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Archive | God Is My Refuge

9 Bible Verses to Comfort the Lonely

Bible verses on lonelinessHave you ever been lonely? Perhaps you’re lonely now. You can feel lonely even in a crowd without a close companion by your side.

People leave. Death and distance separate loved ones. Relationships dissolve. Trouble and time tear us apart.

Even the most loving and dependable people will eventually leave us. Christians will face hardship, loneliness, and a multitude of other trials. But there is One who will never forsake us. One who is always for us.

May these Scriptures from God’s Word give you peace and comfort as you draw close to the One who will never leave you.

  1. Deuteronomy 31:6 – God is with you in the midst of any and every fearful and difficult circumstance.
  2. Psalm 118:6-7 – The LORD is with you! He is your Helper and Victor.
  3. Psalm 9:9-10 – The Lord’s sheltering presence is safe and reliable. He will never forsake those who seek Him.
  4. Psalm 68:5-6 – God draws close to those who are lonely and provides for them. He is a “father to the fatherless” and He “sets the lonely in families.”
  5. Isaiah 41:10 – God holds you in His hand. He will help you and give you strength.
  6. Lamentations 3:22-24 – The LORD is all you need. He is faithful, loving, and compassionate to those who wait for Him.
  7. John 14:16-21 – The Lord’s presence is permanent and intimate.
  8. Romans 8:39 – Nothing can ever separate you from Jesus and His love.
  9. 2 Timothy 4:16-18 – Even if everyone else deserts you, the Lord will stand at your side and strengthen you.

Even if you feel alone, you can trust that God is with you. Ask Him to comfort you with His faithful presence today.

Which verse spoke most to your heart today? Why?

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12 Favorite Bible Verses for Comfort & Encouragement

God’s Word is amazing! In the Bible, God reveals Himself, His will, and His ways to us. But that’s just the beginning of its mighty depths. Some of my favorite Bible verses are ones that comfort and encourage.

In my last two posts, I’ve given two different Bible verse “lists.”

Let’s keep this theme going just a bit longer. Today, I want to share a list of 12 verses that have been a source of comfort and encouragement for me.

Comfort Bible versesPerhaps you’re going through a season of difficulty and trial. Or maybe someone who is close to you is struggling. The following 12 verses can be like a balm to your soul.

  1. Deuteronomy 31:8 – God goes before and with us. We do not have to be afraid or discouraged because He will never leave or forsake us.
  2. Psalm 9:10 – God never forsakes those who seek Him.
  3. Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength.
  4. Psalm 73:25-26 – No matter what we lose in this life, we have God and He is all we need.
  5. Isaiah 40:31 – God renews the strength of those who hope in Him.
  6. Isaiah 43:2 – When we face difficulties, God goes with us.
  7. Jeremiah 32:17 – Nothing is too hard for our God.
  8. Matthew 11:28-30 – Jesus invites us to bring our burdens to Him.
  9. Romans 8:39 – Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
  10. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 – The world may press us hard, but God’s strength and presence will not allow us to be crushed.
  11. 1 Peter 5:7 – God cares about us and every aspect of our lives.
  12. 1 John 4:4 – God is far greater than Satan.

These verses are merely a small sample of the amazing truths about God’s great love and care for us. I’d love for you to share your favorites in the comments below. Rest in His loving embrace today!

 

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When God is All We Have

People leave. Sometimes by choice; sometimes it’s out of their control. But they still leave. Close friends move away. Family members get sick. Relationships fall apart. Their absence leaves holes in our lives. Occasionally others help fill the gap. But often, no one does and loneliness rushes in.

Have you ever been lonely? Perhaps you are lonely now. Loneliness is sadness caused by the absence of companionship. That’s why it can press in on us even in a crowd. The simple presence of people cannot push away loneliness. Only a caring companion can alleviate that feeling of isolation.

Even the most loving and dependable people will eventually leave us. Death and distance separate loved ones. Trouble and time tear us apart. But there is One who will never leave us or forsake us. Absolutely nothing can separate you from Jesus and His love. If you have entered into a saving relationship with Jesus, His Spirit is always present with you.

Romans 8, Jesus' love

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. Romans 8:38-39, NIV

These beautiful and comforting words, penned by the apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome, flowed from personal experience. The loving presence of Christ stayed close to him in difficult and lonely times. Paul acknowledged Christians will face hardship, loneliness, and a multitude of other trials. Yet, in the midst of them, we are not alone.

All others may leave us, but Jesus never will. Everyone else may be against us, but Jesus is always for us. Jesus’ presence and love is sufficient.

Are you lonely today? How can God’s truth overcome your feelings and help you to sense His presence?

Note: This post was adapted from “God Is My Refuge: 12 Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times”

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A Giveaway for Mother’s Day

Mother's DayThe approach of Mother’s Day reminds me of one of my favorite childhood memories.  Many years I got to stand at the front on the church with 5 other children and hold a big sign displaying a single capital letter. Sometimes I even got to make my letter sign with Elmer’s Glue and a bottle of gold glitter. And as we held our signs high, we sang:

M is for the many things she gave me.

O means only that she’s growing old.

T is for the tears she shed to save me.

H is for her heart of purest gold.

E is for her eyes with love light shining.

R means right and right she’ll always be.

Put them all together they spell Mother, a word that means the world to me.

Those messy signs and that song were a child’s tribute to her mother on her special day. Our moms deserve the attention and the thanks.

God is My Refuge by Kathy HowardIn honor of Mother’s Day 2013, I’m giving away a copy of “God is My Refuge.” This 12-week devotional book encourages women with God’s Word on topics like grief, need, illness, fear, broken relationships, and more. (Learn more about it here.)

For a chance to win it for a mom in your life – or for yourself – simply leave a comment below. Tell us why you’d like to win or share a memory of your mom or just say “hi!” You can multiply your entries by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter. Just leave another comment that you shared it.

The contest closes Wednesday at 10 am. As soon as I can get the winner’s mailing address I will drop the book in the mail. Hopefully to arrive before Mother’s Day!

Let the comment entries begin!

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More Questions than Answers

It’s been three days since the tragic bombing in Boston. Three are dead and more than 150 injured. Every available resource is working to find the answers to questions like these:

  • Who committed this horrible act of violence?
  • Why did they do it?
  • How did they pull it off?
  • Is more terrorism planned?

praying, Why does God allow,In time, these questions can be answered. But other questions are much harder to answer.

Where was God when the bombs exploded?

Why didn’t He stop this terrible tragedy?

Where was God?

The best Bible scholars wrestle with these kinds of questions. But the Bible clearly teaches many truths about God we can stand on in times like these. For instance, God has the power and authority to act. He is involved in His creation. He knows and cares about every aspect of our lives. I know these things are true and accept them even when I still have questions.

Where was God?

He was there. Amidst the chaos, God’s presence and activity could still be seen. For instance, have you heard about Dr. Allan Panter? Dr. Panter is an ER doctor from Georgia who stood just ten yards away from the first blast while waiting for his wife to cross the finish line. In a news interview, I heard him say that everyone to his left went down when the bomb exploded. (For more on this story)

Dr. Panter, the closest uninjured person to the victims had the trauma training they needed. With the help of others, Dr. Panter immediately began applying tourniquets, including a man who lost the lower portion of both legs. The doctor’s proximity and background helped save multiple lives. This was not a coincidence. This was God’s intervention.

Why does God allow evil?

A while back, I wrote a serious of blogs about why God allows difficulties in the lives of believers and how He uses them. These biblical truths also apply to the question of why God allows evil. Here’s a quick summary and link to each post.

  • The Bible clearly teaches that God’s faithful children will experience trials and difficulties. Why, Oh Why Introduction
  • God promises and is able to bring good out of difficulty in the lives of those who love Him.   Why, Oh Why Part 2
  • God can and will use our pain and trials for His greater purpose. Why, Oh Why 3
  • God uses the pain, grief, and difficulty He allows into our life to purify and strengthen our faith.  Why, Oh Why 4
  • Even when we can’t see the reason for our sufferings we can still stand on the character, power, and love of God and place our trust in Him. Why, Oh Why final

In the Meantime

One day evil will be completely defeated. There will be no more grief or pain or tears. What do we do in the meantime? When evil appears have the upper hand? We stand firm on the God who has all the answers. We trust in His goodness and grace. We cling to His loving presence.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

How has God revealed Himself to you as your source of strength and help in times of trouble?

 

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Running with Weights

This guest post by Kari Scare was originally published on her blog “Struggle to Victory.”I’d like to thank Christina for sharing how the biblical truths in “God Is My Refuge” impacted her life personally.

When getting ready to run a 5k last fall, I saw a man wearing a weighted vest at the start line. I’m assuming he wore it for the entire race, but I can’t say for sure as my view from the back of the pack did not include keeping track of this particular individual.

Supposedly, running with weights can improve running time and increase endurance. Wearing weights while running should also burn more calories without having to increase distance or speed. For those of us who already struggle to complete a run of 5k (3.1 miles) or more, the idea of running with added weight seems, well, simply crazy.

In fact, in all of the races I have run during my 25 years of being a runner, this is the first person I’ve noticed wearing extra weights during a race. Most of the runners, especially the really good runners, the ones who run to compete, run with very little on their body. In fact, the front-runner almost always has the bare minimum allowable based on the weather.

Run with endurance

As I stood waiting to run this 5k last fall and watching this weighted man who seemed quite eager to begin, I couldn’t help but think of Hebrews 12:1-2.

“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.”

In our physical lives, the idea of running with added weight seems foolish to most people. In our spiritual lives, however, most of us carry extra weight that prevents us from running the best race possible even though doing so is not only foolish but can prevent us from a strong finish.

In Kick Off the High Heals, Day Two of Week 10 in God is My Refuge, Kathy Howard expresses this issue by saying:

“Like the heroes of faith who have gone before, let us rid our lives of anything that keeps us from complete obedience to Christ. Maybe a sinful habit or unhealthy relationship prevents us from fully submitting to our Savior. Perhaps pride or selfishness keeps us hanging on to our own will and way.”

The weights I commonly carry as I run “the race marked out” for me include comparisons, fear and pride. And really, those weights show my failure (sin) to believe that Jesus is enough. It’s my failure to believe that He created me for a specific purpose, and that He will make that purpose come to fruition. It’s fear over my kids not following God instead of my having faith to believe God for their security. And it’s my pride that keeps me from asking for help and from admitting my dependence on Him.

But that’s just me. Perhaps the weights that entangle you are quite different from mine.

Looking further into this scripture, Hebrews 12:2 tells us where to focus after we’ve cast off those weights that trip us up, a focus that allows us to endure the race of our lives.

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.”

What does a focus on Jesus do for our ability to run with endurance? Kathy Howard puts it this way:

“Let’s turn our full attention to Christ and consider what He endured for us. His example will help us throw off any sin that entangles us and run freely toward the finish line.”

Just like any runner wanting to improve her speed or endurance or any other aspect of her running will look to the experts who have successfully gone before her, so too must we look to Jesus as we seek to improve how we run this race of life.

DISCUSSION: What sinful attitudes or selfish motivations or activities hold us back from following Christ in complete obedience?

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The Current of Circumstance

This guest post by Nikki Laven was originally published on her blog “Simply Striving.” I’d like to thank Nikki for sharing how the biblical truths in “God Is My Refuge” impacted her life personally.

It was a white flag kind of day. You know the ones. Where the current of circumstance is so strong you just want pull the cord for the floating device and hope for a tan as it carries you to a deserted island.

Circumstances

Because that’s what it feels like. When your child is sick, the dryer won’t dry, the toaster over-toasts, and the paper boy hits the only wet spot on your driveway. Then you discover your vehicle has issues and your cellphone is MIA and what was that loud crashing sound? Later you receive an email from someone who disagrees with you and as you listen to the news you wonder: how can some people live with themselves? When will they see and where are their mothers?!?

Finally, it was time to write the day off the books. Every muscle moaned as I slipped under the down comforter. I’m not sure if I was too wound up or too exhausted. Regardless, I couldn’t fall asleep and reached for the devotional on my nightstand instead.

Friends, it was as if God had orchestrated the entire day, building to this one event…

She invited me to read Psalm 73:12-26 and I found myself nodding furiously in agreement with the psalmist. He got it. He knew the days. The ones where no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough.

Yet he also knew how to deal with it. Whom to turn to when questions like what, why, or how start creeping in.

My heart began to slow while reading the author‘s thoughts:

“God wants us to take our questions, disappointments, and frustrations to Him. The process of grappling over our weary circumstances with God grows us spiritually and draws us closer to Him. The deeper the intimacy we forge produces comfort and fresh strength to keep going.

Our circumstances may not change, but God prepares us to meet them…Come into His presence. Bring your pain. Allow Him to strengthen your heart.”

Kathy Howard, God is My Refuge: 12 Weeks of Devotions
and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times

I closed the book and my eyes as I finally brought my day to Him. We talked about the moments I had wished for a do-over. I poured out my frustration over this and that and the other thing.

Friends, I talked to Him like He was my unconditional friend. Because He is…
How easy I forget that I’m not in this alone.

I don’t need to have all the answers, He does.
I don’t need any superpowers, He shares.
I don’t need to worry, He’s here.

And as I sat in the peaceful silence, my breaths grew deeper. slower. My heart warmed with each release. And I was reminded why He bids us to come.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

How about you, friend? Where has your current of circumstance taken you lately? How do you enter into His presence and accept His invitation to come? I’d love to hear.

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He is Still Able and He is Still God

This guest post by Christina Burrell was originally published on her blog “Butterfly Kisses and Tasty Dishes.” I’d like to thank Christina for sharing how the biblical truths in “God Is My Refuge” impacted her life personally.

For those of you who do not know our story, we lost a daughter in 2008, and we are currently in the midst of a very emotional adoption journey. (We were one of the families who were adopting from Russia.)

Our daughter who lives in Heaven was named Savannah Grace, and her story can be found here: www.caringbridge.org/visit/savannahgraceburrell
We have named the daughter we are adopting Emma Charity, and our journey to her can be found here: www.emmacharity.blogspot.com

God Is My Refuge

This morning, I found myself on week four of Kathy Howard’s devotional which deals with “Healing”. Day 3 is called “When I am Weak” and the scripture reference is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. The main focus of today’s lesson was verse 9. We named our daughter Savannah Grace because it means “abundant grace” and we clung to that scripture and the promise that “His Grace is sufficient for us because His power was made perfect in our weakness.” During the rough pregnancy as I dealt with the reality of Savannah’s fatal diagnosis, I desperately needed God’s grace and His power in my weakness. God did not heal our daughter on earth, but He healed her by taking her to be with Him. Would that have been my choice? No. But, do I trust Him? Yes.

So, four years after her death, God reminded me through today’s message that He remembers, He knows my grief, and His love for me is unending. I miss my baby girl daily, with some days being harder than others. The ache and longing are ever-present, but God’s grace and love are even greater and they give me strength to keep going. My sweet Savannah gets to spend her days dancing with Jesus – how I long for the day when I get to join them.

Today’s devotion was a sweet reminder to my heart that “In any situation, God may choose to physically heal or to respond with ‘My grace is sufficient for you’. Either way, He is seeking to work His purposes in your life. Either way, you can experience His power and His love. Either way, God is still God, and He is still able.” This last statement especially resonates with me right now as we trust and wait on God to bring our adoptive daughter home. He is still God; and He is still able; and He will bring our Emma home to our hearts. In His perfect timing, in His perfect way.

One of the Reflection questions in today’s lesson was “Can you think of any ways God has used this situation in your life or the lives of others to carry out His greater purposes.”
This question reminded me of all the “good” He has brought out of Savannah’s life. Because of my loss, I have a greater compassion and I have been able to pray for, listen to, and encourage other women who have lost children. As I have encouraged others, my heart has also received blessing and has been strengthened and healed even further. God used Savannah to teach me the depths of His love and the intimacy found in complete surrender to His Will. God is using our crooked and long journey to Emma to reveal His purpose, His plan, and the comfort we find in abiding in His peace.

My friends, His Grace is ALWAYS SUFFICIENT! I encourage you today to cling to Him. He is your Refuge in the storm, in the sickness, in the hurts, in the sorrows and the tears. He will not forsake you.

I love the song by the Maranatha Praise Band, “You are My Refuge.”
In what ways has God given you His strength when you were weak?
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