Overcoming the Fear Factor

by Rick
Overcoming the Fear Factor


  • Overcoming the Fear Factor
  • Defining Faith
  • Protect Your Ear Gate
  • Fear came from Sin
  • Fear will cause you to Make Poor Decisions
  • Abram’s Poor Decision
  • Abram’s Poor Decision (Part 2)
  • Esau’s Poor Decision
  • Rachel’s Poor Decision
  • Fear and Jacob
  • Be a Believer, not a Doubter!
  • Fear at the Red Sea
  • David and Goliath (Part 1)
  • David and Goliath (Part 2)
  • David and Goliath (Part 3)
  • David and Goliath (Part 4)
  • David and Goliath (Part 5)
  • David and Goliath (Part 6)
  • David and Goliath (Part 7)
  • Gideon (Part 1)
  • Gideon (Part 2)
  • Gideon (Part 3)
  • Gideon (Part 4)
  • Gideon (Part 5)
  • Gideon (Part 6)
  • Gideon (Part 7)
  • Gideon (Part 8)
  • Gideon (Part 9)
  • Gideon (Part 10)
  • Elijah (Part 1)
  • Elijah (Part 2)
  • Elijah (Part 3)
  • Elijah (Part 4)
  • Elijah (Part 5)
  • Elijah (Part 6)
  • Elijah (Part 7)
  • Elijah (Part 8)
  • Elijah (Part 9)
  • David Encouraging Himself (Part 1)
  • David Encouraging Himself (Part 2)
  • David Encouraging Himself (Part 3)
  • David Encouraging Himself (Part 4)
  • David Encouraging Himself (Part 5)
  • Peter Walking on Water (Part 1)
  • Peter Walking on Water (Part 2)
  • Peter Walking on Water (Part 3)
  • Peter Walking on Water (Part 4)
  • Jairus and his Daughter (Part 1)
  • Jairus and his Daughter (Part 2)
  • Jairus and his Daughter (Part 3)
  • Jairus and his Daughter (Part 4)
  • Jairus and his Daughter (Part 5 )
  • Practical Principles to Overcome Fear
  • Delivered from All Fear
  • Your Faith will be Tested
  • Preparing for War
  • What can Man do to You
  • Your Experiences build Your Confidence
  • The Fear of Death
  • Subject to Bondage
  • The Origin of Death
  • The Answer to Sin and Death
  • From Death Reigning to Reigning in Life
  • Dealing with Death
  • Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death
  • Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 2)
  • Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 3)
  • Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 4)
  • Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 5)
  • Remembering Those who have Died for Us
  • REASONS why NOT to FEAR
  • Reason 1: God Said Not To!
  • Reason 2: Fear is not of God!
  • Reason 3: You Must Rule Your Feelings!
  • Reason 4: What you Fear Will Come on You!
  • Reason 5: There is NO god like our God!
  • Reason 5: There is NO god like our God! (Part 2)
  • Reason 5: There is NO god like our God! (Part 3)
  • Reason 6: The Lord IS on our side!
  • Reason 7 :God is the Sovereign Judge!
  • Reason 8: God is Omnipresent!
  • Reason 9: We have Angels to Protect us!
  • Reason 10: We have Authority in the Name of Jesus!
  • Reason 11: God is With Us!
  • Reason 12: God is IN Us!

Overcoming the Fear Factor

This morning we start a new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  This message is getting out a little later than normal, because I am on a short vacation with my family.  Nonetheless, I am excited about this new series.  Fear is an incapacitating force.  Fear can stop the strongest person in their tracts.  In this series we will learn God’s will concerning fear; we will learn the difference between fear and faith; and at the end of the series I would like tell you what the host of the television show (Fear Factor) used to tell the winners, “Evidently, fear is not a factor for you.”

The dictionary definition for fear is: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; an unpleasant and often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.  We can we glean from the dictionary definition of fear?  A couple things:

1.  Fear is an emotion:  Emotions are to be a blessing and not a curse.  God gave us emotions to enables us, not to cripple us.  Emotions become a problem with they are uncontrolled.  We are to rule over our emotions and not allow our emotions to rule over us.

2.  Fear is aroused by a threat that is either real or imagined:  In this series we will learn how deal with fear; how to control it for good in our lives.  In the cases where the threat is real, fear must be channeled and controlled.  But in the cases where a threat is simply imagined we must learn to overcome that fear altogether.  The enemy (satan) thrives on fear.  Every day he stops people from performing God’s will in their lives by simply posing imagined threats before them.  We will learn more about this later.

My 14 yr. old son is getting on a plane this morning and flying across several states.  I will pick him up in the airport and I know that all is well and all will be well.  My son flying by himself is a very small thing for me and for him, but I know of many adults that will not get on a plane by themselves, and I know some others that will not get on a plane at all.  Why?  Because of the fear of the plane going down.  This same fear keeps people from getting on a ship, swimming in a pool or the ocean, skiing down a slope, and etc.  The list could go on and on.  Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life (John 10:10).  Fear strips people of this joy.  Fear keeps many from enjoying life.  The saddest commentary is that fear keeps many from fulfilling their purpose.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must prepare yourself to receive from God in this area.  Settle in your heart that fear is not God’s best for you and that you are open to receive whatever God teaches you in this series about fear and overcoming it.  God’s will is that you overcome the fear factor in your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am ready for this series.  I prepare myself to receive from You through Rick.  I can and will overcome the fear factor.  Fear will not cripple me any more.  You sent Your Son Jesus to the earth to conquer satan, hell, and grave; so that I could have and enjoy life.  I declare that I will enjoy life, all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Defining Faith (top of page)

(Heb 11:1 AMP)  Now Faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  In this series we will learn that fear is faith perverted.  In other words, fear is a form of faith, but it is a negative faith.  So, in order that we might understand what fear is, I wanted to lay the foundation for what faith is.  If you can understand faith you will be able to understand fear.  I have heard lots of definitions over the years for what faith is.  Here are a few that I agree with:

1.  Faith is confident assurance that God will do what He said He would do.

2.  Faith is biblical evidence of what we cannot see.

3.  Faith is perceiving as real what you cannot verify with your senses (no sense-realm evidence).

The working that I use is that faith is a practical expression of confidence in God and His Word.  In other words, faith is an action that is performed because of the confidence that one has in God and His Word.  There is a fundamental difference between hope and faith.  Hope is ‘open-ended,’ meaning that it is not tied to anything.  You can hope to be successful in life, hope to be healed of a sickness, hope to be promoted, and etc.; but this is no more than wishful thinking.  Lots of people hope and wish for things.  Faith adds substance to this hope.  Faith must be tied to God’s Word.  When we tie God’s Word to what we hope for, then we have confidence that He will do what He said He would do.  At this point, our hope is no longer open-ended.  Our hope is connected to something that God promised; therefore our hope is no longer a wish, it becomes faith in God and His Word.  The Bible tells us that God does not change His mind (Num 23:19) and that He cannot lie (Titus 1:2).  So when we substantiate our hope with the Word of God we can have confidence that He will bring it to pass.

When we have faith in people it is tied to their character and their track record.  If a person that we have known for ten years promises us that they are going to do something for us, we immediately correlate our expectation of the completion of the promise to our knowledge of their character and their track record.  Well, God has a proven track record and flawless character.  He will do what He said He would do.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the better you understand faith, the better you will understand fear.  I will teach you that fear works the same way as faith, but instead of being tied to the Word of God, fear is tied to the word of satan.  Fear is a practical expression of confidence in what satan has said, not God.  But let’s get back to faith for this morning.  Faith gives substance and confidence to your life, because you connect your life to God’s Word and His will.  Faith produces Godly images of His expected outcome for your life.  Without faith we often lose the battle in our minds because of the constant barrage of impure and negative thoughts; but with faith we are able to extinguish the enemy’s darts (Eph 6:16) and listen clearly to God’s thoughts, plans, and dreams.  Search the Bible for scriptures that apply to your current situation, meditate on them and then begin to act out whatever is required for those things to come to pass in your life.  That is faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I am confident in the things that I hope for because my hope is established in Your Word.  I am not expecting You to do anything that You have not stated in Your Word that You would do.  I am expecting to You to do, however, everything You said You would.  My hope is established in Your promises and I operate in faith.  Through faith and patience, I too, inherit Your promises in my life.  I enter this day with great expectations!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Protect Your Ear Gate (top of page)

(Rom 10:17 KJV)  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  Yesterday we began to lay the foundation for understanding faith, with the point being that if you can understand faith, you will be able to understand fear.  I have used this same logic when teaching on “The Blessing.”  An easy way to get people to understand “The Blessing” is to teach them about a curse.  For example, let’s say you had a cousin Ray-Ray.  Ray-Ray was alone at home in his house when all of a sudden a tree came crashing through the roof.  There was no storm, no wind, and no clear reason why this happened.  The house was damaged to the point where Ray-Ray had to move out.  He moved in with his mother, your aunt Tina.  That night a tree came crashing down on Tina’s house; once again, without explanation.  So Ray-Ray and Tina moved in with Tina’s sister (also your aunt) Mona.  That night a tree came crashing down on Mona’s house.  Do you get the picture?  So they all call you.  They say that they would like to move in with you until their houses are fixed.  What would you say?  Probably No!  Why?  Because there is obviously something on Ray-Ray that is following him everywhere he goes.  That is the negative aspect and that is a curse, but it works the same way with “The Blessing” of God.

Now let’s continue that same logic with faith and fear.  We said yesterday that faith is a practical expression of confidence in God and His Word; faith is an action that is performed because of the confidence that one has in God and His Word.  I explained that if there is no positive Word from God for us to cleave to, then we could not really act in faith.  However, once you have a positive Word to hold on to and to set your faith (corresponding action) in, you can act in faith.  We now better understand what Paul said in our focus text when he declared that faith comes by hearing, or receiving, the Word of God.  The more you hear the positive Word of God the more you can build up your faith.  Well, this is the same way it works with fear.  If you repeatedly hear negative words (words not from God), you are going to build up your fear, not your faith.  This is why it is critically important that you protect what you hear.  You just can’t listen to everything.

Let’s say you start reading the Word of God and you see that God wants you to live a long and prosperous life, what will happen?  Well, your faith for living long and strong will build.  But what if you start reading negative statistics about persons of your race and gender?  What if you read that a high percentage of people your age, sex, and ethnic background die at 60 yrs. old?  What will do you with that information?  What if you then find out that one of your uncles (or aunts) died at 60?  Never mind that the cause of death had nothing to do with the previous materials you read.  The enemy will use that against you.  The point is that the enemy is moved by fear like God is moved by faith.  Satan will use anything and everything he can to get you to fear.  Once you are afraid you will not, you cannot, come to God in faith, because you have lost your confidence.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the battle is in your mind.  If the enemy can get you to be afraid – with a constant barrage of negative information – he can cripple your relationship with God.  That’s why the Bible tells us 365 times (in some form), not to fear.  When we are in fear we are not pleasing to God.  We cannot trust God and be afraid at the same time.  If we are afraid it is because we have lost our trust and confidence in God.  What’s the bottom-line?  Listen to the right things and you will build up your faith, listen to the wrong things and you will build up your fear.  Like everything else, the choice is yours!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I protect my ear gate and I am careful not to blindly receive negative information that will lead me to fear.  I do not meditate on negative things.  I do not harbor on things that are not pleasing in Your sight.  I am firmly focused on You, Your Word, and Your desire for my life.  I do not fear, because I know that You are with me and You are bigger than anything that could come up against me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Fear came from Sin (top of page)

(Gen 3:10 NIV)  He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  The first mention of man in the Bible is found in Genesis 1:26 where God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  This was God’s original intent and since God does not change, we must believe that it still is His intent for man today.  God wants us to operate in dominion, authority, and power.  In the second chapter we see God’s intentions manifested.  God formed man (Adam) from the dust of the ground and He gave Adam:

1.  Purpose:  God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and Adam was to work and take care of the garden.  Adam had purpose, he had something to do.

2.  Provision:  God made sure that all of Adam’s needs were met.  Adam’s only need to this point was food and God gave him an entire garden (more like a forest) of fruit bearing trees to eat from.  The garden was fed with four streams of water so Adam’s provision was secure.

3.  Parameters:  Provision is dangerous without parameters.  God told Adam that he could eat from every tree except one.  This gave Adam the right of choice.  Right or wrong, good or bad, the choice was going to be his to make.

4.  Power:  With everything in place, the Lord brought Adam all the beasts of the field and birds of the air and God let Adam name them.  Whatever he named them that would be their name.  In other words, God gave Adam the power to define.

5.  Partnership:  After Adam started naming the animals he developed another need; a need for a partner.  He was all alone.  God made Eve from out of Adam and brought her to Adam.  This was a wonderful relationship.  Adam now had a relationship with God and a thriving relationship with another human.

The second chapter ends by telling us that Adam and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.  There was no need for shame, guilt, doubt, fear, etc.  They were in perfect union with God and each other.  This was and still is God’s desire for our lives.  But satan would not leave well enough alone.  Satan showed up, deceived Eve, she defied God’s command by eating from the forbidden tree, she gave to her husband and he did the same.  This was the original sin.  As soon as Adam ate their eyes were open.  In other words, they could no longer walk in the Spirit; they were resigned to live under the limited resources of the human body.  They realized their nakedness and they attempted to cover themselves with leaves.  See, sin will always cause you to live beneath God’s desire for your life.  Adam attempted to hide from God when He heard God coming through the garden.  God called out for Adam and he replied, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  This is the first mention of fear in the Bible and it comes as a result of sin and separation from God.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you have a choice to make.  Jesus paid the penalty for Adam’s original sin when He died on Calvary’s cross.  We are now redeemed back to a thriving relationship with God through His Spirit and it is God’s will that we be like Adam was: in dominion, blessed, without fear, and with wonderful relationships with God and man.  The choice is that we can either accept Jesus’ work on the cross and live like the Adam in Genesis 2 or we can sin and live like the Adam in Genesis 3 (defeated, afraid, and separated from God).

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I Understand the negative effects and repercussions of sin.  Therefore I choose not to live in sin.  Sin brings shame and fear.  Fear brings torment and pain.  I choose to live a life that is pleasing to You; a life of love, peace, and forgiveness.  As I walk in love I overcome the fear factor, because perfect love drives out fear.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Abram’s Poor Decision (top of page)

(Gen 12:13 CEV)  “Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  We have been laying the foundation all week long and this morning we can start getting to the meat of the matter.  Over the next few messages we will see that fear can cause you to make poor decisions.  Let’s start with the father of faith.  Genesis 12 opens with the Lord speaking to Abram (later Abraham) and saying, “Leave your country, your family, and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.  I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation.  You will become famous and be a blessing to others.  I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you.  Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you” (vv.1-3).  All we know about Abram to this point was that he was a 75 yr. old man living in Haran without any children.  The people of Haran were known for being idol worshippers and praying to many gods.  So God selected a 75 yr. old barren man in a spiritually and morally corrupt environment to start a legacy that still lives on today.  I oftentimes say that God is in the business of making holy garments out of flawed material.

How did Abram respond to the promise?  He got his family together, they packed up, and they left, by faith!  Just like that.  Abram had an encounter with God and he mustered up the faith required to leave everything he knew behind, because he believed that a God he could not see was going to lead him to a place he did not know.  Abram went as far as the sacred tree of Moreh in a place called Shechem.  The Canaanites were still living in the land at that time.  The Lord appeared to Abram and gave him another promise saying, “I will give this land to your family forever.”  This was it.  This was the land that God promised to show him.  What would Abram do?  It was there, in the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) that Abram, a man from a land of many gods and a people that worshipped idols, built and altar to the Lord.  What was he doing?  He was solidifying his resolve to worship only one God and expressing outwardly what he was feeling inwardly.  But then, for whatever reason, Abram left Canaan and traveled to the hill country east of Bethel and camped between Bethel and Ai.  Guess what he did there?  He built another altar and worshiped the Lord.  He was learning to express his gratitude towards his newly found invisible God in a real and tangible way.

Things were looking good for Abram until he took off again and headed toward the Southern Desert.  This was not a very fertile place so Abram led his group of people to Egypt and decided to live there for a while.  At this stage Abram was attempting to walk by faith, but he was still relatively new to God and he had not point-of-reference; no Bible to read, sermons to hear, etc.  Just before they got to Egypt Abram looked at his wife and said, “Sarai, you are really beautiful!”  That is very nice to say and it would have been even nicer if he stopped there, but he went on to say, “When the Egyptians see how lovely you are, they will murder me because I am your husband.  But they won’t kill you.  Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”  What was he doing?  He was allowing fear to cause him to make a poor decision. In our next message we will see what happened because of this decision.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we must all deal with the fear factor in our lives.  If Abram dealt with fear, and he had several visitations from the Lord Himself, then fear is not something that you will be exonerated from.  You must deal with fear before fear deals with you.  Fear will cause you to sow the wrong seed and reap the wrong harvest!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  No fear here!  I overcome the fear factor in my life.  I appreciate my relationship with You and our relationship births a confidence that enables me to overcome fear.  I stop doubt in its tracks and I refuse to fear.  I walk in consistent faith in every area of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Abram’s Poor Decision (Part 2) (top of page)

(Gen 12:13 CEV)  “Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  In our last message we saw how God called Abram (later Abraham) out of his country, away from his family, and promised to bless him with descendants, land, and protection.  I also mentioned how Abram partially embraced what God said.  It is understandable, because Abram was developing his new found relationship with an unseen God.  Abram left his extended family and the place he was familiar with and took off for a journey of faith.  His journey took him to a place of famine and he decided to escape the famine by going to Egypt.  It was at this point that Abram allowed fear to creep in.  Just before they got to Egypt Abram looked at his wife and said, “Sarai, you are really beautiful!  When the Egyptians see how lovely you are, they will murder me because I am your husband.  But they won’t kill you.  Please save my life by saying that you are my sister.”  It is obvious that Abram either did not have confidence (faith) yet in God for protection or he allowed that confidence to fade.  Either way, Abram expressed more confidence for protection in his wife than his God.

Abram spoke out of fear and not faith and guess what happened?  Exactly what he said! As soon as Abram and Sarai arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was. The king’s officials went back and told the king about this new found beauty.  It took no time before Sarai was taken to the king’s palace.  The king rewarded Abram handsomely for Sarai – giving him sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels – but none of this really mattered since the king also took Sarai to be his wife.  Soon, everyone in the palace started suffering from terrible diseases.  The king deduced that it had to be because of Sarai.  The king sent for Abram and said to him, “What have you done to me?  Why didn’t you tell me Sarai was your wife?  Why did you make me believe she was your sister?  Now I’ve married her.  Take her and go!  She’s your wife.”

Now, sure Abram left with sheep, cattle, donkeys, slaves, and camels; but we cannot believe that this was God’s best.  God was going to bless him with these things anyway and His way would not have included the turmoil involved in what happened.  A man lost his wife for a season (Abram), a king entered into adultery without knowing (Pharaoh), a woman had to enter into a marriage that was not God’s desire for her (Sarai), and a palace full of people suffered through terrible diseases; all because Abram allowed fear to cause him to make a foolish decision.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  The decisions that you make, good or bad, will affect you and all those around you.  Decisions fueled by faith open the door for God to operate in your life; these are decisions that enable you and yours to experience the blessing.  However, decisions fueled by fear open the door for satan to operate in your life; these are decisions that cause you to live beneath God’s best.  What will fuel your decisions today, fear or faith? Your outcome is riding on it!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  Fear has no place and no power in my life.  I overcome the fear factor.  My decisions are fueled by faith.  My decisions are rooted and grounded upon Your Word, Lord.  My decisions are birthed from my relationship with You.  I make wise decisions; decisions that take me towards Your expected end for my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Esau’s Poor Decision (top of page)

(Gen 25:32 CEV)  “I’m about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by dealing with Abraham’s grandson Esau.  Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their promised son, Isaac.  Isaac was the son of promise and he received the bulk of the inheritance of Abraham.  Abraham arranged for Isaac to be married before he died.  Isaac was 40 yrs. old when he married Rebekah.  Isaac and Rebekah also faced a fight of faith for children.  They had to remain in faith for almost 20 years before Rebekah became pregnant with twins.  Soon after their birth it became apparent that they boys were different.  Esau (the oldest) loved the outdoors and became a strong avid hunter; an expert with the bow.  Jacob on the other hand, was a quiet man, a man who preferred living indoors.  Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob.  Esau prepared the meat of wild animals for his father and his father loved him for it.  Jacob was his mother’s favorite son.

One day Esau, the hunter, came home from the field starving of hunger and Jacob, the homebody, was at home cooking lentil stew.  Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starving to death!  Give me some of that stew right now!”  Now, the reality is that the possibility of Esau literally starving to death was slim-to-none.  However, the fear of death had gripped Esau and it caused him to have flawed thinking.  Once again, fear would lead to a foolish decision.  Jacob, seeing the condition of his brother, jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of his fear-riddled state.  Jacob had always wanted what Esau had – the promise of the blessing of the firstborn.  Although Esau had just beat Jacob out of the womb by minutes, he had beaten him nonetheless.  The blessing of the firstborn was rightfully Esau’s.  This meant that the blessing of Abraham would directly pass down to Esau.  Jacob, coveting the blessing, said, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.”  So what do you think Esau did? Did he appreciate his position enough to value it?  I guess not.  Esau said, “I’m about to die, what good will those rights do me?”  Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!”  That’s exactly what Esau did.  Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, all because he was afraid that he was going to die.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  Fear will distort reality:  Esau was not going to die, but fear made him think he was.  Likewise, if you allow fear to have a foothold in your life, it will eventually create a stronghold that will alter your perspective and lead you to make poor decisions.

2.  Never make permanent decisions based on temporary conditions:  Esau was simply very hungry, but he allowed his temporary condition to shape a permanent decision.  Don’t be like Esau.  Don’t let fear drive you towards making decisions that you will have to live with for the rest of your life.  Be led of the Spirit, spend time in prayer, and think through big decisions.  This way God will expose many of your conditions as temporary and enable you to choose wisely.

3.  Never accept defeat:  I don’t condone Jacob’s methods, but I appreciate his tenacity and ingenuity.  He did not grow up with a, “I am second best” mentality.  He did not grow up with a chip on his shoulder because he was the second born.  He did not allow the enemy to fill his head with thoughts that he would never be blessed.  He had a desire to receive the blessing from his father and he jumped at the opportunity when it came.  Don’t make excuses for the life you have been given or the hand you have been dealt.  Overcome fear, dream big dreams, and make the most of every opportunity.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I do not allow fear to distort my reality.  I know who I am, whose I am, and what I can do.  You enable me to choose wisely.  I never make permanent decisions based on temporary conditions.  I never accept defeat.  I have a hunger and thirst for big things and I am ever-looking for opportunities to bring them to pass.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Rachel’s Poor Decision (top of page)

(Gen 30:1 MSG)  When Rachel realized that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She told Jacob, “Give me sons or I’ll die!”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  As you read through the book of Genesis you see a reoccurring theme in the lineage of Abraham.  Abraham’s story started with a promise from God to bless him with many descendants who would in turn bless the entire earth (Gen 12:2,3).  In Abraham’s case the space between the promise (of having children) and the performance was 25 years.  Think about that; Abraham and Sarah tried to a have a child, even with the promise of God, and it still took them 25 years.  In that time Sarah got frustrated.  It is safe to say that the fear of the promise not coming to pass in her life led her to make a foolish decision as well.  She wound up providing Abraham another woman (Hagar), her servant, for him to have a child with.  However, the promise of God was still between Abraham and Sarah and they finally had a child and named him Isaac.  Abraham transferred the blessing to Isaac.

Isaac had the blessing, but he also faced some challenges.  Isaac tried for 20 years to have a baby with his wife Rebekah.  They finally had twins and named them Esau and Jacob.  Isaac transferred the blessing to Jacob.  Once again, Jacob had the blessing, but he would also face some challenges.  He and his favorite wife (Rachel) tried and tried to have kids for many years.  She watched as her sister – her husband’s other wife – was successful at having children.  No doubt the enemy was putting thoughts in her head that she was never going to have children.  This negativity led to jealousy and the jealousy led to frustration.  In Genesis 30 Rachel’s frustration got a boiling point.  She told her husband Jacob, “Give me sons or I’ll die!” But Jacob became upset with Rachel and answered, “Don’t blame me!  I’m not God.”  What do we see here?  We see a family with a promise from God to reproduce, facing the challenges of doing just that.  Rachel’s fear and frustration led her to do what Sarah did.  Rachel gave her husband her servant to lay with.  Rachel even took it a step further.  She wanted her servant Bilhah to lay with her husband, get pregnant, and then have the baby on her own knees, as if she were having the baby herself; as if she could take credit for it.  This was a substitute, but not the real blessing.  Fear can lead you to settle for a substitute instead of the real thing.  Rachel would eventually have two boys (Joseph and Benjamin), but she was challenged nonetheless.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that being a Christian does not exonerate you from facing challenges; especially when you have determined to stand on the promises of God.  The blessing of Abraham had to do with bringing forth children and we can see that his direct family struggled with this blessing.  They had to fight the negative thoughts that told them that they would never have children.  They had the blessing, they had the promise, they were doing what they needed to do (physically), but it was still a challenge.  If it was a challenge for them, we can also expect to face challenges in our lives.

So, no matter the promise you are standing on – healing, peace, protection, provision, increase, promotion; for your kids, family, marriage, etc. – the battle will be in your mind.  The enemy will do his best to get you to take your mind off of the promise and focus on the problem.  Focusing on the promise (the Word) will build your faith, but focusing on the problem will build your fear.  To overcome the fear factor your must keep your mind focused (Is 26:3), your heart set, and your belief intact!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I stay focused and I remain in faith.  I looked passed my problem and I focus on Your promise(s).  I know my walk with You will include some challenges, but I believe, by faith, that I overcome every challenge set before me and I come out victorious.  No matter how long it takes, I still believe and I refuse to fear.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Fear and Jacob (top of page)

(Gen 31:31 MSG)  Jacob answered Laban, “I was afraid. I thought you would take your daughters away from me by brute force.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  Jacob had submitted to working for his father-in-law (Laban), for many years.  Meanwhile, Laban cheated him repeatedly; changing his wages 10 times (31:7).  Jacob kept believing God, and he sensed it was time for a change.  When he told Laban that he wanted to leave Laban obviously did not want the blessing to leave his house (and business).  Jacob had make Laban very rich.  Laban offered Jacob money to stay, but Jacob had a better idea; a faith-based idea that would change his financial situation drastically.  Jacob was visited by the angel of the Lord and he had a dream about spotted and speckled animals (31:10-13).  After this dream Jacob told Laban, “I don’t want you to pay me anything.  Just do one thing, and I’ll take care of your sheep and goats.  Let me go through your flocks and herds and take the sheep and goats that are either spotted or speckled and the black lambs.  That’s all you need to give me.”  This accomplished a couple of things: (1) it put Jacob’s money in lambs and (2) the color of the lambs meant they could be easily identified and separated.  Laban accepted quickly because there were few lambs that fit this strange category (spotted, speckled, and black).  Laban thought that Jacob had made a business error, but unbeknownst to him, Jacob had a Word from God.

His money now in lambs, Jacob devised a plan.  He cut branches from poplar, almond, and evergreen trees.  He then peeled off part of the bark and made the branches look spotted and speckled.  Then he put the branches where the animals would see them while they were drinking from the water trough.  Why?  Because they mated in that area.  Jacob believed that if the sheep and goats were looking at the spotted and speckled branches while they mated, that their offspring would come out spotted and speckled.  That’s faith!  Also, since he already had spotted and specked animals, he put those animals in front of the other animals that were mating – for the same reason.  Furthermore, he was wise enough not to do this for all animals, but only for the strong ones.  When the weak ones were mating, he never showed them the spotted and speckled branches or animals.  Guess what?  It workedAfter time Jacob had all the strong and healthy animals and Laban got what was left.  So Jacob become rich, he acquired huge flocks, and lots of servants (see Genesis 30:32-43).

Genesis 31 opens with Jacob overhearing Laban’s sons complaining, “Jacob is now a rich man, and he got everything he owns from our father.”  Jacob also noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him had changed.  It was at this point that God told Jacob to go back to the land of his fathers.  So he was armed with riches, a great family, and a Word from God to go back home, but even with all of this, he allowed fear to creep in.  He did not have the courage to face Laban and tell him that he was leaving.  Our text says that Jacob was afraid that Laban would not let Jacob leave with his wives.  This fear caused Jacob to take off like a thief in the night.  Once Laban found out that Jacob was gone he took off after Jacob with his men.  They chased Jacob and his household for seven days.  Laban was prepared to do Jacob physical harm, but God spoke to Laban the night before he caught up to Jacob and told Laban not to touch Jacob.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that fear is relentless.  Even with a situation like this, where God had clearly blessed Jacob and provided him a clear Word of direction, Jacob was still struck by fear and made a decision that almost cost him his life.  It doesn’t matter who you are and how blessed you may be, you must always keep fear in check if you are going to live by faith and please God.  Don’t let fear open the door to failure and defeat in your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for blessing me with the wisdom and revelation to be successful at everything that I do and I declare, by faith, that I overcome the fear that would cause me to make decisions that would open the door to failure.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Be a Believer, not a Doubter! (top of page)

(Num 13:33 KJV)  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I am led this morning to piggy-back off of yesterday’s message.  The message of what happened in Numbers 13 has far-reaching application.  As I stated yesterday, God told Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites” (Num 13:2).  This is the same land that the Lord had promised to Abraham and his descendants (Gen 12:7) a few hundred years earlier.  This was their land, this was God’s will, and this was God’s best for them.  Now, as is often the case, they had to go and get it themselves.  God desires many things for us, but the possession of His desire for our lives will require action on our behalf.  If you are believing God for a job and you pray and He gives you a peace about a job that you have been wanting, it does not mean that you can then stay home and not interview for the position.  Don’t think that the people giving out the position will supernaturally find out about you, your phone number, and your address, so they can come and just give you the job.  God has a part and you have a part.  Likewise, the nation of Israel had a part in taking possession of the Promised Land.  God had a part and He did His part by telling them that the land was theirs.  He then instructed them to take possession of it.  The insinuation here is that since God led them to take the land He was going to help them in the process.

So the 12 spies went into the land on a reconnaissance mission and they allowed what they saw to change what God said.  10 of the 12 came back and put a “NO” where God had already put a “YES!”  Why?  Because of fear!  Fear caused them to miss God’s desire for their lives.  This happened to them and it could happen to us.  This is why it is very important for us to expand our capacity to believe God.  When we are at the point where the nation of Israel were in the text – where we know God’s will, but we have to put some action behind it – we have to protect ourselves from doubt.  The best way to cancel out doubt is with belief.  Belief will lead to faith, doubt will lead to fear.  Doubt cancels out your belief and fear cancels out your faith, but the converse is also true: belief cancels out your doubt and faith cancels out your fear.  10 of the 12 spies doubted what God said, it lead to fear, and that fear caused them to lead millions of people astray.  However two of the spies (Joshua and Caleb) believed God, their belief led to faith and their faith sustained them for 40 years in the wilderness while they waited for the timing to be right to go back in.  It took 40 years and an entire new generation of Israelites, but Joshua and Caleb walked in to the Promised Land and they possessed God’s best for their lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that what God did for Joshua and Caleb, He can do for you.  These messages are designed to help expand your capacity to believe God.  It is my desire that these messages will help feed your faith and starve your doubts.  God wants to flood your mind with thoughts of victory and success through the accounts of David vs. Goliath, Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal, Gideon’s 300 vs. three nations, Daniel and the lion’s den, the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace, and etc.  Why?  Because God does not play favorites (Acts 10:34).  What He did for them, He can do for you.  So, if God could feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, He can provide for you and your household.  If He healed a woman who was bleeding for 12 years, He can deal with your medical ailment.  If He took twelve relatively uneducated and unpopular men (the disciples) and used them to change the course of history, He can use you to do great things.  The message for this morning is simple: Live as a believer, not a doubter and never put a “No” where God has put a “Yes!”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare, by faith, that I am a believer and not a doubter.  I believe You and I believe Your Word.  I walk in faith and not fear.  Fear has no power over me.  I love You, I know You love me, and perfected love drives out all fear.  I can face any giant, any issue, any obstacle, or any challenge, because I face them by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Fear at the Red Sea (top of page)

(Ex 14:13,14 CEV)  But Moses answered, ” Don’t be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today.  These Egyptians will never bother you again.  The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by dealing with the crossing of the Red Sea.  Most believers are familiar with the story of Moses.  He was raised in Pharaoh’s house and Pharaoh, unbeknownst to him, financed Moses’ education.  An education he would need later to write the first five books of the Bible.  Moses learned his identity, made a mistake, and wound up running away from Egypt.  Many years later God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and called him to go back to Egypt to lead the Israelites from their slavery.  Moses and Pharaoh went back-and-forth for a while and after a series of plagues, Pharaoh finally decided to let the Israelites go.  No sooner did they leave than Pharaoh changed his mind.  The king got his war chariot, his army, and his best soldiers ready and they set out after the Israelites.  The king’s army caught up with the Egyptians while they were camping by the Red Sea.  The Bible says that when the Israelites saw the king coming with his army, “they were sore afraid.”  Here you have a people that were in bondage for 400 years and God supernaturally moved for them to be released.  The same God that made a way for them to be released would protect them in this situation, but at this point in their new-found relationship with God they were simply not at the point where they trusted God enough not to fear.  So fear gripped their hearts and they thought they were going to die.  They complained to Moses saying, “Wasn’t there enough room in Egypt to bury us?  Is that why you brought us out here to die in the desert?  Why did you bring us out of Egypt anyway?  While we were there, didn’t we tell you to leave us alone?  We had rather be slaves in Egypt than die in this desert!”  Do you see what fear will do to you?  Fear will cause you to think like a coward, speak like a coward, and act like a coward.

The good news is that Moses was there and Moses believed God.  His relationship was strong enough to overcome the fear.  Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid!  Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today.  These Egyptians will never bother you again.  The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.”  Moses’ relationship with God enabled him to NOT act like a coward!

The Lord then instructed Moses to hold out his rod over the sea and God promised to provide a road where the people would be able to walk across the sea on dry ground.  All this time God’s angel had gone ahead of Israel’s army, but now he moved behind them.  The angel of God got in between the Israelites and the Egyptians.  Praise God!  We all know what happened next.  The Israelites made it across and the Egyptians died that night.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  You need someone in your life that will hear from God and speak possibilities in the midst of impossible situations; faith in the midst of fear; belief in the midst of doubt.  This is part of the role of your Pastor.

2.  Fear will cause you to act like a coward, even when God is with you.

3.  Expanding your capacity to believe God will transform a coward into a champion.

4.  When you believe God He will get between you and the situation that is trying to destroy you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I do believe You.  I am a believer and not a doubter.  I operate in fearless confidence.  I am a person of faith.  I thank You for the person You have assigned in my life to speak impossibilities into reality and to enable me to expand my capacity to believe.  I believe what my Pastor preaches and I know it can and will happen in my life.  I am not a coward, I am a champion and I will act like it.  You are between me and every attack against me.  I will not be afraid.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part 1) (top of page)

(1st Sam 17:11 CEV)  Saul and his men heard what Goliath said, but they were so frightened of Goliath that they couldn’t do a thing.

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by dealing with one the greatest stories of overcoming fear in the Bible: David and Goliath.  1st Samuel 17 opens with the Philistines having gathered their forces to war against Israel.  The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with a valley between them.  This was a standoff of major proportions.  The Philistines had a champion in their camp named Goliath.  This man was a beast.  He was over nine feet tall, he wore 125 lbs. of bronze armor, a bronze helmet, bronze greaves around his legs, and he carried a bronze javelin on his back.  I am sure he looked like something out of the modern movies’ Computer Generated Imagery (CGI).  The head of the spear he carried by itself weighed 15 lbs.  His shield was so big that he had a shield bearer to carry it for him.

This monster stood tall and intimidated the army of Israel with his words.  The old adage, “Sticks and stones may break by bones, but words will never hurt me,” may have worked on the playground, but it does not work in real life.  This man used words to incapacitate an entire army.  He shouted, “Why do you come out and line up for battle?  Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul?  Choose a man and have him come down to me.  If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.  This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”  By his own admission Goliath was defying the ranks of Israel and he was doing it with his words.  His words struck fear in King Saul and in all the soldiers.  The Israelites were terrified by this man, his stature, and his words.  Goliath went out and shouted his intimidating words for 40 straight days.  See, this is how the enemy operates.  He wants us intimidate us to fear.  He does not want us to know that his bark is bigger than his bite.  Once we are in fear we are no longer in faith and we are hopeless because fear is an incapacitating force.  Fear will cripple us from moving forward and will bring our desires, our dreams, and our destiny to a stand still.  Tomorrow we will look at how David responded to hearing this man’s words.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  We have a real enemy:  Our enemy is as real as Goliath was.  We may not be able to see and touch him, but believe me, he is real nonetheless.  He operates daily through the lives of others and he desires to strike fear and terror in our hearts.  He uses fear as a tool.  If he can get us to fear, he can get us to stop acting like God’s representatives in the earth.

2.  Our enemy uses words:  In many ways we daily fight a battle of words.  Our enemy, like the giant he used in this chapter, is constantly seeking to strike fear in our hearts with negative words.  Our job, as Born-Again believers, is to filter the words that we hear through God’s Spirit living on the inside of us.  The Holy Spirit will confirm with us what words we should receive and repeat; and what words we should reject and dismiss.  Words of fear can incapacitate, words of faith can empower.  Which words will you receive today?

3.  God is bigger than any enemy:  Paul asked the question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31).  The answer is: anyone that wants to lose!  Goliath, as big and bad as he thought he was, wound up dead and decapitated; and this is the fate of those that come up against God’s children.  We must have more confidence in God than fear of our enemies.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know I face a real enemy daily.  I know he comes up against me with real schemes, plots, plans, and words.  But I also know that I serve You and You are a real God that can deal with real issues, real enemies, and real opposition in a real way!  You are bigger than anything and anyone that can come up against me.  My confidence in You is greater than any fear of anybody else.  Here I am, Lord.  I ready for any giant and I will not fear what any man can do to me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part 2) (top of page)

(1st Sam 17:26 NIV)  David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by picking up where we left off yesterday.  David was the youngest of eight boys and his three oldest brothers were in Saul’s army.  David was tending sheep while his brothers were being intimidated by Goliath.  He had recently been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but David knew that it was not going to happen overnight.  So what did David do after being anointed?  He went right back to tending to his sheep.  He was faithful over his designated task until the Lord opened another door for him to step through.  This is a lesson that we can all learn from.

David’s father Jesse prepared food for his three oldest sons and asked David to take the food to them and to check on them.  David loaded up and set out early in the morning.  He reached the camp as the army was going out to their battle positions.  David left his things with the supply sergeant and ran to the battle-lines to greet his brothers.  As he was talking with them, Goliath stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual insolence, but this time David heard it.  Goliath had been speaking this fear-inspiring threats for 40 straight days, but this time someone on the Israelite side had the courage to do something about it.  David heard what the giant said with different ears.  Since he had just been anointed he was able to listen within a spiritual context.  The men heard intimidating words against their army, but David heard insulting words against his nation and his God.  This allowed David to perceive what was really going on.  David looked around and saw grown men, men that were supposed to be soldiers, running from the giant and his words.

David spoke to some of the men that were clearly scared and asked, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?  Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  They told him that the king had offered a reward to the man who was willing and able to kill Goliath.  The reward included: great wealth, the king’s daughter in marriage, and a tax-exempt status for him and his entire family.  Can you see their problem?  Their focus was on money; David’s focus was on God.  Money makes a great servant, but a poor master.  Money was their motivator, but it could not motivate them past a seemingly insurmountable task.  Money could not help them overcome the incapacitating force of fear.  On the other hand, David’s motivator was God and God clearly enabled him to overcome any inkling of fear.

Let’s take a closer look at David’s response (our focus text).  David immediately identified that Goliath as uncircumcised; meaning that he was not in covenant with God.  David then pointed out the fact that Goliath was defying not just Israel, but the armies of the living God! We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? A few quick things:

1.  Attempt to look at and listen to your situation through the filter of faith.

2.  Learn to identify situations that are not of God (uncircumcised) and stay away from them or come up against them.

3.  Never allow money to be your “only” motivation.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, David was anointed by the prophet Samuel.  My encounter came directly through Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit enables me to hear and to see through spiritual means.  I learn what to receive and what to reject.  When I get the right things in my heart, I will speak the right things with my lips, and I will do the right things with my hands.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part 3) (top of page)

(1st Sam 17:30 MSG)  Ignoring his brother, he turned to someone else, asked the same question, and got the same answer as before.

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by picking up where we left off in the story of David and Goliath.  In our last message we saw how David’s father sent him to the battle to take food to his brothers.  After dropping off of the food with the supply sergeant David asked some soldiers, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?  Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  The soldiers told David about the reward the king was offering to whoever was able to kill Goliath.  While David was talking with the soldiers his oldest brother (Eliab) overheard the conversation.  Eliab immediately lost his temper.  I believe Eliab was still mad about the fact that David was the one that was picked by the prophet Samuel and not him.  His jealousy turned to anger and he bursted out with, “What are you doing here! Why aren’t you minding your own business, tending that scrawny flock of sheep?  I know what you’re up to.  You’ve come down here hoping to see a bloody battle!”  That was really uncalled for.  David had not done anything to Eliab.  Whatever the case, however, Eliab was still his eldest brother and David could have backed down to his anger.

David could have been afraid of Eliab and simply turned around and gone back home.  Had David allowed fear to come into his heart he would have never faced Goliath.  Do you know what David did?  He replied to his brother, “What is it with you?  All I did was ask a question.”  So we can clearly see that David was not afraid of his brother.  Furthermore, our text says, “Ignoring his brother, he turned to someone else, asked the same question, and got the same answer as before.”  David already knew the answer.  I don’t believe he was looking for a different answer, I believe David asked the same question again to let Eliab know that he was not intimidated by his anger.

This reminds me of a story I heard long ago where Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop T.D. Jakes and their wives were in a car.  Long told the story and he explained how he was driving, Jakes was next to him in the front, and their wives were in the back.  Long began to vent to Jakes (his Spiritual Father) about all the things that people had been saying about him and how the media had cast a negative light on some of things he was doing.  He expected Jakes to comfort and console him when Jakes simply looked at him and said, “You can wreck your car swinging at gnats!”  Long was taken aback, because he expected something nicer from Jakes.  However, Jakes did explain.  He asked, “Are you driving this car?”  “Yes,” replied Long.  Jakes went on, “So imagine that some gnats flew in the vehicle and started flying around your head.  What if you took your attention off of the road and started focusing on the gnats?  What if you took your hands off of the wheel and started swinging at the gnats?  You could kill everyone in this vehicle swinging at gnats that cannot hurt you.  Don’t be afraid of gnats, just ignore them!”  That’s what David did, he ignored his brother and he moved forward.  He did not allow his brother’s anger to stir up fear or any other negative emotion in his life.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you will encounter gnats on a weekly, if not daily, basis.  Their bark is bigger than their bite.  They can’t do anything to you, so simply ignore them.  Don’t take your hands off of the steering wheel of your life for people that can’t do anything to you.  If you do you might wind up wrecking your car (destiny) for no reason.  So don’t be afraid of gnats, they might be annoying, but they cannot hurt you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I operate in fearless confidence today and every day.  You enable me to identify the gnats in my life.  I declare, by faith, that I am able to ignore them and move forward.  I will not be afraid and I refuse to be intimidated by the annoying gnats that are attempting to keep me from my destiny!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part 4) (top of page)

(1st Sam 17:37 NIV)  “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by picking up where we left off in the story of David and Goliath.  In our last message we saw how David ignored the gnats in his life.  While David had his conversation with the soldiers, another group of soldiers overheard David.  These soldiers had a direct line to the king.  They took it upon themselves to let the king know that someone was inquiring about the taking up the challenge to kill Goliath.  After 40 straight days of taunting I am sure king Saul was desperate.  He called for David.  As soon as David got before the king the 17yr. old fearless believer said, “Your Majesty, this Philistine shouldn’t turn us into cowards.  I’ll go out and fight him myself!”  Can you picture that?  Saul had an entire trained military force that was scared to death of Goliath and a 17yr. old shepherd boy was not afraid.  Why?  Because the Lord was with him.

Saul looked at young David and said, “You don’t have a chance against him, You’re only a boy, and he’s been a soldier all his life.”  This is where David had a choice to make: either he was going to believe what Saul said or what he knew God could do.  Many believers start out in faith, but when they hear something negative – like what David heard – they allow fear to creep in.  David, however, was fearless! He replied to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.  When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.  The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  Do you see what David was doing?  He was looking back to look forward.  He reminded himself of the faithfulness of God; he allowed his past victories to be a platform from which he would launch his future success; and he attributed the success to the Lord of his life.  After hearing such testimony all Saul could say was, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  You have to overcome discouragement to overcome fear:  David had to ignore the discouragement of his brother and King Saul.  To overcome fear you will have to get beyond the negative comments of others and focus on the goodness of God.

2.  Establish some altars in your life:  Whenever God did something mighty for the nation of Israel they established on altar.  This altar served as a reminder of what God did.  Generations later, they could still go back to that spot and remember what God did for them.  David reminded himself of how God used him to kill the lion and the bear with his bare hands.  He had mental altars established that provided him the encouragement he needed for this fight.  What has God already done for you?

3.  Don’t allow your past victories to keep you from future successes:  Although David was reminded of his past he did not limit himself to past methods.  He killed the lion and the bear with his hands, but used a sling shot and a stone for the giant.  Thank God for your past victories, but always be open to new strategies from God!  Your past should be a help, not a hurt.

4.  God want us to be fearless:  The entire army of Israel was afraid of this man.  King Saul himself was terrified.  But a little shepherd boy, anointed by God, did the seemingly impossible.  What giant is torturing you this morning?  If God gave you a stone, would you be ready to fight?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I overcome discouragement and fear.  I look back to look forward.  I know how good You have been to me.  You have kept me thus far and I know You will keep me today and tomorrow.  My past serves as a testimony and an encouragement to me.  I will not fear, I will not fail, I will not falter, and I am ready for any giant!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David and Goliath (Part 5) (top of page)

(1st Sam 17:39 KJV)  And David girded his sword upon his armor, and he attempted to go; for he had not proved it.  And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.  And David put them off him.

This morning we continue our new series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by picking up where we left off in the story of David and Goliath.  In our last message we saw how David’s confidence in God caused king Saul to give him a chance.  Saul gave him the authorization to fight Goliath and he did the responsible thing by providing David with armor.  History tells us that the ancient Hebrews were particularly attentive to the personal safety of their warriors.  For David to enter into combat without armor would have been uncommon, so Saul equipped David with the best possible body armor.  Saul gave him a brass helmet, a coat of mail (probably brass also), the armor itself, and a sword.  I am sure that the equipment was the best that money could buy and the best Saul had to offer.  After all, the fate of their nation was on the line.  David put on all the armor and he quickly realized that he was not ready to fight with it on.  He had not trained with this equipment.  In our text David said, “I have not proved them.”  David knew that going into battle with unproven equipment was dangerous.  I am a soldier and I know that we go through extensive training with new gear prior to deployment.  So David decided to take the armor off and leave the armor, the coat, the helmet, and the sword behind.  Instead of the armor he took his shepherd’s staff, five smooth stones, and a slingshot.

This series is about overcoming fear and you may be wondering what this portion of David’s story has to do with fear.  It actually directly applies to overcoming the fear factor.  We open ourselves up to fear when we make foolish decisions.  Our mistakes leave us vulnerable to negative thoughts.  If David had attempted to go into battle with unproven equipment the devil would have attacked his mind with thoughts of doubt, fear, and unbelief the entire way.  David would have had to battle thoughts like, “You don’t know what you are doing,” “You have never used this stuff,” “You have never fought with a sword,” and so on.  These thoughts can wear on anyone.  David could not afford not to be confident; he needed complete confidence in God and his own abilities.  For his confidence to be intact he would need to operate with equipment that he had confidence in.  He had not proven the armor and the sword, but he had plenty of experience with a slingshot and a stone.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  Go with what you know:  David had already looked back over his life and built up his confidence by remembering how God had enabled him to kill a lion and a bear with his bare hands.  So David’s confidence in God and his own abilities were intact.  Using the slingshot and the stone helped solidify his confidence even more, because he had personally proven those weapons in his own life.  When you face a challenge with the personal experience of having succeeded in the past you have a confidence that will feed your faith and starve your fear.

2.  Use wisdom for new things:  Your preparation will show up in your performance.  If you are going to step out in something new, make sure that there is a margin for error.  David’s life was on the line, there was no margin for error.  When you don’t have a margin for error, then it might be better to go with the previously proven “thing.”

3.  Don’t open the door to fear by making foolish decisions:  The devil is ever-attempting to strike fear in your heart and doubt in your head.  When you make wise choices it is easy to combat fear, doubt, and unbelief.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for the many experiences that you have enabled me to experience in my life.  My experiences with You build my confidence in You!  I receive Your wisdom for my decisions and Your wisdom enables me to enter every day with fearless confidence.  If you hand me a stone today I am ready for any giant!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah (Part 5) (top of page)

(1 Kings 18:18 CEV)  Elijah answered: “You’re the troublemaker – not me!  You and your family have disobeyed the LORD’s commands by worshiping Baal.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with Elijah.  Last week we left off with the reunion of Elijah and Obadiah, two men of God.  Obadiah explained to Elijah that king Ahab has had search parties out looking for him in every country.  This is reassurance in and of itself.  It tells me that when we are led of God when walk in supernatural protection.  God led Elijah to Cherith Creek and Zarephath, and Ahab’s search parties failed to find him there.  Why?  Because he was where he was supposed to be.

As we get back to Obadiah we see that he was struggling with fear.  After Elijah told Obadiah to go and tell king Ahab where he was he asked, “Do you really want me to tell him you’re here?”  Obadiah was afraid of Ahab.  Ahab was a real threat.  He was the sitting king and he had an army of trained men that were ready to kill on his demand.  Obadiah said to Elijah, “What if the Lord’s Spirit takes you away as soon as I leave?  When Ahab comes to get you, he won’t find you.  Then he will surely kill me.”  That’s a bit comical.  Why would God supernaturally deliver Elijah, but then leave Obadiah to die?  God does not work that way.  But once again, fear will cause you to think foolishly.  Obadiah was a mighty man of God, but fear had gripped his heart.

Obadiah went on to explain to Elijah how he had worshiped the Lord since he was a boy.  He even had the courage and the defiance in his heart against Ahab to hide 100 of the Lord’s prophets in caves when Jezebel was trying to kill them.  But even after explaining his courage to Elijah Obadiah said, “Do you really want me to tell Ahab you’re here?  He will kill me!”  It’s a good thing that Elijah was strong in God, because fear can be contagious.  When you get around a person that is afraid it is easy for that fear to rub off on you.  However, Elijah was convinced that he was doing what God had directed him to do, so he had no need to fear.  Elijah said, “I’m a servant of the living Lord All-Powerful, and I swear in his name that I will meet with Ahab today.”  So Obadiah left and told Ahab where to find Elijah.  Ahab wasted no time and went out to meet Elijah.  As soon as the king saw the prophet he shouted, “There you are, the biggest troublemaker in Israel!”  King Ahab said this to strike fear in the heart of Elijah.  The Bible even tells us that Ahab shouted it, giving us the force behind his words.  But Elijah was not moved at all.  Elijah answered, “You’re the troublemaker – not me!  You and your family have disobeyed the Lord’s commands by worshiping Baal.”  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.  Fear is relentless:  Obadiah had done many great and courageous things, but fear gripped his heart when posed with the task of addressing Ahab about Elijah.  You can learn many things from this series and from God’s Word about fear and even seemingly conquer its power in your life, but just know that it can raise its ugly head at any time.  No matter who you are and no matter how long you have been walking with God, you will have to continually overcome fear.

2.  Your relationship with God helps you to never back down:  Elijah had spoken drought into existence, had been fed by ravens, and had spoken life back into a woman who had given up hope.  Those experiences helped solidify Elijah’s faith and confidence.  When Ahab yelled at him, Elijah did not back down.  Elijah was walking in courage, confidence, and boldness.  Likewise, we can do the same thing in our workplace and with our family.  We will all face difficult situations from time to time; our faith should keep us from backing down.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know that fear is relentless.  Fear will make every attempt to come at me over and over again, but I declare that my faith is also relentless.  I refuse to back down.  I face every challenge and every attack head on. My relationship with You, Lord, births a confidence, courage, and boldness that cannot be destroyed!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah (Part 6) (top of page)

(I Kings 18:37 NIV)  “… Answer me, O LORD , answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD , are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with Elijah.  In out last message we left off with Elijah and king Ahab meeting and exchanging words.  However, Elijah had not just come for a confrontation with Ahab, he was looking to get the people of Israel back to God.  Elijah asked Ahab to have people from all over Israel to meet on Mt. Carmel and to also bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah.  The stage was set.  Elijah was ready to go up against 850 prophets by himself.  It was Elijah + his God (Jehovah) vs. 850 prophets and their gods.  Elijah was not moved by the numbers.  He knew that God was with him and he had complete confidence that God would see him through this.  Elijah addressed the people saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  The same holds true today, people have to make a decision: either our God or the world; you can’t have both.

The people heard Elijah, but they said nothing.  Then Elijah crossed the faith line – the line that you cross when you step into the realm of totally relying on God.  Elijah said that they would get two bulls, cut them up, and place them on two altars.  The custom was to set fire to the bulls as a sacrifice to their gods.  Elijah said that they would “Call” upon their respective gods and the god that answered by fire, that god would be the true God.  Can you imagine the confidence this took and the mastery of fear.  Fear could have creeped in from many angles, but Elijah stood firm! The prophets of Baal went first, prepared their bull, and called upon their god from morning till noon.  For hours they cried out and danced around the altar, but nothing happened.  At noon Elijah began to taunt them.  He said, “Shout louder! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or sleeping.”  They did shout louder and even began to cut themselves, until their blood was flowing, but still nothing happened.  They continued their craziness until the evening, but still nothing happened.  Then Elijah had the people repair the altar of the Lord and prepare their bull.  Once the altar was ready, he raised the stakes.  This is the kind of confidence he had.  He had the people fill four barrels of water and pour them out over the bull.  They repeated this two more times.  So they poured 12 barrels of precious water – in the midst of a drought – on the sacrifice.  Elijah then prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”  Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord – He is God!  The Lord – He is God!

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s glean a few nuggets:

1.  Pure Motives:  We will not receive a move of God with simple and selfish motives.  Elijah’s prayer shows that his motive was for God to be glorified and for the people to be revived.

2.  Doing things God’s Way:  When we do things God’s way, we will get God’s results – in the end, the people cried, “The Lord – He is God!  The Lord – He is God!”

3.  Confidence and Courage:  None of this would have happened if Elijah was been dominated by fear.  It takes the mastery of fear, not necessarily the absence of it, to operate in this level of confidence and courage.  Are you ready to be bold for God?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I enter this day with boldness, confidence, and courage.  I seek to please You and to bring You glory in everything I do.  I was created to make Your name glorious and that is my motivation today.  Every project, every task, every phone call, every email, every conversation – I surrender them all to You.  Use me this day as an instrument of Your righteousness.  No matter what the odds are against me – since You are on my side – I win!  I am a winner this day and every day!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah (Part 7) (top of page)

(I Kings 18:45 MSG)  Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with Elijah.  In out last message we saw how Elijah stood up against the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah.  I am sure that he had to overcome fear to do it.  The enemy will make every effort to get you to doubt.  The Bible doesn’t say it, but I imagine he had to dismiss the thoughts in his head of failure.  Thoughts like, “What if God does not send the fire?  What if Ahab has you killed before God responds?  What if the fire comes and they kill you anyway?”  And etc.  To operate in faith it takes a level of courage to dismiss the thoughts of fear, failure, and doubt.

Another key aspect of this story that is worth highlighting is what Elijah was there for.  In verse 1 God told Elijah to present himself to Ahab and that he would send the rain.  Well, guess what, Elijah stood before Ahab and the rain did not come.  Actually, the rain did not come until the 45th verse.  It is obvious that we can learn from what Elijah did in the space between the promise and the performance.  One of the key things that he did was to sow a seed in his area of need.  The Kingdom of God operates by sowing and reaping.  Elijah and the nation of Israel needed rain (water), so guess what they sowed?  Water!  Remember, Elijah had the people build an altar for the sacrifice.  The Bible says that he also had them to dig a trench around it, “as great as would contain two measures of seed” (v32).  I find it interesting that the Bible calls the water that went into the trench “seed.”  Why?  Because this water-seed was going to produce a water-harvest.  Elijah then had the people to pour out 12 barrels of water over their sacrifice.  Notice, it had not rained in over three years.  Water was a very precious commodity and he had them to pour 12 barrels of it over a bull.  Many believe that this was a sort of sign, to show that God could ignite wet wood, but I believe that it goes much deeper than that.  The Bible says that when the fire of the Lord fell, it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water.  The key here is that it licked up the water.  This water became the seed they needed to sow for their harvest.  Fear would have kept them from sowing it, but they had enough confidence in the man of God to do what he said and they reaped a harvest because of it.

I did an entire series on the Biblical Principles of Sowing and Reaping (see the website).  I dealt with how we oftentimes tap into God’s harvest through the vehicle of a seed and how we normally posses the seed that can meet our need.  The woman at Zarephath had the seed (flour and oil) that she needed to sow to meet her need.  The hungry crowd of 5,000 had the seed (two fish and five loaves) that they needed to sow to meet their need.  And we see here that the nation of Israel had the seed (12 barrels of water) that they needed to sow to meet their need.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must have the confidence and the courage to sow whatever seed God tells you to sow, no matter how valuable it may seem to you.  You will always reap a harvest greater than the seed!  Don’t allow fear to keep you from sowing seeds of love, forgiveness, patience, peace, money, etc.  Once you sow your seed, it is just a matter of time before you reap the harvest of it.  Fear says “no,” faith says “Yes!”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am a citizen of Your Kingdom and I have the faith and confidence to operate in Kingdom principles daily.  I know that while the earth remains, there will be seedtime and harvest.  There will be time to sow and time to reap, a time to plant and time to pluck up that which was planted.  I sow love, compassion, mercy, peace, money, and Your Word into the lives of others and into Your Kingdom.  I trust that You receive the seed the I sow into the Kingdom by faith and multiply it as the Lord of the harvest.  I refuse to allow fear to keep from sowing, because it would then keep me from reaping.  I walk by faith and not by sight.  I trust that the harvest will always outweigh the seed!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah (Part 8) (top of page)

(I Kings 19:3 NIV)  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.  When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with Elijah.  This is the 8th message that I share with you about Elijah and the first seven were good, but they were intended to give you a background about this prophet; this mighty man-of-God.  I wanted you to get to know him before I showed you how fear almost wrecked his life.  You already read about Elijah’s fearless confrontations with king Ahab.  Elijah spoke a Word from God and it did not rain for three and a half years.  Elijah single-handedly stood up against 850 prophets.  Elijah taunted the false prophets while they could not get a reaction from their false gods.  Elijah fearlessly ordered 12 barrels of precious water to be poured as “seed” over his sacrifice.  Elijah had all 850 false prophets killed after his God, Jehovah, the only true God, answered by fire.  Elijah remained in faith and prayed until the promised rain finally came.  Yes, Elijah seemingly overcame the fear factor in his life.

Yesterday we closed out with the promised rain coming.  The very next verse in the Bible, the first verse of the 19th chapter says, “Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets.”  Jezebel was the person that had influenced king Ahab into embracing the worship of Baal.  With all the false prophets dead, life as she knew it was over.  Elijah had sparked a revival and the nation of Israel had turned back to God (Jehovah) almost overnight.  No longer would Jezebel have the negative influence over the nation that she had previously enjoyed.  Her days of widespread debauchery and wickedness had come to an end.  She was furious.  Jezebel sent a message to Elijah saying, “You killed my prophets.  Now I’m going to kill you!  I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.”  Her message was clear, according to her Elijah had less than 24 hours to live.  Now, you would think that this would be ‘no big deal’ for Elijah.  This is the same guy that was on the run for three years.  Ahab had his entire army looking for Elijah, but God led him where to go and protected him the entire time.  Everything Elijah had just done was instructed and blessed by God.  Elijah was simply doing what God told him to do and as I have shared previously, if it’s God’s will, then it’s also God’s bill.  Surely God was not going to allow Elijah to die for doing what he told him to do.  That’s not the kind of God that we serve.  Surely Elijah had nothing to worry about, right?  Elijah was simply going to operate in faith like he had done so many times before, right?  WRONG!  The Bible says, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”  The same man that had operated like a warrior was now acting like a weakling; the former champion was now running like a coward.  That is what fear can do to you.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  None of us are exonerated from fear:  If fear could grip the heart of Elijah, even after doing so many great and mighty things for God, then it is obvious that fear can grip our heart as well.  That is why we must constantly guard our heart from anything negative.

2.  The threat is persistent:  The devil never takes a day off.  He is relentless in his attacks and one of his greatest weapons is fear.  Elijah had dealt a powerful blow to the kingdom of darkness, but they struck right back.  Don’t think that your past successes are going to guarantee future ones.  You have to be ready to be used of God every day.  If you put your guard down, you can easily allow fear, doubt, and unbelief in.  Once you do you will be like Elijah and you will lose your confidence.  Once you lose your confidence you might find yourself running like he was; running like a coward.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am not ignorant of the devil’s devices, his schemes, nor his tactics.  I know that he would love to use fear to get me to run like a coward; but I declare, by faith, that I overcome the fear factor in my life.  I say NO FEAR HERE!  I refuse to allow fear to turn me into a coward.  I am fixed and firm in my confidence in You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Elijah (Part 9) (top of page)

(I Kings 19:7 MSG)  The angel of GOD came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more – you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with Elijah.  In our last message we saw how Elijah – the man whose words had directed weather and called down fire from heaven – was afraid and ran for his life.  I received many responses from the messages about Gideon, because most people can identify with him.  He was an average guy with questions about his abilities.  When I introduced you to Elijah you saw a man that was strong, bold, and seemingly fearless.  But you see now that Elijah was like most of us, he was simply seeking to please God.  He was a man with insecurities and frustrations and he did all the supernatural things, because God painted His “super” upon his “natural.”  The good news is that God can do the same for us.  The purpose of this series is to teach us that God wants to use us, but He can’t use us mightily while we are operating in fear.  God still had plans for Elijah, but God was not able to use Elijah in his current state.  We will see that God led Elijah away, to a solitary place, to deal with his fear and to prepare him for his final assignment in the earth.

After running away, afraid for his life, Elijah continued into the desert another day’s journey.  He came to an isolated bush and collapsed in its shade.  Elijah was at the end of his rope, he wanted to die in the worst way.  He wanted to be done with it all.  He was tired, frustrated, and disillusioned.  He said, “Enough of this, God!  Take my life – I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!”  Let me stop here long enough to say that we should all thank God that we don’t get everything we pray for.  Exhausted, Elijah fell asleep under the bush.  Suddenly the angel of the Lord shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”  He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water.  He ate the meal and went back to sleep.  The angel of the Lord came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more – you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”  Think about that for a moment.  Elijah prayed for God to take his life and God sent a Word to him to let him know that he still had a long journey ahead of him.  God was letting him know that he still had purpose to fulfill in the earth.  Elijah still had an assignment.  He still had a reason to be in the land of the living.  So Elijah, under the direction of the Lord’s angel, got up, ate and drank, and set out on his journey.  The meal gave him the strength he needed to walk the 40 day journey to Mount Horeb; the mountain of God.  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? A couple of things:

1.  God is in the business of making holy garments from flawed material:  If you look at the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Elijah, Paul, Peter, and etc., you will not find a perfect one in the bunch.  They all made mistakes and that is good news for you, because you make mistakes too.  Elijah got frustrated and upset with God, his dilemma, and life in general; but God still used him for greatness.  You and I may be flawed material, but God is the Master-Tailor that can sure do some mighty things with us when we let him.  Why not let him today?  Submit yourself to God – flaws, failures, and all – so that God can use you for His glory!

2.  Make every attempt to die empty:  Fear and frustration caused Elijah to want to die early.  If he would have died at this point he would have died without fulfilling his entire purpose.  He still had more in him that God wanted to get out.  I have heard it said that the richest places on the planet are cemeteries, because they are full of buried purpose and potential.  Don’t let fear keep you from fulfilling your purpose in the earth.  Seek to die empty so that you can stand before God and say, “Here I am Lord, mission complete!”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I submit myself to You, flaws, failures, and all.  I am available for You.  I refuse to allow fear to keep me from fulfilling my purpose in the earth.  Use me as an instrument of Your anointing, an example of power, and a conduit of Your love.  I overcome fear and I march on with my assignment!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David Encouraging Himself (Part 1) (top of page)

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by taking you to another encounter in David’s life that is worth mentioning in this series.  This encounter is documented in 1st Samuel chapter 30, but I want to give you a little background, so I will start in chapter 27.  In chapter 27 we find David on the run.  In chapter 16 David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel.  I already shared with you what happened in chapter 17 (David and Goliath).  In chapters 18 and following you have the dilemma of a man that has been anointed by God to be king, while the man that God rejected from being king was still alive.  It was only a matter of time before king Saul learned to hate David.  He knew that David was supposed to take his place, but he wanted to change his fate.  He attempted to kill David several times, but David would not and could not die, because he was destined by God to be king.

David loved God so much that he waited for God to make the way for him to be king.  He had several opportunities to kill king Saul, but David refused to do so.  Even though Saul tried to kill him, David refused to get out of his lane.  He simply waited, and waited for God to make the way.  By the 27th chapter David had a family and he was leading a small army of 600 men.  He got tired of running from Saul so David decided to go to a place where he knew that Saul would not chase him.  David led his family, his army, and their families to Philistia; the land of Philistines.  They all crossed the border into Gath, the land ruled by king Achish.  When Saul found out that David had run off to Gath, he stopped trying to catch him.  One day, David was talking with Achish and said, “If you are happy with me, then let me live in one of the towns in the countryside.  I’m not important enough to live here with you in the royal city.”  David had favor with king Achish and the king gave David the town of Ziklag that same day.  Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.  David, his family, his soldiers, and their families all setup and settled-in in Ziklag.  Ziklag was their new home; remember this, because it will be important later.

David lived in Ziklag for 16 months.  This is a good spot in the story to point out the time frame between David being anointed king and him actually becoming king.  Most scholars believe it was about 13 years.  Think about that for a moment.  God sent a prophet to anoint David to be the next king of Israel and it took 13 years for it to happen.  Sometimes God promises something to us and it happens immediately.  When that happens it is great, but I will tell you that most of the time it does not happen that way.  Most of the time there is a “space” between the promise and the performance and in that space the devil tries to stir up some problems.  David quickly found out that Ziklag was in an area close to the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites.  David and his army were in constant battle with the surrounding towns.  David and his men were very skilled in battle and whenever they attacked a town they came back with sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing.  Whenever David and his men fought he would come back and give king Achish a recap of the battle.  This helped build king Achish’s confidence in David and his men.

So what does this mean to you today? This morning I was simply laying the foundation for the story, but if there is something I will focus in on from this passage it is the fact that being a Christian does not mean that we have to be cowards.  I pray that this series is exposing to you that fact that God wants us to operate in confidence and courage.  David needed exceptional courage to evade Saul and to confront the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites.  We also need exceptional courage to stand up for what is right and to refuse to back down against wrong.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I have exceptional courage today and every day.  I stand up for what is right and I seek to perform by duties in excellence.  If someone comes up against me I will operate in your wisdom concerning how to handle the situation.  At no time will I step out of love, but operating in love does mean that I have to operate like a coward.  I am empowered by Your love to operate with fearless confidence!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David Encouraging Himself (Part 2) (top of page)

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the story of David encouraging himself.  We will eventually get to 1st Samuel chapter 30, but this morning we find ourselves in the 28th chapter.  1st Samuel 28 is an interesting chapter.  It starts off by letting us know that the prophet Samuel had died and people from all over Israel attended his funeral in his hometown of Ramah.  This is important because Saul no longer had someone to receive revelation from God and to speak into his life.  Since Saul’s life was void of spiritual influence he wanted to get rid of all the spiritual influence, good or bad.  Saul sent out men to get rid of all spiritualists and mediums.  But one day the Philistines brought their soldiers together to attack Israel.  King Achish told David, “Of course, you know that you and your men must fight as part of our Philistine army.”  This was awkward for David, because he would be fighting against Israelites, but David understood where he was in his life and he did not back down.  He was courageous and he said, “That will give you a chance to see for yourself just how well we can fight!”  There was no indication of fear in David.  King Achish liked what he heard so he said, “You and your men will be my bodyguards forever.”  For Achish to want David’s men to personally protect him, David must have made a great impression on him.  See, when you walk with God in fearless confidence and courage your superiors can’t help but promote you.

The Philistines setup camp in Shunem.  Saul called the army of Israel together and they setup camp in Gilboa.  The stage was set for the battle, but there was one problem.  The Israelite leader was in fear.  Saul took one look at the Philistine army and started shaking like a leaf.  He asked the Lord what to do, but the Lord was no longer with him, so the Lord would not answer him.  Saul missed the days when he could ask Samuel what to do.  He went so far as to instruct his men to find someone who could speak to the dead.  His men told him of a witch that lived in Endor that could speak with the dead.  That night Saul was so desperate that he disguised himself and went to see the witch.  He asked the witch to bring up the spirit of Samuel.  The witch did and all Saul got out of that conversation was a reminder that the Lord was no longer with him.  Samuel told Saul that the Lord had already sworn to take the kingdom from him and to give it to David.  Saul went on to say, “Tomorrow the Lord will let the Philistines defeat Israel’s army, then you and your sons will join me down here in the world of the dead.”  That conversation left Saul traumatized.  He collapsed on the floor and he refused to get up or eat.  It took a while for his men to force him to eat so that he could regain some strength.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it is of utmost importance that we live our lives in right standing before God.  This chapter depicts a tale of two men: David and Saul.  David was a fugitive on the run in a foreign land, but since God was with him he was strong, courageous, living well, and he had favor with the local king.  David was living better as a fugitive in Philistia than some people live today.  That’s what God’s blessing on your life can do.  It does not matter where you go, the blessing can make the difference.  Now, on the other hand you have Saul.  Saul was the sitting king of Israel, but he was not in right standing with God.  So Saul’s earthly position meant nothing.  He was living in fear, without revelation from God, and he knew that his days were numbered.

Where do you stand with God today? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord?  Have you repented of your sin?  If not you can easily find yourself living like Saul.  Sure, you might have a great earthly position, but it won’t mean anything if you live in fear and without peace.  If Jesus is your Lord then you can believe God to live like David.  No matter where you are you can find favor with others and you can prosper wherever God sends you.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I confess with my mouth and I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead as a penalty for my sin.  I accept Jesus as my Lord and I serve no other gods.  I am right with You and I experience Your best daily!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David Encouraging Himself (Part 3) (top of page)

(1st Samuel 30:1,2 CEV)  It took David and his men three days to reach Ziklag.  But while they had been away, the Amalekites had been raiding in the desert around there.  They had attacked Ziklag, burned it to the ground, and had taken away the women and children.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the story of David encouraging himself.  The Philistines were ready to fight the Israelites.  The time for battle had come.  The Philistine rulers had their troops march before them to take one last look at their soldiers before battle.  In our US Army this ceremony is called “Pass-and-Review.”  During the pass-and-review something happened.  David and his men marched at the end of king Achish’s formation and when the rulers saw David and his band of soldiers they asked Achish, “What are these worthless Israelites doing here?”  Achish answered, “They are David’s men.  David used to be one of Saul’s officers, but he left Saul and joined my army a long time ago.  I’ve never had even one complaint about him.”  Achish tried to make the case for David, but the rulers wanted nothing of it.  They shouted, “Send David back to the town you gave him… He could turn and fight against us!”  They had a point.  From their perspective they did not know if David was a spy or not.

David did not want to leave.  He pleaded with Achish saying, “But what have I done?  Do you know of anything I’ve ever done that would keep me from fighting the enemies of my king?”  But there was nothing that Achish could do.  Achish had complete confidence in David, but he did not have the final say.  Those in charge had made up their minds and David and his men had to head back home to Ziklag.  The next morning they got up early in the morning and headed back.

I can imagine that this was a disappointing journey for David and his men.  They had mentally, physically, and psychologically prepared themselves for battle.  This was not a happy trip back.  It took three days to get back and this is where things went from bad to worse for David.  When they arrived back home in Ziklag they found out that the Amalekites had been on a series of raids through the desert.  The Amalekites came across Ziklag, only to find a town full of women and children.  All the men were gone to fight Israelites, so the Amalekites easily attacked Ziklag, burned it to the ground, and took all the women and children captive.  David and his army arrived to find their town burned to ruins and their families gone.  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that life requires courage.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people and it is not because God planned it, caused it, or desired it to happen.  As sure as there is a God, there is a devil; and his only job is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  David had not done anything wrong, but he was facing one of the greatest challenges of his life.  David had killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands, he had killed Goliath with a slingshot and a stone, and he had faced the many attempts on his life from Saul, but this one was possibly his greatest challenge.  His family and all the families of all his men were gone.  His men would later want to kill him.  He was alone on many levels – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and seemingly spiritually.  We will see tomorrow that David had the courage to receive a Word from God and to act upon it.  That one Word from God turned his hopeless situation around.  Yes, our life, like David’s, will require courage.  Life is not always easy.  We are attacked from time to time and we will need the courage to hear from God and to act upon whatever He tells us to do.  However, you can’t do this when you are crippled by fear.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare that I am a man/woman of courage.  No matter what happens in my life, no matter what comes up against me, no matter what situation I find myself it, I declare that I have the courage and the confidence to hear a Word from You and to operate in accordance with that Word.  Nothing and no one will keep me down!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David Encouraging Himself (Part 4) (top of page)

(1st Samuel 30:6 AMP)  David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the story of David encouraging himself.  We left off with David and his army arriving home in Ziklag.  This was a terrible scene.  I can imagine them walking home with the disappointment of being dismissed from the battle, only to find their town burned to ruins.  I can imagine men running and looking through the remains of their homes; looking through the ruins for reminders of their families: maybe bits of clothing or pots from the kitchen or… whatever.  Their lives had seemingly fell apart overnight.  It took no time before they started to blame David.  Who else did they have to blame?  As far as they were concerned, none of this would have happened had David not instructed them to go with king Achish.  They now questioned the wisdom of taking all the men and leaving nothing but women and children behind.  They left their families defenseless against the Amalekites.  Surely the men were imagining what the Amalekites could be doing to their wives and daughters.  Their anger boiled over and they wanted to stone David.

Now let’s think about David for a moment.  Here you have a guy that was at the end of his rope.  He once trusted in his family, but they seemingly failed him when the prophet Samuel showed up at their home.  David’s father (Jesse) was asked to line up his sons before the prophet, because one of them was going to be the next king of Israel.  Jesse never even sent for David and not one of David’s seven brothers mentioned the fact that David was not in the line-up.  David then seemingly trusted in king Saul.  David fought Goliath for Saul and even played music for him whenever he was troubled.  This was all for naught, because Saul wound up attempting to kill David.  David then trusted in the Philistines.  He moved into their land and lived for over a year.  He was faithful to them and he was even willing to fight Israelites for them, but they had also failed him, sending him home in the time of battle.  The only people that David had found he could trust were his men.  They had been through many battles with him and they were time-tested and battle-tested loyal warriors.  But now his men had turned on him when he needed them to most.  David was in a foreign land where he was not accepted, he was in exile from his own country, his family had been taken captive, and his men had turned on him.  He and his men and cried and cried until they could cry no more.  He was physically exhausted, psychologically marred, socially bruised, and financially spent.  This would have been too much to handle for the average man, but David was no average man.  Remember this: the greater the assignment, the greater the attack from the enemy.  The devil was trying to do everything he could to keep David from becoming King of Israel.  David had a great assignment from God and no matter what happened, he was going to get there.  David had no where to look but up and that’s exactly what he did.  David got away from everyone else and he encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must overcome the fear factor if you are going to encourage yourself in the Lord.  Fear will tell you to give up.  Fear will tell you that you can’t make it.  Fear will tell you to blame God for what has happened.  Fear will tell you that there is nothing you can do.  You must make a determination in your life – this is YOUR DECISION – that you will not operate in fear and that you will operate in faith!  The choice is yours.  Faith is a choice, just like fear is a choice.  Which one will you choose?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, no matter what happens to me and no matter how bad things seemingly get, I refuse to give up and refuse to allow fear to keep me from operating in faith.  I will not fear.  I will lift up my eyes to You.  I will think of all the things You have already done in my life.  I will cause myself to think on Your goodness and in so doing I will encourage and strengthen myself in You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

David Encouraging Himself (Part 5) (top of page)

(1st Samuel 30:7,8 KJV)  And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod… And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop?  Shall I overtake them?  And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the story of David encouraging himself.  We saw in our last message that David sought encouragement from the only constant in his life, God! After being internally encouraged, he still had to deal with the situation at hand.  David asked Abiathar the priest to bring him the ephod.  The ephod was a priestly garment used to worship and pray to the Lord.  Scholars disagree on whether or not the ephod was for David himself or for Abiathar to wear as the priest for David, but whatever the case, it is clear that David sought the Lord for guidance.  David asked God whether or not he should pursue after the troop and the Lord said, “Pursue!”  That’s really all that David needed to hear, but God also said, “You will surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”  This Word from God was what David needed to turn his hopeless situation around, but remember that faith without works is dead.  David had a Word, but he still needed the courage to go and do what God told him he could do.  Lots of people know what they have a right to, in the Lord, but fear keeps them from receiving it.  David was not going to allow fear to cripple him.

David led his 600 men to the Besor Gorge, but 200 of them were too tired to cross it.  David knew he did not have a lot of time so he left those men behind and crossed the gorge with his army of 400.  Some of David’s men found an Egyptian out in a field and took him to David.  The man was starving to death, so they fed him and tended to him.  After the man regained his strength David interrogated him. David found out that the man was a servant of an Amalekite and he had been left to die in the wilderness, because he was sick.  The man told David the stories of what he Amalekites did and he even told them how they burned down Ziklag.  “Will you take me to those Amalekites?”  David asked.  “Yes, I will, if you promise you won’t kill me or hand me over to my master,” said the man.  And so, this man led David and the 400 to the Amalekites.  They were eating, drinking, and celebrating.  David waited and led his men on a fierce attack the next morning, just before daybreak and they fought until sunset.  This was no fight for the cowardly.  They had a Word from God, but it still required action on their behalf.  When it was all said and done the only Amalekites still alive were 400 of them that escaped on camels.  David got his family back and so did all of his men.  They even recovered the families of the 200 that were tired to make it to the fight.  No one was missing – young or old, sons or daughters – David had successfully gone to the enemy’s camp and took back what had been stolen from him.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we must have this same kind of courage and confidence.  For us it might not be a physical fight, but the enemy is seeking daily to take things from us.  He wants to destroy our marriages, take our children, our health, and our possessions.  When we experience a blow form the kingdom of darkness, and we all do, we must have the courage to strike back, to stand in faith, to hear a Word from God, and to act out on that Word with fearless confidence.  Our fight today is the “good fight of faith” (1st Tim 6:12), but we will never fight it if we allow fear to turn us into cowards.  So stand up for your family, cover your home and your children with the blood of Jesus, and resolve within your heart that you will fight the good fight of faith everyday!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I take responsibility and accountability for my family.  I refuse to allow the enemy to have his way with my marriage and my children.  I pray a hedge of protection over them today.  I declare that Jesus is the Lord of my home and that no devil, demon, or demonic force has any authority in my home.  We are covered by the blood of Jesus, we are protected by angels, and we are anointed by the Holy Spirit.  We fight the good fight of faith and we are not afraid!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter Walking on Water (Part 1) (top of page)

(Mat 14:26,27 NIV)  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.” We are eight weeks into this series and I trust that it has been a blessing to you thus far.  To this point every message has come from the Old Testament.  This morning we delve into the realm of the New Testament.  There are many places we could have started and I felt led to start with one of the most amazing accounts in the Bible – Peter walking on water.  Let’s first understand the setting.  It had been a long day.  Jesus had learned of his cousin’s death (John the Baptist), He healed many sick, He fed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch, and He decided to get away from every one for some quiet time with the Father.  So Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake, He dismissed the crowd, and He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.  Late into the evening Jesus sought to catch up with His disciples.  Not having a boat Himself, He walked on water to get to them.  Jesus, once again, displayed the superiority of spiritual laws over natural ones and defied the law of gravity.  Most people look at the things that Jesus did and say, “Well, that was Jesus.  I could never do that.”  But in this text we see that another human (Peter) walked on water.  Jesus lived His life as an example of what is possible for us in life.  We too can operate in the supernatural.

John’s account of this story (Jn 6:19) tells us that the disciples had rowed about three and a half miles and were just over half of the way there.  Jesus had a pretty long distance to go to catch up to them; especially without a boat.  To make matters even worse, the disciples were battling a furious storm and it was what the Bible calls “the fourth watch of the night.”  Back then they broke the evenings up into watches.  The first watch was between 6pm and 9pm, the second between 9pm and midnight, the third between midnight and 3am, and the fourth watch of the night was between 3am and 6am.  This is the time that Dr. Joel Gregory calls, “The lull of human existence.”  Think about the setting for a moment.  They were already tired from ministering with Jesus all day, they were battling the storm so the waves had probably left them exhausted, and if that was not bad enough, it was the fourth watch of the night.  It’s hard to stay up between 3am and 6am under any circumstances, much less theirs.  And guess what?  They were only doing what Jesus had told them to do.  They were where they were supposed to be.  They were not in sin and they were not out of the will of God, but they were still battling a storm in the middle of the night.  This is a reminder that we will all face challenges from time to time.  Living right does not guarantee us a storm-free life, but it does give us that right to stand on the promises of God in the midst of the storm.  The storm may come, but we can have the ability to ride through the storm untouched and unaffected.  However, the disciples were not that developed yet.  When they saw Jesus walking on the lake they were literally terrified; thinking He was a ghost. It is NEVER God’s will for us to operate in fear.  Jesus immediately said to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? A few of things:

1.  You can be in the right place and still face challenges.

2.  God never wants you to face your challenges in fear.

3.  God’s response to us, every time we are in fear, is “Don’t be afraid!”  Why?  Because you can’t do anything for God while you are in fear.  Fear cancels out faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I face my storms head on.  I, like Jesus, am in faith and not fear.  Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of a storm, because He was in total peace.  I declare that the same peace that Jesus had operates in my life.  I walk in Your peace, power, and protection.  I will not fear.  Fear has no power over me.  I enter this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter Walking on Water (Part 2) (top of page)

(Mat 14:29 KJV)  And he said, “Come.”  And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.” In our last message I introduced you to the story of Peter walking on water.  You now know that it was the fourth watch of the night (between 3am and 6am), the disciples were tired from battling a storm, and then fear struck their hearts when they thought they saw a ghost.  Jesus sensed their fear and said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  This is important because fear cancels out faith, just as much as faith cancels out fear.  Jesus never wanted anyone He came in contact with to be in fear.  He often said, “Fear not.”  Why?  Because fear will keep you from believing God.  When you are in fear you are doubting God.  Peter took heed to what Jesus said.  He shifted from fear to faith and cried out, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  This was a big deal.  Peter had been with Jesus long enough to know that if Jesus declared something, it would come to pass.  Peter had also learned that after Jesus declared something, the person He spoke to had to have the faith to believe and respond to what He said.  All of this was probably going through his mind when Jesus simply said, “Come!”  Just like that.  Just one word.  No fancy message, no long sermon, no enticing words, just a simply command – Come! Peter now had something to exercise faith in – a Word from Jesus.  Peter believed the Word enough to come down out of the ship and to put his feet on the water.  Guess what happened next?  Peter walked on water.  He was walking on the Word Jesus spoke, just as much as he was walking on water; and he did it by faith.  Think about that for a minute.  No one had ever walked on water in the history of humanity.  Jesus became the first person to do it and He had just done it a few minutes before Peter.  Peter and Jesus became the only two people – ever – to walk on water.

Humanly speaking, water walking is impossible.  This is where Mark 9:23 comes into play.  In Mark 9 Jesus was dealing with another humanly impossible situation when He said, “All things are possible to him that believes.”  In other words, Jesus was saying that there are no impossibilities in God, but we know that there are impossibilities with man.  The point being that when you have a man that has faith in God, he taps into the limitless power of God and therefore, nothing will be impossible for him.  In essence, it is God working through the man.  This is why it is so very important that we do not operate in fear.  God can’t work through us when we are in fear, because when we are in fear we cannot be in faith.  When we are in fear it is as if we have made our situation bigger than our God.  We can see how it was not just Peter walking on water, but it was rather God through Peter walking on water.  We can apply this same principle to any area of our lives.  No matter what the challenge and no matter how seemingly impossible it may seem; with God working through us, we can get it done.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that at some point you are going to have to step out in faith.  You cannot walk on water without getting out of the boat.  Fear will keep you from getting out of the boat.  There were 12 disciples, but only one walked on water.  Why?  Because he got out of the boat!  You can analyze, theorize, strategize, and hypothesize all day long, but at some point you will have to get out of the boat!  As I always say, “God can do more with you once you get started.”  And remember, you are only limited by your capacity to believe God.  Jesus said, “All things are possible to him that believes.”  It’s not about your power or your ability; it’s about your capacity to believe and your willingness to operate in faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank you for helping me to expand my capacity to believe.  I realize that there is nothing You cannot do.  I do not have to operate in my ability alone.  I tap into Your ability in my life through my faith and my capacity to believe.  I overcome the fear factor and I declare that I will get out of the boat in my life.  I will walk by faith and I will stay focused.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter Walking on Water (Part 3) (top of page)

(Mat 14:30 CEV)  But when Peter saw how strong the wind was, he was afraid and started sinking.  “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Peter walking on water.  In our last message we saw that Peter actually did it.  He was the only one of the 12 disciples to get out of the boat and to literally walk on water.  Peter did it because he had received a Word from Jesus – when Jesus said, “Come” – and he expressed faith in that Word by attempting to do what Jesus said he could do.  That’s faith.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  When you read something the Bible says you can have or do, then you must receive that Word in your spirit.  When you do you internalize it and you make it personal.  You take it as God literally speaking that Word to you and telling you that you can have or do what He said in His Word that you can have or do.  When you internalize it and make it personal you are at what I call the “Belief Stage.”  This is very important, because if you don’t believe the Word you will never get to the faith stage.  However, many people get stuck at the belief stage.  Once you believe God’s Word, you are then a candidate to turn the corner from the belief stage to what I call the “Faith Stage.”  The faith stage is when you express your confidence in that Word by literally attempting to do what God said you can do or by attempting to possess what God said you can have.

When Peter asked Jesus to call him out on the water he was opening himself up to the possibility of doing what Jesus was doing.  At this point he was at the belief stage.  No one else in the boat was at this stage; therefore, no one else in the boat was in the position to operate in faith and to actually walk on water.  When Jesus said, “Come,” Peter turned the corner from belief to faith and he attempted to do what Jesus said he could do.  He got out of the boat and he became only the second person in history to walk on water.  But this story is not all good news.  At some point Peter shifted his focus and started to look at the waves.  Once he lost his focus, he lost his faith, because he lost his confidence.  He doubted God and he began to sink.  Our text says that he was afraid.  Tomorrow we will see that doubt crept in before fear did.  Once he doubted it led to fear, once he feared his faith was gone, once his faith was gone he could no longer walk on water.  Peter started to sink, but he at least had enough sense to call out for Jesus and Jesus was there to save him from drowning.

Focus is critical to faith.  I have shared before how Abraham waited about 25 years for his promised son (Isaac) to be born.  The reason he was able to do it was because the Bible says that Abraham “staggered not” because he “considered not.”  In other words, Abraham remained focused on what God said.  Peter started out by considering the Word that was spoken to him, but he ended up considering the waves more than the Word.  By considering the Word he was able to walk on water, by considering the waves he began to sink.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  You must first believe that something is possible for you.  You will never get to faith stage if you can’t get past belief stage.

2.  Operating in the faith stage is simply expressing your confidence in God and His Word by attempting to do/receive what He said you can do/have.

3.  If you shift focus you will stumble and stagger.  If you “consider not,” you will “stagger not.”

4.  Losing your focus will lead to doubt, doubt will lead to fear, and fear will lead to failure!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am learning how Your Kingdom works.  The better I understand Your System, the more I can work the system.  I declare that I will believe everything in Your Word.  I internalize Your promises and I make them personal.  I then move from belief to faith by expressing confidence in Your Word by attempting to do it daily!  And I overcome doubt, fear, and failure by remaining focused!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Peter Walking on Water (Part 4) (top of page)

(Mat 14:31 NIV)  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Peter walking on water.  In our last message we saw that Peter actually walked on water, but he lost his focus.  The Bible says that he was “afraid” when he looked at the wind and the waves (v.30).  Once fear creeped in his faith stopped working.  Once he was no longer in faith, he began to sink.  Peter called out for Jesus and Jesus was there to save him, just like He is there for us.  After making sure that Peter was safe, Jesus said two things to Peter that are worth learning from.  Jesus said, “You of little faith,” and, “Why did you doubt?

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s take a closer look:

1.  Doubt is the forerunner for fear:  The Bible earlier said that Peter was afraid, but when Jesus got Peter into the boat He asked him why he doubted.  Did Peter do both?  Yes.  Doubt causes you to question God.  Doubt opens the door to fear.  This series is about overcoming fear and one quick way is to never give fear a chance, by dealing with your doubts.  Peter had received a Word from the Lord and he had stepped out in it.  But when he shifted his focus from the Word to the circumstances it caused him to “consider” the wind and the waves more than the Word.  As soon as that happened, doubt set in.  Doubt is the opposite confidence.  Doubt will strip you of your confidence and in-so-doing, it will lead to a faith-failure.  If the enemy can get you to doubt God, he then has a better chance of getting you to cross the line from fear to faith.  Now, you may not be dealing with a water-walking experience, but the enemy uses the same tactics against you, no matter what you are facing.  If the enemy can get you to doubt that God will meet your needs, or help you in your marriage, or protect your children, or etc., then he is well on his way towards getting you to stop having faith and to start having fear.  Deal with your doubts before they deal with you.

2.  Fear vs. Faith:  I know I keep harping on this, but we need to hear (or in this case read) something over and over again before it gets in our spirit.  Fear cancels out faith, just like faith cancels out fear.  Peter had a Word from God (“Come”).  As long as he expressed confidence in the Word he received from God, then we call that faith.  I am sure that Peter also heard another word; a word from our enemy.  That word told him that he was going to fall and that he was going to fail.  Once Peter started to express confidence in that word, it is called fear.  Faith is an expression of confidence in God and His Word.  Fear is an expression of confidence in satan and his word.  God is constantly talking to you, but so is our enemy.  Whatever word you believe and whatever word you express confidence in will be the word that will bring forth results in your life.  If you believe you can or if you believe you can’t, either way you are right!

3.  Consistent faith is the key:  Jesus said that Peter had “little faith” after he fell in the water.  This is not a reference to the type or the amount of faith that Peter had.  In that sense, Peter was doing well.  He had tapped into the supernatural power of God.  Peter did what only Jesus has ever done – walk on water.  You would think that Jesus would commend him for that; maybe at least a pat on the back.  But no, Jesus was not impressed with the fact that Peter operated in faith, because He expects all of us to.  Although Peter operated in faith, Jesus’ comment brings out the fact that He would have liked Peter to have operated in it for a longer period of time.  Peter had faith, but it was a ‘short burst of faith.’  Consistency is the key.  God is not looking for us to operate in ‘short bursts of faith.’  God wants us to operate in consistent faith daily!

Confession for this day:  Lord God.  I declare that I walk by faith and not by fear.  You are the Lord of Lords and I release my faith to the point where I take the limits off of You today.  I expand my capacity to believe You.  There is nothing You cannot do and I know it is Your will that I operate like You in the earth.  I will walk in consistent faith and consistent faith is the key to breakthrough in every area of my life.  I doubt my doubts and I have faith in my faith.  Nothing and no one can stop me when I operate in consistent faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jairus and his Daughter (Part 1) (top of page)

(Mark 5:22 KJV)  And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by introducing you to another man I believe most of us can identify with.  His name was Jairus, he was a man of position and prominence in the community, but calamity had struck his family.  Death was knocking on the door of his home.  His official title in the community was “Ruler of the synagogue.”  In “Manners and Customs of the Bible,” James M. Freeman says: “The ruler of the synagogue occupied a very important position.  In the temple synagogue he was the third officer in rank; the first officer bring the high priest, and the second the chief of the priests… No one was eligible to this office until he had a certificate from the Great Sanhedrin that he possessed the requisite qualifications.  His election, however, was by the members of the synagogue.  It was his duty to supervise all matters of worship.”  Why do I bring this out?  Because it proves that he had a relationship – probably a close one – with the regular priests, the chief of priests, and the high priest himself.  This is important to point out, because when his daughter fell sick – sick to the point of death – he did not go looking for the priests, he went looking for Jesus! This was a big deal, because the priests did not like Jesus, nor the things He did.  Jairus did not have time to worry about people feelings; his daughter’s life was on the line.

Jairus met Jesus at the end of a long day of ministry.  Jesus had already taught parables, calmed a storm, and cast a legion of demons out of a man.  Jesus was traveling back over Lake Galilee from the land of Gad.  A large crowd was waiting at the shore for Him.  As soon as Jesus got off of the boat Jairus broke through the crowd and fell at his feet.  He dropped before Jesus in front of everyone.  In front of the people that knew who he was and what his friends thought of Jesus.  For most people a public encounter with Jesus would not have been a big deal, but for this man it was.  He stripped himself of his position, his reputation, and his affiliation.  He came as a humble man in need of a blessing; and he came to the one man his friends were afraid of, the one man they were marking as their enemy.  We will see how fear almost kept him from his blessing later, but we will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s seek to glean a few golden nuggets:

1.  God is real:  Our real God desires a real, personal, and intimate relationship with you.  This man had a real problem – his daughter was dying – and our real God showed up in a real way.  Guess what?  He can do the same for you, but you can’t allow your position or the opinions of others to keep you from going to God with humility and faith.

2.  Religion alone kills:  I may teach a series on religion some day.  Religion, by itself, is about rites, rituals, and routines.  Religion alone numbs people from expecting an authentic experience with God.  Do you go to church, or pray, or etc. out of routine or do you actually have a relationship with God?  This man broke away from the routine and the mundane and he sought a relationship with a man that was making a difference in the lives of people.

3.  God is the answer to any problem:  Many people try everything and everyone else before they go to God.  Don’t make God your last resort; seek Him first and give Him first place in your life.  Have you been trying everything else, but God?  Why not come to God.  He was, is, and ever shall be the answer to any problem!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know You are a real God that deals with real people, with real problems, in a real way.  I break out of mere rites and routine of religion and I establish a personal relationship with You.  You are the answer to anything that exceeds my ability.  If you have blessed me to be able to handle it, then I will handle it; but when something exceeds my ability I know I can come to You.  There is nothing impossible for You.  You are my answer and my God.  I worship You in private and in public!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jairus and his Daughter (Part 2) (top of page)

(Mark 5:23 KJV)  And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Jairus and his daughter.  This story is very important for parents.  Here we have a man that clearly loved his daughter.  He loved her enough to lay his reputation and his associations on the line.  The only thing he was concerned with was his daughter’s well-being.  These messages are not just ‘cute devotionals’ for you to read before you start your day, they are life lessons from God’s life book.  The Bible is not a textbook to study, but rather a life book to live.  Jairus had to overcome the fear of oppression/rejection from the priests and judgment from the crowd.  He overcame it all because he needed a breakthrough for his daughter.  He broke through the crowd, fell at the feet of Jesus (in front of everyone), and the Bible says that he “Besought Jesus greatly.”  He was speaking from his heart.  I was not there, but I am sure his sincerity was written all over his face.  Jairus, in this lowly and sincere state, made a declaration of faith.  Jairus said, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”

So what does this mean to you today? Let’s see:

1.  He spoke the language of faith:  Faith has a language, just as much as fear has one.  Faith declares what you believe God will do, fear doesn’t.  Jairus did not speak like a defeated man; he spoke like a believing man.  Faith speaks from belief, fear speaks from doubt.  As men and women of God we must be very careful to speak faith and not fear over our lives and over the lives of our families.  The power of death and life is in our tongue (Prov 18:21).

2.  He did not omit the facts:  Being a person of faith and seeking to speak faith and not fear does not mean that you have to omit the facts.  His daughter was clearly sick and she was clearly at the point of death.  You and I are to live by faith, but that does not mean that we cannot accept the gravity/reality of the situations that face us.  In many cases it is the reality of the situations that drive us to faith in God.

3.  He did not allow the facts to override his faith:  Immediately after stating the facts, Jairus spoke words of faith.  He declared, with his own lips, that his daughter would be healed and she would live through hands of Jesus.  The truth (God and His Word) is greater than facts.

4.  He combined his words with belief:  Jairus did what you and I did when we became Christians.  He confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart (Rom 10:9,10).  Speaking words without belief does nothing.  When you close out these messages with the “Confession for this day,” it is my prayer that you believe what you just read and that you speak the confession with your lips and your heart.  That way, your confessing and believing with bring about a change to your day and your life.

5.  His words and his belief moved Jesus to action:  Will your words get God to move in your life?  You cannot fool God with empty words; but you can ignite God to action with faith-filled words.  Most people don’t realize it, but I hear Christians speak the language of fear more than the language of faith.  They say things like: “My feet are killing me,” “I will have ???, because everyone in my family has it,” “I am not going to make it,” “This has always been a problem for me,” “I am just not good at ???,” and the list could go on and on.  Words like those will never get God to move in your life.  God is looking for faith, not fear; belief, not doubt.  What language do you speak all day: fear or faith?  Either way, you will have what you say!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am earnest in my approach to You this morning.  I confess with my mouth that You my God and that You are greater than any problem I may face.  You are the only true God and You are the greatest force in my life.  I also believe in my heart that what I just confessed is true.  My words line up with my belief.  I release You Lord now to move in my life and to bring my family victory and peace this day and this week.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jairus and his Daughter (Part 3) (top of page)

(Mark 5:36 KJV)  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Jairus and his daughter.  Yesterday we took a look at Jairus’ confession of faith.  Jairus’ words, backed by his belief, moved Jesus to action and Jesus went with him to his house.  Jesus was on a faith mission to fulfill what Jairus had spoken.  The only person that could truly stop Jesus was Jairus himself.  Jairus’ faith had caused Jesus to start out on his mission.  If Jairus somehow lost his faith in the space between the confession and the completion and if he were to tell Jesus to abort the mission, Jesus would.  God has never been in the business of forcing Himself upon us.  He is looking for us to engage Him by faith, but we have the ability to disengage Him by fear, doubt, or unbelief.

Jesus, the disciples, and Jairus all left for his house.  Well, guess what?  The crowd followed too.  We all know how nosy church folk are (smile).  So there they were, Jairus, Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd; all heading to Jairus’ house to see a miracle.  This is when the story takes a turn for the worse for Jairus.  A woman from inside the crowd touched Jesus in a special way and her touch of faith caused Jesus to stop.  So one man’s words of faith caused Jesus to go and one woman’s touch of faith caused Jesus to stop.  It looks like Jesus (God) was/is moved by faith.  Jesus stopped and held a conversation with her.  I can only imagine what was going through Jairus’ head.  I am sure the enemy was flooded his mind with thoughts of failure and death.  The enemy was probably telling Jairus, “This sure is taking long.  Your daughter is not going to make it.  This woman is going to cause you to miss your blessing.”  But there he was, waiting on Jesus.  Jesus was moving, but Jesus was not on Jairus’ time table, Jairus was Jesus’.  While Jesus was wrapping up his conversation with the woman, someone came from Jairus’ house and said, “Your daughter is dead.  Why bother the teacher anymore?”  Wow!  Just like that.  His daughter had seemed to slip through his fingers.  Fear flooded his body.  His daughter was lost.  His hope was dead.  His life, as he knew it, was over.  The little girl that he swallowed his pride for when he bowed before Jesus in front of all those people was now dead.  The last words ringing through his head were, “Why bother the teacher anymore?”  See, this was an attempt from the enemy to get Jairus to tell Jesus not to come to the house.

Jesus discerned what was going on inside of Jairus and before Jairus said anything negative Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”  What was Jesus saying?  He was saying that there was still hope for his daughter.  The same words of faith that Jairus had spoken were still valid.  He had already said, “Come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  Jesus could still do that, but not if Jairus told him not to come.  If Jairus said, “No.  Stop.  It’s over.  Don’t come.”  Then Jesus would not have gone.  God will either honor your faith and release His blessing or honor your fear and withhold it.  Do you see how important it is to overcome the fear factor in our lives?  We will stop here for today.

So what does this mean to you today? I could focus on lots of things, but for today I will simply focus on the fact that the enemy wants to get you to stop believing.  Nothing is impossible to him that believes (Mark 9:23), but not if you stop believing in the space between your confession and the completion.  Has fear caused you to give up hope on something?  If so, then this is your opportunity to repent and to start believing again.  God can still bring it to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare, by faith, that I do not allow frustration or fear to cause me to stop believing in the space between my confession on the completion of it.  I combat frustration by constantly reminding myself that You are a God of Your Word and that no matter how long it takes, You will make Your Word good in my life.  My faith cancels out any fear in my life.  I am not afraid, I only believe!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jairus and his Daughter (Part 4) (top of page)

(Mark 5:36 KJV)  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Jairus and his daughter.  Jairus had a decision to make; he had to choose between faith and fear, because he was faced with two opposing options.  On the one hand he had already spoken a declaration of faith and Jesus was on the way to his house.  Things were looking good.  If Jesus could get to his house, then his daughter would be alright.  In spite of the disturbing news he had just received, Jesus was still ready, willing, and able to deal with the situation.  On the other hand Jairus was facing the bad news that his daughter was already dead.  If he embraced this news he would simply tell Jesus that the mission was over.  This reminds me of the time that Lazarus was sick and his sisters (Mary and Martha) sent for Jesus.  The sisters had full confidence that Jesus was coming and that their brother was going to be alright, but when Jesus took longer than expected and Lazarus died, the sisters gave up all hope and they expressed their despair to Jesus when He finally arrived (See John 11).  See, Mary and Martha’s hope/faith died with their brother.  They stopped believing when Lazarus stopped breathing.  In essence, Jairus was facing the same situation.  His little daughter had just died and Jesus asked him not to stop believing.  In other words, you can’t give up hope and stop your faith just because things got worse before they got better in the space between your confession (prayer) and the completion of it (performance).  And just like this all rides on our decisions, it was riding on Jairus.  Faith is a choice and fear is a choice.  He could either remain in faith and believe that Jesus could raise her up from the dead or he could succumb to fear and believe that his situation was beyond repair.  Thankful for him and for us, Jairus chose faith!

My situations may not have involved a dying daughter, but I have been faced with similar decisions on countless occasions and I am sure you have as well.  Interestingly enough, I have a 12 year old daughter, just like Jairus did in the text.  My daughter, Alyssa, was recently hospitalized for appendicitis and she would up having an appendectomy.  Now, when she first started having the pains I prayed and I believed that the Lord would heal her and deliver her from the pain.  I have three kids and pains, headaches, etc., and not uncommon.  I normally pray and my kids believe God with me and we normally see the hand of God move quickly.  But in this case her pain was not going away.  Since doctors were involved I prayed that the Lord would give them the wisdom to identify the root of the problem, so that we could get it resolved quickly.  The initial report from the doctors was that it was not appendicitis and that it was an inflammation of some sort.  But her pain was abnormally severe.  After leaving the hospital another doctor called and said that after looking at the X-rays again they were certain that it was appendicitis and that she needed an appendectomy, but that that hospital was not equipped to perform the procedure.  After getting to the right hospital, and after praying for the doctors, nurses and staff, she had the procedure, and she is now back to normal, enjoying her life as a 12yr. old.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that things don’t always work out EXACTLY the way you expect them to, but that does not mean that you give up hope, throw in the towel, and allow fear to rule your life.  Jairus did not expect his daughter to die before Jesus got there, but she did.  I did not expect my daughter to require surgery, but she did.  In both cases we needed to remain in faith and we refused to allow fear to keep us from our blessing.  Jairus’ and my 12yr. old were able to get back to their normal lives because faith triumphed over fear!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose to allow my faith to triumph over fear in my life.  Things may not always work out the way that I initially expect them to, but I refuse to allow external circumstances and situations to dictate my internal condition.  I remain in faith, no matter what things look like, and I trust that my God will see me and my family through any situation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Jairus and his Daughter (Part 5) (top of page)

(Mark 5:37 CEV)  Jesus did not let anyone go with him except Peter and the two brothers, James and John.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor” by continuing with the story of Jairus and his daughter.  Yesterday we focused in on how Jesus ignored the negative report that was given to Jairus and He told him not to be afraid.  In other words, Jesus was telling Jairus to remain in faith and to fight the natural impulse to fall into fear.  Most people have a natural impulse to fall into fear after receiving negative news.  This is why it is so very important that we renew our minds to the things of God.  God desires that our first impulse be faith and not fear, belief and not doubt, positive and not negative.  Jairus received what Jesus said and they were ready to move forward.  Jesus knew that since the situation had taken a turn for the worse, it was imperative that they prepare the battlefield for the faith fight.  Now, I use military terms because in many ways, this story is simply part of the war between two kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God.  The kingdom of darkness had struck a blow and the little girl was dead.  Jesus was ready to exhibit the superiority of the Kingdom of God by releasing resurrection power over the little girl.  But this was no time to be surrounded with fear, doubt, and unbelief.  Jesus decided only to allow those that He knew were capable of believing with him to go forward.  He obviously did not take the crowd, but it is interesting to note that 9 of the 12 disciples did not make the cut either.  Jesus only took Jairus and his inner circle (Peter, James, and John).

What I learn from Jesus’ decision to stop the rest from moving forward is that we must be very careful who we surround ourselves with, especially when exceptional faith is required.  We can’t surround ourselves with people of doubt and then think we will remain in faith.  Fear, doubt, and unbelief are contagious.  Not only did Jesus stop the crowd, but Jesus also dealt with the people at the home when he got there.  The house was full of people that were mourning and crying loudly.  Jesus literally put them all out before He raised the little girl back to life.  I know that many would not think it right to refuse to stop the crowd and most of the disciples; and I know it might not be politically correct to ask people to leave a house in the middle of mourning, but Jesus was on a mission.  You can’t walk by faith and walk by feelings at the same time.  Jesus knew that the external influences of fear, doubt, and unbelief could affect Jairus and the situation.  Jesus did everything possible to surround Jairus with believers and not doubters.

The battle against doubt is a very serious one and that is why we must make every effort not to create an environment for doubt.  Doubts may come, but we have to deal with our doubts quickly.  If not dealt with, doubts will lead to faith-failures.  Let’s look at what James said about this.  He said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God… and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:5-8 NIV).  It is clear that we are required to be believers and not doubters if we are going to receive from God.

So what does this mean to you today? A few quick things:

1.  You must surround yourself with people of like precious faith.

2.  You must make every effort to effort to create an environment of faith and not fear.

3.  If you don’t deal with your doubts, your doubts will deal with your faith.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know I am in the middle of faith fight daily.  The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy in my life and the only way I can fight back is with my faith.  I also know that doubt can lead to a faith-failure, so I quickly deal with any doubts that arise.  I surround myself with the right people and I refuse to allow negative influences – of fear, doubt, and unbelief – to have any authority in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Delivered from All Fear (top of page)

(Psalm 34:4 KJV)  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I trust by now you realize that fear is not God’s will for your life.  We have looked at several Old and New Testament stories and seen how fear negatively affected the lives of people.  God is pleased when we operate in faith and not fear.  The Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6).  When we are in fear we are not in faith and we are therefore not pleasing to God.  For the rest of the series we will look at the practical aspects, from scripture, that will lead us to determine to live a life free from the bondage of fear.

We have already looked at a few events in David’s life in this series.  David is a fascinating character and one that we can all identify with, because he dealt with real issues in real ways.  David wrote the 34th Psalm.  I will share the first four verses of this Psalm with you this morning.  Let’s look at them verse-by-verse:

·         (v.1)  I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth:  Notice that David said, “I will.”  To bless the Lord or not to bless Him is an act of your will; meaning that it is a choice that you make.  You can choose to bless the Lord, just as easily as you can choose not to.  This is important, because it is also your choice whether or not you operate in faith or fear.

·         (v.2)  My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad:  You soul is comprised of your mind (thinker), emotions (feeler), and will (chooser).  David determined that his soul would make her boast in the Lord; meaning that he would boast of the goodness of God in such a way that others would hear about it and it would make them glad as well.  If I followed you around all day, would I hear things that would make me glad or sad?  Would I hear things that would feed by faith or fear?

·         (v.3)  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together:  David had problems like everyone else, but David chose to magnify the Lord, not his problems.  When you choose to magnify your God above your problems, your problems seem to dwindle in comparison and you are better equipped to face them.  However, if you choose to magnify your problems above your God, then fear will grip your heart.

·         (v.4)  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears:  David said that by seeking the Lord he was able to be delivered from “all” of his fears.  If God delivered David from “all” of his fears, then how many fears does that leave?  None!  David said that His relationship with God was able to get him to a fear-free state.  In other words, David was able to get to the point where fear had no power over him.  Guess what?  What God did for David He can do for you!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that it is possible to live a life free from the power of fear.  It is possible to overcome the fear factor in your life.  Now, you just read it for yourself.  This is in the Bible and it literally happened.  It happened because David was more focused on magnifying His God than his problems.  David’s emphasis on God and His relationship with God as the “Lord” of his life, resulted in his deliverance from “all” the power of fear over him.  God does not play favorites.  God is ready, willing, and able to do the same for you, but you must choose to focus on the right things.  If all you focus on and talk about are problems, then you will never be delivered from the power of fear.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I will my will to bless you at all times.  I declare that Your praises shall continually be in my mouth.  I force my soul to make her boast in You.  My praise is contagious and others start to praise You because of the continual praise that comes from my lips.  I will seek You daily with an attitude of praise I ask You to deliver me from all my fears.  Fear has no power over me.  My God is bigger than my problems.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Your Faith will be Tested (top of page)

(2nd Corinthians 5:7 KJV)  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  If anyone should know that the Word will be tested in our lives I should.  James said, “The trying of your faith develops patience” (James 1:3).  The word there for patience literally means: the force of consistency.  I have stated many times that the only fight that we fight as believers is the fight of faith (1st Tim 6:12).  Paul taught us that faith comes by hearing and receiving the Word of God (Rom 10:17).  In other words, the more Word we have on a given area, the more our faith will be developed in that area; and we should expect our faith to be tested.  The enemy will do everything he can to get us to abort our faith, to cause us to doubt, and to lead us to fear.  I know this first hand.  My faith was tested on love several times while I was teaching the series on love.  The same happened when I taught on patience, on faith, on the power of your words, and etc.  So I guess I should have expected my faith to be tested in the area of fear when I began this series.  Sure enough, I have had several things happen in my life, since this series began, that have caused me to choose either faith or fear.  I have had to remind myself time and time again that I am a person of faith and not fear; and that fear has no power over me.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of mine and we were discussing a major event that will happen in my life within the next year.  We strategized some things and I told him what the “one thing” was that I did not want to happen.  This was the “one thing” that I was concerned about.  I specifically remember reminding myself, while I was at lunch, that I was not afraid of this thing happening, but that I simply did not want it to happen.  Sure enough, not even an hour after I got back to my office, it happened.  I received notice that the “one thing” I did not want to happen, had.  I will be honest with you and let you know that I allowed it to affect me.  I prayed, I talked to my Pastor, and I talked to my wife, but it still affected me.  It affected me for hours, until I casted the “care of it” over to the Lord (1st Peter 5:7).

In our text for this morning Paul said that we, as believers, “Walk by faith, not by sight.”  What does that mean?  It means that circumstances change.  Things can go from good to bad in a matter of seconds, but our life, hope, and faith cannot be subject to the whims of this world.  The fact that something changed from good to bad proves that it can change.  Just like it changed from good to bad, it can change back from bad to good, and the way God works, He normally changes it from bad to better-than-good.  The point is that things may change, but our faith must remain the same.  Sure, we might have lapses in our faith, like I did for a few hours yesterday; we must make every effort to get back on track as quickly as possible.  If we don’t, fear will grip our heart and we will never make it back to the realm of faith.

David said, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5 KJV).  You can’t trust and fear at the same time.  Paul was facing prison if he went back to Jerusalem, but the Holy Spirit was leading him back there.  Paul decided to be obedient to God and to go where God told him to go and to do what God told him to do.  As it relates to the impending imprisonment, Paul said, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24).

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that you must have a “None of these things move me” attitude when it comes to God.  Walk by faith.  Don’t make permanent decisions based upon temporary circumstances.  Trust God and He shall bring it to pass!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I trust You will all my heart.  I cast my care upon You, because I know that You care for me.  I will not be moved by circumstances.  Life is full of ups and downs, but I will not allow my internal condition to me moved by the constant variations in external circumstances.  I walk by faith and not by everything I see.  I commit my way unto You, I trust You, and I know that You will bring to pass Your best for my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Preparing for War (top of page)

(Deut 20:1 NIV)  When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I received many responses to yesterday’s message, because many of you were able to identify with the reality of the attacks that we – as believers and as humans – face on a daily basis.  Being a Christian does not exonerate from challenges, but thank God that He can equip us to face the challenges with the proper perspective.  When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure and the challenges they would face because of it, He said unto them, “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart!  I’ve conquered the world” (John 16:33 MSG).  Jesus did not ‘sugar coat’ the reality of the opposition the disciples would have to face in delivering the gospel message after He was gone.  In this world we will have to deal with difficult people and difficult situations, but we can’t face the challenges as wimps.  God transforms wimps to warriors and cowards to champions, because He knows that it will require courage to do all that He desires for us to do in our lives.  In many ways we are involved in daily battles in the war between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God.  With this in mind, let me share with you what God told the nation of Israel about preparing for war:

·         (Deut 20:1)  When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you:  Here we see that God knew that His people would come up against seemingly insurmountable odds.  No matter the odds and no matter how big the enemy was, the first thing that God told them was to NOT BE AFRAID.  Once you allow fear to grip your heart, then you have already lost.  The reason God gave them for not being afraid was that He would be with them.  The promise of God’s presence should give us the internal peace we need to face any giant in any battle.  If God is with us, then we cannot lose!

·         (v.2)  When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army:  This was key for them and it must be key for us.  The priest was there to hear from God.  The priest was the person that received revelation from God for their situation.  Well, guess what?  If you are a Born-Again believer, then God has made you a priest (1 Pet 2:9, Rev 1:5,6).  What that means is that God has given you the ability to pray directly to Him, in the name of Jesus, and receive revelation for your situation.  Once God gives you ‘light’ for the darkness you may be facing, then you can face your situation with a certain level of boldness.

·         (v.3)  He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies.  Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them”:  Look at what the priest was to say.  He was to tell them not to be fainthearted, not to be afraid, not to be terrified, and not to panic.  He was also to go on to tell them that God would be there to give them the victory (see v.4).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you will face challenges in life.  There will be people that come up against you for seemingly no reason.  There will be situations that seem insurmountable.  You will face opposition in your quest to fulfill your life purpose and it is all because there is a devil and he will do everything in his power to get you frustrated, disillusioned, and afraid.  However, if you refuse to fear and you remain in faith you will come out on top!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I know that I am in a daily battle and I know that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  So I declare that no matter who I face and no matter how I face them, I will not be afraid, because You are with me, in me, on me, and for me!  I receive revelation from You concerning the challenges I face and Your guidance enables me to face every challenge with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

What can Man do to You? (top of page)

(Psalm 118:6 KJV)  The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  This morning I am going to flow in the same vein from yesterday’s message.  We will all face people that will come up against us from time to time, for whatever reason.  Before I gave my life to Christ I was a very confrontational person, abrasive and aggressive, and always ‘looking’ to go up against someone.  I grew up in Brooklyn and in many ways I was a product of my environment.  Since giving my life to Christ (August 27th, 1995), I have developed Godly characteristics and deal with people in a much different way.  Not to say that I am a pushover, but I seek to be a conduit of God’s love and God has blessed me to get things done and to deal with people in such a way as to avoid offense.  I seek to get along with everyone, while still accomplishing the tasks required of my duties in the ministry and the military.  God has blessed me tremendously and I can truly say that my heart is set towards pleasing God daily.  Having said this, however, I have learned over the years that no matter how pure your motives and no matter how hard you intentionally attempt to walk in harmony, there will be people that will rise up against you.  In previous series’ I have taught on the favor of God and the goodness of God.  I have shared many biblical examples of people that have been walking right before God, but for whatever reason, had to deal with the numerous attacks of others.  The good news is that when you are walking with God you are protected.  No matter what people may desire to do you, their poison can’t stop God’s purpose; their assaults cannot stop God’s assignment.  This reality should give us an overwhelming peace and it should keep us from fear.  Why should I be afraid when I know that God is with me, in me, on me, and for me?

Not all scholars agree that the 118th Psalm was penned by David.  I am not a scholar, but it sure sound like David to me.  David had to deal with all sorts of attacks.  His life was on the line countless of times.  He had to totally rely on God.  David had experienced times where his family failed him, his men (soldiers) failed him, and his friends failed him.  The only true constant in David’s life was his God.  God had never, nor will He ever fail.  God had been there for David, time and time again.  So it’s easy for me to see him say, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”  In the 3rd Psalm David said, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about” (Psalm 3:6).  And in the 56th Psalm he said, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56:4).  It is clear that David was not afraid of man.  He was not afraid of what people could do to him.  He had been through all the betrayals and the attacks and he found out that God is bigger than any attack, God is stronger than any weapon formed against us, and God is wiser than any adversary.

We must learn what David learned.  Now, that is not to say that we have to endure all that he endured, because we should be able to learn from those that have gone before us.  The Bible was written so that we could learn from its pages and not have to learn all the lessons for ourselves.  That being said, I believe we have all lived through enough attacks from others to know that God is bigger than anything and anyone that could come up against us.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you can find comfort and pleasure in knowing that God is with you.  God has promised never to leave you and the promise of His presence brings with it the promise of His protection.  Sure, there will be people that attempt to come up against you, but keep your confidence in God.  What can man do to you?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You promised never to leave me, nor forsake me.  You taught me in Your Word that the reality of Your presence should enable me boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  I refuse to fear man.  Their poison cannot stop my purpose; their attacks cannot cancel my assignment.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Your Experiences build Your Confidence (top of page)

(Psalm 27:1 KJV)  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I continue to deal with David in this series, because he is a great example.  The Lord protected him through countless attempts on his life.  I can identify with David.  Not to say that I had to go through what he went through, but I had my own road to hoe.  As I have stated previously, I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn in the 70s and 80s.  I saw a person killed, shot dead, before my eyes at the tender age of 7.  I had a .357 magnum placed to my head when I was only 11 yrs. old.  I have been shot at several times.  Once I was in the middle of a situation that unfolded and a guy pulled out a sawed-off shotgun.  He fired the shotgun and I was in the range of fire, but I did not get hit.  I’ve had knives placed at my throat and etc.  One of the greatest revelations in my life came when I gave my life to Christ and God started to reveal His purpose to me.  He showed me how I was to Pastor a multi-racial, non-denominational church some day.  When God revealed this to me things really started to make sense.  I grew up in a multi-racial community and I can pretty much get along with anyone.  I have been associated with the Catholic, Methodist, African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, and Non-Denominational churches; so I have that area covered as well.  As God was revealing these things to me something special happened.  After revealing to me what He wants me to do in my future, God started showing me my past.  God took me back through incident after incident where I could have easily been killed.  God showed me how He protected me through all of those attacks.  I did not know it, but the enemy wanted to ‘wipe me out’ before I ever got started.  The reality that God protected me through all of that and the revelation of what He wants me to do in the future, gives me an overwhelming confidence in the area of personal protection.  Next week I will deal with the fear of death.  I can honestly say that I am not afraid of death and I am not afraid of man.

I want you to really get what David was saying.  The King James Version is good, but I want you to read it from a couple of other translations.  The Contemporary English Version translates this verse, “You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe.  I am not afraid of anyone.  You protect me, and I have no fears.”  The Message Bible says, “Light, space, zest – that’s GOD!  So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.”  Do you get it?  Can you see the fearless confidence David had as he penned these words?  How did David develop that confidence?  Through experiences! That’s how I have developed my confidence.  I have experienced the hand of God’s protection numerous times.  That’s why I am not afraid when I have to go to dangerous areas.  If I did not die in Brooklyn, with all I went through, I am not going to die now; especially not before completing my purpose.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your confidence must be birthed from your own experiences with God.  The Bible is not a textbook to study, but rather a life-book to live.  If all you ever do is read the Bible for head knowledge, you have accomplished nothing.  There are many people that know the Word of God, but they don’t know the God of the Word.  Get to know God, experience Him for yourself.  Apply this series to your everyday life.  Allow the Word of God to come alive in you and you will see fear drip off of you like water falling off a ducks back.  Look back to look forward.  Think about all God has done for you and all the times He protected you through attacks – physical or otherwise.  If God showed up then, He will show up now.  You have come too far to allow fear to cripple you now.  Face this day with fearless confidence!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I look back over the many times You have manifested Your glory in my life.  I know You did not bring me this far to leave me now.  With You on my side, I can say that I am not afraid of anyone, nor any thing.  My experiences with You, Lord, solidify my confidence in You!  I face this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Fear of Death – Subject to Bondage (top of page)

(Hebrews 2:14,15 KJV)  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  Last week I told you that we would deal with the fear of death this week.  The fear of death incapacitates a great number of people every day.  The sad reality is that there are many Born-Again believers that live with an overwhelming fear of death.  I talk to believers all the time that are afraid of getting on an airplane, or a cruise ship, or a helicopter, or etc.  Some will just flat-out not do it.  Their fear is at a point of terror.  They get terrified of the thought of it.  This is definitely not God’s will for us.  I will deal with the practical aspects of this later, but for the next couple of days we will lay a foundation by providing you a simple theological understanding of death.

I chose to start off with Hebrews 2:14,15.  In the second chapter of Hebrews the writer is explaining to us who Jesus was and what He came to do.  In our text we learn that Jesus took on the same form as we have – flesh and blood.  We also learn that Jesus died to destroy the one that had the power of death – the devil.  And finally, we learn that Jesus conquered death so that we could be delivered from the fear of it, because the fear of death causes a lifetime of bondage.  There is a lot to deal with in those two verses.  Let me just highlight one word, bondage.  The word bondage means: slavery or involuntary servitude; the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control.  The fear of death causes us to be a slave to it and it gives death an external power or control over us.

In an attempt to get a better understanding of these two verses let me share them with you from two other translations.  The Contemporary English Version says, “We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us.  He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death.  But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.”  The Message Bible says, “Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death.  By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.”

Tomorrow I will show you how Adam’s actions in the garden introduced the devil’s dynamic-duo into the earth; sin and death.  I call sin and death the “Double Whammy of Destruction.”  For today we will wrap it up by highlighting a few of the things that we have learned:

1.  The devil had the power over death.

2.  Jesus came to take the power back from the devil.

3.  Jesus conquered death so that we could do the same.

4.  The fear of death entangles us in bondage and Jesus died so that we could be free from it.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the fear of death is not something you want in your life.  Even before you learn more about it, you have learned enough today to know that Jesus died so that you could be free from the bondage of the fear of death.  If Jesus died so that you could have something, then shouldn’t you want it?  Some of you may say, Yes, I want it, but how do I receive it?  The answer is simple, by faith!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, the fear of death leads to bondage.  By faith, I receive freedom and liberty from the fear of death in my life.  I no longer give death any authority over me.  Jesus came to take the sting out of death and the victory from the grave.  I receive what He did and I no longer fear death.  I already died in Christ and that is the only death that matters.  I will live forever.  I have eternal life and I have no need to fear death.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Origin of Death (top of page)

(Gen 2:17 KJV)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I received several responses to yesterday’s message.  I can understand why, because there are people that literally live the length of their lives under the bondage of the fear of death.  John told us that fear brings torment with it (1st John 4:18).  There are people, and even some Christians, that live their lives in anguish, agony, and anxiety, because of fear.  This is not God’s will for us.

Let’s go back to the beginning in search of the origin of death.  In Genesis chapter 1 we learn that God intended for man to have dominion in the earth.  Man was to exercise rule over the fish, fowls, beasts, and over the entire earth.  This was God’s original intent and it still is His intent for man today.  God wants us to operate in dominion, authority, and power.  In the second chapter we see God’s intentions manifested.  God formed man (Adam) from the dust of the ground and He gave Adam purpose (he was in charge of the garden), provision (all of Adam’s needs were met), parameters (he could eat from all but one tree), power (Adam had the power to define, by naming the animals), and partnership (God gave Eve to Adam).  Today’s point of emphasis is the issue of parameters.  In our focus text we see that God told Adam that he could eat from the multitudes of trees available to him, but there was one tree that was off limits; the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God was clear.  God told Adam that in the day that he ate thereof he would surely die.  This is the first mention of death in the Bible.  At this point there was no death, but we also see that if death were to be introduced, it was going to be as a result of transgressing against God.  Whether or not death ever came into the world was up to Adam at this point.  Adam had the power of choice.  God gave Adam the power to make his own decisions.  God made Adam, and Eve, and us, free moral agents.

The second chapter ends by telling us that Adam and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.  There was no need for shame, guilt, doubt, fear, etc.  They were in perfect union with God and each other.  This was and still is a picture of God’s desire for our lives.  But we know that satan would not leave well-enough alone.  Satan showed up, deceived Eve, she defied God’s command by eating from the forbidden tree, she gave to her husband and he did the same.  This was the original sin.  They made a decision to transgress against God.  God – being the righteous God that He is – had to enforce the consequences of their decision.  The first thing that happened was that they died a spiritual death.  As soon as Adam ate their eyes were open.  Prior to this they were walking in the Spirit.  After their sin they were resigned to live under the limited resources of the human body (five senses).  They realized their nakedness and they attempted to cover themselves with leaves.  Why?  Because sin will always bring fear, guilt, and condemnation.  Adam attempted to hide from God when He heard God coming through the garden.  God called out for Adam and he replied, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  This is the first mention of fear in the Bible and it comes as a result of sin and separation from God.  We will stop hear for today.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that fear and death were never God’s desire for you.  God intended for humans to live forever.  The first Adam messed it up, but the last Adam (Jesus) redeemed us from everything the first Adam got us in to: sin, death, fear, torment, bondage, and etc.  If you have eternal life in Christ, why are you afraid to die?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am not afraid to die.  I know that Your original intent was for me to live forever and to live free of fear, guilt, shame, and condemnation.  Since You sent Jesus to redeem me from everything that Adam passed down to me, I declare that I am free from the power of sin and death in my life.  I am not afraid.  I have eternal life in Christ Jesus and when I die I will simply be translated from earth to glory, from labor to reward.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

The Answer to Sin and Death (top of page)

(Gen 2:17 KJV)  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.   Yesterday we dealt with Adam’s decision to disobey God.  His disobedience is called sin.  Adam’s sin severed his covenant with God and it opened the door to spiritual and physical death.  I dealt with the spiritual death yesterday; let’s look at the physical death today.

God is holy and God is righteous.  Being the righteous God that He is, God had to enforce the stated consequences of Adam’s decision.  Since Adam ate, he had to die.  He died an immediate spiritual death and he died a later physical one.  Sin brought in death (spiritual and physical) and Jesus later came to redeem us from both sin and death (spiritual and physical).  However, before we get to Jesus in the New Testament (or new covenant), we need to understand what God did as a stop-gap measure before Jesus came on the scene.

God had a legal right to take Adam’s [physical] life, but God introduced something in the garden that would play itself out throughout the entire Old Testament.  That something is substitutionary death and it is a powerful concept.  In Genesis 3 God judged the serpent, the man, and the woman.  In this same chapter the Bible says that God clothed Adam and Eve with “coats of skins” (3:21).  To get these “skins” it is obvious that an animal had to die.  The blood of an animal – my personal opinion is that it was a lamb – had to be shed for the sin of man.  Later on, after God established covenant with Abraham and his descendants, this became an annual ritual.  Once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the High Priest would offer a sacrifice for the sins of the people.  The word atonement means ‘to cover.’  It is further explained in Leviticus 23:26-32.  Suffice is to say that the blood of the animal was offered as a ‘covering’ for sin, but the blood of an animal is not an equivalent ransom for the sin of a man.  This means that the blood of an animal could never really eradicate the sin problem created by Adam.  This was all just a temporary fix – until the Blood of Jesus!  Likewise, the death problem was addressed the same way.  Another annual lamb was sacrificed, the PASSOVER lamb, and this lamb was an offering for death.  It was instituted when the death angel was scheduled to visit Egypt because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart (see Exodus 12).  Wherever the blood of the lamb was applied, the death angel simply ‘passed-over’ the house.  Once again, the annual sacrifice of the atonement lamb (for sin) and the PASSOVER lamb (for death) could never truly satisfy the transgression made by Adam.  I will explain God’s answer to the sin and death problem – Jesus the Christ – as we move forward with this.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the more you understand what Jesus did, the more it can become alive for you.  See, you cannot maximize what you do not understand.  Many understand what Jesus did for the sin problem, but few understand what Jesus did for the death problem; and because of their ignorance, they allow death to rule over them.  Jesus took the sting out of death and the victory back from the grave (1st Cor 15:55).  If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and you are Born-Again by the Holy Spirit, there is no need to fear death.  You will see in this series that the penalty has already been paid with an equivalent ransom, the blood of a human, the blood of Jesus!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I base my life and living on the truth of Your Word.  Your Word teaches me that Your Son died that I might live.  My sins are not covered, but rather, I have been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus!  Jesus paid the penalty for sin and death in my life; He became the ultimate atonement lamb and PASSOVER lamb in one fell swoop.  I have no need to fear.  I walk in perfect peace.  I enter into this day with a clear conscience and a rested spirit.  I can accomplish anything set before me today, because I am at rest.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

From Death Reigning to Reigning in Life (top of page)

(Rom 5:12 & 17 NIV)  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.  (v.17) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.  This message flows in the same vein from yesterday’s.  I could have done more teaching on it, but I believe I have laid a firm enough foundation for you to understand that Adam introduced sin into the world and sin brought with it death.  Most people understand the gospel message as it relates to the reality that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin.  They understand that and they don’t have a problem with accepting the fact that once they repent of their sin and accept Jesus as Lord, they are forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.  But that is only part of the Good News of the gospel.  Jesus came to literally get us out of everything that Adam got us into.

In our text Paul teaches us that sin entered the world through one man (Adam) and that death came in through sin.  Because of Adam, all have sinned and therefore all are subject to death.  In the 17th verse Paul says something interesting; he says, “Death reigned through that one man.”  In other words, death reigned because of what Adam did.  Think about that for a moment and brood over the language God used through Paul.  The word “reign” is a word that pertains to a sovereign.  This word connotes royal rule or authority; it paints the picture of a dominating power or influence.  Paul tells us that death literally reigned – it had a dominating power and influence over people – because of what Adam did in the garden.  I just did a quick internet search on the types of phobias (fears) and honestly, I was surprised.  The first list brought up 71 phobias and I thought that was a lot, until I realized that those were only the ones that start with the letter “A.”  The complete list has 588 documented and defined phobias.  Now tell me that fear is not a problem!  The name listed for the fear of death is Thanatophobia and I submit to you that the fear is death is the cause of most of the 588 phobias.  Why?  Because death was reigning until Jesus came.

Jesus conquered death, just like He conquered sin.  Paul contrasts the reign of death with our reign in life through Jesus Christ.  Paul asks, “How much more?”  Meaning that we, as Born-Again believers, should reign in life even to a greater level than the reign of death.  If death had a great power over you before you gave your life to Christ, then now the reality of life, abundant life, the God-kind of life, should be a greater force to you than death ever was.  You and I are to reign in life.  Jesus did not only come so that we would miss hell, He came that we might have life.  Not only that, Jesus came that we might enjoy life, in abundance, to the full, till it overflows (John 10:10 AMP).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus redeemed you from everything that Adam left you.  So you should be life conscious, not death conscious.  You ought to be reigning in life, not allowing death to reign over you.  Now, just like anything else, Jesus already made a way for you to be free from the bondage of death, but you have a choice.  You can choose to allow death to continue to reign over you or you can choose to reign over death and enjoy life.  Once again, the choice is yours.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I choose to choose in accordance with Your Word.  Your Word has exposed to me the fact that death did reign in the earth, but that it should no longer reign over me.  I reign in life and not death.  I am life conscious, not death conscious.  My focus is on life and not death.  I want everything Jesus provided for me and that includes life, in abundance, to the full, till it overflows!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Dealing with Death (top of page)

(John 14:1,2 KJV)  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.  I trust you are enjoying the teaching thus far.  I take a departure from the doctrinal foundation I have been laying to close out the week with a more practical message.  It goods to see how this all applies to real life.

When I sent out the first message about the fear of death I received an email from one of my mentors.  He is an Army Chaplain and also a Prison Chaplain.  He has been pastoring/preaching longer than I have been living.  He has had to deal with death on many levels: Pastor, Chaplain, friend, family member, etc.  He encouraged me to deal with this topic from a Biblical perspective and to help equip believers to be able to deal with death appropriately.  As fate would have it, the Lord led me to call him on Wednesday afternoon.  I came to find out that his father was at death’s door.  He was 92 years old, he had lived a full life and he had enjoyed the life that he livedMost importantly, he was Born-Again.  His eternal destination (heaven) was secure and he and his family were at peace.  I prayed for my friend and his family and just four hours later his father graduated from earth to glory, from labor to reward, from mortal to immortality.

In a note he sent out yesterday my mentor said of his father, “I was with Dad as he transitioned from earth to his heavenly residence.  Dad was a solid believer in his Lord Who gave him eternal life, by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).”  After giving the time and location of the memorial service he said, “This is not a “Funeral Service” but a celebration of his life and legacy!  We had a great trip together over these many years! I miss him already but the separation is not permanent.  I look forward to a great reunion in the not-so-distant future!”  See, we don’t call them funerals when the person was Born-again, we call them celebration services.  They are not services held to mourn death, but rather to celebrate life!

I share this with you because it helps to put flesh to our faith.  If you are a Born-Again believer, then death is not something you need to fear.  Now we, as family members, never really know how we are going to deal with death, because the reality is that we all have emotions.  But our emotions cannot override the truth [God’s Word] of our eternal life in Christ Jesus.  In our focus text Jesus told us that He was going to glory to prepare a place for us.  Guess what?  Jesus never lied, nor will He ever lie.  There is a place for me and there is a place for you, if you are a believer.  When we physically die we don’t eternally die, we simply move from place to place.  Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).  The verbiage Jesus used is passed tense.  This has already happened for the believer.  What do we have to be afraid of?

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that you must be secure in your salvation.  Sure, when death comes it hurts.  We all have emotions, but we can make it through because we know where our faith is and what it is rooted and grounded upon; eternal life in Christ Jesus!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I believe You and I believe Your Word.  I know You have prepared a place for me and I know that when I physical die, I simply move from earth to glory.  I am not afraid of death.  My victory over the fear of death enables me to truly enjoy life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (top of page)

(Phil 1:21 MSG)  Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty.  Life versus even more life!  I can’t lose.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with

the teaching on the fear of death.  I hope you can see by now that fear is a choice, just like faith is a choice.  I see this choice clearly depicted in the life of Paul.  Let’s take a look at an awesome portion of his letter to the church at Philippi.  Take into account that he wrote this from prison:

“I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah. It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love… The others… are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad… So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out…I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose. As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.”  (Phil 1:12-26 MSG).

I know this is a longer passage than a usually death with and for the next few days we will seek to glean golden nuggets from this passage, but I wanted you to read the entire passage so you could get an understanding of Paul’s attitude towards life and death.  Here you have a guy that was in jail – for preaching the Gospel – and he kept a positive attitude.  More importantly, he was facing a possible death sentence and he kept a positive attitude about that.  As a matter of fact, he was looking forward to death.  Paul admitted that there were days where he would rather just die, so he could be with the Lord, but he also knew that his assignment on the earth was not complete.  We will stop here today.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should learn from Paul’s attitude.  If I met Paul back then I believe he would have told me something like this, “For me, to live is Christ.  So if they let me live I will preach the Gospel.  If they kill me I will go on to glory.  If they decide to simply persecute me longer, I will just receive a bigger crown when I get there!  No matter what happens, they can’t stop me!  I am sold out for Christ!”  Are you sold out for Christ?  If so, you have nothing to be afraid of.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, fear has no power over me; especially not the fear of death.  I am not afraid of death or dying.  Alive, I am Your messenger and Your servant.  Dead, I am your reward.  Alive, I praise You down here.  Dead, I will praise You up there.  I have nothing to be afraid of, so I am determined to do all that You desire for me to do while I am in the land of the living.  I face this day with the proper attitude.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 2) (top of page)

(Phil 1:21 MSG)  Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty.  Life versus even more life!  I can’t lose.

First of all I want to apologize if you did not receive yesterday’s message.  My hosting company was moving servers and not everyone received the message.  If you did not, you can read yesterday’s message – and all messages in this series – on the Fear Factor page of my website.  Because of what happened, I won’t go too far today.  I will provide a brief recap and share some more ‘light’ about Paul’s attitude.

This message is part of our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” and we are currently dealing with “The fear of death.”  The following is an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi; and take into account that he wrote this from prison:

“I can hardly wait to continue on my course.  I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least.  On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die.  They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.  As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do.  If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful.  Some days I can think of nothing better.  But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here.  So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues.  You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again.  We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.”  (Phil 1:20-26 MSG).

Paul says a lot in this passage and even more if you read the entire chapter.  What I want to do highlight is his attitude towards life and his attitude towards death.  Here you have a guy that was in jail – for preaching the Gospel – and he kept a positive attitude.  He was looking forward to every day.  Earlier in the passage he said, “My imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect.  Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered.”  The enemy thought he was stopping Paul by putting him in jail, but Paul developed a prison ministry.  He started preaching Christ to the soldiers, the guards, and the prisoners.  This could be ‘somewhat’ understandable if Paul was in jail for a misdemeanor, but Paul was facing a possible death sentence.  Even with death being a possibility, Paul never changed.  He preached the gospel and he did so every day, no matter where he was, no matter how he felt, and no matter what he was facing.  Paul was not afraid of death.  As a matter of fact, Paul welcomed it! Paul was literally looking forward to death.  There were days that Paul would have rather been with the Lord than to be in the earth, but Paul knew that his assignment was not complete.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should learn from Paul’s attitude.  Paul wrote half the New Testament.  He is a credible witness.  If he was not afraid of death, you shouldn’t either.  Look at the choice he said you have: “Life vs. even more life!”  If you are a Born-Again believer, then it’s a win-win situation.  You can’t lose.  What do you have to be afraid of?  Either you have and enjoy the life that Jesus died to give you in the earth or you die and enjoy the life that Jesus died to give you in heaven.  Either way you will have and enjoy life.  Once you settle this in your heart, the fear of death should no longer be a factor for you!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, fear has no power over me; especially not the fear of death.  I am not afraid of death or dying.  Alive, I am Your messenger and Your servant.  Dead, I am your reward.  Alive, I praise You down here.  Dead, I will praise You up there.  I have nothing to be afraid of, so I am determined to do all that You desire for me to do while I am in the land of the living.  I face this day with the proper attitude.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 3) (top of page)

(Phil 1:3-25 CEV)  It is a hard choice to make.  I want to die and be with Christ, because that would be much better.  But I know that all of you still need me.  That’s why I am sure I will stay on to help you grow and be happy in your faith.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.  We have been dealing with Paul’s attitude now for a couple of days.  We should make every effort to learn from Paul and other Biblical characters.  If anyone knows about learning from those that have gone before us it was Paul himself.  While teaching the church at Corinth (and us for that matter) about the mistakes the nation of Israel made in the wilderness, Paul said, “These things happened to them as a warning to us.  All this was written in the Scriptures to teach us who live in these last days” (1st Corinthians 10:11).  Paul’s was teaching believers to learn from the Old Testament Scriptures while he was literally writing part of the New Testament.  The same applies to us today.  We are charged to learn from the pioneers of the faith.  We should mimic what they did well and avoid what they did badly.  Paul’s attitude towards life and death is worthy of emulation.

In our text Paul was clear that he had a desire to die, so that he could be with Christ.  Paul does not cut any corners, he tells us that being with Christ in heaven, in his opinion, is much better than being down here and dealing with the constant opposition from the kingdom of darkness and the unrighteous.  However, I believe I have a responsibility to point out that Paul was a preacher in a place and time where preachers were persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and killed.  Even when Paul was called to the ministry God was clear up front that he would have to suffer many great things for God’s name’s sake (Acts 9:16).  My point is that there was a great deal of suffering associated with Paul’s assignment, because of the many factors of the time.  So I can understand why Paul would rather go on to glory.  But even with everything involved that led Paul to have this mindset, I need to point out that his was a powerful mindset to have.  He was not afraid of death, because he was completely confident in his salvation.  He was not wavering.  He was not unsure.  He did not believe that he “might” make it to heaven.  He “knew” he was going to heaven and he had no need to fearing death.

John said, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1st John 5:11-13).  Let me reiterate.  John said that he wrote what he wrote so that we would know that we have eternal life.  This was written after Paul’s writing so Paul did not have the ability to read what John wrote, but he did not need to read it, Paul was living it!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must be sure of your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  You must be sure of the salvation that Christ provided for you on Calvary’s cross.  If you are not sure of your salvation then you open the door to the fear of death.  Paul was confident that he was going to heaven and his confidence provided him the ability to conquer the fear of death in his life.  Do you have that same confidence? If you do, then you have no need to fear death or dying.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die that I might live.  I have accepted Jesus as my Lord.  I have confessed Jesus with my mouth and I believe on the Lord Jesus with my heart.  I am saved and I am a believer.  I have passed from death unto life and I have no need to fear physical death.  The fear of death has no power over me.  I am completely confident in my relationship with You God, through my Savior Jesus the Christ.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 4) (top of page)

(Gal 2:20 KJV)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.  I have shared a few messages with you about Paul that were mainly based on his letter to the church at Philippi.  This morning we take a look at something that he wrote in his letter to the church in Galatia.  Paul knew clearly what Jesus had done for us; how Jesus suffered, bled, died, and then rose again from the dead with all power in His hand.  The crucifixion of Jesus and His subsequent resurrection are the key facets of the gospel message.  What is interesting, however, is that Paul connected his Born-Again experience to the crucifixion of Jesus.  Paul says that he was crucified with Christ.  Now, obviously Paul did not die a physical death like Jesus did, but Paul was saying that his former life and his former self were now dead and nailed to the cross with Jesus.  He goes on to explain, “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”  This is something I can easily identify with, because I died on August 27th 1995.  When I gave my life to Christ and I accepted Him as my Lord He literally came in to live inside of me.  I can say like Paul, “Christ lives in me.”  It is as though I am dead, but still alive.  My old man died and my new man – the man that I am now – was born that day.  I experienced what Jesus explained to Nicodemus (see John 3:3-7) to be the second birth.  I had been in church pretty much all my life, but I had never really experienced God.  I was raised in the Catholic Church and I knew lots of rites and rituals, but I did not really know God.  Now, I must give this disclaimer: my personal experience in the Catholic Church is no reflection against the church itself; I know many true believers that are members of the Catholic church; my mother being one of them.  That being said, I was 23 years old, I knew a lot about church, but I did not know God.  That night, in Camp Doha, Kuwait, I gave my life to Christ and I was Born-Again.  I can now, like Paul, explain that I was crucified with Christ, but I am still alive.  The life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I mention the second birth because it directly relates to this series.  All of us have a choice.  We can either be born once and die twice or we can be born twice and only die once.  Ok, that might be a bit confusing.  I dealt with the second birth, now let me briefly explain the second death.  The second death is mentioned four times in John’s account of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (see Rev 2:11; 20:6; 20:14; and 21:8).  Revelations 2:11 tells us that we, as believers and overcomers, “Will not be hurt at all by the second death.”  Revelations 21:8 tells us that, “The lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” is the second death.  The second death comes after the final judgment and it relates to eternal separation from God in the lake of fire that will burn forever.  I know people don’t like to hear about things like this, but whether they like to hear it or not, it is still true.  The Bible is the truth and I have a responsibility to share the truth.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you are Born-Again you have already died to self.  When you physically die you will simply change locations, but you will continue to live on with the Lord forever.  If you are not Born-Again, then you have only been born once and you will die twice.  You will die a physical death, whenever that happens, and you will later die the second death, the eternal death, after the judgment, in the lake of fire and brimstone.  So the good news of the gospel is that if you are Born-Again, you don’t have anything to fear.  Paul was not afraid of death, I am not afraid of death, and you should not be either!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am a twice-born believer.  I have accepted Jesus the Christ as my Lord, I am dead to my old man, and I am Born-again.  I have no need to fear death.  Death has no power over me.  In accordance with Your Word, I will not be hurt at all by the second death.  This gives me comfort and peace.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Paul’s Attitude towards Life and Death (Part 5) (top of page)

(1st Cor 15:53-55 CEV)  Our dead and decaying bodies will be changed into bodies that won’t die or decay.  The bodies we now have are weak and can die.  But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal.  Then the Scriptures will come true, “Death has lost the battle!  Where is its victory?  Where is its sting?”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the teaching on the fear of death.  We have looked briefly at Paul’s letters to the churches at Philippi and Galatia.  This morning I feel led to share with you from Paul’s power-packed letter to the church at Corinth.  This is actually the first of two letters.  The focus for this morning’s message comes towards the end of the letter, in the second to last chapter (chapter 15).  In this chapter Paul writes about Jesus’s resurrection.  Paul explains that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead on the third day.  Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to Peter, the other disciples, then to over 500, and finally to Paul Himself.  To Paul Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was a concrete fact.  Over 500 people had witnessed the risen Savior and their witness fueled their zeal for the gospel, even when it meant possible death.  The resurrection from the dead of Jesus is what separates Christianity from every other world religion.  We are the only religion that serves a living Savior.  You can be a Muslim without ever meeting the prophet Mohamed, you can be a Buddhist without ever meeting Buddha, but if you are going to be a Christian you have to meet Christ for yourself!

After talking to us about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead Paul transitions to ours.  He explains that someday our bodies will transformed into glorified bodies that won’t ever die or decay.  They will be changed from temporal to eternal; from mortal to immortal.  Paul says that when that day comes it will come true what Isaiah said, “The Lord All-Powerful will destroy the power of death and wipe away all tears” (Is 25:8).  Jesus came to conquer death so that we could enjoy life.  Jesus took the sting out of death and he robbed the grave of its victory over believers.  Paul knew this.  This revelation of Jesus’ victory over death was settled in his heart.  That is why Paul could face everything he faced with a fearless confidence.  If you are not afraid of death, then what do you have to be afraid of?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus died and was raised from the dead so that you could apply the reality of His actions in every area of your life.  Jesus did not only die to conquer sin, but He also rose to conquer death.  Jesus took the sting out of death and victory from the grave.  Death, hell, and the grave have no power over you.  Do you realize that?  If so, then you can face every day with fearless confidence.  If you are not afraid of death, then you should not be afraid of anything; and that is exactly how God wants you to live.  God desires for you to live a fear-free and worry-free.  If you are in faith, you can’t be in fear.  If you are in trust, you can’t be in worry.  Like everything else, the choice is yours!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for sending Your Son to die that I could live.  I thank You for allowing Jesus to conquer sin.  I have accepted Him as my Lord and His blood is the payment for my sin.  I also thank You for allowing Jesus to conquer death.  He rose from the dead and in-so-doing, He conquered death so that I could do the same.  He took the sting out of death and he robbed the grave of its victory.  Death, hell, and the grave have no power over me.  I am not afraid of dying and I am not afraid of anything else!  I live a fear-free and a worry-free life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Remembering Those who have Died for Us (top of page)

(John 15:13 KJV)  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  For over a week now I have been teaching you on the truth [God’s Word] concerning death.  The more “light” you have from God’s Word on any given topic, the better equipped you will be to deal with it.  Yesterday was Veteran’s Day and last Friday I attended a ceremony in honor of a veteran that paid the ultimate price – death.  His name was Alexander Scott Coulter.  He was a Chief Warrant Officer Two in the United States Army and he did what I do; he was a Network Engineer.  He died in Iraq doing his job.  He was enroute to establish communications for soldiers when his vehicle encountered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).  I knew Scott and to my knowledge he is the only one of my field to die during our current war.  The program of the ceremony has a picture of Scott and just over his picture are the words, “In Honor of a Hero.”  The purpose of the ceremony was to dedicate a wing of the building where Communications Warrant Officers are trained in his name.

I share this with you because we are a nation at war.  Although I believe with all my heart that we should not be afraid of death, especially as believers, I also believe that we should not trivialize it.  No matter how prepared we think we are for it, death always deals a powerful blow to every family it comes in contact with.

Recently I watched an interview of the actor/author Ben Stein.  Ben wrote a book about the soldiers in Iraq and he entitled the book, “The Real Stars: In Today’s America, Who Are the True Heroes?”  In the interview Ben Stein talked about his father-in-law.  He said that his father-in-law had been in two wars and he was still in the army when they met.  Ben asked his future father-in-law, “Do you like war?”  “No,” his father-in-law replied.  “Then why do you fight?”  Asked Ben.  Ben was not really expecting his answer.  His father-in-law answered, “So you don’t have to!

I am a first-generation American.  I am the first of my family to be born in this country.  But that makes me no less American that those that have been here for 200 years.  This is my country.  I believe it what it represents.  And I serve God by serving my country every day.  I have visited Iraq a couple of times and I will be back in a few weeks.  Although I am not afraid of death and I have complete confidence that I will go and come back without harm, this morning I ask you to remember those that have not.  My wife is an Operating Room nurse and she has first-hand knowledge of the many injured soldiers that have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, there are also many that did not make it to the hospital.  Let’s pray for them today.

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that freedom is not free and there are soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and civilians that are putting their lives on the line so you don’t have to.  Remember them!

Prayer:  Lord God, I pray for the families of every soldier, sailor, airmen, marine, and civilian that have paid the ultimate price in this Global War on Terrorism.  I pray that Your Spirit, the Comforter, may provide them comfort.  Minister to their hearts.  Wipe their tears and calm their fears.  I also pray for all those that are currently deployed.  I pray Father that you teach their fingers to fight and their hands to war.  Dispatch angels to protect them daily and bring them home safely.  I pray for the destruction of the Al-Qaeda network, the capture of Osama Bin-Laden, and for peace to overcome terror!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #1: God Said Not To! (top of page)

(Genesis 15:1 KJV)  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  When I get into a series I never really know how God is going to lead me and how long the series is going to be.  After all, if God doesn’t give me the words, I have nothing to say.  I have been sharing Today’s Word for just about 10 years now and I – Praise God – have never had to “make up” things to say.  We have been on this topic now for over 13 weeks and I trust you have learned a thing or two about fear and about overcoming it; I know I have.  I am always amazed by how much that Bible has to say about real life issues, struggles, and challenges.  Dealing with fear is not a small thing for many; fear can consume and suffocate your life.  I hope you have seen in this series that fear is NOT God’s desire for your life and it is certainly not God’s best.  Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life (John 10:10), but you can’t do so if you are afraid of flying, of getting in the water, of elevators, of failure, of rejection, and etc.; the list could go on and on.  Remember, this series caused me to look up the types of documented phobias and I was surprised to find 588 types of fears.  Don’t find yourself on that list.  Fear pleases satan, faith pleases God.  Avoid fear at all costs.

As I seek to begin to wind down this series I am led to do so with a list of Reasons Why Not to Fear.  I am not sure how many reasons the Lord will give me, so we will look forward to the reasons together.  The first reason why not to fear is because “God Said Not To!”  God told us not to lie, cheat, steal, envy, backbite, commit adultery, murder, sexual sin, and etc.  We know most of those and they are easily identifiable as sin.  Paul said, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14:23).  The most basic definition for sin is “Missing the mark.”  Whenever we do anything that God told us not to do we are clearly missing the mark.  In one way, shape, or form, God told us hundreds of times in the Bible not to fear.

The first mention of the words, “Fear not” in the Bible are in our focus text.  In chapter 14 Abram (later Abraham) led a rescue mission to recover his nephew and his entire family.  The rescue mission also netted a great deal of spoils from the enemy.  Abraham decided not to take the spoils from the enemy.  He told the king of Sodom that he did not want the king to be able to say, “I have made Abram rich” (Gen 14:23).  Two verses later we see God telling Abram not to fear.  What was the point?  The point was that whenever we make a stand to rely on God as our source of provision the enemy will attempt to get us to doubt God and thereby fear lack.  God reassured Abram that He was not only his protector (shield), but also his source (exceeding great reward).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not want to fear, because God told you not to.  It would take too long to go through all the scriptures where God said, “Fear not,” or “Fret not,” or “Do not be afraid.”  God does not want you to fear.  God told you not to do it.  So just like you are avoid other things God told you not to do, you must make every effort to avoid fear.  This is the first and most basic reason why you should not fear, because God said no to!  Faith pleases God, fear disappoints Him, because fear tells him that you have more confidence in your opposition than your God! Don’t disappoint God today, choose to operate in faith and not fear.  Why?  Because God said so!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I seek to live a life that is pleasing to You.  I know that faith pleases You and fear does not.  You are disappointed every time I fear, because in-so-doing I am saying that my situation is bigger than my God.  Right now, by faith, I declare that fear has no power over me.  My God is bigger than any situation I may face.  My confidence is in You, Lord, and my confidence in You overrides anything that man can do to me.  I don’t live a life of fear, doubt, or unbelief.  I live a life of faith.  Let it be written that I walked by faith and I pleased God!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #2: Fear is not of God! (top of page)

(2nd Timothy 1:17 KJV)  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I gave you reason #1, “Because God told you not to!”  That should be a powerful enough reason not to.  Every time the nation of Israel got in fear in the Old Testament God would send a Word through a Prophet to tell them, “Fear not.”  Every time the disciples got in fear in the New Testament Jesus would tell them, “Fear not.”  Notice that God never said, “Try not to fear.”  His simply said, “Fear not.”  This implies that we can do it.  God will never expect us to do something that He has not equipped us to do.

This morning let’s look at reason #2 why not to fear, “Because fear is not of God!”  Fear did not come from God.  Fear showed up after Adam committed the original sin.  Fear was a result of the work of satan, not God.  Fear was a result of man’s separation from God.  While Adam and Eve were enjoying their fellowship with God they did not even know what fear was.  They had no concept of fear until they were separated from God, because of sin.

In our focus text Paul tells us that “God has not given us the spirit of fear.”  The Amplified translation of this verse says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”  It is not now, nor has it ever been the will of God that we operate in fear.  Fear is not God’s will for the believer, because God never instituted it.  Fear is a by-product of sin and sin is not God’s will.

When writing to the church at Rome Paul said, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15).  Paul connects fear with bondage and he lets the believers in Rome – and us also, for that matter – know that we did not receive fear or bondage from God.  What we received from God was a spirit of adoption; meaning that God accepted us as His children through the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross.  As God’s children we can cry out, “Abba, Father.”  The word “Abba” literally means, “Daddy.”  God is our Daddy; He is our loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father.  James said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17).  As our Daddy, God has never and will never desire that we, as His children, live subject to the bondage of fear.  Why?  Because He loves us.  John told us that fear brings torment (1st John 4:18).  What loving father would want his children to be tormented and in bondage?  Not even a human father would want that, much less God!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should want to receive the things that come from God and avoid the things that don’t!  Fear does not come from God and it is not God’s desire for your life.  Fear was never part of His plan for you.  God has plans for you (Jer 29:11), but living in the bondage and torment are not part of it.  So make a decision today to accept what God wants for your life and reject what He does not.  The choice is yours.  You can either choose to live by faith or you can choose to allow fear to control your life.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I make wise decisions, because I choose to line up my decisions with Your Word.  I know from Your Word that fear did not come from You.  Since it did not come from You, then I don’t want it.  I choose to accept the life of faith and I also choose to reject the life of fear.  I will never again be entangled with the bondage and torment of fear.  Fear has no power over me.  I accept and walk in the love of God.  You are my Daddy and You love me too much to leave me in bondage to anything, including fear.  Daddy, you want good things for me and I declare that I will accept what You desire for me and reject what you don’t!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #3: Because You Must Rule Your Feelings! (top of page)

(2nd Corinthians 5:7 KJV)  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I gave you reason #2, “Because fear is not of God!”  I showed you that God never gave you fear and God never expects you to walk it in.  Fear is from the enemy and it was never designed to be part of the life of the believer.

This morning let’s look at reason #3 why not to fear, “Because you Must Rule Your Feelings!”  A person that is always afraid is giving off indications that they are immature in Christ.  People that are governed by fear are people that are governed by their emotions.  It was never God’s design that our emotions rule over us, we are supposed to rule over them.  Think about it.  Do you think that successful believers don’t have bad feelings?  Of course they do, but they don’t allow their feelings to rule their life.  There are many days that I don’t “feel” like getting up early to send out Today’s Word; but I don’t care how I feel, I make the decision to get up, get before God, and do it!  I run into people all the time that tell me that they don’t “feel” saved anymore, or that they don’t “feel” God like they used to.  I ask them, “Have you repented of your sin?”  “Yes,” they reply.  Then they say, “But I still don’t feel right.”  Guess what?  You don’t have to feel right to be right.

The job of your feelings is to amplify your thoughts.  If you sit back and think of the goodness of God, of all the things He has done for you, and of how much He loves you, before you know it, you will feel good! You might even throw up your hands and worship God for His goodness and mercy towards you.  Now, if you sit back and think about all the negative things in your life, and how bad things are, and how bad this is or that is, before you know it you will feel bad.  If you do it too long you might even delve into depression.  However, in both cases your feelings are doing their job; they are amplifying your thoughtsIf you change the way you think you will change the way you feel; but even with all of this, it never has anything to do with your right standing with God.  You may feel unrighteous, but that has nothing to do with the fact that Jesus has made you the righteousness of God.  If you are a Born-Again believer you are righteous, whether you feel like it or not.

Four times in the Bible (Hab 2:4, Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38), God tells us that that just – those of us that have been declared righteous – are to live by faith!  In our focus text Paul tells us to walk by faith and not by sightOur life is supposed to be lived by faith, not feelings.  There will be lots of times where you don’t feel like you should feel, but so what, tell your feelings that you will do whatever you are supposed to do anyway.  To walk by sight is to walk by your senses, or sense-realm-evidence.  This is not God’s will, because what you see will fluctuate.  If you live your life by what you see you will live an unstable life.  If you live your life by faith, rooted and grounded in the Word of God, that never changes, you will live a strong, stable, and secure life!

So what does this mean to you today? It simply means that God does not want you to live your life by what you see, because what you see will change.  Base your life on His Word, because His Word never changes.  Walk by faith no matter how you feel!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I live my life by what I know, not what I see.  I live my life based upon the reality of Your Word and Your love towards me.  I realize that I may not always feel right, but I am right.  Jesus made me right.  I will speak, believe, and live what You say, even when I don’t feel like it.  I refuse to live my life by unstable feelings.  I will live my life by faith and that will ensure that I live a strong, stable, and secure life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #4: What you Fear Will Come on You! (top of page)

(Job 3:25 KJV)  For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  I closed out last week with reason #3, “Because you Must Rule Your Feelings!”  I explained that we will all “feel” different things from time to time, but we cannot be ruled by how we feel.  If we want to live a strong and stable life we must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God!

This morning I give you reason #4 why you should not be afraid, “Because what you fear will come on you!”  The more afraid of something you become, the more susceptible to it you are.  You open doors for things to happen to you when you fear.  Most believers know the story of Job, but most don’t know that Job opened the door for some of the things that happened to him to happen, because he was in fear.  Our focus text for this morning says the thing that Job greatly feared came upon him.  Job said with his own lips that what he was afraid of actually came upon him.

Have you ever met someone that said, “I need to hurry up and get this done, because if I don’t I’m afraid that ‘such-and-such’ will happen to me.”  Only to find out later that the very things they were afraid of happened.  Why?  Because fear opened the door to it. Fear opens doors for us, just like faith does.  Fear is a negative form of faith.  Faith is believing God to do good things in your life.  Fear is believing satan to do negative things in your life.  Faith is a confidence in God; fear is a confidence in satan.

Earlier in this series I shared with you a portion of the letter to the Hebrews where the writer said of Jesus, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14,15 KJV).  Your fear makes you “subject” to bondage.  Fear opens you up to the possibility of bondage, just like faith opens you up the possibility of liberty.

The good news is that you can stop the cycle of fear in your life.  This series is designed to expose the schemes of the enemy, so that you can live a victorious life in Christ.  So instead of expressing confidence in the negative, simply doubt it!  For example, have you ever had struggles with believing God?  Have you ever had to make a conscious effort to overcome doubt?  Doubt will stop you from seeing the manifestation of God’s best in your life.  If you doubt it will lead to a faith-failure.  Well, if you know this, then use it on the enemy.  When he puts a negative thought in your mind, a thought that goes against what you are praying for in faith, then simply tell him, “I doubt it!”  If you start doubting what the enemy can do to you, you will experience fear-failures.  Believe me; you want your fear to fail and your faith to succeed!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you must believe God and doubt the enemy.  If you doubt what he can do in your life then you will close the door to fear.  If you remain in fear you will open doors that you want closed and close doors that you want open.  Overcome fear and close every door to failure in your life!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I live by faith.  My life functions by faith.  Everything I do in Your Kingdom I do by faith.  I declare that I will not doubt You, but I will doubt whatever negative thing the enemy puts in my mind.  I refuse to open any negative doors with fear.  Fear will not and does not rule over me.  I refuse to give space the devil.  I doubt what He says and I believe what You say and what You have said in Your Word concerning me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #5: There is NO god like our God! (top of page)

(Isaiah 43:10 NIV) “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.  Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I shared with you reason #4, “Because what you fear will come on you!”  I showed you how when you operate in fear you literally open the door for the enemy.  When we stop fearing we close doors that we need closed.

This morning I give you reason #5 why you should not be afraid, “Because there is NO god like our God!”  I really like this one and I will more than likely send out several messages out on this one reason.  Let’s start off with looking at what Isaiah said.  Please read our focus text.  After declaring what He declared in verse 10, God went on to say, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed — I, and not some foreign god among you.  You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he.  No one can deliver out of my hand.  When I act, who can reverse it?” (verses 11-13).  I love that language.  God says things like:

·         There was no god before me and there will be none after me.

·         Apart from me, there is no other god.

·         Who can deliver you from out of my hand?

·         When I do something, who can stop it?

As most of you know I grew up in East New York (ENY), Brooklyn.  ENY was a very rough neighborhood in the 70s and 80s.  One of the biggest and baddest guys in my neighborhood was an African American guy named Kenny.  People called him “Big Kenny.”  Big Kenny could fight and everyone knew it.  People respected him for it and they never messed with him.  Well, I was a little Dominican kid in a neighborhood with very few Dominicans.  They called me “little Lenny” (there’s a story behind the name).  Needless to say, I was not ‘sitting pretty,’ if you know what I mean.  But somehow I made friends with Big Kenny.  He came over to my house one day to play on my Atari 2600.  My mother was cooking and she fixed him a plate.  He loved my mother’s food and he was hooked.  The rest, as they say, is history.  He looked out for me and he let everyone know that if they messed with little Lenny there were going to feel the wrath of Big Kenny!  This gave me an overwhelming confidence.  I could play outside and not be afraid.  I knew that Big Kenny had my back.

On a much greater level, this is what God is saying to us in this passage.  God is telling you and I that He is our God.  He is bigger than any other gods.  He is stronger than any other gods.  In reality, there really are no other gods but our God!  This biggest and strongest God in the universe, the only true God, is our God and He has our backs!  Glory to God! This should give us an overwhelming confidence that should enable us to face every day with fearless assurance!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the biggest, strongest, and only true God has your back.  He is in you, on you, with you, and for you.  Who can stand against you when you have that kind of protection?  Why should you fear?  What do you have to be afraid of?  Who can touch you if God is protecting you?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are the only true, wise, and everlasting God.  You are God and besides You there is no other.  You are my protector, my shield, and my strength.  You are in me, on me, with me, and for me.  You are on my side.  You have my back.  What do I have to be afraid of?  There is nothing and no one that can touch me.  My relationship with You enables me to enter into this day with fearless confidence!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #5: There is NO god like our God! (Part 2) (top of page)

(Isaiah 44:8 KJV)  Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it?  Ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me?  Yea, there is no God; I know not any.

I trust you have had an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.  Our family had a great time, to the glory of God.  Unfortunately, however, this weekend I found out that one of my co-workers, that was just about my age, died in a car accident.  As I prepare to go to work I ask that you pray with me for the family, friends, and our work environment.  Pray for peace in the midst of this situation.  Thank you.

This morning we continue to wind down our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor.”  I have been sharing with you several reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Before the Thanksgiving break I gave you reason #5 why you should not be afraid, “Because there is NO god like our God!”  This one is too good a reason for just one message.  I will probably send out a few messages on this one reason.

The first message I sent out on this reason came from Isaiah 43:10-13.  If you flip the page over to the next chapter you find out that God was not done.  God went on to say, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.  And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people?  And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them” (44:6,7).  In these two verses we see that Jehovah is making it plain.  He lets us know in clear terms that He is God and besides Him there is no other god.  Our God, Jehovah, is the only God that calls, and declares, and sets things in order.  He declares the end from the beginning (Is 46:10).  He alone knows what will happen before it happens.  Jehovah evens knows our thoughts before we think them (Ps 139:2).  Based upon His superiority as the only true God, Jehovah goes on to tell us in our focus text, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it?  Ye are even my witnesses.  Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any” (44:8).  I like the way that God finished that verse.  In reference to any other gods Jehovah says, “I know not any.”  God has a sense of humor.  It is as if He said, “Hey, I have looked and I can’t find any other god but me!

Our God is omniscient; which means that He knows everything.  If He knows everything, and He does, and He can’t find any other gods out there, then there are none! There is no God but our God.  Based upon the fact that He is the only God and based upon the fact that we are His children, He says, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid.”  That sounds like a good enough reason for me not to fear.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that there is no god but our God!  Our God is the only true God.  He sits on the circle of the earth (Is 40:22) and He rules over everything.  He has all things in and under control.  This God, our God, Jehovah, has told you not to fear and not to be afraid.  That should be good enough reason for you to enter into this day with fearless confidence.  Jehovah – the only true and wise God – is on your side!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, Jehovah, I submit to You and no other gods.  I call upon You and no other name.  There is no other god besides You.  You sit on the circle of the earth and You have all things in and under control.  You are the God that was, and is, and ever shall be.  You looked out and You could not find any other gods.  I take Your Word for it and I exercise my trust in You and in You alone.  You told me not to be afraid.  You explained to me that there is no need for me to fear.  I declare, right now, by faith, that I believe You.  I will not fear.  No fear here.  Fear has no power over me.  I enter into this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #5: There is NO god like our God! (Part 3) (top of page)

(Romans 8:31 NIV)  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  As you can see, I have been stuck on reason #5 why you should not be afraid, “Because there is NO god like our God!”  This reason is so good that I broke it up into three parts.  I have already shared the first two, let’s look at part 3.

Romans chapter 8 is an awesome passage.  In it Paul gives us a picture of how we are to live as victorious Christians in the world.  Paul opens the chapter teaching us about living our lives by the Spirit of God and not by our flesh.  He then goes on to teach us of the glory that can be revealed in us if we walk in the Spirit.  Later on in the chapter we get to the passage that I want to highlight for this morning.  Paul says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (v.28).  Paul begins to teach us about the omniscience of God.  He is letting us know that God knows the end from the beginning and He has a purpose for the things He permits to happen in our lives.  The end-state is that it will work out for our “good.”

Paul goes on to say, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (verses 29&30).  Here Paul lays it all out.  We know that the Bible teaches that those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom 10:13).  Paul is teaching us here that God obviously already knows who those people are going to be.  Since He already knows, He has already made a plan.  God knew you would confess Jesus as your Lord, so He predestined you, He justified you, and He glorified you in advance.  This is an awesome revelation.  When we realize that God had a plan for us before we ever showed up, it gives us a new level of boldness, confidence, and comfort.

This takes us now to our focus text.  After explaining all of this to us, Paul says, “What, then, shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Think about it.  If God already has a plan for us (and He does), and if God is working that plan in our lives (and He is), then who can really mess with us?  Who is bigger and badder than God?  Let me give you the answer: NO ONE!  I also like what Paul said in the 33rd verse, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.”  In other words, Paul was saying, “God is the judge.  If we are in close with the judge and he has already justified us – meaning He declared us righteous – then who can bring us up on charges?”

So what does this mean to you today? It means that I don’t have to be afraid of circumstances going haywire, because God already knew what was going to happen to me before the foundations of the earth.  God made a plan and I am confident that His plan will help get me out of any circumstances.  It also means that I don’t have to be afraid of anyone else, because God is for me and He is bigger than anyone against me.  Any finally, it means that I don’t have to be afraid of satan bringing up my past, because God is the final judge and if He has justified me, satan can’t bring me up on any charges that can stick!  Glory to God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are awesome.  You have a plan for my life and I declare that I will walk that plan out with fearless confidence.  If things seemingly get out of hand, I have peace in knowing that You already knew about it.  You are for me and You are bigger than anyone against me.  You have also justified me, You have declared me righteous, so I don’t have to worry about satan (the accuser of the brethren), bringing me up on charges.  I have already been made clean by the Blood of Jesus!  I have no need to fear!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #6: The Lord IS on our side! (top of page)

(Psalm 118:6 KJV)  The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  For the last few messages I dealt with reason #5, “Because there is NO god like our God!”  I liked that one so much that I broke it down into three parts.

This morning I give you reason #6 why you should not be afraid, “Because the Lord is on our side!”  I have already showed you how powerful God is.  Jehovah is the only true and everlasting God.  There is no other god as powerful as Him and there is really no other god beside Him.  But the point of today’s message is to drive home the fact that this God, this all-knowing and all-powerful God, is actually FOR us and not against us.  He is on our side and not on the side of our enemies.

I run into people all the time that say, “Well, I know that God can do this or that, but I am not sure if He will.”  Or, “I know God can, but why would God do that for me?”  Let me tell you why: because He is on your side.  Believe me; God does not spend His days looking for ways to destroy you.  If God wanted to destroy you, you would have already been destroyed.  God is looking for ways to bless you, not hurt you.  Micah said that He delights in mercy (Micah 7:18).  Jeremiah said that is it only because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed (Lam 3:22).  God is not out to get us, He is out to bless us.  Yes, He is on our side!

In our focus text the psalmist came to the conclusion that since the Lord is on his side, he will simply not fear.  He asks the question, “What can man do to me?”  The psalmist went on to say, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (v.18).  That 18th verse is a Word for me today.  I have been dealing with a pretty significant situation for my family and I have been standing in faith.  I confess that I allowed frustration to set in because I saw a person waffling in the situation that could help end it he just took a stand.  I had to remind myself that my confidence in not in him, but because he can fail me.  My confidence is in God, who not only CAN do it, but I believe that He will.  Why?  Because He is on my side!  Glory to God!

I like what David said in Psalm 34:3.  He said, “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.”  To magnify means to make bigger.  Now, you can’t really make God any bigger than He already is, but you can make Him bigger TO YOU!  When you magnify Him you make Him bigger TO YOU than your situation and you remind yourself that He is on your side!  That realization helps calm and cease any fears.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you serve a God that is out to bless you and not curse you; to help you and not harm you.  When you realize that this God, the God that sits on the circle of the earth, is the God that is on your side, it gives you a fearless confidence that will enable you to face any giants.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are God and besides You there is no other.  You have all power.  You have all knowledge.  You are everywhere at the same time.  You can affect any outcome.  You can turn any hopeless situation around.  There is nothing that You cannot do.  There is no one that You cannot triumph over.  You are unstoppable.  I know that.  And I also know that You are on my side.  You are out to bless me and not curse me.  You want to help me and not hurt me.  Your goodness and mercy pursue me all the days of my life.  You are a good God and the greatest reality I have in my life is the reality that You love me.  My faith is rooted and grounded in Your love.  I receive Your love.  I accept Your love.  I believe Your love.  I have no reason to be afraid.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #7: God is the Sovereign Judge! (top of page)

(Luke 12:4,5 NIV)  “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I gave you reason #6, “Because the Lord is on our side!”  I talked to you about the awesome reality that God is not out to get us.  If God spent His time looking for ways to get us we would have been “got” a long time ago.  No, our God, the God that rules over everything, is literally on our side.

Yesterday’s message sets us up for the next reason.  Reason #7 why you should not be afraid is, “Because God is the Sovereign Judge!”  God is sovereign.  I enjoy the fact that we serve a sovereign King.  It brings me peace whenever I think about that fact that God has all things in and under control; that nothing has ever happened to me, nor will anything ever happen to me that God did not first know about.  Now, I am not saying that everything that happens to me is God’s best.  I am not saying that everything, good and bad, is God’s will for my life.  God being sovereign means that He knew about and He either permitted it or prevented it.  He permits some things to happen that He would rather not, but since He is righteous, He allows me to reap what I sow; sometimes good, sometimes not good.  That is another teaching in and of itself, but the point of this message is to highlight the fact that whether He desired for it to happen or not, I know that He permitted it.  Ultimately, God is still God and He is and will ever be on the throne!

In our focus text Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.  But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”  Jesus was assuring us that there is a higher power to the powers that are in the earth.  We don’t have to fear man.  Whatever power man has was given to them by God anyway (see Romans 13).  God is the one with the ultimate authority. When Jesus being taken from mock trial to mock trial He eventually wound up before Pilate.  Pilate began to question Jesus about where He came from.  Pilate wanted to know whether or not the claims that He was the Messiah were true.  Jesus chose not to answer the question.  Pilate got upset and said, “Do you refuse to speak to me?  Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”  Pilate wanted to make it clear that he had the power to order Jesus’ death and to have him nailed to a cross.  Jesus was not afraid of Pilate, or any man for that matter.  Jesus knew who the ultimate authority was (and is).  Jesus knew who the Sovereign Judge is.  This gave Jesus a level of boldness, confidence, and peace.  Although He was the one standing before an earthly judge, His confidence was in the heavenly judge.  Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:10,11).  In other words, it was as if Jesus was saying, “The only reason this is happening is because the Sovereign Judge has allowed it.  I don’t need to fear you.  If there is anything to fear, He is the one to fear; not you.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means the reality that God is the Sovereign Judge should give you an overwhelming peace.  Why?  Because if you are in good standing with Him, then you don’t need to be afraid of anyone else.  If there is anyone you need to fear it is God.  But if you are right with God, then whom do you have to be afraid of?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are my Sovereign Judge.  You sit on the throne of eternity.  You have all things in and under control.  You know all things.  You knew me before I was ever formed in my mother’s belly.  You knew what I would and would not do.  You have the power to permit and to prevent things from happening in my life  You are the ultimate power and I am in good standing with You.  I am right with You and I therefore have no need to fear anyone else.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #8: God is Omnipresent! (top of page)

(Psalm 139:7 GNB)  Where could I go to escape from you?  Where could I get away from your presence?

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Last week I closed out the week with reason #7, “Because God is the Sovereign Judge!”  I explained to you that God is the ultimate source of all power, strength, and authority.  Jehovah sits on the circle of the earth.  He has all things in and under control.  All things are under His feet.

This morning’s message flows in the same vein.  Reason #8 why you should not be afraid is, “Because God is Omnipresent!”  That means that God is everywhere at the same time.  He is with you while you are reading this message and He is also prepositioned where you are going next.  He will also go with you while you travel there.  There is no where you can go where God would not be there.

This message is appropriate for me this morning because I am writing to you from Kuwait.  I traveled to Kuwait over the weekend and I will probably head up to Iraq while I am on this trip.  The point of this message is that whether I am in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Brooklyn, or home in Evans, Georgia; God is everywhere I go.  In our focus text David explains that there is no where we can go to escape the presence of God – not that we should want to escape His presence.  David went on to say, “If I went up to heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.  If I flew away beyond the east or lived in the farthest place in the west, you would be there to lead me, you would be there to help me” (verses 8-10).  There is no where that we can go on the face of the earth, or in heaven, or anyplace else that God would not be there.  The guarantee of His presence should bring us peace.

This reminds me of the time when Moses was struggling with an assignment God gave him and he began ask God who was going to assist him with bringing it to pass.  God answered Moses by saying, “I will go with you and give you peace” (Ex 33:14).  In other words, God was saying, “If you want to know who is going to go with you, I am.  I am with you now, I will be with you when you get there, and I am will stay with you along the way.”  There is no where that we can go that God will be absent from us.  His presence should give us His peace.  His peace keeps us from fear.  I travel a lot and I have been all over the world, one thing I can say for sure is that I have never questioned God’s presence.  The fact that I know that God is with me everywhere I go brings me a level of peace that fear cannot penetrate.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should realize the awesomeness of God’s presence.  Do you realize that God is ever-present and ever-willing to spend time with you?  The reality of His presence serves as a force field of protection against the flames of fear.  When you really know that God is with you, you have no need to fear.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are with me now.  You have always been with me.  You are an ever-present help in the time of trouble.  You are with me as I read this message.  You will be with me when I go to every place I need to go to today; and You will be with me as I travel from place to place.  There is no place that I can go that You are not already there.  Your presence is a reality in my life.  I know that You are with me.  I enjoy Your presence.  Your presence brings with it: protection, power, and peace.  Fear cannot touch me when I am focused on and basking in Your presence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #9: We have Angels to Protect us! (top of page)

(Psalm 34:7 KJV)  The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I dealt with reason #8, “Because God is Omnipresent!”  The reality that God is everywhere should bring us a level of peace and comfort that will keep us from fear.

This morning we look at reason #9 why you should not be afraid, “Because we have Angels to Protect us!”  This is an awesome reason.  In a world infested with terrorists, crazy drivers, faulty equipment, and a plethora of other things that could lead to danger, hurt, and harm, it is good to know that we have angels to protect us.  One of the greatest things the Lord did for me when I first became a Christian was that He took me back over the many times in my life where He protected me with angels.  Growing up in Brooklyn I had many opportunities for danger.  I had been shot at a couple of times, once even with a sawed-off shotgun, and the Lord showed me how angels protected me.  Not only that, but the many times as a kid I did stupid things and angels protected me.  God showed me how he protected me all those years, even before I knew Him personally and intimately, because He was protecting me for my purpose.  That gave me then, and it still gives me now, a level of confidence that cannot be shaken.

In our focus text David told us that the angel of the Lord literally encamps around those that fear Him.  It is as though God’s angels are pulling guard-duty to ensure we are protected.  Most people only quote that part of the verse, but if you keep reading we see why the angels are doing what they are doing – to deliver us.  They are there to keep us from harm.  Believe me, I don’t know of the many countless times where angels have protected me without my knowledge.  It could have been a driver that wasn’t looking that barely missed me, or a piece of equipment that He kept operational long enough for it not to put me in danger, or… the list could go on.

The writer of Hebrews said of angels, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (1:14).  Did you get that?  Angels are hear to minister for us!  There is an awesome story in 2nd Kings 6 about this.  I don’t have the time to tell you the entire story, but I will attempt to summarize it.  The king of Aram wanted to attack Israel.  Every time he came up with a scheme on how he was going to attack the Israelites God revealed the scheme to the prophet Elisha and Elisha told the king of Israel.  It was obvious to Aram that the Israelites knew what he was going to do before he did it, so he assumed he had a traitor in the camp.  When he questioned his officers about it they said, “Lord, none of us are spies, but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom” (v.12).  This made Aram even madder, so he sent an army with horses and chariots to kill Elisha.  When Elisha’s servant got up the next morning he went outside and saw that they were surrounded by a great army.  He ran inside and said, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”  Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should not be afraid because you have angels assigned by God to protect you.  I tell you what Elisha told his servant, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Confession for this day:  Lord God, You are my fortress, my place of safety.  I shall not be afraid of the dangers that lurk out in the world.  Your faithfulness is around me like a city wall.  You give Your angels charge over me, to keep me wherever I go.  Your angels are encamped around about me.  They pull duty to keep me safe.  I am not afraid.  I have no need to fear.  Angels, protect me now as I enter this day with fearless confidence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #10: We have Authority in the Name of Jesus! (top of page)

(Phil 2:9,10 KJV)  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I dealt with reason #9, “Because we have Angels to Protect us!”  Understanding the power and protection of angels is what enables me to go anywhere in the world, including combat zones, with an overwhelming confidence.  Angels have the power to keep me wherever I go.  Glory to God!

This morning we look at reason #10 why you should not be afraid, “Because we have authority in the Name of Jesus!”  I am convinced that most believers don’t understand that authority Jesus died to give us.  His authority is tied to His name and He gave us that right to operate in His name.  In our focus text Paul tells us that Jehovah has exalted Jesus and has given Him a name that is above every name.  At the name of Jesus every knee must bow; including those in heaven, in the earth, and under the earth; every knee in the natural and in the spiritual.

One time Jesus called His 12 disciples together and He gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases (Luke 9:1).  Even though He gave it to them, they did not really use that power until Jesus was gone.  While He was with them, they were used to Him operating in authority and they never really stretched themselves to receive the authority by faith.  However, in the next chapter Jesus sent out 72 of His followers.  He gave them the same authority.  They went out to make a difference, to meet the needs of others in the name of Jesus.  When they came back they were excited and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons obeyed when we spoke in your name!” (Luke 10:17).  Did you get that?  Not even demons have power over us when we operate in the authority of the name of Jesus.  I have personally encountered demons and I can personally attest to the fact that they are subject to the name of Jesus!

Most believers are familiar with the passage that is commonly referred to as “The Great Commission.”  In it Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”  Just to be clear.  Jesus was not saying that He only had power in heaven.  Jesus came to take back what Adam lost in the garden.  Jesus died and was then resurrected from the dead to conquer satan, hell, and the grave.  It was this resurrected Jesus who clearly stated that He had ALL power both in heaven and in earth.  Based upon this power He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (see Mat 28:18-20).  The “therefore” in verse 19 is connected to the power in verse 18.  Based upon the power that was given to Jesus, we are supposed to GO!  I call that the “Go” in the gospel.  I could show many more passages where Jesus instructed us to operate in His name, but for the sake of time I will stop here.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that Jesus has all power and authority in heaven and in earth; it means that all things are under His feet; and it also means that He gave us the power and the authority to operate in His name in the earth.  Why should we not be afraid?  Because we have authority in the name of Jesus!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I have the faith to believe what You said.  I have the faith to operate in Your name.  No devil, demon, or demonic force has any power over me.  I operate in the authority given to me in Your name.  Your name is above all principalities and powers.  At Your name every knee must bow.  Thank You Jesus for allowing me to operate in the authority vested in Your name.  I declare, right now, by the name of Jesus, that I am healed, healthy, blessed, prosperous, and protected.  No fear here!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #11: God is With Us! (top of page)

(Psalm 23:4 KJV)  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

This morning we continue our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I dealt with reason #10, “Because we have authority in the Name of Jesus!”  Not only is Jesus’ name above every name, but we can gain confidence in knowing that He has given us the authority to operate in His name.  Glory to God!

I am not sure how many more reasons the Lord will lead me to give and I know that this series is winding down, but I thank God (personally) for the reason He gave me this morning.  It is as if this was directly for me, but I know you will be blessed by it as well.  Reason #11 why you should not be afraid is, “Because God is With us!”  Now, I have already told you that God is FOR us and that God is present everywhere at the same time (Omniscient), but in this message I want to be clear that God is not only present everywhere, but He is literally WITH us everywhere we go.  The fact that God is with us helps to deflect the arrows of fear.

The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar Psalms in the Bible.  In the 4th verse David told us that even in those occasions in which it seems as though we are literally “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” we can have the confidence to “fear no evil.”  Why?  Because the Lord is with us.  Glory to God!  David, who was a shepherd as a child, gives us the analogy that God can use His rod and His staff to get us through the toughest of life’s valley experiences.  The shepherd uses the rod to protect His sheep and the staff to lead them.  If God Himself my Shepherd (and He is), and if God Himself is providing me protection and direction (and He is), and if God Himself is with me as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (and He is), then I have everything I need NOT to fear any evil.

I am facing a valley experience right now.  I am in the middle of a faith fight.  My situation seems like it is getting worse before it gets better, but I have to remind myself that God is with me, that He loves me, that He already told me what the outcome will be, and His presence helps me to resist fear.  Through this experience the Lord has been reminding me of all the things that I preach and all the things that I believe and it has brought me comfort and confidence.  But none of that would have happened if God were not WITH me.  God is WITH me through this situation and I know that it will result in a victory for me and for my family.  No matter what I see I refuse to change what I say.  No matter what it looks like, I will not fear.

God said through Isaiah, “Don’t be afraid.  I am with you.  Don’t tremble with fear.  I am your God.  I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories.  I am the LORD your God.  I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid.  I am here to help you” (41:10&13).  God also said through the writer of Hebrews, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (13:5,6).  I could go on and on.  There are many more scriptures that attest to the fact that God is with us.

So what does this mean to you today? Simply put, it means: God is with you, so do not fear!  No matter how difficult the situation seems, it is not difficult to God!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, even when I walk through the valley experiences of life, I declare by faith, that I will not fear.  You are with me.  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  I am not afraid.  I refuse to tremble with fear.  You are my God and You make me strong.  You protect me and You give me the victory.  I can only lose if I give up hope and I throw in my faith towel.  But guess what Lord?  I won’t.  There is no quit in me.  Let it be said that I faced a giant challenge and I came out victorious, because I believed in God!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

Reason #12: God is IN Us! (top of page)

(1st John 4:4 KJV)  Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

This morning we continue to wind down our series entitled, “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” by continuing with the reasons why we shouldn’t fear.  Yesterday I gave you reason #11, “Because God is With us!”  His presence brings with it His power, His protection, and His peace.

In addition to God being WITH us, I have already told you that God is FOR us.  Meaning that God is not out to get you.  If God was out to get you, you would have been ‘got’ a long time ago.  So we know now that God is with us and God is for us.  This morning I give you reason #12 why you should not be afraid, “Because God is IN us!

This is truly awesome reality for the New Testament believer.  In the Old Testament God would come “upon” believers, but He did not live “in” them, because of the original sin of Adam.  Jesus came as the “last Adam” (1st Cor 15:45), and He paid the price for what Adam did in the garden.  Jesus paid the penalty with His own blood.  When we are Born-Again we are redeemed all the way back to the condition of Adam in the Garden of Eden.  We are redeemed to the sate of literally having the fullness of God in us.

Let me explain.  I know most believers know that once we are Born-Again we have God’s precious Holy Spirit living inside of us.  There are a multitude of scriptures that attest to that fact.  I will only share a couple.  Jesus Himself said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:15-17).  Jesus told the disciples that that Holy Spirit was dwelling with them, through Him, and that He would eventually be IN them.  Paul later said, “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1st Cor 6:19).  So it is clear that the Holy Spirit is IN us.

But many believers don’t realize that the entire fullness of the Godhead lives IN us.  Not only is the Holy Spirit in us, but Jesus is also in us.  Paul said, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).  Christ Jesus is in us and He gives us the hope of glory!  But don’t stop there, it gets better.  Not only are the Holy Spirit and Jesus IN us, but the Father Himself is IN us.  Paul also said that we serve, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph 4:6).  Glory to God!  The entire fullness of the Godhead is IN us.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all live in us.  That’s why John could write what He said in our focus text where He tells us that we overcome the world because the “He” that is in us is greater than the one who lives in the world.  So why should you not be afraid?  Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all live inside of you!  That’s a good reason.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that all these messages and all the reasons should help build up your faith to the point where you will not fear.  Faith comes by receiving the Word of God (Rom 10:17).  That’s why I give you so much Word, to build up your faith.  Once your faith is built up, it will be easy to resist fear.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for the awesome reality that You are IN me in Your fullness.  Jesus paid the penalty for my sin and Calvary’s cross.  He gave me the avenue  to be reconciled with You.  I have been reconciled and when I was Born-Again I received You in Your fullness.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all live inside of me.  Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.  I refuse to fear.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!