11 Passages to Read When You Feel Lonely

This article is part of the Passages to Read series.

1. Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

2. Psalm 73:23–26

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

3. Mark 10:29–30

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

4. 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.

5. Lamentations 3:22–24

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

6. 2 Corinthians 1:3–5

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. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

7. Psalm 25:14–18

The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.

8. 1 Peter 5:6–7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

9. Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

10. Hebrews 4:15–16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

11. Psalm 139:1–16

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

A Servant’s Rewards

Rewards for our kingdom work await us in heaven, but God also blesses us in this life for our service.
Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, by having served and by still serving the saints.

In His grace, God freely gives salvation to those who believe in Jesus. We can’t earn it, nor do we deserve it. However, our Father does notice when we live according to His will, and He promises to reward us according to what we have done for Him.

Revelation 22:12 says, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.” Whether large or small, service done in Jesus’ name will be blessed. We must be careful, though, that our actions are for Christ’s glory. If motives are self-serving, the only benefit we receive is the praise (if any) that we hear from people in this life.

While we look forward to rewards that will be given in heaven, some blessings can be experienced now. For example, there’s great joy in allowing God to bless others through us. In addition, there’s a profound sense of fulfillment when we lead a person to Jesus and teach him or her how to walk by faith.

Serving others is both a great benefit and a responsibility. We should prayerfully consider our motives to make sure that our goal is to glorify Christ. Only then will we receive God’s full blessings—rewards given not just in eternity but on earth as well.

A Mind Like a Sieve

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8, NLT 

The dictionary defines a filter as a device through which air or liquid is passed to remove impurities. People wore masks during COVID, hoping to filter out the virus. Our swimming pools have filters to keep the water pure. We need oil filters for our cars, air filters for our heating systems, coffee filters for our morning cups, aquarium filters for our fish, and light filters for our cameras.

What filters our mind, keeping our thoughts pure?

There’s only one filter for the mind, and that’s the Word of God. When you internalize His Word through diligent study and memorization, it builds an internal spiritual and mental filter that helps us fight temptation, resist depression, and increase our wisdom. Through studying God’s Word, our minds are renewed, and our hearts cleansed.

Find a way to interact daily with Scripture. It will change your mind!

Let the Bible saturate your internal life, your mind, your thinking. Let the Bible be…your filter…Choose to have God’s Word dwell within you, which means having the Bible be at home in your mind.
Chris Mueller

  • David Jeremiah

Under the Fig Tree

 

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” John 1:48

It is a common misconception that God will only speak to you while in church or will only reveal himself to you during a worship service or revival. We believe that God will find us when we are at our best spiritually; otherwise, we doubt he can even see us, let alone use us.

John the Baptist had been preparing his followers for the arrival of Jesus the Messiah, so upon seeing Him, they quickly began to follow Him. These disciples not only followed Jesus, but they were eager to tell their brothers and friends that they had found “The Messiah” (John 1:41). When Jesus called the disciple Phillip to follow Him, he too ran to tell a friend. Like many of our friends and family, Phillip’s friend, Nathanael, responded a little skeptical and doubtful (John 1:45-46). Upon Phillip’s persuasion, Nathanael followed and found that Jesus already knew him; not only knew him, but Jesus had been watching Nathanael! (John 1:48) Jesus had observed Nathanael sitting under a tree, possibly submerged in his own thoughts; unaware that God knew those thoughts and counted Nathanael as an asset in building God’s kingdom. As Nathanael approached Jesus, he realized that Jesus had been waiting for him to come and follow Him! Imagine the emotions Nathanael felt upon learning that Jesus had personally handpicked him, even though he had doubted and had not come running when he had heard Jesus was in town.

Jesus is still keeping an eye out for His followers today. You might be feeling a little skeptical about the Lord’s grace and mercy. You might be on the fence about fully surrendering to God. Maybe you have a friend whom you know needs to hear about Jesus but are unsure of their reaction. Know, today, that Jesus has already chosen his children – those who will follow him and be His disciples. It is up to us to take that first step in following the call of the Messiah. Tell that friend today that you have found Jesus and persuade them to follow; it may be that Jesus has already had His eye on them too, even under the fig tree!

Suggested Prayer:

Dear Lord, you are so mighty and so loving. You have sought each of us out individually and have a plan for our lives that will bring glory and honor to you; all we have to do is follow. Thank you for choosing me for your Kingdom. I ask for the courage to bring others to you too. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • From Daily Encounter

Beyond the Text

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life. 1 John 1:1
As much as we love reading the Bible for its own value, we must remember our fellowship is not with the Book itself, but with its Author. The purpose of Scripture is to enable us to fellowship with Him who is the Word of Life. The Bible is more than a textbook, more than a storybook, more than a guidebook, and more than a songbook. It’s a living Book that brings us into the presence of a living Savior.
A. W. Tozer wrote, “As we come to the Word of God, we do not come just for information; we come for an encounter with the living Word of God…. I will not settle for just the text. I want to see beyond that text and encounter the Christ—the Word of Life.”[1]

Our study of the written Word reveals the living Word. The next time you open your Bible, think of it as a conversation in which the Author is speaking through His Book personally to you.

There have been times when I have lost myself in the manifest presence of the Lord as I meditated on His Word; He has come mysteriously close, defying explanation.
A. W. Tozer

  • David Jeremiah

God loves us

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11-12

John is continuing his thoughts that we looked at in vv. 7-10, and as I mentioned last time, this is the central core of Christian theology, the part that everything else is built upon.  Simply stated, this love core flows like this:

  1. God loved us while we were still sinners.
  2. God sent His Son to die for our sins.
  3. We loved God and responded to the Gospel.
  4. God loved our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Therefore, so do we.

We see this pattern at work once again in verse 11.  God loved us, so we should love each other. Then John, as was his custom, takes one more step.  Since no one has ever seen God, and since God loves all of us and we love Him, if we also love each other, God’s love will be complete in us and visibly expressed within His Body, the Church.  This is as far as John has gone so far…

At this point, we can infer that there is another step.  The other step is implied in John’s mentioning that “no one has seen God.”  OK, why did he choose to write that?  Think…

No one has seen God, but if we love one another as God loved us, then His love will live amongst us, and through us all will see it.

I have seen a number of debates about Evolution and Creation.  These kinds of discussions usually have at their core, an assumption that if we cannot observe some “evidence” that God exists, then we can determine that He does not exist.  I’m no scientist, but this seems to be a natural inclination on the part of people who are educated with regard to the Scientific Method.  Remember that one from your school days?  It was the one about observations, and testing theories with observable evidence.

Back to John.  Have you ever thought that it would be nice if you could find the positive “proof” of God’s existence? Yes, something that can be observed and studied?

Are you sitting down?

John just gave it to you− The proof is God’s love at work in our lives and within the Body of Christ; at least it should be.  Maybe if we started taking these verses to heart and putting them into our everyday manner of living, like we are commanded by God to do, more people would notice that the greatest “proof” of God, the observable evidence, is right there in front of us all: Love for one another as Jesus has loved us, and gave His life for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16b-18

Read the rest at: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/06/26/sunday-sermon-notes-june-26-2022%EF%BF%BC/

Live Intentionally

When we align our goals with God’s, we’ll always end up on the right path.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

We all want to live life to the fullest, but to do that, we must have goals to aim for. Few of us actually take the time to consider where we’re going. How tragic it would be to finish our life and find out we were on a course other than God’s, fighting the wrong fight and struggling to keep the faith.

The apostle Paul is a good role model for living life to the fullest. His goals were to know Christ, abide in His power, fellowship in His suffering, and preach the gospel (that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; Phil. 3:10; For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made of no effect. 1 Cor. 1:17). Paul aligned his aspirations with the Lord’s, diligently worked to fulfill his calling, and persevered through suffering. He could face the end of his life with confidence since he’d “fought the good fight … finished the course … [and] kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. Don’t settle for the mediocrity of an unplanned life. Set aside some time this week to get alone with the Lord. Then ask for His help in setting goals that will take you where He wants you to go. Consider every area of your life—personal, relational, financial, and vocational—but make spiritual goals your primary emphasis.

Let God help you change direction so you can pursue things that align with His will. Then start living intentionally.

Sermon notes – 1 John 3.11-12

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:11-12

by Don Merrit

John is continuing his thoughts that we looked at in vv. 7-10, and as I mentioned last time, this is the central core of Christian theology, the part that everything else is built upon.  Simply stated, this love core flows like this:

  1. God loved us while we were still sinners.
  2. God sent His Son to die for our sins.
  3. We loved God and responded to the Gospel.
  4. God loved our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Therefore, so do we.

We see this pattern at work once again in verse 11.  God loved us, so we should love each other. Then John, as was his custom, takes one more step.  Since no one has ever seen God, and since God loves all of us and we love Him, if we also love each other, God’s love will be complete in us and visibly expressed within His Body, the Church.  This is as far as John has gone so far…

At this point, we can infer that there is another step.  The other step is implied in John’s mentioning that “no one has seen God.”  OK, why did he choose to write that?  Think…

No one has seen God, but if we love one another as God loved us, then His love will live amongst us, and through us all will see it.

I have seen a number of debates about Evolution and Creation.  These kinds of discussions usually have at their core, an assumption that if we cannot observe some “evidence” that God exists, then we can determine that He does not exist.  I’m no scientist, but this seems to be a natural inclination on the part of people who are educated with regard to the Scientific Method.  Remember that one from your school days?  It was the one about observations, and testing theories with observable evidence.

Back to John.  Have you ever thought that it would be nice if you could find the positive “proof” of God’s existence? Yes, something that can be observed and studied?

Are you sitting down?

Read more of Don’s notes: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/06/26/sunday-sermon-notes-june-26-2022%EF%BF%BC/

Apollos Watered

“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.” Acts 18:24-25 (NKJV).

Many men and women had the privilege of joining the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. We don’t always hear mention of them today, but they were no less important. Among these fellow missionaries we meet Apollos; a man passionate about serving the Lord. Apollos is first mentioned as being an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24). Apollos knew the Scriptures and taught it accurately; according to what he knew of John the Baptist. One day as he was preaching, two of Paul’s friends heard him; they took him and taught him even more accurately, causing Apollos to love preaching all the more. Because of his love for the Lord, Apollos was eager to further God’s Kingdom. He was anxious for all to know of Jesus and His love and sacrifice for all mankind. He understood, from studying the Scripture that the Message he had to share was important. Apollos also knew that teamwork made tasks more effective, so when invited to serve on Paul’s team, he did so without question. It didn’t matter who shared the Message, as long as the Message got out!

In our churches today, many desire the spotlight; to be recognized for being in an important position in the church. We want to feel irreplaceable. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Paul addresses the people saying, it doesn’t matter who does what, we are all part of the same body of Christ and should work as a team; ultimately God is the One who makes things happen! “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So, then, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”     

It doesn’t matter where you are serving in the church, on the front end or behind the scenes, God can use each one of us in a powerful way. Apollos served the Lord with his whole heart; he “watered” the seeds with his whole heart. God gave the growth and received the glory! Someone may have come before us and planted the seeds, but what a blessing to help those seedlings grow with the living water of God’s Word.

 

More and More

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God. –1 Thessalonians 4:1 
Some Christian denominations celebrate a confirmation service for young teens at age thirteen, in which the teens publicly confirm their faith in Christ. In the Anglican tradition, a bishop prays: “[May this child] continue thine forever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more.” That last phrase is not a prayer for more of the Holy Spirit; rather more and more evidence, or fruit, of the Spirit in the child’s life “until [he] come unto thy everlasting kingdom.”
Paul used the same phrase—“more and more”—when writing of his desires for the Thessalonian Christians’ spiritual growth: “abound more and more.” His point was that there is no end when it comes to Christian maturity. The day of our conversion to Christ is the beginning point in a lifetime process of being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). That means we should never stop growing spiritually; we should never stop bearing fruit; we should never stop manifesting good works.

Wherever you are in your Christian walk, your journey is just beginning.

Measure your growth in grace by your sensitiveness to sin.
Oswald Chambers

  • David Jeremiah