Saying No To Fear

It had been awhile since Lebanon received any mention in the news. With all that is going on in Iraq, Iran, and Israel, no one seemed to notice Lebanon. All that has changed in the last few weeks.
Since the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri on Valentine’s Day, the Lebanese people have been demanding the withdrawal of Syrian troops and influence. These people now want to run their own lives, and they’re ready to stand up to anyone who blocks their path. Mass rallies in recent days have caught the world’s attention. As Dennis Ross observed in the current issue of “U.S. News & World Report,” the Lebanese people “have said no to fear. They would not be silenced or intimidated as they rejected the fraudulent elections and corrupt governments imposed on them” (3/21/05).
We’ve seen it before. In Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s, the strong desire for freedom led people to stand up to intimidating forces. In more recent days, people in Iraq and in the Ukraine have demanded a change in the options given them, and have braved threats and violence to make it happen. Could Lebanon be the next success story? It’s too early to say, but courage will be necessary to regain control over their own affairs.
People throughout the world are intimidated by another despot, one who forces decisions people often don’t want to make. The tyrant’s name is Death, and everyone has heard of him and seen the results of his deeds. Even those who want a better life often shrink when he turns his vicious glare upon them. Vows that were made to live differently are quickly abandoned when he points to freshly dug graves.
But Jesus came to liberate us from Death. Those who still tremble at the thought of death are failing to exercise courage. We’re not referring to a foolhardy courage that ignores reality, but well-founded bravery based on what Jesus has accomplished. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14,15, NKJV). The enemy has been dealt a fatal blow. All his threats are now hollow, if we place ourselves on the side of the God’s son.
A shout of victory can be heard from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:54,55: “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your sting? O hades, where is your victory?'” No longer must we cower in fear before this tyrant. Through the power of Jesus Christ, we can stand boldly before death and declare our freedom from him!
For too long this enemy has occupied our lives and convinced us to live godlessly. Now, however, the captain of our salvation is in charge, and we happily proclaim our freedom from fear of any foe. From this day forward we will say no to fear, and yes to life!

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