I just returned from a ministry trip to Bulgaria and Romania as always the people were so giving and kind.  I find those who have the least give the most and this trip was no exception.  All along the 17 days we (Darrell Pope and I) were gone as I beseeched the LORD He would respond  “come and go as planned all is well.”

What an assurance I would get as we faced trying things along the way.  God speaking a word of encouragement goes a long ways in settling our spirit, calming our nerves, and removing fear.  Have you ever experienced fear (I have) in your life?  It hits you in the pit of your stomach.  This world is in a mess and if we allow this world to affect our thinking and heart  we too will be in a mess.  This is why John said, ““Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life ,is not of the Father, but is of the world.17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  (1 John 2:15-17)  Now notice it says “the things that are in the world.”  Most Christians are so stuck on the things in the world that they do not really miss a genuine relationship with the LORD.  Their carnal relationship is based on knowing God through all of the technology driven church.  We were sitting in Paris at Charles De Gaul Airport and I looked and everyone in the two rows (of 15 seats) behind us and in front of us were glued to their hand held electronic devices. A bomb could have went off and they would not have unplugged from their mesmerized state.  Our love for the world will prevent us from knowing God in any meaningful way and maybe prevent us from going to heaven.  Our love for the world is kindled in us because we do not want to experience loss in our lives.  We want what everyone else has and more.  As Christians we must never allow the fear of loss in our lives move us out of God.  The loss we should want to experience is the loss of our love for the world and our flesh.  Did you know God measures our gain in Him by what we lose?  We think God measures our gain in Him by what we can gain to our self, even spiritual things, but that is not true.  God measures our gain in Him by how much of the world we can lose, how much of our:  selfish, self-seeking, religious nature we can allow God to kill in us, and in that same amount of loss God can fill the loss with His goods.  Fear of loss is rooted in greed and arrogance.  We must never allow fear of any type control our lives. Prophetically speaking God’s message to His children today is fear not.  This has always been God’s message and God changes not.  From day one at Jesus’ birth the angels said, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”  (Luke 2:10)  Fear not, no matter what the world is doing, fear not no matter what the news says, “fear not for behold (stop and look) I bring you good tiding of great joy.”  The angels brought the good news of Jesus’ birth and a word to remove the fear.  Lack of fear in our lives enables us to understand God’s plan for our lives.  This is why it was important for the shepherds to “fear not” so they could understand the plan God had for His dear Son.  So many Christians today operate in fear (in so many areas) and know not the plan God has for them, yet are praying and begging God to tell them what is going on. Well, God does not operate like that, oh no, He expects us to be in control of our emotions and thoughts so we will be able to function and flow with Him. Again it is our love for the world and for ourselves is what keeps us in fear, believe it or not God has the remedy for our fear and that is affliction and darkness. Did you know God will put us into a fix so He can fix us?  Jeremiah found that out and God brought him through the refining fire of darkness and fear.  In Lamentations we read, “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.2 He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not intolight. 3 Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. 4 My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones.5 He hath builded against me, and compassed mewith gall and travail. 6 He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. 7 He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. 8 Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer.”  (Lamentations 3:1-8) I am sure Jeremiah was not full of himself when God finished with him. Jeremiah goes on for 54 verses to what God is doing to him. And then in verse 55 Jeremiah gets it, “I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. 56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. 57 Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not.”  (Lamentations 3:55-57) Fear is not God’s best way of getting our attentions, but please know God is not above using fear in our lives to get our attention and shut our mouth.  I can personally speak of three times God used fear in my life to get me back on track.  Fear will fill us (in this order greatest last) when we:  lack time in service to Him and His people, lack time in studying the word of God, and most important lack time in communion (not communication, praying) with Him.  When we lack in these areas there is a void in us (which once was filled with God) and now the lack in us is filled with fear and not the things of God.  Fear fills us when we lack the things God has for us and of course our lack is based on us choosing not to do what God has asked us to do. Because we are nearing at the end of the Church Age (I believe this with my whole heart) many are going through difficult and trying wilderness experiences which is a very good thing.  These wilderness experiences are for a purpose that we must understand, if we are to be fully prepared for the outworking of our calling and ministry.  When I was sharing in Silistra, Bulgaria I told the church that I never thought I would see the second coming of the LORD in my life time, but now I am not so sure. Things are moving at such an alarming rate in the world, that people (sinner and saints alike) cannot comprehend what God is doing so fear fills their lives, but this is not what the LORD wants for His children. Troubles and sorrows in our lives often begin in a wilderness experience – in the privacy of our personal relationship with the Lord (where separated from all else) we interact with Him alone.  Jesus Himself was called apart into a desolate place for a very specific purpose and is the servant greater than the master?  His response reveals the deep work of preparation that had taken place during his time in the wilderness.  Jesus told us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)  The same thing the angel said, but this is a promise from God.  Paul encouraged us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) They meant it. The purpose of these wilderness experiences is to bring to nought our natural ability and fears into the place of complete dependence upon the LORD.  Our greatest human ability can never accomplish the work God desires to do in us. We have to come  to a place of emptiness, but this too can cause fear in us.  God’s answer is His dealings and judgment in our lives as He is able to open up to us how much different His character and nature is so much different than ours.  After all He made us and He knows our frame and infirmities.  Now make no mistake my friends bad times are coming our way just read the Bible and if you do not agree you have been deceived (like the humanistic church who believes a great end-time revival is coming) by the gods of this world, but we have an assurance He will never leave us or forsake us when the tough times come our way. In Isaiah we read,  But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will bewith thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”  (Isaiah 43:1-2)  We cannot stop the floods and fires coming our way they are coming no matter what we believe or say, but what matters is will we be full of fear when troubles comes our way or will we be full of faith knowing God is with us even if the floods overwhelm us and the fires scorch. This is the message I shared at Bethel church in Constanta, Romania they got it that night I could see it in their eyes and I could feel it in their hearts the only place that fear matters.

By David Stahl