John) came to visit the tomb probably to see if they could get in to anoint the bandages and burial cloth of Jesus better and complete the embalming process (Barnes’ Notes).

Then all of a sudden the ground begins to shake, an angel appears, rolls the stone away from the tomb and then sits on it.  The guards were so terrified that they fainted at this sight.  Yet these female disciples though they were comforted by the angel and told not to fear they didn’t fall to the ground, scream, run, or respond in any ‘natural’ symptom of fear to the supernatural scene before them. 

These ladies were well aware of who they believed Jesus was and had been around, witnessing some pretty remarkable things in the countless services, healing, and miracles they had seen.  They were more familiar with the supernatural happening in their midst, so when the angel showed up, the earth shook, and he rolled the stone away they didn’t respond in terror.  They probably were struck with some Holy Fear, but I suspect it was also accompanied by a great anticipation and excitement of what is going to happen next.

I’m not one that thinks we should go around looking or trying to manufacture the spectacular move of God in our midst, but we certainly should expect it.  And when He sends an angel or shows up in a new and remarkable way we shouldn’t be afraid like these soldiers.  Instead we should be familiar enough to His presence and His ways that when He shows up in a new way or moves in a way we’ve never seen or experienced before that we 1st recognize His genuine presence and 2nd are filled with anticipation of what God is going to do next.  Then you we stand when others faint in fear.

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