How To Keep Fear From Killing Your Faith

By on June 20, 2018

We all know that the Old Testament character Abraham is known as “the father of faith.” Abraham was a farmer who learned how to obey God and operate in faith. As a result, his family was put in order, they became wealthy, powerful and, best of all, declared righteous by God. Romans 4 says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

But, before Abraham’s life could be radically transformed by faith, he had to deal with something else first. That “something else” was fear. He had already walked with God for some time and had known some degree of blessing. But, fear still had a big part in Abraham’s life.

God came to Abraham saying, “Fear not, Abram (that’s what he used to be called), I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1).” No matter how much faith you have, if you still are full of fears, your faith won’t be able to work for you very much.

Fear is the primary cause of many of our problems. It’s the main reason few people ever live the life that they feel that God intended for them to live. It’s because most of our decisions are based on our fears more than on the faith that God has given us.

The more of your decisions you make based on fear – your fear of failure, your fear of rejection, your fear of poverty, or even your fear of ridicule, the more likely you are to have those very factors come into play in your life.

In other words, your fear acts like a magnet, to draw to you the very things you fear. Even the righteous man Job found this out. He said in Job 3:25, “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come to me.”

With so many things to fear, how do we keep them from coming upon us and overtaking us? Well, you know that Jesus said “man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).” That means you can’t serve God and the flesh. It also means you can’t be walking in fear if you’re walking in faith. On a simpler level, if you’re thinking on the things you’re believing God to do in your life, you can’t at the same time be thinking about the things that you fear!
You want to be thinking about, meditating on, occupying your mind with the things that you desire and keeping your mind OFF of what you fear. Remember, what you feed grows and what you starve dies. You get changed into the image of what you look at.
If you’re looking at the Lord and what He’s doing in your life, you’ll grow into the image of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says when we look to Jesus, we… “are changed into the same image…by the Spirit of the Lord.”
The biggest challenge is to dwell on what you desire rather than what you DON’T want. Since you and I can really think on only one thing at a time, if we’ll spend most of our time thinking only on what we want, we won’t have time to allow what we fear to creep in.

There’s an old story about how a traveler in ancient Greece was walking down the road and asked a stranger how to get to Mount Olympus. The stranger, who happened to be Socrates answered, “If you want to get to Mount Olympus, make sure that every step you take is in that direction.”
In the simplest terms, living a life with the blessing of God on it begins with the power of choice, and taking full control over the thoughts that you allow yourself to hold.

This is the ONLY way to conquer fear, anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness and hopelessness. All of these self-destructive emotions affect not only your body, but your spirit as well. Plus, they’re hard on those who have to live and work with you!

When you really think about it, all of these ways of feeling hurt, upset, lousy and scared are nothing more than thinking on what you DON’T want, or don’t have, or didn’t do. That’s it.

What else is happiness, contentment and joy but thinking on what blessings you DO have, and HAVE had and WILL have? It’s impossible to be fearful, angry, depressed, anxious hopeless or bitter when you think on the goodness of God in your life, past, present and future. You and I have to admit, that God has been better to us than we deserve!

It’s a matter of thinking ONLY on what you want, and NOT on what you DON’T want. It’s bringing your thoughts and meditations to what you want and refusing to dwell on what you fear.

For most of us, this is almost impossible. We could sit down and talk for hours about what we don’t want and what we fear might happen. When asked to talk about what we fear might happen. When asked to talk about what we DO want in life, most people are at a loss.

They usually start with something like, “Well, I don’t want to lose my job; I don’t want to be broke; I don’t want my kids to get into trouble, I don’t want to backslide and miss God…” These are all things they DON’T want!

If you want to walk in faith and contentment, you’ll have to be transformed by renewing your mind, like it says in Romans 12:2. This is what Philippians 4:8 is about. Instead of telling you what NOT to think on, God tells us what TO think on:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true…honest, just pure, lovely, or of good report

A Special Message For and About Fathers

By on June 13, 2018

I have a tough time on Father’s Day bringing messages talking about how wonderful all fathers are. Why? Because not all fathers are great fathers, and not all fathers are even good fathers. And, some fathers are downright lousy fathers.

Some fathers try their best to be good, responsible and loving. And others seem like they don’t even try. Some of us have had some rotten experiences with abusive fathers, absent fathers and alcoholic fathers. Others, had fathers who were emotionally distant, cold and unapproachable.

The Bible gives us an interesting description of what God calls a good father. In Proverbs 13:22, it says, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” He recognizes that he has an effect not only on his kids, but also on his grandchildren. He thinks about this and acts and lives in such a way that his grandchildren will be better off for the kind of person and father he became.

It’s important to guard the foundation of your family relationships. It’s the foundation of God’s working in your life and in society.

Take away the family structure and civilization crumbles.

Would you like to be able to see into the future like a prophet? Want to know the future of our country and the world. Just watch the eyes of the children around you. What the children are, the neighborhoods are. What the neighborhoods are, the communities are. And what the communities are, the country is and the world becomes.

That’s why it’s so vital to be there for your children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The tones of voice that you use, the things you say to them, all make impressions on their sensitive spirits. Don’t think you’re wasting time when you’re listening to your little boy or girl telling you all about their day.

Your child experiences hurts and disappointments as well as play and pleasure each day. He or she needs you to soothe his or her little heart and to reassure them that you care about them and are there for them.

Use every means you can to win your child’s trust and confidence. Listening to them without interrupting or ridiculing them is one of the best and most valuable services you can perform. It says you care, really care. Don’t go to bed at night without some listening to you son’s or daughter’s daily joys or sorrows. You’ll never know how much comfort it is to your child’s heart to tell you all their troubles, knowing that you’re really listening.

You can be sure that as soon as they STOP trying to share their confidences with you, that they’ve found some other confidante, and that’s where dangerous ground begins! This is the rock that has wrecked many children – feeling mom or dad was just “too busy” to listen.

Raising your kids well is more than just watching them with a suspicious eye, and getting on their case when they get too loud or rowdy. It’s more than suppressing their laughing, giggling, silliness and outbursts.

The whole area of discipline needs God’s wisdom. “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged (Col 3:21).” When you punish your child, make sure he or she knows exactly what it is you’re disciplining them for. Sometimes, they think it’s just because you’re grouchy! They have no clear idea just what was wrong. Never punish out of anger or grouchiness!

Correct your child calmly, and without “losing it.” Losing your temper in your child’s eyes is losing strength and respectability. Being violent and stormy only weakens your authority. Use a few words, and not a torrent of abuse.

Don’t embarrass and humiliate your child. When your ridicule your son or daughter, and tread on his or her feelings, you’ll stir up resentment and rebellion. Your kids are defenseless – you don’t let them talk back! To them, it seems like you try them, condemn them and execute them in a matter of seconds!

“Punish as often as you threaten, and threaten only when you intend and can perform; say what you mean and do what you say.”

Remember how it feels to be a child. You feel like you’re of little use. You are made to do things you don’t want to do, and kept from doing things you really love. You’re an inconvenience to grownups, and have to fit in with their plans and wants. You have to go to school all day, sit with people you don’t like and then go home and do whatever your parents tell you. You don’t have many choices. They can interrupt them. It’s tough being a kid!

God’s willing to do a special work in fathers, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).

Remember, they won’t get in your way for very long. They won’t trouble and inconvenience you for too much longer. Nothing on earth grows up as quickly as a child. You want the house to be clean and neat, with no toys, shoes, clothes and mess in it – well, before you know it, they’ll be gone. Your house will be orderly and quiet.

Those bedrooms will be too neat and clean, the kitchen table too big and roomy, and mealtimes too quiet. No more noise and confusion. No more dolls, trucks, coats and shoes left scattered around like a bomb went off. You won’t have to be setting arguments, won’t be woke up early by their watching TV, won’t have to rush them off to school, and won’t have to make sure they get to bed on time.

There will come a time when you’ll think that having kids running through the house and jumping on the stairs would be like music in your ears. You’ll wonder what used to be wrong with you that you would tell them to quit talking so much, to quit bothering you and to stop slamming doors! You’ll wish a neighbor could loan you a kid or two just to bring a little chaos back into your house!

Pass on your spiritual heritage. “I have written to you fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning…(1 John 2:14).”
Don’t neglect to teach your children how to pray and then pray with them and for them on a daily basis. Each night, pray with your child, even through (especially through) the teen years. You can lay your hands on your children’s heads and bless them in prayer. Children recognize this as a great sign of your love for them and the value you hold them in.

It’s these prayers and times together that will be the memories that get them through the stormy years ahead. It’s worth more than you’ll ever know for your child just to be able to say, “My father, my mother, loved me and prayed for me!”

Let your child have a rich treasury of memories of family worship times, memories of being with you in church, hearing you sing to God and remembering you in prayer and worship – You owe that heritage to your children – and to their children.

Fathers, leave a heritage to your children, and to your children’s children. Leave them the heritage of a happy loving home, where their mother was loved and respected, where they were taught and nurtured by a godly father who provided for them and protected his family.

Leave the heritage of morality, uprightness and compassion. Leave the heritage of spiritual leadership and pour yourself into your children to multiply what God has done in your children has done in your life. That’s the blessing of God, the heritage that will cause God to say you were a good man. And, for your children and grandchildren to agree with Him!

3 Things To Do, And 1 Thing To Say, When You’re Weak

By on May 29, 2018

It’s easy to feel weak. Overwhelmed, not up to it. To feel like you’ve been going and going and going and, like you’re definitely NOT the Energizer Bunny.

Sometimes it’s not just physical weakness that you feel, its spiritual weakness. Like you’re ok, until the slightest little attack comes, and then you shatter and fall apart. You’re doing fine, and all of a sudden you hit a bump in the road and your whole applecart turns over, leaving you with a chaotic mess.

Another area of weakness can be in the area of finances and bills. You’re just able to make it if you have no financial surprises. Then, the car breaks down, or the kids need something ELSE for school and you just don’t know how you’re going to make it.

When you feel like you’ve done all that you can do, that’s when you get God to do what only HE can do. In Joel 3:10, he tells you HOW He will work with you, and what else you need to do.

Specifically when you’re feeling weak and overwhelmed, there’s something you NEED to DO. He says, “Let the weak DO something and say something.”
What is it you need to do when you’re weak? “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say I am STRONG.”

What’s this mean? First, it means that you HAVE the resources you need, but you need to USE them differently than you have before. He says, you need to aggressively deal with your situation instead of waiting passively for your situation to deal with you.

This can be as simple as the phone call I got the other day from a widow who couldn’t pay her electric bill, and she’d gotten a cutoff notice. She wasn’t asking for money, she just wanted to talk. I asked her what she was doing NOW about the cutoff notice she’d received. She said there was nothing she could do, so she was just waiting for them to come and shut off her electricity – leaving her in the dark!

I shared this Bible principle with her. I asked her if she had CALLED the Electric Company. She hadn’t. I asked her if she had explained her situation; attempted to set up a payment plan, or had she called the Tri County Energy Assistance Program. She hadn’t.

So, after explaining this verse a little, she understood, to use her phone, not as a means of idle conversation, or of getting sympathy, but as a way of dealing with her situation, and getting her needs met. She then was able to take the actions she needed to take, and keep her electric on, through an arrangement she was able to make.

Beating your plowshare into a sword means exactly that. To USE what you have to defeat the circum-stances that are trying to destroy you. Same thing with the pruninghook being turned into a spear. God’s saying that you have more resources in your favor than you realize. It takes praying, letting God SHOW YOU what you have to work with, getting an inspired idea, and then ACTING on it.

You’ve GOT to take those first three steps, if you’re not going to be a perpetual victim in life. You’ve got to PRAY to the Source of the IDEA that you need. Listen, and be open to something NEW to come. Then take ACTION, to set your solution into motion.

Then, there’s this last part. SPEAK the right thing. Instead of going around all pitiful, seeking sympathy and telling how awful everything is, speak about how WELL you’re being taken care of! Nothing will destroy your faith and block inspired ideas like self-pity!

It’s EASIER to seek pity than it is to take action, but it WON’T get your needs met! That’s why God says, “Let the weak speak right: say, “I am STRONG!”

That’s the quickest way to defeat fear. Fear is real force. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but no power, love and of a sound mind.”

If we have a spirit of fear, it’s not from God. So you can ask God to root it up. He didn’t plant that fear in your heart. Perfect love casts out fear. Jesus is perfect love. Every planted by the Father will be rooted up, Jesus says Matthew 15:13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

Fear causes you to miss God. It causes you to not recognize when your answer comes. It wears down your strength. Fear keeps you under condemnation, because all of these missed blessings cause you to feel inferior.

Say, “God has not given me a spirit of fear. He has given me a spirit of love, a spirit of power and a sound mind to operate in. perfect Love casts out fear. Jesus casts out the fear of failure, the fear of poverty, the fear of sickness, the fear of rejection, and the fear of anything else that God did not put there. I am bold in Jesus, bold as a lion. The Bible says the righteous shall be bold as a lion and Jesus says I am righteous by faith. So I am bold. I am fearless. I am loving. I am powerful and I am sound in my thinking, in Jesus name!

It’s that sense of weakness and inadequacy that keeps you from doing what you NEED to do. It’s that weakness that keeps you from being what God meant for you to be. It’s what makes you afraid of other people’s opinions and makes you fear rejection. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare.” It’ll catch you. Fear of other people is the bait that catches you in the trap that holds you back from God’s best blessings in your life.

It comes down to this: What and Who are you going to believe in? You can be like King Agrippa in the Book of Acts. He said to the Apostle Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Or, “I ALMOST made the choice to do the right thing…but I DIDN’T!”

King Agrippa had an “almost” life. That’s not what YOU want. A “could’ve” life. Where you could’ve had a better home life. Could’ve raised better kids. Almost got a good job with better pay. Just about became a truly spiritual individual. Almost did, but DIDN’T!

God never intended for you to have an “almost” life. He has always wanted to give you His best in this life and the next. Jesus said for us not to be afraid in life, because God WANTS to give us His best. In Luke 12:32, He said, “Fear not…It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”

Our old thinking and traditional religious mindsets tell us that God wants us to just barely make it; to struggle through life crawling along the side of the road. But that’s not what the Bible says. In fact, Jesus said that this kind of traditional religious thinking limits God, and keeps Him from working in our lives like He wants to do!

In Matthew 15:6, Jesus says that we make the Word of God to where it can’t even work in our lives, when we go by our traditions, rather than going by what God says.

So, what do we do? We can either acknowledge how we’re FEELING or we can acknowledge what God is SAYING. Paul said this, in 2 Corinthians 12:10. “When I am weak (that is, weak in myself), then I am strong (strong in letting God’s Spirit work through me to deal with my situation).”

Instead of worrying, and wondering what will happen if God doesn’t answer your prayers – instead of torturing yourself with the fear that everything you value is going to crumble or be taken from you, SPEAK what God says!

Worrying is nothing less than “negative prophesying.” It’s doubt, in action. It’s looking at, listening to and experiencing failures that haven’t even happened! It’s living as though God ISN’T alive! “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies!” that’s what Jonah 2:8 says.
That’s why it begins with turning to God in real, heartfelt prayer. Daniel 11:32 has this promise: “They that do know their God SHALL BE STRONG and do exploits.” Instead of saying, “I’ve got to be stronger,” start getting to know your God better.

Isaiah 53:12 says that Jesus shall divide the spoil (the treasures taken in battle) with the strong. The spoils of battle are the treasures that the winner takes back from the defeated enemy. Jesus will divide, or give you, if you’re believing in His strength, what Satan has been holding back from you in life.

Jesus will give you the strength to raise that child to be all that he or she was meant to be. He will give you that answer to prayer that seems so long in coming. He will give you that better job, that newer car, that relationship that has been eluding you.

Seek God. Ask Him to reveal to you the way to use your God! Speak what HE says, not what your fears and doubts say! Get your eyes off of past failures and mistakes and begin to move forward in God and in His power. Stop believing in YOUR weakness, and start believing in God’s strength!
Hebrews 9:11 says that Jesus is our High Priest of good things to come. He is YOUR High Priest of GOOD THINGS that are on the way to YOU!