Unlearn Fear

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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft

Did you know that we are all born with only two innate fears? The fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. So where did all the other fears come from? They are learned by influence of environment, culture, and experiences. This is good news for us! Why? Well, simply put, what can be learned can also be unlearned. So how does a child of God begin to unlearn fear?
In the physical realm studies show we can overcome or unlearn our fears by continued exposure to them. One of my fears is/was the fear of spiders. It is because I have a healthy fear (respect) of the spiders, that I know are harmful. Was a fear because I have learned to be careful of certain spiders and to hold ones that are docile. This was not an overnight experience, but gradually over time. There even came a point in my life that I owed a Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula. 
In the spiritual, we can also unlearn fear by continued exposure, but with continual exposure to God’s Word. God’s Word has more than enough truth and when we know His truth, it will set us free (John 8:32). In fact, if you keep reading on in John chapter eight, you will see that it says that if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (verse 36).  God also tells us that He does not give us the spirit of fear. The Spirit He gives us is the Holy Spirit.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. - 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

In the Greek, timid comes from the word deilós which means fear. The word for power used here in the Greek is dunamis, which get this, means (miraculous) power, might, strength. The love spoken of here is agapé which is unconditional love. Likewise, self-discipline comes from the Greek word sophronizo; discipline, i.e. Self-control -- sound mind. So, the scripture tells us that the Spirit that God gave us does not make us fearful, but gives us miraculous power, might and strength, unconditional love, and sound mind. While we are talking about love, look at what God’s says about love and fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
 - 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

    We have the love of God residing with in us, so fear has no place in our lives because Jesus drives it out of our lives. Also, take notice that God says fear has to do with punishment. God sent Jesus into the world to save it and give those who believed in Him abundant life. Furthermore, He says that the person who fears is not made perfect in love. To fear the unknown or anything else is to be made in the image of this broken, fallen world and not in the image of Jesus.
    Fear has a way to stop you dead in your tracks. Fear is a tactic of the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy the power, love, and sound mind that God blesses you with. Fear of the unknown is another sneaky ploy of the enemy. It seems logical to have a fear of the unknown at first, but it too robs you of God’s blessings. For example, when God says I have healing for you if you want it and you think, “What if?”—What if I say I want it and I don’t get healed? This takes your eyes of God and puts them on you. You need to trust God, believe that He truly desires to heal you, and take a step of faith by receiving your healing.

PRAYER
Father,

I thank You for the freedom, power, love, and sound mind that You give me through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus, I thank You for setting me free and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank you for empowering me to face fear and overcome it. Help me grow a desire for the scriptures so that I may learn more about the blessings that You have for me. AMEN!

 Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Nathan

Press on toward the goal to win the prize

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          This Sunday during worship I felt like there was a feeling of dredge in the environment—a passive laziness and no zeal. I pressed in towards the Holy Spirit and asked Him to change the mood, but He instead asked, “But if not you, then who?” I realized that action needed to happen, but it was not action from the Holy Spirit that was required, but action from us, God’s people. There was a need for God’s people to “Press on toward the goal.”
 
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)
 
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
 
          Then Mercedes said that sometimes you have to do something in the physical to see it in the spiritual.  I felt like everyone needed to get up and start walking around the sanctuary, creating a spiritual whirlpool effect, because—“If not you, then who?” You want to see your partner have a relationship with God, then start walking and praying. You want to see your child start making better choices, then start walking and praying. You want healing and provision, then start walking and praying! Because, “If not you, then who?”
 
          I saw a vision of this during worship. Once everyone started walking, some even started running, it created a whirlpool effect.  A stirring. A movement.  So much so, that those who walked into the church were getting caught up in His movement. Even those amongst us who were too tired to walk or run were still able to move because of the heavy current of the whirlpool pushing that came from the others in the tribe, walking and running. It’s beautiful because the faster the whirlpool turns it creates a funnel and that funnel gets us closer to the center. The more we move, the closer we get to the center, the closer we get to Christ, the center of our lives.
 
Definition of whirlpool: 
 
A whirlpool is a body of rotating water produced by opposing currents or a current running into an obstacle. Small whirlpools form when a bath or a sink is draining. More powerful ones in seas or oceans may be termed maelstromsVortex is the proper term for a whirlpool that has a downdraft.
 
          Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38 NIV). When the currents of the storms in your life try to discourage you and tear you apart, the currents of the living water within you will create a whirlpool, whose sole purpose is to get you closer to Jesus! When obstacles stand before you, release the living water within you, it will run into those obstacles and create a whirlpool that will get you closer to Jesus.
 
John 4:10-14 (NIV)
 
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
 
-Pastor Gena Batres

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Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
 
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
 
Big Idea:
           Communion keeps our focus on Jesus and becomes a weapon of breakthrough in our lives.

 INTRODUCTION
           The Apostle Paul teaches us about the power that communion has for the life of a believer. This is not to be a thing that we do because “it’s what we are supposed to do”, but as an act of thankful worship for what Jesus means to us.
 
EXPLANATION
           The key to celebrating communion can be found in verse 24 of this chapter. It was only after Jesus had given thanks that He took the bread and broke it saying “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” It is important for us to always give thanks as we approach the Father with our prayers and worship. Being thankful helps us focus on what really matters in our lives—JESUS! With our focus on Jesus, we render our problems, worries, and stresses powerless over our lives.
 
ILLUSTRATION
            Peter experienced the power of being able to focus on Jesus when He walked on water. Look at the conditions that they found themselves in—in the middle of a storm and on top of that, they see a man walking on the stormy waters. The scripture says they were terrified thinking that Jesus was a ghost and cried out in fear. Yet Jesus calls out to them and says to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
            What is Peter’s response? He focuses on Jesus and tells Jesus, “Lord, if it is you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus immediately calls Peter out to him and Peter obeys and walks out of the boat and unto the water. For that brief moment that Peter’s focus was on Jesus he walked in freedom and safety in the midst of the storm around him.
            As we approach celebrating communion with thankfulness we declare the goodness of Jesus in our lives. We declare His presence in the midst of the darkness surrounding us, the storms we find ourselves in, the worries that weigh us down, the stresses that keep us up at night. Where the Spirit of the LORD is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
 
Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV)
 22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
 
APPLICATION
           When you find yourself troubled by the storms of life that come against you, all you need to do is begin to praise Jesus for who He is in your life and for what He has done for you. The Apostle Paul tells us to go even deeper in our thankfulness and boast about the fact that we are weak in the midst of the storms. He says to delight in our weakness, insults against us, hardships we face, persecution we endure, and difficulties we find ourselves in. This is key because in our weakness Jesus is made strong.
 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 
          When you celebrate communion in the midst of your storms you are preparing yourself for battle. Praising Jesus for who He is in your life and what He has done for you, invites Him to walk upon the turbulent waters of your life. This helps you to keep your focus on Him and not on the things that trouble you. When you take the bread in remembrance of Him you declare the very words He spoke on the cross: “It is finished.” He completes you in every way and provides you with all you need —hope, strength, power, love, forgiveness, peace, joy, etc. When you take the cup you declare the power of the blood of Jesus over the situations you are dealing with. The cleansing power of the blood of Jesus that washes sin away will wash stress, anxiety, worry, and fear away from you.
          All you need to do is ready yourself with communion. Everyday. Several times a day. As often as the storms, worries, stresses, and anxieties come to mind, you confront them with praises unto to Jesus for who He is and what He has done in your life. Thank Him that He is made strong in your life at that moment. Rejoice that He is walking on the waters of your storm. As you praise Him take up the bread and cup and ask Him to call you out to Him. Praise Him as you walk out on the turbulent waters of your storm. Keep your focus on Him. Then bask in His presence as His peace washes over you, taste and see that He is good, and watch Him deliver breakthrough in each and every area of your life!
 
PRAYER
 Jesus,
             I praise Your holy name. Jesus there is power in Your name. I thank You for being my salvation. I thank You for all that You have done for me. I thank you for personally interceding on my behalf. I thank you for taking my place on the cross and shedding Your innocent blood that sets me free and cleanses me. Jesus I invite You to be with me in the storms of my life. Come walking upon the waters and call me to You. I want to walk in victory with You. I lay all my troubles at Your feet and walk in freedom with You. AMEN!!!
 
Your servant in Christ,
 
Pastor Nathan

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