Posted by: Jo | February 27, 2015

Excess Baggage

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses , let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us.”

(Hebrews 12:1)

image I was watching a very clever ad on the TV, the other night that caught my attention because I perceived a much deeper meaning in its portrayal than the producers had intended. The ad was from a bank and the gist of the action was how debt, and worrying about it, destroyed enjoyment no matter what one did. It featured people going about their everyday lives, but in each sequence, they were carrying another person on their shoulders. They showed a man playing hockey, but the man around his shoulders was such a burden he played badly and had no fun in the game. One other was a young working mother, coming home to her family and the other woman she carried on her shoulders only added to her overworked life. The message was; “Get debt off your back”.

As I was watching , I thought this is a wonderful message for many of us in our Christian walk who are carrying what I call, “excess baggage” that not only burdens us, but destroys our joy and vitality and limits our blossoming as true followers of Jesus Christ. The “excess baggage” can take on all sorts of forms. Worry is one of those tiresome burdens that can weigh us down and seems to override our productivity, robs us of peace, disturbs our sleep and casts a pall over all we attempt.

Jesus implores us to get rid of this joy robber.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

We can also load ourselves down with guilt which when added to the baggage already there, casts gloom over the brightest day as the psalmist says

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” (Psalm 38:4)

image Unresolved disputes wrapped up in resentment, anger, bitterness can easily slip into that baggage, making it weigh even more heavily upon us.

If Jesus was writing an ad his beautiful invitation would be written in huge letters, at the end, offering not a bank loan, but a perfect solution to all these problems,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I was discussing with a friend recently, both of us experts in the field of worry, of how hard it is to rid ourselves of our own baggage and we both agreed that most of it is self-inflicted. She said to me, half in jest, give me your worries and I will give you mine and then we will both be free. Later on thinking back on our conversation I realised that God’s word says exactly that.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Being brave enough to share with another is a great way to lighten the burden.

The other truth I gained from my conversation with my friend was the realisation that what is weighing us down is often self-inflicted, Jesus assured us he came to give us the abundant life, not a burdensome one. He is longing to free us from anything that would spoil our close walk with him and Paul when writing to the Galatians urges them to remember we can be free from any burden, self-inflicted or otherwise.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

When we feel the weight of “excess baggage” we just need to stand up, look up and feel the relief as it slips off our shoulders.

Posted by: Jo | February 20, 2015

Overwhelmed With Wonder

“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.”

(Mark 9:15)

image Last week end was a long week end here in Canada and as the Monday was a holiday we were invited to go with our little two and half year old grandson and his parents to visit the very large aquarium in our city. What a delightful experience! The aquarium is very child friendly with strategic steps placed next to the huge glass panels so that even the little ones are able to view all the fascinating creatures who live in water. At first I spent very little time looking at the exhibits as I was intrigued by our grandson’s reaction to this startling new world he was being introduced to. His face was a study of wonder. As each new amazing sea life swam past, the wonder on his face grew and grew. His wonder became infectious and I began to see things differently, looking with childlike eyes at God’s wonderful creation, seeing God’s design in a fresh and awesome way.

I then remembered Jesus’ words that we all need to be childlike in our faith;

“…I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3 – 4)

After watching our little grandson I realised how important it was to heed Jesus’ words and be like children, never losing that excitement of marvelling at the new and different. We can not only lose our sense of wonder in our everyday lives and allow hum drum to invade our thoughts, we can also let it slowly disappear from our Christian walk and apathy begins to take over, our prayer life becomes perfunctory; our worship loses its vitality; we cease to be aware of the Holy Spirit and joy disappears from our friendship with Jesus.

Scripture constantly reminds us of the importance of seeing wonder in God’s word,

“Open thou my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18 KJV)

We can cry out like the psalmists to keep wonder in our relationship with the Lord;

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand…” (Psalm 17:6 – 7)

When I looked up the dictionary meaning for wonderful it read;

awesome, marvellous profound admiration for person/ object

image We serve a wonderful God who is awesome, marvellous, and definitely deserves our profound admiration. Just as it is a pity when we stop being filled with wonder with the world around us , it is also so sad when we lose that beautiful sense of wonder in our relationship with the Lord, but the good news is that it is so easy to regain. His invitation for a closer walk with him is always open and Peter reminds his readers;

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Practising to be a kid again, revelling with joy, basking in that wonderful light, will dispel any gloom. We just have to try it. Our love will blossom so others also will be filled with wonder.

The Wonder Of Your Love

The wonder of your love cleanses my soul, making me whole

It flows from above

Now I can see, your love makes me free.

Posted by: Jo | February 13, 2015

What Can I Do?

“…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

(James 5:16)

image World news has become so filled with stories of mankind’s brutality that watching the coverage of all these outrages leaves one feeling hopeless and filled with despair. Not only the world news is filled with horror, local stories that fill our newspapers are graphic accounts of injustices and the lists go on and on. Many of us have our own trials to grapple with and being aware of so much sorrow surrounding us as well, over whelms us and we are tempted to cry;

WHAT CAN I DO!?

When we know and love the Lord there is a wonderful answer to that question. We have access to the ear of the Creator of the universe and Scripture tells us that prayer is a powerful weapon against evil. The answer is;

WE CAN PRAY!!

My husband and I found early on in our Christian walk that praying together every morning was a wonderful way to start our day. The pace of life has become busier and busier and often I hear Christians bemoan the fact that between, working, shopping, exercising, housework, there is no time to pray. imageThen we need to be ingenious in spending that time in prayer during our everyday tasks. I have a great example of this within my own family.  One of my daughters had an appointment with the dentist and she was not looking forward to it as he had booked two hours for the procedure. She was sharing this dread with me so I said, “That would be good time to spend in prayer.” I was delighted to learn afterwards that she had taken my advice and found not only how soothing the prayer was for her, but an answer to a problem became clear to her during the prayer time.

The psalmists had great confidence in the Lord not only hearing their prayer, but had great confidence he would act on it.

“The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” (Psalm 6:9)

Jesus encouraged his disciples to be diligent in prayer and gave them and us a beautiful model to follow for our own prayer life in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”. Unfortunately too often we repeat the familiar words without thinking of their real meaning.

While I was asking myself about what I could do about atrocities across the world, two sentences of the Lord’s Prayer came into my mind;

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV)

Imagine God’s kingdom spreading and overcoming the hate filled areas of the world. Imagine mankind practising God’s will instead of the self centered imposing of man’s will. We can pray for that to happen. I find if you choose a country, a situation that grieves you, a personal problem you know about and consistently pray those words, you are joining your words with countless others and we can be confident that our prayers will be heard.

image When to pray. Most of us have tight time schedules, but when we seriously look at our days we will be surprised at how many little openings we have. Lots of people sing in the shower. What better time to pray instead. Driving to work. Leave the radio off, talk to God instead. Waiting rooms. Don’t read the outdated magazines, speak to your Heavenly Father. Running on the tread mill. Leave off the ear phones, contact the Lord instead. Of course we all still need that special time of uninterrupted prayer, but when we choose to make prayer a vital part of our everyday life we will boldly answer, I know what I can do.

I CAN PRAY!!!

Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians was this;

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)

Posted by: Jo | February 6, 2015

God’s Timing

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say You are my God. My times are in your hands;…”

(Psalm 31:14 – 15)

One of the things I remember about my father was his obsession with time. Every clock in the house was checked every day to ensure it was portraying the correct time. His wrist watch could be trusted to always be accurate. He was always punctual, as to be late for any appointment would have been unthinkable for him. He also had lots of sayings about time which he would repeat to us children;

image Time and tide wait for no man

Give it time

If you have time on your hands do something with it

Time is money

…and more…

 

Time, of course, is what we humans are controlled by and however hard we try we cannot make the clock slow down or go faster as the case may be.

I was thinking about the constraints of time last week as we are studying Genesis in our Home Group and have reached the story of Joseph. (Genesis 37 – 47) At seventeen Joseph is blessed by God to receive two startling dreams. We find out as we follow his story that he had to wait thirteen more years before they come to fruition, years that would shake anyone’s faith as he is sold as a slave, falsely accused of molesting, thrown into prison, forgotten for two years. What we learned from our study was that God’s timing for Joseph and for the future of Israel was perfect. What we all have to grasp is that God’s timing is always perfect.

Mankind has always been fascinated by time and the book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 has spawned many songs about there being a “time for everythingimage

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

but the author, believed to be Solomon, really gets to the heart of the matter in chapter 8;

“Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,…” (Ecclesiastes 8:5 – 6)

But for many of us playing the waiting game, the proper time and procedure is sometimes hard for us to fathom. Then that is a good time to go back and look at God’s timing in Scripture. When we look at Joseph’s ordeal we see a phrase being recorded over and over, “the Lord was with him” as a slave to be sold, a servant wrongly accused, a prisoner unjustly imprisoned, yet at each stage of his life these beautiful words nullified the circumstances surrounding him and the triumphant outcome was God using Joseph in a mighty way to ensure that his chosen race would be preserved. We too can claim those words for ourselves, imagereminding ourselves daily that “the Lord is with us” while we wait for his timing.

Accepting God’s timing for our own lives brings about an incredible outpouring of peace no matter what we are deeply troubled by. Some of the most uplifting verses in Scripture talk about waiting upon the Lord, not running ahead, but seeking direction, not making quick decisions, being made wise by reading his word and speaking to him in prayer. Then we will be awed at how his perfect timing brings about that perfect peace that transcends all understanding.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Posted by: Jo | January 30, 2015

Love Not Law

“…If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her him.”

(John 8:7)

image When I was a child I was intrigued by the descriptions I overheard my parents using when they discussed people they knew. I didn’t quite understand them in those days, but of course began to grasp their meanings as I too encountered similar people. One of them I remember my mother saying about an acquaintance was, “She does everything by the book!” She was not talking about the Bible, but this lady’s own unwritten code of behaviour, and woe betide anyone who broke those rules that this lady thought were good and proper. My father had another fascinating observation about a neighbour, “He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” and yet another, “He won’t give an inch if he thinks he is in the right.” This terrible rule setting for others, sadly, still exists today and was very evident when Jesus encountered the teachers of the law and the Pharisees as he strove to show them the power of love over the law.

Probably the best example of Jesus’ overturning the rigid, hypocritical, crushing approach the Pharisees had to God’s law, was his encounter with the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees wanted to see if Jesus would condone stoning her for her sin, even though they themselves were bending the law, as the man involved in this sin should also have been judged just as harshly, (Deuteronomy 22:22). Filled with self-righteousness and wanting to trick Jesus, they are startled by Jesus response to their questioning. Instead of entering into heated arguing about what is right, he challenges them to search themselves, to look honestly at the wrong doings they had committed to see if they too were guilty of breaking the law. He challenged them to put themselves in another’s place, to temper justice with mercy and slowly they slip away his words touching their hearts.

When the Pharisees again try to insert their “law over rules love approach” Jesus quotes a very telling passage from the prophet Isaiah;

“You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesised about you. ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’” (Matthew 15:7)

image Many of us have been exposed to the stifling of love when churches take it upon themselves to set rules for others to obey. We may have been guilty ourselves, in a small way, not realising how damaging that can be to a relationship when we expect others to act to our standards. The saddest place to see this is within our Christian family and this when we need a great out pouring of love as we read;

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8)

When love triumphs over law, God’s richest blessings flow.

Posted by: Jo | January 23, 2015

Streams of Living Water

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

(John 7:38)

image All of us are aware of the life giving properties of water, but my husband and I have been watching a series on the T.V. which displayed how dramatically this plays out in the desert. We watched in awe as a piece of barren sandy landscape, which had been bereft of rain for months, sprang to life as it was drenched with rain. One of the episodes, filmed in Australia, showed a particular frog emerging from the sodden earth, after being in a dormant state for years. Another episode showed the power water had to even carve valleys, changing the actual terrain on which it was falling.

Any of us who have lived in hot countries know how important water is for life to exist and one of God’s beautiful promises to his people contains these words;

“Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” (Isaiah 32:2)

Our lives can sometimes feel like being in a dry and dusty desert. Signs of blossoming life seem strangely absent. We go through the motions, but joy seems to elude us. We may even feel the Lord has forgotten us, but strangely enough these times often precede startling new changes the Lord is wanting to activate in our lives;

“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)

The secret to discovering what the Lord is planning for us, is to draw close to him as revelation often doesn’t come in a dramatic powerful way, but in a whisper. Elijah was experiencing a desert time in his life when he was discouraged, burnt out and ready to give up (1 Kings 19:9- 12) He had to wait through a powerful wind, an earthquake and a fire before he heard the Lord whisper to him. Being alert to the Lord’s whisper means active listening and we do that through prayer and reading his word and spending time worshipping him.

image So what did Jesus mean when he said that those of us who believe in him will flow with “streams of living water”?

When Jesus speaks of this living water, he is not only talking of the new life it will bring for us, he is urging us to discover how we can allow this miraculous water to flow from us to bring life to others.

God graciously refreshes and restores Elijah, but the renewed prophet is immediately called back to action as God’s servant (1 Kings 19:15). This is true for us as well; the life giving streams that change the desert surrounding us are to be used for God’s glory in doing the same for others so that his Spirit will dispel all that is barren in his children’s lives.

“Till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.” (Isaiah 32:15)

Posted by: Jo | January 16, 2015

His All Embracing Grace

“From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.”

(John 1:16)

image This Sunday at church, I was watching the children running eagerly after their teachers to go to Sunday school and I began to remember the joy I always experienced as a Sunday school teacher. I used to regale my family with all the sweet and funny things children say and I suddenly thought of one dear little girl who was in my kindergarten class. She was always wearing her Sunday best, with frilly little dresses and shiny shoes often carrying an equally pretty purse and would earnestly sit at my feet, ready to hear the story, her eyes never leaving my face, always very well behaved. One particular morning we had a new boy join the group and he soon became quite a handful, deciding to tear around the room rather than sit still to listen to a story, climbing on chairs and generally disrupting the morning. My dear little girl was viewing all this with horror and when I was finally able to bring some sort of order, she leant forward to whisper to me, “None of my friends are boys!”. After we smile at her response to someone who was very different from her, we might catch ourselves thinking of how we view others who display behaviour that differs from ours or how tolerant are we of teenagers, seniors, and people of a different race or culture from ours. Are we selective when it comes to choosing with whom we will associate?

Last week I was writing about imitating Christ and having his attitude as our example.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

It is fascinating to check with whom Jesus chose to mix with and his attitude to an array of vastly different people. The list is long and all embracing. His grace was extended to a wide group of people and he chooses often to ignore any restrictive cultural barriers. This is particularly noticeable with his inter action with women, with perhaps the best known encounter with the woman at the well (John 4). imageHe allows the woman struggling with a bleeding problem to touch him. He chooses to make friends with Martha and Mary. He extends his gracious forgiveness and protection to a woman caught in adultery. He mourns with a widow who has lost her only son and gently restores him to life and back to her.

Nobody is excluded from his gracious blessing, much to the surprise of those full of their own importance as they watch him invite himself to dine with Zacchaeus a well-known despised tax collector;

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner’” (Luke 19:7)

He refused to allow the dreaded disease, leprosy, to bar those who were inflicted, welcoming them into his presence. Even little children who the disciples thought should not disturb the Teacher, were allowed to come close and receive his blessing. His friends ranged from important members of the Jewish ruling council, Nicodemus, to the everyday working class, the local fisherman.

We have so much to learn from Jesus’ attitude to those he came in contact with and to perhaps look closely at who we willingly and lovingly welcome into our own lives, not forcing our values, not condemning actions, accepting differences, making allowances.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

Posted by: Jo | January 9, 2015

Imitating Christ

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

(Ephesians 5:1)

image A friend sent me a delightful video just recently of a dear little girl only about 2 or 3 years old, standing on a high platform behind an adult choir and apparently watching the conductor as he/ she was encouraging the singers with extravagant hand movements, coaxing the very best performance from each member. We couldn’t see the conductor, but the little girl’s imitation of this leader was astounding. She appeared to be oblivious of the person filming, as her little body swayed , her arms flayed, her lips pursed to signify quieter, finger pressed against her mouth, she pointed dramatically as if to certain soloists and finished with a flourish of hands raised high and a dramatic lowering of her head. A perfect imitation of the one she was watching.

Five hundred years ago a devoted monk wrote, still relevant today, a powerful message about imitating, in a devotional handbook designed to be a guide to the true spiritual life. His name was Thomas A Kempis and the name of the book was “The Imitation Of Christ”, it was composed of four books and has never gone out of print. He was advocating, that to truly live a Christ like life, we needed to, just like my little girl example, keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.image

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Imitating others is a basic human characteristic and we know that babies learn from imitating their parents. Imitating well known persons is also widely known and comedians have been using this skill for years to entertain audiences. To imitate anyone necessitates getting to know every detail about that person, studying voice tones, body movements etc. Thomas A Kempis was emphasising in his devotional, that to follow Jesus we needed to learn everything about how Jesus lived his time on earth. He was and is the perfect example for us to imitate.

I often read in the media, advice for young people to choose a “role model” to follow, unfortunately these role models are sometimes football players, film stars, etc. who are all of course fallible as we all are and can so easily disappoint. Paul was worried about the young Philippian church and I think wrote a beautiful exposition of imitating Christ helping them to keep focused on him.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship from the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility imageconsider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:1 – 5)

Striving to have the same attitude as that of Jesus is a great way to imitate him.

Posted by: Jo | January 2, 2015

New Year, New Beginnings, New Self

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

image When I was a little girl Christmas presents were often new clothing and I can remember the delight of opening one of those mysterious boxes and discovering a brand new sun dress or swim suit (we lived in Australia and Christmas was celebrated in the heat of the summer). The other exciting time of receiving new apparel to wear, was back to school which happened in Australia at the beginning of the year. Along with those new shoes and new blouses and tunics were those pristine, not a speck of dirt, no creases, no dog’s ears, brand new exercise books! I loved the start of the New Year and would very carefully in my best writing record my name on each book, vowing to myself that this year there would be no splotches, no scribbles, no erasing just a perfectly preserved, completed book at the end of the year. Of course I was never able to achieve that lofty goal and while I was thinking back on those days I thought about this New Year of 2015 that is somewhat like my childhood exercise book. This New Year lies ahead unblemished, no mistakes to spoil it, so we make all sorts of resolutions, just like I did as a child, that this year would be the one that would not be marred in any way, a year lived to its fullest with no regrets. Deep in our hearts we know that so ever serious we are in our promises, events out of our control will happen, resolves will weaken, and because we are human we will fail in some areas.

BUT this is the good news! One of the incredible promises our Heavenly Father makes to us is that he makes all things new. When we are overcome with regret and sorrow, misery or shame at how we have failed to keep our promises, He will be at hand to change our whole outlook again. He will revive our spirits!

“I will give then an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 11:19)

If the year ahead is looming with apprehension and doubts the Lord can disperse those in a very positive way and change our outlook dramatically just in this simple way;

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3)

image Joyfully singing praises to the Lord has an amazing effect on any feelings of depression. He also offers help to be rid of that old mind set;

“… to be made new in the attitudes of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23 – 24)

If I made a big smudge on my new exercise book, I was reminded of my mistake all year, but our loving Heavenly Father is so forgiving that when we do err, if we come to him, he banishes our mistakes to the yesterdays and presents us with a new day, a new beginning, with new opportunities to love and to serve him and even helps us put on that new self.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22 – 23)

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Posted by: Jo | December 25, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

(Psalm 34:4)

image The world seems to have become a much scarier place since I was a child. Perhaps it might seem that way because news, horrible news, spreads so quickly due to the internet and how everybody is glued to some sort of device that allows immediate access to any breaking news. These last few weeks have been filled with horrific stories of terrorism and killings of innocent people and even though we have just experienced the beautiful season of Christmas, with its message of peace and good will, perhaps we are approaching the beginning of a New Year with an uneasy feeling about what lies ahead for us. This is when we need to stop and remember that we who follow the Lord have the assurance of the Creator of the universe that he is at hand, that any sort of anxiety, fear of the future or trepidation cannot take over us.

Our Heavenly Father knew what power fear has for us mortals and over and over again he assures his children that we do not need to be afraid. His words to Abraham became a familiar greeting when God wished to impart his intent to his beloved children

“…Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

What an incredible mental picture is produced by these words. Who could possibly be afraid with the Lord God Almighty standing in front of us shielding us from anything that might harm us?

The beautiful foretelling of the Saviour’s birth also begins with those calming words;

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name, Jesus” (Luke 1:30 – 31)

image We can all imagine what was racing through Mary’s mind at those words, but that all important phrase, “Do not be afraid” was sufficient for Mary to accept what the Lord had told her was to happen and then she was able to praise the Almighty God with that amazing song, The Magnificent. (Luke 1:46 – 55)

And when the Saviour is born we hear again those reassuring words coming from Heaven;

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Luke 2:10)

So when the terrors of the night consume us and ugly fear overcomes us, this powerful verse is a wonderful one to recite loudly to ourselves, to remind us of who stands in front of us shielding us.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you, In God whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3 – 4)

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