2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

God has armed us against the spirit of fear by often speaking to us not to fear. "Fear not the face of man; fear not the dangers you may meet with in the way of your duty.�� God has delivered us from the spirit of fear, and has given us the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The spirit of power, or of courage and resolution to encounter difficulties and dangers;�the spirit of love to God, which will carry us through the opposition we may meet with, as Jacob made nothing of the hard service he was to endure for Rachel: the spirit of love to God will set us above the fear of man and all the hurt that a man can do us;�and the spirit of a sound mind or quietness of mind, a peaceable enjoyment of ourselves, for we are oftentimes discouraged in our way and work by the creatures of our own fancy and imagination, which a sober, solid, thinking mind would remove and would easily answer. 2. The spirit God gives to his ministers is not a fearful, but a courageous spirit; it is a spirit of power, for they speak in his name who has all power, both in heaven and earth; and it is a spirit of love, for love to God and the souls of men must inflame ministers in all their service; and it is a spirit of a sound mind, for they speak the words of truth and soberness.

God encourages us to keep a sound mind and not give into fear. I know there are many shaken by the events of last week. The Sandy Hook Elementary School will without question be remembered for a long time, but we must not allow the fear that was generated by the incident control our lives.

An NPR report this year stated, �School violence in the U.S. reached a peak in 1993, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That year, there were 34 homicides by students and 13 �serious violent crimes� � rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault � per 1,000 students at primary and secondary schools. By 2010, the latest figures available, those numbers had decreased to two homicides and four violent crimes per 1,000 students.� [Violence In Schools: How Big A Problem Is It? by Scott Neuman, March 16, 2012]

Obviously the Sandy Hook Elementary School incident is an event out of the norm. I know many of us have shed a tear and felt compassion for those affected by this horrific incident. Some may want to make drastic and immediate changes and while changes may be needed let�s make sure we do them with a sound mind and not out of raging emotions.

Journalists cover people in trauma; they experience trauma and fear and even generate fear in others. We have to remember many of the reports we heard were inaccurate because of the heightened stress. At times we didn�t know who had been shot or even who the shooter was. This story will take weeks to unfold. You will hear many sad stories. Pay attention to your own emotions. Be honest with yourself and others. When it is time to take a break, talk to somebody about your experiences. Remember what an airplane stewardess tells you -- If you do not have your mask on, you cannot help anybody else. If you are fearful it will be hard to reassure and put others at ease. So please take care of yourself and know God had given you power, love and self-discipline to see yourself and others through troubled times.

God be with those who have suffered. God comfort the afflicted. God give hope and reassurance. God protect. God we pray for those who seek to do us harm that you would intervene. Let your power fill our hearts and souls that we can face fear and not let it defeat us. Amen