Tag Archive | fear

Symptoms, Solutions, & Overcoming Your Fear

Yesterday, the city of San Bernardino, CA was rocked by another mass shooting that claimed the lives of multiple people, and wounded many others. Another community shaken to its foundation. More families grieving the loss of loved ones. More empty rhetoric from politicians and pundits intent on attacking the “symptom” of gun control without wanting to address the root of the disease. As actor Samuel L. Jackson said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2012…

I don’t think it’s about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life.

As many have said (and Mr. Jackson alluded to), the problem is not a gun problem, it’s a heart problem. It’s about evil in the world that does not play by anyone’s rules or regulations — whether it is ISIS, Al-Quaeda, or “lone wolves” like Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer. But while these groups and individuals prey upon innocent victims or an unsuspecting society, they introduce into our lives chaos, anger, sorrow, and…

FEAR.

Fear is a magnet to demons. Fear will draw in the enemy, and will bring to pass the thing you have spoken out of your mouth. You need to understand that fear is not only an emotion, it is a spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”

Friend, it’s time to recognize your fears.

What fears flood and bring failure to your life?  It is time to take a close look at your mind and see what fears may exist there.

Fearing Life

Every day I meet people who are afraid to live life to its fullest. This fear is one of the first to ever show its face in this world. Right after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God showed up to speak to them.  In Genesis 3:10 Adam admitted to God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He couldn’t even go through his normal routines there in the garden!

Perhaps you’re afraid that people will find out who you really are and then shun you.  You are afraid that some of the things that you’ve done that are between you and God may come out. You live in fear of the truth. However, if there is any place in the world that you ought to be able to live a transparent life, it ought to be in the church. You ought to be able to surface your difficulties and your failures and have them dealt with in safety there.

The impact of fear reaches beyond spiritual issues; it can also affect your job. Perhaps you are afraid to take the next step for advancement. Maybe you fear going into management because you’re afraid the responsibility will be bigger than anything you’ve ever known. The comfort zone is preferred over progress. Someone reading here may have birthed a wonderful idea but you won’t take a risk because you so deeply fear failure.

History tells us that Abraham Lincoln lost every election he ran in except for when he ran for president. What if he had quit? We would not have had one of our greatest presidents. There are those who are paralyzed by the fear of getting up in the morning and just going about the chores of life. I want to challenge you to break this spirit and believe that you can be everything God has created you to be and more.

Fearing Death

Hebrews 2:14-15 says that “Jesus was manifested that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.” Many people sustain a powerful fear of dying. I believe that’s why about 65% of our hospital dollars are going to give people tests for diseases they don’t have. Many people wake up nightly short of breath, and they actually are suffering from night terrors, a demonic attack on basic health.

If you are saved, why should you be afraid of dying? Philippians 1:21 should be the Christian’s boast, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Heaven is not a thing to be feared. I’ve heard people say, “You know, I want to go to heaven, but I’m not ready if there is a trip going out tonight.”  Well, I’m ready to go today. I would miss my family, and they would miss me terribly. But after Jesus died on the cross and then arose from the tomb, He lit up the corridors of death forever. I don’t have to be afraid. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,” said David in Psalm 23. Even in death, we are not alone.

Fearing the Enemy

Psalm 31:13-15 should be the proper response when you are facing the enemy, “I hear the slander of many. Fear is on every side, while they take counsel together against me and scheme to take away my life, but as for me, I trust in you, O Lord. I say you are my God. My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”

I don’t have to be afraid of the devil or his emissaries that wear skin here on the earth. Jesus spoiled principalities and powers.  He ripped the astro-deities from their thrones and exposed the enemy. I don’t have to be afraid of a tarot card, or a horoscope. I don’t need to call a psychic to find out what is going to happen tomorrow. I boast with the psalmist David in Psalm 31, “My times are in His hands.”

Fearing Man

This fear is a powerful one for many. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Is there somebody in your life that when you see them fear rises up in your spirit? Is there something in you that has you agreeing with people when you know they are wrong, simply because you are afraid of what they will think of you? Have you ever gone along with people and done things you know you shouldn’t do just because of fear that they might think badly of you? With all of the chaos going on in the world, are you afraid to just walk out your front door?

This fear of man is something that really grips our young people today. Peer pressure, a fear of what friends think, can take over their lives. The fear of being different, the fear of what other people think—these can be so strong.  I’m not telling you that you ought to be obnoxious, but the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but God. Young people and adults alike need to quit allowing the fear of man to hinder what God wants to do in their lives.

Fearing Insignificance

People are afraid that their lives won’t count for anything. I think of Genesis 15 and the story of Abraham. Here’s old Abram, he has left fame and fortune in Ur of the Chaldees, left his beautiful home and is living in a tent. Out here, nobody knows who he is. In Genesis 15:1 it says, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, ‘Do not be afraid.  I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.’”

You said, “Well, I didn’t win ‘Employee of the Month’ even though I deserved it.” But God saw it, and He took account of your stewardship. You say, “Nobody has ever given me a plaque. Nobody appreciates what I do.”  I want to tell you, your great reward is God.

I remind you of the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box and wept over Jesus’ feet. Nobody really knows what her name is; some scholars believe it was Mary. What we do know for sure: Jesus appreciated what she did. We also don’t know the widow’s name that stepped up to the temple offering box and threw in the “widow’s mite”, all of her living, but Jesus knows her name, and she is significant and important to Him.

One day you are going to get to heaven and you are going to find out everything you sowed into this life is still over there. You sowed it into His work. Embrace the understanding that Jesus Christ is the one who can make your life last forever.

Fearing the Future

“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace
and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

You don’t have to be afraid of what is going to happen tomorrow. Once you know the Lord Jesus Christ, the fear of the future can leave.

When my son, Ronnie, Jr. was a little boy, he loved to go with me on errands. Even when he was four or five years old, he would eagerly jump into the passenger seat even if it were a quick trip. Looking back, I think it is significant that not once did he say, “Daddy, do you have enough gas in the car?”  “Daddy, do you have any money with you?”  “Daddy, do you really know the directions to where are we going?”

You see, he didn’t have to ask those questions. He put his little hand in my hand, and that was all he needed. He was ready to go, because he trusted me. He knew that if he was with me, his needs would be met in abundance. Whether it was a soda from the gas station or a quick trip through fast food drive-through, he knew he wouldn’t go hungry on our trip. If he needed a restroom, Daddy would find one. And he could trust that Daddy would know the way back home when it was time.

I can’t predict to you what will happen in your future. But, I can tell you this, as a believer, what is waiting for you in eternity is wonderful and you don’t have to worry.

 

Today’s blog adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma House Book Group

Peanuts, Paranoia, and Conquering Your Fear

In the 1965 Charles Schultz classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, there is a very famous exchange between Charlie Brown and his street-corner counselor, Lucy Van Pelt…

Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.

Charlie Brown: I don’t think that’s quite it.

Lucy: How about cats? If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.

Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I’m not sure…

Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?

Charlie Brown: What’s pantophobia?

Lucy: The fear of everything.

Charlie Brown: THAT’S IT!!!!!

Fear is a magnet to demons. Fear will draw in the enemy, and will bring to pass the thing you have spoken out of your mouth. You need to understand that fear is not only an emotion, it is a spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”

Friend, it’s time to recognize your fears.

What fears flood and bring failure to your life?  It is time to take a close look at your mind and see what fears may exist there.

Fearing Life

Every day I meet people who are afraid to live life to its fullest. This fear is one of the first to ever show its face in this world. Right after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God showed up to speak to them.  In Genesis 3:10 Adam admitted to God, “I heard Your voice in the garden, but I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself.” He couldn’t even go through his normal routines there in the garden!

Perhaps you’re afraid that people will find out who you really are and then shun you.  You are afraid that some of the things that you’ve done that are between you and God may come out. You live in fear of the truth. However, if there is any place in the world that you ought to be able to live a transparent life, it ought to be in the church. You ought to be able to surface your difficulties and your failures and have them dealt with in safety there.

The impact of fear reaches beyond spiritual issues; it can also affect your job. Perhaps you are afraid to take the next step for advancement. Maybe you fear going into management because you’re afraid the responsibility will be bigger than anything you’ve ever known. The comfort zone is preferred over progress. Someone reading here may have birthed a wonderful idea but you won’t take a risk because you so deeply fear failure.

History tells us that Abraham Lincoln lost every election he ran in except for when he ran for president. What if he had quit? We would not have had one of our greatest presidents. There are those who are paralyzed by the fear of getting up in the morning and just going about the chores of life. I want to challenge you to break this spirit and believe that you can be everything God has created you to be and more.

Fearing Death

Hebrews 2:14-15 says that “Jesus was manifested that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.” Many people sustain a powerful fear of dying. I believe that’s why about 65% of our hospital dollars are going to give people tests for diseases they don’t have. Many people wake up nightly short of breath, and they actually are suffering from night terrors, a demonic attack on basic health.

If you are saved, why should you be afraid of dying? Philippians 1:21 should be the Christian’s boast, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Heaven is not a thing to be feared. I’ve heard people say, “You know, I want to go to heaven, but I’m not ready if there is a trip going out tonight.”  Well, I’m ready to go today. I would miss my family, and they would miss me terribly. But after Jesus died on the cross and then arose from the tomb, He lit up the corridors of death forever. I don’t have to be afraid. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me,” said David in Psalm 23. Even in death, we are not alone.

Fearing the Enemy

Psalm 31:13-15 should be the proper response when you are facing the enemy, “I hear the slander of many. Fear is on every side, while they take counsel together against me and scheme to take away my life, but as for me, I trust in you, O Lord. I say you are my God. My times are in your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”

I don’t have to be afraid of the devil or his emissaries that wear skin here on the earth. Jesus spoiled principalities and powers.  He ripped the astro-deities from their thrones and exposed the enemy. I don’t have to be afraid of a tarot card, or a horoscope. I don’t need to call a psychic to find out what is going to happen tomorrow. I boast with the psalmist David in Psalm 31, “My times are in His hands.”

Fearing Man

This fear is a powerful one for many. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”  Is there somebody in your life that when you see them fear rises up in your spirit? Is there something in you that has you agreeing with people when you know they are wrong, simply because you are afraid of what they will think of you? Have you ever gone along with people and done things you know you shouldn’t do just because of fear that they might think badly of you?

This fear of man is something that really grips our young people today. Peer pressure, a fear of what friends think, can take over their lives. The fear of being different, the fear of what other people think—these can be so strong.  I’m not telling you that you ought to be obnoxious, but the honest truth is that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks but God. Young people and adults alike need to quit allowing the fear of man to hinder what God wants to do in their lives.

Fearing Insignificance

People are afraid that their lives won’t count for anything. I think of Genesis 15 and the story of Abraham. Here’s old Abram, he has left fame and fortune in Ur of the Chaldees, left his beautiful home and is living in a tent. Out here, nobody knows who he is. In Genesis 15:1 it says, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, ‘Do not be afraid.  I am your shield and your exceedingly great reward.’”

You said, “Well, I didn’t win ‘Employee of the Month’ even though I deserved it.” But God saw it, and He took account of your stewardship. You say, “Nobody has ever given me a plaque. Nobody appreciates what I do.”  I want to tell you, your great reward is God.

I remind you of the story of the woman who broke the alabaster box and wept over Jesus’ feet. Nobody really knows what her name is; some scholars believe it was Mary. What we do know for sure: Jesus appreciated what she did. We also don’t know the widow’s name that stepped up to the temple offering box and threw in the “widow’s mite”, all of her living, but Jesus knows her name, and she is significant and important to Him.

One day you are going to get to heaven and you are going to find out everything you sowed into this life is still over there. You sowed it into His work. Embrace the understanding that Jesus Christ is the one who can make your life last forever.

Fearing the Future

“I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace
and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

You don’t have to be afraid of what is going to happen tomorrow. Once you know the Lord Jesus Christ, the fear of the future can leave.

When my son, Ronnie, Jr. was a little boy, he loved to go with me on errands. Even when he was four or five years old, he would eagerly jump into the passenger seat even if it were a quick trip. Looking back, I think it is significant that not once did he say, “Daddy, do you have enough gas in the car?”  “Daddy, do you have any money with you?”  “Daddy, do you really know the directions to where are we going?”

You see, he didn’t have to ask those questions. He put his little hand in my hand, and that was all he needed. He was ready to go, because he trusted me. He knew that if he was with me, his needs would be met in abundance. Whether it was a soda from the gas station or a quick trip through fast food drive-through, he knew he wouldn’t go hungry on our trip. If he needed a restroom, Daddy would find one. And he could trust that Daddy would know the way back home when it was time.

I can’t predict to you what will happen in your future. But, I can tell you this, as a believer, what is waiting for you in eternity is wonderful and you don’t have to worry.

My co-host on Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, Angie McGregor, wrote this beautiful song about conquering fear. Listen, and let the fear melt away…

Today’s blog adapted from my book Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare Copyright © 2010 Ron PhillipsPublished by Charisma House Book Group

No Expiration Date on Favor

Recently, at every turn, we are faced with stories meant to incite fear and worry.

ISIS.

Islam.

Ebola.

Political correctness run amok.

Healthcare.

Climate change.

It’s easy to get bogged down in gloom, despair, and depression with so much negativity right now.

That being said, let’s all pause, take a deep breath, and go back to the well of God’s mercy and grace. Today, I want to share with you something I shared back in 2013. It is truth that is just as real, and just as pertinent today as it was then, and I hope it encourages you today to trust in the favor God has for you as one of His favorite children.

got favor?

Gas GaugeIn May of 2002, I was preaching a crusade in Nigeria. After about a week of wonderful meetings, it was time to once again climb aboard a plane and head back across the Atlantic. As we were about to leave, we were praying with our host pastor, Dr. Nick Ezeh, and rejoicing in what God had done in the meetings. After saying our goodbyes, we turned and walked into the terminal only to be confronted by these disturbing words on the flight schedule screen:

Flight #— to Lagos: CANCELLED

Now, in the U.S., this is not really a huge issue. When a flight is cancelled, most of the time, there is another flight within hours. However, since we were in Calabar, Nigeria, and not Cleveland, Ohio, this was not the case. If we missed our connection in Lagos, the next available flight was FOUR DAYS LATER!

At this point, our team shifted into overdrive, trying desperately to speak to someone who might have a solution to our dilemma. We quickly discovered that there was a flight to Lagos from another town called Port Harcourt. The flight was scheduled to leave in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Great, right? Except for one small problem…

Port Harcourt was 3½ hours away.

If we left immediately, we would have a fifteen minute margin of error. If we hit traffic, had any mechanical issues, or were in any other way delayed, chances were good that we would not make our connection, and would have to get comfortable for a four-day layover. Our team quickly gathered all of our gear, and got back into the vehicles for the long ride to Port Harcourt.

Now, one thing about Nigeria is that twice a year they shut down all of the oil refineries for a week or two for scheduled maintenance, thus creating shortages, rationing, and gas station shutdowns all over the country. It just so happened that that shutdown fell during our visit. The whole time we were there, we witnessed lines at gas stations that made the U.S. gas lines of the 1970’s look like the express line at Wal-Mart. About an hour into our drive, I glanced down at the gas gauge of our borrowed vehicle, and noticed that the needle was below empty. Our driver, a very nice Nigerian gentleman by the name of A.G. Bright didn’t seem too concerned. I leaned forward and asked him if the gauge was broken.

“No, my brother,” he answered, “but God will provide, for we prayed for mercy on this journey. Also, you and Dr. Ezeh are God’s men… He will surely see us through.”

It is difficult to admit this, but my faithless soul was not comforted. As we drove on, my mind was filled with visions of our stranded team, standing by our vehicles in the middle of the sweltering Nigerian jungle, or worse, being taken captive by rebels or robbers.

As my mind raced through the worst possible of scenarios, all of a sudden, I heard the sound of singing. Mr. Bright had started singing praises to God, and was quickly being joined by others in the vehicle. As the praises went up from our SUV, my faithless heart still continued to fret, expecting our engine to come to a grinding halt at any second. However, after another HOUR of unrelenting driving, we came to a crossroads, with a gas station that stood like an oasis at the intersection. As we pulled in, we questioned whether or not it was even open, since it was without the massive lines we had witnessed everywhere else. Upon discovering that it was open, we soon found out from the proprietor that the station had been closed for a week due to the fuel shortage, but that he had just received a shipment, and was actually re-opening his station AS WE PULLED UP!

A smiling A.G. Bright looked at me and said, “See, Pastor Phillips… God always takes care of His servants. You are in favor with God!”

Now here we are today, and we face challenges like never before. Turmoil in our financial markets, uncertainty and unrest about the state of our nation politically, and chaos and disquiet in various hot-spots around the globe make it difficult to have faith. Yet having the favor of God is not dependent upon who is king, prime minister or president. The favor of God does not hinge on “bull markets” or diversified portfolios. The favor of God is not even affected by our immediate circumstances… our job, our family, or even our gas gauge. The favor of God is about His goodness and His faithfulness. We receive God’s favor, not because we are good, but because HE is good.

Driving down those dirty, pot-hole infested roads of Nigeria that day, Mr. Bright became a shining example of how we get ahold of that favor.

Mr. Bright prayed… He prayed a prayer that said, “God, here is what I am expecting, and no one will be more surprised than me if You don’t come through.” (Contrast this with the prayer that many of us pray: “God, here is my need, and I will be shocked if You actually answer me.”)

Mr. Bright walked by faith… He put his proverbial “money where his mouth was”. He had no choice but to move forward by faith, and he did it with gusto, literally driving into the unknown with nothing but a belief that God is true to His word and to His children.

Mr. Bright worshipped… He didn’t sit there and fret about the gas gauge. He opened his mouthand declared God’s goodness and faithfulness in advance.

What a powerful lesson! I want to be like Mr. Bright. I want to be the one who walks in favor, stands in favor, and lives in favor! I want to be the one whose life is centered in His presence, and in the blessing that God gave Moses for the children of Israel…

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;

The Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

(Numbers 6:24-27)

That is the kind of favor I want.

How about you?

Pastor Ron

September 11 and Facing the Spirit of Fear

It was the evening of November 30, 1977…

For those of us old enough to remember (and before the days of VCR’s, DVR’s, and YouTube), it was the night that Americans gathered around our television sets and watched with mixed emotions the final Christmas special featuring the great Bing Crosby. Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, originally taped toward the end of summer that year in London, England, featured Bing along with his family and a few guests. Just over a month after the taping, on October 14, Bing died suddenly from a massive heart attack following a round of golf with friends.

One of the highlights of the program was a duet by Bing and a young David Bowie. It was a beautiful rendition of the song Little Drummer Boy, arranged together as a medley with a song called Peace on Earth. As Bing’s low baritone voice sang out the familiar “ba-rum-bum-bum-bum”, David Bowie sang out the higher counter-melody…

Peace on Earth,
Can it be?
Years from now
Perhaps we’ll see;
See the day of glory,
See the day
When men of good will live in peace,
Live in peace again.*

* Tune and lyrics, written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman, and Alan Kohan

Peace on Earth. Since that night on a Judean hillside when the hosts of Heaven filled the sky with the refrain of “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men“, men of good will throughout the centuries have long worked for peace. As Bing Crosby and David Bowie sang once again a plea for peace on Earth, no one knew the irony of what they were singing… and when. You see, the day that they taped that segment of the show was September 11, 1977.

September 11, 2001

9-11Fast forward exactly 34 years as Americans watched in horror the tragedy of that day unfold before our very eyes. A handful of Islamic terrorists brought the reality of their radical ideology to the shores of our country in an attack unlike anything since December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. When all was said and done, four planes had crashed, the World Trade Center was reduced to rubble, the Pentagon was in flames, a field in Pennsylvania was strewn with fiery wreckage, and nearly 3,000 American citizens had lost their lives. They were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and grandparents. They were business people, students, athletes, blue-collar workers, housewives, politicians, and children. And in the days that followed, as we learned of the facts surrounding the events of that day, Americans spoke out with a cry of defiant resolve…

We will NEVER forget.

But as we spend this day in reflection on the events of September 11, 2001, I have to ask…

Have we?

Have we forgotten what it felt like that day? Have we forgotten the feelings of fear and uncertainty that gave way to anger for this violation against our nation? Have we forgotten the sorrow at the loss of our friends and loved ones, and the determination to never let it happen again on our watch?

Most importantly, have we forgotten our reliance upon God during those dark nights?

In 1 Peter 5:8, the apostle writes…

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

When quoting that verse, we have a tendency to focus on the second part; the descriptive about our enemy. But many times, we neglect our responsibility in the verse, that being the first four words…

Be sober, be vigilant…

I find it interesting that, as a nation founded upon our reliance on God, and having spent the better part of the past 4 decades trying to distance ourselves from God, we now find ourselves fighting an enemy that is waging a war based on a religious ideology, claiming to be fighting in the name of God. The fact is, we are fighting a demonically influenced political ideology that masks itself in the shroud of religion. As we see events unfolding in the Middle East, the persecution and murder of Christians by Muslims, the infiltration of Islam in our own culture, and unresolved events such as the Benghazi attack on our diplomatic team, it is all meant to incite one thing…

Fear.

But the real fear we face is more sinister than just the fear of a group or ideology. The absence of truth and absolutes in our culture has created a vacuum, and fear has been more than willing to fill the void. We have become afraid to speak the truth for fear of being called intolerant. We are afraid of standing up for Godliness and holiness for fear of being labeled a bigot. We are afraid to speak out against social injustice for fear of being called a racist. We are afraid to stand for traditional marriage and family values for fear of being called a homophobe. We are afraid to stand against the evils of Muslim ideology for fear of being called an Islamophobe. The list goes on…

However, cowering in fear from the onslaught of the enemy — whatever socio-political-religious mask he chooses to wear — should not be the response of any follower of Jesus Christ. After all, we have this declaration…

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Being the habitation of God Almighty, we have unlimited power. As recipients of the finished work of Jesus, we have received unrelenting love. As believers in His holiness and righteousness, we have taken on the mind of Christ. In light of these things, as the Psalmist said…

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1

So while we are called to be sober and vigilant, and to walk in faith and truth instead of fear, we can walk in the belief that our Prince of Peace has come, and gives us peace — peace that no man can take away. We can move forward from this day — September 11, 2014 — as the day that we resolve to no longer allow the enemy to keep us in bondage to fear, but will live according to the promise of Romans 8:15…

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Peace be with you and yours,
Pastor Ron

In Retrospect of Fear

FlagSometimes, some things that we say bear repeating (and truth much moreso). This week will mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. The following blog was written in the aftermath of that horrible event.
Recent events in our nation and world have brought fear and uncertainty back to the headlines, and whether it is fear of an unseen enemy, or fear of the very institutions and ideals we once thought made us safe… fear is still fear.
However, truth is still truth… whether spoken 5 seconds ago, 1 year ago, or 2 millenia ago.

No Fear

After following the news in the wake of this week’s terror attack at the Boston Marathon, it is obvious and understandable that emotions in our nation are running the gamut.

We are saddened by the physical and emotional pain that our friends and fellow Americans are facing as a result of those killed and injured. Our prayers for healing and comfort go out to the victims and their families during this time.

We are angry that someone had the audacity to commit this heinous crime on a day (Patriot’s Day) that was about everything that is right with our nation (courage, honor, freedom), on our own soil – our home.

We are confused as to why and how this could have happened. Who committed this act? Why did they do it? As our fine law enforcement officials investigate, we believe that answers will be forthcoming.

We are afraid. Many people in our nation are now living in fear on a variety of levels:

People are in fear that it could happen again.

Witnesses may face fear from the memories of that horrific day.

Victims are fearful of moving forward into a future of uncertainty.

Terror, by it’s very definition, is about eliciting a fear response. Terror means “extreme fear”. Terrorism is not simply about killing and wounding innocent men, women, and children; it is about inciting fear in those who remain, and causing people to live in fear.

The problem we face is that fear (terror) is a vicious cycle. Fear is a magnet to demons. The more we discuss and voice our fear with our lips, the more demons are attracted to the atmosphere of fear. Fear is more than emotion… fear is a spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that…

God has not not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind“.

In the Bible, Job was considered a righteous man. However, Job had a fatal flaw. In Job 3:25, Job confesses:

“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.”

Job feared the loss of his children and his treasures, and Satan was drawn to that fear. And while we may think that fear is an unavoidable part of life, living in fear is an existence that we do not have to settle for. 1 John 4:18 tells us that “perfect love casts out fear“, and in Proverbs 29:25, we have this promise:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Abraham Lincoln is arguably the greatest president our country has ever seen. However, history bears out that he lost every single election he ran until he ran for president. What if he had allowed fear from past experiences to convince him to quit? How different would our country look today.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” For the believer in Jesus Christ, the opposite of fear is more than courage… it is faith and hope.

For those of you that watch my television program, Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, you are familiar with my co-host, Angie McGregor. What many of you may not realize is that Angie is a gifted songwriter and singer. Several years ago, in the immediate shadow of 9/11, Angie released a song that resonates today. Having faced down some fear in her own life, she penned the song simply titled, I Will Not Fear. After the events of 9/11, this song took on a whole new meaning for all of us that heard it.

— from the CD Could We Dance? ©Copyright 2002 FacePlace Music

Upsize Your Future to God-Sized

Across the WaterAccording to the World Health Organization, by the year 2020, the number 2 disease in the world will be depression. Worse than that, suicide will be in the top 5 causes of death worldwide.

In his wonderful book, Moving Beyond Depression, Dr. Greg Jartz cites four stages of this debilitating affliction:

  • Loss of the ability to experience joy.
  • Loss of hope.
  • Sense of no positive future.
  • An attitude of “what’s the use?” “Why carry on?”

All of this leads to an atmosphere of negativity and negative self-talk which manifests itself in anger, fear, guilt, and shame.

Now, I would go a step further and add one more thing to Dr. Jartz’s list: Demonic oppression. Fear, anger, guilt, and shame are normal emotions that, given the opportunity to linger (ie: dwelling on them) will become spiritual strongholds of wrong thinking, inviting demonic pressure. After all:

  • Anger drains optimism.
  • Fear steals hope.
  • Shame and guilt crush joy.

Overcoming this paralysis of hopelessness requires a change of mind and heart – a paradigm shift.

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Get Rid of Stinking Thinking

Moving from heaviness to hope requires a choice… your choice. Albert Einstein once said that “Significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.” Make a decision to tear down the strongholds of wrong thinking, evict the agents of darkness, and upsize to God-sized… GOD IS BIGGER THAN YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!

Evaluate Your Situation Honestly

Only the truth will set you free. We find in the above verse a promise… God has a plan for your life!

However, the context of this verse is interesting. The people are already in captivity. God may not take you out of your circumstances, but may choose to bless you in the midst of them!

Get The Basic Stuff Right

We have to recognize that the plans of God are not fanciful schemes. In the case of the people Jeremiah was talking to, God didn’t hit them in the head with a gold brick. Sometimes, the resources and answers are not immediate. Instead, God’s desire for us may be to affect change where we are. That may mean to settle in, build homes, start businesses, grow families, and be positive influences in the places where God puts us. Just do the normal, everyday stuff with all of your heart, and watch what God can do. Do it with gusto, and expect to prosper where you are (even if it is in a place of governmental hostility and oppression).

Claim A God-Sized Future

We may not always see the end result of the promise, but God’s promises about our future is multi-generational. We may not see the prophetic word fulfilled, but our children and grandchildren can!

So what should you do to claim the future God has for you?

  • Make God’s promise your plan.
  • Make prayer a priority.
  • Make the pursuit of God’s Presence a Holy passion.
  • Realize that God’s Presence is the Pathway to Prosperity.

Friend, you have a God-sized future waiting for you! Take hold of His promises today!

Too Small for Prayer?

Through the Looking GlassSo what has got your stomach in knots today?

What are you concerning yourself  with that  you have absolutely no control over?

Corrie Ten Boom was the only member of her family to survive the Nazi death camps of World War II. Having faced death on a regular basis, she once said…

“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer
is too small to be made into a burden.”

What is it that you are worrying about right now?

Potted PlantYour job?

A relationship?

Your health?

Events unfolding in the world around you?

Whatever it is, the next question is…

Have you prayed about it?

We have a Heavenly Father who is concerned with every part of our lives, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. He reminds us repeatedly in His word of this fact.
In I Peter 5:7, we are told…

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

This is not just a nice thought or helpful suggestion from an ancient book — this is a present imperative command and promise from the living, breathing Word of God!

Still need more convincing?

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
~ Psalm 55:22

If your situation is not big enough to pray about, it’s not big enough to worry about.

However, if you earnestly seek God about it, you may just find that He takes the worry away, and replaces it with His peace.