Imagine Your Life Without Fear

“I am going away” ( John 14:28).

Imagine their shock when they heard Jesus say those words. He spoke them on the night of the Passover celebration, Thursday evening, in the Upper Room. Christ and his friends had just enjoyed a calm dinner in the midst of a chaotic week. They had reason for optimism: Jesus’ popularity was soaring. Opportunities were increasing. In three short years the crowds had lifted Christ to their shoulders . . . he was the hope of the common man.
And now this? Jesus said, “I am going away.” The announcement stunned them. When Jesus explained, “You know the way to where I am going,” Thomas, with no small dose of exasperation, replied, “No, we don’t know, Lord. We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” ( John 14:4-5 NLT).
On the eve of his death, Jesus gave his followers this promise: “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:26-27 NLT).

As a departing teacher might introduce the classroom to her replacement, so Jesus introduces us to the Holy Spirit. And what a ringing endorsement he gives. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit his “representative.”
The Spirit comes in the name of Christ, with equal authority and identical power. Earlier in the evening Jesus had said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16 NIV).
Jesus’ promise: allos—”another one just like the first one.” And who is the first one? Jesus himself. Hence, the assurance Jesus gives to the disciples is this: “I am going away. You are entering a new season, a different chapter. Much will be different, but one thing remains constant: my presence. You will enjoy the presence of ‘another Counselor.’ ”
Can you see how the disciples needed this encouragement? It’s Thursday night before the crucifixion. By Friday’s sunrise they will abandon Jesus. The breakfast hour will find them hiding in corners and crevices. At 9 a.m. Roman soldiers will nail Christ to a cross. By this time tomorrow he will be dead and buried. Their world is about to be flipped on its head. And Jesus wants them to know: they’ll never face the future without his help.
Nor will you. You have a travel companion. When you place your faith in Christ, Christ places his Spirit before, behind, and within you. Not a strange spirit, but the same Spirit: the parakletos. Everything Jesus did for his followers, his Spirit does for you. Jesus taught; the Spirit teaches. Jesus healed; the Spirit heals. Jesus comforted; his Spirit comforts. As Jesus sends you into new seasons, he sends his Counselor to go with you.

God treats you the way one mother treated her young son, Timmy. She didn’t like the thought of Timmy walking to his first-grade class unaccompanied. But he was too grown-up to be seen with his mother. “Besides,” he explained, “I can walk with a friend.” So she did her best to stay calm, quoting the Twenty-third Psalm to him every morning: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . . ”
One day she came up with an idea. She asked a neighbor to follow Timmy to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, lest he notice her. The neighbor was happy to oblige. She took her toddler on morning walks anyway.
After several days Timmy’s little friend noticed the lady and the child.
“Do you know who that woman is who follows us to school?”
“Sure,” Timmy answered. “That’s Shirley Goodnest and her daughter Marcy.”
“Who?”
“My mom reads about them every day in the Twenty-third Psalm. She says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ Guess I’ll have to get used to them.”
You will too. God never sends you out alone. Are you on the eve of change? Do you find yourself looking into a new chapter? Is the foliage of your world showing signs of a new season? Heaven’s message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God’s presence never does. You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26 NLT).

From Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear I am going away” ( John 14:28).
Imagine their shock when they heard Jesus say those words. He spoke them on the night of the Passover celebration, Thursday evening, in the Upper Room. Christ and his friends had just enjoyed a calm dinner in the midst of a chaotic week. They had reason for optimism: Jesus’ popularity was soaring. Opportunities were increasing. In three short years the crowds had lifted Christ to their shoulders . . . he was the hope of the common man.

And now this? Jesus said, “I am going away.” The announcement stunned them. When Jesus explained, “You know the way to where I am going,” Thomas, with no small dose of exasperation, replied, “No, we don’t know, Lord. We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” ( John 14:4-5 NLT).
On the eve of his death, Jesus gave his followers this promise: “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:26-27 NLT).

As a departing teacher might introduce the classroom to her replacement, so Jesus introduces us to the Holy Spirit. And what a ringing endorsement he gives. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit his “representative.”
The Spirit comes in the name of Christ, with equal authority and identical power. Earlier in the evening Jesus had said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16 NIV).
Jesus’ promise: allos—”another one just like the first one.” And who is the first one? Jesus himself. Hence, the assurance Jesus gives to the disciples is this: “I am going away. You are entering a new season, a different chapter. Much will be different, but one thing remains constant: my presence. You will enjoy the presence of ‘another Counselor.’ ”
Can you see how the disciples needed this encouragement? It’s Thursday night before the crucifixion. By Friday’s sunrise they will abandon Jesus. The breakfast hour will find them hiding in corners and crevices. At 9 a.m. Roman soldiers will nail Christ to a cross. By this time tomorrow he will be dead and buried. Their world is about to be flipped on its head. And Jesus wants them to know: they’ll never face the future without his help.
Nor will you. You have a travel companion. When you place your faith in Christ, Christ places his Spirit before, behind, and within you. Not a strange spirit, but the same Spirit: the parakletos. Everything Jesus did for his followers, his Spirit does for you. Jesus taught; the Spirit teaches. Jesus healed; the Spirit heals. Jesus comforted; his Spirit comforts. As Jesus sends you into new seasons, he sends his Counselor to go with you.

God treats you the way one mother treated her young son, Timmy. She didn’t like the thought of Timmy walking to his first-grade class unaccompanied. But he was too grown-up to be seen with his mother. “Besides,” he explained, “I can walk with a friend.” So she did her best to stay calm, quoting the Twenty-third Psalm to him every morning: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . . ”
One day she came up with an idea. She asked a neighbor to follow Timmy to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, lest he notice her. The neighbor was happy to oblige. She took her toddler on morning walks anyway.
After several days Timmy’s little friend noticed the lady and the child.
“Do you know who that woman is who follows us to school?”
“Sure,” Timmy answered. “That’s Shirley Goodnest and her daughter Marcy.”
“Who?”

“My mom reads about them every day in the Twenty-third Psalm. She says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ Guess I’ll have to get used to them.”

You will too. God never sends you out alone. Are you on the eve of change? Do you find yourself looking into a new chapter? Is the foliage of your world showing signs of a new season? Heaven’s message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God’s presence never does. You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26 NLT).

From Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear

GOD’S WISDOM BRINGS PROMOTION

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” Genesis 41:39–40

When Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph, and that everything he touched prospered, Potiphar immediately promoted Joseph and placed him in charge over all the affairs of his house (Genesis 39:3–4). Similarly, when Pharaoh saw that the Spirit of God was in Joseph and that there was none who was as wise and as discerning as Joseph, Pharaoh placed him in charge of the whole of Egypt (Genesis 41:38–41).

My friend, promotion and increase come from the Lord through His wisdom, presence and unmerited favor. It may feel like you are stuck in a hopeless situation, cast away and forgotten, but the story isn’t over yet. The Lord’s promotion is coming! So don’t give up. Don’t try to manipulate the situation either and get into strife. Continue to seek the Lord as your wisdom and thank Him for His presence in your life. Trust in His love and unmerited favor toward you and He will promote you in due time!

NO DEATH, ONLY LIFE!

In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Proverbs 12:28

God does not want us to worry about whatever happens in the world. We don’t need to be affected by whatever is causing the world to be afraid because we are the righteousness of God in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). And the Bible says, “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”

The patriarchs of the Old Testament did not suffer during the famines that occurred in their lifetimes. Abraham remained very rich in livestock, silver and gold (see Genesis 12:10, 13:1–2). Isaac reaped a hundredfold in the land he sowed (see Genesis 26:1, 12–14). Joseph, with his entire family, was richly provided for in Egypt (see Genesis 47:11–13, 27). They weren’t just spared from suffering—they prospered exceedingly!

So even if our nation or the world enters a recession, we need not suffer. As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, our righteousness, we will thrive!

This proved true for a church member whose boss told everyone to expect a substantial pay cut during an economic downturn. But while her colleagues received pay cuts, she received a substantial increment! As the righteousness of God in Christ, she saw provision in a time of lack.

In the midst of fearful news such as terrorist attacks, deadly pestilences and natural calamities, God says, “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.” In fact, He protected an entire coastal town in South India during the Asian Tsunami in 2004.

A pastor who lived in that coastal town was praying that morning when he felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to plead the blood of Jesus over his entire town. So he did just that. When the tsunami struck, his town was untouched while five other towns, which were further inland, were wiped out by the devastating flood.

My friend, God protects us when the world is experiencing evil because we are the righteousness of God in Christ. His Word declares that “in the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death”!

ENDURING OR ENJOYING?

In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11

When I was a kid, I remember times when I got sick. My mom would make me take medicine so I could get better. I hated taking medicine. It always tasted so terrible. I wasn’t able to swallow pills very well, so every pill had to be chewed up and swallowed, and every liquid had to be choked down amidst gags and minor dry heaves. I endured the medicine so that I could get well.

Did you know that is how some people view the Christian life? They view it as if it were akin to bad medicine that one must take in order to get well. It is definitely not something anyone really likes; it is just a necessary burden and chore. It is something you must endure, not something you could possibly enjoy. Hmmm.

MAN’S CHIEF END

Have you ever read the opening statement of The Westminster Shorter Catechism of 1648? Probably not. But it is really good as it sates, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” Did you catch that? We were created to glorify God and enjoy God forever. And forever is supposed to start right now!

MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Jesus Christ is the best friend a person could possibly imagine. He loves us no matter what, and He refuses to ever stop. He never leaves us or deserts us in our time of need. He is there as we walk though every dark valley. He listens to us and counsels us in our troubles and trials. He is a God full of love, joy, peace and excitement – and He wants to fill your heart and life with all those wonderful things.

If you have been guilty of enduring religion instead of enjoying salvation, the time is now to change gears. The Lord Jesus Christ wants you to walk with Him. He wants to help you walk in His ways so that you can be blessed and be a blessing to others. The Christian life is not a penalty, it is a privilege! It is an unfathomable, totally undeserved privilege to live everyday in the presence and fellowship of the King of the universe. WOW!

Life is too short to miss out on the great joy that is available to you and me as we take the hand of Jesus and live life with Him. Will you do it?

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help me to walk in the light with You. Help me to see how much You love me and how much You want to empower me to rise above my difficult circumstances. Help me to see You as You really are, “a friend of sinners” and “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Help me to jettison my burdensome religion (with its long list of rules and regulations) and start enjoying a wonderful salvation and relationship with the Savior. Thank You, Lord, that the chief end of man is to glorify You and enjoy You forever. I choose to start today! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

LIFE WITH GOD IS EASY AND LIGHT

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

It always warms my heart to know that Jesus sees the cares we carry in our hearts. He knows the worries you have for your family and for the future. He feels the heaviness in your heart as you struggle with the sickness in your body. He says to you, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Jesus wants to give you rest. And He says that the way you receive rest is to be yoked with Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (see Matthew 11:29–30).

What does it mean to be yoked with Jesus? Imagine a pair of oxen yoked together. The younger ox sees what the lead ox does and follows. If the lead ox turns left, the younger ox turns left. If the lead ox stops, the younger ox stops. When the lead ox starts moving again, the younger ox follows. Likewise, Jesus wants us to follow His leading and flow with Him.

It is not hard to flow with Jesus because He will not lay anything heavy on you—“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). When you are yoked with Him and you flow with Him, you will find that there is nothing heavy-hearted, ill-fitting or burdensome from the Lord. When you flow with the Lord, you will find that things fall into place. You will not be weighed down, anxious or distressed.

You might say, “But Bro.John, God has given me this heavy burden. It is weighing heavily on my heart!”

My friend, if the burden is heavy, it is not from God because Jesus said that His burden is light. The devil has probably given you the burden to crush you!

“Oh, Bro. John, you are making light of how serious my burden is.”

No, I am not. Jesus did say that His burden is light and His yoke easy. So a life yoked with Him is anxiety- and worry-free.

Beloved, follow His leading and flow with Him, and you will find rest for your soul!

REMAIN STEADFAST IN THE FAITH

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…
1 Peter 5:8–9

When I was a teenager, I was taught that if I wanted to resist the devil, I had to rebuke him. So whenever an evil thought came to my mind or I was tempted, I found myself saying, “I resist you, devil, in Jesus’ name! I bind you, devil! Go away from me, devil! I rebuke you in Jesus’ name!”

This went on until God showed me one day that though I had “resisted” the devil, I had spent more time talking to him than to God! I was more conscious of the devil than of God throughout the day.

I checked the Word of God and realized that we resist the devil not by focusing on resisting him, but by being established in the faith that we are made right with God through Jesus’ blood, that we are the righteousness of God in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Yes, the devil will continue to remind you of your mistakes, failures and sins. And he will tell you that because of these things, you cannot receive your healing, that you will have to pay for your mistakes or that something bad will happen to your family. He will accuse you, condemn you and try to persuade your heart to believe that he can do bad things to you.

But the truth is that the devil cannot enforce anything in your life if he cannot persuade your heart. And your heart cannot be persuaded if it is “steadfast in the faith,” if it is established in righteousness. God says that once you are established in righteousness, “You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you” (Isaiah 54:14).

So now that my heart is established in righteousness, I can boldly declare, “Yes, I may have these problems in my life, but I am not guilty in God’s eyes. I am justified in God’s eyes by faith because of what Christ has done. I am righteous by Jesus’ blood!” My friend, that is how you resist the devil and become undevourable!

EVERY CURSE IN YOUR LIFE DESTROYED

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), Galatians 3:13

Many believers probably know that when Jesus died, our sins were forgiven because He shed His blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins (see Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 9:22). But why did Jesus have to die on the cross, since the capital punishment of Israel during the time of Christ was stoning and not crucifixion?

Jesus hung and died on the cross because He knew the law which says that “he who is hanged is accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:23). He wanted to redeem us from every curse of the law, so He went to the cross, “having become a curse for us.” Jesus took all our curses at the cross, so that we can take all His blessings!

The moment you received Jesus, every curse in your life was destroyed. And the way you experience this is to simply believe and confess what Jesus has done for you. Say, “Because of Jesus, I am blessed.” The more you say it and believe it, the more you will experience it.

So if there is an area in your life in which you feel oppressed, for example, a skin condition that refuses to heal, say, “Christ has redeemed me from this skin condition. I refuse it and reject it in Jesus’ name because by His stripes I am healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24)! Believe it and say it until you see it!

“But Bro.John, my father died of cancer. His father died of cancer. And I have been told by my doctor that there is a likelihood that I might get it too. It’s in our blood!”

My friend, the blood of Christ shed at the cross has redeemed you from all curses, including diseases like cancer! God put the curse of cancer on Jesus at the cross. And He put all the blessings of Jesus on you. Therefore, expect only the blessings of Jesus to come upon you and overtake you!

NOTHING TO DO, ONLY BELIEVE

…“What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
John 6:28–29

When I was a young Christian, I attended a seminar on what we must do to “work the works of God.” I was told that we had to pray more, fast more, know our enemy and so on. I came away from the seminar confused. Then one day, I found the same question in the Bible. But the answer was very different!

In the Gospel of John, we find Jesus being asked the same question by the multitude who had been awed by His miracles—“What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” The people had seen Jesus healing the sick, and feeding 5,000 men with only five loaves and two fish.

Notice how Jesus answered them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” My friend, the greatest doing is believing—believing in Jesus the sent one, who has done it all for you at the cross!

If you are asking, “What must I do to receive my healing?” the answer is this: Believe in Jesus, who “Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). We have seen members of our church delivered from life-threatening conditions such as cancer and kidney failure. They had simply believed that Jesus bore their diseases on His own body. There was nothing for them to do, except to believe.

When the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30–31). The greatest miracle in your life happens not by you working and trying to save yourself, but by you simply believing in Jesus who died to save you from eternal damnation and to give you eternal life. Why then, should the lesser miracles of healing or financial breakthroughs be any different?

Beloved, what is the miracle you need today? There is nothing left for you to do, but everything for you to believe, because Jesus has done it all for you!

JESUS UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.Hebrews 4:15

Do you sometimes wonder if God really knows what it is like to be poor, rejected by people or sick with aches and pains. Perhaps you are asking, “Does God really understand what I am going through?”

My friend, Jesus was no stranger to emotional or physical pains, poverty or hardships. He was born into a poor family. He had a smelly manger for His birthplace (see Luke 2:7). From an early age, as a carpenter, He knew all about working hard with His hands, standing on His feet all day long and returning home with aches in His body.

The religious leaders of His day made life difficult for Him. They challenged His authority (see Matthew 21:23) and tested His teachings (see Matthew 19:3). They also called Him a glutton, winebibber, friend of tax collectors and sinners (see Matthew 11:19), and blasphemer (see Mark 2:7).

They said that He was demon-possessed and mad (see John 10:20), put Him on the spot when they brought an adulterous woman to Him (see John 8:2–11), attempted to stone Him (see John 8:59, 10:31–39) and accused Him of perverting the nation (see Luke 23:2).

Have you been chased out of your home because of your Christian beliefs? Jesus understands what you are going through. He was chased out of His own hometown (see Luke 4:29). Have you been rejected by someone you love? Jesus also experienced the pain of being denied by a loved one (see Luke 22:54–62) and betrayed by one considered close to Him (see Luke 22:47–48). He also knows all about the sickness you are suffering because He bore your sicknesses and pains on the cross (see Isaiah 53:4).

Jesus certainly understands all that we are going through because being born fully Man, He was “in all points tempted as we are.” He endured His sufferings for our sakes, so that we can have His peace and the anointing to rise above the troubles we are facing!

BLESSED WITH EVERY PNEUMATIKOS BLESSING

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, Ephesians 1:3

Some people think that the term “spiritual blessing” refers to only non-visible and intangible blessings like peace and joy. To them, God’s promise of “every spiritual blessing” excludes the tangible blessings of health, provision, a healthy marriage and so on. They say things like, “Don’t expect God to remove this tumor because our blessings are only spiritual.”

Beloved, do you know what the word “spiritual” here means? In the original Greek text, it is pneumatikos, which in this context means having properties and characteristics belonging to the Spirit of God. So if you have the pneumatikos blessing of health, for example, it means that it is of the Spirit of God, and therefore does not depend on your exercising or dieting.

A church member had high blood pressure which did not normalize even after he started exercising and eating well. So he stopped being preoccupied with his exercise and diet regimes, and simply rested in the truth that a normal blood pressure was a pneumatikos blessing from God already given to him. In a short time, his blood pressure came down to a healthy level!

The same goes for the pneumatikos blessing of provision. It is of the Spirit of God and does not depend on our toiling seven days a week or monitoring the stock market closely.

A church member, who owns a small company, received her pneumatikos blessing of provision when she believed that God would cause her small company to be publicly listed. She did. In fact, the company was over-subscribed seven times within the first week! Later on, it even made inroads into Middle East. For a woman to find favor in a male-dominated industry like hers, it can only be the pneumatikos blessing of favor, which is not subject to the laws of man.

My friend, believe that you have received every pneumatikos blessing, and you will find yourself enjoying blessings that are eternal, just as God is eternal, and of a quality that only the Spirit of God can give!