10 Scriptures On Fear

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1. GOD met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. (Psalm 34:4 MSG)

2. There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]. (1 John 4:18 AMP)

3. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

4. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” (Isaiah 35:4 NLT)

5. Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. (Isaiah 41:10 AMP)

6. You need not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day or the plagues that strike in the dark or the evils that kill in daylight. (Psalms 91:5-6 GNB)

7. Don’t be afraid when you hear of wars and revolutions; such things must happen first, but they do not mean that the end is near.” (Luke 21:9 GNB)

8. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NASB)

9. The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that. (Proverbs 29:25 MSG)

10. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38 NLT)

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Stand And Shine

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Every year at this time, I’m amazed at how many Christians are scared of Halloween. They believe that in partaking in it, they are partaking in witchcraft or celebrating the devil’s holiday. I get it if they don’t want to dress up and go knocking door to door asking for candy. What I don’t get is sitting at home in the dark with the lights out hoping no one comes and knocks on their door. To me, that is the opposite of what Christians should be doing. We should have the most lit up yard and offer the best candy available. We should have a table set up in our driveway and be sitting out there hoping others will come join us in conversation.

In Matthew 5, Jesus said we were to be salt and light. He didn’t tell us to run and hide. In verses 14-16 in the Message Jesus says, “Here’s another way to put it: you’re here to be light, bringing out God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven.”

Jesus said to keep an open house and to be generous with your lives. He didn’t tell us to hide our light and to give in to darkness. He told us to do the opposite. If there is no light, there can only be darkness. Why would we hide our light on a day where it is needed most? To me, that is falling into the enemy’s trap. He wants you to hide your light. He wants you to close your door. He doesn’t want you talking to your neighbors because they might hear you, open up and talk about your faith. Jesus said that when you open up to others, you’ll prompt them to open up to God.

Most of us are scared to go door to door to share our faith. There may be people in your church who do it, but it’s not something most of us would ever do. We make excuses, we tell ourselves it’s ineffective, we say it’s offensive and we don’t want to push people away. Yet on Halloween, you don’t have to go door to door witnessing. You have people coming to your door hungry, looking for something more than candy. They’re looking for lights so they know whose door to knock on. Oddly enough, the ones who bear the true Light are cowering in darkness. They’re putting their light under a bucket while the lost search for it.

You don’t have to celebrate Halloween. You don’t have to dress up. But I believe you are playing into the enemy’s hands and doing the opposite of what God has called you to do if you turn off your lights and hide. We are called to be salt and light. As Jesus put it in Matthew 5:13, “If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” Don’t lose your usefulness on Halloween. Let God use you to build relationships with your neighbors, open up conversations and to talk to others about God. Don’t run and hide, stand and shine.

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Live Expansively

I had a conversation with a coworker recently about doing good for others. I told her that I believe each person has a void that needs to be filled. I can choose to put something positive in it or let them go about their lives and run the risk of someone putting something negative in it. I told her that I do my best to put positive things into other people’s lives whenever I have the chance. She replied, “My mind doesn’t think like that. I don’t think I really have anything to give so I don’t look for those opportunities.”

I assured her that she has a lot to give and that she needs to be more generous with the abilities she has. I’m afraid that so many Christians think along the same lines she does. They believe that because they’re not in front of a lot of people, they can’t make a difference. They think that they don’t have anything to give or offer others. They let the lie of “I’m a nobody” keep them from doing good for others. That’s just not true. If you are a Christian, you have everything and need to give it away freely.

The believers in the Corinthian church were falling for the same lie. It frustrated Paul because he knew better. In II Corinthians 6:11-13, he told them, “Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way… Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively! (MSG)” The only limits your life has when it comes to affecting others are the limits you self impose. Your life is bigger than you think. It’s far grander than you can imagine. It just seems small because you’re living it in a small way.

The way to open up and live a bigger life is through giving what you have. It can be the smallest of gestures that create the biggest impact. On one of my trips to Haiti, I was humbled as I watched one of our teenagers give a cup of cold water to a paralyzed orphan. All of the other kids and teens were out in the fields playing. She recognized that this child couldn’t go out there and also that they were thirsty. She left the “fun” in order to spend time with one who couldn’t be like all the other kids. That’s living expansively. She got a glimpse into the idea that she had something to offer even if it was a cup of water or a conversation.

Jesus gave us the example of true servanthood. He taught us how to invest in the lives of others through listening, sharing and giving. He knew that living an open and expansive life starts with giving of yourself. When we recognize as verse 10 says, “We own nothing, and yet we have everything,” then we will stop seeing our lives as small. We will start to see them as large, God created lives and begin to serve others in a way that points them to the cross. Your life has meaning. Your life is not small, so quit living life as if it were.

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Spectacularly Ordinary

Have you ever been looking forward to something and had a great expectation for it? In your mind, you imagined it to be a certain way and then the reality let you down? You had built it up so much in your mind and played it over and over so many times that when it came down to it, you felt disappointed. In II Kings 5, Namaan was guilty of that same thing. He had a skin disease and was told of a great prophet who could heal him. He had his expectation of what the healing would be like.

In his mind, he had pictured the entire scene of how his healing would come about.. He imagined a quirky, old man would emerge from the house, pray loudly to His God, make a big show with his hands to create a dramatic presentation and then heal him. As his entourage pulled up in front of the prophets house, it was just as he had pictured it. He was giddy with excitement. He was ready for the show. As he stepped out of his carriage, a young man, dressed on servants clothes, came out to meet him instead.

The servant said, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of leprosy.” Namaan felt like a balloon whose air had just been let out. All those dreams and expectations just fell flat. Instead of being excited that he was going to be healed, he got angry and upset. He thought it was too simple and too ordinary. Why should he have to come all that way to bathe in a dirty river? Why couldn’t he bathe in a clean river where he would at least be clean afterwards?

He was looking for the show more than the healing. I wonder if that’s how we are today? We’d rather go to a church that puts on a show, entertains us, creates magic on stage and then brings spiritual healing. When we walk into a church where the Gospel is presented clearly and plainly, we get upset. We think there should be more. We forget it’s about the message and not all the other things that are cool. I’m not against doing those things, but are we more interested to see what the pastor does next than we are to hear the Word of God?

What about in our own lives? Are we looking for the spectacular moves of God while missing Him in the mundane? God does amazing things for each of us every day. We arrive to work safely, we get a paycheck at the end of the week, that song comes on the radio at just the right time, a friend sends a text at just the right moment. Our God does extraordinary things in ordinary ways. Are we missing it because we are looking for the extraordinary? Namaan almost did. Fortunately, he took a bath at the servants request and was healed. He learned that God doesn’t have to go over the top to do something spectacular.

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Are You Listening?

A while ago, I was trying to teach a group of people the importance of listening. I split the group in half and had one group wait outside the room. I told the people left in the room to do everything in their power to show they weren’t listening without speaking. I then told the group outside the room to think of a life changing event that had happened to them. I wanted them to go back in the room, find someone and share that story with them. I didn’t foresee what happened next.

The people who shared their life changing stories began getting upset. As they shared stories of a miracle baby that was born, a near death experience or something like that, they other people were taking pictures of their shoes, looking at their phones and counting ceiling tiles. The ones who were sharing their hearts began to yell, “Are you listening to me?!?” Their body language began to change. Their voices got louder. All of them were upset to the point that I had to cancel the exercise. I don’t think anyone who participated in that exercise will forget how important it is to listen.

Listening is a lot different than hearing. Listening requires active participation on your part. It involves engaging the mind. There were many in Jesus’ day who heard Him teach. They could hear what He was saying, but they weren’t listening to easy He was saying. In john 10:27, Jesus said, “The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice (AMP).” He separated the two words to make a distinction between His followers and everyone else. Only those who truly follow Him listen (engage the mind and heart). They are the ones who then engage their body to do what He says.

James 1:22, the King James Version says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only.” When we learn to truly listen to what God tells us in a His word, we can’t go on living like we were. It changes us and compels us to live differently than before. Anyone can hear it and walk away the same. It takes someone who will listen to what it says to enact it. I think that’s why David was intent on meditating on it. When we stop and think about the scriptures we read, it helps us to listen and to focus on what God was really saying.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1. It talks about the blessed person and their characteristics. In verse two, he wrote, “His delight and desire are in the law of The Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and night (AMP).” The person who actively tries to listen what God is saying through His Word is blessed. Don’t just read God’s Word to check off a box of things that Christians do. Meditate on it, think about it, listen to it and then act on it. That’s how He knows His sheep are listening.

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10 Scriptures On Patience

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1. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. (Romans 5:3-4 MSG)

2. Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NLT)

3. Patient persuasion can break down the strongest resistance and can even convince rulers. (Proverbs 25:15 GNB)

4. Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, (Romans 15:5 AMP)

5. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. (Hebrews 10:36 AMP)

6. Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace. (Proverbs 15:18 GNB)

7. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

8. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. (Titus 2:2 NLT)

9. May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:11-12 GNB)

10. Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test. (Revelation 3:10 MSG)

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Eternal Life Through Eternal Love

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)

The most famous of all scriptures is John 3:16. If there was one verse that summed up the whole Bible, that would have to be it. The whole story of the Bible is a one sided love story. One side gives and gives in order to show how much they love the other. That love is mostly not reciprocated. When it’s not, the gifts of love become greater and greater until the Father gives the best gift He can possibly give. He gives up the one thing that is everything to Him in order to show how much He loves us. He gave His son to us.

We are the ones being wooed by the Father. We are the ones who have rejected His gifts of love towards us. We know that He has out best interest at heart, but for some reason we run from it. We turn to temporary things looking to fill the need for an eternal love. Only the One who is eternal can give us that kind of love. Only the One who uses the earth as His footstool can fill the whole in our lives. That’s why He gave us His son.

The second half of that verse says that whoever believes in, trusts in, clings to and relies on His son, will not perish or be lost. We have to receive that gift that He sent us. We have to be the ones who no longer reject the love He is trying to show us. In turn, we need to embrace that gift. Jesus said that God loves each person so much that He doesn’t want any of us to be lost or perish. His goal is that we would all accept His gift.

When we do, we will have eternal life. That what God gives. Life. He breathed man’s first breath into his nostrils to give him life and has been trying to do the same thing spiritually since. Until we accept God son Jesus, we are like Adam was before God breathed in him. We need that breath in order to receive eternal life. The life we live is but a vapor in comparison to eternity. What we do in the short time determines how we spend eternity. Do we accept His gift which brings life or do we reject it and suffer the alternative?

Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. (NLT)” That how each one of receives the gift that God gave us. That how we accept a love that is unconditional. This love story doesn’t have to end in tragedy. It doesn’t have to end with only one side giving unreturned love. We can love Him because He first loved us.

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