25 Encouraging Bible Verses for Times of Uncertainty

This has been a year unprecedented in my lifetime. I have never experienced a global pandemic, and the continuing crisis permeates every aspect of life right now. One cannot escape the news updates daily. More lives lost, more people infected, more lockdowns, businesses closed, job losses, long line-ups, social distancing, and the wearing of masks is our reality now. I’ve never known a time where we are mandated to remain at home, not group together, not have physical contact with people other than those in our “cohort” groups. People are angry, fearful, depressed, and uncertain about what the future holds. You may be asking: will what we are experiencing now be permanent? Will Covid-19 be cured? Will life get back to “normal”? This is indeed a time of great uncertainty, and if you are prone to anxiety, as I am, you may be wondering where God is in all of this. Take heart! God is Sovereign. Read these scriptures to help you navigate through these and other uncertain times.

1 Chronicles 29: 10-13 “David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

1 Peter 5: 6-10 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”

Philippians 1:3-11 “I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

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.”

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.”

2 Timothy 1:7-10 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

James 1:1-6 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Romans 8: 26-28 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Colossians 3:1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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.”

Romans 8:5-6 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

1 John 4:13-18 “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Psalms 91:14-15 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Matthew 6:25-36 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 28: 18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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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Painting a Word Picture

If I liken my writing process to painting a picture…

The canvas rests precariously on the easel.  In stark contrast to the room that surrounds it, it is bleached, devoid of colour.  It has so much potential where it is, but it will never be fully realized unless splashed with colour, meticulously or haphazardly applied, dependent upon the artist’s whims.  It begs to be painted, the masterpiece vibrantly alive and vivid in the mind’s eye of the artist, but she hesitates over the canvas.  The colours are right there in front of her, the brushes poised to be picked up, but she procrastinates again wiping her hands nervously on her smock.  

This is the most difficult part of the painting: the first stroke.  The whiteness of the canvas is, in many ways, pure perfection.  There are no mistakes to wipe off and away; no regrets, no tears upon it yet.  That first stroke will change it forever.  The experiences and will of the artist will be reflected upon it, the moment she begins to paint.  That is why she hesitates.  She knows what she wants to express.  She knows the colours and the shading she wants to incorporate into the piece, but will the masterpiece in her mind come to glorious fruition on the canvas?  Has she over estimated her abilities as an artist?  Does she have the talent, or the will, to express herself in such a way that anyone who gazes upon the painting will experience the same colourful landscape she sees in her mind’s eye?  She is almost paralyzed with insecurity. 

Taking a deep breath, and whispering a sigh-like “help me” prayer, she dips her brush into the paint.  As soon as she makes that first brush stroke she is committed.  The painting takes on a will of its own.  The original picture she envisioned is changing before her eyes.  She adapts by adding hues, texture, and tones she hadn’t originally thought about using.  It’s not perfect but it’s the imperfections that give it subtle essence and depth of perspective.  She steps away many times to pace, clear her head, and rethink what her next move will be.  

She forgets to eat, the clock on the wall ticks on rhythmically, keeping time with her brush strokes.  The light dims in her studio, but still she paints on. Reluctantly, she lets the brush drop when her eyes can no longer focus on the intricacies of the work before her.  She is spent.  The canvas is still wet.  Wiping her paint splattered hands off on her smock; she sees something out of the corner of her eye and wonders if she has time to add just a dab or two more of burnt umber to highlight the scene.  Shaking her head, she wills herself to walk away.  Tomorrow will come soon enough, and though the unfinished picture still burns in her mind, she forces herself to return to some kind of normalcy that is found just outside of her studio at day’s end.  Sleepless nights and crazed days of painting, sap her of strength but she is driven to finish her work.  Her imagination now splayed in wild abandon, on the once bleached canvas, is uncontrolled and unbridled. No amount of coaxing can sway her from completing her task.   

Her family has been patient with her while she has felt the urgings of creativity pull her away from the chores of making dinners, vacuuming rugs and cleaning toilets.  Her paint projects always seem to take her far away from the trivialities of life.  Her family understands.  Subsisting on pizza and take-out while she paints, her family are her greatest cheerleaders.  It does not go unnoticed by her.  She will call them her precious inspirations.  When the painting is finished, framed and displayed on the walls of a gallery, she will trivialize her efforts in a humbling attempt to bring honour to the way her family sacrificed while she painted.  Until then, she is completely immersed in the project at hand.  

After what feels like a lifetime of effort, she jabs her brush like a rapier towards the canvas one last time.  With the conclusive splash of colour, she steps back exhausted and almost weeps at the finality of it.

In the days following the unveiling of her work, when others praise and critique her efforts, she will remember and recount the “help me” prayer lifted up in panic, moments before the first brush stroke.  She will acknowledge that without His Calling on her life, and His Gifting, she would not be able to generate the art before her.  

In the weeks that follow, there is a peaceful lull.  She cleans her studio, and her home.  She reacquaints herself once again with the routine of being a wife and mother and finds some tranquil satisfaction in her less flamboyant role as homemaker.  She all but abandons her paints and brushes in favour of this temperate existence until she remembers a new blank canvas with so much potential waiting for her in the studio.  A picture gradually develops in her mind’s eye, and she cannot abandon the thought of it.  It beckons to her until she can no longer ignore the Call and she breathlessly murmurs another “help me” prayer before she once again begins to paint.

This post was originally published on the InScribe Writer’s Online blog on May 17, 2018.

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25 Encouraging Scripture Verses For Your Pastor

Our church is currently going through a search for a new Senior Pastor.  As I prayed this morning for God to direct us in finding the next man who will lead our church in the coming years, I was mindful of the men who had previously lead our fickle flock.  To be the under-shepherd of any church, I must acknowledge can be a lonely and thankless calling, filled with discouragement and frustration.  Hurt people hurt people, and Pastors have oftentimes been caught in the crossfire! We have been blessed with great leaders who have walked our church through many seasons of life and change.

I am thankful for all Pastors who answer the Call to proclaim the Gospel each week to  wayward flocks and wary communities.  There will be 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 want to say thanks to the Pastors who teach from the Word by being faithful to the text, and for your leadership in effectively equipping the church for ministry.  Bless you in all your efforts and endeavours!  

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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