Acknowledge The Reserve

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:37-39

I looked out my backdoor window the other day and saw a young deer cautiously approaching some food my father had thrown out for the wild animals that live right behind our backyard. See, our house is built right next to an animal reserve, so all of the wildlife is protected back there. Here’s the thing, though: the deer don’t know that. Especially not this young deer that we saw the other day. This is like us.

We don’t realize that we’re protected and in the hands of God, so nothing can remove us from His hands. And just like this deer, we allow Fear to dictate our lives. We miss out on the good food that God has for us because we’re afraid to step outside of our comfort zone. We’re afraid to step out in faith. We’re afraid to stand on the promises of God.

Yes, the enemy has power. Yes, the enemy can afflict. He can send spirits and men against us. He can even take our very life, but what he can’t do is stop us from fulfilling the will of God for our lives. He can’t stop us from being in the arms of God. There’s only so much the enemy can do to the Church of God.

Dear LORD, help me not to be overcome by Fear but instead help me to overcome Fear with my faith in Your love for me. Help me to stand firmly on Your love for Your love for me is unlike any other love, and I could not even come close to expressing it with human words. Teach me to trust in Your love that I might not miss out on the good things You have for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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The Workings of Fear

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. ~ 1 John 4:18

Fear, an age-old enemy, attacking from generation to generation, relentless in its pursuit to defeat the strongest of men. A very true and accurate description of Fear by someone I love and miss dearly. Fear is an enemy that will intimidate you and throw lies your way in hopes that you never stand up to it. Why? Because Fear will have to back down. Fear uses this tactic because Fear doesn’t have the authority to touch you.

Here’s what I mean: Fear can’t beat you. It can’t scratch you. It can’t cause you actual harm. It can’t take your life. But it can convince you that others will. It will try its best to control you because it knows that if you refuse to give in to its demands, it no longer has any root in your life. So, it’ll bring friends with it, like anxiety, depression, suicide, shame, etc.

Mankind has struggled with Fear from the very beginning. After Adam ate the fruit and heard God in the Garden, Fear entered his life. Each and every one of his offspring after him have had to battle this enemy in one form or another. How do we fight and defeat this relentless enemy?

By standing firm in the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. Love that doesn’t take into consideration its own needs or safety but will do whatever it takes to protect those dwelling in said love. This is what we hold to. The love of God.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Stand In Love.

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Set It On The Altar

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. ~ Isaiah 37:14

Hezekiah received a letter from the messengers of the King of Assyria. Assyria had just taken Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and now was threatening Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Not only were they trying to strike fear into the hearts of the people, they went straight to the king of Judah, Hezekiah, and told him through a letter that he might as well surrender because no one could save him. This is how the enemy works. He tries to speak into our lives. He’ll speak fear and intimidation and wait to see if you accept it, giving him a footing into your life.

See, we, the Church, have to allow the enemy into our lives. Why? Because we’ve been redeemed. We’re the blood-bought. We don’t belong to the enemy anymore. Our souls now belong to Christ. Therefore, when the enemy wants to try to take us back or wreak havoc in our lives, he needs our permission. Sometimes, it just takes accepting the fear that he sent our way.

I remember hearing stories of my great-great-grandfather when he was younger. An Obeah Man came to him and told him that he would die in three days, but he didn’t accept it. Instead, he told him, “No. You will die in three days.” Three days later, he got word that that same man had died. People will try to speak all kinds of things over your life: death, failure, fear, addiction, etc., but it’s up to us to accept it. We have to be like Hezekiah, take that word straight to God, and lay it before Him. We can’t just accept everything that others speak over us, but only what God has spoken over us. That we are chosen. That we are His. That we are redeemed. That we may be struck down, but we are never destroyed. That we are more than conquerors through Him. These are what we hold to; everything else we lay on the altar and allow God to deal with as He sees fit.

Dear LORD, please help me not to just accept everything that people speak over me. Help me not to let their words dictate my life. Help me to lay it all down on the altar before You. Teach me to set up a spiritual boundary around my life that the enemy cannot penetrate nor destroy with threats, words, fiery darts, or any weapon. Help me to stand strong on Your Truth and run this race with endurance that You’ve set before me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Be Not Intimidated

18 “Do not let Hezekiah mislead you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Have the gods of any nations ever delivered their lands from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 20 Who of all the gods of these countries have been able to save their lands from me? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” ~ Isaiah 36:18-20NIV

Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded Israel in the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah. Now, his Commander was at the wall speaking to Judah so that he might send Fear into their hearts. Isn’t that how the enemy works? He comes to you and starts speaking with the utmost confidence, “Did you see God save that one?” “Did you see God intervene on their behalf?” And if we’re not careful, Fear will walk right into our nation through a door that we opened for him.

See, the enemy will show you where other people failed. Where other people fell short. Where other people missed the mark. Then he’ll ask, why would you be any different? Why would God save you? There’s nothing special about you. But you have to remember that he’s the Father of Lies, so his minions that come to you to harass and intimidate you are well-versed in his lies as well. Don’t believe them.

When the lies of the enemy come your way, turn to God. Remind Him and yourself of those verses He promised you. Remind Him and yourself that you are His, and He alone can save and defend you. Stand strong and don’t give in to the intimidation of the enemy.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Be Not Intimidated.

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Remain Faithful In The Silence

15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.” 18 Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. ~ Exodus 32:17-19NIV

Joshua was chosen to lead God’s people after Moses. Maybe it was because he hadn’t been defiled by the Golden Calf. Maybe it was because he never lost faith and was waiting outside the camp for Moses, while everyone else allowed their own fears to take over and cause them so that they sinned. Joshua seemed to never lose faith in the LORD regardless of how others around him acted and/or reacted.

It’s so easy to fall into the traps and snares of Fear when you’re going through a season of dwelling in the unknown. See, Joshua knew where Moses was. He was on the mountain. Joshua knew what Moses was doing. He was speaking to God, receiving the commands. Joshua even knew what he was supposed to be doing. He was to remain waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. Nevertheless, he didn’t know how long that would take. He didn’t know the time Moses would return.

If they all knew the time Moses was going to come down the mountain, then they wouldn’t have been so frightened because they had a set time and place as comfort for them. The thing is, God doesn’t always work in the comfort of the known. Sometimes, He only gives you enough that you’re in a place where you have to whole-heartedly without any reservations trust in Him. Many of us are right here. We know that we have to wait, but what do we do while we wait? We pray.

Moses was a type of Christ. He was a deliverer. If we’re in the same position as Joshua, which we all are because we are all awaiting the return of Christ, whose exact date of His return is unknown, what do we do while we wait? We win souls. We preach and teach the Gospel. We stay awake. We cry out, ‘Come, Jesus, come.’ Some of us are waiting for Moses to come down off the mountain in a specific area of our call. It’s a season of waiting for a response that we don’t know when it will come. What do we do? We teach and preach the Gospel. We make disciples of all nations. We seek the face of God. We fulfill the requirements of the call that is plain to us. We pray for the answer to come.

Dear LORD, when You remain silent during a season of our lives, help me to remain at the foot of the mountain. Help me to remain worshipping in Your presence, or at the very least, as close as I can get to Your presence. Help me to not be defeated or be afraid. Help me to not be overwhelmed or overcome by Fear; instead, help me to be perfected in Your perfect love so that Fear has no hold on me. Help me to remain faithful in the silence. Help me to remain faithful regardless of what season I’m in. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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Silence Fear

1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. ~ Genesis 20:1-2NIV

Abraham’s fears often influenced his decisions. Twice he was deceitful about his wife Sarah being his sister and never mentioning that she was his wife. It was in those times of fear that Abraham forgot the promise of God. See, God promised Abraham and made a covenant with him that he would have not only a son but descendants more numerous than the sand of the seas and stars of the heavens. Because Abraham believed this promise, it was counted to him as righteousness, yet, there were days when fear shook his belief and caused him to fall short.

Abraham was afraid that they would kill him if he claimed Sarah as his wife because she was so beautiful. Abraham didn’t take into consideration that he had a direct promise from God that he would have an uncountable multitude of offspring and the whole world would be blessed through him. He didn’t consider that God was with him, and he had a call on his life, so he had nothing to fear. That’s us today. We allow fear to yell louder than the call and promises of God. If God has promised you something, don’t allow fear to take it from you. What God has for you, someone, or something else can take it from you. Jesus warned the Church in Philadelphia to be careful not to let anyone take their crown (Revelation 3:11).

The enemy is a roaring lion on the prowl, seeking someone to devour. We have to be on guard. We have to fight against fear. We have to quiet his lies and silence his threats. We have to cling to the promises and call of God on our lives. We have to stand up and fight for what God has for us. This life is a race. It has obstacles, hurdles, and other runners. We can’t let any of them stop us from receiving all God has in store for us.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Silence Fear.

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Be Not Offended By Jesus

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. ~ Matthew 7:15-20

In today’s Church, we’re afraid to say anything that may offend someone. I was recently at a Church where the pastor from the platform was explaining his childhood. Specifically, the legalism of the Oneness Holiness Pentecostal Church he got saved in and the dead catholic church he grew up in. There was really no critiquing of the churches. Simply that, one was legalistic and the other dead. He then quickly defended himself with, ‘There’s good people in both churches. I’m not trying to critique anyone. I just want to tell you my experience.’

Why has the Church become like this? Why are we so afraid to offend people by speaking Truth? Sin isn’t to be tolerated. It’s not to be overlooked. Its feelings aren’t to be taken care of. It’s to be called out. It’s to be corrected. There’s not a time when we should try to protect the feelings of sin by quieting the Truth. No. Jesus said blessed are those who are not offended by Him. Jesus is Truth. We can’t quiet the Truth in order to make sin feel more comfortable.

We’re the body of Christ. The Temple of the Living God. Sin should never be comfortable around us. Sin should never feel safe around us. In the Spirit should be a big sign that reads “No Safe Zone Here” right over our heads. That’s what we should drive for. God’s Spirit should be so strong within us that sin flees from our presence because it’s afraid to be in the presence of God shining through us.

Dear LORD, please shine through me. Help me to remove all sorts of fear from me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I might be a mighty vessel for You to use for Your Kingdom. Fill me with a Spirit of Discernment so that I might discern between right and wrong. My thoughts and Your thoughts. Darkness and Light. Teach me Your ways and fill me with strength and courage. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

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Be Courageous When Facing Assyria

6 He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: 7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 32:6-7

Judah was being threatened by Assyria, and yes, they were the leading world power. Yes, they had a large, mighty, experienced, and well-funded army. But Hezekiah reminded them of the God factor. And today, you may be facing your Assyria. Maybe you’re being bullied at work or at school. Maybe it’s a health issue or a problem only God knows about, and it’s overwhelming. Or maybe you just need to be reminded today of the greater power that dwells in you. For greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Don’t be afraid; you are an overcomer because you are a child of God. Be strong; you can do all things because Christ strengthens you. You are blessed and highly favored because you are a creation and child of God.

Heavenly Father, pour out Your love today on Your people. Encourage hearts and strengthen minds. We are Your people and the sheep of Your pastures. Cover and provide for each household that reads and believes this message this morning. In the name of Jesus, we pray, amen.

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Lean If Needed

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ 1 John 4:18

Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. ~ Leviticus 26:8

I remember several years back, we were visiting someone in their home, and the owner of the house was seeing 3 black forms with long straggly black hair. My wife also saw the apparitions. Not long after our visit, the owner actually died in the house.

I went back to the house and was praying and worshipping in the house all day until evening. When the night started to come on, I heard a voice, not audibly, but I heard it in my head, and to me, it was very clear. It said, “The night is coming. Soon it will be dark, and he is coming. If he finds you here, they will have to carry you out also.”

I’m not gonna lie to you; it shook me up a little. Okay, it shook me a lot. But in defiance of that voice, I still stayed right where I was for about another 30 or 40 seconds, maybe less, but about another, at the very least, 20 seconds, and then I got out there.

The hair on the back of my neck started to stand up. I felt like my only exit out of there was being blocked, and I would have no way out. In that moment, without even thinking about it, I second-guessed God coming to my defense.

You see, you cannot cast out or drive out what you fear! Fear is a form of weakness that leads to distrust. We have to trust God because He will never leave us, nor will He forsake us. If we don’t fully trust God, we can’t operate in power. Why? We can’t operate in power when we walk in fear. Likewise, we cannot operate in fear if we walk in love.

My family and I went back to the house after that, and we began praying and casting out any evil that was in that home. We went from room to room in the confidence of the love of God. And to make sure fear didn’t have a foothold in our hearts as we prayed, we went at night and left all of the lights in the house off. You cannot cast out what you fear. And if you aren’t filled and surrounded with enough love to face fear alone, take someone (or someones) with you that will believe and stand in faith and love with you. A three-strand cord is not easily broken. One can put a thousand to flight, but two can put ten thousand to flight. Therefore, lean on your brother(s) or sister(s) in Christ when you aren’t strong enough to stand alone.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Lean If Needed.

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Expel It Entirely

11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?” ~ Galatians 2:11-14NLT

Peter, like all of us, was human. He wasn’t perfect. There was only ever one perfect person, and that was Jesus. Peter was like us. He had flaws, hiccups, and he made mistakes. He even had to be corrected by someone who had received salvation long after he had. Peter had been saved for years before Paul, yet it wasn’t the number of years that counted but what they did in those years.

See, Peter was only saved from his sinful nature; he never persecuted the Church. Yes, he denied Christ three times, but Christ forgave him physically on earth after the resurrection. Paul, on the other hand, wasn’t just saved from a sinful nature; he was saved from persecuting and executing the Church. He was there from the stoning of Stephen onward until that day on the road to Damascus. Paul was, arguably, saved from a much greater sin and, as Jesus put it, therefore, loved more. The more you love, the less you fear. Peter feared the reaction of those in the Church. He was afraid of being criticized and rejected by those he was comfortable around, and in doing so, he sinned.

The same spirit of Fear that made him flee in the garden when Jesus was arrested and made him deny Jesus in the courts of the High Priest caused him to fall into sin once again. See, Fear isn’t an easy spirit to overcome. Fear doesn’t just leave because you preach the Gospel or you’ve been saved a long time. Fear is something you have to completely remove from its roots and entirely expel out of your life. And when it comes knocking at your door again, you can’t answer it. You can’t give it any kind of foothold into your life again. Why? Because it’s a controlling spirit. It’s a dominating spirit that demands you to bow to it.

But if you do, LORD forbid, fall into the grasp of Fear again and sin, God will always send you help, just as He sent to Peter. Peter, as stated earlier, was saved long before Paul, but it took a man that had no fear to confront Peter in person and correct, with Scripture, his faults. Peter wasn’t above correction because he walked and talked with the LORD. He wasn’t above correction because he was given the keys of the kingdom. Why? Because Peter was human, just as we all are. So, when someone shows you the inaccuracies of your beliefs, actions, or statements in Scripture, don’t be angry. Don’t become defensive. Accept that correction so that the LORD might redeem you from the place you have fallen and might continue to use you.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Expel It Entirely.

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