Sunday, December 14, 2008

God With Us...

Last night was our Christmas dinner at church. It was a very good dinner. We had a very special speaker last night too. He was a former pastor of our church...Ryan McKee. I have always enjoyed listening to Ryan speak...even though he usually says something that the Holy Spirit uses to convict me and show me that I need to trust God more than I do, or turn from something I'm doing, etc...and last night was no different.

He spoke on the Christmas story and looked at it in a new light. He used the words "Fear Not" from the angel to show that we need to remember these for our life.

First "Fear Not" he showed us was toward Mary. Think of a young girl who was espoused to Joseph. The angel comes to her and says, "Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God, and, behold, you shall conceive a son and shall call his name JESUS." She asks, "How can this be since I've not yet been with a man?" The angel says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God."

Ryan called this the "Fear not of human impossibilty." This was a miracle. Is there anything in my life...in your life, that can be consider impossible? Well...God is the God of impossibles. He can do ANYTHING. We just need to trust him to do what He has planned for us.

The second "Fear Not" is toward Joseph. The angel came to Joseph saying, "Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is on the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS."

Ryan called this the "Fear not of obedience." Is there something God is calling you to be obedient? During the time of Joseph and Mary, Joseph could have put Mary away, but he didn't...he obeyed the angel and took Mary as his wife, and raised baby Jesus as his own son. He taught him his craft of carpentry. (A side note: One of my favorite scenes in "The Passion" is when Jesus is making the table. This was something that Joseph taught him. My favorite part of that scene is when He sits on the table to test His work. That is just so neat to see because Jesus probably saw Joseph tests the different things that he had made too.

The third "Fear Not" came from Zacharias. Zacharias was married to Elizabeth. They were very old in their age. Prayed many years for a child, but Elizabeth was barren. The angel comes to Zacharias during his priestly duties and says, "Fear not, Zacharias: for your prayer is heard..."

Ryan pointed this as the "Fear not of unanswered prayer." This is the one that really hit me. How many times do we pray for something and possibly give up because God has not answered with a yes yet? Zacharias & Elizabeth were well into years and would have never believed that this prayer would be answered to have a child. This isn't the first birth of parents well into the years...Abraham - 100 years old...his wife 90 years old. God is the God of impossibility ... remember? He can do it! We just have to believe and keep praying.

There is one more that Fear Not that Ryan spoke of last night. The "Fear Not" for us. You may be thinking..."I'm not in the Christmas story." But when the angel came to the shepherds, he said, "this is for all mankind." That's us! This "Fear not is for the ecomony, world situations, illness, etc." This is my favorite because one of the names Jesus is known as is ... Emmanuel which means "God with us."

This last "fear not" is definitely for us...we don't know what is going to happen in the world...but we do know Who is in control! That's God...and God sent His son Jesus...who is also called "Emmanuel" which means "God with us."

During Ryan's message when he talked about Emmanuel and the meaning of it, I thought of the song by Todd Agnew...below is the words to the song.

May your Christmas for 2008 be the time you remembered that you are not to be in a mindstate of fear...but living a life of "Fear Not". As a reminder for this time, memorize Isaiah 41:10

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (ESV)

Merry Christmas.


We saw a star
And followed it from the east
We've come so far to come here
We held one hope
Taht we might find a King
How could we know
That he would be "God with us"
Emmanuel come to us
The king of Israel abides with us
In this little boy who could know we'd find
The eternal One born into time
This baby child is God with us
We've brought him gold, and frankincense and myrrh
When riches untold He left behind
We brought our best
To celebrate a King
Who left His throne
So He could be "God with us"
Emmanuel come to us
The king of Israel abides with us
In this little boy who could know we'd find
With all the mystery somehow intertwined
This baby child is "God with us"
In all our wisdom we came to seek a king
But how do you prepare to meet the Lord
And in all my wildest hopes
I'd never would have dreamed
What this star was truly pointing toward
Who this star was truly shining for
Star of wonder
Star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light
God with us
Emmauel come to us
King of Israel abides with us
In this little boy who could know we'd find
The creator born Redeemer of mankind
and the hand of God is reaching out for mine
This baby child is God with us
Mary's baby child is God with us
---
*God With Us recorded by Todd Agnew from the release "Do You See What I See?" released 2006.

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