27 Verses for Crises

stress-111426_640The Bible doesn’t promise us that life with Jesus is easier. The difference is that when life gets hard, we have somewhere to turn for strength, courage, hope, and peace.

Here are seven passages to keep handy when facing crises:

1. James 1:2–4

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The Bible tells us to remain joyful not because we know what happens next, but because we know the end. We will be stronger when we reach the other side. Each trial is an opportunity to step closer to perfection—complete and utter dependence on and trust in God.

Bonus verse: Romans 8:28.

2. Matthew 11:28–30

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

When asked what the greatest commandment of the law is, Jesus said: one, love God, and two, love others. He continued, “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36–40). When we focus on what really matters to God, it simplifies our lives. Jesus cut through hundreds of Jewish laws to reveal that they could all be reduced to these two simple commands. When life feels complicated and heavy, Jesus says, “Come to me” so he can lighten the load.

3. Philippians 4:6–7

“. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The peace of God doesn’t make sense. The NIV translation says it “transcends all understanding.” It’s beyond, higher than, out of reach of all understanding. We can be calm in the midst of complete chaos when we have that peace—and it protects us. Jesus guards our hearts against anxiety and stress by filling us with a peace that the world can’t understand (because it doesn’t come from this world).

4. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Sin wants to hide. It wants to bury itself in our hearts and make us feel alone in our temptation. Your life is unique—the temptation you face is not. The world is full of brothers and sisters in Christ who share in your struggles with sin. Fight it together, and most importantly, invite God into the struggle. The way out may not always be easy, but God promises it will always be there.

5. Hebrews 2:18

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Jesus never sinned. When we hear that, sometimes it’s easy to feel like we have to hide our sin from him—like he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a sinful, broken human being. Make no mistake—Jesus suffered when he was tempted. He knows how you feel when you’re torn between your desire to do what’s right and the sinful desires in your heart (Romans 7:15). Because he can identify with your pain, he can help you.

6. Psalm 23:1–6

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

“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.

“You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the lord
forever.”

Sheep trust their shepherd. Experience and the surrounding flock tell the sheep that wherever the shepherd leads, they will be provided for. Even as the valley gets dark, rocky, and difficult, the sheep trust the shepherd to lead them out of it. For me, this passage is a reminder that even when I have no idea what’s going on or where my life is going, God is in charge, and I can trust him.

7. Matthew 6:25–34

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Verse 27 really puts things in perspective: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” In other words, what do you gain by being anxious? Food and clothing are valid concerns. God knows you need them. But he doesn’t want you to be anxious about them. Anxiety is an internal state of being, and it doesn’t change our external circumstances. See Philippians 4:6–7, and let God replace that anxiety with peace, trusting that God knows your needs.

For biblical insight into suffering, crises, and pain, check out these great resources:
when-your-world-falls-apart-see-past-the-pain-of-the-presentsurprised-by-suffering-the-role-of-pain-and-death-in-the-christian-lifegrief-and-pain-in-the-plan-of-god-christian-assurance-and-the-message-of-lamentationsforgetting-your-past-turn-your-pain-into-purpose

What verses do you turn to when times are tough? Share with us in the comments!

Bible Study Magazine Is 32% Off!

6.5_JulyAug-BlogBible Study Magazine provides you with the tools you need to grow spiritually—whether you’re a pastor, or you’re just beginning to explore the Bible. Right now, you can get a full year of Bible Study Magazine for $19.95—that’s 32% off the cover price!

Each issue of BSM offers insights from the biggest names in biblical scholarship and the church, including people like Josh McDowell, John Piper, Kay Arthur, Mark Driscoll, Randy Alcorn, Mark Goodacre, Daniel Wallace, Lee Strobel, N.T. Wright, Elizabeth George, and John MacArthur.

From Do-it-yourself Bible study guides to thoughts from the church fathers, word studies, Bible comics, and explorations of the latest archaeological and historical findings, Bible Study Magazine gives you everything you need for spiritual growth, whether you need spiritual milk or solid meat (1 Peter 2:2-3, 1 Corinthians 3:2).

Your subscription gets you six issues of Bible Study Magazine, starting with the July–August issue. Featuring renowned author, speaker, and counselor Paul David Tripp, this latest issue helps you make the leap from knowing the Bible to living out its principles.

The July–August issue includes:

  • Paul David Tripp on “Street-Level Christianity”
  • “Hope for a Troubled Church”
  • “Not Your Average Bible Study: The Call of Discipleship: 8 Weeks in the Sermon on the Mount”
  • “The Great Dilemna of Divine Warfare”
  • “Won’t Back Down”
  • And more

One BSM subscriber said, “I eagerly look forward to Bible Study Magazine each month! I am grateful for the high quality and also for the dedicated enthusiasm of the staff and contributors.”

Subscribe to Bible Study Magazine today and save 32% off the cover price!

Celebrate C.S. Lewis with a Free Book and Two New Pre-Pubs

It’s little wonder that so many people love C.S. Lewis. He crafted his words like no one else, and his writings influenced much of Christian thought today. A number well-known believers—such as J.I. Packer, Chuck Colson, and Francis Collins—have pointed to Lewis’ Mere Christianity as an influence in their own conversions.

“Jack” (as he was known to friends and family) declared himself to be an atheist when he was 15 years old. However, influenced in part by the writings of George MacDonald and in part by his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, he converted to Christianity in his early 30s, and he went on to become one of the world’s best-known Christian apologists. He authored more than 30 books and hundreds of essays which are still being read and discussed today.

In celebration of C.S. Lewis, here are some great resources from Logos and Vyrso. You can read them from your Faithlife Study Bible app!

Two Pre-Pubs on C.S. Lewis

Perhaps more important than the books Lewis wrote are the conversations he started. He didn’t just present his beliefs; he provided us with his own unique way of thinking. Modern theologians have taken Lewis’ writings, studied and dissected them, and applied his thoughts in new ways to life and theology. Such is the case with these two products Logos currently has in Pre-Publication:

In C.S. Lewis vs the New Atheists, Peter S. Williams uses Lewis’ arguments to show that there is nothing especially “new” about the new atheism. He places Lewis in conversation with modern atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Pre-order the Select Works of Peter S. Williams today to see how Lewis’ own journey from atheism to Christian belief illuminates and undercuts the objections of the new atheists.

How did Lewis understand topics like the church and salvation, sufferance and atonement, substitution and election, deliverance and salvation, and Christ’s work on the cross? What can the life and death of Lewis and his wife tell us about the triune God of love? P.H. Brazier explores these questions and more in C.S. Lewis—On the Christ of a Religious Economy: II. Knowing Salvation.

Free book on C.S. Lewis!alive-to-wonder-celebrating-the-influence-of-c-s-lewis

Popular pastor and author John Piper is also a big fan of C.S. Lewis. Alive to Wonder: Celebrating the Influence of C.S. Lewis is a collection of extended excerpts from Piper’s corpus where Lewis’s fingerprints are most vividly seen, including a significant introduction from Piper specially written for this project. Pick it up free from Vyrso!

Further reading on C.S. Lewis

We have many more resources on C.S. Lewis available for you. From Vyrso, you can pick up C.S. Lewis Remembered, with contributions from his personal friends, family, colleagues, and students. You’ll also find a number of biographies, including Alister McGrath’s recent C.S. Lewis—A Life, George Sayer’s Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, and Sam Wellman’s C.S. Lewis: Creator of Narnia.

And from Logos, you can grab Andrew Wheeler’s C.S. Lewis: Clarity and Confusion, a collection of essays in C.S. Lewis and Friends, and an issue of Tabletalk magazine on C.S. Lewis for under $2.

Celebrate C.S. Lewis and learn from his wisdom by adding these resources to your library!

Hot Deals This July!

JulyMonthlySale

July is here! Even more, new monthly deals are here! This month we have over 180 resources on sale, designed to connect you with the Word. Check out all the deals!

Here are a few of the hottest savings July has to offer:

Institutes of the Christian Religion

On sale for 21% off!

John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion is a monumental work that stands among the greatest works of Christian theology and Western literature. Written as an introduction to Christian doctrine, Calvin’s Institutes quickly became one of the best systematic theologies of the Reformed tradition.

The Logos edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.) contains extensive tagging and linking. All Scripture references display the verse on mouse-over, and each reference is linked to the original language texts and English Bible translations in your library. With Logos, you can also perform advanced searches—searching Calvin’s tracts and treatises by passage or topic. That makes the Logos edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 vols.) ideal for students, pastors, theologians, and Calvin scholars.

A.W. Tozer Collection

On sale for 48% off!

This collection consists of fifty-seven books written by Tozer or compiled from his sermons. Many of the books were compiled by his close friend, Harry Verploegh, by Gerald B. Smith, James L. Snyder, Ron Eggert, Warren Wiersbe and others. In all, this astounding collection contains approximately 11,000 pages filled with the inspirational, Christ-centered words only Tozer could pen.

Topical Analysis of the Bible

On sale for 33% off!

In this handy biblical reference tool, analytical outlines to 35,000 Scripture references touch on thirteen major doctrines of Scripture: God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, God’s works and providence, revelation and Scripture, supernatural beings, human beings, sin, salvation, sanctification, Christian living, the church, and the last things. Those setting out to preach or teach a certain doctrine will find this book an invaluable resource.

The Life Application Bible Commentary

On sale for 23% off!

The Life Application Bible Commentary series is ideal for personal Bible study, small groups, classes, and sermon preparation. Written by the team that designed and produced the Life Application Bible, this commentary series is exegetically accurate, theologically sound, and intensely practical. The Life Application Bible Commentary series helps students of the Bible understand the text and apply it to their lives.

Each volume features an interesting introduction, extensive commentary, and a helpful reference section. And it’s easy to use: throughout the book you will find maps, charts, classic quotations from Christian thinkers, illustrations, and extensive application notes. This edition allows you to link the commentary to any Bible in your Logos Bible Software.

* * *

Again, these deals just scratch the surface of what July has to offer! Don’t miss an opportunity to save—check out all of this month’s hottest deals!

Overcoming Weapons of Mass Distraction

Today’s guest post is by Daniel Henderson, a senior pastor for over two decades, who brought prayer-based revitalization to several mega-churches. Today he’s dedicating his full-time efforts to help church leaders and congregations across the country experience renewal and turn-around. Henderson is the president of Strategic Renewal, which exists to ignite personal renewal, congregational revival, and leadership restoration for Christ’s glory.  He also serves as the national director of The 6:4 Fellowship, which calls pastors back to the supreme New Testament ministry priorities, as seen in Acts 6:4.  

“Satan is always launching weapons of mass distraction against me.” This heartfelt confession by a pastor friend from his pulpit captured my heart. Like this despondent leader, many pastors are crumbling under the weight of unprecedented and innumerable distractions. I often remind pastors at our leadership conferences that the devil does not have to destroy us; he simply has to distract us.

Little distractions tolerated over a long period of time result in big disasters. I’ve had a front-row seat to this reality. Twice in my ministry as a senior pastor, I was called to a megachurch in the wake of scandalous moral failure by my predecessor. The mass destruction was rooted in mass distraction. Good men, over time, followed the allure of a shallow and overstressed lifestyle. Destructive decisions ensued, and the fallout was heartbreaking.

Highest and best priorities

I often tell my pastoral colleagues, “The power of ‘no’ is in a stronger ‘yes.’” The ability to transcend distractions is rooted in a firm understanding of priorities. We must embrace our highest priorities with a clear, biblical, and passionate “yes.” “No” is a Christian word and an especially necessary one in today’s frenetic, overstimulated culture. Sometimes our priorities conflict. Since we can’t do everything and can’t please everyone, we must define and fully embrace the best and highest priorities.

Acts 6:4 and the power of “yes”

The newly formed 6:4 Fellowship unites pastors around the salient priorities of Acts 6:1–7. During a season of extraordinary growth, the early apostles refused to get entangled with the broken down widow-feeding program, even though it was an essential ministry and close to God’s heart. Instead, they directed a process of finding qualified and godly servants to solve the problem and manage the solution, while not compromising their own commitment to “prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

The result was God’s profound blessing, evidenced by an unleashing of his power. The account describes a supernatural result, “. . . the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.”(Acts 6:7) We all long to see that kind of revival of spiritual health and Gospel impact. We also must long for the best priorities to guide our decisions and efforts.

Focus for the frazzled

An earlier example of these same leadership priorities is found in Exodus 18. Moses was overwhelmed and weary from judging the people. His astute father-in-law offered game-changing wisdom, pointing out the futility of Moses’ overload, defining properly ordered focal points, and promising that “the Lord will be with him.” Jethro gave Moses the same reordered priorities that we see in Acts 6:

  1. Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God (prayer)—Exodus 18:19.
  2. Teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do (Word)—Exodus 18:20.
  3. Select able and godly men to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens (empowerment of other leaders)—Exodus 18:21.

Jethro added this promise that sounds like water to a thirsty leadership soul: “. . . you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” Exodus 18:23 (NIV).

Our story, your invitation

Sometimes, the familiar story of Martha and Mary contains our own story as well. Busy and distracted, Martha became frustrated and critical. Her sister, Mary, embraced a clear “yes” as she prioritized seeking Christ over serving Christ. Jesus commended her for her focus in choosing the “one thing” most necessary and of ultimate eternal significance (Luke 10:38–42).

Contrary to many strategy-oriented conferences, the 6:4 Fellowship National Leadership Gathering in Denver, Colorado July 30–31 will bring deep refreshment to your leadership soul, empowering you for the best priorities of “prayer and the word.”  Practical workshops, nationally known teachers, and extraordinary seasons of worship-based prayer will equip you and your team for a new beginning in personal well-being, Spirit-empowered ministry, and supernatural gospel impact. Please join us! Check out 64Fellowship.com for more information.

Free Book on Martin Luther & More!

With the recent turn of the month comes a new free book! But there’s much more to take advantage of—get an additional title for just 99 cents, plus the chance to win an entire collection.

Become an expert on the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation with the help of these resources. Act now—they’re only here for a limited time!

Here’s what is happening this month:

1. Get The Righteousness of Faith according to Luther—it’s free!

July FBOTM blog

Expand your understanding of the Reformation along with Luther’s work and theology behind it. Get Hans J. Iwand’s The Righteousness of Faith according to Luther and discover more about Protestant Reformation viewpoints, such as Sola Gide and Sola Gratia. Despite the gap between the Luther Renaissance and Iwand’s authorship (he wrote it in 1941!), Iwand offers crucial insights to Luther’s doctrine of justification.

Don’t miss your chance to download this intuitive resource for free!

2. Get Being Shaped by Freedom—it’s just 99 cents

This title is the perfect addition to The Righteousness of Faith according to Luther. Know more about Martin Luther’s background that led to his leadership in the Reformation. Add this book to your library, and gain a fresh perspective on Luther’s understanding of justification by faith.

Plus, it’s only 99 cents!

3. Enter to win the entire Select Studies in Martin Luther’s Life and Influence, Part 1

Don’t stop at the free book and 99-cent title—be sure to enter for your chance to win an entire series on the life of Martin Luther! Discover the scholarly research done on the influence of Luther’s life with this thorough collection.

Don’t miss out on any of these offers! Take advantage of them today, and start exploring key perspectives on the work of Martin Luther.