FEAR NOT!

When people take time out to go on a Spiritual Retreat, they do so to fellowship, to pray, to recharge, and to relax. Yes, it is a time away from every day life. But it is also a time to get closer to God. The goal is to come home a bit more “complete” than we were when we left it.

The theme of the Retreat that I just attended was “Fear Not Daughter of Zion”. It was a great time full of inspiring and illuminating sermons, Spirit filled revival, and worship, and ground shaking prayer sessions. I found it amazing that all three of the sermons, that were given by three different speakers had one central message. It wasn’t the usual don’t fear the attacks that the enemy is or is looking to wage on you, though that is a valid issue, the message was to not be afraid of one of the biggest obstacles that we face every single day…

Ourselves!

We, brethren, are often our biggest obstacles when it comes to claiming the promises that God has made to us.

We, brethren, are often the biggest obstacles when it comes to using the gifts and talents that the Lord has already endowed us with.

We, brethren, are often the biggest obstacles when it comes to making progress in our spiritual walk.

We are the problems. Our fear is the problem. Placing the blame on everyone and everything but ourselves is the problem.

Fear does not take us by force; it is we who give in to fear.

When hardships come; when problems come; when insecurities rise; when unexpected situations present themselves; what do we do?

We break down.
We shrink back.
We turn back.
We cower.
We blame others.
We blame the devil and evil spirits.

But who gives in to the fear?
Who succumbs to the pressure?
Who resigns themselves to depression, anger, envy, resentment and despair?

We do!

It is we who choose to fear!

God is saying to us “ Do Not Fear”.

That simply means that we have absolutely no need whatsoever to give in to fear at all.

There are at least 63 instances in the bible where God, Jesus, an angel, or someone being used by the Spirit of God spoke the words “Fear Not” to someone or some people in order to reassure them. Likewise, there are at least 48 instances in the bible when the words “Do Not Be Afraid” were also used by God, Jesus, the angels or people being used by the Spirit of God to assure us.

With all these assurances, in addition to the all of the others that are there to to reassure and encourage us, why do we still react to situations that come upon us with fear; with resignation, with anger; with malice, with envy, with frustration, etc.

The Lord Himself has assured us that He is bigger than any situation that may come upon us, and He is all that we need. But the only way that we can move the power of God that is already in us is to move ourselves.

Move- in prayer.
Move- in faith.
Move-in trust.
Move-in word.
Move- in deed.
Move in service.

Don’t cower.
Don’t shrink back.
Don’t run away.
Don’t blame others…

Stand.

Then move!

Proverbs 18:8 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

One of the speakers at the Retreat said “It’s a trust thing”.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

The Other speaker said “It’s like the automatic doors at the stores. They only open up if you step forward. As long as you stay back, they remain closed”.

Let us decide to not allow fear keep us back any longer. In every aspect of our lives.

We believe in the God who has assured us that as long as we believe in Him, He will never leave us nor forsake us. So when life comes, let us trust Him. Then, let us step forward, in the strength of the One who is with us. Then watch those doors swing wide open.

Share your thoughts that you might encourage your brethren.

In Christ,
The handmaid at His feet

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HOLD THE LINE!

In the movie “The Patriot”, Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, led a militia group made up of civilians, and joined forces with a larger Continental Regiment to take on a regiment of the British Army. As the battle ensued, Martin heard someone from the opposing side cry out “the line is faltering”! Martin, turning around and seeing his men retreating, aborts the pursuit of his enemy, grabs the American flag, begins waving it frantically while shouting to his men “ Wait! No Retreat! Hold the Line; Hold the Line”! Seeing that flag swaying above the chaos of fighting and smoke, and hearing the voice of their leader calling to them, beckoning them, was all it took for the faltering men. They became re-inspired. Their flames of hope was once again ignited. Even the leader of the Continental Regiment too saw this and with a shout cried out “Push forward, men”. Then one by one, with a cry of courage, they charged, once again, towards their opponents.

“No Retreat. Hold the Line”! It was the battle cry of a leader. A valiant cry. Purposed to encourage the soldiers who were faced with a situation where they could give in to the fear that had seized them in the face of the reality of this battle in which they were obviously outnumbered, and obviously under trained: or stand, courageously and fight for what they believed in, and wanted so desperately – Their freedom.

As Christians, we face daunting situations every now and then. These situations present themselves in many forms: Sickness, Spouselessness, Barrenness, Unemployment, Addiction, Loneliness, Financial Issues, Marital Problems, Relationship Problems, Legal Problems, Depression, and outright Spiritual Battles.

These battles are tests. They are trials. And for anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ, They will happen!

2 Timothy 2:3 says-

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

But, no matter how these trials present themselves, before we react in the flesh, we have to remind ourselves what the Word of God says in Ephesians 6:12-13:

“ For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The Lord is reminding us that when we come face to face with these trials; no matter how daunting they appear, no matter how ill-equipped we feel, or outnumbered we appear to be, we shouldn’t retreat. We can’t retreat. We must Hold the Line.

“Hold The Line” means to stand one’s ground when you are face to face with opposing forces, and not turn back.

We stand, not because we are unafraid, but because our courage surpasses our fears.

We stand because that which we fight for, far supersedes that which surrender will earn us.

We fight because our Commander, Jesus Christ, He who is in us, He who has called us, He who has enlisted us, is not only greater than he who is in the world, but, He has never lost a battle.

“ And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Rev.12:7-9
Satan can never win a battle against the Lamb of God. So if we are fighting in the army that Christ leads, why are we afraid?

We can’t say that we are afraid of the suffering, because as Christians, we are told will suffer for the sake of the cross.

We can’t say that we are afraid because we don’t want to feel the pain; we must feel pain. After all, Christ had to undergo torture for us!

But if we BELIEVE that our Commander will lead us to victory, then, comrades, we cannot be afraid to go through the battle.

It is Jesus Christ Himself yelling after us and waving that flag when He sees us faltering and giving into our fears.

He’s yelling to get our attention so that we refocus ON HIM!

John 16:33 also says:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I find myself always going back to the book of Joshua when it comes to the matter of fear during our Christian walk.

After the death of Moses, God chose Joshua, the son of Nun, to lead the Israelites to the promised land. God spoke to Joshua and told him of the task that He was appointing him to. But God also said to Joshua on 3 separate occasions in the 1st chapter of Joshua alone, “Be strong and of good courage”.

“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them”. (Joshua 1:6)
“ Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:7)

“ Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9)

God assured Joshua to be strong and courageous, and to meditate on His Words day and night so that he would not depart from them. Only in this would he be able to do that which he had been called to do.

Likewise, brethren. The Word of God that we have today; the testimony and the assurances of Christ that we have today, and the stories and accounts of all the saints who have come and gone before us; who had to hoist the banner of Christ high and face great persecution, yet, they held the line. All of this is all of the encouragement that we need to also be strong and of good courage. And these brethren, are all we need to motivate us to hold that line.

So when we line up in the battle of life, and the opposing forces, the one’s looking to rob us of our salvation line up against us, let us not look at their numbers, their weapons, or their size. Let us look instead to our Leader; Our War Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us listen to and obey His command:
“DO NOT RETREAT. HOLD THE LINE”!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

Share your thoughts that you might encourage your brethren.
In Christ,
The handmaid at His feet.