No More Fear: Peace, Love, and Confidence as a Witness for Jesus


The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
—Psalms 118:6 ESV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
—John 14:27 ESV

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
—1 John 4:18 ESV

If you were to ask me what word described American Christians at this moment in time, I would not hesitate. That word is fear.

Fear of terrorists

Fear of homosexuals

Fear of whichever political party is not ours

Fear of someone who might take our means of defense away

Fear that America has been usurped by people who hate America

Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.

Social media is increasingly a fear fest, where the whole world can see American “Christians” publicly display their myriad fears of this or that.

Desperation undergirds that fear. Powerlessness too. People are flailing, looking for anything they can grab onto, as if they’re drowning. Which they are—in fear.

I was born near the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. My father told me he was sure his soon-to-be first child would never see the light of day, obliterated in a nuclear exchange between the world powers of that time.

We can talk about whether this age is more rightful in its fear than that one, but that’s missing the point. We always seem to be missing the point, which is this:

For the Christian, there must be no fear.

Jesus commanded that we not be afraid. Is that not enough?

For the person who does not know Jesus, there is good reason to fear. But there is no good reason for the Christian to be afraid. If Christians fear, it is because we love our lives too much. It is because we fear punishment. It is because we are not perfected in love.

If that’s you, go to the Lord and let Him deal with that fear in you.

Every generation of Christians believes it is the terminal generation, the final one before Christ returns. Whether this generation is or isn’t changes nothing. The Lord says, “Don’t be afraid.”

Everyone is watching the news for more terrorism, more war, more natural disasters—more of everything that should cause fear.

The Christian instead responds with peace amid the turmoil, love amid the hate, confidence amid the questions.

The Christian is the one lost people go to for comfort because the Christian knows the One in whom she trusts is faithful.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
—Romans 8:35-39 ESV

Lost people watch us. They search for something, anything different about Christians that shows us to have something no one else possesses.

Standing on the rockThey look to find someone who loves his enemies.

They seek to find someone who models fearlessness.

They long to find someone who is a rock of peacefulness, unmoved by shifting tides.

People everywhere are dying for the Church to be unflinching in the face of fear.

Christian, if you refuse to give into fear because you rest on the finished work of Jesus and on His faithfulness, then the result will show in your words and actions. You will be an ambassador for Christ and for His Kingdom, which not only cannot be destroyed, but also cannot even be blemished in any way because it is impervious to anything that comes against it.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
—John 12:25 ESV

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
—Romans 14:8 ESV

Even if you die, nothing can be taken away from you, because Jesus has already given you everything, and your life is hidden in Him. What is His cannot be taken away from Him—ever.

Be an instrument of peace.

Be a vessel of love.

Be the person who does not fear.

Be the person who comforts others when they do.

The world is watching.

Demonic Activity, Chthonic Events


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
—John 10:10 ESV

San Bernardino, California, shootingIn San Bernardino, California, gun-toting, young parents of a 6-month-old daughter burst into a holiday party and shot and killed 14 people.

You live long enough and, sadly, you see just about everything, yet even this was unexpected to me. As a writer by trade, I’m always running little fictions through my head in the hopes of capturing a compelling story, yet never would I imagine a new mom plotting to kill a room full of people.

Craziness. Nonsense. Anarchy.

A friend suggested an answer, but it’s one we don’t usually consider. Now that I’ve pondered it, I think he may be right.

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.
—Matthew 17:14-18 ESV

A man comes to Jesus with a son who suffers from what the father deems a medical condition. But this seizure doesn’t randomly attack in a way that a normal medical condition would. This “epilepsy” directs the boy toward self-immolation and self-drowning. It seeks to kill and destroy. It has an anarchic, irrational purpose.

Jesus saw beyond the veil and into the eyes of pure evil. A thief had entered the “house” that was that poor boy, and it sought to steal a childhood, kill a young “homeowner,” and destroy a family.

And Jesus dealt with it the right way.

Nothing grinds our gears more than putting our trust in a medical system that gives us the wrong answer for what ails us. Too much is at stake to waste time trying to cure a misdiagnosed disease while the correct one goes untreated.

I’m sure the father in the scene above had seen doctors. They all gave him a bogus diagnosis. Even Jesus’ disciples approached the situation traditionally. Jesus, though, got it right.

I want to offer something we “scientific” Westerners don’t typically ponder.

What if the cause for all the craziness of recent days can’t be traced to a medical condition? What if it’s not mental illness? What if it’s not social isolation? What if it’s not religious beliefs gone awry?

What if it’s not any of the rational answers we grasp for in times like this?

What if, at the core of all this deranged activity we’re seeing on our nightly newscasts, it’s demons?

I don’t offer this lightly.

We don’t talk about demons in the West. That’s old-school stuff. We have better explanations, right?

I’ve shared before that I’ve encountered a few people who were genuinely possessed by or afflicted by demons. Not many, but enough to make a lasting impression.

What struck me in those cases was the sense that something was horribly, horribly wrong with that person. Not just an off-ness, but the feeling that an abominable crime against nature was occurring right before my eyes. Anarchy in skin. Torment personified.

The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. It often comes stealthily, violently lashing out unpredictably, randomly. One moment calm, the next, a snarling beast.

What causes a young mom and dad to kill a room full of people? What causes the quiet loner to go off and murder strangers? What causes a young man to shoot up a school?

I don’t know where you are in your worldview. I don’t know if you have a place in your typical explanation to suggest demons as a possibility.

But I think we can’t be blind about what we’re seeing.

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I end with this:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
—John 10:10 ESV

There is a Kingdom that is here now that dwarfs all other kingdoms, both of the earth and of the fallen. And the King of that Kingdom had a mission:

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
—1 John 3:8b ESV

Jesus gives abundant life. Jesus destroys the works of the demonic. Jesus is Lord over all.

Remember this, and never give up hope.

God Made a Way–But Only One


Listening to a a recent Ravi Zacharias podcast, I was overcome by a need to reiterate what the apologist shared and both simplify and unpack it further. Thus, this post.

Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”

But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.
—2 Kings 5:1-16 ESV

Naaman was a great and proud man, the General Eisenhower of his time and place, but leprosy had infected him. In time, the disease would rob him of his position and place in society, as lepers were forcibly outcast by the virulence of the disease and its horrible effects. In this era, no cure existed. A diagnosis of leprosy destroyed lives. In the Bible, leprosy exemplified the physical manifestation of the sin that bedevils all our lives.

Into Naaman’s household came the lowest of the low, a little girl of foreign birth now made a slave through enemy conquest. In his desperation, Naaman listened to that pittance of a person tell of a prophet who could heal him. Interestingly, Elisha had not performed a healing miracle yet, but this girl’s faith in the God behind the prophet prevailed.

How humbling to listen to a lowly enemy then go to another enemy for help. And yet Naaman went.

Naaman washes in the Jordan RiverBut instead of facing this opposing prophet, proud Naaman, already humbled in part by leprosy, was further humbled when the prophet sent a third-rate messenger to tell him to go wash in one of Israel’s rivers.

Naaman, enraged by the slight, cried out how the rivers back home were even better than Israel’s meager Jordan . His servant pleaded, and eventually Naaman relented. And he was healed.


If you are not a believer in Jesus:

Every person believes he or she knows what is right, yet each also knows that deep down inside, something is wrong. That wrong is sin. People try all sorts of ways to deal with that sin and its consequences in life, yet everyone fails.

Jesus said this:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
—John 14:6 ESV

Naaman lamented, ” Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?”

No. God made a way to be clean. One way. In the only waters that lived and healed.

To Naaman, it all sounded like foolishness.

People can try all sorts of ways to be clean: Buddha, Mohammed, self-fulfillment, self-mortification, this or that. But God made a way. One, exclusive way.

That way is Jesus. The living, healing water you need is found only in Him and nowhere else.

You can do what is asked by God, or you can succumb to the leprosy. But don’t say that God has not made a way. He has: Jesus.

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
—Acts 4:11-12 ESV

Lastly, God may be asking you to give up your pride and listen to one of those weird Christians you hate. The message of healing and life will likely come from someone you ordinarily disregard. That’s often how God works. Don’t let a superior attitude prevent you from humbling yourself long enough to heed what may very well save you.

If you are a Christian believer already:

Israel was filled with lepers, but they were not healed. Instead, the God of Israel healed a Syrian enemy of Israel.

God seeks out those who will believe Him, even if He must go outside the walls of the fortress to find them. Do not assume because you are inside that you will not be considered an outsider–and the outsider an insider.

Naaman listened to a nobody, the least of these. And he did as he was told, even if it violated everything rational and right. He alone was healed. He alone received absolution.

God will work in the lives of those who take Him at His word, and He is no respecter of persons. He used the lowest of the low to speak to the greatest. Take care in who you listen to. Take care in how you respond.

Even Christians will defend an inadequate river if they proudly operate from their own wisdom and not God’s.

Christians should also finish the story in 2 Kings 5, because an additional warning to us exists in the failure of one who had seen many miracles and yet did not have saving faith, Gehazi, Elisha’s own servant. The world is filled with Gehazis. Don’t assume you aren’t one of his kind or that you are better than he is.

God made a Way in Jesus. One Way alone. Come, humble yourself and be made clean.