While attending a church service in Tennessee the second Sunday of March, the main theme of the sermon sparked a memory of when our kids were young. We had a cassette tape that we played over and over again of a dramatization of the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20). In the part of the story where the angel approaches the shepherds in the field, the angel called out, “Fear not.” The shepherds on this audio cassette reacted, “AAAHHHH!!!” The angel encouraged the shepherds again with a bit more determination, “Fear not.” Again, the shepherds responded, “AAAAHHHH!!!” The angel, NOW a bit irritated, replied, “What part of FEAR NOT are you NOT understanding?… Never mind, listen up.”
Sprinkled quite liberally throughout scripture, these words are found….”Do not fear”, “do not be afraid”, “do not give way to fear”, “do not be anxious”, “cast all your anxiety on him”, “don’t be alarmed”, “do not worry”, “do not lose heart or be afraid”, “do not be fainthearted”, “do not be terrified”. (Google “do not fear in the bible” and see where to find these references.)
GO to scripture, READ, FIND these words for yourself. REMIND yourself of ALL these occasions people had reason to be afraid and God gave encouragement and comfort with this assurance. We have this SAME assurance today, all day, tomorrow, all day. Do not fear.
As you see the world in crisis, it is fitting to lament over this very unprecedented time. Lament flips to HOPE because God shows up and is present with you by the power of the Holy Spirit. And oh! how important to keep HOPE during this time. Our patience will be tested. Our FAITH will be tested.
Kinda seems as though some of you may now find yourselves in a similar ‘sabbatical’ mode. How are you spending your time?
We have reflected, regrouped, reloaded, and now, maybe we will be challenged even more to do these things all over again.
“This is a problem that is most common in the spring as male birds are establishing and defending territories. The male sees his reflection in the window and thinks it is a rival trying to usurp his territory. He flies at the window to try and make the rival leave. Stopping this behavior can be difficult. Covering the window is one option, however, in most cases, the bird will just find a new window and start again. Another option is to put a mirror out in the yard in a place where the male should find it, and let him fight his phantom rival out there away from your window!”
So, we just make the most of his quirky ways and wake up early each morning to the sound of this cardinal fighting his phantom rival. Maybe HE should ‘fear not!’
Four month old granddaughter, Lila, being held by her dad, Jonathan, in Holland, Michigan. Thankful for the technology of being able to stay in touch, in the usual way.
Choose FAITH over fear. Beware, keep your eyes open and choose FAITH. This leads to peace. Don’t make the angel ask you, “What part… of fear not… are you not understanding?” 🙂
PSALM 91 God Our Protector
1)Whoever goes to the Lord for safety, whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty, 2) can say to him, “You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I trust.” 3) He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases. 4) He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you. 5) You need not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day 6) or the plagues that strike in the dark or the evils that kill in daylight. 7) A thousand may fall dead beside you, ten thousand all around you, but you will not be harmed. 8) You will look and see how the wicked are punished. 9) You have made the Lord your defender, the Most High your protector, 10) and so no disaster will strike you, no violence will come near your home. 11) God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go. 12) They will hold you up with their hands to keep you from hurting your feet on the stones. 13) You will trample down lions and snakes, fierce lions and poisonous snakes. 14) God says, “I will save those who love me and will protect those who acknowledge me as Lord. 15) When they call to me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them. I will rescue them and honor them. 16) I will reward them with long life; I will save them.”