Psalm 56:3 – Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. (NKJV)
Twice a month for a great number of years now, I have been leading a Bible discussion at the local Long Term Care Centre. On special occasions such as Christmas, New Year's, and Good Friday, I lead a worship service there as well. My wife leads the singing, and a friend from the church plays the piano. We do it on the actual day or a day close to it. In December, for the Bible discussion, I usually focus on two pre-Christmas events from the Bible as a lead-in to the Christmas service. In the past, for example, I have used the visit of the angel to Zacharias and then his visit to Mary. This time, I was in the process of planning to use a passage about the shepherds for the Christmas service, and while studying these well-known Scripture passages, I realized that the opening words to all of them were "Do not be afraid."
Luke 1:13 – But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." (NKJV)
Luke 1:30-31 – Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus." (NKJV)
Luke 2:10 – Then the angel said to [the shepherds], "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people." (NKJV)
There is no doubt that we all have times when we are afraid: afraid of what the future may hold for us as we age; worried about our children or grandchildren; afraid of what might be happening around us or in the world; worried about our health, or employment, or relationships.
I searched the Bible for words of comfort and assurance that in all our concerns, God is with us. I found the story of Moses telling the people of Israel that he was old and no longer able to come and go as he pleased, and that he would not be able to lead them into the Promised Land. Amid their worry about the enemies that awaited them, he gave these words of comfort to his people:
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (NKJV)
This Christmas, the Lord willing, I am going to tell my people at the Long Term Care Centre what I am telling you now: Whatever situation we find ourselves in, whatever aches and pains we may have, the Lord is with us, and we can put our trust in Him.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we worry and times when we are afraid, but we know that we can come to You and bring our concerns to You in prayer during those difficult times. We thank You for this assurance in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "We Three Kings Of Orient Are" (Lyrics)