I was scanning emails and came across a newsletter title that caught my eye. Written by minister/author Lee Johndrow of Village Church in New Hampshire, the title read “Stop, Drop and Roll – It’s Time to Overcome the Fire of Fear.”
After Johndrow begins his article with personal reflection, he references a song from years ago, sung by Christian artist Ron Kenoly: “Whose Report Will You Believe?” He then asks, “Is that not the question on the board for us today? Whose report will you believe? Crisis ought not to drive us (unless it is to our knees.) ‘I will not be moved by urgency!’ ought be our cry. I will not be moved!…in a time of reflection this thought came to me…it is time for the people of God to declare loudly ‘Our God Reigns!’ Ebola bowed its knee to Jesus 2000 years ago. Time for the enforcement of His Kingdom. Not the reign of fear.”*
The reign of fear. I look around me and see evidence that this is an accurate assessment in multiple social and governmental areas. The sons of Issachar, referenced in I Chronicles, were described as “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do….” (I Chron 12:32) We are not ancient Israel. But there is a truth established in the concept of multi-generational “sons of Issachar,” people who have a sense of what a nation, a city, a family, should do as they assess “the times” that surround them.
Have we sought God to be strengthened and given revelation in that gifting? If not, it’s my opinion that we should, and for a very good reason. I think it’s possible that many have mistaken this reign of fear from the enemy as predetermined and God-orchestrated signs that indicate the Second Coming of Christ is imminent.And maybe it is. That leaves an interesting question, however, one that ties in to Johndrow’s “fire of fear”: Is the proper role of Jesus in this world, the one that He designates to us – the “we” who know Him, follow Him, seek Him for guidance, embody Him – to stand still, fold our arms and look upwards, awaiting removal from this sorry cultural-and-world situation?
Or does He have other plans?
I want to jump to the book of Isaiah for a minute. Isaiah doesn’t take place in 21st-century America (or the 21st-century world, for that matter), but I came across an interesting passage of Scripture worth connecting to Johndrow’s thought. In Isaiah 7, when Ahaz the king of Judah gets word that the Aramean army is occupying Ephraim, “his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.” (Isaiah 7:1) I would say that the “fire of fear” had swept over them.
Isaiah 7:3 starts with the Lord instructing Isaiah to go out and meet Ahaz and to say, “Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands.” The Lord called these two mighty armies “stubs,” just before He also declared that the armies’ plans to destroy Judah would not succeed. The Lord tells Ahaz he may “ask a sign for yourself from the Lord,” which Ahaz refused to do; Isaiah then steps in and states, “…the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.” (Isaiah 7:10,14-15)
Immanuel. God with us. Not God with us. No…our lives, fantasies, and priorities have become way too wrapped around that concept, in which we are sovereign and He is the tag-along. A more proper perspective is…. God with us….as in, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:31) Who’s the big cheese in that Scripture? Not ‘us.’
Johndrow writes, “When there is fire – Stop, Drop, and Roll. First is to deal with the spirit of fear. It is gripping people, causing confusion and destruction. The airwaves are jam-packed with fear. Even the printed word has power. It has the ability to produce fear…Stop! You, the people of God have the ability to change the world. Change the tide. Open the waters of faith and march them on through to the promised land…I did not get saved to serve fear. It is time for bold faith predicated on Him and our relationship with Him to stand up.”
The author relates a story about John G. Lake in South Africa. Johndrow relates that Lake “went through piles of dead bodies killed by the plague. He was looking for bodies to raise from the dead. People said he was crazy and that he would die from the plague. But he was firmly convinced that the Holy Spirit would never allow any bacteria or virus to harm him, and he was right – he never got the diseases he healed.”
“Whose report will you believe?” Immanuel. God with us.There are two other observations in Johndrow’s article worth noting. One: “Drop the F-Bomb.” This “F,” however, is different than the word that may come most quickly to your mind. This “F” is for “Faith
“That is right,” Johndrow writes. “Drop Faith Bombs on our communities, our nation, and the nation of the world. What does God say about this crisis or that fear? Got questions? He has answers.”
The Book of Hebrews teaches, “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. ‘For yet in a very little while, He Who is coming will come, and will not delay; but My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible…” (Heb. 10:35-11:1,3)
Immanuel. God with us. Making things that are seen out of things that are not. He Who is coming is here.
Lee Johndrow’s last point? “In the ‘old days’ there were ‘holy rollers’ who shook, rattled and rolled under the power and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need…those that will ‘roll over’ the works of the enemy with powerful words and faith and action. Like a wheel, as they roll, there is no beginning, no end. Steam…rollers of love! (For perfect love casts out fear! I John 4:18)”
Hebrews, again: “Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed…Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:12,28-29)
Immanuel. God with us. We choose to believe His report. We choose to stand in His victory so that His Fire will not be quenched.
*”Stop, Drop and Roll, Lee Johndrow, Identity Networkhttp://www.identitynetwork.net/?inf_contact_key=0b3a16df9419737b7503ae750eedfed658fbee19116f47442ca297d844732300#noref