May 9, 2012

Greatest Hits: Verses for Ministry

Clint Black is right. Certain songs immediately lift my mood or transport me to a special moment, just like he said would happen in State of Mind: "Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory/ Take you to another place in time/ Completely change your state of mind". That song, in fact, happened to be on the radio on a summer day after my junior year in college, when I went water-skiing with friends. Hearing it, I can almost feel the sun on my skin and remember the feel of the wind in my hair.
There are other songs that act as a soundtrack to periods of my life and immediately transport me back in time:

Eternal Flame by the Bangles and I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi were the songs of choice at middle school dances.

U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer recalls summer afternoons laying out by the pool with my best friend, listening to my Walkman.

Lisa Loebe's Stay, of which I know every word, constantly played on my stereo during my freshman year in college.

Like the Rain came on the radio as Kyle drove me home (in the rain) from the date where I first knew he was my future husband.

I stood with my bridesmaids outside the sanctuary listening to Shout to the Lord as I prepared to walk down the aisle.

These songs (and others) form a mental collage, a greatest hits of sorts, that speak memories, emotions, and, often, sunshine to my soul.

After 12 years of ministry, I have another greatest hits: a list of verses that I go back to time and again for encouragement, comfort, and reason to persevere in this calling on my life. Often, reading them transports me to points in time where I have experienced God's faithfulness in ministry or have known His pleasure at my obedience. Every time, I am reminded that ministry done in His name is never in vain, and that I must press on. His Word, the true soundtrack of my life, speaks joy to my heart when I need it most.

When I'm questioning myself and wanting to give up:
Therefore (because He gives us the victory), my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58

When it feels like my service doesn't matter:
For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Hebrews 6:10

When ministry seems to require too much:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1

When I don't know what to say or what to do to help someone:
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom but on the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2

When I don't want to sacrifice:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross. Philippians 2:3-8

When I am wondering what other people think of me or my husband:
Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

When I feel misunderstood:
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still. Exodus 14:14

When I wish others would serve me:
In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

When I am wounded:
With my voice I cry to the Lord; with my voice I make supplication to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit is faint, you know my way. In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look on my right hand and see--there is no one who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for me. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low. Save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison, so that I may give thanks to your name. The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me. Psalm 142

When I'm just going through the motions:
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

When I think I can do it:
Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:11

When I don't necessarily want to be the example:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

When I feel like others have an easier road:
(After Jesus told Peter that Peter would die a martyr's death): Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following....Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remains till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." John 21:20-21

When I'm discouraged:
The One who called you is faithful, and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24

What verses are on your greatest hits list?