We will never know this side of heaven how the Holy Spirit will use our seed-planting to bring multiple harvests resulting in countless lives touched by the Good News of Jesus!
We are often asked why we choose to do prison ministry. Charles T. Studd, missionary to formerly unreached people in Asia and Africa, said it best:
There are so many creative ways to minister and work in the harvest fields! God can and will send out anyone to be His voice, hands, and feet!
Fear of God
FEAR OF GOD vs. FEAR OF MAN
(As given to Carol Breeden by the Holy Spirit--March 6, 2010)
For years I have heard these two phrases – “the fear of the Lord” and “the fear of man.” I had not made a connection between those two phrases. In fact, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what either of those phrases meant. I did not think I should have a fear of God – i.e., be afraid of Him. Furthermore, I did not think I feared man.
It has been gradually revealed to me that a “fear of man” is in operation when I do something, whether I want to or not, because I believe it will gain the approval of someone. Or, I would alter what I intended to do because of what I thought someone would think. Until God put it right in front of my nose, I did not see that as “fear of man.” I did not see “fear of man” as wanting or needing man’s approval.
Then God shifted the scenario to a “fear of God.” I had not understood that phrase either. I did not think I needed to be afraid of God. Yes, I had heard it taught that “fear of God” meant to reverence Him. And, from time to time, I did stand in awe of God. But I still didn’t understand the “fear” part.
This morning The Holy Spirit brought those two phrases together for me and gave me understanding. While it is wrong to do something or act in a certain way because of what “man” might think, it is not wrong to do something or act in a certain way because of what God might think. In fact, that is what He wants us to do. However, He does not want us to just “think” it is what He wants. He wants us to “know” it is what He wants. That is why we need to know God and we need to know His Word. Why? So we will know that what we are doing and what we are saying are lining up with God and His Word. We cannot have faith in God if we do not know who He is or what He expects of us. Furthermore, we cannot please God if we do not have faith in Him.
Once I recognized the truth about the “fear of man,” I had to confess it to God (my Father—Abba Daddy) and ask Him to forgive me. Next I have to change the way I walk, talk and think (with the help of His Holy Spirit). When I find myself falling back into those old patterns, I have to correct myself and ask the Holy Spirit to help me break that pattern (The Holy Spirit is the one who was sent to earth to walk along side, to guide, to teach, to help). Having a “fear of man” is sin because it is against my Father’s Word; therefore, it is not pleasing to Him. Also, it is not healthy, and it is a stronghold. Sin always brings the death of something. It plays havoc inside my body causing my body not to function properly, and I become ill in some part of my body. In essence, by doing wrong, I open a door that the enemy can rightfully walk through and do damage within my body, within my life. You see, the enemy always comes to steal, kill and destroy. But he cannot do this unless we open a door for him to enter.
I must continue to check my thoughts to make sure they line up with the Word. As I do this, I am developing a pattern of having a “fear of God,” which is a pattern of not needing to please man but wanting to always please God. As that pattern is more fully developed, I will be in that place of rest with Him – dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.
Proverbs 29:25 – Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (NIV)
Isaiah 11:1-3a – A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. (NIV)
Philippians 2:12-13—Therefore my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
II Corinthians 10:4-5 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (NIV).
Psalm 91:1 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (NIV)