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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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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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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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338. Rejoice and Fear Not; Fear Not and Rejoice

Posted by John Smith on June 9, 2017

John 12:15 NKJV  “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SITTING ON A DONKEY’S COLT.”

This verse quoted by John from Zechariah 9:9 indicating a prophecy regarding the Messiah was fulfilled as Jesus entered Jerusalem the last time prior to His crucifixion at what many refer to as the triumphant entry.  This verse is interesting because in Zechariah 9:9 God’s people are told to “Rejoice greatly” but John quotes it as FEAR NOT.  You see you can’t be in fear when your rejoicing greatly in victory.

The Hebrew word rejoice used in Zechariah 9:9 means to spin around violently under the influence of a powerful emotion (Strong’s) either great excitement or fear.  Context from the previous verses in Zechariah 9 talks about great deliverance from their oppressors who will no longer pass through.  This is a glorious freedom that was prophesied would come and did come in Christ Jesus.  No longer would sin oppress God’s people for it would be dealt with in Christ.  No longer would the law exact judgement upon His people, because it would be fulfilled in Him.  No longer would the fear of death oppress them for Jesus would deliver them from that bondage (Hebrews 2:15).  They would rejoice greatly because they would be delivered from all reason to fear.  This is why John quotes Zechariah 9:9 as Fear Not.

We are to rejoice greatly because Jesus has come and delivered us from anything that would try to terrorize us.  Our King has come and set up His throne in the midst of our hearts by His Spirit.  Meanwhile, He is physically sitting on the Throne in Heaven at the right hand of the Father, where we are reigning and ruling with Him as joint heirs with Christ (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:17).  So rejoice and fear not.  Fear not and rejoice.  Either way you look at it they go hand and hand because the King has come and has set us free.

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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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334. Jesus says, “Do not be Terrified.”

Posted by John Smith on May 12, 2017

Luke 21:9 NKJV  But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.

Luke 21:11 NKJV  And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

Though most Christians universally agree that Jesus was speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, many believe that He was also speaking of the climate of the world prior to his second coming.  Regardless of how you interpret the Scripture, Jesus’ advice not to fear still holds true.

We live in a volatile world with wars and commotions erupting constantly around the globe.  In addition, the frequency of earthquakes and other natural disasters are also on the rise.  The nightly news is constantly filled with armed conflicts, civil unrest, and devastating storms, all of which are fearful sights.  Still we do not need to fear.  Jesus knew they would take place.

No matter how you interpret the passages in Luke 21 or Matthew 24, the Lord is not surprised.  He is the Alpha & the Omega, the beginning and the end.  He saw your present circumstance before you were ever in it.  He saw the decisions lawmakers and world leaders would make and nothing surprises Him.  That’s good news for us.  That means that our loving Father knew what would take place and is working to lead away from harm before we get in it.  For the circumstances beyond our decision making control, we have promises that He has provided a way of escape (1Cor 10:13).

So listen to Jesus, “…do not be terrified.”  Jesus isn’t surprised of the circumstance and He has a plan for you to bring you through it in victory.

“If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.” –Seneca

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318. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Posted by John Smith on January 20, 2017

reso2Mark 9:31-32 NKJV  For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.”  (32)  But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

We’ve all been in a situation where someone says something that they obviously think we understand what they are talking about or are expecting us to do… but it reality we are unsure or have no clue.  We want to ask but are afraid that we’ll look foolish, ignorant, and the person will think less of us, so we just smile and nod our head uncomfortably while we try to figure out what they are saying.  Jesus just got done telling His disciples very plaining what would soon take place regarding His death, burial and resurrection and even though this wasn’t the first time He’d spoken to them about it they still didn’t understand and were terrified to ask Him.

It’s easy to fault them for not understanding, but none of these guys had been born-again yet so none of them have the Teacher the Holy Spirit living within them.  Besides that, nothing that Jesus was telling them lined up with their understanding or present day doctrines regarding the Christ.  They didn’t understand and were afraid of looking foolish or even of being rebuked.  They may have remembered the last time Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection, when Peter took Jesus aside and tried to rebuke Him only to have Jesus soundly correct Peter (Mark 8:31-33).  Peter too could have asked for Jesus to explain, but having been rebuked he was afraid too.

I often read the Word and come across things I don’t understand, when I do it’s easy to ask the Lord in the privacy of my family room or office what it means.  Often I’ll put a question mark next to the passage or write it down to look up later and inquire of the Lord when I have more time to study and let Him teach me.  But in public it is more difficult to ask for another explanation or for clarification because we become afraid of looking like a fool.

Well it’s better to ask a question and look like a fool for 5 minutes, then not to ask and stay one. If you don’t ask questions, you’re not going to find out what the answer is. Don’t be afraid of asking them, because ultimately people will appreciate your curiosity.  Even better than that, clarity will come and you can confidently continue with understanding of the subject matter or the expectations that you’ve been given.  So whether it’s your pastor, your boss, or your doctor; don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what they are saying.  It’s that simple.  Asking questions will alleviate anxiety and bring the information you need to move forward.

PS Unless you have a Q&A format in your church services you should probably wait to ask until after the service or call and make an appointment.

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273. Don’t Fear the Lion’s Den

Posted by John Smith on March 11, 2016

Daniel 6:9-28 NLT thHJCPY6WN

Daniel 6:14 NLT Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.

Daniel 6:18 NLT Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.

If you go and read Daniel chapter 6 you’ll see that because of Daniel’s excellence of attitude, service, and knowledge, he is quickly promoted under the new ruler Darius after the defeat of the Babylonians. This caused some interpersonal issues with those in the Persian government that wanted Daniel’s position, so they appealed to Darius’s pride who signs a ridiculous law that anyone caught worshiping any god or man other than Darius would be thrown in the Lion’s den.

This kind of law that prevents or prohibits somebody from worshiping God under penalty of certain death could be pretty intimidating to say the least, but Daniel doesn’t even flinch. He wouldn’t bow to any God other than the God of Israel and he certainly wouldn’t obey any law that told him not to. So Daniel went on a normal and had his regularly scheduled 3 times of prayer throughout the day. Of course this was a trap and he was hauled off in front of King Darius, who now was in extreme pressure to hold to his own “stupid” law at risk of defaming himself and losing all respect from his followers, has Daniel thrown in the lion’s den.

There are many notable points through this section of Scripture about submitting to a law and authority while not obeying them, but I want you to see that throughout this entire situation Daniel never once appears to be moved by fear or concern. The plotting governors and satraps were moved by fear and a thirst for more power. Darius was moved by fear and then was thrown into fear now fearing for Daniel’s life because of his decree. Darius was so afraid that he spent all day trying to figure a way out of the situation and then all night horrified in his bedroom. All the while, Daniel just stayed in peace knowing the power of His God and the righteousness of His actions. In Daniel 6:22, Daniel tells us that an angel came and shut the mouths of the lions, but more than that the angel really pacified the lions, because even if they didn’t eat Daniel they would still have had some pretty sharp claws to use him as a human scratching post.

Daniel wasn’t afraid. He didn’t have to be. He knew he was righteous in his heart and in his actions. It was this confidence that allowed him not to fear no matter what laws his local government passed or threats they handed down.

Under the New Covenant our righteousness far exceeds that of Daniels, because our righteousness has been established in the Righteous ONE Christ Jesus (Rom 5:17, 1 Cor 1:30). That’s some good news. God’s righteousness enables us to walk in peace in every situation and never fearing the outcome. We can walk in faith and experience the peace of God in every situation just like Daniel or we can be moved by fear and experience the torment of Darius. Trust God, know your righteousness through Christ, and walk confidently in God’s peace. You don’t have to fear the lion’s den.

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263. But They’re So Strong

Posted by John Smith on January 1, 2016

Ezekiel 32:10-11 NKJV Yes, I will make many peoples astonished at you, and their kings shall be horribly afraid of you when I brandish My sword before them; and they shall tremble every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of your fall.’ (11) “For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon you.

Aren’t you glad you don’t have the ministry of Ezekiel? Repeatedly he is sent to different nations to prophecy to them that someone was coming to destroy them. In this case he is warning the Pharaoh in Egypt that the Babylonians would conquer them sending fear of the Babylonians throughout the surrounding kingdoms. Why? Because the surrounding kingdoms saw Egypt as a strong nation with powerful and intelligent leaders, who had everything going their way.

People do the same thing. When negative circumstances strike someone we perceive as a strong, intelligent, gifted, or from a family of notoriety. It can shake our faith and confidence. It can even get us questioning our own protection and safety. This happens in both the world and in the church, but is especially devastating in the lives of Believers when trials, tribulations, sicknesses, diseases, etc… attack a man or woman of faith that they hold to in extremely high regard.

Sometimes people think there is a certain level of spirituality one attains where they just won’t be attacked anymore, or that some people are simply not capable of ever “losing” a battle. Although, there is absolute victory in Christ over sickness, disease, lack, etc… and it is possible to overcome every trial, every Christian no matter the size or success of their ministry or the closeness of their walk with God is going to experience tribulation. Jesus said so (John 16:33). And although it is possible to win every battle every time, not everyone does, including prominent or popular folk. This can cause many in the body to become afraid and despair when they hear of the challenges of their heroes. But don’t you waver.

It is natural to wonder why someone we respect and admire fell prey to an attack, unfortunately it isn’t always easy or even possible to discern or find out what happened or what went “wrong”. What we do know is that whatever happened, it wasn’t God. His Word never fails. Whenever there is an instance where the promises of God aren’t being realized in the life of any Believer it certainly isn’t that God is holding out. There can be any myriad of issues, mental ascent, fear, improper personal care and maintenance, resentment, unforgiveness, etc… but it isn’t God. He is always on our side and He is our deliverer. Not only that, but it isn’t necessarily our business why someone failed to get healed, or endured some sort of travesty. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that some things we just won’t know and they belong between the Lord and the other person.

So what does this mean for us and what should my response be other than to feel hopeless and afraid??? It means that instead of looming over it, we should recognize that everyone is susceptible to attack and victory is available for everyone. Instead of becoming afraid, it should motivate us to make sure our faith is shored up and that our relationship with the Lord is close in genuine intimacy and not just in appearance or in service. When faith disasters occur to other believers no matter how famous or strong their walk, realize it doesn’t have to happen to you. You don’t have to fear. Pull closer to the Lord, shore up your faith and Fear Not!

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261. Don’t be Afraid of Their Faces 2

Posted by John Smith on December 18, 2015

Ezekiel 3:9 NLT I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.”

There I was alone conducting a full men’s jail service, with people mean muggin’ me (looking angrily at me) through worship, when the Lord told me that there was someone there who wanted to believe, but the Gospel just seemed too good to be true. Though I thought about bailing on the service and calling the guards to come get them. I told them what the Lord said and offered to pray for whoever that was, telling them Jesus was alive and I could prove it. One man lifted his right hand and I had him stand up and come forward.

When he stood up, I had another fearful thought attack my mind. He was at least 6’6” and had to have been a solid 300 lbs. His head, neck and arms were all covered with various ugly tattoos of Arian symbols. I thought, Lord you’d better show up or I think I’m gonna be hurting here. Praise God for a forehead of flint coming from Holy Ghost boldness as I asked him if I could lay my hand on him and pray. He agreed. I let him know that when I did, the Lord would prove to him that Jesus was alive and real. After praying for a few moments in the Spirit to the Lord, I laid my hand on his chest and thanked the Lord for showing Himself alive and true to the man. Then it happened, that great big monster of a man began to weep uncontrollably. Tears and mucus ran down his face. That big ole’ guy was crying like a little kid that fell off his bike. I certainly had no thoughts of fear or intimidation now.

I led him to the Lord and asked him what happened. Still overcome with much emotion, he told me that he couldn’t explain it other than it was like feeling love all over and through him, like he had been hugged by love itself. He had. Then we had church. A number of men gave their lives to the Lord, made rededications and were filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I put my guitar back on and we had one humdinger of a service after that.

None of that would have happened, if I’d allowed fear to stop me. Their angry faces certainly weren’t welcoming and when that man stood up looking for proof that the Gospel was true that rubber meets the road moment can cause you to gulp. But God has given you what you need to endure whatever “scary” situation is before you. You can put your head down and plow through if you need to. The world needs the message of Christ and we can’t allow a little discomfort and fear keep us from fulfilling our call and being the epistles of Christ love that we have been called to be. God told Ezekiel, He gave him a forehead to endure the slander, persecution, and hate that would attempt to bind him in fear, and He’s given you the love of God in your heart and His compassion for broken humanity along with a hard head to get the job done. Fear Not!.

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