THE ANSWER TO FEAR: BURN IT OUT!

fear

Closing the altars, ordering people to tone it down, and focusing on recovery programs brought a crowd.  However, what if that crowd leaves with no power to face our toxic culture?

By Mario Murillo

Right now we are awash in advisory sermons. The titles are similar and predictable: “How to handle fear, uncertainty, finances, relationships, marriage, and children.”   We are drowning in whiteboards, blackboards, statistics, PowerPoint presentations, props, and illustrations.   The problem is, with all the anger, division, loud perversion and persecution, teachers find their instructive messages woefully inadequate.  What happened?  The answer is…life.   Life happened and it is gripping believers with fear.  This is a new kind of fear coming from the screaming villains, who now have an out-sized influence.

Happy face sermons do not give power over a time like this.   What is happening now runs off the over-optimistic maps drawn in pulpits. Tragedies can uproot neat formulas like a palm tree in a hurricane.   Hip theories will collapse like a brick house in an earthquake.

Every honest Pastor can report causalities in their church.  Many who were once vibrant soldiers, today languish in a shadow existence.  They are out of church, disconnected from their former passion and sick in body and soul.  The ongoing political debate and demonstrations have only added to the crisis. The conflicting opinions of church leaders leave the army of God baffled and vulnerable.

Leaders have brought a lot of this on themselves.  The culture changed dramatically in the last few months.  The American pulpit has not.

Why are we surprised that modern believers suddenly need more?  The power that could answer a thousand questions and extinguish a myriad of personality ills has been ushered out of church.

Closing the altars, ordering people to tone it down, and focusing on recovery programs indeed brought in a crowd.  However, what is the end game if the crowd leaves as weak as they came—and in some cases weaker—without power to face our culture?

Paul’s cure was simple: an undeniable encounter with the fire of God…”that your faith should not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. -1 Corinthians 2: 5.

The answer to fear today is to burn it out!  Just for shock value, I’ll use this phrase…perfect love casts out fear but so does perfect fear.  No doubt many will think it is crazy to take a wonderful verse like 1 John 4:18 “perfect love casts out fear” and mess it up.  But I am not messing it up I am fulfilling it!

PERFECT FEAR DOES CAST OUT FEAR!  We have downplayed and even banned something that Christians desperately need.

Go back with me to 758 B.C.  Isaiah the prophet enters the Temple in fear for his life.  The tide of public opinion has turned against him.  The death of his friend and protector King Uzziah has put the finishing touch on 5 years of ministry that was just treading water.  His despair is now complete. He is enters the Temple looking for comfort from God.

He kneels in prayer, resting his elbows on the altar seeking solace from the storm. Instead, the building starts quaking, knocking his elbows so that he is now punching himself in the face.

He looks up and sees Seraphim:  Angels of fire, fire that burns hotter and brighter than any sun. They tower over him from each end of the altar.

Their voices roar, vibrate, boom and dislodge the mighty beams of the Temple!  “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.  THE WHOLE EARTH IS FILLED WITH HIS GLORY!”  Back and forth, again and again, they blast this mighty proclamation until Isaiah could not bear the fright!

The mighty God Himself stands before Isaiah unfurling the indescribable train of His Glory!  The prophet convulses beneath weight of glory.  From his bone marrow came an all-consuming cry… “WOE IS ME!”

Isaiah

The startling effect of the Glory of God—a wonder working fear—overrules human fear.   No threat matters now.   This demonstration of Glory conquered his suffering.   Isn’t this exactly what Paul meant?: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” -Romans 8:18.   Of course Paul is speaking of the final GLORY…but it is a part of our birthright to have earthly collisions of glory: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.”-1 Corinthians 12: 7   An overarching, fear destroying encounter is the legacy of every child of God.  “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all

The twelve disciples were gripped by fear of the storm.  But when Jesus rebuked the storm their fear of drowning was replaced with an awestruck wonder.  They exclaimed: “what manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him!?”

We are told that General Patton won battles because his men were more afraid of him than the Germans.   Again, ours is not a negative fear but the  holy awe born from the manifestation of God’s glory.

This truth reinforces the fact that “Perfect love casts out Fear”  because love disciplines, love gives us what we need… and what we need today is a subtle pat on the head.   We need a fear-killing encounter!  Solomon said in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

raw bravery

 

Why are we blocking people from experiencing the fire of God?  Why would we keep this miracle from people?   I am talking about fire—fire that keeps them from the evil one—fire that forges a reverence, and turns them into your best soldiers

We should have made room and time for people to be filled to prevailing levels of the Holy Spirit and fire.  If we had, we would not be nursing hordes of Christians on life support. We would have an unstoppable army!

There is still time to reverse course.  If you have never been drenched by God then obey Him and seek to be overcome by His Glory.  If you have received in the past now is the time for FRESH FIRE!

The Final Word: Kirsten Powers, Isaiah the Prophet, and the Glory of God.

final word

The outstanding feature of Kirsten Powers’ testimony is that she experienced the fear of the Lord.   She said, “I was more traumatized by Jesus visiting me I tried to write off the experience as misfiring synapses that but I couldn’t shake it when I returned to New York a few days later and I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying more important it was unwelcome it felt like an invasion I started to fear I was going crazy”

The layers of intellectualism, and the objections to the FAITH that modern preachers insist must be addressed were answered by fire.  Instantly, her doubts were consumed by the Glory of Christ that appeared to her.

We have all heard the verse in the Bible that says perfect love casts out fear.  However, love is not the only thing that casts out fear.  As a matter of fact, the best killer of most fears IS A GREATER FEAR.

Once, as a young preacher I sat on a jet writing out my bills. I was vexed by my shortage of finances.  I blurted out a misguided prayer.  I said, “How am I supposed to believe You for vast sums to win the lost if I am fearful over basic bills? Lord, deliver me from this fear of finances.”

Moments later, the Captain came on the intercom and announced that “we have just lost engine number three.”  I was instantly delivered of my fear of finances.

This is exactly what happened to Isaiah.  Isaiah is in the temple to seek comfort for the death of his first cousin King Uzziah. We know that they were close because Isaiah wrote the King’s life story.  Second Chronicles 26:22 says, “Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, from first to last, the prophet Isaiah, son of famous wrote.”

kirsten-powers-headshot-3a-300

Uzziah was a righteous King who welcomed the prophets and obeyed their counsel. After 51 great years of leading his people under the grace of God, Uzziah forgot about God he became proud and arrogant.

One day, Uzziah entered the temple to light a candle on the altar of incense. This was a gross violation of God’s law. As a result leprosy broke out on his forehead.  He was banished until he died a slow and horrible death.

During those five years, Isaiah lived in the shadow of past glory.  He must have regretted the years he wasted. The standing invitations to Royal events, rubbing shoulders with the intelligentsia, cast a spell on his judgment.  Isaiah is devastated by his failure to speak and act for God.  Now he fears the future.

Then Isaiah saw something that should have killed him instantly.  6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one cried to another and said:“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;  The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.”

There was the mighty, awesome God flanked by two of the most dreadful beings in heaven: the Seraphim; towering beings of pure fire whose voices caused violent earthquakes.

Isaiah’s old fear is vaporized before this holy awesome ultimate godly fear.  Soon his sin is purged and a legendary Prophet is commissioned. This is what I yearn for my brothers and sisters in the ministry.

The story of Isaiah is our story.  We are at the end of our human wisdom in a nation hell-bent on destroying herself.

The most disturbing thing about Kirsten Powers’ conversion maybe this:  God sidestepped us to save a soul by His own power.   He is not consulting us for advice and He will replace vessels to do His work, His way.

Leprosy has indeed broken out on the forehead of the seeker model. It cannot speak to the sin of our government, to the villainy of the entertainment industry or to the works of Satan that are devastating the public.  It worked for a while but Uzziah is now dead.

We must return to the Temple.  We must fall of God’s mercy and await the Glory and the fire.  Let us reinstate the Holy Spirit as the commanding officer of our endeavor.  Seek Him whose strategies will not fail.  Be endued with power that will not dissipate.