May 18 – Serve Lest We Forget

“Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24 (ESV)

When the prophet Samuel was leading the people of Israel, he had reason, on several occasions to encourage them to stay true to God. Today, we find in our verse a wonderful motivation for serving the Lord God faithfully. Saul had just been made King of Israel. It was so easy for them to forget God’s blessings. It was true, they sometimes forgot how good God had been to them and they would go their own way. In much the same way we who profess to follow Jesus will forget what He has done for us and are influenced by the world to forsake the path God has made for us. We need to take time each day to remember and think about of what great things God has done for us. Let’s not think that we’ve done everything for ourselves. We know that God has been good to us to make us a part of His family. And in so many different ways, He has demonstrated His goodness in taking care of us. Remembering such things and keeping them in the top of our minds will help us to serve God faithfully and with all our heart.


March 30 – His Strong Righteous Hands

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)

Our promise today is one that can make us glad in heart. Fear is too commonly what we choose when we face turmoil from the world. Critics and hateful words from skeptics should not weaken our stand or our grip on God’s truth. God says, “Do Not Fear.” Why? How? By trusting that God’s promise is true – He is with us. When we are fearful, we get anxious and that means worry. Worry keeps us from seeing, understanding, and remembering God. So, don’t look around for help from any other source but God. He promises us strength. He promises us help. He promises to hold us up with His righteous right hand. That is like his hand is under us so that we will not fall and if we stumble, He catches us.  God knows very well that we are weak and unable to stand on our own. When we try on our own we’re sure to topple over. But with the strength and help of His right hand, we are kept secure. We need not be afraid of frightful things. We do not need to worry because God’s promises are sure and true.


 February 20 – Taking Courage, Not Fear

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”” – Mathew 14:27 (NASB)

A very young boy arrived at his new home deep in an African jungle. He was asked what he was afraid of. “I’m not afraid of nothin’!” That first night, in the darkness, in his bed, under a mosquito net, the unfamiliar jungle sounds frightened him so he could not sleep.” Fear comes on us from what we don’t understand. Jesus using a few loaves of bread and pieces of smoked fish, created enough food to satisfy far more* than 5,000 people. Each disciple ended up with their own small basket of left-overs. Jesus sends them across the Sea of Galilee in their boat and He remained on shore. In the middle of the lake, a sudden storm blows in and threatens to upset their boat. The disciples, see Jesus approaching their boat walking on the surface of the lake. This wasn’t familiar and they cry out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” Jesus calls out to them, “Take courage, It is I; don’t be afraid.” Jesus says the same to us when we’re overcome with fear. Take courage, Jesus is with us. He’s promised to always be with us in all circumstances.  

* The number of men was 5,000, not including women and children, who probably brought the total up to 20,000.

John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Jn 6:10.


 February 9 – Fan the Flame

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

We’re thinking of the campfire or a wood fire burning in a fireplace. These fires provide heat and perhaps light but wood fires dwindle to coals as the wood is burned into ashes. To keep it going we add new wood and then we blow or fan the burning embers into a flame. Paul instruction to Timothy is to do the same to his spiritual gift. It’s God who gives us spiritual gifts to serve Him and others in His name and for His sake. Persecution was increasing in the first century when Paul wrote his last letter to Timothy, shortly before his execution by Nero. There was much then and much today that might cause us to react with a cowardly fear, that springs from timidity. The Spirit of God and the spiritual gifts He has promised and given to us are powerful and can overcome such fears. Exercising our faith through obedience using these gifts result in love and discipline. Self-control is essential and God promises to supply it to all who by faith believe. This is why we need to stoke our God given gifts and keep them alive and burning bright. 


January 18 – He Will Not…

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NASB)

So far, how is this year proving to be a new year for you? We look into each the new year not as one more day, week, or month on the calendar but as the starting point in a renewed transition. So it was Israel after more than 40 years wandering about in the Sinai wilderness, it was time for Moses to transition leadership to Joshua. We might still claim this new year with a verse that brings to us a wonderful promise. God promises over and over in His word that He will not fail us, not forsake us, not leave us. We have no reasons to fear or be dismayed. These words are spoken by Moses to Joshua in the presence of the people of Israel about to enter their Promised Land. These words we can take to heart and trust them. We believe that our Lord will be with us each day as we follow Him. He will not leave us or forget us. Let’s be thankful to God for this assurance and for the promises we can trust. As a new year begins, we do not have to be discouraged – even when we are tempted to.  


January 12 – No Fear!

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” – Hebrews 2:14-15 (ESV)

What do we fear the most in our lives? There is no need because there really is for us a state of NO Fear!  However, most people have a certain level of fear of death. Maybe for no other reason than the fact that we don’t know exactly what’s next. We who by faith believe because of the gift of God can rest with assurance that God will fulfill the promises regarding our life with Him after we die. But that doesn’t always come without questions and even doubts. For the believer, “death is swallowed up in victory,” (1 Corinthians 15:54). What Jesus Christ did as the Founder of Salvation, was to bring an end to the fear of death and its spiritual bondage. That’s a promise we can trust and which can change our lives. This is the ultimate purpose of the incarnation: Jesus came to earth to die. By dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection (John 14:19). By conquering death, He rendered Satan powerless against all who are saved. Are you saved by grace through faith that God has given to you? Your death holds no mysteries that cause you to fear.


December 12 – Weak Hands, Feeble Knees, Anxious Heart

“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:3-4 (ESV)

Through His prophets, God spoke to His people and gave them instruction and encouragement. He also warned them what would happen if they did not believe and the blessings for those who did believe. We have considered the promise of God that He is our eternal source of encouragement and today’s verse shows us a way we are encouraged. An anxious heart comes from fear. Fear comes from not trusting in God’s promises. These words are interesting because they mention feeble hands and knees that give way. But it is also clear that weak hands and shaky knees are caused by fearful hearts. So, what the Lord promises us is that He will come and He will strengthen our hearts so that we do not need to fear. When we trust him to help us not be afraid, that will make our hands and our knees strong. When we have needs like this in our lives our God is aware of them and He promises to come to help us. If we know that God will respond in this way, it encourages us to depend on Him and press on, whatever is ahead in our path.


August 13 – The Real No Fear

“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2 (NASB)

Yesterday we learned from God’s Word through His prophet Isaiah that perfect peace is available to those whose mind is steadfast and unwavering in their trust in God. Today’s promise gives us the attitude of fearlessness. The idea of ‘No Fear’ is presented to us in many different ways: the No FEAR Act of 2002; as a brand for lifestyle clothing; and even as a translation of old English literature such as Shakespeare into modern English. God knows we all are tempted to be afraid and desire to have no fear. He has given us this guide – the Bible – which promises what He will do for us in these times. We can affirm that God is our salvation. When we can confirm that our salvation from the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) is ours by faith in God, we can trust Him without fear. Isaiah confirms his own standing – he trusts because the Lord God provides strength to do so. It is a strength that calms our spirit and gives us a song of praise. We have this promise: when we trust in God, He becomes our salvation and we abide in Him for the rest of time and beyond.


July 12 – Our Will, His Will, One Will

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)

The question of our will – some refer to as “free will” but that is not exactly correct in the way most think free will is. We struggle to make our will and God’s will one and the same with each other. When our will agrees with God we find within our natural selves a disposition which leaves us incapable on our own to do what we know we ought to do (Romans 7:15-25). God saves us by His grace through the atonement of Jesus; He does the work in us so that it becomes our will to do for His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. We have to work out with deliberation and attention what God works in; we are not to work for own salvation, but, allowing the proper result we work it out through life practice. With undaunted faith in the complete and perfect work of the Lord for our Salvation God’s will becomes our will. We must avoid bringing an opposing will to God’s will. God’s will brings our natural desires and choices in line with His will, and the life is as natural as breathing.


July 7 – Fear That Deters Sin

“Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”” – Exodus 20:20 (NASB)

Like the promise of ‘hope’ that does not disappoint, we are more used to a ‘hope’ that lets us down. Our hope more of a wish than a sure hope in God’s promises. There is a fear that we know and think of it as a terrible and unwanted emotion. The people of Israel, at the base of Mount Sinai are receiving the Law of God, specifically the Ten Commandments. Having seen the thunder and lightning and the sounds of the trumpet and fire from the mountain top, they are deathly afraid of God and fear He is going to kill them. Moses instructs them to not respond to the phenomena with fear, they were also told to have proper fear, it’s healthy, it’s being in awe and reverence of God. Such fear deterrers sin. God’s intention is that his power and holiness stimulate fear in us, not to drive us from Him, but to drive us to Him. Fearing God means, first, fearing to abandon him as our great security and satisfaction. Romans 11:20 instructs us to stand strong through faith so that we will avoid pride and fear falling to unbelief instead.