No Fear Year #2
I am continuing the message on having a No Fear Year…you can see the first message if you were not here by going to the church’s web site. Last week we discovered four references in the Christmas story to “Do not be afraid.” That’s what God said to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds. Every one of those “No Fears” still apply to us today.
Have No Fear… God hears your prayers,
God loves you dearly,
God will guide you,
God will save you from the power and penalty of sin.
Now let’s look at a couple more No Fears… TODAY is Epiphany Sunday so my first point comes from the Magi’s visit to the Christ child.
Epiphany means manifestation. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world; after being made known to the shepherds of Bethlehem He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. Christian tradition sees the Magi as the first fruits of the Gentiles; they are the first to come but not the last. Epiphany is an affirmation that God’s salvation was made known and available to all the world, including us. My first Fear Not is
Fear Not… God will Warn You of Danger Matthew 2:1-12
The Magi where following a star. They had heard that the one who was to be the king of the Jews was born. King Herod was not happy with the thought of a king being born to the Jews so he inquired of the religious leaders where. They told him what God had foretold the prophets. The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem so Herod told the Magi, you go find him and come back immediately and tell me so I may go worship him.
They went, they found Jesus and were over joyed. They worshipped and honored him with gifts fit for a king. Then warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they went home another way. Warned in dream, why? Because they had no way of knowing the real intent of Herod.…There are things that we do not know and God will warn us and we will have to decide what to do with his warnings.
Tis the season for the Seth’s of NW PA to take to the ponds and play hockey and ice skate for the water has frozen. Well most of it, there is a spring that feeds the pond where the ice is thinner. We put up signs: “Thin Ice!” We want to protect folks from failing through, hypothermia and drowning so we warn them of the dangers. We want folks to enjoy the wonders of winter.
God is the same; He wants folks to enjoy life so he has been in the business of warning us of dangers since the Garden of Eden. He warned Adam and Eve not to eat of a certain tree. From Genesis thru Revelation God has warned people of the dangers of sin. He warns us through the scriptures, through modern day prophets and teachers that help us understand the Scriptures (Genesis 2, Amos 3;7, John 15:13, Revelation 14:6-11, 18:1-4) and even through dreams.
Yes, some dreams are the result of indigestion. And some dreams are clearly not from God and all dreams need to be interpreted in light of what God has said in his Word. There are multiple examples in the scriptures of God guiding and speaking to people in dreams. Look at Job 33:15-18
“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, 16 he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, 17 to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, 18 to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.”
A relentless and loving God will speak to us in our dreams warn us, to keep us from wrong, from the pit and perishing. I have a friend who is gifted at helping folks interpret dreams… Kim Zoela. She could not be here but offered me some notes to add to my message so we could understand God-given dreams better.
There are things that we do not know and God will warn us and we will have to decide what to do with his warnings.
Fear Not… God is with You
You may of heard the concept of “God with us” and thought of it as a NT concept out of the Christmas story “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (God with us).” Matthew 1:23. BUT it goes back to Genesis.
The Lord said to Isaac, “Fear not, for I am with you, and will bless you…” Genesis 26:14.
Moses encouraged the people of God as they fled Egypt with Pharaoh’s armies pursuing them and the people grumbling saying it would have been better if we stayed, with these words: “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today… The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14
Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies who came back with the good report from the land of Canaan, said: “The Lord is with us: do not fear them” (Numbers 14:9). It is interesting to note the general reaction to the positive report given here. The world is so negative that a positive statement often seems wrong. “But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.” (Numbers 14:10). The general reaction to positive truth is still the same today, even among Christians.
Moses was encouraged by God, “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:3-4.
So, Moses declared to the people of God: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
The same words are true to God’s children today, because when we invite Christ into our lives he comes in and takes up residency. The apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh (my mind, will, emotions) I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. Christ in us! We should have no fear that God is not with us as He has come to reside within us, to protect us. along life’s way.
In that classic book Pilgrim ‘s Progress, John Bunyan relates the following incident during Christian’s journey. He saw “a very stately palace before him, the name of which was ‘Beautiful’, and it stood just by the highway-side. Now before he had gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage, and looking before him as he went, he spied two lions in the way. Then he was afraid, and thought nothing but death was before him.
“But the porter, whose name is Watchful, cried unto him, saying, ‘Is thy strength so small? Fear not the lions; for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is; and for discovery of those that have none. Keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee!’ He went on, trembling for fear of the lions, but taking good heed to the directions of the porter. He heard them roar; but they did him no harm.”
Many circumstances in life are just like that. But they cannot harm you when you acknowledge that God is with you, warns you, and you stay in the path God has laid before you.
Fear Not… God will Provide 1 Kings 17
One of my favorite names for God is Jehovah Jireh = God will provide. I want to share the story of a widow in I Kings 17 so you may see Jehovah Jireh, God as your provider.
The situation for the prophet Elijah, as well as for this widow and her son, was precarious indeed. God had sent His prophet, in a time of severe drought, to the little town of Zarephath where he was to be sustained by the widow. Now, a widow in a time of drought was the most unlikely person in town who would be able to support any other person. And this proved to be the case. For when Elijah first met her near the gate of the city, she was gathering some sticks to cook her last meal “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” I Kings 17:12. A pretty dismal picture.
The famine was upon the land, for the nation had turned away from the true God and were openly worshipping Baal, a god of the heathens. This was a circumstance over which the widow had no control, but she was suffering as a result.
The woman’s need was met as she followed God’s three-fold pathway to deliverance. Take careful note of the steps involved in her case, for you can apply the same steps in your own life. God wants us to trust him so he can provide for our needs.
First, she listened to the Word off the Lord which in this case came from the prophet Elijah. This made all the difference and got her going in the right direction. Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.” I Kings 17:13. Would you have done it? If you want God’s help in any situation of life, listening to what God says is always the first step on the ladder to blessing. God’s commands often run contrary to human reasoning, but put listen to what God has to say, He will not fail you. No listen, no provision.
Second, she put her trust in God’s promise. God’s promise to her was that He would supply her every need until the natural means of supply could once again provide her necessities. “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” I Kings 17:14. She had to put her trust in God and what he had said. No Trust, No Provision.
But this woman had to go one step more before God’s amazing and miraculous provision became a reality in her life.
Third, she did what God said to do. That is, to put into action her belief in the promise of God. The moment she fulfilled the condition of the promise, God went to work on her behalf. The Bible says: “She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. I Kings 17:15-16. Some scholars tell us that the “every day” actually was a full year or more! She gave part of one meal and God fed her a full year. How great is our God!
Is this not the same message preached by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: ” “So do not worry/be afraid, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33.
No need to live in fear:
- God will provide and meet our needs as we seek him: listening to what he says, trusting in what he promises and doing what he says to do.
- God is with us.
- God will warn us of danger.
The whole world is dreaming…. ADDITIONAL NOTES to No Fear Year #2 by Kim Zoela
The whole world is dreaming but are we listening? There are over millions of websites dealing with dreams and with dream interpretation and you know what? Most of them are not Christian. So if you think about it who had the original idea concerning dreams? It was God Almighty.
God communicates in various ways through His Word (Bible), friends, events, etc… The primary goal of dreams is communication or messages from a loving God who desires to have relationship with us and to speak into our lives. He is the same God of the day as He is of the night. One lie I would like to expose is that night or darkness belongs to the enemy. In Genesis, God created the day and the night.
Genesis 1-2 First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded above the watery abyss.
3-5 God spoke: “Light!”And light appeared, God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning, Day One.
The day doesn’t begin when the sun comes up it begins at 12:01.
Anyone who creates something owns it… He owns both. He created both. He is Lord of both. He is always talking, always communicating; during the day and night. It’s not either or; it’s both, and.
Life can get in the way, sometimes were not listening or not tuned in.
There are two major emotions that can block us from receiving God – messages via dreams; fear & anger. Another aspect that can interfere is the inability to fall into a deep sleep (such as those who are night owls) whereby the R.E.M. is interrupted. These three adverse ingredients will hinder God-messages at night.
Have no fear, He is gracious, kind and will continue to pursue us.… If you wrestle with fear or anger. There is a solution: before you go to sleep forgive those who have angered you. Then giving Him your anger/fear and ask Him to give you something in exchange. I know it sounds too simple but it is just like God to make things simply powerful and take away those things that are hindering us. He can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Whether we know him or not, He speaks; during the day and at night. He wants us to start and finish well. When we lie down in slumber He leans over to whisper in our ear.
The Bible has over 200 references to dreams. It’s a big part of the Bible; both in the old and New Testament.
My son and I were attending a small event at a local movie theater. After finding a seat my son began talking to his friend so I thought I would began a conversation with a woman sitting next to me. After a few introductions, etc she blurted out how she had the strangest dream recently. Of course I was eager to hear it and inquired if she would share it with me.
This is what she described.
Dream begins: It was a nice day and I was outside (the sun was shining) when I looked at a house that was beautiful and well taken care of. So I decided to enter the house and while I was inside – the whole house began to sway back and forth. Becoming alarmed I just stood there but didn’t leave. And I didn’t look for the door so I could leave the way I entered. But instead, I began searching through the house and to my amazement I realized that there was another house attached! This drew my curiosity so I began to explore the adjoining house… While inside the second house, it too began to sway back and forth even more violently than the first house. Fear overcame me but I never left, I stayed inside and then I awoke.
Immediately, I knew this was a warning dream but how could I tell someone I had just met that I believe I know the meaning of the dream. We were interrupted and the event began so initially I didn’t say anything. But waited until the next day, because as it turned out she (the woman who had the dream) was the Mother of my son’s good friend at school.
The next day, I called her saying that I couldn’t forget the dream she had and felt that it was a warning. She answered, “I believe you are right. But what does the dream mean?” This was the open door that I was waiting for.
Here’s the interpretation:
Your family (you and your children) are the first house however, there is another family (other house) that is attached to you and they are very unstable. The warning is, “Disconnect with that family or it will cause your family to become unstable and the chaos will affect everyone involved.
When I was finished there was silence on the other end of the phone. I had to ask if she was still there? Yyyes I’m here. I can’t believe it! How could you possibly know? Me: Know what? Her response: I’m in a relationship with a man who also has children and he just asked me to marry him. My response: God is warning you that he is unstable and to walk away because this union will bring much chaos and heartache.
She said, she would seriously consider the meaning of the dream. End of call.
Well, I guess you’re wondering what happened? Well, months later I found out she married the man and the following year contacted me crying, “Oh my God. You were right. God was warning me but I didn’t listen…what am I going to do?”
Our loving God wants us to position ourselves to hear, to receive his instructions, his encouragement, and yes even warnings.
Song of Solomon 5:2 says, “I was asleep but my heart was awake…”
Roy Lessin quote: ” In your busiest moments your heart can be alert and attentive to the voice of the Lord -even in the night season your heart can be awake, quietly tuned to His loving words of hope, assurance.”
God-dreams are all about a relentless God who is passionately pursuing us. He never quits. He never gives up. It’s says in Job: “indeed God speaks one, or twice, yet no one notices it. In a dream, a vision of the night, when shouldn’t sleep falls on men, while they slumber in their beds, then He open the ears of men, and seals their instructions