Tony Rapu

Author: Dave

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2020 Fearless Fast Devotional – Day 4

RIDING THE STORM

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matt 14:26-27 (NIV).

It had been a long day. John the Baptist had just been murdered, so Jesus decided to get away from everyone and have some quiet time alone with the Father. He told his disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Then He dismissed the crowd and went up to the mountainside to pray. Later that evening, Jesus wanted to catch up with His disciples. Not having a boat, He walked on the water to get to them. Jesus was displaying the power of spiritual laws over natural laws. He lived His life as an example of what is possible for us in this life. We too can operate in the supernatural.

Meanwhile, it was now about 3:00 am, and a violent storm had arisen. The storm was so vicious that the disciples began to despair. The issue now was not how to cross to the other side, it was how to stay alive. It had been busy for the disciples ministering with Jesus, they were exhausted, and only now to experience an intense storm. Meanwhile, it was Jesus who sent them on this journey. The boat ride was His idea. They were where they were supposed to be. They were not outside of the will of God, yet, they were battling a storm in the middle of the night.

This is a reminder that we would all face challenges from time to time. The disciples were learning, like all of us are, that when we walk with God, we encounter storms of life. Doing the right thing does not guarantee us a storm-free life, but it gives us the right to stand on the promises of God in the midst of the storm. The storms may come, but we have the ability to ride through untouched and unaffected.

However, the disciples had not yet built their capacity at this time to trust God fully. When they saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were afraid, thinking they had seen a ghost. Jesus immediately said to them “Do not be afraid, take courage. I am here!”. We don’t know how eleven disciples responded, but one of them, Peter, was fearless on that stormy night. He said, “Lord, if it is you, ask me to come into the water”.

Considerations

  1. God loves to reveal Himself in the midst of the storms of life. He was about to reveal His divine power and presence to the disciples. These moments are called ‘defining moments’, when God shows Himself in the midst of difficult situations. In these defining moments, God may call us to do extraordinary things, and if we can only believe and respond appropriately, we would experience the power of God. Life is full of these defining moments. Sometimes, it could be a financial crisis, separation or divorce, or maybe a legal problem. Family squabbles, a runaway child, a pregnant daughter, or a son on drugs, can be very major storms. The opportunities these defining moments provide can be missed, because their timings are usually unexpected, the conditions like on the boat that night, are never right, and we are usually very fearful.
  2. Fear usually deprives us of God’s perspective in these situations. The disciples were obviously in a panic. There was confusion, doubt and unbelief on that boat that night, yet, Peter the man who could hear God in the midst of the storm, was about to experience something extraordinary. He recognized a defining moment to touch God for himself. He recognized a moment for spiritual growth and adventure. It was an extraordinary opportunity to do something very radical in the midst of the storm. 

Prayer

Lord, I choose to walk in faith and not in fear. Help me to recognize the defining moments in my life as seasons of growth and adventure.

Further study

Song

Breathe

2020 Fearless Fast Devotional – Day 3

FACING YOUR GIANT

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” 1 Samuel 17:33 (NLT).

Goliath had threatened Israel for 40 days. David arrives on the scene and is determined to fight Goliath. He engages some soldiers who had direct access to Saul, the King of Israel, in conversation. The soldiers took it upon themselves to let the King know that someone was enquiring about taking up the challenge to fight Goliath. After 40 straight days of Goliath’s taunts, King Saul was desperate enough to try anything and anyone.

Saul had an entire army that was petrified, yet the 17-year-old shepherd boy was fearless. He knew that God was with him. As David stood before the King, Saul looked at him and said, “You don’t have a chance against this man, he has been a fighter from his youth”. This was where “the rubber hit the road”. David had a choice to make. Either he was going to believe what Saul said or what he knew God would do.

Many believers, especially after an inspiring ‘crossover’ service, start out the new year with faith and determination, but then, in comes the barrage of negative reports. It may be about the downturn of the economy, some family problems, maybe some difficulty at work or some other issue. This is where faith goes out the window because we begin to focus on the problems around us and allow discouragement to slip in. Maybe you are one of those constantly anticipating bad news. You live in dread of what could go wrong next. Perhaps you are one of those who pick up your phone calls afraid of what you might hear. Or you are constantly anxious about your children or loved ones, always fearing some negative news concerning them. You may be someone who panics about situations you feel you have no control over. David was bombarded with negative news about Goliath, yet he chose to remain fearless.

David countered Saul’s negativity with his personal testimony of how God delivered him from the lion and the bear. His past victories became a platform from where he could launch into his future success. It was the power of David’s testimony that paved the way for him and made Saul say, “Go ahead, and may the Lord be with you!”.

To-do List

  1. To overcome fear, you have to overcome discouragement. David chose to ignore the threats of Goliath, the discouraging words from his brother, Eliab and from King Saul. Shift your focus away from negative comments and look to God’s faithfulness.
  2. Establish some ‘mental altars’. Whenever God did something mighty for Israel, they built an altar as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Generations later, they would visit that altar. David reminded himself of how God delivered him from the lion and the bear. These mental altars provided him the encouragement he needed for this fight. What has God already done for you?
  3. God wants you to be fearless. The little shepherd boy anointed by God did the seemingly impossible and ran towards Goliath. Take a step of faith today regardless of the Goliath facing you. Get your sling and stone, God will give you the victory.

Prayer

Lord, I overcome discouragement and fear. I know how good you have been to me. You have kept me thus far, and I know you will preserve me in the days ahead.

Further Study

Hebrews 11:32-34 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11%3A+32-34+&version=NKJV

Joshua 1:8-9 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+1%3A+8-9&version=NKJV

1 Samuel 17:20-58 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+samuel+17%3A20+-58&version=NKJV

Song

Cheta

 

 

2020 Fearless Fast Devotional – Day 2

This is what the Lord says:

The wait is over, and your drought is over too. Your season of dryness, barrenness and desolation has come to an end. I will cause you to reap publicly what you have sown in private. You have anticipated My breakthrough and your prayers to be answered, but there was little to show for it. You felt at times that your prayer had fallen on deaf ears. Not so My child, for in this new season and era, I declare that your drought is over. My rain will come upon you. My rain will soften the soil so you can plough and sow seeds. My rain will bring nourishment so that the plants in your life will begin to breed new life. New life is ready to break and spring forth. My rain from heaven will quench your thirst as you drink of it. My rain will bring purification, divine satisfaction and breakthrough in every dry, barren and desolate place in your life.”

 

FAITH OVER FEAR

“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there”. 1 Kings 19:3 (NLT).

Elijah, the servant of God had confronted King Ahab. He spoke a word and shut up heaven and it did not rain for three and a half years. Then Elijah stood up against 850 false prophets. He had them all executed after God answered his prayer by releasing fire on mount Carmel.

After the fire, Elijah prayed, and the rain finally came down after years of drought. Then King Ahab went and told his wife, Jezebel, what Elijah had done, and how Elijah had killed all her prophets. Jezebel had influenced King Ahab into embracing idol worship. Now that her false prophets were dead, Elijah had started a revival and Jezebel’s powers were diminished over the nation. In anger, she sent a message to Elijah saying, “you killed my prophets, now I am going to kill you and I pray the gods punish me even more severely if I do not do it by this time tomorrow”. Her message was clear, Elijah had only 24 hours to live.

You would have thought that Elijah could deal with this situation having survived the three and a half years of famine. He was doing what God had called him to do. He had called down fire and rain. However, the Bible says that Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. The same man that had operated like a warrior was now acting like a weakling. The former champion was now on the run like a coward.

Points to Ponder

  1. Elijah had done many great things yet fear still gripped his heart. Fear can raise its ugly head at any time, so beware.
  2. No one is exempt from fear. If fear could grip Elijah’s heart after doing many great things for God, then it is obvious that fear can grip our hearts as well. Guard your heart.
  3. Fear is relentless. The enemy never gives up and uses fear as a weapon. Do not give in to fear.

Plan of Action

  1. Go to God with your fears

We can ask God for His strength and peace. David faced many frightening situations. After escaping one terrifying incident in the midst of the Philistine territory, he wrote, “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

  1. Grow in Faith

The Bible is full of stories of people who grew to believe that God would do exactly what He promises. Their trust in God helped them face their fears and act in faith. Like the faithful people of old, we should focus on the positive future God has in store for us. If we focus on God’s Word and His promises, and not on the temporary circumstances, we will increase our faith and decrease our fear.

Prayer

Dear Lord, because you are with me, I do not have to be afraid. You rescue me from every enemy. I don’t have to live as a slave to my fears.

Further Study

Psalm 27: 1-6 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+27%3A1-6&version=NLT

Isaiah 40: 29-31 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+40%3A+29-31&version=NLT

1 Kings 18:1-40 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+18%3A1-40&version=NLT

Song

My trust is in you

2020 Fearless Fast Devotional – Day 1

UNAFRAID

He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” Gen 3:10 (MSG)

When God made man, He said, “let us make man in our own image and likeness and let them rule”. God’s original intent has not changed. He still wants us to operate in dominion, authority and power. God placed Adam in the garden and gave him work to do; it was to take care of the garden. All of Adam’s needs were met. God then created Eve and brought her to Adam. Adam had a great relationship with God and a thriving relationship with another human, Eve. The Bible says both were naked and felt no shame. There was no shame, no guilt, no doubt and no fear. Adam and Eve were in perfect union with God and with each other.

This was and still is God’s desire for us; union with Him and fellowship with others and then together we go on to change the world. However, Satan deceived Adam and Eve. They ate the fruit in disobedience to God and their eyes were opened. It was at this point that they began to walk in the flesh, and the environment began to dominate them. Then they covered themselves with leaves and hid from God when they heard Him come into the garden. Adam said “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid”. This is the first mention of fear in the Bible and it came as a result of sin and separation from God. Since then, all kinds of fears have plagued humans, all because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

What does this mean?

This means you have a choice to make today. The fear of rejection drives us to hide. The fear of failure stops us from taking up challenges and the fear of the unknown stops us from stepping out of our comfort zone. Fear is an incapacitating force. Fear can stop the strongest person in their tracks. Some are afraid that they might never get married or they may not succeed in life. Others are afraid that they may die. Many others walk daily in the torment that fear brings. Fear often keeps us from doing the things that we should.

Is there someone you need to talk to today? Is there a new assignment you need to take on? A trip you need to make? Some conversation that needs to be had? Are there issues you need to deal with? Do not allow fear to keep you from fulfilling your purpose. Jesus came that we might live life fully. Do not let fear keep you from enjoying life in Christ.

Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin when He died on the cross. Through His sacrifice, we are restored to a thriving relationship with God. We can walk in dominion, in power and in authority. Our call is either to accept Jesus’ finished work on the cross and live the fearless life, or like Adam and Eve after the fall, accept the position of separation from God and live a fearful and defeated life.

Confession

  1. With God on my side, I am fearless, and afraid of no one and nothing.
  2. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
  3. God is my refuge and my strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, I will not fear.

Conclusion

May we all have the courage to dare to do the big things and even the small things God is calling us to do. God calls us to courage and confidence in Him. My prayer for you is that you will live a fearless life in Christ.

Further Study

Psalms23: 4 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms+23%3A4&version=NIV

Psalms 56: 3 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms+56%3A3&version=NLT

Romans 8:15 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A15&version=NLT

Psalm 27:1 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalms+27%3A1&version=NLT

Song

All that matters