Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Are We as Christians to Combat Fear?

In order for us to really press forward in our life for God's Purposes, we've got to get free of our fear. Johnson Bowie, at http://www.fusionatl.org/p/12081/Default.aspx, continues his "Know Fear" series, titled "I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts" by saying that we have to know the stuff that spiritually comes against us. In order for God to set us free, we have to ask God to expose us. Until we know who God is, we will continue to put the approval of man in front of Him. If we know what God says about us (He smiles when He thinks of us and He rejoices over us when we sleep), then we can step boldly into life. (picture labeled for reuse on flickr)

Last year, Johnson went skydiving at a Fusion event. The crazy thing about that is, Johnson was wildly afraid of heights. But he was determined to conquer his fear. In a funny tale about the episode, Johnson talks about the details leading up to the jump, his experience as he jumped and then the slow descent with the parachute. He was connected to a guide, which which made him feel safe, "but then he did one of the top ten stupidest things in my life." The guide reaches back and starts undoing buckles which absolutely freaks Johnson out. Even though Johnson was terrified as the parachute straps loosened, things obviously turned out okay. Johnson says he was not so much afraid of the height, it was fear of what was on the other side of the height, i.e. the fall and the hit after the height. Likewise, it's not so much a fear of the dark, but it's about what's in the dark.

What Johnson is talking about today is a fear of the supernatural. Are angels or demons normal? Is speaking in tongues natural? We're talking about the reality is that there is another dimension. God is with us despite the fact that we can't see Him. The supernatural events happen when the spiritual realm steps into the physical. Demons, weegie boards, bodily possessions, Satan and angels are all real. This isn't just a fluffy world. There are nearly 300 references in the Bible about angels. In Ephesians 6:12, it addresses this hidden world; "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (picture labeled for reuse at http://www.gallery.mobile9.com/)

Johnson personally experienced this when he was involved in a healing service and six guys couldn't lift a 100-pound unconcious woman who seemed possessed!  When we encounter stuff like this, it scares us because we don't understand it, but the Bible gives us guidance. In Isaiah 14:12, it describes the story of Satan. Lucifer was an angel who wanted all the power of heaven. He attacked the armies of God, but was cast down. Lucifer is but a fallen angel. He is not the mini-me of God. In Revelation 12:9, it again talks about the great dragon cast from heaven. The word demon is a scary word; much scarier than "fallen angel". But if you hear the words fallen angel, it gives you the perspective that Satan has been defeated and we have God on our side. One of the keys to conquering our fears is to demystify the supernatural. Demons and devils were created and, at their core, they want to be worshipped. If we give them fear, we are effectively worshipping them.
Have you ever been in a service and someone stands up and screams?  It's because they are trying to pull the attention off Jesus. When we give Satan a foothold in our lives, they hold on to it and torment us with it. "Something inside of me says, 'no'...I will not worship Satan. I will worship Christ." Most of the time, as Christians, fearful things get worse in our lives because of our new power as believers. There's power in the name of Jesus and, when we start talking about Him, the entire world seems to come down on us! There are strongholds everywhere. "When I decided to do this series on Fear, I came down with the flu and Jeremiah, my son, started having nightmares..." Johnson says, "Oh, it's on now, man. You're going in the room of my kid?" When leaders step into their positions at Fusion, there are so many blessings, but at the same time, they get a ton of resistance.
New level, new devil.
Johnson Bowie
But we are armed and dangerous!  Colossians 2 talks about how we were dead to the sin of the enemy and Jesus went down to satan's domain, took the keys and gave him the Tyson one-two punch. We need to know that God created hell for the demons, not for people. They are going to burn in an everlasting fire, but some of the world actually chooses to go the route of the devil!  Demons are encouraged by this and they are trying to deceive us to burn with them. We need to encounter demons with the knowledge that they are already a defeated foe. Revelation 20:10 retells the fate of Satan.
Who then, can be against us? God is omnipresent. He's everywhere. "He's inside your earball." Satan is NOT omnipresent. "He's in Antartica somewhere." God is all-powerful. Satan is finite as a creation. God is everlasting, while we know the fate of Satan. Big God. Little devil (go to your high voice when you say "little devil"). God even assigns His angels to us. When we think about angels, though, we have a huge misperception. "So cute little naked baby angel...thank you for coming off your cloud...play me a song on your harp...But that's not what angels are!...Angels are stinkin' kickbutt warriors." We have these amazing warrior angels assigned to each of us!
Genesis 3:24 is the first description of the cherubim (angel). Seraphim have six wings and are covered with eyeballs! "What!! They don't have pictures of those on the front of Guidepost!" The archangel Michael, single-handedly defeated thousands of demons. In Revelation 2, there will be 4 angels on each corner of the earth to hold back the winds. Why is it that whenever people in the Bible encounter angels, the first thing they say is, "Fear not."?  These are unbelievable creatures!

Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.  What we have to grasp is that we, as his followers, have the power of God already in us. In Exodus, Moses comes to the edge of the Red Sea as they are running from the Egyptians. Moses calls on God, but God tells Moses that he already has the power and to use his staff! We can't call the angels down ourselves, but we have authority here. Multiple times, Johnson describes times when he was just minding his own business and this super lustful dream comes or this gory, bloody dream comes or he is scared by an experience. In the dream, he is stuttering trying to say, "Jesus". When he finally says it, everything leaves. There is no power in anything we say alone, but there is power in the name of Jesus. Phillipians 2 says that the name of Jesus is above the name of any other to the glory of God the Father.
It is Easter coming up (when Johnson delivered this message) on Sunday, "but I think so many of us are stuck on Friday." Something changed Johnson and the way he thinks about his life. "If you really want to find out about what God says about your power and authority, go through Ephesians a couple of times." God exalted Jesus to the highest place. In Ephesians it says that we are seated with Jesus in Heavenly places!! We are armed and dangerous and we don't even know it! Think about that! We are seated with Christ in the Heavenly realms. Luke 10:19 & John 14:12 tell us about our authority. Isn't it crazy that Jesus actually expected us to do what He did; even greater works!! It's because we are seated with Him. James 4:7 tells us to resist that devil and he will flee from us. Oft times, we only remember the "flee from you" part. But we must resist the devil.
One morning, Johnson was coming into a very dark church at night. "The only light I had was the demonic exit signs; you know what I mean?" Here he was, preaching about fear, and he was afraid. Then a little voice in him says, "I called you to flee from temptation, not to flee from the enemy. Johnson had a change of heart; "Armed and dangerous, baby...seated with Christ" Years ago, Johnson had this dream where he is on a mountain top. The wind is blowing and lightning is around him. On the other side of the mountain, there is this huge warlock who is about to fight him. Toe to toe, Johnson remembers how he had just been reading Elijah, so he screams "Fire of God!!" and this tornado comes down and scoops up the warlock.
"Stop asking God to rescue you when He gave you the authority." Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. "I'll give you a double cheese burger promise." Step into who God called you to be!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Glenn - this is an awesome blog, I mean that.
    I don't follow as many blogs now, as I'm trying to prioritize my time better, but I spent a lot of time this morning reading some of your posts.

    Great blog, keep up the amazing work.

    I might put some of the things you've found up on my blog if you don't mind, and link back to your blog.
    The more that get educated about God, the better.


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