December 19th – How to Handle Fear

Yesterday I began telling you of an article I’d read which listed five places where God told people, at moments of great crisis in their lives, “Do not be afraid” – especially at Christmas.
Do not be afraid Zechariah, you will become the father of a boy called John. Who grew up to be the forerunner of Jesus, the Son of God.
Do not be afraid Mary, when God calls you to bear not only the baby, but the misunderstanding, the scorn and the judgment of the world. He also provides the resources to deal with it.
To the shepherds – do not be afraid of the dazzling and awesome experiences of God. Turn them into simple obedience and rejoice in the privilege you have received.
The fourth “Do not be afraid” is spoken to loud-mouthed, big fisherman nick-named ‘Rocky’, or Peter, who met this man Jesus, the sight of whom filled him with awe and guilt. Peter, a professional fisherman, had never seen such a haul of fish they’d just taken, but neither had he ever seen a man who could also land men for God. It was all too supernatural – Peter wasn’t up to all this. “Don’t be afraid Peter”, from now on we will fish for men together! That should have been enough to scare anyone into a thousand excuses, and opt-outs, but thank God Peter listened, and God eventually mastered his fear and his tongue. When Jesus calls his church to be fishers of men we mostly opt out because we are afraid of other people rejecting us s being religious nut cases or hypocrites, nor narrow-minded bigots, because he knew that they know, and we know – none of us is perfect.
The fifth “Be not afraid” was spoken to a man whose daughter had just died. Enough to fill anyone with horror, shock and total devastation. “She’s dead”, they said, and death is so final. That’s the absolute end. Jesus said “Do not be afraid: trust me”. In the most dreadful of life’s experiences the one thing needful is to be addressed by Jesus saying “Do not be afraid”. Now that’s someone you can trust to see you through. Whatever the horror facing you. Even death of your loved ones, and yours, does not have the last word with him. This is from Luke Chapter 8 v. 49-50:
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher any more.” Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”
A Prayer:
Lord to whom else can we turn? You alone have the word of eternal life and can turn even the dark night of death into the morning.

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Thought 4 The Day

Do not with hold discipline from a child. Your punishment will not kill him, but without it he may kill himself.

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