Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3,4—Comfort Of God

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“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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.”

2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (NASB 95)

He stood a few feet in front of me. His unshaven face mingled with a coating of grime from years of filth. The putrefied garbage filling the house had melted into his clothing. Years of suffering sin devouring his heart and flesh left him without a conscience. He suffered from sin’s slow death not knowing another stood by who had suffered all his affliction that he might know comfort.

“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 …

  • “He was despised and forsaken of men,
  • A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
  • And like one from whom men hide their face.
  • He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
  • Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
  • And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

  • But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
  • He was crushed for our iniquities;
  • The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him.
  • And by His scourging we are healed …

the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted”

Isaiah 53:3-5,6b,7a

The prophet Isaiah described our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He became the man standing before me. I was once the man standing before me. Jesus took on himself our stench of sin in the weakness of flesh. He took on our suffering from sin. He took our death. He took our affliction that we might know His comfort from sin’s power, guilt, and penalty.

Jesus—“Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same,

  • that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil,
  • and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives…

He had to be made like His brethren in all things,

  • that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God,
  • to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered,

He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

Hebrews 2:14-15,17-18

The man stood between me and my door of escape. At that moment, I stood between him and his only hope of comfort—his door of escape from a life bathed in sin’s stench. That day he heard of the love of Christ, the comfort He offered from sin’s affliction of death. That day he walked into his house filled with filth. I walked out the door into a breath of fresh air. A few weeks later the man stood before God.

As the apostle Paul pleaded with the Corinthians, may we who have been cleansed from sin’s stench of death, remember,

“We are ambassadors for Christ,

as though God were entreating through us;

we beg you on behalf of Christ,

be reconciled to God.

He made Him who knew no sin

to be sin on our behalf,

that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Our heavenly Father, the God of mercies and comfort waits to comfort us in all our affliction. Even as Christ’s suffering has purpose—to bring us comfort from sin—we take hope knowing our suffering has purpose. In our suffering, Jesus comforts us

“so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.”

2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (NASB 95)

For Thought: How has God used suffering in your life to comfort another? Do you find your suffering strengthening your relationship with God? How/why not?

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, how great are your mercies toward us. You have taken our affliction of sin in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. May we share the comfort you have given us with those you put in our path.

When The Fire Keeps Burning

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4126

Have you known people who go from one trial into the next without a chance to take a breath? Maybe, you are one of those people. The pressures of life keep building into your chest and filling your mind until you feel like a pressure cooker—if it doesn’t find an outlet for the steam, it will blow its lid. Rest and time to gather strength don’t come until the fire goes out—but it never goes out. It only dims for a short while then heats back up.

The apostle Paul knew the feeling.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia,

that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life:” 2 Corinthians 1:8

This verse is an overview of Paul’s troubles. For specifics check out 4:8-10; 6:3-19; chapter 10 raises charges against Paul’s character. Then in 11:21-33 he lists another bevy of suffering. Yes, Paul knew what life under pressure was like. Yet, this is what he writes in—

This Week’s Scripture:

“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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction

with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted.”

2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (NASB 95)

For Thought: When you need someone to come alongside you in your trials, who do you call for comfort, consolation, or encouragement? Today, would be a good day to reach out to that person and say, “Thank you.” It could be they need some encouragement. While you’re at it, think of someone facing one trial after another and offer them an encouraging word.

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the comfort you give us. Help us remember, when the pressures of life bear down on our spirit to look up to you. Help us remember when we are in the fire, you are there with us—and no matter how hot the fire, you won’t let it burn us, but will deliver us through it. Thank you, for coming alongside, for being our comforter, extending your tender mercies to us. Amen.

The Garden of the Lord

“For the LORD shall comfort Zion:

he will comfort all her waste places;

and he will make her wilderness like Eden,

and her desert like the garden of the LORD;

joy and gladness shall be found therein,

thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”

Isaiah 51:3

She knelt beside the tender plants being careful to pull the weeds from around the red, yellow, pink. and purple frilly edged poppies waving in the morning breeze. Depending on the time of year, her garden of carnations, snap dragons, fancy tulips and Easter flowers smiled at family and friends walking up the garden path. But for Mabel, my mother-in-law, her garden had a different purpose. It was her garden of the Lord.

“Often I watered it with my tears,” she explained. “Then it rewards me with joy and gladness in its beauty. It’s here I meet the Lord and find strength to go on.”

Mabel knew what it was like to walk in the garden of the Lord, not unlike what Adam and Eve must have experienced.

The events of creation tell us –

“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden:

and there he put the man whom he had formed…

to dress it and to keep it”

Genesis 2:8, 15.

Unlike Mabel’s garden no weeds threatened the beauty, but the Lord did instruct Adam to care for it. The beauty and the fruit of it were his to enjoy – all except for the one forbidden tree. Until Adam’s disobedience to that command he and Eve enjoyed the presence of the Lord. He walked and talked with them “in the cool of the day.” They knew the nearness of God.

Mabel knew the nearness of God in her garden, especially when faced with the many trials and heartaches she experienced through her life. But in her garden she found comfort, joy, and gladness. There is a garden of the Lord for all who will draw, as the old song says, “Near to the Heart of God.” As Asaph and the writer of Hebrews tell us –

“But it is good for me to draw near to God:

I have put my trust in the Lord God,

that I may declare all thy works…

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,

and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;

(for he is faithful that promised;)”

(Psalm 73:28; Hebrews 10:22-23)

Mabel drew near to the Lord in her garden. Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in his garden. The garden is that place we find ourselves nearest God. It’s the place we come for his comfort and leave with his joy and gladness.

Where is your garden?

How Full is Your Gauge?

Being filled with the fullness of Christ, as one blogger commented, begins with the new birth, a new life in Christ: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever…That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…”(1Pet. 1:23; John 3:6; John 14:17).bread-1696166__340

The world doesn’t know Him or have Him, but the born again do know Him and are filled with Him from the moment we receive Christ. It just takes a lifetime to grow in His fullness, appropriating it into our lives.

John the Baptist said it best when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30. As Christ’s life in us changes us from the corruptible to the incorruptible“…we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Cor. 3:18. It happens one step at a time.

Over the next few days? I hope to dwell on the fullness of Christ lived out in His body, the church, believers born of the incorruptible seed of the Holy Spirit. The past few days the studies and sermons I’ve heard dealt with compassion and comfort. This is where I will start because I believe He is asking me to be filled up with these things, to grow to be more like Him in these areas. I invite you to share areas He is speaking to you.

If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ…any affection and compassion…  he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.” (Phil. 2:1,NASB;Ps. 78:38).

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” (Phil. 2:5; 1Pet. 3:8,9)

If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ…any affection and compassion…  “He… will have compassion upon us…subdue our iniquities…cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.“ Micah 7:19.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Eph. 4:32.

 “If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ…any affection and compassion…Jesus…said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.” Matt. 15:32.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” 1John 3:17.

If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ…any affection and compassion…they were as sheep not having a shepherd: And Jesus…saw much people, and was moved with compassion…and he began to teach them many things…The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few…” (Mark 6:34; Matt. 9:37).

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest…Follow me…Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”(Matt. 9:37;John1:43b;Matt. 28:19,20).

Compassion comforts. Comfort brings hope.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2Cor. 1:3,4.

Father, as we have received may we give.

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