Standing firm

He stood in awe of the master as he wondered what was in store for them next.  He had witnessed the dead raised, the sick healed and the thousands fed.  He had walked on water himself.  He knew this was the son of God; He was the first to proclaim it.  He was the stone also known as Peter. He proclaimed with much pride how he would never betray the great teacher Jesus Christ. (Matthew 26:35)

But peter was not prepared for the terror that suddenly came upon him and all the disciples. Jesus had been arrested and all of a sudden there were no more miracles. No more stopping the storms or walking on water.  Jesus did not escape, he stood their powerless as he was taken into custody and beaten. (John 19:1) If this could be done to the Messiah then what would happen to the rest of them?

“You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”

Peter said, “I am not.” (John 18:17)

Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”

He denied it and said, “I am not!”

One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied again. (John 18:25-27)

Three times He denied Jesus. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”  We have to be grateful for those times in our life when everything seems to be going right and we feel strong.  We are filled with Joy and believe that nothing can bring us down; nothing can tear us away from God or cause us to doubt.  We can become over confident as Peter was and proclaim “I will never betray you Jesus”, or we simply think it impossible. We must do as the good athlete does, be in constant training, ready for the challenge. Our training is a spiritual one filled with prayer, fasting and the study of scripture. Then when the day comes that we are tested we can overcome and not fail our Lord and Savior.

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Falling into the water

Falling into the water

Is it the master upon the sea?
Oh how great with him to be
No a ghost it be this night
Or perhaps our poor sight.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The 12 he did not persuade.
If Peter could dare,
They wondered how he’d fare.
One of us do it too?
“Lord let me come to you.”
“Come” is all He would say.
Now trust in Jesus for the way!
Bravely he stepped upon the sea.
Look to Jesus faithfully.
Oh does mortal man walk with God?
Do not think this odd.
For faith does move mountains.
and chases legions of demons
Ah but for the wind.
Now the devil did grin.
For upon the sea rose fear.
yet the savior was so near.
Into the water fell he.
“Lord save me” was his plea.
Jesus saves the man who cries.
The fallen, He makes them rise!
Now our faith we must keep.
Less we with fear, fall in the deep!

© Samuel Melendez. All rights reserved

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A slave to fear

Acting on fear is the downfall of so many of us. In the bible the Israelites are the perfect example. Several times in their history they acted on fear instead of having courage and faith in God.

First they were in Egypt for centuries getting stronger. Pharaoh himself claimed that the Israelites were stronger than the Egyptians. (Exodus 1:8-10) However when the decision was made to enslave Israel, according to biblical records, Israel did nothing. For centuries they were enslaved without a rebellion recorded. (Exodus 12:40-41). After God used Moses with a mighty hand to free them and bring them through the desert, they were confronted with the Canaanites who were living in the promise land.

Once again they lacked faith and reacted with fear. They declared that they could not defeat the Giants who live there. They did even worst. They wished they had died in the wilderness or had never left their masters in Egypt. (Numbers 14:1-4)Their fear was truly remarkable considering they had seen a multitude of miracles provided by an almighty God with the sole purpose of freeing them and delivering to them the promise land.

Many centuries later, after the Israelites had seen many more miracles, fear would show its ugly face again. The Israelites would once again act out of fear and demand a King that could protect them against their enemies. For centuries God had lifted up men who for the most part were good, wise, moral, who feared Him and were dedicated to Him and whose sole purpose was defending Israel, but Israel’s fear was so intense that they were willing to surrender their freedom. Instead of being slaves to Egypt they would now be slaves to a king.

The prophet Samuel explains that the king would take their land, their earnings, their sons and daughters and force them to serve him. But they still wanted to be slaves in exchange for protection. (1 Samuel 8)

Fear has turned many into slaves. Fear stops us and keeps us from doing all we can and from putting our abilities to use. Opportunities can be lost and in the worst case scenarios we can remain trapped in a place that God does not want for us.

Let us all keep in mind what Paul told one of his young leaders, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) God does not want us to fear, but trust in Him and believe or as Jesus said “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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They clamored for a King

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us… 1 Samuel 8:19

The people clamored for a king and Samuel, the great and wise, but aging prophet turned to God. Samuel’s revelation was, to put it simply, scary. He goes on to explain that the king will take their land, their children, their profits and use them for his own purpose. He explains that they would all become servants to the king. Loss of freedom, property, income and even your children does not seem like an attractive offer. However, the people clamored even more. Why? They were scared. They wanted to place their trust in a king. Someone who could organize them, build up their armies and protect them against their enemies. Fear can cause people to do some very strange things.

The other reason, and highly connected to the first reason, was a lack of faith in God. They were choosing to place their trust in a government and not God. It was God who had freed Israel from slavery in Egypt. It was God who had protected and provided for them while they journeyed through the desert. It was God who had given them countless victories against their enemies, both during the conquest of the promise land and its defense in the many years that followed. Throughout all those centuries He gave them freedom instead of an all-powerful monarch as stated in Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

In our time we have seen a growing influence of government in the lives of its citizens throughout the world. This is not an American phenomenon; the entire world is desperately seeking to be rescued. Just like in the time of the prophet Samuel we clamor more and more for our government to take charge, even though we know that for the government to be the solution it will have to grow, in power and in budget and we will pay with both a loss of income and freedom. This is symptomatic of a society that no longer believes in God and would rather place its hope in fallen man. God calls those who would trust in man cursed. (Jeremiah 17:5) It seems that as our Government grows more powerful it grows more inept at solving the world’s problems. Inflation, poverty, debt and war are still on the rise, while the economy continues to fail.

Instead of surrendering more and more of our rights, our income and our privacy, perhaps it is time to let God be the solution and not a larger, more powerful government. It is time to practice some faith in the God who does not lie, cheat or cover up. He will not raise our taxes; seek personal gain, or other perks. Put Him in charge of our lives, that He may give us the strength and guidance we need every day to work through our own problems, and watch freedom reign!

He has big horns and a tail

“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” Luke 8:28

Artists paint him with big horns, a tail, red and scary. They say he can go through walls, breath fire and drag you to hell. He is the scariest figure in human history. He is the source of all evil and many believe he is the reason why we do bad things. He lives in our nightmares and occupies our imagination. He has been around since before the world was made and has always been our adversary. He is called by Lucifer, the Devil, Satan, and Beelzebub.

For all who must contend with this evil spirit, for all who count him as an enemy, I have the greatest news, he is totally defeated and since the beginning has had to ultimately submit to the power of Christ. He was defeated on the cross. We are free from the death he brought upon humanity. We are no longer subject to sin and darkness. We are no longer helplessly in bondage; we are set free indeed by the truth and the way which is Jesus Christ. (John14:6) Concerning the big horns and tail, I really don’t know.

Jesus in his ministry immediately showed his power over Satan. He first defeated him in the wilderness when he rebuffed all of the devil’s attempts to cause Him to sin. Jesus then showed his might over all demons casting them out, regardless of the nature of the evil spirit, even those called legion; a special case where three to six thousand demons may have inhabited the host.

I personally revel in the fact that the demons showed actual fear and reverence toward our savior. One evil spirit actually said to Jesus “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34) On another occasion a legion had this to say “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” (Luke 8:28) Thousands of demons begging Jesus for mercy, how can we begin to understand the greatness, fierceness, and power of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Why must we fear? Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The beloved apostle John adds “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The “He” that is in us is God and He is greater than the Devil who is in the world.

Therefore we must do as Jesus did; resist the Devil, for he shall surely flee, defeated for all times. (James 4:7)

 

Try these Verses on Fear

Giant slayer

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17: 45-47

For many days the giant stood before the mightiest warriors of Israel. He shouted insults and challenges. Surely one of these brave soldiers would be willing to stand up to the giant. But in the Israelite camp there was nothing but silence except for the sound of beating hearts, racing from fear. But this day would be different because a young lad, not a soldier, happened to be in camp delivering food, and he would decide to take a leap of Faith.

Trusting and waiting on God is necessary and often a good practice but sometimes a decision or a challenge stands before us and we must take action in faith, especially if others are at risk. An entire nation was in danger of being enslaved, someone had to take action.

David gathered a few stones and came before the giant trusting in his God. It was not exactly blind faith, since David had fought a lion and a bear. Still this man was a renowned warrior, who also happened to be over 9 feet tall. David could not even carry his armor. But David with much courage challenged Goliath and warned him that he would fight him in the name of The Lord the God of Israel and that He would give him the victory. David ran towards Goliath and with his sling flung a stone. Goliath fell to the ground and David acting quickly cuts the giant’s head.

David like everyone else could have easily given into fear. It is easy to be frozen when facing dangers or challenges. However David was a man of faith. When it is time to take action, we must act, and demonstrate the faith we have in God, believing He will give us the victory.

 

Try these Veres on fear