Tag Archives: comfort

November 30; Rock Bottom

I Corinthians 15:35-16:24; Acts 20:1-6; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4

Can you recall a time in your life when you would say you were at your lowest point? The pressures of life were such you felt there was no hope; you tried to do the right thing but even that blew up in your face. Why is it when we’ve hit rock bottom we can feel totally alone, like no one understands or even cares to understand what we are going through?

Paul gives us a hint at his lowest low. In 2 Corinthians 1:8 he said at some point he had wished he were dead. He was that discouraged. Then he shares with us what he’d learned from that awful time:

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

Paul, arguably the most prolific missionary/evangelist in the history of the Church, the apostle whose words still instruct and encourage people two thousand years later, needed to be reminded he needed God.

God delivered Paul from that dark place, and continued to deliver him. The apostle tells us it was through the prayers of the Corinthian believers that God did that:

Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (verse 11)

Paul said Jesus’ suffering overflowed onto them, but so did Jesus’ comfort. As a result that comfort overflowed onto the Corinthians. It overflows yet today!

So here are a few things I take away from this passage today:

  1. We all go through hard times. All of us get discouraged and need to be reminded we need God. Sometimes those hard times even sweeten our relationship with Jesus as we learn to depend on Him.
  2. We need to pray – really pray – for our hurting brothers and sisters even if we don’t know the details of their trouble. God answers prayer. But He can’t answer a prayer not prayed.
  3. When we come out on the other side – and we always do – we need to use our experience to encourage others, to assure them they are not alone, and to help them recognize the power of God in their lives.

I asked if you remembered a time in your life when you were at rock bottom. I hope that’s not where you are today. But if you are, or if you are headed there, let me encourage you from Paul’s example. You are not alone. And I am praying for you.

 

 

2 Corinthians 1-6; Comforters

Paul is so upfront about himself, his joys and sorrows, his victories and failures. I have to confess I’m not always so in touch with my own feelings, or honest about what is going on in my life.

As I read this portion of Scripture it occurs to me that Paul isn’t asking for sympathy, or a payoff from the church. I think his only motive was to share with them what he had received.

Comfort.

Isn’t it interesting that the word we use for a big old, soft and warm blanket is “comforter?” I live in southern Georgia, so while much of the country is dealing with freezing temperatures, it’s still in the mid 60’s here during the day.

The nights, however, are getting chilly. Last night got into the 30’s, and I was cold. So when I went to bed, I snuggled under the comforter instead of pushing it aside like I normally do. Ahh. It felt so good. And it wasn’t long before I was toasty warm, relaxed, and then sound asleep, even with the cold temperatures outside the warmth of that comforter.

We all go through rough patches in life. We make poor choices, or someone else does, and our lives get hard. Sometimes it feels as though we are alone in our struggle. Then someone comes along, wraps us up in strong arms, and lets us receive the comfort we need. That’s what Paul is doing here in this letter to the Corinthians.

John Henry Jowett said: “God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”

Have you ever been the recipient of God’s comfort through one of His children? Then pass it on to someone who needs that same comfort through you. Call them, or better yet give them a visit. Wrap your arms around them while they weep. Listen to them without trying to give solutions to their problems. Share the love of Jesus at a time when they might feel totally unloved. Let them snuggle in the comfort you have to offer, even if the problems around them aren’t going away.

We have a very real privilege to be a comforter in a world that needs comforting.

Will You Pray With Me?

I know most, if not all of you, have burdens on your hearts too heavy to carry on your own. Whenever I see a request for prayer from a fellow blogger, I almost always take a minute to bow my head and talk to my Father about whatever is going on. But most of the time, I forget that prayer request as soon as I get up from my computer. I’m too often one and done.

I’m going to ask you to pray with me today for a request that has my heart breaking. And I will praise God if you go to Him just once, right this minute.

Please pray for Landon, a four year old boy who is fighting for his life. They have diagnosed him with HUS, a serious complication from ecoli. They gave him a blood transfusion last night and his blood count seems to be improving. They are not sure the damage to his kidneys, or if dialysis is in his future at this point.  There is danger that this disease could effect other organs of his tiny body, including his brain. And the danger is not just immediate. The effects of this might not show up for years.

Landon’s parents, Kelly and Zach, are a young couple who love the Lord. Would you pray with me for them, that God will be their strength in a visible way to those around them? Would you pray that God would wrap His arms around these dear parents, that they would know the comfort that only He can give? Would you pray that London’s body will be able to fight off this disease, that doctors will have wisdom and make decisions that will benefit this little guy? I am praying for complete healing.

And I am praying for those who are close to Kelly and Zach, their extended family, their church family, my own nephew and and his dear wife, Sara. Sara (niece of my heart) has been Landon’s babysitter for years, and the two couples enjoy a deep friendship.

Would you pray that Landon will be healed, and that Jesus will be glorified in this situation? May God bless you as you join us in our petition on behalf of Landon, Kelly, and Zach.

Thank you!

October 26

John 11:17-57; Mark 10:32-52; Matthew 20:17-34; Luke 18:31-43

Jesus wept. Our God shed tears over the death of his friend. He cried for Mary and Martha at the loss of their brother. 

As someone who still feels the pain of losing my dad and nephew last year there is a measure of comfort knowing my Savior knows how I feel. When he was sad he cried. And that makes me know my tears are ok.

I’m glad the Bible doesn’t tell us not to mourn. In fact Jesus told us that Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Scripture assures us that as Christians we don’t mourn like those who have no hope. Oh, we mourn. But within that mourning is the blessed hope, the assurance that one day we will be with Jesus and he will wipe every tear from our eyes.

I want to share a verse that has become very precious to my sister since her son’s death. It’s found in Psalm 143:8.

Let the mourning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go for unto you I lift my soul.

Jesus wept. And if you are mourning the loss of a loved one, the loss of your health, a job, or a relationship I pray that you will lift your soul, that you would put your trust in God and allow him to be your Comforter. He knows how you feel.

Dear Jesus, thank you for walking this earth, for experiencing life first hand, and knowing how we feel. I know you didn’t really do that for your benefit, but for ours. It is comforting to know that we can come to you with confidence, knowing you know first hand what we are experiencing. Thank you that we can trust you in our mourning. I pray for those reading this blog today who are sad. May they shed the tears that need to be shed and rest in your comfort. Give strength to meet the challenges of the day and may you be glorified even in our mourning.

August 27

Ezekiel 34-36

When Jesus talked about the sheep in Matthew 18, the people no doubt recalled what Ezekiel had written so many years before. They knew sheep referred to them and assured them that God would take care of them.

I’ve heard it said sheep are dumb animals that don’t have the sense enough to stay in safety. Once they recognize their shepherd’s voice, they follow it even if it leads them over a cliff. A former pastor once said we were to follow Christ like that, and I guess I see where he was going. We need to trust God completely, even if we don’t understand where he’s leading us.

Anyway – today as I read I was reminded that sheep were very important to the people in Bible times. They were a source of income, they provided food and clothing, and the choicest of them became sacrifices for sin.

It’s not that God chose the dumbest animal on the farm to use for an example of his people. He chose the most important animal to show where we stand in creation. 

Ezekiel and Jesus show us that God considers each one of the sheep (you and me) precious. He will go to any length to protect and nurture the weakest, to keep the strongest in the fold, and he’ll hunt us down if we stray.

I like being a sheep. I like knowing my Shepherd has my back. I don’t want to follow him blindly, but I want to follow him trusting him because he can be trusted. I want to know my Shepherd’s voice so that when the wolf comes calling I’ll know the difference and stay close to my Protector. 

My Dear Shepherd, thank you for loving your sheep. Thank you for caring for us, for protecting us, feeding us, leading us. May we listen when you call, obey when you command, and may we not stray. Hold on to your people, Lord, so the nations will recognize you are God and there is no better place to be than by your side.

June 25

2 Kings 7:3-20, 8:7-15, 13:14-21, 24-25, 12-13, 14:15-16, 23, 17-22, 15:1-5; 2 Chronicles 25:25-28, 26:1-21; Amos 1:1-15

Elisha died. His death certainly wasn’t as dramatic as Elijah’s ascent into heaven by way of a chariot of fire. 2 Kings 13:20 says – Elisha died and was buried.

But read on. Elisha’s story doesn’t end there. The friends of a dead man threw the lifeless body into Elisha’s grave in a moment of panic. When the dead body touched Elisha’s remains, the dead man jumped up – alive.

Let me thank you for praying for me and my family yesterday. My sisters, some of my nieces, and nephews and a brother-in-law just kind of hung out together. We went to Geoff’s grave and sat there talking, laughing at memories, and praying. Then we went to my sister’s house for lasagna and talked and laughed some more. We just wanted to be together.

As I think about Geoff’s life and as I read about Elisha here in 2 Kings I am reminded that our influence continues even after God calls us home. I read Geoff’s Facebook page and see where many of his friends posted thoughts yesterday remembering Geoff and sharing the impact he continues to have on their lives. 

So I guess my question for us today is, what will you (will I) be remembered for when we no longer walk this earth? Will people remember love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control? The life you live today is making memories for someone for the future.

Read I Peter 3:8. That is engraved on Geoff’s headstone. That describes who Geoff was and continues to be in our hearts. 

May it be true of me.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for providing exactly what we need when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank you for being with us as we begin year two without Geoffrey. Lord, may your people live today aware of the impact we have on those around us, for good or for bad. May the fruit of your spirit be evident in us today and every day in every situation. Please bless those who remembered my family in prayer as we continue to adjust to life without Geoff. May you be glorified.