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Advent 2020: Freedom

The destruction of sin and death.

So far this Advent season, we’ve gone deep into the heart of Christmas, perhaps seeing things previously unseen.

Today, as you go about your day, think about what you’ve learned. Look for signs of the deeper meaning of Christmas in the world around you. See past the temporary and into the eternal.

Read December 19: Christmas is for Freedom

Photo by Paul Green on Unsplash

Did today’s reading give you a different perspective on Christmas? How?

Christmas is for freedom — freedom from the fear of death.

John Piper, Joy to the World

Christmas frees us from fear. A good thing to remember when fear of death is rampant in a world gone viral with a pandemic.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being high), what is your current level of fear? anxiety?

What does your fear-rating tell you about your faith?

Take time today to consider: Christmas ushers in freedom from the fear of death. Does this concept ring true in your heart? or is there resistance? Do you hear a “Yeah, but…” in your spirit?

After considering your heart’s response to this good news, ask God to reveal the sin keeping you bound to fear of death. Ask Him to speak the truth of the power of His love and grace into your life.

Ask Him to set you free!

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1John 4:18 ESV

Store window decal: Joy, Peace, Love ornament. Merry Christmas.
Photo by Frédéric Dupont on Unsplash

[Feature Image Photo by Max Beck on Unsplash]

The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs 29

Read Proverbs 29

25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap,
but trusting the Lord means safety.

I fear not being liked.

It feels ridiculous to type that statement out… like I am still in middle school, but it is something I really struggle with (MANY years after middle school).

I am afraid that based on a couple of minutes people will decide I am not worthy of being liked. What if I say something stupid? What if I fumble on my words, can’t find the right ones, or just act awkward? So often, out of fear, I choose to say nothing and avoid interactions. Which sounds like a safe bet, but instead it leaves me worrying people will think I am rude and unfriendly.

It is a trap. I am giving people power they do not and should not have over me. I cannot make everyone like me.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

My light, my salvation, my security.

If the Lord offers me all of this, why do I look to others to tell me I am worthy of being liked?

Lord, You alone define me. You alone give me worth because I am created in Your image. Because You deemed me worthy to die for. May I need no other affirmation. Amen.

[Feature Image Photo on blog by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash]

Songs of Praise: Psalm 110-112

Begin your Monday with praise by reading Psalm 110-112. (Click on the link to read the Psalms.)

It’s Monday and I wonder… What are you thinking? What were your first thoughts this morning? Were there moments of anxiety? Seconds of fear at what the new week might bring?

The psalmist speaks of fear too.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111:10

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!

Psalm 112:1

As we begin a new week, there is only one thing to fear. And this fear is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom to know which way to go, what words to say, how to behave. It all begins with fear of the Lord.

I encourage you this day, to cast all your cares on Him. Choose to fear the Lord and embrace His wisdom and way this week. And just like the psalmist says… may you be blessed.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Psalm 112:7

Lord, may I fear You above all else. Trusting in You as good, I have no need to fear bad news.

[Featured Image Photo on website by Flemming Fuchs on Unsplash]