Overcome the Fear of Witnessing

We overcome all of our fears when the need to overcome that fear exceeds the fear itself. When the reasons love gives are louder than the excuses fear brings, we are driven by love to push past the fear.

1 John 4:18 says “Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is his punishment that makes a person fear. So his love is not made perfect in the one who has fear.”

Imagine this scenario...

A firefighter is climbing up a sixty-foot ladder on a burning building. At the top of the ladder, a mother is leaning out of the window with her two children as the flames spread closer to them.

The heat from the fire has them soaking in sweat as the flames start to lick their clothes.

Of course the firefighter would rather be in the comfort of his home with his wife watching a movie and enjoying life, but love compels him to keep climbing.

Jude 22-23 likens us to firefighters, "Help those who have doubts. Rescue those who are living in danger of hell's fire..."

Even though the mother and her children are strangers to him, and even as scary as the situation is, he cannot call himself a firefighter if he lets fear stop him from saving them.

In the same way, we cannot call ourselves followers of Christ if we allow fear to stop us from proclaiming the message of Jesus to the lost.

Romans 1:16 says, "I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes..."

Maybe you're concerned about how a person you want to witness to will react, or how they will view you.

Maybe your family will disown you, or your friends will think you've lost your mind. Maybe you get labeled as a religious freak.

Do any of those opinions matter under the weight of eternity?

Jesus said, "I tell you, my friends, don't be afraid of people. They can kill the body but after that they can do nothing more to hurt you. I will show you the one to fear. You should fear God, who has the power to kill you and also throw you into hell. Yes, he is the one you should fear."

To remain silent about such a great salvation we have in Jesus is sin. "If you fail to do what you know is right, you are sinning." (James 4:17)

Brothers and sisters, let the fear of God and the consequences of NOT witnessing to others outweigh the fear of man and any excuse we may have.

If these ideas resonated with you, try praying this prayer:

Holy God,

Forgive me for the times I have been afraid to tell others about your Gospel and for fearing people more than You.

Forgive me for not doing what I know is right.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, make me into a bold witness for You.

Open my eyes to understand the importance of witnessing to others. Fill my heart with Your love and compassion for the world.

Help me to love people with Your love and give me the wisdom to know how to approach people, what to say, and how to say it.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  

-Kelvin Rivera

You Don't Need a Pulpit

In church culture, we often here the buzz phrase, “I have been called to the ministry.” But, in reality, isn't that a silly statement? Aren't we all called to the ministry?

Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”

I want you to notice who Jesus was talking to in this passage; his disciples. These disciples were not pastors, worship leaders or missionaries. They were ordinary people with ordinary jobs who devoted their lives to loving God and loving others. They were people just like you and because of their passion and dedication, countless miracles and salvations were made.

This passage is just one example of how God views the ministry. All throughout scripture, God commands his people to be his hands and feet to the nations. He doesn’t first ask preachers or evangelists, he simply asks his people. He commands us all and if commands us all, he believes in all of us to do it.

I am sure that there are a plethora of people reading this right now: doctors, mothers, construction workers, teachers, pastors, etc… Some are classified as “full time ministry” and some are not. It may be hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you can make a difference for Christ in your vocation, but God knows exactly what your demographics of people are in your everyday life. He has put you there for a reason and he sees you fit to reach these people. 

You don’t need a pulpit to share Christ’s love, you just need to be a willing vessel like the disciples and God will give you an opportunity to minister wherever you are.

You are called and equipped for the ministry. 

-Lexi Mortrude

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and compassionate towards one another, forgiving each other just as God in Christ forgave you.

There are times in our lives when forgiving someone seems absolutely absurd. The pain others cause us can seem unforgivable. We say things like “I can’t forgive her; do you know what she did to me?”. We are essentially saying that a person’s behavior excludes them from the privilege of our forgiveness. In the world’s estimation, this thought pattern seems true and justified; but this is opposite of what Christ has demonstrated for us.

 So why exactly is this our default behavior? Why do we hold on to unforgiveness like a badge of honor and the pain of offense as if our lives depended on it?

The answer is quite simple: We do not realize that we were forgiven first (Rom 5:8). Christ does not ask us to do anything that He was not willing to take the lead on. As we begin to understand all that Christ has forgiven us of, we begin to see that there is really no offense that cannot be forgiven.

There are some misconceptions about forgiveness that I hope to help you resolve:

  1. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation; they are two separate transactions. Forgiveness only takes one person, and that is you. Forgiving someone is a choice that we make because we want to be obedient to God. Notice that I said it is “a choice” not “a feeling”. A lot of times we do not want to forgive someone because we think that means we have to be in relationship with them again if we do, but that is not true. Though forgiveness and reconciliation are often paired together, they are completely independent; you can forgive someone and still decide to end the relationship. Reconciliation is a decision that two people are making to mend the relationship. How do we know if we should reconcile a relationship? We should watch for fruit in keeping with repentance (Matt 3:8) meaning, are they changing? Not just their words but their actions.

  2. We think that if we forgive someone we are condoning their bad behavior. “If I forgive him, then he is going to think it okay to treat me this way” (refer to point one). In addition to forgiveness, it is important that we address hurtful behavior and set boundaries. If someone you love is consistently repeating the same hurtful behavior towards you and you have never said anything about it, its possible that they do not know they are hurting you. A good model for starting this conversation is: “When you do _________, I feel_________. I would rather you_______”. 

  3. We think that forgiving someone is for their benefit but really it is for ours. Unforgiveness poisons the container that holds it, don’t let that container be you!

Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the prison doors of bitterness. If you are holding on to unforgiveness, be encouraged that you do not have to right the wrongs in your life. It is okay to let go and let Jesus validate and vindicate you. You can live free by choosing to forgive.

-Nikki Mayberry

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do no be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.

You may have heard it said, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with; choose carefully”. The bible is full of instruction about whom we are to associate with and how to conduct our relationships. In this passage, Paul is addressing the church at Corinth about associating with nonbelievers- specifically those who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, this verse can be applied to any relationship that would hinder your relationship with Jesus.

Here are some questions that I have learned to ask myself: 

Am I influencing my non-Christian friends towards Christ or are they infecting me with their unbelief? 

Am I compromising my character by being in this relationship? Are my friends’ givers or takers? 

Does this relationship compromise my mental and/or spiritual health?

It is very difficult to evaluate our relationships and even more difficult to detach from unhealthy ones. Sometimes our fear of being alone keeps us from removing ourselves from harmful situations but we cannot let fear stop us. We must take an honest look at our relationships and determine if the people we surround ourselves with are helping us get better or if they are making us worse.

I would also add that it is equally, if not more, important to take an honest look at ourselves. This can be an extremely uncomfortable process, decide to do it anyway! Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you the areas of your life that need healing, correcting, and changing. Then do what you can to work on what God reveals to you and God will do what you cannot do. The Lord is full of grace and gentleness, not abrasiveness. As God reveals your true self to you be sure to give yourself grace and remember that you are striving for healthy - not perfect.

If you do find that you need to detach from certain relationships be assured that the Lord will supply people for your life. He will not leave you or forsake you! I went through several lonely seasons as I was shedding the old me. I do not despise that time though, looking back I see it as a training ground of sorts, where I learned the Holy Spirit as my best friend. I learned to remedy loneliness with His presence. I can remember crying and telling God that I was so tired of being alone and just going on and on with my woe’s when I heard God say, “you have the Trinity and three or more is always a party!”. I remember this being such a huge revelation for me. I immediately stopped crying and said through all of the snot and remnant tears, “I AM NOT ALONE!!”

If it is true for me then it is true for you too! You are not alone, dear friends! My prayer is that we would learn to make healthy decisions for ourselves and that we would cast off fear in Jesus name. Amen.

-Nikki Mayberry

Proverbs 4:20-27

My children, pay attention to what I say; turn your ears to My words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all of your ways. Do not turn to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.

Our hearts hold our belief systems and it determines how we filter or perceive our experiences. If our belief systems are damaged, we will in turn view and interpret our life through a broken lens. In most cases, since we live in a fallen world, we come to the Lord with a damaged filter. We’ve seen things, heard things, and even tasted and touched things that have corrupted our hearts and have caused us to experience this world much differently that the Lord intended. 

To change our filter – we must renew our minds by the word of God. What we put into our minds will eventually drop down into our hearts and begin to change our belief system. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way that you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”.

The process of renewing your mind by the word of God begins with reading your bible and learning scripture. As you are doing this, ask the Lord to examine you and show you the belief systems you have that are not based on scripture. Once you start identify your false beliefs or thought patterns, you will want to look up scriptures that help you reverse and change them. For example, a false belief could be “because of my past, I am not worthy of love”. To reverse that belief system, you will want to look up scriptures on the Love of God and declare them over your life daily. Think of it as taking your spiritual antibiotic or vitamins.

As we are renewing our minds, we also want to be mindful to guard our hearts regularly by eliminating things in our lives that could damage the condition of our hearts. The passage of scripture taken from Proverbs 4 at the beginning of this devotional, is a fantastic model to follow as you begin the practice of guarding your heart. 

I know that you’re thinking and yes, this is a lot of work but start now! You will be amazed at how much the Lord can transform your life as you live out His word. Don’t forget, you are not alone in this. The Holy Spirit is your helper. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and guide you through this ongoing process. Eventually, guarding your heart will be your new habit and you will be begin to see yourself and this world the way God intended. 

-Nikki Mayberry

Psalm 28:7

The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.

I believe that one of the keys to living a victorious life as a Christian is learning the power of praise and thanksgiving. When we praise, we are getting our minds off our self and focusing on the Lord, the One who can actually help us. When we praise, we are exalting the Lord over our problem and inviting Him into our circumstance.

Last week, I was heading to church to share a portion of my testimony and I was sort of mindlessly driving. Then I kind of came to myself as I started to become aware of the thoughts I had been entertaining. It was the same old tapes that enemy has played to me over and over again in an attempt to paralyze me with fear. As anxiety started to overwhelm me, I knew that I had a choice to make. I could either sink into the pit that was enticing me or I could praise my way out. 

I decided to praise my way out! I began declaring scripture over myself and thanking the Lord for all he had done for me. I was creating a new atmosphere by exalting the Lord and giving Him room to come inhabit my praises. After about 10 minutes, I could feel the posture of my heart change, tears pooled in my eyes, and I could feel the Lord’s presence resting in my vehicle. Romans 10:11 resonated in my mind, “those who put their trust in the Lord will never be put to shame”. I knew it was Him, the comforter had come. In just a matter of moments, my whole attitude was totally reset. My heart went from downtrodden to overflowing with gratitude.

I want to encourage you, friends, to choose praise! You will not always “feel” like praising but decide to do it anyway. Keep practicing thankfulness until your natural response is to praise the Lord. A simple way to start incorporating praise and thanksgiving into your life is to do a Top 5. When you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night, think of 5 things you can praise/thank God for. The Psalms are rich with examples and instruction on how to do this. Most of the time you can just speak out the verses as if they were your own words. You will be amazed how much this simple shift will improve your quality of life.

Top 5:

  • I am thankful that God has adopted me and calls me His child

  • I praise you Lord because you are my strong tower, my refuge in time of trouble

  • I praise you Lord for how far you have brought me and for all you are doing in my life

  • Thank you, Lord for working all things together for my good

  • Thank you, Lord for the power of praise

-Nikki Mayberry

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all you heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all of your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and he will make your path straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way] (AMP).

When I first became familiar with this verse, it was more of a burden to me than a comfort. I was so accustomed to doing things my way and thinking that my plan was the best plan. As a child, I was often given responsibilities that were not meant for children and I did not always have the support I needed. The result was that I became self-reliant and I developed a false sense of responsibility. I always felt that I had to “figure it out” on my own and that I had to be the one to “fix” whatever was going wrong. So naturally, when I started to learn about trusting in the Lord, I was terrified to release the control I felt I had in my life. Looking back, I can easily see how trusting in myself only made my path more treacherous.  

I can see, how often times I would act out of instinct but still expect the promise that comes from obedience. You can imagine how emotionally treacherous that was. My mentor would often tell me “you can’t just know the Word, you have to do it” and “the pathway to manifest blessing in your life is obedience”. When you are trying to break away from relying on yourself or others, it is important to have wise counsel. They will help you determine what is your voice and what is God’s voice in your life.

Now, as I meditate on this verse it brings me so much comfort. The pressure of having to be the one who fixes everything, rescue everybody and has everything figured out, has been lifted. I have learned and am still learning to let God be God – because He is the best at being God (imagine that). When I trust in myself, I can pretty much expect the opposite of God’s promise in Proverbs 3:5-6. My path becomes unclear, I am wrought with anxiety, and everything just seems harder. When I feel this way, it is my indicator that I need to evaluate who or what I have been putting my trust in. 

Paul says in his letter to the Colossians to let the peace of Christ be the controlling factor in our hearts (3:15). Some translations say to let the peace of Christ be the umpire of our hearts. When you aren’t sure what to do, seek out the peace of Christ. This will feel so contrary at first, maybe even quite difficult, but I can attest to God’s promise – God will make your path straight and smooth. Eventually, as you continue to practice, peace will become your habit. You will learn to guard it and enjoy the sacred space that God provides for us in his presence. It’s a place where you get to enjoy your life, even when it seems like everything around you is going wrong.

Prayer Holy Spirit, help me acknowledge God in all my ways. Help me to trust in Him and not myself. I trust that you will show me what to do. Amen.

-Nikki Mayberry

Psalm 139

Search me, O God, and know my anxious heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out to me anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.


The Psalmist David models a beautiful prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 that offers insight on how to posture our hearts toward the Lord. He starts by asking the Lord to search his heart and show him his anxious ways. The Lord knows who we are and that is no secret but If you read the entire Psalm, David reveals to us the true extent to which the Lord knows us. So why is David asking God to search him and know him? He is giving God permission, availing himself to correction, so that to he is not deceived about himself (Jer 17:9). He is asking God to show him where he is being anxious and worrisome. Then he asks God, in verse 24, to point out to him what he is doing that offends God and asks God to lead him in the way he should go. 

When we invite God in, he will come clean us up and lead us in the right direction. The scripture says he will lead us into the way everlasting. This is encouraging because it shows us that God corrects us in love. God shows us our sinful nature and our lack of trust and then leads us to paths of righteousness. This scripture also shows us that God does not barge into the rooms of our heart, point his finger at everything that is wrong with us, and storm out of the room leaving us to clean up the pieces. No, the Lord searches, shows, and leads. God corrects and redirects us so that we can keep growing. We do not have to stay stuck in worry and anxiety; we just have to be willing to ask God to search us.

Try praying based on David’s model this week while remembering that the Lord corrects those whom He loves (Prov 3:12, Heb 12:6). When he points out something to you, remember that it is because He loves you and that His correction is life giving. It will produce character in you that strengthens you for the next leg of your journey.

Example Prayer: Lord search my heart and show me my part in this situation. Show me where I have been worrying instead of trusting you. Point out to me where I have not treated people with love (or have offended you). Change my thoughts to line up with your thoughts, change my actions to line up with your will, and lead me in the way I should go.

-Nikki Mayberry