World conditions are intensifying. As we look around we see news flashes of violence, disasters, doom, gloom and despair. Others and ourselves are being bombarded with sickness, tragic family or friend loss, financial stress, and mental pressures. We feel like we are living in a battle zone that's never ending.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1 "But know this that in the last days perilous times will come." Listen up children of God, we are living in the final days, before Jesus returns. We are facing dangerous, unpredictable, high risk times. Some of you may be asking, how can we persevere?
Let me reassure you that there are conquering strategies for every believer. The basis to being an overcomer is found in the Bible. This is a time we can not afford to live with the notion that everything will resolve itself and settle down. The devil knows that his time is nearly ending and he's unleashing all that he has to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) This is the moment that we, born again, spirit filled, sword wielding Christians rise up to the occasion. Fear, dread and defeat will try to overpower you. Don't let it! Ps. 138:7 says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revived me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies. And Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever..."
Peace, comfort and victory comes from trusting in the Lord. He IS the 'All Sufficient, El Shadday'! Experiencing His sustaining strength requires that we must run to Him first in all situations! We have to make His Word the place we go for security, assurance, and direction! Then no evil will conquer us nor any disease come near. The following scripture is one that is our anchor for safety in troubled times. It's time to realize that His deliverance will come in our time of need, when we trust, believe and rely upon Who He is! The problem with most people, is that they don't call upon the Lord in the midst of difficulty. It's much easier to try to figure it out on our own or depend on another method to alleviate our distress. Let this scripture resonate within your heart and spirit becoming the stability for faith in God's safety and deliverance!
Ps. 91 Those who live in the shelter of the Most HighThis I declare about the
In the next few weeks we will be talking about how to live, be skilled, and persevere during perilous times! It's time to arise from lethargy, put on the armor of God, engage active faith, fight the good fight of faith, lay aside fear, discouragement and defeat to become the victor in Christ you are called to be! If you need prayer of agreement, please email us at email@example.com, we are here for you!
Ephesians 6:10-18 says, ""Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparations of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end, with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
We become victorious against spiritual warfare, by 'Putting On' or appropriating the Word of God in daily life happenings. The armor IS the Word of God! To 'gird our loins', we must believe and receive God's Word as a personal message of Truth from Him to us. It's where we commit to 'live or walk' in the Word each day. Ps. 86:11 "Lord, teach me your ways, and I will live and obey your truths. Help me make worshiping your name the most important thing in my life." This is where the Word becomes the foundation from which we base our life, thus making it as a belt to which all other pieces connect.
The Breastplate of Righteousness, is where we protect our heart with the Word of God. Lies, deception, heartaches and such happen daily, trying to creep into our heart to pervert it. Pro. 3:3 says, "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:" Pro. 4:23KJ "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." & Luke 8:15 (ERV) "And what about the seed that fell on the good ground? That is like the people who hear God’s teaching with a good, honest heart. They obey it and patiently produce a good crop." Using God's Word to fight against sin and destruction that would attempt to corrupt our heart establishes His Righteousness within us.
To shod our feet, suggests we be prepared to take the gospel of peace, the Good News, every where we go. Our trust in the Lord and His Word, brings a peace that passes all of our understanding. (Phil. 4:7) Making the Word of God our lifestyle, produces confidence and assurance in Him, giving us peace. Regardless of how rugged the terrain (trials or tribulations) may seem on our path, we are able to march on through with peace on the Word. Rom. 1:16 (Amp) says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,"
Knowing that the empowerment over the 'imps' of the devil IS through the Word of God, we can overcome by being doers of the Word. In this two part series, we hope you will be able to gain the understanding of the power of God's Word in your life. It IS "alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts." (Heb. 4:12 Amp)
If you've ever run a race, climbed a mountain or achieved something you thought you could never do, that's Victory! Above all the voices of the world, over any terrible difficulty, regardless of pressures or hardships, there is a way to OVERCOME! Going through tough situations and succeeding is victory. Facing any kind of problem is hard. Often we feel alone, helpless and overwhelmed. It would be so great if life were simple or easy and we didn't have to face adversity, sickness, pain, or heartache. But Jesus said in, John 16:33b "....In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Located in the New Testament there is a story of an overcomer. A particular man named Bartimaeus was blind sat on the side of the road begging for money. Bartimaeus must have heard of the mighty works and healing power of Jesus. One specific day, as he was sitting begging by the road, word came that Jesus was coming. As the crowd neared, he began to cry with a loud voice for Jesus. Although the people around hushed him, he cried all the more louder. His faith was forceful in the fact that he wasn't going to allow anyone or anything stand in the way of receiving his healing! Jesus hearing his cry, stopped and called him forth. So Bartimaeus stood up, threw off his garment and moved towards the Lord. Jesus asked him what He could do for him, to which Bartimaeus replied, "...that I may receive my sight." Jesus said, "Go your way, your faith has made you well." And immediately he was healed! (Mark 10:46-52)
Bartimaeus didn't wait for someone else to do something for him, he took action!
1) He cried out to Jesus, the healer. Whatever your situation, your help is in the Lord. 1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." Knowing that God hears your cries assures your faith of an answer. Take time right now to ask in prayer for your help.
2) He threw off his garment and stood up. Bartimaeus had a cloak that identified him as a blind man. His action to remove it demonstrated his faith to receive healing. It was when he cast it off and rose up to walk toward Jesus that confirmed he was ready to receive. 2 Cor. 10:4-5 says, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" The nature, characteristic, and opinions of the world cloud our mind as a cloak of deception. It is necessary that we take all those reasonings, arguments, or thoughts that are contrary to the Word and throw them down. This kind of faith disarms those weapons and readies us to receive our miracle. Your promise is in the Word of God, whether it's financial, healing or a sound mind you can receive it today!
In order to over come, it takes actions of faith. We must get up even when the circumstance is raging against us; Take this opportunity, right now to lay aside pity from ourselves and from others. Begin right now to not only see yourself delivered from your problem, but SAY "I'm free from it" Make a daily practice of reading and speaking God's promises over your life. As you confirm the Word through confession, your agreement will begin to change the circumstances. It won't be long before the Victory is yours! Faith in action Overcomes!
Public figures have a great influence in the lives of people from every walk of life. Whether it's a sports star, political leader or an entertainer, the decisions they make, often affect others. How they handle the stress of living can be encouraging or disheartening. Of course the news of tragic events in the lives of these popular prominent individuals wounds the spirit of many. Just because one is in the limelight doesn't insure a carefree, happy life. Just like most of us, they also face emotional and physical problems. The only difference is, the world is emphatically watching them and the only resources they draw from is the world.
Every one faces trouble in one way or another. There is not one person, rich or poor, male or female, notable or unknown, that isn't challenged with some type of difficulty. Jesus said in, John 16:33 ".....In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]" The contrast between the world and a Christian, is faith in God. However, not every Christian knows how to exercise their faith to trust the Lord God. Many are still daily dealing with ailments, poverty, stress, addiction, depression and oppression, to only name a few.
The key to overcoming these hard times requires complete dependence upon God. Proverbs 3: 5-6 "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Yet, human nature tries to figure it all on our own and sometimes ask God for help when we are desperate! Trusting in the Lord, demands the giving of our full attention to Him in EVERY situation! Pressure conditions arise daily, questions haunt us of how to prevail over them. For some, desperation and fear set in. 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul wrote, "But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!"
Paul discovered that when he praised the Lord in the midst of his troubles, the strength and power of Christ reigned over him, thus equipping him to prevail! By realizing that we are not contending with natural forces, but spiritual forces of 'principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places', we can better equip ourself for victory! We endure by the power of the Holy Spirit through our belief in God's Word. It's knowing that whatever we face is subject to the Word of God. Declaring the Truth, with the authority in Christ, the problem must bow it's knee.
An overcomer is one who diligently, faithfully resists the power or temptations of the devil and the world. Regardless of fear they remain determined to have confidence in God and His Word despite what it looks like or what others say! We want to inspire you to be constant in your faith in God. Don't allow anything to hinder you from obtaining victory! "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith." (1 John 5:4)
At this very moment, people we know and even some we don't, are facing serious adversities. Family's have lost loved ones, marriages are under attack, there's financial despair for others, and some are facing job stress. Not only are there personal attacks, but our world is suffering from wars, weather related calamities, and multiple difficult issues, too numerous to list.
I know people that could verbalize Paul's words from 2 Cor. 4. "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way]........ we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out......; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven).......; we are struck down to the ground...;" The only difference is, Paul had a response to the problems, "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped crushed; we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out destroyed;" He realized that the Greater One lived IN him. Paul was assured that the Lord was standing with him and was giving him strength. (2 Tim. 4:17) This gave him the ability to press on through.
In 2 Timothy in chapter 3, Paul said, "But know this, in the last days perilous times will come:" Yes we will face risky, harmful, dangerous periods of time. This is just a fact! So how does one handle these events in their life? What can we do to be victorious overcomers? How can we endure through all the hardships? We need the strength of God to get past the circumstances with which we face. Trying to do it in our own flesh causes fatigue, depressions, oppression, fear, and stress. Here are some spiritual exercises you can do that will strengthen your faith and encourage you to remain steadfast IN faith!
1) James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." A great example of counting it all joy, is when Paul and Silas were imprisoned in the deepest darkest dungeon. Although they were chained and in pain from their beating, they expressed joy by singing praises to God! What did they have to be joyful about, you ask? They saw past their situation in the Spirit, knowing they served a big God, who would deliver them. The facts didn't define their attitude, but their attitude established different facts...deliverance! Their praises opened their shackles and set them free. It's time we praised the Lord to loose us from the chains of despair! Put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.
2) Proverbs 2:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways (course of life) acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Putting down our feelings about our problem is hard, because emotions are prominent. Taking time in the middle of the adversity to pray and focus on the promise of God's Word, will give direction and peace. In Joshua we read, that keeping the Word of God in our heart, in our mind and upon our lips, assists us in being a doer. Therefore, we will be successful and make wise decisions. Take any fear, worry or doubt cast it down, and be persuaded that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything you could ask or imagine!
3) Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat it's fruit." Most of us are guilty of declaring our problems, complaining and stating defeat. We condemn ourselves before God can work in our behalf. On the one hand we send forth faith in a prayer, and negate it by confessing doom and gloom. To experience the presence of His power over our circumstance, we must first believe! Test what you believe by gauging what's coming out of your mouth. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Repent for not submitting to God and resisting the devil. Then, make a conscience effort to practice agreeing with His Word verbally! Your confession will remind you of the action of faith necessary for affirming your faith!
Remember, that no matter the dilemma we're facing, the Word of God and prayer opens the door for God to work, and Praise will keep the door open. Don't measure what you believe by what you're experiencing. Heb. 10:35-36 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."
Have you ever felt as if everyone and everything was coming against you? Your thoughts being bombarded with condemnation, telling you it's all your fault and that you're a complete mess up! And no matter how hard you try to fix it, you're not getting out of it? Let me tell you right now, you have invisible enemies! Ephesians 6:12GWT tells us, "This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world." Our opposition isn't coming from people. It's what's behind the problem - unseen forces trying to kill, steal and destroy your hopes, dreams and faith. (John 10:10)
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." One of my favorite minister teachers said, interpreted the verse like this: "You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you will all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl, constantly walking around, roaring, with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!" (from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner)
These powers from the supernatural realm are assaulting with depression, defeatist attitudes, hopelessness, worry, fear, discouragement, distress and the like. Does this sound like you? The problem is that most people don't recognize 1) it's coming from the devil and 2) there's a way of escaping this! (1 Cor. 10:13)
If you want to become free from any attack of the devil, here's what you can do!
1) James 4:7 "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submitting to God means, prayer and reading or studying the Word. We must know about the authority God and Jesus has given us and how to operate in it. (Luke 10:19) Just sitting in your room and thinking God's going to zap the devil, isn't going to change anything. He is not in control. If He was, He would have control over the evil. God has done all He's going to do through the power of the cross and Jesus' resurrection. Resisting something takes determination and a firm stand. A great example would be a dieter that is refusing to eat cake. Closing his eyes and pretending the cake will go away won't work. He must strongly fight against the urges to eat the dessert. To combat the tactics of satan's attacks, it requires a purposeful persistent opposition. The decision to cast down all imaginations that don't line up with the Word and a commitment to remain dedicated to confessing the scriptures. With this type of perseverance you can win every time!
2) Walk in the Spirit! Galatians 5:16 says, "...walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." By saying walk, we are implying that we need to live our life, make it our behavior or habit to be in the Spirit. One who 'walks in the Spirit', is asking the Holy Spirit for direction, listening and heeding His instruction! Saying what God's Word says, rather than talking about the problem. Walking in the Spirit means we're not participating with things that are contrary to the Word of God! It's control over the flesh!
3) And when we've done all to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:13-18) In other words, after doing everything in the Spirit we know to do, taken our authority, prayed in the Holy Ghost, and resisted the devil, we stand convinced that things have already changed. Why? Because we've acted in faith. And faith is the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is calling those things that be not as though they were, running the course with endurance, and never let go strength. It keeps it's eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. Praise and Worship is in our mouth because we believe we have already obtained victory. And when the invisible enemies come, we are already convinced that we are more than conquerors through Christ!
We encourage you to fight the good fight of faith, stay true to your course, never give up, know that you're an overcomer through the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony above the invisible enemies!
Many years ago while in Arkansas ministering, we visited a secluded farm. The sole purpose of going there was to get some blackberries. Fresh picked fruit is the best. We each sought out a bush and began to pick. Pastor Michael found an extremely large one that had the biggest berries, we'd ever seen. He began to choose the choicest ones and his small container filled fast. While gathering, he noticed deep within the giant bush there were even bigger berries. As he carefully tried to move the vines to avoid the thorns in order to reach in, an unsuspecting branch swung over and hit the hand holding the container. Just then all the berries, he had so thoughtfully gathered spilled to the ground, in the middle of the bush. Now all the huge fruit, he so cautiously harvested was scattered and his receptacle was empty. What had taken him twenty minutes to collect was gone in seconds. So disappointed in the loss, he looked around and found an abandoned fence post. He took that post and began to beat the bush, until he made a hole wide enough for him to crawl into. He picked up his little can and on his hands and knees, he wriggled into the bush to begin picking up all his lost fruit. He began to say, "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" All of a sudden an audible voice, that only he heard spoke to him and said, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." When he heard this, he paused, but within a second later was back in picking and saying "I picked these berries, they are mine, and I'm going to have them!" Again the voice spoke a little bit louder to him, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Once more he paused and listened, but quickly began pressing in to get all that fruit he so much longed for. Then the third and final time the voice spoke, "When you seek Me like you're seeking these berries, you'll go straight to the top." Just at that moment he realized he had heard the voice of God. It wasn't until much later that evening that he became aware of thorns that had pierced him in his ears, legs and arms that he hadn't noticed during his berry quest. If one desires something, a focused determination will bring it about, although there are 'thorns' trying to hinder.
Some learning aspects of this experience, would be:
1) "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." (Mat. 6:33) Just like in this illustration, what a man seeks is the direction that will be leading him. Becoming so ingrained in something, can be positive if seeking the right thing. God first! If one is on the hunt for their own desires, success, fame or fortune, they can get off course and self driven, which leads to trouble. And when God speaks, it's often difficult to hear Him because the attention is based on our own passions. Grasping the attitude of Kingdom business and righteousness first, means all the things that God has for us will fall in line. Our needs and wants will be fulfilled if we give Him and His desires priority.
2) Being extremely committed and focused, to the direction God has for you, will desensitize distractions. Heb. 12:1-2 says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." Pastor Michael was zeroing in on his task at hand: "Pick the berries". His intention was to get the biggest and best at any cost. It didn't matter that the bush had thorns or that they were piercing his flesh. With tenacity and purpose he pressed in despite any obstacle. We should be that persistent when it comes to our faith! Regardless of what comes against us, others conversation, deceptive speculations, or discouragement, our resolve to keep on keeping on should prevail.
Listen people of God, life has many distractions and lots of daunting events. There's going to be 'thorns' along the way. It's what we do in the midst of them that determines what kind of person we're going to be. We can notice every little "owie" or chose to keep our vision centered on God and His Word. One thing we do, is believe what God said above any circumstance, despite how we feel or what we see. We purpose to live daily in agreement with God, which means saying what He says and thinking what He thinks. Is it easy? NO! But if you resolve to be consistent and tenacious, you will not only grow up in Christ, but not even notice the "Thorns".
The Bible says, to not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don't lose heart. (Gal. 6:9) I know you would probably agree with me, that waiting for something is often difficult. Especially if it takes a long amount of time. For some people two weeks is a long time. Yet, I'm reminded of Abraham, who waited 25 years for the promise of his son, Isaac. 25 Years?! Wow! Most of us would give up long before that. We'd say to ourself, "Well, I must not have heard God. It was probably my imagination." And that would be that! Because faith extended means we must make a demand within ourself. It's casting down fear, pushing aside doubts and pressing in closer to God and His Word. Remaining in faith for something, puts a demand on us spiritually. Generally it brings challenges against our flesh requiring us to discard imaginations and conversations from friends or family. It is essential during the 'wait' that we remain consistent in believing and keeping our confessions in alignment with the Word. (Mark 11:23-24 "Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you and you will [get it].") Being constant in resisting worry and confusion is a must as well. (Rom. 4:19-20, "And not being weak in faith, he (Abraham) did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,")
Straining our faith is pushing ourself to trust God, to believe in Someone we can't visually see or touch. It means we are convinced, without any doubt that He will come through for us, no matter what we see, feel or think, regardless of how long we must wait. Faith of that nature is that place where we conduct ourself as if we already have what we are believing. We are in such peace and joy that nothing can move us to presume otherwise.
That type of faith is:
1) Oblivious to surroundings. (2 Cor. 4:18, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.")
2) Does not get discouraged. (Heb. 12:1 NIV "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,")
3) Keeps all natural circumstances subject to God's Word. (Heb. 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him."), and
4) Committed no matter what comes against it. (1 Pet. 1:6,7 "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.")
Receiving any promises from the Lord, requires that kind of faith! Heb. 6:12 Amp. says, "In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in his power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises." Without patience, faith will quit, and lack of diligence will steal our faith for the promise.
Need does NOT move God, FAITH moves God. Or just knowing and believing what belongs to you won't activate faith. We must read and study our Bible and pray in the Holy Ghost to build our faith. (Rom. 10:17 "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." & Jude 20 "Building yourself up on your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit") Besides this, we know that faith without works is dead! It's also important to be a doer of the Word we've studied. When we do these things we can't go wrong in our faith. We will see results! Stay steady, Activate your faith, Don't give up!
Thoughts are kind of funny. One can be thinking of something fantastic, then out of no where, a creepy fearful image pops in our mind. The problem is, it doesn't stop there. We have a tendency to dwell on that alarming notion, blowing it all out of proportion. And before we realize it, that thought became a fearful emotion. The feeling of FEAR causes great anxiety in our life, whether it's realistic or unrealistic. What's the difference of realistic and unrealistic fear, you ask? Realistic fright is the imagination of reasonable situations. For instance: getting a dreaded illness; someone not liking you; having an accident; and things that are believable. Unrealistic phobias are unfeasible or illogical. Such as: a building suddenly collapsing; an infestation of tarantulas in your house and other ideas that are far fetched.
Regardless of the kind of fear that sneaks into your thoughts, it can be overwhelming and destructive if we allow it to linger. Someone once said, FEAR is F-false, E-evidence, A-appearing, R-real! Let's face it, no matter the fear it's not of God! 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." Once we understand where fear comes from, it's easier to manage. So, how does one manage this type of thinking? 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." We must take authority over these fears ushering in God's Word to replace it.
Have you heard the saying,"A mighty oak tree was once a little nut that held it's ground."? Fear, if left alone, can grow so massive it will destroy any faith you have. Make a decision now to demolish all fears, anxieties, or worries with the Word of God. Find a scripture with which you can defeat the enemy. Below we've listed some from the Bible that will be an instrument in conquering fear. Make each verse personal by putting your name in them.
Scripture References (Amp. Version)
Ps. 119:105 "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
Phil. 4:6,7 "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God."
Ps. 112:7 "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is firmly fixed, trusting (leaning on and being confident) in the Lord."
Ps. 27:1 "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation-whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"
Is. 41:10 "Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice."
Ps. 34:4 "I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."
Heb. 13:6 "So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?"
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]"
Is. 26:3 "You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both it's inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You."
Col. 3:15 "And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving always]."
Col 3:2 "And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are the earth."
Phil 4:8 "For the rest, brethren, whatever it true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]."
1 Cor. 2:16 "For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart."
Your consistent repetition of these verses will enable and empower you to gain surpassing victory over any fear that comes your way. We believe that you are more than a conqueror over fear through Christ who loves you.
If you've ever gone through, or are going through, a hard time and wondered how to break free from it, this message is for you! We've known a lot of people that have experienced hardships of all kinds. We have also undergone these 'storms', but however intense the trial, with the grace of God we overcame! Praise God for Psalm 34:19 "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all." If anyone thinks he is impervious to tribulations, he is wrong. Jesus said in John 16:33 "...in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
These so called 'storms' are all a part of life, which sometimes come from our disobedience to the Lord. A good example is Jonah in the Bible. (Jonah 1-4) His disobedience caused him to undergo 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale. God had instructed him to go preach to the people in Nineveh. But Jonah didn't want to. Have you ever had God tell you to do something that you didn't want to do? Maybe it was because you didn't want to see God do His miracle power for someone you were upset with. It could be you were just wanting your own way. What ever the reason for disobedience, it brings a harsher intolerable condition, thus Jonah in the belly of the whale. So how do we escape from this type of 'storm'? Repentance! Asking for forgiveness and compliance with His instruction will bring you deliverance. It's the only way!
Other types of 'storms' come because we are obeying the Lord. Yes, often times the devil will cause tumultuous times because you obey God! Looking at Matthew 8:23-27 Here's a story where Jesus and His disciples got into the ship to cross the sea of Galilee. Although great (mega, intense, fierce, one scholar used hurricane proportions) winds arose and waves began overtaking the ship, Jesus fell asleep. Perhaps the 'storm' you encountered was so severe and overpowering that it caused you much fear. You may have felt that Jesus was sleeping during this drastic moment. And it seemed like there was no way out. But just like in verse 26, Jesus arose and rebuked the storm, we also need to rise up in our situation and rebuke the 'storm'. In Luke 10:19, Jesus gave us power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over ALL the power of the enemy. When we are obeying the Lord in our call, we have the right to exercise authority in Jesus Name! After that comes peace and calm.
Perhaps a 'storm' has arisen during a time you've been under the authority of a person on assignment. This could be when your at work, in school, or involved in a church. You may have tried to express a leading from the Lord regarding a matter, but they wouldn't listen. It was afterwards that all chaos broke loose, just the way the Lord showed you. Yet, now you're stuck in the mess because authority wouldn't pay attention. This same type of thing happened to Paul, the apostle, when he was on his way to Rome. Being held prisoner by authorities, he tried to tell them not to sail, because the Lord revealed to him pending disasters. (Acts 27) So how can we get out of the storm? First thing, is perseverance! We must remain steadfast in faith, in love and in the Word. Secondly, pray for all those involved, especially the leadership. God will intervene and save you and those connected.
Whatever type of 'storm' you battle, know this, there is a way of escape. Recognize that in the midst of every attack there's something to gain and victory is yours. Rom. 8:28 "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose." Discern the storm you're facing with the Word of God and discover your way to victory to escape from the storm!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."