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So let's review. An open vision pierces the night sky. Thousands of angels descend; an announcement is made of biblical proportions. Shepherds recoil in fear and trembling. And what do the angels say? "Fear not!" and "On earth peace, good will toward men." Maybe it's just me, but doesn't there seem to be a bit of irony here? How could anyone find comfort and peace after experiencing all that? We may never encounter what those shepherds witnessed 2,000 years ago but we certainly can relate to their fear and trembling: unexpected illnesses, financial hardships and various family pressures.
I’m not a big government guy. Perhaps it was my upbringing. Years ago, I remember hearing about the Antichrist and the mark of the beast in my church. I was shaken to the core when I considered a government so threatening and powerful. I vowed not to take the mark of the beast and I didn’t want to be controlled by people who viewed God with utter contempt.
Several years ago we packed up our belongings and moved from Sevierville, Tenn., to my home state of Minnesota. Our family was struggling at the time. I had no idea where we would live and or what I would do to support my wife and two children. Eventually, we settled into a duplex apartment not far from my younger brother in Maple Grove. I got a job taking orders and delivering photographs for a local photographer. We all loved the Lord but felt a bit abandoned in our time of greatest need.
One hundred and fifty-five years ago, a quiet, unassuming businessman named Jeremiah Lamphier uttered this simple but sincere prayer. He had just been left behind by the North Dutch Reformed Church located on Fulton Street in New York City. The relocating church had experienced dwindling attendance but hoped Jeremiah could revive the property as a mission.