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Parliament of religions gives new perspective on Christmas

My routine requires leaving the house very early. During these winter months, only the clock tells me it’s morning; otherwise, I’m truly in the dark.

There’s a small stoop before three steps into the garage where I stand to reach for the garage light. After closing the door to the house and while feeling for the light switch on the wall, there is a second where I have a chill of real insecurity. I’m alone in the dark, and I mentally shudder in a shake of fright in that second before I trust the light will come on for me.

It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve gone through these motions, I still have that second of uncertainty.

My devotional from Psalm 139:7-10 this morning answers that doubt. David asks rhetorical questions to emphasize that God is with us through every situation, every moment, wherever we are.

In other words, as long as we’re breathing, God’s Spirit is present.

All of us have fears of some sort. Some fear the future, or sickness, or the thought of being alone. Some are afraid of other people, or failure, or even have fear of being successful.

Fear is our enemy. Billy Graham once remarked, “Jesus said we are not to fear; we are not to be anxious, we are not to fret; we are not to worry. Scripture teaches that this type of fear is sin.”

Read the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (14:27).

Sometimes a feeling of fear can be a helpful warning of danger. When we experience that kind of fear, we need to ask God for wisdom to avoid the danger, and then trust God’s control over the circumstances rather than going further into being fearful.

Faith is a necessary weapon to battle trials and temptations. Ephesians 6:16 refers to “the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Our faith in Jesus Christ renders Satan powerless.

God has given us the power of His Holy Spirit within us and his armor around us. Yes, we are assured of victory over evil, but because evil is always trying to defy those who follow Christ, it is an ongoing battle.

Satan’s attacks come in the form of temptations, insults, lies, anything to make us doubt our salvation and God. Remember, though, that he is limited in power. He is no match for God.

By keeping our perspective on Christ, we can see beyond whatever is happening in the moment and know that ultimately, it’s going to work out for His good.

A most important practice to overcome evil is to pray. Prayers are a powerful defense against evil. Anything of value within the kingdom of God is initiated in and dependent upon prayer. To emphasize this, Jesus modeled a life of prayer. He prayed with others, alone, even in the dark hours of night.

In the wilderness as He was being tempted by Satan, Jesus used the Word of God against him. As a second line of our own defense, let us fill our minds with God’s Word; mediate on it and memorize it.

The secret for overcoming evil is to submit to God. Remember Paul’s words from Romans 8:37-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Even if God did nothing for us each day, He would still be worthy of our worship simply because of who He is. The more we come to know God, the more we will stand in awe of Him and praise Him. Let’s continue to build a God-honoring life.

Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should call 373-2121, ext. 536. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer’s convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.

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