Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 30, 2011

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

The top 10 fears: Economy, Job, Personal Finances, Relationships, Health, Children, Terrorist Attack, Divorce, Death, Insignificance.

The New Year is always a mixed bag isn’t it? You approach it with equal amounts of anticipation and anxiety. One moment you are filled with hopes of a better year and the next you are haunted by the hurts of the past. There’s an optimistic voice within that assures you this will be your year and then the realist interrupts and reminds you that was what you thought last year.

If you are stuck somewhere between faith and fatalism as 2012 approaches, I have two words for you from the Christmas story – “Fear not!”

Wouldn’t that be great if you could launch into 2012 with anticipation rather than anxiety? It can be as easy as ABC!

Three times in the events leading up to the birth of the Savior we hear these reassuring words, “Fear not!” Once it was to the priest named Zechariah, a second time to a young girl named Mary, and the third time to shepherds on a cold and lonely hillside.

I want to draw from each of those angelic appearances to help you understand why you don’t have to fear as you look to a new year. One thing that is clear from each of the three “Fear not” announcements is that fear is a choice! You can choose not to allow fear to dominate your heart or mind. Instead, you can choose faith! Why would God tell you to “Fear Not” if He knew you had no control over your fear! He wouldn’t!

It is up to you to “Fear Not” – as easy as “A – B – C”:

God Is Aware Of Your Fear!

God Is Bigger Than Your Fear!

God Is Calling You To Faith!

Over the next few days I want to build on these ABC’s of “Fear Not” from the Christmas Story!

God can help you remove the “fear factor” from your New Year! Are you ready for a “Fear Not” year?

December 29, 2011

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2:10-11

God Is Aware Of Your Fear!

Fear usually arises out of our weakness or areas where we feel out of control. God knows that.

Zechariah and Elizabeth lived under the fear that they would be judged as less spiritual because they were childless. Children were seen as a sign of God’s blessing and God’s blessing was considered a reward for your level of spirituality.

So, Zechariah had labored faithfully as a priest but had done so with a heavy heart over being childless and being disrespected because of something he couldn’t control.

You get a sense for the level of his disappointment when he hesitated to believe the angel’s announcement.

But to that fear the angel spoke, “Fear not!”

Mary’s biggest fear after being assured that God would cause her to become pregnant with the divine child even though she was a virgin, was how her pregnancy would be viewed by Joseph and the rest of her neighbors in Nazareth.

What if Joseph didn’t believe her story and chose to divorce her? She had no control over how he would respond.

What if the people of the town didn’t believe her story – she could be stoned to death! She had no control over what they might decide to do.

Those were very real fears, but to them the angel spoke, “Fear Not!”

Out on the Judean hillside those shepherds also struggled with fears. They feared insignificance. All they were was lowly shepherd, some of the most overlooked and unappreciated people in the land. The shepherds had little control over the level of disrespect they received but it was hard to take.

But God valued them and gave them significance by sending the angel to say, “Feat not!”

You and I see our weaknesses as obstacles to faith, but God sees our weaknesses as opportunities to show His power!

As God told St. Paul, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness!”

The exciting news is that God used weak and fearful people to change the world! He met them in their doubts and at their inadequacies and in their anxiety and unleashed His power through them.

You may feel weak and your life out of control but "Fear not" a miracle is on its way!