Tag Archives: comfort

Job 15-17; Revelation 14

It is certainly different for me these days to be reading Job and Revelation during the Advent season. Poor Job – he is getting all kinds of advice and long lectures from his friends. Some of them call their words so special that they believe they are coming right from God. That sounds so familiar to me from certain days gone by. I am still afraid I might run into it again, but I trust that God has made me wiser and more mature to respond a little bit more like Job.

And you have been offered
comforting words from God.
Isn’t this enough?

I have often heard this,
and it offers no comfort.
But I would offer hope
and comfort instead.

Job 15:11; 16:2,5 CEV

I think the Advent season is such a time for me to be comforted. Every year brings it toils and snares and this year of 2018 is not different. Yet God has words of comfort this Advent season. Words of hope, peace, joy and very soon love. They make a difference to me. And I realize that they are more than just comfort for a trying year. They are also a bugle call as I pray into the new year coming. Those same messages of comfort become my call to action to live a life with exclamation marks of hope, with a heart centred in peace, for the joy of the Lord to be my strength and to see every bit of life through the lens of God’s love. Life as a follower of Jesus is not necessarily going to get easier, but I walk into each new year with an amazing promise.

God’s people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus.Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die.” The Spirit answered, “Yes, they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done.” – Revelation 14:12-13 CEV

It is my prayer for my family that this promise with be part of our celebration and comfort this Christmas season but also our challenge and comfort in the new year.

Father, thank you for Christmas, for Your words of incredible comfort. Job would have loved to hear them as much as I and my family do today. I give You my family, walk with them, may they joy in walking with You. Should this be the year that they meet You face to face, I pray they will enter into Your promise and I look forward to the day that I will too. Help me walk in faith, obey Your call in my life and I will look forward to receiving Your promise if that day should come. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, 2 Thessalonians 2

 

I don’t know why exactly but since I was a child, I have always felt wrestling in my heart: a sort of homesickness though I have never been far from home. I have always had a stirring in my heart for as long as I can remember that wants to be home with the Lord. As an adult believer, this is not so surprising but when I was eight, people thought it was quite strange! I was keenly aware of the happenings in the world around me and would look for signs that pointed to Jesus’ return for his believers. Though I believed in Jesus at a young age, I can still remember feeling fearful of the unknown that may occur at any moment.

 

Today, things have not changed much but as the crazy events of the world seem to be increasing like the speed of an out of control freight train I can hear some of my same childhood fears in my own children’s words. The nightly news, school system, smart phones and social media is very different than when I was young and my children hear so much more than I do and so much quicker but their fears are the same as mine. So, we talk about God’s word and his promises and pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted. Reading this passage reminds me of a few more nuggets of truth to share with them straight from Paul’s mouth:

 

        Don’t worry- we haven’t missed the boat! Jesus came for our sins and we are currently waiting for his return to conquer sin and death and take us home. Don’t be confused by false prophecy or words from fools! (2 Thess 2:13)

 

        Things are going to get worse before they get better but that’s not a surprise! It doesn’t surprise God and it shouldn’t surprise us. (2 Thess 2:3-4)

 

        Nothing will happen without God’s say so. He has already planned Christ’s return and knows the day and the hour and nothing will happen until then! (2 Thess 2:5-7)

 

        We know Christ has already won the battle! If we are in Christ, the victory is already ours no matter how bad things get! (2 Thess 2:8)

 

        It seems like evil is winning and fools are prospering but it’s only an illusion! (2 Thess 2:10-12)

 

        Believers in Christ were chosen before the foundation of the world and called through the gospel and will glory with Christ! (2 Thess 2:13-14)

 

        Though the world seems to be falling apart, stand firm and hold to the teachings found in God’s word! (2 Thess 2:15)

 

The only way to combat fear is through the powerful Word of God. I am always encouraged when I read that the first believers struggled with the same fears and worries as I did. It’s why Paul was writing.  We will soon be going home but until then, let us continue to walk daily in the truth! 

 

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” Amen.

kateredding

 

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Exodus 19; Luke 22; Job 37; 2 Corinthians 7

Exodus 19:3,4 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.’”

Commentary from The Chumash, “When Moses spoke to the House of Jacob which refers to the women, he was to express the commandments in a manner suited to their compassionate, maternal nature.”

God has Moses speak to women in a manner suited to their compassionate nature. That is how God speaks to me. He reminds me that He brought me to Him, and He does this with great love and tenderness, so much so that I surrender willingly to His voice.

Luke 22:10-12 And He (Jesus) said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”

Commentary: Guest rooms were often made available to the thousands of pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Many times I walked into places or situations ordained by God. He prepared these before I knew to ask or to seek. Yet, how often I am surprised and definitely humbled by my own helplessness to control the outcome.

Job 37:14, 19, 20 Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Teach us what we should say to Him, For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness.

Commentary: Elihu celebrates God’s control over the earth and he prepares Job, Job’s friends, and any bystanders for the coming of the Lord.

When embroiled in the turmoil of my afflictions and pain, no one but God can reach me. Yet true friends and family who are closest know how to soften my resistance in my confusion, to direct my gaze toward Him and to prepare my heart to receive Him.

2 Corinthians 7:6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

And into the darkness explodes brilliance, comfort, consolation, and reason to rejoice. Unexpected, such as the coming of a friend from across the country after eight years with little hope of ever being close enough for her warm embrace and sisterly love. How wonderful God is to us; He meets us where we are, no matter what shape He finds us. Right here, right now!

Oh, come Lord Jesus and have Your way with us that we might know You more and fall in love with You over and over again!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

The Chamush. The ArtScroll Series/Stone Edition. 2000.

The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Genesis 41; Mark 11; Job 7; Romans 11

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, right? What happens when we see mountains impossible to climb or when broken legs won’t carry us over the mountain? Our lives crescendo and crash through the years that God has given us to live. Have we met these ups and downs with stoicism and personal effort or have we sunk to our knees in humble, steadfast trust in God? Joseph, Job, and Christ instruct us when we are challenged by difficult circumstances in life.

Joseph’s life story records how circumstances take him from being the favored son with his multi-colored robe to nearly being murdered in a pit, from being the over-seer in Pharaoh’s house to being thrown in a dungeon for a crime he did not commit, and finally from being elevated to the second most powerful man in the king’s court to falling on the neck of his brothers, forgiving and washing them with his tears . In Genesis 41:16, we get a clue on how Joseph could rise time and time again. He told Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” Joseph lived what he preached.

Still we question that God should be interested in the lives of ordinary men. Job 7:17-18, asked, “What is man, that You should exalt him, That You should set Your heart on him, That You should visit him every morning, And test him every moment?” Sometimes, if we are honest, we may wish that we were not the focus of God’s attention. We may join in Job’s query (7:21), “Why then do You not pardon my transgression, And take away my iniquity?” This intimate picture of Job communing with God alludes to God walking and talking with Adam in the Garden of Eden.  The changed relationship between God and man after the fall has man instinctively fearing God’s gaze. Desperate cries of, “How long?” explode from bodies wrecked with chronic pain, disabling disease, ongoing trauma, or depression, anxiety, and a host of other disorders that interfere with daily functioning. Do we plead as did Job that God would take His eyes off us, forgive us, and end the suffering? Job acknowledged that man can do nothing to save himself and that we depend on God to save us. Can we trust that God understands our physical, spiritual, and emotional vulnerability on this earth?

Unequivocally, the answer is YES! Christ’s saving work on the cross punctuated the truth of His words…words that affirm, comfort, and empower us: Mark 11:22, 24, “Have faith in God. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The cursed, fruitless fig tree that withered from the roots up overnight was meant to be a teachable moment on faith, prayer, and belief. Jesus could just as easily have said to the fig tree, “Feed my followers,” similar to His miracle with feeding the five thousand. How amazing and satisfying it would have been to see the fig tree branches heavy laden with large, ripe, and delicious figs practically popping into the hands and pockets of His apostles.  Yet seeking to more than quiet the noise of their empty bellies, Christ adjured His followers to have faith in God the Father, who will answer when we pray with belief that God is for us. Christ tells us that this is so. What now should we believe?

Faith does move mountains; prayer is a powerful change agent; and belief in the salvation of Christ is how the tough will stay committed to seeing this earthly walk with God all the way through. Romans 11:33 declares, “Oh, the depth of the riches of both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” So when the going gets tough, the tough should really get down on their knees. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever,” (Romans 11:36).

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

All Scripture quoted from The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

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Isaiah 65, 66; 1 Thessalonians 1

For thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,

and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,

and bounced upon her knees.

As one whom his mother comforts,

so I will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

you shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

your bones shall flourish like the grass;

and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies. Isaiah 65:12-14

I love all of the imagery that God wove through His Word, describing aspects of His character and of the roles that He plays in relationship to His people. He is a Creator. He is a Father. He is a Bridegroom, a Lover. And, He is also a Mother.

As a mother, I often feel overwhelmed with everything that ‘should’ be done every day. I often feel ignored by my kids who are stellar at selective listening. I often feel unappreciated for the sacrifices that I make for this growing group of kids that were entrusted to me to raise well, raise to adulthood. There are moments throughout each day that I just want to curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out until I fall asleep…I need to be comforted and encouraged by someone who understands, by anyone, by God.

And then I read a passage, like this one, reminding me of the importance of my role as ‘mother’ and the comfort that brings to my children. And, it reminds me that just as God is my Father, God is my Mother.

As a mother comforts, I will comfort you…you shall nurse at My breast…

The very first thing that I was able to do for my children after they were born was provide nourishment for them through nursing. I was able to feed them, sustain them. They learned very quickly that I was going to care for them, meet their needs. I can be sure that God will provide for my needs – not just in the area of food, but in every aspect of my life. He is Jehovah Jireh.

As a mother comforts, I will comfort you…you shall be carried on My hip…

When my children were infants, I carried them everywhere – in my arms, in one of my various wraps and slings, and in their car carriers – and even still today, at ages two and nearly four, they still want to be carried all of the time (which unfortunately I can’t do as much as I would like at the moment due to my large, pregnant belly filled with baby #3). Even when they just sit in my lap, it helps them feel safe and secure. When I am feeling vulnerable, I am learning to look to God to be carried through difficult moments. I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

As a mother comforts, I will comfort you…you shall be bounced on My knees…

As my children grow, they seek connection with me, a chance to feel my joy over them, a chance to experience my love for them. One of the many ways we connect is when they sit with me, whether on my knees to bounce or on my crossed leg to play ‘ride the pony’. As we spend those moments connecting, it strengthens our bond. I believe that God wants the same kind of connection with me, and though it doesn’t manifest in quite the same way, the principle of comforting joy holds true. I can relax in Him, when I know without doubt that He loves me, I am comforted by His expressions of care and of fun – my favorites are those little gifts I find that seem to be just for me, like a double rainbow when I am feeling lonely, or a $20 bill in my pocket when I needed a little extra cash, or a heart in the clouds or a hawk soaring in the sky.

As a mother comforts, I will comfort you

I think of the many ways that I am able to comfort my girls and feel blessed that, for at least a little while, I can be the person that they run to for comfort, for relief, for security, for encouragement and a confidence boost, for a sense of contentment and well-being. I kiss boo-boos and offer band-aids, give tickles, snuggles, and hugs, wipe tears, wrap them up in warm, cozy blankets and hold them until my arms fall asleep, and the list goes on and on. But, as much as I love being a place of solace, my goal is to teach them to trust God, to go to Him for sanctuary. I want them to believe that He is the same safe haven, an even better refuge than I could ever be, especially as they grow up into adulthood. He is the Comforter. He is Mother.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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2 Samuel 7; 2 Corinthians 1; Ezekiel 15; Psalms 56, 57

Willingness to endure the hard times, as much as enjoy the good times.

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it. 2 Corinthians 1:6-7, The Message. (emphasis mine)

I listened to a message on grief by Rick Warren. He said if you’re only living in the party, you’re only living half a life. That in grief, that’s where we grow. (And if you’re not grieving your losses, you’re stuck in that spot until you do.)

We don’t want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, The Message.

In my lowest moments (persecution, exclusion, depression, the waiting), after realizing I had done all that I could do–and all to no avail–I was at a place where I learned surrender. Over the course of three years, I would get lots of practice in learning to differentiate between the things over which I had control, and those that I did not. I learned how to lean on the Lord, and that I could trust him. I learned to pray, and to ask for prayer.

As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Thank you, Jesus.

Courtney (66books365)

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Jeremiah 47, Jeremiah 48, Hebrews 2

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” Hebrews 2 

“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, – “Because he exalted himself against the Lord. – His lies have made nothing right. – I will bring The year of their punishment,” says the Lord. Jeremiah 48

Please Read –  www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah%2047,48;%20Heb%202&version=NKJV

Hebrews 2                Of Jesus Christ: “have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  – Thank You Lord Jesus!!

            King of kings, You think, consider and care for me! Your Word says, “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?”  

              You did and continue to do this through Your Son Jesus Who “for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for” me. And is “a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2

             Lord God, I am so needy. In this sin-stained world, I am grateful to come to You for help and protection against all forms of temptation, deception and evil. Even from things that seem good but that are not glorifying to You, my Lord. Your Word, the Bible, gives me Your wisdom, perspective, comfort, empowerment and love. You grow me, correct and change me, mold me to be different than I was before, and hopefully not as ‘good’ as You will have me by next year. Your peace within me surpasses all understanding. Eternal hope and joy by Your Holy Spirit sustain me and enable my soul to flourish despite my circumstances. I desire to know Your Mind and Heart Lord and Master! I long to serve You better from my inside on out.

~I am Moved to Worship You with deep Gratitude and Awe!~ 

Jeremiah 47             Thus says the LORD: “Behold, waters rise, an overflowing flood, men shall cry, … The fathers will not look back for their children, Lacking courage, … For the LORD shall plunder; the LORD has given it a charge Against –  He has appointed it.”

Jeremiah 48             Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, You also shall be taken. Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully,”

            The world, the flesh and the devil are alive and active – tugging, pulling, manipulating and trying to deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:24). Culture and “religion” take its toll by lying to me, feeding my pride by saying “You are the most important. Take pleasure, please yourself! Your good works make you good. Your riches make you safe. Do what you think is right because God loves you.” Judges 21:25  

            Judgment has come on the plain country: The horn of Moab is cut off, And his arm is broken,” says the Lord.  “Make him drunk, Because he exalted himself against the Lord. Moab shall wallow in his vomit, And he shall also be in derision. We have heard the pride of Moab (He is exceedingly proud), of the haughtiness of his heart.” Says the Lord, “His lies have made nothing right.”  Romans1:18-2:11

            Cutting off the strength of the country, breaking the abilities of the nation, causing inebriation for false “vision” and wrong perceptions, and losing a good reputation are the righteous judgments for arrogance against the Lord God Almighty. Lies of the nation make “nothing right”.

            Is my nation taking the same path?Moab shall be destroyed as a people, Because he exalted himself against the Lord. Fear and the pit and the snare shall be upon you, O inhabitant of Moab,” says the Lord. “For upon Moab, upon it I will bring The year of their punishment,” says the Lord. “Woe to you, O Moab! For your sons have been taken captive, And your daughters captive. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.”

            In my own life – Am I living for pleasure instead of sacrificial faith in God’s Word? Am I lying to myself? Lying to others? What am I like when no person is looking? What is the root of my deception? Pride and self-centeredness? If so, this God’s result: ”Joy and gladness are taken From the plentiful field And from the land of Moab; For I have broken Moab like a vessel in which is no pleasure,” says the Lord. “How Moab has turned her back with shame!”

             The Lord causes these painful tragedies and tells His reason: His declared righteous judgment against a people rebelling against Him, the Holy God. What is the cure? Repentance! 2 Chronicles 7:14  

              Lord God, thank You for explaining to me in Hebrews 2 what Your prepared path is for my success in You. Your Word warns me: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. … every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”  Hebrews 2  

The Lord Jesus Christ IS the Remedy! I resolve to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 8:31-36; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)   

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