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Stop Being Afraid

COVER STORY – CHRISTMAS

The sight, smell, and sounds of a little baby give no reason for fear. Quite the opposite; watching a sleeping baby can overwhelm one’s heart with comfort, contentment, and joy. The world’s noise, wickedness, and danger all fade away when one is gently rocking in a chair while cradling a baby.
Joseph and Mary experienced the love that saturates parents’ hearts, but God was giving even more. The difficulties of life in the world may very well have faded into the background while baby Jesus was cooing and Mary was swaddling Him, but Jesus was born for much more than baby-joy. Jesus was born to defeat sorrow and to conquer its source, sin.
The words most frequently repeated throughout the account of Jesus’ birth are, “fear not,” or more literally, “stop being afraid.”
These words always come from God, either directly or through His messenger—an angel. Every time these words are spoken, Jesus and His work are the antidote for fear.
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, he said, “Stop being afraid.” Why? Because God would give Zacharias a son who would be the forerunner of the Savior. He would “. . . make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17) Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying and waiting for a child for decades, but Israel had been praying and waiting for the Messiah for millennia. The time was full, the Savior was coming—stop being afraid.
Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Stop being afraid.” Why? “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Jesus means “Savior.” Stop being afraid, the long-promised Savior is coming to pay the ransom for your sins. Read More…

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“BREAD OF LIFE” READINGS December 2019

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TLH = The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941; WS = Worship Supplement 2000; LSB = Lutheran Service Book, 2006

Date Hymns Reading Comments
Dec 2 TLH 381 (LSB 587) 2 John Remain in the teachings of Christ, both Law and Gospel, lest you become deceived and led away from the truth.
Dec 3 WS 729 (LSB 462) Revelation 1:9-18 Though He is the almighty Son of God, Jesus Christ holds no fear for us—rather He holds the keys of death and the grave!
Dec 4 TLH 528 (LSB 724) Joshua 10:1-14 We do not need to be afraid, because God is with us—our God Who can even make the sun stand still.
Dec 5 WS 731 Revelation 2:8-11 Do not fear any of the things which the devil and the world can throw at you, for in the end you have a crown of life.
Dec 6 TLH 406; (LSB 697) 3 John In this “postcard” to Gaius, we are encouraged to continue to walk in the truth and love the brethren as he was doing. Read More…

Watching Attentively for Christ’s Return

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DEVOTION – ADVENT

Do you ever read to the bottom of a page and then double back to the top after realizing you didn’t absorb any of it? Or have you ever been at the wheel of a car and encountered the unsettling realization that you’ve been rather inattentive while driving? If so, then you are familiar with the phenomenon known as “zoning out.” It’s a frequent occurrence for many of us. The trouble with zoning out is that you can easily miss important information.
We often think of Advent as the season of preparation for the Messiah’s birth, but adjacent to this is another important Advent theme: watching for Christ’s return. Jesus Himself describes this watching, “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning.” (Mark 13:34-35) His point is obvious, isn’t it? Our Master, Jesus, is coming back. His return could easily come tomorrow, or even later today! Read More…