Help

There are times in our lives that we step genuinely into the unknown, aren’t there? 

Maybe it’s a season where things are changing so often around you that you feel like your world is spinning.

Maybe it’s a time of life that you know nothing about until you experience it: parenthood or retirement, for example.

Maybe it’s a season with new circumstances, a time of evaluating your current circumstances, or of leaving your current circumstances behind.

All of these things, and so much more, can leave us feeling apprehensive, nervous, shaken, or lost…and in need of help.

At times like that, where does our help come from?

Well, as we see in Psalm 121, our help for the journey of life comes from the highest source: our help comes from the Creator of heaven and earth (v.2). 

There are going to be times when we need to move forward with something that we have no idea how it will turn out (v.1). But, as we do, as we move forward into seasons and places and deployments and jobs about which we have little to no idea, we go with help from the most sufficient source, from the Creator of heaven and earth. We go with help from a source that is always available and never runs out (vv.3-4), protects against all that we see and don’t (vv.5-6), that offers help in every conceivable area of life, and that promises to do so now and forevermore (vv.7-8).

For you and for me, this should give us the confidence to step into each and every day of the coming season of life regardless of where we are going or what’s going on knowing that the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, goes with you.

I recently heard this truth being sung and used in worship:

When all we see is our battle

God sees His victory

When all we see is the mountain

He sees the mountain moved

God sees what you are working through, God sees and God understands and feels your frustration. God sees what you are working through and understands the anxiety, angst, and agitation that you are feeling because we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathising with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are (Hebrews 4.15). We have a source of help who felt what we feel, who knows how you are feeling, who knows what you are thinking, and who still, out of His great love for you and His own goodness and faithfulness promises to

…protect you in all you do,

now and forevermore.

(Psalm 121.8, NET)

Whatever it is then that you are working through, or are about to, whatever you are about to step into, from personal experience and Scriptural evidence I would urge and exhort you to avail the assistance, to claim the help that is yours when you have put your faith, and hope, and trust in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.


For more on Psalm 121, check out our mini-series here.

Ephesians 3.7-13

Having spoken about the Gospel and its reach (vv.1-6) Paul now expands and says that, simply, he is just a small part of a much bigger plan. 

He says that he was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace (v.7) and that he feels like he is the least worthy of all to receive such a commission (v.8). Given Paul’s history with the church and with believers (Galatians 1.13, for example) it is no surprise that he felt this way. Grace is surely amazing.

Paul goes on to lay out for the Ephesians the bigger picture goal of his commission:

“…to enlighten everyone about God’s secret plan — the mystery that has been hidden for ages in God who has created all things. The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access to God by way of Christ’s faithfulness.”

(Ephesians 3.9-12, NET)

Rather than seeing himself as central and indispensable to the plan, Paul knows that he is simply a small part of a much bigger movement. How we wish that ministers now would see themselves in the same way!

Because Paul is so secure in his role in God’s plan he is able to say to the Ephesians not to lose heart because of what I am suffering for you (v.13). When we put ourselves at the centre of our own worlds the desire to control each and every outcome grows exponentially. Paul would surely have broken down had he been trying to control his own circumstances (read about him in Acts for example). However, being anchored to someone greater and more in control brings a wonderful sense of freedom in what we are doing and how we are doing it.

Ephesians 3.1-6

Many people object to the Bible for many reasons.

They don’t like the violence recorded in the Old Testament: but pay money to watch movies or play games where violence is central and celebrated.

They question the accuracy of a book ‘written all those years ago’: but venerate Shakespeare as a literary genius despite no original and extant manuscripts surviving attributing even one major play to him ¹.

They cite differences in detail or vocabulary among accounts of the same event: but read multiple news reports of current affairs whilst accepting that ‘different news channels highlight different aspects of the event, obviously…’

Whatever the reason, many object to the Bible and feel that is nothing more than a collection of made up stories with a vaguely similar topic where a man seeks to make his own point and further his own agenda.

In Ephesians 3.1-7 Paul reassures his readers (and us) that this is not the case:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly.”

(vv.1-3NET)

Paul begins by saying that despite being in chains in Rome he is actually a prisoner of Christ Jesus…for the sake of you Gentiles. He goes on to reassure them that this he is not incarcerated for something of his own making;

We read of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to Paul for Gentile believers.

We read of how he received by revelation the mystery of God.

Paul knows that he is sharing truth with them that is totally new and that has only ever been hinted at before (vv.4-5). Rather than keep this mystery to himself he says it is

“…that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.”

(Ephesians 3.6, NET)

Many believe that the Bible, and the God it reveals, is insular and selective in the people it accepts. Here in Ephesians 3.1-6 Paul makes very clear that God loves all and wants all to be saved. This would be, it is fair to say, the last thing that a devout, well educated, pious, and zealous Jew like Paul would make up (Philippians 3.2-7, for example).

Many object to the Bible for many reasons, but to say that its human authors choose and curate a narrative that furthers their own purposes and makes themselves look good certainly does not ring true in Ephesians 3.1-6. God loves all, values all, wants all to be saved, and chose the least likely of people to communicate this wonderful truth.


¹ – For more, read here.

Ephesians 2.14-22

Having talked about the role of Jesus in bringing all to God (vv.11-13) Paul now builds on this to have his readers see the unity available in Christ. 

There is no longer an ‘us and them’ mentality among the people of God: Paul talks now of Jesus having made ‘us’ both one (Jew and Gentile). He did this through breaking down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances. Simply, Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law that separated Jews (those who sought to keep it) and Gentiles (those who did not). The law and its promise of righteousness-earnt is no longer a dividing wall between people groups.

There are no second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God. We all have access in one Spirit to the Father. We are all, regardless of ethnicity or heritage, fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. This household, we read, was built on the foundation of those closest to the Lord Himself, the apostles and prophets, but is held together, joined, stabilised, and is totally reliant on Christ Jesus (vv.20-23).

For you and for me this means that no matter who we are, no matter where are from, no matter our religious upbringing (or lack of), that we have the opportunity to be built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. We have the opportunity, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, to be first class citizens in the Kingdom of God. We have this opportunity only through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2.11-13

There are times in our lives when we feel like we’re on the outside. We feel like we’re separated from the people we want to be with, and like we’re alienated from the groups we want to be part of.

It usually takes the actions of another to bring us in from the outside. Maybe it’s a friend who notices our alienation, a person in a position of responsibility who sees that we are cut off from where we want, or need, to be.

In Ephesians 2.11-13 Paul lays out this very situation for the Gentile (non-Jewish background) believers in Ephesus:

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands— that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

(NET)

Because the Gentile believers had been, at one point, without the Messiah and alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenant of promise this had left them, simply, on the outside looking in. Would there ever be a time when they would be welcomed into the promises of God? Spoiler – (Isaiah 60.3)

As it usually takes the actions of another to bring us in from the outside, for the Gentiles it took the blood of Christ to bring us near. Citizenship of Israel counted for a great deal under the Old Covenant: it brought the bearer a special place in the heart of, and the privilege of being near to, God. Whilst that special place in the heart is still true, the privilege of being near to God is now open to all who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 9). It is, simply, only by the shed blood of Jesus and the grace of God that you and I have hope and have God. We have been brought near by the blood of Christ.