December 21, 2023 | Jim Croner
About the author: My wife, Dana, and I joined ZPC in 1998 and were married at ZPC that same year. We are blessed with two wonderful daughters who love the Lord: Caroline, who is engaged to be married and works at United Way of Central Indiana, and Rachel, who is a junior at IU Kelley School of Business and loves to travel. I have enjoyed service at ZPC through the years and currently serve as a Deacon.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Early morning coffee when all is quiet and peaceful in your house or getting the report of your CT scans showing no change with possibly a slight decrease in size of the tumor in your lung or getting that "A" on a test which you studied so hard for and seemed so difficult. These are all peaceful moments in life which we all know are wonderful but, at the same time, are fleeting and soon to shatter once reality comes crashing into our lives. Praise God that he gives us true everlasting peace as we bask in the knowledge of our salvation from this world and from our sinful selves.
"Fear not" is the most common command from Jesus in the Bible to both his disciples and the seekers of his day. The frequency of this command in the Bible tells us how common fear (along with its close relative, anxiety) is today and was in Jesus' time on Earth. It also shows how amazingly relevant our scriptures, written so many years ago, are to us. This command, coming from the authority of our triune God, tells us that we should look no further for answers to how we should "fear not" outside of what is given us in context around that command. In the preceding context to John 14:27, Jesus tells his disciples that the Father is sending the Holy Spirit as helper, teacher, and reminder of what Jesus had said and stood for while he was with the disciples. We all need friendly reminders or, at times, stern reminders of who we are in Christ and who we represent to the unbelieving world.
So Jesus teaches us in his Word that we have what we need to defeat fear and anxiety through the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit, but how do we tap into that resource in times of gripping fear and anxiety? For those of us who feel a need for action, we can praise God for the riches of his Word because, in Philippians, Paul gives a recipe for how to saturate our hearts and minds with the peace of God. God spoke through Paul in Philippians 4:6-7, "to instruct us that in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving to present our requests to God; then the gift of the peace of God will fill our hearts and minds."
As we go about our days during this Advent season, let our hearts and minds relax in knowing that we have all we need with the Holy Spirit inside us and with the holy scriptures to guide us as we enjoy the gift of communing with the Creator of the Universe through prayer and reflection of his majesty!
We all praise you for your overwhelming peace which you so lavishly give to us in those moments in life when we desperately need it. Thank you for the way you continue to love us and bring us the contentment our souls yearn for, especially during these tumultuous times. Thank you for the incomparable gift of your Son that we celebrate this Advent season.
In Jesus name,