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"I was afraid" (Genesis 3:10). "After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" (Genesis 15:1). "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10). "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:17,18).
"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind,
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind."
As we prepare today's message we are aware that acts of terrorism are ongoing and especially consider the hostage situation in Australia, even as we write.
We serve as chaplains with a company that has been going through a long period of examination in regard to a quality control certification known as ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Brooksyne visits a number of inspectors who were involved in the process and last week was an especially intense time for them. Although they are quite proficient in their work they were nevertheless quite fearful when being questioned by the visiting ISO inspector.
As I (Brooksyne) approached their office one of the inspectors jumped out of her seat and approached me, "We need you to pray for us!" Fear was written all over her face but I had no idea what was going on. I inquired, "What's going on?" She responded, "ISIS is coming!"
Well, that really threw me and I didn't know how to respond. "ISIS?" I asked? "Yes, ISIS is coming." Believe me, if ISIS was coming I was ready to pray on my way out the door, but I asked for further clarification. Upon questioning I learned that the employee was referring to ISO in plural form, ISO'S, so that it sounded just like the terrorist group, ISIS. We had a good laugh as I explained what I heard and of course we had prayer as well. (Stephen spoke to Fred, the chief engineer overseeing the process, this morning and he reported they were recommended for the ISO certification!)
In life there are many situations that induce fear. Fierce storms, financial issues, a pending health diagnosis and of course terrorism number among so many other troubles that instill fear.
In fact there is an ever-growing list of phobias. Someone began collecting phobia words many years ago as a hobby and now has a long listing of phobias! (See below for link to list.) I am sure everyone will find something on the list they struggle with. Many deal with Glossophobia but that is something I needed to get over early. Scores of families on the West Coast are experiencing some degree of Ombrophobia or Pluviophobia.
The longest phobia listed and a word I rarely use in my sermons is "Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia", although I do try to be considerate of people who may have this phobia.
There is a positive aspect of fear as well. We are told in Scripture to "fear God", although this is different than all other kinds of fear. Many explain that this has the sense of giving reverence to Almighty God.
Fear itself is first expressed in the Bible shortly after the transgression in the garden when Adam said to God, "I was afraid" (Genesis 3:10). The remainder of the Bible is full of many expressions of human fear for a wide variety of reasons. It's still that way today and they seem to keep coming up with new causes for fear!
I find great assurance in the tiny phrase found often in Scripture translated "fear not" (or generally "do not be afraid" in the NIV). This phrase is found sixty-two times from Genesis to Revelation. In today's Scripture texts we have both the first and last occurrences in the Bible.
"Fear not" is the powerful message spoken by the angels to the shepherds in the Christmas story. The shepherds were understandably afraid during their experience. "And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened" (Luke 2:9).
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10).
Fear is weighing down the heart of some who read this today. It's crippling you spiritually and emotionally and perhaps even physically. When I take the time to stop and really consider my emotions I realize that I experience fear and anxiety most when I'm not trusting in what God has said or what He has shown me through His character traits. Today I encourage you to listen carefully for the voice of our heavenly Father. He speaks gently to our hearts reminding us to put our confidence in Him.
God continues to speak, "Fear not". He truly cares for those who belong to Him.
"Fear not," then said the Angel,
"let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, the message conveyed by the angels was heard by the shepherds and rings out for all generations. Multiple circumstances can frighten us causing us to lose hold of the assurance that You watch over and care for us. We need not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day, moving swiftly, coming suddenly, and striking when we least expect it. Though trials assail us they will not engulf us, for we overcome the enemy of fear through the word of our testimony. Jesus overcame the enemies of hatred, persecution, suffering and death and rose victorious over the grave. May the same resurrected power of Jesus subside our fears and doubts and build our faith and trust in the Holy One of Israel. Amen.
Special Note: We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year. We typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful. We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Our ministry (and support) is essentially comprised of half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies (of course, this varies week by week). Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job for each of us (20+ hours weekly). Our goal for many years is that each phase would provide half of our ministry expenses and family income. You can donate by check, online or using PayPal. If you would like to make a donation see here for more information or donate directly online here. Thank you!
Do any careful readers recognize the hymn titles for the two songs used in the message? See below for answer.
On Friday we shared a message about light and pointed out that so many of the Christmas songs we love have the theme of light, at least at some point in the song. Can you identify the song by the posted line dealing with light? We'll post the answers below.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Fear Not" Video Esther Mui
"Fear Not" Video Kim Hopper
Here's the phobia list referred to in today's message.
It includes "Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia"
Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)
Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.
"In Remembrance of Me" pdf This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services over the years. We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.
"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.
Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18 pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" pdf
My First Christmas In Heaven This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year. This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.
Christmas Knowledge Test
We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).
Are you Christmas shopping online?
Daily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Amazon. Any orders placed to Amazon using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through Amazon! Tip: If you are a regular Amazon customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop on Amazon.
Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your parents?
Here's an idea! "The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents"
Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your children?
Here's an idea! "The Blessing"
Answers to Christmas song quiz (Hymn title in bold)
1."Disperse the gloomy clouds of night" O Come, O Come EmmanuelSongs used with today's message:
2. "Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light" O little Town of Bethlehem
3. "Son of God, love's pure light" Silent Night
4. "There shone a holy light" Go Tell It On The Mountain
5. "Yonder shines the infant light" Angels From The Realms Of Glory
6. "Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light" Title same as this line
7. 'And to the earth it gave great light" The First Noel
8. "Light and life to all He brings" Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. "One small light from the flame of a candle" One Small Child
10. "Led by the light of faith serenely beaming" O Holy Night
11. "With a liberating light" Praise The One Who Breaks The Darkness
1) While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
2) God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
(Click on photo to enlarge)
"We want to encourage you daily in your walk with Christ!"
Personal Ministry Update (Revised 12/10/14)
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Our other blogs:
"A Daily Prayer" - A blog simply posting the daily prayer. We keep this up each day since it's merely the prayer from the Daily Encouragement Net message!
"A Little Foolishness" - Humor/satire blog (a great outlet for non-serious writing but at times with a subtle message!) (Note: This material is satire!)
"Clear Minded" - Longer, periodic articles on specific issues impacting the faithful believer and church. (Actually this is my intent but I haven't done much with it!)
"Hymns of Hope" - Brooksyne along with two friends made a CD using classic hymns. Brooksyne tells the background story of the 11 hymns. All of these songs are also available for download on the site.
Personal Mission Statement "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
How to become a child of God
Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version. Other versions are also occasionally used.
© Copyright 2014 Stephen C. Weber - All Rights Reserved
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