Fearless Fridays

Living Free From Fear

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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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296. He’s In Your Boat

Posted by John Smith on August 19, 2016

fearnoevilMatthew 8:26 NKJV But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

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!”

Mark 4:40-41 NKJV But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Though these three verses are from different Books in the Bible they all center up on the same instance. One evening Jesus and the disciples hopped in a boat to cross to the other side of the lake. During their journey Jesus falls asleep and a wild storm rolled in. The disciples some of whom had professional experience on boats as fishermen became fearful and woke Jesus who remained asleep even though the winds and waves were tossing the ship. Jesus, bothered and disappointed that they woke Him, rebukes his disciples and then rebukes the storm. He goes on to question them about their fear and their faith. Then they really became afraid.

There is so much here in these verses to look at.

If Jesus is calm you should be too. Jesus wasn’t worked up by the circumstance. He wasn’t worried. He wasn’t stressed. He wasn’t intimidated. He was calm and at peace. He even slept through most of it. When He did finally see the symptoms of the storms He didn’t freak out. He was a bit miffed at His disciples for stressing out about it and perhaps not dealing with it themselves. The bottom line is… if Jesus isn’t scared you shouldn’t be either.

When Jesus is in your boat you don’t need to fear. Psalm 91. Is Jesus in your boat? He sent the comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with us always. The Spirit of God comes to reside in us at the New Birth, when we believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and make Him our Lord.

Where is your faith? Is your faith in God’s Word and strength to deliver or in yourself or another to deliver? Many Christians faith is in the preacher sharing the passage and not the author of the passage. Who your faith is in makes all the difference. The disciples believed on Jesus, but the circumstance revealed the extent to which they fully trusted Him.

In Matthew’s Gospel the phrase, “O you of little faith,” is one word, oligopistos. It could be translated “puny faith.” The way the disciples reacted to the circumstance revealed their faith. They certainly didn’t believe they had any authority to exercise and see results. Nor did they believe His presence was enough to deliver them, but instead He would have to be awake. Our Lord certainly no longer needs natural sleep in His glorified body, but our thinking is often the same. Many people don’t or find it difficult to believe God is at work in their situation bringing freedom and deliverance unless they can see Him working.

If you’re afraid of the storms of life… how well do you know Jesus? After Jesus rebuked his disciples and the storm, it says they feared exceedingly wondering, “Who can this be?” Until the test, your faith is a theory. These guys faith was tested and came up lacking. What was the issue? They believed on Jesus as Messiah to an extent, but there was obviously more of the revelation of who He is that was still to come to them.

Our journey of faith is ongoing and never ends. Never stop growing in your relationship with the Lord. No matter how well you know Him or think you do, there is more. His mercies are new every morning. His manifold (multi-sided) grace is unending. The height, width, depth, and breadth of His love is ever expanding. Keep growing to know Him more and the fear will subside. This Jesus is in your boat. Fear Not.

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294. How Are You Led?

Posted by John Smith on August 5, 2016

Matthew 2:13-14 NKJV Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” (14) When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,one-person-leading-others-in-line

One night there was a banging on my door in the middle of the night, it turned out to be nothing. But it got my heart pumping and the adrenaline was flowing as I quickly yet cautiously investigated who was at the door. The fact that the person was wearing a motorcycle helmet only escalated my tension and got me ready to defend my family, but it turned out to be nothing but a new neighbor who had just got home from a ride and was trying to figure out who parked in their driveway. NOTE: I did instruct them of the danger in knocking on peoples doors in the middle of the night while wearing a full faced helmet.

But Joseph’s late night visit didn’t end with him going back to bed. He packed up his family and made haste to flee from their home to a foreign land instead. That had to have been a horrifying experience for all of them, yet Joseph had already learned to from his angelic visitation a few years prior to trust in the instructions or words from God. In addition, the wise men bearing expensive gifts had recently visited them leaving them with ample provision if they could safely avoid thieves along the way to their destination.

Joseph was led by the word of God through an angel, but we have a more sure word. We can be led by the written Word and the Word of God spoken to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The Word and the Spirit which always agree are a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps 119:105). Following them diligently and consistently through every aspect of our lives strengthens us to resist fear in the most difficult and scariest moments of life. Joseph had confidence that the words he heard from that angel were of God so he fearlessly traveled with his family in the middle of the night to a nation he did not know.

Like Joseph, we can fearlessly travel through life. We do so with a more sure confidence in His Holy Scripture (2Peter1:16-20) and in the intimate relationship we have with the Spirit of the Living God. His Word is trustworthy and His leading is sure. Fear Not!

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276. Very Precious to God

Posted by John Smith on April 1, 2016

precious-1199183_640Daniel 10:11-12 NKJV And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. (12) Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

Daniel 10:19 NKJV And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

 Daniel had received a mighty message from God and had begun to lose heart because of the magnitude of the End-Time Message and the 70-week prophecy that he had seen in a vision and heard from Gabriel. Now he just had a vision of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Jesus, Himself and is utterly overwhelmed.

I’ve not yet had this kind of encounter with the Lord, but I have had the opportunities or assignments from the Lord that have made my eyes pop out of my head and my heart to beat out of my chest. In those moments the enormity of the task just seems so vast that I can’t grasp how I’ll get it done or even where to start. Thank God, no matter the calling, the mission, or the task that He gives us, we are never alone.

Daniel was not alone. And you are never alone in the call of God. The Lord wanted to make sure Daniel knew this and sent Gabriel to encourage him (verse 19). I love the way the NLT reads here.

 Daniel 10:19 NLT “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”

 The Lord wanted to make sure that Daniel knew how precious he was to God and to speak peace and strength over him. In Daniel’s case it took 3 weeks for that encouragement to arrive because of demonic forces blocking the messenger, but you and I no longer have any time delay to be concerned with because the Spirit of God now dwells in us.

God’s indwelling presence provides us with constant encouragement and instant access to His wisdom and presence. We don’t have to fast for 3 weeks to be encouraged by God; it doesn’t even have to take 3 minutes. All we have to do is unplug from the situation or task that is overwhelming us and causing us to fear, and plug into His glorious presence.

So take a moment right now to unplug from stress, problems, and deadlines. Now plug into His indwelling presence and take a deep breath. Let Him speak words of peace, strength and encouragement to you and over you right now. Be refreshed and be encouraged. You are never alone and you are very precious to God.

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275. Embrace your God given vision and Fear Not!

Posted by John Smith on March 25, 2016

Daniel 8:16-19 AMP  And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the [river] Ulai which called and said, Gabriel, make this man [Daniel] understand the vision. [Dan. 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26.]  (17)  So he came near where I stood, and when he came, I was frightened and fell on my face. But he said to me, Understand, O son of man, for the [fulfillment of the] vision belongs to [events that shall occur in] the time of the end.  (18)  Now as he [Gabriel] was speaking with me, I fell stunned and in deep unconsciousness with my face to the ground; but he touched me and set me upright [where I had stood].  (19)  And he said, Behold, I will make you know what will be in the latter time of the indignation [of God upon the ungodly], for it has to do with the time of the end.

Daniel had seen a vision that left him stupefied, confused, and afraid (Dan 8:15). Then he hears a voice telling the angel Gabriel to make him understand the vision and is doubly afraid. Partly because Gabriel is apparently an intimidating sight to behold (Zacharias also fell experienced fear when he saw him in Luke 1:12), but more so because he feared understanding the horror he saw in his vision and what this would mean for him and his people.

Daniel knew that God wouldn’t just show him this vision nor send Gabriel to interpret it for him without having a specific purpose. Besides just the fear of the vision and the situation, Daniel feared what it meant for him. He was now responsible to write and share this with others to inform them and educate them of things he wasn’t even sure he understood. I don’t personally know anyone that has had this graphic of visions from God in their calling or service (certainly the apostle Paul would be one (Acts 8)), but I know many who have been afraid of the visions for life and ministry that they have received. Geez, I’m one of them. It is a humbling and terrifying thing to be asked, invited, or told by God to do something. For me… I know how bad I can mess up breakfast, let alone projects, churches, and people that He’s asking me to minister to or accomplish. One might be overwhelmed by the task and certainly have a Holy Fear for it, but you don’t have to be afraid of the actual doing.

Don’t fear what God has called you to do or the vision that He’s given you. Embrace it! There is excitement that comes when you accept/embrace the vision God gives. That doesn’t mean it isn’t overwhelming. I regularly have to stop and take a deep breathe sometimes if I start thinking too far ahead of the present phase of what He’s given me to do, but the moment you decide to step into what God is showing you and calling you to do or proclaim is a liberating moment that you begin a new and exciting journey with Him. Embrace your God given vision and Fear Not!

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274. Awesome God

Posted by John Smith on March 18, 2016

11002003207Daniel 6:26-28 AMP  I make a decree that in all my royal dominion men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be even to the end [of the world].  (27)  He is a Savior and Deliverer, and He works signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth–He Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.  (28)  So this [man] Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Wow! Look at the respect that King Darius held for the God of Israel. More than just respect you can see the genuine awe and amazement that he had for God, who had just delivered Daniel without harm from the Lion’s den. I often think of how in an attempt to emphasize the approachability of God by focusing on Him as a dear friend and loving Father (which He certainly is), that we’ve lost some of the gravitas and AWESOME Wonder of exactly who our Loving Father and Friend is.

It is our in our losing fear (not terror of Him) of God and the reverential honor of the reality that HE is GOD that has allowed fear into the lives of so many Believers today. It is in that reality of who HE is, that our paradigm of how we see our problems, concerns and fears shifts. He is the God of creation. He is the God of incredible signs and wonders like turning water into wine, setting bushes on fire without burning them up, raising the dead, opening blind eyes & deaf ears, and rescuing you from a horrible eternal fate to name a few. How can we fear anyone or anything in this world if He is our God?

Darius had a small glimpse of the magnitude of God and knew, His (the Lord’s) kingdom would never be destroyed and His dominion would be everlasting. He understood a Holy Fear in dealing with God. He also recognized that it was this Holy Fear for God that empowered Daniel to fearlessly submit to being thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel’s AWE and confidence in the Lord provided an opportunity for the Lord to reach Darius. Our God is an awesome God. Is your AWE of God leading people to Him?

PS Daniel’s Holy Fear of God also led to his prosperity (Verse 28).

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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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272. There is a Higher Authority

Posted by John Smith on March 4, 2016

0006873Daniel 5:18-21 NKJV O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. (19) And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. (20) But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. (21) Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

King Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful leader and ruler of his day. During his reign there were no kingdoms that could compare to the strength and riches of the Babylonians. Daniel 5:19 records that “all peoples, nations & languages trembled and feared before him.” There was no one that could stand against him and everyone feared his power and the greatness of his kingdom. At least that is what he thought.

Nebuchadnezzar was greatly lifted up in pride and although God reached out to him, warned him and gave him a year to humble himself and repent of his pride, he did not. In one day, Nebuchadnezzar was driven from the palace to the fields and away from aristocratic society. He lived as an animal eating the grass of the field, sleeping on the ground, apparently unable to communicate or think like a man. He lived as a beast with his hair and fingernails growing like one. (Daniel 4)

During this time, he was not feared for his great intellect, strength or power. He may have been feared for his appearance, but no one feared the power he wielded. It had been taken from him and with it the fear of man toward him. After 7 seasons, his sanity returned and he had a massive attitude adjustment. He now understood that no matter how much power he may amass that the Lord was Most High and rules over all human kingdoms.

There are a few takeaways we can have here. One is to remember the dangers of pride and recognize that everything we do or accomplish could not be done without the Lord. Another and what I’d like to stress is that no matter how much real or perceived power a person, a group, or a government may amass, our God is still Lord Most High and the ruler over all kingdoms. At present there are many Christians throughout the world, as well as here in the United States that are afraid of political powers and figures. We are to love them, respect the offices they hold, but we are not to fear them or the power they possess.

We never have to fear nations, political leaders, or anyone because we are children of the Most High who rules over all kingdoms. It is in Him that we trust, serve and live. The just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17) and not in fear. Love God! Love People! Preach the Truth in Love! Do not fear! There is a Higher Authority.

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271. Don’t Fear the Writing on the Wall

Posted by John Smith on February 26, 2016

Daniel 5:5-7 NKJV In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. (6) Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. (7) The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

When the fingers of a man’s hand appeared in the palace and began writing on the wall, the king knew it was bad. In fact, he was so scared that his knees began to knock together. John Gill’s exposition of the Entire Bible (E-Sword) tells us that in verse 6 when the joints of the king’s hips were loosened that this is a very nice way to say the king lost control of his bodily functions, wetting himself. WHAT?! Yes, according to John Gill, King Belshazzar was so scared he peed his pants.

Incontinence is certainly not a laughing matter, but it certainly can be a side-effect and symptom of extreme fear. I remember a couple of instances growing up where a scary prank took place that left someone with some wet pants and a lot of embarrassment. My heart still hurts for them thinking back on it. But the bottom line is God’s presence is only terrifying to His enemies. Now don’t get me wrong, God is AWESOME in the only true sense of the word and will cause even the most upright person you know to fall face down in reverence and a Holy fear. But He has called us to boldly enter His presence and into the PEACE and REST He has provided in Christ. The kind of AWE and Holy Fear we find in His immediate presence brings refreshing. Only those that don’t know Him are terrified and left drained of their strength and possibly with a pool of fluid on the floor.

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269. Scared Speechless

Posted by John Smith on February 12, 2016

Daniel 4:19 KJV Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

The Lord had given Nebuchadnezzar a dream that greatly disturbed him. He knew it was of portent but didn’t understand the dream, so he called for Daniel who he had promoted to be a chief overseer over all of Babylon after he had successfully interpreted a previous dream for Nebuchadnezzar. After telling Daniel the dream, Daniel just stood there speechless for a period of time. Some translations say he just stood there for an hour others for a moment, because the word shâ‛âh used there could be translated either way. Regardless of the specific amount of time that Daniel stood there silent, the point is he was so troubled and fearful of the understanding of the dream and what it meant for Nebuchadnezzar that he really just didn’t know what to say.

Have you ever had one of those moments? I have. It’s that uncomfortable moment where you know what needs to be said, but you have no idea how to say it. As uncomfortable and ‘scary’ as it may be to deliver disappointing news, a not so great report, or some hard TRUTH to someone it still has to be done. It was Daniel’s heart for Nebuchadnezzar that both made it difficult to share the interpretation and was also the reason that he did. Daniel didn’t just blast Nebuchadnezzar out of the water and say, “you’re such an arrogant and prideful man that you are about to be totally humiliated and stripped of all respect for a season.” No his heart was for Nebuchadnezzar. He started with saying, “I really hope this doesn’t happen to you, sir.” Then he ended with some great advice, “Make a clean break with your sins and start living for others. Quit your wicked life and look after the needs of the down-and-out. Then (perhaps) you will continue to have a good life. (MSG emphasis mine)”

I want you to see that both the reason Daniel found it difficult to talk and the reason he did were because of his genuine concern for Nebuchadnezzar. Sometimes people are afraid to talk to others, because they fear how others will respond (especially when it is a corrective conversation). But I don’t see that as Daniel’s reason. His was because the consequences he saw coming were so disastrous that he just didn’t have the words to say because he didn’t want to see it happen or even have to paint the picture for the king of what was to come. His heart was for Nebuchadnezzar. But that was also why he told Nebuchadnezzar. He mustered up the courage, and though he was uncomfortable, told Nebuchadnezzar his future fate, because he wanted to potentially help Nebuchadnezzar avoid that fate.

Every day we are surrounded with people that will live somewhere forever. There is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to flee. Your personal comfort has nothing to do with it. Let God’s heart and compassion for people be stirred up in you, then lovingly tell them the Truth of God’s love, how to be with Him, and how to avoid the consequences. Don’t be scared speechless. Tell someone. Fear Not: Everybody oughta know.

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