Bible Verses about Praying Together

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV
    if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
  • Matthew 18:19-20 ESV
    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
  • Acts 1:14 ESV
     All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
  • Acts 2:42 ESV
    And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
  • Acts 12:5 ESV
    So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
  • Acts 12:12 ESV
    When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
  • Acts 16:25 ESV
    About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
  • Romans 15:30 ESV
    I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,
  • 2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV
    You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
  • Ephesians 6:18 ESV
    praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
  • James 5:14 ESV
     Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
  • James 5:16 ESV
     Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Not wanting to be alone

My daughter announced victoriously that she had “figured it  out!”

She called  to us from the top of the stairs, declaring her grand revelation like it was the epiphany of the century.

“I know why Andrew won’t stay in his own room at night!  He doesn’t want to be…..ALONE.”

She paused for a moment of true drama and waited for us to applaud her deep psychological assessment.

We thanked her kindly.  But, of course, the truth is we knew exactly why my son wanders from his bed at night, every single night.  He shuffles sleepily to a new place because he does indeed hate being alone.  No grand revelation needed.

He knows it,  too.  I encourage him every single night to stay in his own bed until morning and  he protests right then and there: “But I don’t like being by myself.”

He doesn’t like to brush his teeth alone, or go into the bathroom alone, or  play in his room alone, and he certainly doesn’t like  sleeping in his own bed and in his own room without anyone else with him as a comfort.

So he perpetually seeks a companion. “Come with me.”

It’s not always easy, being such a relationally focused little guy, when you’re the youngest kid in the family and the only boy.

I’m generally happy and content all by lonesome self.  The quiet of “alone” is my comfort.

But my son reminds me to draw in, to invite, to be near, and to value the companionship and comfort of others.  He reminds me to look  to Jesus, to value and treasure how Christ didn’t keep us at a distance, but instead invited us in.  So, now, we never truly “go alone.”

Jesus  said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28 CSB).  He called to a tax collector, to a group of fishermen:  “Follow me” and to the rich young ruler, Jesus said the same, “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4, 9, 19).

Jesus is inviting.

Charles Spurgeon writes,

“The nature of the old covenant was that of distance…in sacred worship both at the tabernacle and the temple, the thought of distance was always prominent” (Morning  and Evening, 9/15).

Even when Moses climbed up that holy mountain to meet  with the Lord, there was a distance and separation there.  God said,“Do not come closer…Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground”  (Exodus 3:5).

This distance from God—-could I  have endured it?  All day, as I wash the dishes, as I  swap laundry out of the washer into the dryer, as I pick up children from one place and drive them to another, as I walk and as I work, I share my heart and mind with Jesus.

Friends come to mind.  I pray for them.  I think of my kids and where they are in their school day.  I pray over the class they are in and the friends they are surrounded by.

I  ask the Lord to help me and to have mercy on me, to strengthen me for the task at hand, to give me wisdom that I surely don’t have on my own, to bring me favor and to make me fruitful and flourishing.

It’s the all day, every day conversations with Jesus that become my praying without ceasing.  I don’t think I could survive a day truly alone.

What if God’s presence now was distant and unattainable?  Behind a veiled curtain?  On top of a holy mountain?  For the priest, but not for the layman?  For Moses, but not for plain old me?

Charles Spurgeon continues his thought:

When the gospel came, though, we were placed on quite another footing.  The word Go was exchanged for Come; distance gave way to nearness, and we who were once far away were made close by the blood of Jesus Christ”” (Morning and Evening, 9/15).

This changes everything.

When I see my son longing–always longing–to be with, to have time with friends and to be near his family—I feel that challenge to my own heart to treasure and not neglect the nearness Christ offers.

Isn’t it so easy to take it for granted?  To strike out on our own until it’s too hard, and then and only then call out to  Jesus for help?

And yet, Jesus’s invitation stands:  Come.  Follow Me.    This is the peace we can have in the midst of the everyday and the mundane, as well as the crisis:  Christ with us, in us, beside us,  before us.  Christ nearby so  we are never alone.

Bible Verses about the Power of God’s Voice

  • Genesis 1:3 ESV
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
  • 2 Samuel 22:14 ESV
    The Lord thundered from heaven,
        and the Most High uttered his voice.
  • Psalm 18:13 ESV
    The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
        and the Most High uttered his voice,
        hailstones and coals of fire.
  • Psalm 29:3-4 ESV
    The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
        the God of glory thunders,
        the Lord, over many waters.
    The voice of the Lord is powerful;
        the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
  • Psalm 46:6 ESV
    The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
        he utters his voice, the earth melts.
  • Psalm  68:33 ESV
    to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
        behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
  • Jeremiah 10:13 ESV
    When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
        and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
    He makes lightning for the rain,
        and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
  • Ezekiel 43:2 ESV
     And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.
  • Joel  2:11 ESV
    The Lord utters his voice
        before his army,
    for his camp is exceedingly great;
        he who executes his word is powerful.
    For the day of the Lord is great and very awesome;
        who can endure it?
  • Matthew 8:8 ESV
    But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
  • Luke 4:36 ESV
    And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!
  • John 1:1-2 ESV
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
  • Hebrews 1:3 ESV
    He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
  • Revelation 1:15 ESV
    his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.

Bible Verses about Birds

  • Genesis 1:20 CSB
    Then God said, “Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.”
  • Job 38:41 CSB
    Who provides the raven’s food
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?
  • Job 39:27-29 CSB
    Does the eagle soar at your command
    and make its nest on high?
    28 It lives on a cliff where it spends the night;
    its stronghold is on a rocky crag.
    29 From there it searches for prey;
    its eyes penetrate the distance.
  • Psalm 50:11 CSB
    I know every bird of the mountains,
    and the creatures of the field are mine.
  • Psalm 84:1-3 CSB

    How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord of Armies.
    I long and yearn
    for the courts of the Lord;
    my heart and flesh cry out for[a] the living God.

    Even a sparrow finds a home,
    and a swallow, a nest for herself
    where she places her young—
    near your altars, Lord of Armies,
    my King and my God.

  • Psalm 91:1-4 CSB

    The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
    dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.

    I will say concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God in whom I trust:
    He himself will rescue you from the bird trap,
    from the destructive plague.
    He will cover you with his feathers;
    you will take refuge under his wings.
    His faithfulness will be a protective shield.

  • Psalm 104:12 CSB
    The birds of the sky live beside the springs;
    they make their voices heard among the foliage.
  • Proverbs 27:8 CSB
    Anyone wandering from his home
    is like a bird wandering from its nest.
  • Song of Songs 2:12 CSB
    The blossoms appear in the countryside.
    The time of singing[h] has come,
    and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.
  • Isaiah 31:5 CSB
    Like hovering birds,
    so the Lord of Armies will protect Jerusalem—
    by protecting it, he will rescue it,
    by sparing it, he will deliver it.
  • Isaiah 40:31 CSB
    but those who trust in the Lord
    will renew their strength;
    they will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not become weary,
    they will walk and not faint.
  • Matthew 6:25-30 CSB
    “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add one moment to his life span[a] by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith?
  • Matthew 10:16 CSB
    “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.
  • Matthew 10:29 CSB
    Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.
  • Matthew 13:32 CSB
    It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.”
  • Matthew 23:37 CSB
    “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks[a] under her wings, but you were not willing!
  • Luke 12:24 CSB
     Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds?

Just Keep Walking

My daughter and I sat in our travel chairs, watching the soccer game.  We cheered on her teammates and told them “good work” and “way to go” when they ran over for water breaks.

Our coach cheered them on also, and she pushed them to persevere.  At one point she called out, “I don’t want to see any more walking out  there!”

We’ve heard her  say those same words at soccer practices all season.  There’s not much reason to walk around on a soccer field.  Pretty much anywhere you need to be, you need to get there fast.

My daughter, though, sat through the whole game, her crutches leaned against her chair.  She had hobbled onto the side of the field just to watch and cheer since running  (and even walking) was impossible.

She sprained her ankle in gym about a week  ago and she’s thankfully on the mend.  Today, she finally stepped onto the school bus without any crutches.

These past few days, she has moved slowly and depended on others for constant help.  Sweet friends have carried her backpack down the hallway and toted her binders from class to class.  Her kind teacher has carried her lunch tray for her.  Friends at play rehearsal have given her piggyback rides and actually carried her around as we ran through choreography.

She needed help and others have so generously given that help.

This  week  as we’ve sat on the soccer sidelines while  my daughter heals up, I’ve been thinking  about walking, running and hobbling around, and how sometimes the best we can do is a slow, painful crawl while others help us along.

Then there are times when we need to be in top form, running and running and running .  God equips us for the running seasons.  He trains and disciplines us for the sprint and He calls us out for the occasional marathon.

But that doesn’t mean we de-value the simple, faithful, daily act of walking or the seasons when walking alone takes perseverance.

“Run your own race.”  That little bit  of encouragement tells us not to give up when we’re on crutches and our best friend is zooming across finish lines.

We also remember what Isaiah said:

but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 CSB). 

We will have times that we soar.

We will have times that we run.

We will  have times that we walk.

Our pace doesn’t need to match anyone else’s, as long as we’re traveling with the Lord.

This same thought encourages me in another way.  Not just to keep going and not give up.  Not just to avoid comparing my speed with anyone else’s, choosing instead to be content with my own journey.

But also this–don’t criticize someone else’s pace.

One of my daughter’s teammates took a moment after the game to tell her, “Thanks for the support.  I hope you feel better soon.”

He thanked her—even though she had spent the game in a chair on the side of the field.

Sometimes the people around us who are limping along on crutches need us to say, “Keep it up!  You can make it!”  Sometimes, they need us to carry a binder or bookbag because they cannot do  that alone.

When we’re sprinting, it can be easy to judge others who aren’t.  But Jesus calls us to  grace.  Jesus calls us to compassion and encouragement, gentleness and kindness with our brothers and sisters.

Today, I read:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.
Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry,
for anger abides in the heart of fools (Eccles. 7:8-9)

God cultivates the patient spirit within us. 

He doesn’t say that a patient spirit is better than a “hasty” spirit or an “impatient” spirit.  He says it’s better than being proud.

That’s because it’s pride that drives haste and impatience and a rush into anger when others don’t meet our expectations or pass our judgment.

Matthew Poole’s commentary says this verse is partly “to correct the vulgar error of proud men, who think highly of themselves, and trample all others, especially such as are meek and patient, under their feet.”

May that not describe me.

In my haste, eagerness, devotion, or passion, may I never trample over others, especially the meek and patient around me.

May this also be true:  May I value the walking seasons instead of envying when others run.  May I be a cheerleader for  those around me.  May I be a help instead of a hurt to  those who might be wounded or weary.

 

Bible Verses about Walking With God

  • Genesis 5:22-24 ESV
    Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not,[b] for God took him.
  • Genesis 6:9 ESV
    These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.
  • Genesis 13:17 ESV
    Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
  • Genesis 17:1 ESV
    When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,
  • Leviticus 26:12 ESV
    And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
  • Deuteronomy 5:33 ESV
    You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
  • Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV
     You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
  • Deuteronomy 8:6 ESV
    So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.
  • Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
    And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
  • 1 Kings 2:3-4 ESV
    and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the Lord may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack[a] a man on the throne of Israel.
  • Psalm 1:1 ESV
    Blessed is the man
        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
    nor stands in the way of sinners,
        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
  • Psalm 15:1-2 ESV

    Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
        Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

    He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
        and speaks truth in his heart;

  • Psalm 26:2-3 ESV
    Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
        test my heart and my mind.
    For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
        and I walk in your faithfulness.
  • Psalm 23:4 ESV
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
        your rod and your staff,
        they comfort me.
  • Psalm 56:13 ESV
    For you have delivered my soul from death,
        yes, my feet from falling,
    that I may walk before God
        in the light of life.
  • Psalm 81:13 ESV
    Oh, that my people would listen to me,
        that Israel would walk in my ways!
  • Psalm 86:11 ESV
    Teach me your way, O Lord,
        that I may walk in your truth;
        unite my heart to fear your name.
  • Psalm 89:15 ESV
    Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
        who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
  • Proverbs 4:12 ESV
    When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
        and if you run, you will not stumble.
  • Isaiah 2:3 ESV
     and many peoples shall come, and say:
    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
        to the house of the God of Jacob,
    that he may teach us his ways
        and that we may walk in his paths.”
    For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
        and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
  • Isaiah 2:5 ESV
    O house of Jacob,
        come, let us walk
        in the light of the Lord.
  • Isaiah 35:8 ESV
    And a highway shall be there,
        and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
    the unclean shall not pass over it.
        It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
        even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
  • Isaiah 43:2 ESV
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
        and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
    when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
        and the flame shall not consume you.
  • Jeremiah 7:23 ESV
     But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’
  • Micah 4:5 ESV
    For all the peoples walk
        each in the name of its god,
    but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
        forever and ever.
  • Micah 6:8 ESV
    He has told you, O man, what is good;
        and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
        and to walk humbly with your God?
  • Malachi 2:6 ESV
     True instruction[a] was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
    for we walk by faith, not by sight.
  • Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
     But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
  • Ephesians 4:1 ESV
    I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
  • Ephesians 5:2 ESV
    And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • Colossians 1:10 ESV
    so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
  • 1 John 1:6 ESV
    If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
  • 1 John 1:7 ESV
    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Bible Verses about Drawing Near to God

  • Psalm 65:4 ESV
    Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
        to dwell in your courts!
    We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
        the holiness of your temple!
  • Psalm 73:28 ESV
    But for me it is good to be near God;
        I have made the Lord God my refuge,
        that I may tell of all your works.
  • Psalm 145:18 ESV
    The Lord is near to all who call on him,
        to all who call on him in truth.
  • Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV
    “Come, everyone who thirsts,
        come to the waters;
    and he who has no money,
        come, buy and eat!
    Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without price.
    Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
        and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
    Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
        and delight yourselves in rich food.
    Incline your ear, and come to me;
        hear, that your soul may live;
    and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
        my steadfast, sure love for David.
  • Isaiah 55:6-7 ESV
    “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
        call upon him while he is near;
    let the wicked forsake his way,
        and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
    let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
        and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
  • Zechariah 1:3 ESV
    Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
  • John 12:32 ESV
    And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
  • Hebrews 7:19 ESV
    (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
  • Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV
    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • James 4:8 ESV
    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I’m in this for the long haul

I’m a lunchbox communicator.

When my oldest girls started school, I slipped little notes of love and encouragement into their lunch bags periodically, especially for big tests or on project days.

I realized, though, that my one girl in particular would much prefer funny to sweet, so I  started writing her jokes instead of love notes.  She liked  them so much,  I ended up creating an entire collection of lunchbox-worthy jokes I found online so I’d always have something to share.

This was a big hit.  If a joke was particularly funny, my kids passed it  around their lunch table and shared with their friends.

When I started running low on material for my lunchtime comedy routine, my  friend suggested I  clip comics from the Sunday newspaper for my family.  So, for the first  time in my life, I’ve become a devotee of the “Sunday funnies,” cutting out  my favorites and tucking them into lunchboxes whenever I find a good one.

My son just started school now and he’s  an emerging reader, so he’s not quite ready for most of my go-to notes, jokes or comics.

So, one day last week I scribbled onto an index card and put it in my Andrew’s lunchbox along with his apple and goldfish.  I included a simple (very simple) drawing (I’m no artist)  of a cat wearing a top hat.  I stuck to beginner phonics and wrote,  “The cat has a hat”  and signed it, “Love,  Mom.”

That night, I ran through my “how was your day?” questions with Andrew, including, “How was lunch?”

He said, “I got your funny note.”

Simple and sweet.  It made him laugh when he found it in his bag, he said.

The next day, I packed his lunch without a note inside,  which I heard about when he got home.  “How come you didn’t make me a funny card for my lunch?”

I just hadn’t thought about it.  I didn’t know he was looking forward to  getting a note EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That’s not  so easy to  do,  by the way, if you aren’t great at drawing and you’re trying to stick to things your beginning reader can actually read.

But it made me happy that he enjoyed it, so I  made a new card that said, “Batman has a red dog” and I sketched out my version of Batman and a red canine.

That was a win.

So now when I ask him at night what he would like in his lunch for the next day, he doesn’t ask for  food of any kind.  He says, “Don’t forget to  make me a funny note if you have time.”

I’m in this for the long haul now, at least until he can read the comics in the newspaper.

And the long haul aspect of spiritual life is what I’ve been thinking about.  What is it that I’ve begun that I need the reminder to stick with or even re-engage?

I’m usually a highly-energized starter, but isn’t it so easy to grow weary?  Isn’t it so natural to slip  into doing what I’ve always done without attention, care, passion, focus—without moving forward?

In the past few years, I’ve had many ministries and relationships that God has asked me to lay down.  I’ve said goodbyes in some places so  I could start in on something new.  There have been endings and new beginnings.

I remain watchful and yielded, asking  and praying often, “Do I continue?  Do I stop?  Do I begin?  Do I  move on?”  I seek intently and purposefully to know what God would have me do or not do.

But there are some in-it-for-the-long-haul commitments where I need some intermittent reminders like Paul’s words  to the church in Corinth:

 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB).

Be steadfast.

Be immovable.

Be productive—abounding in the work of the Lord.

The only way that steadiness and faithfulness a re possible for me is because I  can remember this promise: that anything I do in the Lord is never wasted.

This i s Paul’s reminder in Galatians also:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9 ESV).

It’s the reminder of harvest that helps me not give up; the reminder that God has a purpose and a plan and a blessing; the reminder that I’m serving Him and loving Him and this is truly worship.

It’s the reminder of how He loves us so that re-energizes me for the race I’m running  and helps me keep at it, day after day, season after season.

 

 

Bible Verses about God’s Comfort

  • Psalm 23:4 ESV
    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
        I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
        your rod and your staff,
        they comfort me.
  • Psalm 71:21 ESV
    You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
  • Psalm 86:17 ESV
    Show me a sign of your favor,
        that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
        because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
  • Psalm 119:50 ESV
    This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
  • Psalm 119:52 ESV
    When I think of your rules from of old,
        I take comfort, O Lord.
  • Psalm 119:76 ESV
    Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
  • Psalm 119:81-82 ESV
    My soul longs for your salvation;
        I hope in your word.
    82 My eyes long for your promise;
        I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
  • Isaiah 12:1 ESV
    You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
  • Isaiah 40:1 ESV
    Comfortcomfort my people, says your God.
  • Isaiah 49:13 ESV
    Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
  • Isaiah 51:3 ESV
    For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
  • Isaiah 51:12 ESV
    “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass,
  • Isaiah 52:9 ESV
    Break forth together into singing,
        you waste places of Jerusalem,
    for the Lord has comforted his people;
        he has redeemed Jerusalem.
  • Isaiah 56:18 ESV
    I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners,
  • Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV
    The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
        because the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor;[a]
        he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim liberty to the captives,
        and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]
    to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor,
        and the day of vengeance of our God;
        to comfort all who mourn;
  • Isaiah 66:13 ESV
    As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
  • Jeremiah 31:13 ESV
    Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
  • Zechariah 1:17 ESV
    Cry out again, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’”
  • Matthew 5:4 ESV
    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
  • Acts 9:31 ESV
    So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV
    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:6-7 ESV
    But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
    Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
  • Philippians 2:1-2 ESV
     So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV
    Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
     17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Reminders of grace for those of us who are imperfect

It’s official.  My “baby” tugged on his sneakers, pulled his backpack onto his shoulders, grabbed up his lunchbox and headed out the door to  kindergarten this week.

In the final week of summer, we all chimed in with school-preparation tips:

When to go to the bathroom.  How to ask to  go to the bathroom.  Where he would sit on the bus.  His room number, his lunch number, his teacher’s name, and the clipchart behavior system they use at his school.

The behavior chart caught his attention.  He prayed at night that he would only ever “be on green and never have to clip down.”

At Open House, we met his teacher and he played with toy animals and dinosaurs while I signed the pile of forms.  He zipped over to  me for a quick second while I was in mid-signature to tell me that he had accidentally knocked over the animal bucket….just accidentally….but he had picked it right up because he didn’t want to clip down.

He whispered “clip down” like he was describing ultimate doom.

So with all of his focus and concern over clipping up or clipping down, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised by his last words to me before heading out to the bus on the first  day of school:

I might have to visit the principal’s office.

Wait.  What?

It wasn’t a little prophecy; it was a confession of fear.  The worst thing that could happen would be getting sent to the principal and he was worrying over that.

He didn’t visit the principal, of course.  He climbed off the bus at the end of the first  day with a good report: No clipping down.  No time out.  No conferences with the principal.

I love that he is so intent on doing the right thing and I love that the chart is really motivating him to  try hard to make  good choices.

But I have also been taking the time to counterbalance this with a conversation about grace.

Because I think he needs the reminder.  And maybe I do, too.

He’s not perfect.  He’s just a five-year-old little boy trying really hard to do the right thing and sometimes he won’t get that exactly right.

So somehow he has to learn this incredibly difficult balance between trying to do what’s right , and yet not being terrified of mistakes or paralyzed by the fear of doing the wrong thing.

After all, Jesus didn’t come to earth and die a painful, sacrificial death to atone for a bunch of people who never get it wrong.

He came because we needed His help! We needed a Savior.

I read a prayer this morning that included asking God to  bring my faults to light so He could work on them and I thought–Oh Jesus, please don’t do that!  I don’t really want to see or know or have anyone else see  or know all the ugliness of sin in me.

Later this morning, I prayed for direction and guidance, and I began to feel the pressure of getting it right, not  making a mistake, not choosing the wrong direction and ending up  in  the completely wrong place instead of where God intended.

It can start to feel like it all depends on me to do right, choose right,  be right.

So, instead of feeling the weight and the pressure of perfectionism,  I have to heave all that off of my shoulders and down at the feet of Christ.

This doesn’t depend on me.  It  is not up to me.

I read in the Psalms this reminder:

 God—he clothes me with strength
and makes my way perfect (Psalm 18:32 CSB).

I can depend on God, not on myself or my own effort.  It’s His strength I need.  And it’s God who makes “my way perfect.” I trust Him to  change me, to direct me, to help me be more like Jesus.

What I really need is to know Jesus, to love Jesus, to trust Jesus.  He cares enough about me to  forgive me,  to offer me fresh starts, and He’s big enough and strong enough to rescue me, redirect me and take me to the place He plans for me to go.

That’s why I lean into my son and I tell him, “Absolutely, I’d love for you always to be on green on the clip chart.  That’d be awesome.  But if there’s a day where you have to clip down, it’s still going to be okay.  You can just start fresh after that.  You can try again.