Do Not Fear God is with Us!

I'm writing here on Christmas Eve. As a family we are making last minute preparations for our Christmas meal and then we're going to the Christmas service. It is a time of traditions...  Singing carols, lighting candles and sharing glad tidings of great joy.

2 years ago, this week I went into the hospital with a very weak heart.  I felt "off" the week prior, but I didn't realize it was that serious. Surgery followed and then I got E. coli infection. As many people know I have now spent over 140 days in the hospital and this week I just had my 54th procedure. Thankfully it's just routine and my recovery of the heart is complete.  At this point we are just trying to get rid of some fluid buildup behind the pectoral muscles.

My point in bringing this up is that there were many days where fear attacked our family.  There were times where the doctors told us to bring everybody in and possibly say goodbye to me. My sister, who is a nurse, brought a funeral dress out when she came to visit me because the prognosis looked so bleak. But thankfully I can say we all kept the faith and got stronger as a family and church through it.

It has also opened opportunities for me to share with people that would not have listened to me before having gone through the miracle of full heart recovery.  That reminds me, PRAY for the last touches on the documentary they're doing on my story through USA today.  Pray that God would be honored.

Matthew 6:33 reminds us that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness then all our needs will be met as well.

If we stay in fear and worry, we can lose hours of sleep. We can have our stomachs twisted in knots. We can find ourselves indecisive as our hearts and emotions take us to places, we shouldn't go.

One of the saddest things I see as a pastor (I've even been there when I was younger) is talking to people who won't make good decisions because they are afraid of changing their current situation, however bad or good it is.  Someone would rather stay "stuck" because it's familiar.

Sure, there are many things that we can't control. We can't control inflation. We can't control people leaving their walk with God or becoming distant with God. We can't control people reinterpreting scripture and theology to fit their own truths. Many times, we can't control sickness or health issues. We've definitely learned a thing or two about that in the last 2 years.

At a critical time in our nation's history FDR said something that is still often quoted. "Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..."  Whether you agree with everything he did or not, it was something our nation needed to hear in that moment.  We have to go from retreat to advance he would go on to say.

Fear can have a tight grip on us as individuals or in regions. Even Nations can be misdirected by fear. But shepherds were tending to their flocks by night when Angels visited them. They were afraid.

But the angel of the Lord said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news. That will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:10-11

My wife and I were discussing something she heard the other day at devotions at work.  Male, firstborn sheep with no mark and without unblemished were set apart to be brought to Jerusalem for temple sacrifices.  What a perfect picture of Jesus becoming our perfect sacrifice. Consecrated and set apart for the sins of all of us.

Mary heard "Fear Not" before baby Jesus was conceived in her womb. Joseph heard "Fear Not" when he was unsure what he should do after hearing the news of Mary's pregnancy. The shepherds heard "Fear Not" when the angels visited them in a mighty battalion and told them to go worship the Christ child.

Can we cast our worries at the feet of Jesus? Are we able to take every thought that sets itself against God captive like it says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5?

While none of us will be asked to do what Mary and Joseph did, God might take us out of our "comfort zone" as an act of obedience to fulfill His will in us and through us. 

Let's always remember. When God asks us to do something He never sends us alone. He walks before us. He is present with us.  He is our rear guard.  He is always with us...  Emmanuel.

We have no reason to stay in fear because of this reality! Cast all your cares upon Him and be anxious for nothing this Christmas!  Fear Not! Christmas love and blessings!!