Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“There were sheep herders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.’”
Luke 2: 8-11
“Nothing to Fear”
“What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not.
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!”
What fears are paralyzing me right now?
Am I too busy to hear the voice of Jesus saying to me, “Fear not?”
"God Incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that (she) is in the midst, that takes heed to the assurance of Jesus’ loving presence, will be quiet in the midst of alarm. ‘No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.’ Only be patient and be quiet.”
F. B. Meyer
“It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.”
Many years ago, Jim and I were on a business trip driving north from Phoenix, Arizona to Boise, Idaho, when we hit a summer storm on the open highway that was one of the most ferocious I’d ever seen. With bolts of lightning hitting all around our car and hailstones, the size of marbles pelting our vehicle – I can tell you, I was filled with fear. While my husband, Jim, was putting on a brave face, he later admitted, he too, had been frightened by the violence of the weather.
There’s so much in our daily lives that can be like a storm and make us fearful. For someone, like myself, who wants to have their days planned out ahead of time, disruptive events, that cause the future to be turned upside down, are extremely unnerving.
During the past few months, many people all over the world have been filled with fear. And it doesn't help to have public figures trying to use every sad event that happens as a weapon to fan the flames of fear. As well-laid plans are up-ended and lives disrupted in ways we could never imagine, it is the perfect time for Christians to be anchors of stability in a world of chaos.
If you have found yourself being swept up in a tide of fearfulness, then Luke 2:9, 10 is for you for the clarion bell of hope still rings loud and clear today, just as it did thousands of years ago in the fields where shepherds watched over their flocks.
As heaven’s glory and light flashed before the shepherds, the Bible tells us, “They were terribly frightened” (Luke 2: 9). I find this a comforting text for it says to me that being afraid of the unexpected or the unknown is not abnormal. Fear happens to us. It means we aren’t abnormal or unfaithful or distrusting of God just because we are afraid.
However, what happened in the next text is truly the best! We are told that the first words from the heavenly angel were these: “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2: 10, Amplified). While fear is a normal response to the unknown, this passage of Scripture tells us heaven is prepared ahead of time for your fears and mine.
God’s messenger knew the shepherds would be afraid when the unexpected happened, so He immediately, before anything else happened, assured the shepherds that when Heaven’s light and glory surrounds us – we have nothing to fear!
Lest you feel this blessed assurance was meant only for the Shepherds, let me put your mind at ease. In Luke 12: 32 (Amplified Bible), Jesus spoke these words to His children down through all the ages, “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom!”
Interestingly enough, this particular admonition to us was spoken when Jesus was talking about how we use our money – whether we grab it tightly for greed and gain or whether we hold it loosely to give and share.
As I read this passage, my thoughts turned to the 30+ gold finches who come to our patio feeder every day for a breakfast of niger thistle. They know us well and count on us regularly to provide for them. Now when either Jim or I are pouring seed into their platter, they will actually fly up in the bushes right by us for they have lost their fear. They have this “bird knowledge” that we won’t hurt them. They trust we are there to help them – to assist them – to provide for them. Jesus so poignantly asks us this question in Matthew 6: 26 (Amplified Bible), “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
Then, in words that we should read every day, especially when we are gripped in the clutches of fear, Jesus reminds us: “Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, ‘What are we going to have to eat? Or, what are we going to have to drink? Or what are we going to have to wear? For the heathen wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. But seek and strive after His kingdom and His righteousness and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” (Matthew 6: 31-33 Amplified Bible).
Heaven’s glorious message, every day of the year to you and me is: “Do not be afraid.”
“No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
My Psalm st. 3
“Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by your name – you are Mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you.”
Isaiah 43: 1,2
“Set free, O Lord, my soul from all restlessness and anxiety; give me that peace and power which flow from You; keep me in all perplexities and distresses, in all fears and faithlessness; that so upheld by Your power and stayed on the rock of Your faithfulness, I may through storm and stress remain in You, through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
From New Every Morning
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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