“Do not be afraid of sudden of fear.”
Prov. 3:25 NASB
In the Bible, panic attacks are referred to as “sudden fear.” You can’t breathe, your palms sweat, your chest gets tight, and you feel weak. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you’ll recognize these symptoms. Doctors estimate that in our stress-filled world, about a third of us experience at least one panic attack a year. If you are one of them, here are some things you can do to help yourself: (1) Breathe deeply. Panic makes you breathe in short shallow bursts, whereas breathing deeply helps to calm and relax you. So when you start to feel overwhelmed, stop and breathe the name of Jesus. Try it; it works! (2) Talk to yourself. Say, “By God’s grace I can handle this” (See 2 Co 12:9). If you respond with more panic you’ll just end up in double trouble. Allowing yourself to feel panic without reacting to it may sound difficult at first, but it helps you break the cycle and take control of your thinking. (3) Do something calming. This may be the last thing you feel like doing because panic attacks make you instinctively think thoughts that feed your fear. So take a minute and whisper a prayer, quote a Scripture, listen to inspirational music, or talk to a friend. And if your panic attacks continue, there’s no shame in getting professional help. After all, it’s God who gives doctors the skills and abilities to intervene. Here’s a Scripture you should write down and keep handy: “You can go to bed without fear…and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster…for the Lord is your security” (Pr 3:24-26 NLT).
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Scholars disagree as to the exact date of Christ’s birth, Nor do they know if the Church of the Nativity that’s visited every day by pilgrims in Bethlehem, is the exact location of His birth. Nor can any of us comprehend how by the Holy Spirit, a virgin girl could conceive a child. But here’s the good news: You don’t have to know when, where, or how Jesus was born, you just need to know why. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16). Only four things matter: (1) If Christ had not come, God would be unknown to us. (2) If Christ had not come, our sins would be unforgiven. The name Jesus means “Jehovah Saves!” John the Baptist called Him “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (3) If Christ had not come, our prayers would be unanswered. In Bible days you needed a priest to petition God on your behalf. And Jesus is our High Priest who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb 4:15-16 NLT). (4) If Christ had not come the first time, we would have no assurance that He will come the second time and catch us away to heaven to be with Himself.
“Nothing…can separate us from God’s love.”
Ro 8:39 CEV
That first Christmas, God did something extraordinary. Max Lucado puts it this way: “Stepping from the throne, He removed His robe of light and wrapped Himself in skin: pigmented human skin. The light of the universe entered a dark, wet womb. He whom angels worshiped nestled Himself in the placenta, was birthed into the cold night, and then slept on a cow’s hay. Mary didn’t know whether to give Him milk or give him praise, so she gave Him both-since He was, as near as she could figure, hungry and holy. Joseph didn’t know whether to call Him a junior or father. But in the end, he called Him Jesus, since that’s what the angel said, and since he didn’t have the faintest idea what to name a God he could cradle in his arms.” Lucado continues: “Don’t you think their heads tilted and their minds wondered, ‘What in the world are You doing, God?’ Or better phrased, ‘God, what are You doing in the world?’ ‘Can anything separate us from the love of Christ?” (v.35CEV). Then he answers his own question: “Nothing can separate us from God’s love-not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, and not powers about or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate up from God’s love” (vv. 38-39 CEV). And that's what Christmas is all about!
“You sent help more than once”
Php 4:16 NLT
Charles Swindoll tells the story of the giving tree: when the boy was young he swung from the tree’s branches, ate her apples, and slept in her shade…But as he grew up he spent less and less time with the tree. ‘Come on, let’s play,’ said the tree. But the young man was only interested in money. ‘Then take all my apples and sell them,’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy. He didn’t return for a long time. But the tree smiled when he passed by one day. ‘Come on, let’s play!’ But the man, older and tired of the world, wanted to get away from it all. ‘Cut me down. Take my trunk, make a boat, then you can sail away.’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy. Many seasons passed-and the tree waited. Finally, the man returned, too old to play, or pursue riches, or sail the seas. ‘I have a pretty good stump left. Sit down here and rest,’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy.” Swindoll continues: “I stared into the fire, reviewing my life as I grew older with the tree and the boy. I identified with both-and it hurt. How many giving trees have there been? How many people have given themselves so I might grow, accomplish my goals, and find wholeness and satisfaction? Thank you, Lord, for each one. That night I crawled into bed. I had wept, now I was smiling. ‘Good night, Lord.’ I was a humble man. Thankful I’d taken time to reflect.” Paul remembered those who helped him-and so should you
“To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…be glory…forever.”
Eph 3:20-21 NKJV
Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land illustrates three different places you can choose to live: (1) The place of “not enough.”As slaves in Egypt, they were forced to depend on Pharaoh for everything. And when you have to keep relying on anyone but God, you’re not truly free. Until you understand that God is your provider, you’ll live with a “not enough” mentality. Elijah was living by a stream in the middle of a famine, and ravens brought him meat each day. Then one day the Ravens didn’t show up, and the brook dried up. Why? God dried up a temporary source to drive Elijah back to his true source. Understand this: Regardless of what or who He uses-God is your source. He is called “Jehovah Jireh,” which means “the Lord will provide.” (2) The place of “just enough”. In the wilderness, Israel had just enough manna for each day. It’s no fun struggling to just get by. But we appreciate what we have to struggle for, and we learn to trust God more. Plus, living through such seasons builds into us a tenacity to keep moving toward better things. (3) The place of “more than enough.”God’s plan for Israel was “a land in which you…will lack nothing” (Dt 8:9 NKJV). And His goal for you is abundance in every area of life (See 2 Co 9:8 NIV). Is that so you can hoard it? No, it’s so you can bless others and fulfill your assignment in life. So stand on this Scripture: “To Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…be glory…forever.”