Jesus said Christians were not to fear; CCOG & WCG on increasing faith


In these stressful times of political immorality, censorship, and COVID-19 restrictions, remember that Jesus taught:

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

33 … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

Yes, many of us are facing various tribulations, but as Christians we need to “be of good cheer.”

Related to dealing with fear, the Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:


Billions of people are afraid for many reasons, including COVID-19. Are any fears good? Are there mindless fears and phobias? Can autosuggestion be deceptive? Can you deal with mental torment? What are some causes of bad dreams (nightmares)? Does Satan try to exploit fears through his lies? Can the weak become strong? Were Christ’s disciples ever fearful? Are there biblical ways to deal with fear? What about spiritual fear and the ‘fear of God’? The late evangelists Dr. Herman Hoeh had an article published in 1955 titled ‘How to Conquer Your Fears?’ What are eight steps from the Apostle Peter? What did Jesus teach about worry? Are most Christians Philadelphian? What did Jesus teach about fear? What is the ultimate biblical fate for cowards? Here a the list of ten steps to help rid yourself of fear: 1. “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Changing your mental focus will help you push out fear. 2. Develop faith. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). 3. Add virtue to your faith in the power of God. You cannot hide your sins from God (cf. Psalm 90:8). 4. Add to virtue knowledge. Study the word of God, study CCOG literature, pay attention to sermons (ContinuingCOG YouTube sermon channel) and sermonettes (BibleNewsProphecy YouTube sermonette channel). 5. Add self-control to knowledge. Resist Satan and his hopes that you will walk by sight instead of faith. 6. Add patience to self-control. You may have to go through many tests and trials to build patience, but as you get through the tests and trials you should have the faith to recognize that God got you through them and that you do not need to fear. 7. Add godliness to patience. 8. Add to patience, brotherly kindness. “Let Philadelphia continue” (Hebrews 13:1). 9. Add to brotherly kindness, love. 10. Be courageous. “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). This is how YOU can conquer your fears and worries! Ask God for help to carry out His ten-fold plan to attain real peace of mind. Then there is also prayer and fasting. Yes, through God’s help you can rid yourself of fear. This sermon by Dr. Thiel covers these topics and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: Ten Plus Steps to Rid Yourself of Fear.

While USA government officials are promoting fear and often hypocrisy, understand that Christians do not need to fear.

That can take faith.

The old Worldwide Church of God published the following by the late Sidney M. Hegvold:

Increase Your Faith!

We as Christians can lack strong, godly faith because we question the why and how of what God does.

Will there be any faith in this last generation before Jesus Christ returns? Christ Himself questioned whether there would be! Notice: “Nevertheless,” Jesus asked, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

What a sobering question! God clearly states that His people — the just — must live by faith (Romans 1:17), and that without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). But dynamic, living faith is a rare commodity in this world.

How, then, can one have faith?

The truth is that the kind of faith God desires us to have cannot just be “worked up”: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, Authorized Version).

God must give us the kind of faith that really works — the kind of faith required for salvation. And certainly we must want to have this faith. Who wouldn’t want to have the faith required to receive God’s wonderful blessings of protection, peace of mind or healing, for example?

John knew full well that Christ had the power to free him from prison. But he may have wondered why Christ didn’t do so.

Now, exactly how does God give us this faith? Romans 10:17, Revised Standard Version, tells us how we receive true, godly faith: “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.”

How we receive faith

First, we must believe what God says — trust Him! “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness'” (Romans 4:3).

This is a major problem for all of us in this materialistic generation, so steeped in evolution. It can be extremely difficult to really believe God.

All true Christians have an earnest desire to live by faith, but there has been such an explosion of materialistic knowledge on every imaginable subject — medicine, psychology, sociology, biology, astronomy, history, geology — that we can find ourselves spontaneously asking why and how to almost every statement or promise God makes in the Bible. And these are faith-killing questions.

Think about it: Why does God let good people suffer and die while evil people often live well and prosper? How could the earth, including Mt. Everest and the Grand Canyon, have been completely covered with water during the Flood in the days of Noah, not even 5,000 years ago — where did all that water come from and where did it go? Where did a fish large enough to swallow Jonah come from, and how did Jonah breathe for three days and three nights while he was in the whale’s belly?

And so the questions go.

Should we just blindly accept and believe, then? Absolutely not! Faith cannot be expressed that way. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20, AV). Faith has to be demonstrated by action — faith must be active, dynamic, living.

The key is the statement made in Romans 10:17. Faith can come only through the preaching of Jesus Christ. Faith is spiritual and has nothing to do with the physical or material.

Not our ways or reasons

Let’s examine some examples of the eroding effect that human reasonings can have on faith.

God knows that we at this time simply could not understand why some things are allowed to happen, so He doesn’t always tell us why. But we still must learn to believe and trust Him. He also knows we could not understand how some things are accomplished by His Holy Spirit. Those are spiritual matters and we are yet physical.

So wondering to excess about why God allowed something or exactly how God did something can cause us to lose faith.

John the Baptist’s imprisonment and his reaction to it is a good example of having to trust and believe without understanding why. Even John the Baptist became confused and upset. His reactions during this severe trial, as they relate to Christ, are quite similar to attitudes and reactions of many of us undergoing trials today.

John knew who Christ was — John twice called Him “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36). Yet, while in prison, John sent two of his disciples to Jesus with the question, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19).

John knew full well who Christ was, and that Christ had the power to free him from prison. Was John perhaps wondering why Christ had not done so?

Did you catch it? John’s basic question — a faith-killing question — may well have been why.

Christ pointed out to John’s disciples the works He had been doing — works of which He knew John was well aware. Then He concluded with this statement to John’s disciples: “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (verse 23).

Jesus was telling John — and all of us — that God’s people may not always understand everything at a certain time, but that we shouldn’t reject God and Christ — we shouldn’t lose faith — because of it.

John not only remained in prison, but he was beheaded. Why did Christ allow John to die? He could have prevented it, but He did not. The answer is beyond human reasoning.

A problem that can undermine godly faith is the suffering of trials. Take the example of Job.

The suffering of trials can undermine faith. Job, afflicted and tried, wondered why. The answers aren’t the answers many want.
Job, like John, was sorely afflicted and tried, and he, too, wondered why. It was young Elihu who gave Job some answers. These answers were available to John, as they are available to us today. The problem is, they aren’t the answers many want.
Elihu told Job: “Take heed, do not turn to iniquity, for you have chosen this rather than affliction. Behold, God is exalted by His power; who teaches like Him?” (Job 36:21-22).
Indeed, who else but God can teach through affliction? And sometimes the lessons are of necessity severe, even though humans seldom learn them.
“For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. In order to turn man from his deed, and conceal pride from man, He keeps back his soul from the Pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.
“Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, and with strong pain in many of his bones, so that his life abhors bread, and his soul succulent food. His flesh wastes away from sight, and his bones stick out which once were not seen. Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, and his life to the executioners” (Job 33:14-22).

God uses all these methods as He works with humanity to bring us to His own state of perfection, to literal sonship in His Family.
“Behold, God works all these things, twice, in fact, three times with a man, to bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life” (verses 29-30).
God allows all these trials so that we “may be enlightened with the light of life” — eternal life.
Too often we lose sight of that awesome goal, but God never does! Losing sight of the goal causes us to lose faith.

We live in an evil world

Undergoing severe trials and losing sight of our goal can erode our faith.

Remember, too, that we live in an evil world and often have to suffer with this world’s society.

Jesus, speaking to God the Father, said, “I do not pray that You should take them [Christ’s followers] out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). Psalm 34:19 tells us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” So when some tragedy strikes, don’t blame God. Many of our problems occur because we are living in a very evil society.

It often seems that people, if they think of God at all, blame Him for every calamity and tragedy of life. Seldom do they thank Him or praise Him for all the good things He does.

Reasoning humanly, those who write insurance policies often refer to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and tornadoes as “acts of God.” Such is humanity’s view of God.

But this is how we should think of our Creator: “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:16-17).

Faith is often undermined by our wondering, Why, God, did you all0w this to happen to me? John the Baptist probably went to his execution wondering why. But John must have heeded Christ’s instruction not to be offended (Luke 7:23), because Christ said of him, “Among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (verse 28).

Faith doesn’t depend on knowing

Jesus, saddened when He heard of John’s execution, wanted to go off by Himself, but a multitude followed Him out into the desert.

Jesus there displayed God’s power by turning five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food for 5,000 men plus women and children. After everyone was fed, 12 baskets of crumbs were collected (Matthew 14:13-21).

Christ’s disciples were certainly impressed with Christ’s miracle- working power, but they, too, had even more to learn regarding real faith.

Consider: A major pitfall in exercising faith is demanding to know how faith works. Faith is spiritual, but the results of faith in our lives are often quite physical and material. For example, the miracle of healing (James 5:13-15), the preservation of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3) and the feeding of the 5,000 are physical consequences of faith. But how such miracles are accomplished is spiritual and inexplicable in physical terms.

How God accomplishes His purposes becomes so important to some people that, when they find they can’t understand, they simply stop believing God or the biblical account.

For example, the theory of evolution is humanity’s attempt to explain how physical things are the way they are in purely physical terms humans can understand. Since people think they have found out how life and the physical world “evolved,” they no longer have to deal with the question of God and their responsibility to Him.

Conditioning your faith on knowing how God’s purposes are accomplished can destroy your faith.

This was a major lesson Christ’s apostles learned when Peter found himself in a situation where the how of a great miracle so plagued him and his physical senses that his faith vanished.

Peter’s walk on water

Remember the incident of Peter walking on the water? It is recorded in Matthew 14:22-31. “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away” (verse 22). This was just after the miracle of feeding the multitude, and it was still early in the evening (verse 23).

A storm came up and so tossed the boat about that the apostles could make little headway (verse 24). Notice that, as fierce as the storm was, the disciples gave no indication of panic as long as they were in the relative security of the boat.

When they had spent most of the night fighting the heavy seas, Jesus appeared to them in the fourth watch (verse 25). Naturally they were troubled at the sight of Jesus walking on the water — that is, until Jesus talked to them: “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid'” (verse 27). The apostles were frightened at the unnatural sight of Jesus actually walking on the surface of the water. That was contrary to any experience any of them had had. However, when Jesus spoke to them, they were reassured and comforted. Why?

The unnatural situation of Jesus walking on the surface of the water was still there before their eyes. But they were given a physical assurance that did fit in with their past experience — the familiar voice of Jesus. Although they could not understand how He managed to walk on the water, they were comforted by His familiar voice.

They were also quite aware that Jesus did perform some great miracles. The disciples were growing in faith — they were beginning to believe the things Jesus said.

Peter was so confident that he thought he could walk on the water, too, if Christ were to bid him to do so: “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water'” (verse 28). Peter knew that the feat was possible only if Christ commanded him to do so.

That is an important point in growing in faith: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (I John 5:14-15).

Peter, asked if it were Christ’s will, and on that assurance he had the confidence to step out onto the water. “So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:29).

Peter actually walked on the water! But now something totally alien to any experience Peter had ever had happened, and Peter’s faith departed. What was it? “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (verse 30).

Had Peter not been aware of the wind before? He certainly had! He and the other apostles had spent the whole night being tossed about by the waves, but they had been in the relative security of the boat. So what had happened that terrified Peter so much? It was really more a matter of what didn’t happen than what did.

Peter was totally unprepared for how he was held up by faith.

Where was faith supposed to react on Peter’s body to give him that reassuring sensation of physical support? On the soles of his feet, where he felt support when he walked on solid surfaces? It wasn’t there — no feeling of support at all. Was there a feeling of support under his arms, as one would feel support if held up by a harness? No. Was there a feeling of support through his hair, as if he were being held up by the hair? No. Peter could nowhere feel the sensation of physical support. Faith was supporting him. Faith is spiritual — feeling is physical.

Peter’s mind, from long experience in the physical environment, knew of no reason why he could be there on the surface of the water. Peter was unprepared for how faith would hold him up on the water. He reacted to his physical senses — and began to sink.

The lesson? One has to grow in and exercise faith.

Peter’s faith in the person of Christ was still firm, though. “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (verse 31). In the firm grip of Christ’s hand, Peter made it back into the boat.

There was simply no way that Jesus could have explained to Peter, in terms Peter could have understood, how faith would support him. Peter just had to experience it and grow in faith.

You, too, must grow in faith

You, too, can have faith! You must have faith, for without faith you cannot please God. You can’t qualify for God’s Kingdom without faith.

So, like John the Baptist and Peter, you have to learn to believe God — and without question — through the dynamic faith God will give you as a true Christian.

To develop this faith in God, you must know God, and you can know God through Bible study and prayer. And because you express this faith, God promises to prosper you, heal you, protect you and, yes, even try you at times, for your own good.

When you are sure you have done your part, and you know from God’s Word what God’s will is, “do not turn to iniquity” (Job 36:21) because God does not answer in the way you expect. Trust Him! Believe Him! Continue doing your part patiently and never lose faith.

After all, God reminds us: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9). (Hegvold S Increase Your Faith! Good News, September 1984)

For more on faith, check out the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

For more on God’s plan for you and others, check out the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

For some potentially prophetic motivation, check out the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028?

Are there prophetic reasons to believe that the USA will not last two complete presidential terms? Yes. There is a tradition attributed to the Hebrew prophet Elijah that humanity had 6,000 years to live before being replaced by God’s Kingdom. There are scriptures, writings in the Talmud, early Christian teachings that support this. Also, even certain Hindu writings support it.

Here is a summary of ten items to consider: 1. If as the School of Elijah taught, that God inspired Elijah to state that the world as we have known it would last 6,000 years, to be followed by a thousand year sabbatical time, which Jewish tradition (Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin [97a]) and early Christian traditions records (e.g. Irenaeus, a hearer of Polycarp. Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 30:4), then we are getting close to the end of that time.

2. And if, consistent with scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments, we can apply the concept that a thousand years is as a day to God (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

3. And if, as generally understood in the Church of God that Jesus was killed and resurrected no later than the Spring of 31 A.D. on Passover.

4. And if we can presume that the “last days” of a 7,000 year prophetic week began AFTER the middle day (day 4), then the last days prior to the “sabbatical” time, which some would refer to as the millennial Kingdom of God would last two thousand years.

5. And if when Peter referred to being in the last days (Acts 2:17-18) and since Hebrews 1:1-12 teaches that “God … has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”

6. Then adding 2,000 years to a period of time leads to the end of the 6,000 years no later than 2031 (and it could be earlier than that).

7. Since the Great Tribulation is expected to start 3 1/2 years prior to that (cf. Revelation 12:14; 13:5) subtracting 3 1/2 years from the Spring of 2031 would be late in 2027.

8. Understand that the U.S.A. is prophesied to be taken over near the rise of the Beast and start of the Great Tribulation (cf. Daniel 11:39; Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21-22).

9. Therefore, since the end of two full U.S.A. presidential terms would end in January of 2029, these prophetic understandings point to the end of the U.S.A. prior to two full presidential terms.

10. This is also consistent with certain Hindu and Roman Catholic prophetic writings as well. This video gives more details and quotes which point to the destruction of the United States of America by 2028.

Here is a link to the video: Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028?

As far as fear and faith go, consider also the 23rd Psalm:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:1-6)

Brethren, trust God, for we are destined to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

At risk of repeat, remember that Jesus said “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Have faith.

Some items of related interest may include:

Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Biblical Keys to Happiness This is an article for those interested in biblical teachings about being happy. A related sermon is available and is titled: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.
Elementary Doctrines of the Church: Hebrews 6 Seven doctrines are mentioned and discussed. A related sermon is also available titled: Basic Doctrines of Hebrew 6.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese: QKg f/‘͉v„. Here is a link to a version in Spanish: Vencer al pecado. Here is also a link to a video in English titled How YOU Can Overcome Sin.
How to Prevent Sin This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong. Here is a version in Mandarin: Y‚OUN r¯j
The Two Trees: Only Two Ways of Life This is from a two-part radio broadcast from Herbert W. Armstrong. Here is a video on: Cause and Effect: Two Trees, Two Ways.
Real Conversion Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion?
False Conversion! Have you really been converted? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote an article on this important subject–but more scriptures have been added to it. How can you tell false conversion? A related video is also available: False Conversion.
All About Water Baptism What is baptism? Would you like to know more about it. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. As far as early history, see also Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church.
Might the U.S.A. Be Gone by 2028? Are there prophetic reasons to believe that the USA will not last two complete presidential terms? Yes. There is a tradition attributed to the Hebrew prophet Elijah that humanity had 6,000 years to live before being replaced by God’s Kingdom. There are scriptures, writings in the Talmud, early Christian teachings that support this. Also, even certain Hindu writings support it. Here is a link to a related video: Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028?

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