Fear

By The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

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 NIV)  FEAR window fog

What a wonderful declaration; I don’t have to be afraid because God is my stronghold! Like a mighty fortress he surrounds me, protecting me. God’s the Light that illuminates my way and shatters the darkness. He’s my deliverer, my Savior and friend. Father God is the one who has taken me to his bosom to love and protect.  No wondered David said, “Who have I got to fear?!”

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13 NIV)

It has been correctly said that the Bible is full of “Fear-nots”?[1] Yet, the church seems full of fears. Why is that? After all, doesn’t The Bible tell us to “be anxious for nothing?”[2] Yet still, many of us are downright…afraid! In fact, I’ve talked with many who seem to be scared out of their wits! It’s most alarming to see believers in Jesus give in to fear. Should we be fearful? Obviously not, considering God’s Word admonished us to be fear-free.

“But Rod,” you may be thinking, “these are anxious times. The economy is in the toilet. We’re under the constant threat of terrorism and America is waging a war that’s happening on a global scale. Remember a few years ago when people are buying duct tape to seal their windows. Many are stocking up groceries and bottled water for fear of the worst.

We’ve suffered several terrorist attacks here in the US and even one in my home town. Things are very scary, right now. Indeed, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”[3]  However, the pressures of life, including those brought on by terrorist’s threats, should not overwhelm us with dread, but rather, propel us to pray.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)

The Apostle Paul faced anxiety and often battled fear. He openly admitted it.  He said that he had been “harassed at every turn―conflicts on the outside, fears within.”[4] At one point, he confessed “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.”[5] Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever despaired of living?! The great Apostle Paul experienced those emotions. Honestly, don’t we all feel that way from time to time?

Yet, Paul went on to say, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God.”[6] He knew that God was his light and salvation. He had learned a valuable lesson over the years while facing fears, like from the enemies who were seeking to take his life. He could gladly echo the words of David, “The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

“Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” – Jesus (Luke 21:26)

Yes, we all face fears from time to time. That’s part of life. We can’t choose the cards that life deals us, but we can choose how we play those cards. We can’t always control all that befalls us. However, we can choose, with God’s help, how to respond to those things. So, you see, it’s our choice. Fear… it can drive you to despair or lead you to the Prince of Peace.

 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3 NIV)

                     “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to                          give you the kingdom.”— Jesus (Luke 12:32 NIV)

You can watch the video version of the message at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go33TFJ3sEk

Look for new posts from The Mad Preacher on Saturdays. 

[1] There are a total of 63 in the KJV.                                                                             [2] Read Phil. 4:6-7 NIV                                                                                               [3] Thomas Paine wrote the words “These are the times that try men’s souls.” They were written in Paine’s pamphlet ‘American Crisis’ during the winter of Valley Forge as a way to encourage soldiers and the public to continue to fight in the Revolution despite the many severe hardships the war was putting everyone through. Taken from http://www.answers.com                                                                                                        [4] 2 Corinthians 7:5 NIV                                                                                              [5] 2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV                                                                                                [6] 2 Corinthians 1:9 NIV

 

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Never Quit

by The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

This is no time for fear                                                                                                  This is a time for faith and determination                                                                    Don’t lose the vision here                                                                                         Carried away by the motion                                                                                          Hold on to all that you hide in your heart                                                                     There is one thing that has always been true                                                                    It holds the world together

God is in control                                                                                                              We believe that His children will not be forsaken                                                         God is in control                                                                                                             We will choose to remember and never be shaken                                                    There is no power above or beside Him                                                                        We know, ohh, God is in control                                                                                  Ohh, God is in control[1]

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselvesnever-quit1 fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.(1Corinthians 15:58)

The great statesman and historian Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in— never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Notice the last phrase in this quote. “Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”[2] Mr. Churchill understood how one’s perception could often determine the outcome of a conflict.

…that by his (Jesus’) death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.(Hebrews 2:14-15)

The word “destroy” here comes from a Greek word that literally means to render impotent or powerless. The death and resurrection of our Lord broke the back of the enemy. Christ rendered him powerless as far as the believer is concerned. In fact, the only power the devil has over the Christian is what we give him. The enemy must therefore rely on his finely tuned skills of deception in order to trick us into yielding authority to him.

“…no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man.” —Jesus (Mark 3:27)

Jesus is saying that Satan cannot overpower one who has the Lord of Glory residing in one’s house. He would first have to overpower Jesus, and we know that this just can’t be done. Therefore, he must deceive you into thinking that he is coming at you with unstoppable, overwhelming might. He cannot spiritually overwhelm the believer. So, he must try to intimidate us into conceding some sort of defeat.

How do we withstand this kind of onslaught? Here are two ways;

First: James 4:7 says that the way we resist the devil by submitting to God. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Give God full control of your life. Commit yourself to prayer, fellowship, and the Word.

Next: [This is almost too simple to believe] Stand firm and wait the enemy out. The Bible says that the believer has the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) One of these fruits is patience. Satan doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. Consequently, he doesn’t have the fruit of the Spirit and thus does not have patience! WE CAN OUTLAST HIM— providing we have donned the full armor of God and have made the decision to stand in the power of God’s might! (Ephesians 6:10-19) Now, the only way we can lose is to quit. We win by default if we don’t cave in to the devil’s cowardly tricks.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Winston Churchill helped his people weather some of the darkest days in the long history of England with the unrelenting battle cry, “Never quit. Never give in!” He knew that Hitler was a coward and cowards don’t have the heart to see it to the end. So, it is with Satan. Never give up! Never give in! Never let go of the vision and the promise God has given you. Never stop trusting Him! Victory belongs to those who stand firm. You were called to victory. Now, walk in it.

[1] God is in Control written and recorded by Twila Paris from her CD Greatest Hits 2001- Sparrow

[2] Taken from Famous Quotes and Authors.com on 12/30/08 Copyright © 2008

See a video of this message on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7E6d-UODOs

Look for new posts from The Mad Preacher on Saturdays. 

Catching God’s Eye

         byThe Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” –Jesus (Matthew 16:19 NIV) [1]

Have you ever wondered what excites God? Does anything delight Him to the point thatpursuitofGod He leaps up from throne and shouts, “Yes!!!” And if so, what is it? Let’s take it a bit further; is there anything that God looks for in us that so thrills Him that He begins to open doors for us? In other words, what stirs God into action on our behalf? What is it that qualifies us to receive the keys of the kingdom?

God is on a continual quest. He’s searching for one distinguishing trait in His people. It can be summed up in one word—faithfulness.

Jesus said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:8 NIV) Faithfulness is the key that opens this “door that no one can shut.” No enemy, spiritual or physical, can shut a door that the Sovereign Lord has opened.

To paraphrase the words of Jesus, “I’ve been watching you, child. I know your deeds. I’ve seen you remain faithful to keep my Word. And even though you’ve felt weak at times, you still stood tall and refused to deny me.” You see, my friend, God opens doors only for those who have stood steadfast in the midst of testing. He opens doors only for those who have consistently done their best to cling to God’s Word. Doors swing wide for those who have refused to deny His name or the promises of His Word. In other words, your persistent faithfulness is showing God that He can trust you.

“I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.” — Paul (Acts 26:19 NIV)

I believe this is one of the most important revelations about the Christian walk I’ve ever received. The key to the doors that God wants to open for us is faithfulness. He’s not looking for perfection. He’s looking for persistence. If we unswervingly stay faithful to the basics of the Christian walk, studying the Word, prayer, fellowship with other believers and sharing Christ with the lost, and remain faithful to the vision God has placed in our hearts, He will continue to open doors. I can’t emphasize this enough; it’s not just the doing of these things that matters, it is the consistency in the doing, the steadfastness. This is what catches God’s eye.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.(Psalm 34:15 NIV)

I believe that unyielding faithfulness is what Jesus is referring to in John 15, when He encourages us to “remain” in Him. Verse 5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  In the original Greek that verse is literally saying, “If a man maintains a living communion with me…he will bear much fruit.” It is one’s willingness to maintain his relationship with God that opens doors to continued fruitfulness.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

The word “persevere” comes from a Greek word that literally means, “an abiding under.” It speaks of constancy, a hopeful endurance, a patient continuance or waiting.1 Remaining in Jesus causes your faithfulness to show. It grants access into God’s very best for us. Faithfulness is what catches God’s eye.  That’s what opens doors that no man can shut.

See a video of this message on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z3hFgE9ymo

Look for new posts from The Mad Preacher on Saturdays. 

[1] Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[2] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words W.E. Vine M.A., Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers