May 8

Today's Bible Readings
     Numbers 15
     Psalms 52-54
     Isaiah 6
     Hebrews 13
''Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, What can man do to me'?'' (Hebrews 13:5-6)
` What do you fear today?  Fear is an interesting subject. When you research the phobias of people, it is not only fascinating but  sometimes very amusing. I was interested to discover that of all the things that caused legitimate fear, more people fear public speaking than any other thing. What do you fear today? You do not have to be weak to be afraid. Howard Hughes was afraid of germs. Alfred Hitchcock was afraid of policemen. Evil Knievel was afraid of airplanes. Dr. Sigmund Freud was afraid of trains. Augustus Caesar was afraid to sit in the dark. Even Job said, ''the thing that I feared has come upon me."
  Ann Landers, the columnist, said that she gets more than 10,000 letters a month. She also said the number one problem expressed in those letters is fear - people are afraid. They are afraid of losing their wealth, health, friends, their family, and they are afraid of failure. The sophisticated word for fear is phobia.
  Whatever your fear may be, God says you must not be a coward about it. God wants you to know that whatever evil or wrong may be in your way, He Himself has said, ''I will never leave you .. ." God's people need to fear nothing except to fear God. This is a wholesome, reverential respect for God's power. It is the beginning of wisdom.  We do  not  fear  our enemies, but we are exhorted to fear God.
  When we are children of God, we will never be a coward to anything in this world. When one fears God, he needs to fear nothing else.  When we fail to fear God, we must fear everything else. In our text, God says to us, ''I will never leave you'' so that I may boldly say, ''The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear." (Hebrews 13:5-6) In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension.  I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The only way to remove fear from our lives is to listen to God's assurance to us, and trust Him to do what He says He will do.
  ''I will never . . .forsake you .'' Sometimes there are no difficulties in life, but the drudgery of it that makes me think God will forsake me, but I hear God's assurance even in these times. Whatever your storm, and no matter how dark your night, we have God's assurance guiding us. Then the most amazing strength becomes ours, and we learn to sing even in the darkness.  Fear not!
  Because of its strategic geographic location, the Republic of Panama is relatively prosperous, and has a literacy rate of ninety one percent. They consider themselves to be 88% Christian. There was a rapid recovery in the 90's, in the desperate days of Noriega's misrule, corruption, and drug running. Now there is new hope for the future. God has commanded us to pray for those in authority, and nowhere is this more needed than in the country of Panama. The turnover of the Panama Canal and U .S. military bases took place on the first day of the new millennium. Pray for the leaders of the nation as they meet these new challenges and the many problems of the nation. 
  Pray that God will give them wisdom to administrate the affairs of this strategic country. There is a great need in the churches for a genuine holiness of light and spirituality, effective ministries to young people, ministry to families seeking to find direction, and a unity and vision in the community of faith.
  ''From  the  day  of  Pentecost,  there has not been  one great  spiritual  awakening  in  any land which has not begun  in a union  of prayer,  though  only  among  two  or  three;  no  such  outward,  upward  movement  has  continued  after  such  prayer  meetings declined.''
Dr. A.T Pierson