Matthew J. Brescia
"Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled" (1 Peter 3:14-15).
I quote these words to encourage and stir our hearts in these difficult days, not only here in the U.S.A. especially, but also to the beloved saints everywhere. It is significant that the same word "terror" is used in describing the last days in Luke 2 1:26. "Menís hearts failing them for fear (terror)."
Terrorism is no longer a word that we in this part of the world link with countries overseas, where it has become almost a way of life. Now it has come forcibly to our very doorstep and I borrow this expression from its context to strengthen our confidence in the living God who still, as always, "rules in the kingdoms of men." The scriptures assure our hearts with these words, "For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death" (Psalm 48:14).
No doubt we have been complacent in our christian lives, and these things have served to awaken us to our duty to pray for "all that are in authority." Our beloved president Bush and those who govern with him should be constantly in our prayers, that the fear of God ("who will have all men to be saved"), and not terror, may continually grip their hearts (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
The accompanying exhortations in our passage are also necessary as we reflect back over the year that is past. "Sanctify Christ as Lord (RV) in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." The terrible events that took place on September 11, 2001 have sobered the hearts of many around us and more than ever we should "live Christ" before the unsaved. Also, we must "buy up the opportunities" and speak a "word in season" to one and all, for surely "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
It is so easy to get used to family and friends, fellow-workers and foes in danger of perishing all around us, and never open our mouths to warn them and tell them of the blessed Saviour of sinners who took away our fear as well as our sins. Some of us have more difficulty than others in speaking to sinners and explaining Godís way of salvation, but surely we all can simply tell how we were saved and thus "give a reason of the hope that is in us." For those who find it difficult to speak at all, at least hand them a gospel tract.
Time is short, brethren and sisters, and we really should be living our lives for God. We are in this world but we are not a part of it. We look "for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10).
A good way to end the year is to heed the exhortation given in Hebrews 12:28. "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved (shaken), let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." May we all take courage in these closing days as we wait for our Lord, and "be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled." MARANATHA!