In the traditional Christmas story, the angel Gabriel first came to Zechariah, who was frightened at the sight of this heavenly messenger. Gabriel's first words were: "Fear not." Later in the story, Gabriel came to Mary, also saying, "Fear not." The night Jesus was born, the angels came to the shepherds, first saying, "Fear not!" Do you see a theme here? Although the sight of a holy messenger triggers our terror, God never wants us to be afraid! The whole point of Jesus coming to earth is so that we will never be afraid to go to God: never afraid of God's rejection, never afraid of God's condemnation, never afraid of God's judgment no matter what we have done! Why? Because every mistake we have ever made or mean thing we have ever done is erased by Jesus coming and taking the blame for us. We are forgiven through Him who is Lord, and all we need to do is accept this gift: just believe in Jesus. ~ What are you afraid of? God says "Fear not" to any and all your concerns. The Bible says "fear not" 365 times*, one of every day of the year. So, we need to joyfully trust God's unconditional love for us, God's complete forgiveness of all past and future mistakes, and God's promise to provide for us, turning our fears into faith in Jesus Christ this coming year. How do we get this faith? Turning to God. The more we talk to God in prayer, the more we will feel His love and forgiveness. Melissa conquered her fears by focusing on helpful scripture verses that she posted on her mirror and wrote down in her journal. This year, fear not. Move boldly to the throne of forgiveness, knowing that your loving heavenly Father has already paid for your mistakes and waits patiently to show you just how much He loves you. Blessings~JBM
*Warren, R. (2015). Saddleback Church, Sermon Archives.