MY HELPER

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 13:1-6

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:6)

When we become afraid, we must remember the incredible promise God has made to us — “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (v. 5b). We are never alone! Because of this, we too can say with confidence — “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid.”

The Lord is our helper. While this is always true, it is especially comforting to know during times of trouble — “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). When we are afraid, we must realize that our sovereign Lord is with us and that He is our refuge and strength. He is ever-present with us to help us in times of fear and uncertainty.

The Psalmist asks the question — “Where does my help come from?” He then gives us the answer — “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1,2). The all-powerful, all-wise, creator God is our helper– “He will not let your foot slip He who watches over you will not slumber” (Psalm 121:3).

We do not have to be afraid for our God is our all-powerful helper. He will watch over us and He will be our refuge in times of trouble. Thus we can say with confidence — “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid.”

Almighty God, You are my eternal helper. I will not be afraid for I know that you are my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. When I am weak, You help me to be strong. When I am overwhelmed with trouble, You help me face it and You will deliver me from it. You watch over me constantly for You never slumber. Because You are my helper I have nothing to fear!

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JUST BELIEVE!

Scripture Reading: Mark 5:21-43

“Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:31)

In my years of ministry, I have walked alongside several parents who lost young children. I can think of no greater pain than this. Our text today is about a father who was deeply afraid because his young daughter was dying. Jarius, the father, was a highly respected ruler of the synagogue. In the eyes of the world, he was a highly successful man. But he was overwhelmed with fear because of his daughter’s condition. He could not imagine losing her.

Word came that Jarius’ daughter had died. But Jesus looked at him and said — “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Regardless of how bad things are, the cure for fear is faith. Jarius believed; he trusted Jesus and Jesus brought the dead child back to life again — “He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’ Immediately the child stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old)” (vs. 41,42).

Sometimes Jesus grants temporary healing as in the case of Jarius’ daughter. At other times he permanently heals by bringing our loved ones to heaven with Him. Whatever the case, we are called to “just believe.” When we face times of great fear, remember the words of our Savior, “Don’t be afraid; just believe!”

Lord Jesus, I know that you are with me always. When I become afraid, let me just believe. You are the sole object of my faith. Let me always keep my eyes on you and trust You for whatever comes my way.

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WHEN I AM AFRAID

Scripture Reading: Psalm 56:1-13

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose name I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3,4)

David learned what he needed to do when he became afraid. Throughout his life, he faced much conflict and danger — “Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride” (vs. 1,2). Can you imagine how fearful David must have been? He was being hunted down by his enemies. He was constantly on the run, hiding in caves, in towns, and in the countryside.

In spite of this constant danger, David knew what he needed to do — “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose name I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”

How many times have we lived in fear because we did not trust in our loving and all powerful God? When we are afraid, we must turn to the One who is able to protect us and deliver us from our fears. We must put our trust in Him and begin to praise Him. When we do our focus changes from the source of our fears to the Source of our peace. Then we can join David in saying — “For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life” (v. 13).

Lord God, when i am afraid, I will trust in You. I praise You and know that You are with me always. You will defend me, protect me, and deliver me from my fears. Indeed, I have nothing to fear! I can walk before You in the light of life.

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WHOM SHALL I FEAR?

Scripture Reading: Psalm 27:1-5

“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?

David had many enemies. He experienced opposition, death threats, attempted murder, and battles throughout his life. However, David knew that the Lord was the stronghold of his life. When he was being hunted down by his foes, he could say — “Of whom shall I be afraid?”

David had confidence in His God, even when the olds were greatly against him — “When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (vs. 2,3).

David found great peace in the presence of His Lord — “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple” (v. 4). This was the great secret of David ability to overcome his fears — to come into the presence of His Lord and to seek Him with all of his heart.

When David did this, he found great assurance — “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle, and set me high on a rock” (v. 5). In our days of trouble, flee into the presence of the Lord. He is our stronghold. We have no one to fear.

Lord God, You are my light and my salvation. You are the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid? When I face trouble, I know that You will keep me safe in Your dwelling. You will hide me in the shelter of Your tabernacle and set me high on a rock.

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DO NOT BE AFRAID

Scripture Reading: Genesis 26:17-25

“That night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.'” (Genesis 26:24)

We live in unsettling times. There are many things that can cause us to be afraid — mass shootings, the war in Ukraine, the economy, political unrest, rise in crime, aging, illnesses, and the list could go on and on. We could easily become afraid and discouraged. Yet, we are not alone for God has said, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

Our passage records God’s words to Isaac at a time in his life when he was filled with fear. He was unsettled and in a time of conflict. He had made some bad decisions and now he was facing the consequences of them. But the love and grace of God came to him. God reassured Isaac of His covenant promises — “I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

In the midst of our fears, God comes to us and reassures us of His promise — “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” If you are afraid, listen to the voice of God and put your trust in His promises. Then you can find peace and rest for your soul.

Lord God, I know deep down in my heart that I do not have to be afraid because You are always with me. However, there are times that I fail to trust You as I should and I become fearful and anxious. Forgive me when I take my eyes off of You and focus on things that cause me to be afraid. You are with me always and I really have nothing to fear.

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ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING

Scripture Reading: Jude 24,25

“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 23,24)

I have consistently used this passage as a benediction throughout my ministry. My mentor, Dr. James Baird, used it when I was a member at First Presbyterian Church in Macon and he continued to use it through all his pastorates. I was a fairly new Christian back then and I was deeply touched each time Jim gave this benediction at the end of the worship services. It is a very encouraging and assuring benediction that gives the glory to God.

Jesus is able to keep us from falling. He undergirds us and strengthens us. When we are weak, He is strong. He never fails to give us what we need in times of weakness and in times of temptation. He is able to keep us from falling because He is the omnipotent, and sovereign Lord over all.

Jesus is also able to present us before the glorious presence of God without fault. Because of His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, He is able to present us holy, blameless, and undefiled before the throne of God (Hebrews 7:26). Because we have been justified on the basis of the work of Christ, we are able to be fully forgiven of all our sins, and the perfect righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us.

But notice that Jesus is able to present us before God’s glorious presence with JOY! I’m reminded of this passage in Hebrews — “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus’s joy is the salvation of His people. Now that His work is done He is able to present us before the glorious presence of His Father without fault and with great joy!

Lord Jesus, You are able to keep me from falling. Your watchful eye is always upon me. You are ready to step in and hold me up with Your righteous right hand. You alone are able to present me faultless before the glorious presence of Your Father. It was You sacrifice that paid the ransom for my sins and it is Your righteousness that has been imputed to me that leaves me holy, blameless and undefiled. It is hard for me to image that You find joy in me, but I know that You do. Thank you for delighting in me and for making me Your own.

“Now to Him who is able to present you from falling and to present You before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, throughout Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all times and now and forever. Amen.” (Jude 23, 24)

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ABLE TO SAVE COMPLETELY

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28

“Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

This passage in Hebrews is dealing with the priestly work of our Savior Jesus. Priests had two major responsibilities: offering sacrifices for sin and interceding with God on behalf of the people. Jesus, our great high priest, offered Himself once for the sins of His people. His sacrifice was fully sufficient to make atonement between a holy God and sinful human beings — “Unlike the other priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, for for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. Jesus sacrificed Himself once and for all when He offered Himself” (v. 27).

Unlike human priests, Jesus is a high priest forever — “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; burt because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood” (vs. 23,24). Thus, Jesus continually makes intercession for His people. He prays for us and represents us before the Father.

Because of His once for all sacrifice and His continual intercession for us, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (v. 25). We can have absolute confidence in the efficacy of the work of our Savior. Jesus is able to save us completely.

Lord Jesus, my great high priest, thank You for offering Yourself as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I know that Your sacrificial work is fully sufficient to ensure my salvation. Also thank You for your continual intercession on my behalf. You pray for me and defend me before the throne of Almighty God. You are able to save me completely.

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ABLE TO GUARD

Scripture Reading: II Timothy 1:8-12

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” (II Timothy 1:12)

Paul was suffering in prison because of his faith in Jesus Christ. He encouraged Timothy with these words — “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (v. 8). Paul understood his calling — “and of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher” (v. 11). Though he was suffering for his faith, Paul knew that he could trust the Lord no matter what.

Although Paul was suffering in prison, he was not ashamed. He knew whom he believed. He had absolute faith and confidence in His Savior. He knew that Jesus would guard his ministry as a herald, an apostle, and a teacher. Even if he was in jail, the message of the gospel will be protected and it will achieve God’s purposes.

What about you? Do you know whom you have believed? Do you have confidence in your Savior? Do you know that He will guard what you have entrusted to him? Paul trusted His Savior no matter what his circumstances were.

Paul was convinced that His Savior is able to guard what he had entrusted to Him. He had entrusted his life and his ministry to Jesus. He knew that Jesus would guard him and his ministry. He knew that the grace of Christ had been bestowed upon him — “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (v. 9b).

We can find rest and peace in the grace that has been given us. We can entrust ourselves, our families, our ministries and everything we have to our Savior and be assured that He is able to guard the things that we have entrusted to Him.

Lord Jesus, I know whom I have believed. I believe in you! I am convinced that You are able to guard the things that I have entrusted to You — my life, my family members, my ministry, my friends, and my future. Thank You for the grace that was given me before the beginning of time. I know that Your grace will carry me through my life on earth and through my life with You forever.

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TO HIM WHO IS ABLE

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:20,21

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 4:20,21)

We vastly underestimate God’s abilities. God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Let this truth about God sink into your minds and hearts — God is able to do immeasurably more we can even imagine. We are not capable of measuring the extent of God’s abilities. He is able to do immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine. Nothing is too great for our God. It is one thing to say “all that we ASK, but it goes deeper when we say — all that we IMAGINE.

Notice that the reason He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine is because of the power that is at work within us. It is God’s omnipotence that enables Him to be able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Paul understood his weaknesses. God came to him in his weakness and said — “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9a). Don’t let your weaknesses discourage and overwhelm you. Paul wrote — “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:9:b).

Don’t be afraid to ask God for things that seem impossible to us. Remember He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. It is His power that is at work in us!

Omnipotent Lord, I know that You are able to do more than all I ask or imagine. The extent of Your power goes beyond my ability to grasp. You are all powerful and all wise. Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your power is made perfect in my weakness.

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ABLE TO SAVE

Scripture Reading: Daniel 3:1-18

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and to rescue us from your hand, O king.” (Daniel 3:17)

Nothing is impossible for our God. We will be looking at passages this week that tell us about His amazing and powerful abilities. Our passage today is the account of the fiery furnace in Daniel. I’m sure you remember the story. Daniel’s three Jewish companions refused to obey a ridiculous order from King Nebuchadnezzar that involved idolatry. When the signal was given, every one was required to bow down to an image of gold that the king had erected. The punishment for disobeying the king’s order was severe — ‘Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a fiery furnace. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego did not obey. Some of the Chaldean leaders who were jealous of these men reported the situation to the king.

King Nebuchadnezzar was furious and ordered that the three men be thrown into the the fiery furnace. But these three faithful men knew that God was able to save them from a hopeless situation — “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and to rescue us from your hand, O king” (v. 17).

These faithful God fearing men trusted in their God and God acted. When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fiery furnace he said — “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?…But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods” (vs. 24,25). Surely this was none other than our Savior Jesus who came to rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And be assured that He also will come to our aid when we are facing the fiery furnace.

Do you believe that God is able to save you from impossible situations that may seem hopeless? Nothing is impossible for our God. He is all powerful and all wise. When you are facing your fiery furnace, remember these words — “The God we serve is able to save us!”

Lord Jesus, You are able to save me from the fiery furnaces that I will face throughout live. I know that You will come to rescue me and to deliver me. Indeed, You are able to save me from what may seem to be impossible situations. I fully trust You to do so.

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