Key Verses For Unsettling Times

A good friend of mine shared a document with me yesterday with a list of verses that He has been sharing out with a regional collaboration of churches that he works with.  It’s a great idea and it inspired me to create a list for us.  Check these out.  Also, if you want a pdf of it to print out and post – email me at a.patton@newstory.church.

Covid – 19 Key Scriptures Guide

Psalm 46:1-3  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Hebrews 13:5-6  “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”

Psalm 56:3  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

2nd Timothy  1:7  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 16:33  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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.”

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.”

1st Peter 5:6-7 “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.”

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.”

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.”

1st Peter 4:12-13  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Romans 12:9-12  “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need…”

Romans 5:3-8  “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

James 1:2-5 “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.”

Philippians 1:27 – Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.

Psalm 94:18-19  “When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Key Psalms: 4, 8, 16, 18, 20, 23, 27, 30, 86, 131

Key Verses For Unsettling Times

We are still the Church

I’ve said it several times over the past week.  You’ve likely heard several others say it as well.  We have an entirely new situation in front of us.  I’ve never seen anything like this.  For centuries we’ve done a lot of things in very similar ways.  Not anymore!  But don’t forget:

We may not be gathering but we are still going as the church!

We may not be gathering but we are still the church!  Here at New Story we started using the #alonetogether hashtag in order to remind ourselves that though we are social distancing and a lot has changed, we are not alone.  So, I want to address what it actually means when we say: we are still the church.  Here are my top 4 truths behind the statement: we are still the church.  We need to remember these truths and practice them because we are still the church.

God still loves us.

Yes, this is crazy.  But remember, through every dangerous and dark situation our world has ever faced, God has loved His people.  I wonder how God has demonstrated His love for you already.  What are you seeing?

Throughout the centuries, God has demonstrated His love for His people by sustaining, not removing them from dark situations.  Think of the Holocaust, the great persecutions of Christians during the 1st through 4th Centuries and the persecutions that have occurred recently in countries around the world that are closed off to Christianity.  God tends to show His love by supporting and sustaining His people through great and terrible times.  Today is no different.  If your expectation is for God to show His love by removing this, I am afraid you will be disappointed.  We can pray for that, but I don’t have any insight into how He will answer.  Don’t let that trick you into thinking that God doesn’t love us.  He does.

We need to love the world like He does.

The rest of the world is hurting too, and we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.  So, if God does love us, then we have an opportunity to love the world in a dark and dangerous situation.

Now more than ever you have a reason to check on your neighbors.  You have a reason to reconcile with a boss you’ve been fighting with.  You have a reason to reach out to an estranged family member and demonstrate love.  God, your God – loves this world desperately.  We need to demonstrate that desperate love.

We are still called to live holy lives.

There is a lot of talk about cleanliness right now.  Wash your hands.  Use hand sanitizer.  These are all important things – by the way, you need to be doing those things.  Do everything you can to promote health including social distancing.  But we also need to keep working on doing the things that will help us live holy lives.

Check your heart and your attitudes as often as you check what is going on with the virus.  Check to see if there is sin that you need to turn away from.  Are there positive steps that you need to take and have been avoiding?  Prayer?  Studying Scripture?  Asking forgiveness?  Checking your media and entertainment intake?  If so, don’t come out of this quarantine spiritually fat.  Work now to be spiritually fit.

We still have a common mission.

Finally, there are people all around us who are innately more aware of their own mortality.  Because of that, I believe there is an opportunity to point people toward the hope that Jesus has provided through His death, burial and resurrection.  We have hope because of Him.  Not our own deeds.

When Covid 19 is all over – what will be told about us and how we lived?  I hope that the story will be told that we shared Jesus over and over and we supported the needy and loved on the lost and cared for the lonely.  That is our mission.  We still have work to do even though the world seems to be in quarantine.

We are still the Church

Problems, Fears and A Balanced Response

I’m not sure any of us have experienced anything like this before.  You would have to be living under a rock to avoid the enormous amounts of information and conversation about the Coronavirus in recent days.  Social media displays everything from fear, mockery and even legitimate suggestions.  Since we are all aware of it, I wanted to share a few thoughts:

Don’t stick your head in the sand.

There is a legitimate problem that is threatening many people.  Every individual matters and therefore when a person is sick, injured or dies, that is a terrible concern.  Yes there are many problems all around our world that place people in jeopardy, but this is another.  We shouldn’t ignore it and we shouldn’t ignore the concerns that others have.

Be a hope dealer.

If you are fearful, or if your neighbors/friends/family members are fearful – I hope that people won’t mock you.  Sadly, some of that is happening.  Christians – this should not be us.  Please don’t mock people who have fears.  Some fears are held by those who have preexisting conditions.  Some fears are there because of concern for loved ones.  Let’s acknowledge that there are fears and address that but not mock it.  In fact, when these fears come up, why not share the source of our hope – Jesus.  Encourage people.  Remind them that God sees them and cares.  Point them toward Jesus.

Handle your fears with wisdom and trust.

If you have fears – remember – we can take those fears to God and not be controlled by those fears (Philippians 4:6-7)  On the other hand – Christians, this isn’t just a trust thing.  It’s not like we can simply trust God and you won’t get sick.  You can pray about it.  You can ask God for protection but I don’t know how He will answer that prayer.  However, you can trust Him to work for your good and His glory.  You can trust that He will keep his promises to you no matter what.  I can trust that even if I grow sick and die, I have the hope of heaven.  We should use wisdom as well.  Take the normal precautionary measures.  Be wise about hygiene.  If you are sick – be wise.  Stay home.  If you are around people – don’t shake hands.  Use your elbow.  Wash your hands.  Use hand sanitizer.

Let’s help our city.

Christians, this is where we can excel.  Our world is afraid.  Please recognize this as an opportunity to point people toward Jesus.  He is why we have hope.  Our hope is found in something better than a life here where we never get sick.  Our hope is found in eternity.  Use these very real fears as a chance to talk about Jesus.

We can also excel by serving those around us.  Rather than hoarding – we should be ready to share with those in need.  The early church was not known for spreading fear and stockpiling for themselves.  The early church excelled because they were ready to help the needy and ready to share with others who were walking through difficulty.   If there are shortages – share.

How about you?  What opportunities do you see to help and encourage others with the abundance of fear around us?

Problems, Fears and A Balanced Response