Thursday, September 29, 2011

Heard bad news lately? Need some comfort?

Are you losing your home and frustrated, or a lover and angry.. or your health, or savings ....or freedom, being locked up behind bars in prison... or have you just found yourself in an impossible situation? Really wish I could encourage you. No worries, Christ can...

"Let not your hearts be troubled…"

Last night I was listening to such horrific news again.. in our nation's capital.. in individual American's lives.. in other lands far away, but at the end of it all the commentator, Sean Hannity, went on to voice those comforting words of Jesus ..as Sean always does. "Let not…[etc.]"

Sure, it's become his custom.

I like that, but didn't so much at first. Even though it feels really odd to hear that after hearing such uber-bad news, it does make ya think of our Lord and where we stand with Him. Hey, you know how Sean is a born again believer (no other kind..) and he is obviously hoping to plant a seed so that all who hear him will become as he is.. yes, filled with hope in spite of it all.

Sadly for those outside of Christ around us today, real bad news will only get worse in the future, and that's why we want to shine brightly and help em. For the real believer, life down here is the closest that we will ever get to experiencing hell. But for unbelievers, life down here on this gorgeous but sin-affected planet where many loving people live, this is the closest that they will come to experiencing heaven. You already know how much suffering down here is not due to one's personal sin (that's why Job's buds blew it) ..some is.. but much of it is due to Adam's sin and this motivates me in wanting to search for words of comfort to give to people.

Don't know about you, but I'm unfortunately no "comforter" but when I'm out of words, I've gotta first concentrate on listening to peeps here, and lots of times that's all God wants me to do. Learnin' how.

But I also like to turn to God's Word for something to minister to people cuz He loves to do this work directly. It's impacting - there's great value in reading His words alone. Then of course I want to turn to the words of saints who've hurt a lot and subsequently sought God for His comfort, and in this God actually ministered to them and turned them into comforters for those hurting around them. I'm sure you do the same, but my heart goes out to you all right now, so hopefully at least one of these statements will be appropriate and fitting for your heart.   

"Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus.." (2 Cor. 7:13). 

"Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy Word unto thy servant. Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight" (Ps. 119:76-77). 

"These things I (Jesus, the living Word) have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33, kjv. Emphasis mine. Kinda reminds me of Hannity).    

"This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy Word hath quickened me" (Ps. 119:50).

"God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute." ~ Oswald Chambers

"God walks with us. He scoops us up in His arms or simply sits with us in silent strength until we cannot avoid the awesome recognition that yes, even now, He is there." ~ Gloria Gaither

"In this crazy world, there's an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they're never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the Kingdom." ~ Henri J. M. Nouwen

Yeah, sometimes I'm totally without words when I see what loved ones around me are having to deal with. Amazing I know ..that I can be without words.. but I just don't quite understand what God is doing or why he is allowing all that He is allowing.  Let's keep on trusting the Lord to help no matter what.

I really don't understand God's ways so good. Of course He doesn't promise me a peace like the world gives or one that gives understanding; but I'm so grateful for His promises to me of a peace that passes all human understanding. Yep, and I have personally experienced that inner peace during trying times… and admittedly not situations like you are going through.

It's my hope that my faith will grow as I sow to the Spirit with the Bible, in prayer, is fellowship with growing believers at church, and then in sharing my faith as an outgrowth of that. Sometimes I hurt so much that witnessing is not what I feel like doing at all.

But I'm trusting that your faith, and comfort and joy..  and mine as well .. will develop all the more as we pray and seek the Lord through all this junk. He is our victory. Personally, I sure need to grow in wisdom, in grace, and in His unchanging truth. Trials and loss can distract or wear us down. I want my heart to become more tender and less cynical as a result of stealing away to get alone.. yeah, to seek Him whom my heart loves. There've been times when I've had a "He could really give a flip" attitude, but we all need hope for our hurting hearts at times – sometimes hope amidst overwhelming pain. But Christ won't let go. He fully understands, is right there with you, and He has hope for you. He says,

"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am" ~ Jesus, (Jn. 14:1–3, nlt).

"Snuggle in God's arms. When you are hurting, when you feel lonely, left out. let Him cradle you, comfort you, reassure you of His all-sufficient power and love… He has held me when I have had no more strength and have wondered how I would ever make it. He has held me when I have felt defeated by all that I had to do. When I have run to my El Shaddai, I have never come away wanting. He is my all-sufficient One. O Beloved, do you understand? Have you experienced Him as your El Shaddai? If not, He is waiting - arms opened wide - for you." ~ Kay Arthur

"You don't have to be alone in your hurt! Comfort is yours. Joy is an option. And it's all been made possible by your Saviour. He went without comfort so you might have it. He postponed joy so you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow." ~ Joni Eareckson Tada

"The blessed Lord condensed it all into one single message of eternal comfort spoken to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, It is I, be not afraid. He is the antidote to fear; He is the remedy for trouble; He is the substance and the sum of deliverance. We should, therefore, rise above fear. Let us keep our eyes fastened upon Him; let us abide continually in Him; let us be content with Him. Let us cling closely to Him and cry, Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea" (Psalm 46:2). ~ A. B. Simpson

When Jesus spoke these "Let not…" words to His disciples, they were feelin' afraid because one of their own, Judas Iscariot, had just bolted out the door to defect. How disloyal! Ouch! And then Christ basically dropped the bombshell: He was going to leave them. They thought, How can we live in a world without our Lord with us? They just didn't grasp that Jesus was going to the cross to die for their sin and for ours, and then rise again from the dead so that we all (who were born of His Spirit) could have meaning in this life and even hope for beyond the grave.

What was so cool was that Jesus was going to take up residence in their very lives. But at that point, all that they heard was that Jesus was going to leave them. And this just rocked their world and crushed their dreams.

Christ commanded, "Don't let your hearts be troubled." Another rendering from a different translation of this verse would be, "Don't let your heart shudder." In other words Christ was conveying, "In the light of the imminent cross, check it out: Right now it may appear like your world is crashing—it might seem like it's totally falling apart and that evil darkness is succeeding to mow down and over-run you all. But don't let your heart be troubled."

"God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honor and glory." ~ Augustine

"In the secret of God's tabernacle no enemy can find us, and no troubles can reach us. The pride of man and the strife of tongues find no entrance into the pavilion of God. The secret of his presence is a more secure refuge than a thousand Gibraltars. I do not mean that no trials come. They may come in abundance, but they cannot penetrate into the sanctuary of the soul, and we may dwell in perfect peace even in the midst of life fiercest storms." ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

"Jesus feels for thee; Jesus consoles thee; Jesus will help thee. No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow. The Master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain's cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenseless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again tonight I enter it, and am safe from every foe." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Then Jesus told His disciples why they just don't have to be troubled for a second. And it's the reason that we also don't have to retain fear in our hearts: "Trust in God, and trust also in me." In the original language, Greek, this is Christ's command. He was clearly saying, "I know exactly what I am doing here and you can count on My Words for they are absolutely true. You'll see this in good time."

"Your sorrow itself shall be turned into joy. Not the sorrow to be taken away, and joy to be put in its place, but the very sorrow which now grieves you shall be turned into joy. God not only takes away the bitterness and gives sweetness in its place, but turns the bitterness into sweetness itself." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"We sometimes fear to bring our troubles to God, because they must seem small to Him who sitteth on the circle of the earth. But if they are large enough to vex and endanger our welfare, they are large enough to touch His heart of love. For love does not measure by a merchant's scales, not with a surveyor's chain. It hath a delicacy... unknown in any handling of material substance." ~ Reuben Archer (R. A.) Torrey

His powerful presence is our true solace. These Scriptures and the other words of saints (above) really uplifted me today. It's no time for any of us Christians to give up hope. God's Word is there with you and is here with me to encourage. It's simply time to keep fighting the good fight of faith as Jesus fights for us—the battle is the Lord's. You know it's called a "good" fight cuz we win. So "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3)! ~ kVs

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