377. Naturally Supernatural

Hebrews 12:18 NLT  You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai.
Hebrews 12:21 NKJV  And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I AM EXCEEDINGLY AFRAID AND TREMBLING.”)
Hebrews 12:22-24 NKJV  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,  (23)  to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,  (24)  to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

There are things in the natural that have frightened me.  There are situations of genuine & perceived peril I’ve been in that were horrifying.  Still, I cannot imagine the hiking up an ominous mountain surrounded by a dark cloud with a horrible storm, lighting and fire engulfing it.  Moses was right to be, “exceedingly afraid & trembling” as he trekked up the mountain with Joshua to meet with the Lord God of Israel.  It was a truly “awesome” experience.  But though God has not changed and is still as AWESOME as ever our relationship with Him has.

No longer do we approach God like Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin-man, Cowardly Lion, & Toto approached the Wizard of Oz.  Instead we come to Him and by the Spirit dwell and commune with Him in a new and precious way.  The NLT case in Hebrews 12:23 that, “(We) have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. (We) have come to God Himself, who is the judge over all things. (We) have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect.

A lot has changed from Exodus to Hebrews.  1) The place we meet and commune is different.  It was the ominous and scary mountain, where we venture alone or with one other to meet Him; Now it is to an incredible and divine city, filled with precious saints, angelic beings, and an eternal party (festal gathering, Weymouth New Testament).  2) Our relationship with God has changed and become more intimate (from the all mighty creator to our FATHER God who is the almighty creator.)  3) Our nature has changed (no longer unrighteous sinners, but righteous joint-heirs with Christ).

This also means that in all natural circumstances we can overcome fear.  You see by the Spirit of God we can constantly dwell in this place of Mt. Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem while still being physically on the earth.  Ephesians 2:6 tells us that we are simultaneously here on earth and seated with Christ in heavenly places.  How is this possible?  Through the Holy Spirit who dwells with us, in us, and is ever present in Heaven too.  Because of where we dwell by and in the Spirit, even when in a naturally scary place we are in the comfort and divine presence of God.  When we tap into that reality and remind ourselves of it when in a fearful circumstance we don’t have to fear, because we know Heaven is with us, our Father is near, and we are walking in a position of authority as joint heirs with Christ.  The reality of all of Heaven with us reminds us to fear not.  You are naturally supernatural.

image

Advertisements

371. Cibophobia – The Fear of Food

cibophobia1 Timothy 4:4-5 NET  For every creation of God is good and no food is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.  (5)  For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer.

 Some people suffer from a horrible condition and are actually afraid of food.  This is often confused with anorexia but they are entirely different as sufferers are actually afraid of the food itself.  Thankfully most of us will never know anyone who ever deals with this fear; however, we’ve all had a bit of anxiety about eating certain things before.  Especially those on the mission field.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling both here in the USA and outside of our nation and I’ve learned that not everywhere in the world or just down the street store or prepare our food properly.  Not only that, but there are different types of bacteria and viruses in other parts of the world that can get your stomach spinning in a hurry… I’ve been there.  Praise God eating in roadside restaurants and oversees has gotten much easier for me since I grabbed a hold of this verse.

You see I used to get nervous in some places and in the natural rightfully so.  I’d see the cleanliness of the place or see the meat just hanging with flies on it and get nervous.  Well, fear always opens the door to the enemy.  Listen up… you should use wisdom and listen to the voice of the Spirit of God all the time, but especially while traveling and eating in foreign countries.  Obey the Spirit of God, He’ll tell you if you should pass on a dish or not, but you do not have to fear.  You see when I first used to travel and people would give me something I had never eaten before, I’d get extremely nervous and afraid that I’d get sick and often I would get queasy feeling, sometimes even before I ate. Why? Because I believed the food would contaminate me.  And my faith often received exactly what I believed.

Now I’ve learned I never have to fear, because God has provided a way for me to enjoy every meal and eat without getting sick. Instead of eating in fear I can rejoice, thank the Lord and enjoy the food in faith.  When I sit down for a meal, especially in a place that gives me reason to pause I pray, “Thank you, Father, that this food is sanctified by Your Word and my prayer. Thank you for providing and protecting me.”  Then I eat in faith, receiving what I just prayed.  I also often tell people with me to watch what I eat and follow my lead.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit not only sanctifies our food but He also knows what might not sit well overnight or is undercooked etc… Some folk have told me that isn’t faith and ate whatever they wanted after praying.  The next day many have felt different.

Through thanksgiving, prayer, and listening to the Holy Ghost, we never have to fear what we eat.  He will sanctify it, purify it, and lead to what to enjoy and what to skip on.  One time I remember the Holy Ghost told me only to eat one small portion of a stew, I obeyed and told the other gentleman with me that I believed we should only eat a little bit.  I obeyed and enjoyed my small meal.  Unfortunately, it was his favorite and he dug in and had a few large bowls.  The next day he was super sick and I felt great, other than getting to hang out with and pray for a sick friend.  Thank God for your food, listen to the Holy Ghost, purify your food in prayer and you won’t have to fear your food.

365. Quench Your Pastor’s Fears 2

0306_market_fears_400x400-300x3002 Corinthians 12:20-21 NLT  For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior.  (21)  Yes, I am afraid that when I come again, God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many of you have not given up your old sins. You have not repented of your impurity, sexual immorality, and eagerness for lustful pleasure.

Last week we touched on Paul’s greatest fears that your pastor shares.  Your pastor fears that the people he pours his life into will lose the purity and simplicity of the Gospel message and their devotion to Jesus.  In 2 Corinthians 12:20-21 Paul lists a number of things that he was afraid he might see upon a visit to the church in Corinth.  Honestly, there have been a number of days I’ve been afraid about what I was going to see or deal with when I arrived at our local church.  Today I want to help both pastors with this fear and empower congregants to help their pastor too.

If you’re a pastor or serving in any ministry, you’ve experience that fearful thought sometimes too.  Here is what you can do.

  1. Stay steady. Keep it simple.  Keep doing what you are doing and don’t quit.  You are making a difference. 2 Corinthians 11:12
  2. Never preach people into bondage with fear tactics. Preach God’s grace and never put people down when they fail. 2 Corinthians 11:20-21
  3. Serve Jesus. Your faithfulness will pay off. 2 Corinthians 11:23
  4. Work hard. Give it all you’ve got and leave it all on the court. 2 Corinthians 11:27

If you aren’t in ministry… wait, what? Stop right here. You should be. Jesus gave the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher to the Church for the purpose of preparing and equipping you to fulfill the ministry you are called to.  It might not be a church or Sunday morning ministry, it might be a ministry to other business leaders, lawyers, or sales clerks, but you have been called in the ministry and you have one.  That said, live a life of repentance.  Get right with God and stop it!  If you need help, your pastor and church leadership are there to support you.  Be faithful to your local church, support the vision there, grow up in the Lord, and help your pastor raise up more leaders that will do the same.

353. Alethephobia – Fear of Hearing the Truth

truth

Acts 24:24-25 NKJV  And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.  (25)  Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”

 “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”  In essence they found truth or heard truth, but quickly chose to ignore it instead of taking action because of it.  The main reason people do this is fear.  They are afraid of the responsibility that comes with the Truth they hear and how this truth impact their life.  They fear what the truth means for them.

Alethephobia is the fear of hearing the truth.  Not to be confused with veritaphobia, which is the fear of telling the truth.  Felix, the governor of Judea, had heard the reports about Jesus and the message that His followers shared and had a general understanding of what Christians believed.  But as Paul shared the In Him realities of how a relationship with Christ impacted ones righteousness, nature, and eternity, Felix became terrified.  He recognized that what Paul was saying was true and it scared him.  It frightened him because he knew that meant that for him to embrace this faith would be the end of his governorship and many would no longer respect him.

People often fear and hate the disclosure of truth, because it carries with it and self-perceived insult to their own narcissism (narcissistic insults).  Although they see a plain reality, it offends their ego.  So in effort to avoid the bruised ego and the fear of that it means, they hold onto their previous ideas for dear life, limiting the extent of both their intellect and their personal freedom.  They choose to be in bondage to a lie, instead of freed by the truth.

Some Christians do this too.  They selectively hear certain divine truths, while carefully avoiding others that challenge their personal comfort zone or compel them to take action.  The Lord wants to help you grow and walk in all the freedom he died to provide you.  John 1:1 calls Jesus the Word and John 17:17 tells us His Word is truth.  So the Lord will speak truth to you through His Spirit, His Word, and even His people that will challenge how you see Him, the world, or even (gulp) YOURSELF.

When you find yourself hearing things that makes you uncomfortable, search them out.  Examine it and make sure it says what you are hearing and that it isn’t being twisted in some way (Oh and make sure you don’t twist and try to rationalize the Scripture either), ask for clarification or further teaching instead of trying to ignore it, and then act on the truth.  The truth about ourselves is often hard to hear and can be scary, but it is necessary for us to live truly free. Don’t fear hearing the truth.

 

321. Are You Afraid of the Truth?

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.Mark 11:28-33 NKJV  And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”  (29)  But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:  (30)  The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”  (31)  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  (32)  But if we say, ‘From men’ “—they feared the people, for all counted John to have been a prophet indeed.  (33)  So they answered and said to Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

People lie for all kinds of reasons.  People lie to try to obtain favor.  People lie to make themselves look better.  People lie to get stuff, to hurt others, and people lie because they are afraid.  These guys didn’t really care about the answer or what the truth was, they were afraid of being wrong and losing prestige.  They were afraid of the Truth so they didn’t tell the truth.

Never be afraid to speak the truth.  People that are afraid to tell the truth are often also afraid of the truth.  A commitment to honesty, honest interactions with others and living a life of transparency devoid of deception is a surefire way to destroy the power of fear in your life.