BY PASTOR TOM ALBRECHT
One of the great Christmas hymns sung during this season is "O little town of Bethlehem.” The phrase, "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight,” has always caught my attention. We are living in a time where fear seems to be the dominant theme in the news, politics and global consciousness.
The Christmas message came into a similar climate of fear and oppression in Israel’s history as it is in our time. The announcement to the shepherds by the angelic messenger was, "Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." This message that tells us that we don’t have to fear was both personal, to YOU (shepherds) and globally to ALL people.
"This good news that we can be free from fear is a promise – and available – for those who, in simple trust, receive this Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ."
This good news that we can be free from fear is a promise – and available – for those who, in simple trust, receive this Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. The scriptures have many instructions concerning how to deal with the spirit of fear and terror that has gripped our world. Isaiah 8:11-13 gives this strong admonition:
"The Lord spoke to me in the strongest terms and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people. Don't talk like those who say that some plot devised behind closed doors will be the end of you. When they say there is a confederacy don't take on their fear. Don't let their fear be your fear, don't be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, and let Him be your fear and let Him be your dread. If you believe God, let Him be your fear and you need fear nothing else.” (Paraphrase mine).
This is a time for believers to pray and intercede on behalf of the nations ... that a great spiritual awakening would once again sweep across the land. I realize such terms as "intercession" and "revival" have fallen on bad times but God has raised up powerful intercessors in the past that have altered history.
Jesus is building his church and we celebrate and rejoice for what is being accomplished ... but we've yet to see the spiritual topography dramatically shifted toward a worldwide harvest of souls. It is coming, God is at work, and the church of Jesus Christ has the message of hope for a world ravaged by the events of recent days.