25 Encouraging Scripture Verses for Your Pastor

Today is our Pastor’s Birthday.  As I prayed this morning for this man, this wonderful under-shepherd of our church, God prompted me to also compile and pray Scripture over him.  Our Pastor has a fickle flock, as do most Pastors I suppose.  It is sometimes a lonely and thankless calling, filled with discouragement and frustration.  There are countless distractions in a Pastor’s life and spiritual attack is prevalent in this line of work.  I love this quote from R.C. Sproule: “Your task, O preacher, is to make sure that you are faithful to the text, that you are faithful to the proclamation of that gospel, that you are faithful to set forth the whole counsel of God, and then step back and let it happen.”

I am thankful for our Pastor who answered that Call to proclaim the Gospel each week to a sometimes wayward flock and often wary community.  Thank-you, Pastor for teaching us from the Word by being faithful to the text, and for your leadership in effectively equipping us for ministry.  May WE as the Church be grateful, and appreciative of all your hard work and support you in all your efforts!

Ephesians 4:11-12  “ So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

1 Peter 5:1-4  “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

Proverbs 27:23  “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;”

Romans 10:14  “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

1 Timothy 3:1-7  “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.  Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

Psalm 119:130  “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

2 Timothy 4:2  “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

Titus 1:7-9  “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

Acts 20:28  “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Hebrews 13:17  “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

1 Corinthians 15:58  “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Jeremiah 3:15  “Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

Mark 16:15  “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Colossians 1:28-29  “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”

Isaiah 55:10-11  “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Galatians 6:9  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Isaiah 40:31  “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

1 Peter 3:15  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”

Philippians 4:19  “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 9:14  “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”

2 Corinthians 5:18  “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:”

2 Corinthians 4:1-5  “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

1 Timothy 3:13  “Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 3:12-17  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

1 Corinthians 9:22-27  “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.   I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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25 Verses of Comfort For Those Grieving a Suicide

“Someone you know has committed suicide. And now you are facing a very hard, dark reality. You feel rocked, hurt, betrayed, and confused. You are experiencing a whole range of emotions and reactions, and each one is painful.

Your initial reaction was probably shock and disbelief. Now you are trying to make sense of what happened. How do you come to terms with the suicide of someone you know? Can you make any sense out of such a senseless act? And how does knowing God make a difference as you grieve?”

Dr. David Powlison posed those questions in an article  he wrote in 2010.  These were the exact questions I wrestled with this year when one of my former students committed suicide.  Attending his funeral, I had so many emotions churning inside of me, and the primary question, “Why?” haunted my waking thoughts.  As I have watched his parents and family grieve the loss of their beloved son, they modeled how to seek God’s comfort during the darkest time of their lives.

As Powlison states in his article, “…God, in the Bible, doesn’t offer you platitudes and pat answers. He gives you something much better—in response to your sorrow, your emotions, and your unanswered questions, he gives you Himself.”

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.  For those who are grieving a suicide, I offer the following 25 verses of comfort.  I pray they will be a balm for your aching heart.  For those who are contemplating suicide, I beseech you to talk to someone!  You are not alone!  You are loved and you have great worth to God, to your family, friends, and community! Reach out and ask for help!  I have listed several websites here in Canada and the U.S. for you to contact:

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566)

Kid’s Help Phone (1 800 668 6868) or Text “CONNECT” to 686868

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – U.S.A.  (1-800-273-8255)

 

Psalm 61:1-2  “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Revelation 21:4  “ “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 147:3  “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 73:26  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

John 14:1-4  ““Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Matthew 5:4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Romans 8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14  “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.   For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

2 Corinthians 5:1  “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

Romans 14:8  “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”

John 10:27-29  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Psalm 46: 1-7  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.  Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

1 Corinthians 15:54-57  “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

John 11:25-26  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Proverbs 12:28  “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.”

Psalm 23:4  “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

1 Corinthians 15:42-44  “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

Philippians 3:20-21  “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

1 Peter 1:3-5  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”

1 John 3:1-2  “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Psalms 119:50  “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.”

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

 

 

 

 

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes!

Smoke obscures our view.

For the last several weeks here in Alberta, we have been under a thick blanket of smoke that has traveled over the Rockies from over five hundred wild fires burning in our neighbouring province of British Columbia.  The financial toll of fighting those fires continues to grow and there is a state of emergency in B.C. for many communities who are on evacuation alerts.  My prayers have been with all the first responders and those brave firefighters who are on the front lines combatting the raging fires.  I can’t even imagine the terrible conditions those men and women face daily.  To say that I am grateful for their service is a vast understatement!

Here on the Ponderosa, I haven’t seen our beloved mountain view due to smoke for weeks and even though the temperature has been 30 C or better on most days, sitting out on the deck to take advantage of the warmth has been nearly impossible.  The smoke permeates the air, making it difficult to see and breathe during the day and making it impossible to sleep at night.  I can’t seem to rid my home of the constant campfire smell.  Both my husband and I are hacking and coughing and we don’t even suffer as others who might have asthma and the like.  Our air quality here in Calgary and the surrounding area has hit new records of bad.  Again, I can’t imagine how people are handling the conditions on the doorstep of some of these terrible fires.  Someone said that this may be our new “normal” every year.  We cannot seem to stop wildfires from beginning from lightening strikes, but what is distressing is how many fires are started by human carelessness.

I find that the air quality and smoke is very claustrophobic.  I have never felt it this badly before.  The sun is this red ball in the sky, and the blood, red moon rises eerily at night.  Animals at the zoo are being given oxygen to help them breathe.  Children play indoors.  It is an oppressive atmosphere that has many in a foul mood, myself included.

Last week, I got into a conversation with someone who commented that they wondered if this was one of the signs of the Apocalypse.  I laughed at first, but her comments stayed with me for a long time.  I’m not an expert in “end times” events, although I know there are many that are pointing towards world events now and aligning them with prophesies in the Bible.  I know Jesus will return one day and I long for that day, but I don’t know the hour, so I pray I will be found ready and prepared for His return.  Still, I couldn’t help think that there are those who are NOT ready and if they have been struggling with the effects of smoke and fire over the past few weeks, they have no concept of what awaits them if they continue to reject Christ!

I have a wise friend who is praying that these smoky conditions will prompt more people to think about end times.  Perhaps this will spur people to seek the Truth of God’s Word, and the saving knowledge of the Gospel so they will escape the eternal fires of hell.

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”  Matthew 13:40-43

In Scripture, fire represents the literal fire of God’s wrath and destruction, to the symbolic imagery of vision, baptism and judgement.  Fire from heaven reigned down upon Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24)  Fire is a refining element. (1 Corinthians 3:13)  Smoke and fire have been indicative of God’s presence.  (Exodus 19:18; Exodus 24:17; Isaiah 6:4)  Fire symbolizes baptism, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 3:16; Matthew 3: 11-12; Acts 2:3-4).

God’s Word is powerful.  I am thankful to know that our Sovereign God is in control even in the midst of the fire and smoke!

 

 

 

 

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