Bible Verses about Faith

  • Matthew 17:20 ESV
    He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
  • Mark 5:36 ESV
    But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”
  • Luke 1:45 ESV
    And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
  • Romans 1:17 ESV
    For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
    for we walk by faith, not by sight.
  • Ephesians 2:8 ESV
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
  • Ephesians 3:16-17a ESV
     that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith
  • All of Hebrews 11, commonly known as “the Faith Chapter”
  • Hebrews 11:1 ESV
    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
  • Hebrews 11:6 ESV
    And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
  • Hebrews 11:11 ESV
    By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
  • James 1:3 ESV
    for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
  • James 1:6 ESV
    But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
  • 1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV
    Though you have not seen him, you love him.Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
  • 1 John 5:4 ESV
    For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

 

Stepping off the ark

My fifth grader has begun quizzing me about “backpack rules” in  middle school.  Will  she need to use her regular backpack? Will the teachers require a string bag instead?  Will she have binders for her classes and, if so, could they possibly fit into a string bag or  will she need a brand new extra-large string bag, perhaps?

She entertains new thoughts daily about whether to choose band or chorus.  Yesterday, it was definitely band but maybe chorus.  How could she decide and how will this decision impact future high school and career decisions?

A season of new.   That  is where we are.  This school year,  my oldest started high school  and  my baby started kindergarten.   Next year, I  have another daughter heading to high school for the first time and this girl starting middle school.

From a year of new to another year of new.

Fresh starts and new beginnings are exhilarating and terrifying.  But there’s a whole added layer of making decisions in the midst of that .  I’ve been coaching my kids  to pray personally because I can’t choose for them and I don’t know the perfect  answer or how to chart their course for every decision in the future.

I can pray for them, but I can’t pray instead of them.  They have to begin to  “take it to the Lord in prayer.”

We all tremble a bit on the edges of these new things,  and I wonder how it is that Noah walked off of that ark into an absolutely brand new, completely fresh start of a world.

I’ve always imagined Noah and his family sprinting out of the ark  like they were five-year-olds coming downstairs on Christmas morning.

Hurray!  No more feeding and cleaning animals.   No more  confinement.   No more lack of fresh air and limited sunlight.   No more stench and no more noise and no more confined space without anywhere to breathe and to be alone.

Who wouldn’t want off the ark?

This year, for the first time ever, I’ve wondered if it was perhaps hard to leave.

Noah took decades to build the ark, and then he and his family lived on the ark for about another year.

That’s maybe around 80 years of his life fully invested in the ark—the preparation of the ark, the moving onto the ark and all  of the day-to-day grind of living on the ark.

The ark wasn’t just confining, it was also salvation.  The ark was refuge, protection, assurance of God’s promises and His mighty hand.  The ark was safe and it was an ever-present reminder of God’s holinesss and His mercy.

Everything they knew about the pre-flood world would be different when they stepped off that ship.  All the people  they knew,  all the cities they had seen, all the geography and landscape and weather gone or changed.

They had to leave the ark they knew to step into a world they no longer knew.

How exactly did Noah do it?  How did he keep sending out the raven and the doves in hopes they’d find dry land,  knowing that that ark was a temporary stopping place?

Me—I’m not a  fan of temporary.  And I’m not one to eagerly anticipate a revolutionary life change.

But Noah kept moving forward, obedient to the call to build, obedient to the call to move in, obedient to the call to move out.

God said to Noah:

“Come out of the ark…” (Genesis 5:15-16 NIV).

This is what Noah did:

So Noah came out…Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (Genesis 5:18&20 NIV).

Noah obeyed and Noah worshiped.  He didn’t know what this new life in this new world would be like.  He simply exited the old ark and immediately built the altar of praise.

Maybe Noah’s willingness to keep moving forward with the Lord came from his long testimony of  God being faithful.  What God said, He did.  What God promised, came to be.

Noah could recall the Word of the Lord, the moment those firsts animals showed up in pairs to enter the ark, how God shut the door with His own mighty hand, how the rains came just as God said, and how the flood waters rose—and how God saved them.

God was faithful.  God would always be faithful.

Isn’t this true for me?  Isn’t this true for us?  We have the testimony of God’s faithfulness to help us be brave, to help us obey with courage, to help us take one more step forward and then another.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15 ESV

Bible Verses about God’s Presence

  • Exodus 33:14 NASB
    And He said, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”
  • Joshua 1:9 NASB
    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
  • Psalm 16:11 NASB
    You will make known to me the path of life;
    In Your presence is fullness of joy;
    In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
  • Psalm 23:4 NASB
    Even though I walk through the [d]valley of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil, for You are with me;
  • Psalm 27:4 NASB
    One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
    That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    To behold the beauty of the Lord
    And to meditate in His temple.
  • Psalm 41:12 NASB
    As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
    And You set me in Your presence forever.
  • Psalm 51:10-11 NASB
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
    11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
    And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
  • Psalm 73:28 NASB
    But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    That I may tell of all Your works.
  • Psalm 100:2 ESV
      Serve the Lord with gladness!
        Come into his presence with singing!
  • Psalm 139:7-10 NASB
    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
    If I take the wings of the dawn,
    If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
    10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
    And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
  • Psalm 140:13 NASB
    Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
    The upright will dwell in Your presence.
  • Isaiah 57:15 NASB
    For thus says the high and exalted One
    Who [a]lives forever, whose name is Holy,
    “I dwell on a high and holy place,
    And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
    In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
    And to revive the heart of the contrite.
  • Jeremiah 29:13 NASB
    You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
  • Matthew 18:20 NASB
    For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.
  • Matthew 28:20b NASB
    and lo, I am with you ]always, even to the end of the age.”
  • John 1:14 NASB
    And the Word became flesh, and [a]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [b]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • John 14:16 NASB
    I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [a]Helper, that He may be with you forever
  • John 14:23 NASB
    Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
  • Hebrews 4:16 NASB
    Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Hebrews 10:19-22 NASB
    Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [h]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Hebrews 13:5 NASB
    Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
  • James 4:8 NASB
     Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  • Revelation 21:3 NASB
     And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[

Bible Verses about the Lord’s Lovingkindness

  • Nehemiah 9:17 NASB
    They refused to listen,
    And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
    So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
    But You are a God of forgiveness,
    Gracious and compassionate,
    Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
    And You did not forsake them.
  • Psalm 17:7 NASB
    Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
    O Savior of those who take refuge [a]at Your right hand
    From those who rise up against them.
  • Psalm 25:6 NASB
    Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
    For they have been from of old.
  • Psalm  26:3 NASB
    For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
    And I have walked in Your truth.
  • Psalm 36:7 NASB
    How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
    And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
  • Psalm 36:10 NASB
    O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
    And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
  • Psalm 40:11 NASB
    You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
    Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.
  • Psalm  42:7-8 NASB
    Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
    All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
    The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
    And His song will be with me in the night,
    A prayer to the God of my life.
  • Psalm  48:9 NASB
    We have thought on Your lovingkindness, O God,
    In the midst of Your temple.
  • Psalm 51:1 NASB
    Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
    According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
  • Psalm 63:3 NASB
    Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
    My lips will praise You
  • Psalm 69:16-17 NASB
    Answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good;
    According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,
    17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
    For I am in distress; answer me quickly.
  • Psalm 89:1-2 NASB
    I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever;
    To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
    For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
    In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”
  • Psalm 92:1-2 NASB
    It is good to give thanks to the Lord
    And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
    To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
    And Your faithfulness by night,
  • Psalm  98:3 NASB
    He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
    All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
  • Psalm 103:1-5 NASB
    Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
    Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    And forget none of His benefits;
    Who pardons all your iniquities,
    Who heals all your diseases;
    Who redeems your life from the pit,
    Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
    Who satisfies your [a]years with good things,
    So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
  • Psalm 107:43 NASB
    Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
    And consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.
  • Psalm 117:2 NASB
    For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
    And the truth of the Lord is everlasting.
    Praise the Lord!
  • Psalm 119:76 NASB
    O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
    According to Your word to Your servant.
  • Psalm 119:88 NASB
    Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
    So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.
  • Psalm 119:149 NASB
    Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
    Revive me, O Lord, according to Your ordinances.
  • Psalm 138:2 NASB
    I will bow down toward Your holy temple
    And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your [a]truth;
    For You have magnified Your [b]word [c]according to all Your name.
  • Psalm 143:8 NASB
    Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning;
    For I trust in You;
    Teach me the way in which I should walk;
    For to You I lift up my soul.
  • Psalm 144:2 NASB
    My lovingkindness and my fortress,
    My stronghold and my deliverer,
    My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
    Who subdues my people under me.
  • Hosea 2:19 NASB
    “I will betroth you to Me forever;
    Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
    In lovingkindness and in compassion”
  • Isaiah 54:8 NASB
    “In an outburst of anger
    I hid My face from you for a moment,
    But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
    Says the Lord your Redeemer.
  • Isaiah 63:7 NASB
    I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord,
    According to all that the Lord has granted us,
    And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
    Which He has granted them according to His compassion
    And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.
  • Jeremiah 31:3 NASB
    The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,
    “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

Bible Verses About Being Devoted to God

  • 1 Kings 8:61 CSB
    Be wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord our God to walk in his statutes and to keep his commands, as it is today.”
  • 1 Kings 11:4 NASB
    For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9 CSB
    or the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.”
  • Psalm 31:6 CSB
    I hate those who are devoted to worthless idols,
    but I trust in the Lord.
  • Matthew 6:24  NASB
    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
  • Acts 1:14 NASB
     These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
  • Acts 2:42 NASB
    They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
  • Acts 6:2-4 NASB
     So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
  • Acts 11:23 CSB
    When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged all of them to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts,
  • Acts 18:5 NASB
    But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the [a]Christ.
  • Romans 12:10-12 NASB
    Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
  • 1 Corinthians 7:35 CSB
    I am saying this for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is proper and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:15 CSB
    Brothers and sisters, you know the household of Stephanas: They are the firstfruits of Achaia and have devoted themselves to serving the saints.
  • Colossians 4:2 CSB
    Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.

Scary Noises, Hiding in Closets, and Faith over Fear

Last summer,  my girls arrived home from camp exhausted and carrying loads of dirty laundry packed into their overnight bags.  They needed some post-camp rest and recovery time at home while I started in on the loads of laundry.

They came home a few days after July 4th, but a nearby community had saved their fireworks display for that weekend so I gave my girls the option:  Come with us to the fireworks that night or stay home and rest while we go.  (Hurray for having teenagers old enough to stay home on their own and babysit when needed!).

So, off we went to the celebration while they hung out in their rooms in the comfort of their own home.

A few minutes into our fireworks display, though, my daughter called me, sounding terrified:  There were strange “squeaking” noises outside in the yard.

Squeaking?

Yes, squeaking.

I coached her through some possible scenarios and made sure she didn’t hear anyone at the door or in the house.  They didn’t sound in danger, so  I suggested maybe something was making that sound in our neighbor’s yard.  Could they just peek outside the window or a door and see what the noise was?

No way!   She and her sister were staying as far away from windows and doors as possible.

In fact, they had hidden themselves away, locking the bedroom door and hunkering down in a closet.  My one girl had grabbed her bo staff from her karate classes.  My other daughter was weaponless, so  she grabbed a hobby horse from her brother’s closet, figuring (I guess) that it was part stick and could therefore be weaponized.

I  messaged my neighbors, and kept in contact with my girls while we drove home.  Then I finally tracked down the source of the “squeaking.”  One of our neighbors had set off some backyard fireworks that night, including some that screamed and squealed when lit.   Mystery solved.

But my daughters still felt a little shaken.  The karate bo staff didn’t make it back into the closet for a few days.  I took the time to review the emergency phone numbers we kept by the phone and how to call our neighbors for help if they ever needed it.

Looking  back, of course, we could all have a good laugh.  A neighbor sets off some fireworks and my kids lock themselves in closets with sticks.

Still, I get fear.  I get what it’s like to hide away, to  cry out for help, and to grab frantically for defense when I feel trapped or attacked.  I get how fear paralyzes and how it backs you into a corner.

In the book of Mark, I read about how the disciples scattered in terror when Judas betrayed Jesus.  The Roman soldiers marched into the garden where Jesus was praying and they marched out again with Jesus as their prisoner.

Mark says:

Then they all deserted him and ran away  (Mark 14:50 CSB).

Unlike most of the others,  Peter had enough courage to linger nearby.   He “followed him at a distance, right  into the high priest’s courtyard” (Mark 14:54 CSB).

How brave would I have been?  Would I have scattered?  Would I have followed at a distance?  Would I have stormed into the trial and tried to  defend Jesus or instead hunched by the fire so that no one knew I was his follower?

Would I have denied Jesus as Peter did that night, three times pretending not to know Jesus when people asked?

I think perhaps Peter was braver and more courageous than I could have been.  He loved Jesus enough to follow that mob of soldiers and stayed nearby even thought he risked being caught himself.

The notes in my Bible say this about Peter, though:

…as with many believers, he allowed his human fears to overcome his spiritual  resources, which were available to give him strength for the difficult times.

My girls heard a scary, unidentifiable noise and they reached for every resource they had available:  a phone call to mom, a lock on a bedroom door, and some big sticks (including a hobby horse).

What do I grab for when I’m afraid?

God has equipped us with these spiritual resources:  HIS Word, HIS Character, HIS Strength, HIS Promises, HIS Spirit, HIS fruit.

May I never allow my human fears to overcome all that God gives me.  May I learn to rely on who God is, on His great love, and on His might and His mercy instead of any human strength (weak as it is) I can muster on my own.

As the Psalmist said:

When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?  (Psalm 56:3-4 CSB).  

 

 

Bible Verses about God Rescuing Us

  • 2 Samuel 22:17-20 ESV
    “He sent from on high, he took me;
        he drew me out of many waters.
    18 He rescued me from my strong enemy,
        from those who hated me,
        for they were too mighty for me.
    19 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
        but the Lord was my support.
    20 He brought me out into a broad place;
        he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
  • Psalm 5:10 ESV
    All my bones shall say,
        “O Lord, who is like you,
    delivering the poor
        from him who is too strong for him,
        the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
  • Psalm  18:16-19 ESV
    He sent from on high, he took me;
        he drew me out of many waters.
    17 He rescued me from my strong enemy
        and from those who hated me,
        for they were too mighty for me.
    18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
        but the Lord was my support.
    19 He brought me out into a broad place;
        he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
  • Psalm 32:7 ESV
    You are a hiding place for me;
        you preserve me from trouble;
        you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
  • Psalm  34:4 ESV
    I sought the Lord, and he answered me
        and delivered me from all my fears.
  • Psalm 35:17 ESV
    How long, O Lord, will you look on?
        Rescue me from their destruction,
        my precious life from the lions!
  • Psalm 43:1 ESV
    Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
        against an ungodly people,
    from the deceitful and unjust man
        deliver me!
  • Psalm 69:13-14 ESV
    But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
        At an acceptable time, O God,
        in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
    14 Deliver me
        from sinking in the mire;
    let me be delivered from my enemies
        and from the deep waters.
  • Psalm 71:2 ESV
    In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
        incline your ear to me, and save me!
  • Psalm 72:12-14 ESV
    For he delivers the needy when he calls,
        the poor and him who has no helper.
    13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
        and saves the lives of the needy.
    14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
        and precious is their blood in his sight.
  • Psalm 82:3-4 ESV
    Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
        maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
    Rescue the weak and the needy;
        deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  • Psalm 91:14-15 ESV
    “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
        I will protect him, because he knows my name.
    15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
        I will be with him in trouble;
        I will rescue him and honor him.
  • Psalm 107:19 ESV
    Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
  • Psalm 140:1 ESV
    Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
        preserve me from violent men,
  • Psalm 142:6 ESV
    Attend to my cry,
        for I am brought very low!
    Deliver me from my persecutors,
        for they are too strong for me!
  • Psalm 143:9 ESV
    Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
        I have fled to you for refuge.
  • Psalm 144:7 ESV
    Stretch out your hand from on high;
        rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
        from the hand of foreigners,
  • Proverbs 11:8 ESV
    The righteous is delivered from trouble,
        and the wicked walks into it instead.
  • Isaiah 41:10 ESV
    fear not, for I am with you;
        be not dismayed, for I am your God;
    I will strengthen you, I will help you,
        I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Jeremiah 20:13 ESV
    Sing to the Lord;
        praise the Lord!
    For he has delivered the life of the needy
        from the hand of evildoers.
  • Daniel 3:17 ESV
     If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
  • Daniel  6:27 ESV
    He delivers and rescues;
    he works signs and wonders
        in heaven and on earth,
    he who has saved Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”
  • Joel 2:32 ESV
    And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.
  •  Matthew 6:13 ESV
    And lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
    No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
  •  2 Corinthians 1:10
    He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
  • Colossians 1:13 ESV
    He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
  • 2 Timothy 4:18 ESV
     The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
  • Hebrews 13:6 ESV
    So we can confidently say,

    “The Lord is my helper;
        I will not fear;
    what can man do to me?”

Bible Verses about Sincerity

  • Joshua 24:14 NASB
    Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the [c]River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:12 ESV
    For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:17 ESV
     For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:8 NASB
    I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV
     But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
  • 1 Timothy 1:5 ESV
    The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
  • 2 Timothy 1:5 ESV
    I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.
  • 1 Peter 1:22 ESV
    Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure hear
  • James 3:17 ESV
    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
  • 2 Peter 3:1 ESV
    This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,

When Preparation is Beautiful (not just painful)

My son tried counting the trees the other day.

During the 15 minute car-ride to his friend’s house, he counted first one tree and then another in someone’s front yard.  Then a clump of trees a few houses down.

Then we passed a stretch of  woods and his counting sped up faster and faster until he finally gave up because it was just impossible.  “There are  just so many trees prepared for snow,”  he said.

So that  was  it.  He wasn’t just counting any old random tree.   He counted only the ones he considered to be “prepared for snow.”

And what could that possibly mean, anyway?   How does a tree, in fact, “prepare for snow?”

He explained it to me.  Trees that lose all their leaves are ready for the snow to come, but trees that are still holding tightly onto their leaves simply aren’t prepared yet.

This matters,  of course,  because my six-year-old son is quite, quite ready for some snow here in Virginia.   It’s January and there’s not a flake in  the forecast.  He’s getting a bit anxious that it won’t every come, so seeing the barren trees along the stretch of road outside our neighborhood gives him hope.

I’d never thought about a leafless tree in that way before—not barren or dormant or dreary  or fruitless or any of those things that seem lifeless and beauty-less.  I’ve enjoyed the greenest of spring and summer trees and the radiance of the fall color-filled trees, but I’ve never looked at an empty tree and thought of it as prepared for something beautiful.

This shifts my perspective a bit.

When I’ve slogged through mudpits of discouragement or loss, mourning, grief,  disappointment, or anxiety, I’ve felt emptied out.

I have lost.  I have mourned.   I have waited (impatiently most of the time).   I have let go.  I have wished for the sign of something new, the assurance that this is not the end and that there is still  reason to have hope.

What if all that feeling of being emptied out, of having to let go, is truly preparation?

I am not dead; I am awaiting new life.

I have shed the old.  I am ready for the beautiful covering of something gloriously hushed and holy.

Scripture tells us that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy  of Isaiah,  calling out into the wilderness:

“‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him'” (Matthew 3:3 NIV). 

We don’t always see the work of preparation being done in others.   We don’t see what Noah went through day after day to built the ark.   Or all that God did in Abraham’s life or Mary’s life to  prepare their hearts for radical obedience to a divine call.

Maybe that’s why I can be so impatient with the process.  I see them fulfilling,  but not preparing,  and preparation can feel so painful, long,  or  hopeless.  I personally don’t want to let go.  I don’t want to be emptied out.   I don’t want to sorrow or lose.   I don’t want to shed the old.

And I do not want to wait and wait  and wait for the beauty of the new or the next.  I  would like God always to be at work in grand and apparent ways now, now,  now.

But John the  Baptist called out to  anyone who would listen so  that they would “prepare!”  Prepare their hearts and minds and lives  for God’s new work–the  Messiah,  the fulfillment of promise and all their longing.

They were to make straight paths for Him.

Could this be me? Could this be us?

Can I yield to  the work of preparation?  Instead of throwing up obstacles or complaints, instead of trying to hold onto the past or force something new, can I make straight paths for the Lord to be at work in my life, in my heart, in my mind,  in my relationships, in my ministry,  in my work?

My focus then isn’t on all  the circumstances I’m in, and I’m no longer straining my eyes to see any glimpse or  sign that God is working in the  landscape  around me.

My focus is on  what  God is doing within me.  How can my heart be ready?  How can my mind be ready?  How can my life be ready, paths made straight, for the Lord to fulfill His  plans–whatever they may be and whenever they may come?

Am I prepared for snow?  Not languishing in a waiting period….but prepared for  the beauty of  a new  season and ready to receive all that God has planned?

 

 

Bible Verses about Preparation

  • Exodus 23:20 ESV
    Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
  • Proverbs 6:6-8 CSB
    Go to the ant, you slacker!
    Observe its ways and become wise.
    Without leader, administrator, or ruler,
    it prepares its provisions in summer;
    it gathers its food during harvest.
  • Proverbs 22:3 CSB
    A sensible person sees danger and takes cover,
    but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.
  • Proverbs 24:27 CSB
    Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field;
    afterward, build your house.
  • Matthew 24:44 CSB
     This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  • Luke 12:47 CSB
    And that servant who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it[a] will be severely beaten.
  • Luke 14:28 CSB
    “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
  • Luke 21:36 CSB
    But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”
  •  1 Corinthians 9:24 CSB
    Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.
  • Ephesians 2:10 ESV
     For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
    preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
    Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 CSB
    but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.