Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - You are Never Alone
I did not know what kind of response this website would receive when I decided to start it around 18 months ago. I knew that there were those who wanted sounds lessons based on the Word of God as opposed to the "political correctness" that so many are exposed to in pulpits each Sunday. But as the months went on, something unexpected began to happen. I began receiving e-mails from people around the world telling me of real life problems that were occurring either in their lives or the lives of friends or family. I would be asked questions or advice, some would ask for other websites which would provide lessons regarding certain subjects and some would ask for prayers which I many times pass on to the Facebook group that is associated with this website. But some e-mails were written by individuals who spoke of desperate times in their lives and feelings as one who was alone, with no place to turn and no hope left.
Nothing challenges the Christian’s faith more than suffering, hardship, trials and temptations. We all face problems, difficulty, suffering, and hardship. We need strength, endurance, patience and comfort to endure. "Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble" (Job 14:1). We can especially appreciate these words when we think of the suffering endured by the one who spoke them. Different people deal with different problems and afflictions, and it seems that some suffer more hardships than others do. We all know by personal experience and from the experiences of those we know, that Job's statement is true. Troubles concern us, not just because hardship itself is a burden, but also because affliction can lead to spiritual temptations. We may be tempted to feel that our trials justify committing sin. We may become so discouraged that we blame God for our troubles, lose faith in Him, or begin to doubt His goodness and mercy. As Job's wife said, "Curse God and die" (Job 2:9)
Thankfully Christians are NEVER alone and are NEVER without hope, because God is always there for us! We need to focus on the blessings God provides to comfort us in times of need.
1.What Blessings Does God Provide to Help Us Be Comforted? 1.1.The Bible 1.2.Countless passages speak to the comfort of God 1.2.1.Matthew 5:4 - Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 184.108.40.206.The Lord declares blessedness and comfort for certain mourners; these are the ones who, in pursuit of their recognized need for God, properly react to their own sins; that is, they experience godly sorrow which leads to repentance of their sins. 220.127.116.11.Genuine repentance, a change of will regarding the master one serves, carries an attendant love for God 18.104.22.168.1.2 Cor. 7:10 - For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death 22.214.171.124.2.Matt. 6:24 – No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon 126.96.36.199.3.Repentance, and the love implied by it, lead to salvation; and only in salvation can the enduring comfort of God be realized 188.8.131.52.4.Those who realize that they are "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3) instinctively turn to their Father in Heaven who is "rich in mercy" (Eph. 2:4).Without a doubt it is this Divine virtue that has captured the hearts of sinful mankind (Luke 18:13). 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Thes. 2:15-17 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work. 1.2.2.Romans 15:4 – "...through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope." 18.104.22.168.The scriptures comfort and strengthen us when we are in need. 22.214.171.124.1.They help us understand that we will have to suffer, but good can result from our suffering. 126.96.36.199.2.They give us assurance that we can endure like others have. 188.8.131.52.3.They give evidence of God's wisdom, power, and faithfulness to his promises. This strengthens our faith that God can and will help us endure. 184.108.40.206 Cor. 1:3-7 – 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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 220.127.116.11.Knowing that our God and Father cared enough to send His beloved Son (John 3:16; Gal. 4:4), we are not at all surprised to hear Him referred to as the "Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 18.104.22.168.Paul was anxious to point out that God's comfort was never intended to stop with the initial recipient.We are comforted by God so that we may be better qualified to comfort others (Rom. 12:15).Thus, we learn of at least two altogether good side effects of suffering. 22.214.171.124.1.First, suffering enables us to experience God's comfort and thus partake of "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). 126.96.36.199.2.Second, suffering is advantageous in that the sufferer gains new ability to comfort others in similar circumstances. 188.8.131.52.3.The adage which proclaims, "only sorrow can speak to sorrow," is proved to be valid in light of this context 184.108.40.206.4.We are to be merciful in our behavior to others since our Heavenly Father has been so kind toward us (Luke 6:36; Matt. 18:33).He is not only the "Father of mercies," but also "the God of all comfort." 1.2.4.Comfort is one of the key words of 2 Corinthians.The term, in its various forms, is found some 10 times in 2 Cor. 1:3-7. 220.127.116.11.When others fail to bring us needed comfort and relief (Job 2:11; 13:4; 16:2), our God is there as a solace and a sanctuary (Heb. 13:5-6; Jer. 8:22; Ps. 46:1). 18.104.22.168.Coming into clear view in 2 Cor. 1:4 is the two-fold fellowship enjoyed and experienced by God's children, namely, suffering and comfort.Wherever you find suffering for the cause of Christ, fear not, God's comfort will not be far behind. 22.214.171.124.Since our Lord knew that His disciples would be called upon to suffer (John 15:20; Matt. 5:10-12), He also promised to be with them and comfort them during those trying times.In the immediate context Paul wrote of tribulation and trouble (2 Cor. 1:4), suffering (2 Cor. 1:5), and affliction (2 Cor. 1:6). 126.96.36.199.Consider the following medley of verses that will emphasize the source, operation, and result of Divine comfort in our lives: "I, even I, am he that comforteth you ..."(Isa. 51:12); "As one whom his mother comforteth so will I comfort you ... (Isa. 66:13); "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalms 23:4). 188.8.131.52.Paul was anxious to point out that God's comfort was never intended to stop with the initial recipient.We are comforted by God so that we may be better qualified to comfort others (Rom. 12:15).Thus, we learn of at least two altogether good side effects of suffering. 184.108.40.206.1.First, suffering enables us to experience God's comfort and thus partake of "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). 220.127.116.11.2.Second, suffering is advantageous in that the sufferer gains new ability to comfort others in similar circumstances. 18.104.22.168.In 2 Cor. 1:5 Paul did not have in mind the common irritations or the usual hardships of life. 22.214.171.124.1.2 Cor. 1:5 - For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 126.96.36.199.2.Those were "the sufferings of Christ" which represented the trials endured because of their fidelity to our Lord. 188.8.131.52.Jesus spoke of these when He said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake ...Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" (Matt. 5:10-11).Peter also appealed to this principle in 1 Pet. 4:15-16. 184.108.40.206.The precious promise before us is that as these trials "abound," so also our comfort "aboundeth" by Christ. 220.127.116.11.1.Yes, not only is His grace sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), but His comfort is available in direct proportion to our troubles.Peter set forth the same wonderful truth in his first epistle to his brethren.In 1 Pet. 1:6 we learn of "manifold temptations" while later he mentioned the" manifold grace of God" (1 Pet. 4:10). Whatever the trial and subsequent pain, God will comfort His child by His manifold grace! 1.2.5.Never forget the price we are asked to pay; but we can take comfort from the promise made 18.104.22.168.Rev. 2:10 - Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 1.2.6.When you are troubled: 22.214.171.124."Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). 1.2.7.When you are afraid: 126.96.36.199."God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1). "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me..." (Ps. 23:4). 1.2.8.When you face trials: 188.8.131.52."My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4). 1.2.9.But the Bible gives us none of this help unless we regularly study it. 1.3.Prayer 1.3.1.James 5:13 - "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray." 1.3.2.Philippians 4:6, 7 - "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." 1.3.3.Job 1:20 - When Job suffered, he went to God in worship. Far too often when we suffer, we do the opposite. We neglect to worship, because we don't feel like it. 184.108.40.206.These passages do not promise that God will remove our problem, but they do promise He will provide the strength we need to be faithful despite the problem. Jesus and Paul both prayed about problems, and God answered their prayers, but the problem was not removed. Instead, God gave them strength to endure (Matt. 26:36-46; 2 Cor. 12:7-10). 1.3.4.Asking for God’s Comfort 220.127.116.11.Psalms 31 – David cries out for comfort 18.104.22.168.1.From impending trouble (1-8) 22.214.171.124.1.1.David seeks deliverance from those who thought to ensnare and destroy him. 126.96.36.199.1.2.In verse 5, he uses the same words as quoted by Christ in Luke 23:46 and Stephen in Acts 7:59. 188.8.131.52.2.From bodily sickness (9-12) 184.108.40.206.2.1.David laments that he has been afflicted by disease. 220.127.116.11.2.2.We all know the great grief, and suffering disease brings to us. 18.104.22.168.3.From whispering enemies (13-18) 22.214.171.124.3.1.False accusers conducted a whispering campaign as they sought to slander David. 1.3.5.Why is prayer such a powerful comfort? 126.96.36.199.Heb. 4:15-16 - For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 1.4.Other Christians 1.4.1.Why do Christians seek the advice and counsel of non-Christians when they are troubled? 1.4.2.Not only can God comfort us, so can other Christians. We should strive to comfort others. 188.8.131.52.2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 - 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 tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1.4.3.Galatians 6:2 - "Bear one another's burdens." We should never allow another Christian to suffer alone through serious problems, if there is any way we can help. 1.4.4.One of the best places to get encouragement in time of trouble is the public worship assemblies (Hebrews 10:24, 25). 184.108.40.206.Again, however, we must come to the assemblies and talk to other Christians to gain the help we need. (1 Cor. 12:26; 220.127.116.11.1.1 Thes. 5:11-14 - Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. 1.5.Hope of Eternal Life 1.5.1.Romans 8:16-18 - We are heirs of God if we suffer with Jesus. The sufferings of this life are unworthy to even be compared with the future glory awaiting us. 1.5.2.James 1:12 - The man who endures is blessed, because the result will be a crown of life. 1.5.3.Matthew 5:10-12 - Rejoice and be glad (don't gripe and complain) when you are persecuted, because you are suffering as God's people always have. 1.5.4.And great is your reward in heaven. (2 Cor. 4:16,17; 2 Tim. 1:11,12; 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3-7; 4:13) 18.104.22.168 Thes. 4:13-18 - But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.Therefore comfort one another with these words.
2.Conclusion 2.1.Our God alone qualifies to wear the designation "Father of mercies and the God of all comfort."In full view of His strength and splendor may we be heard daily to proclaim "Blessed be God"! 2.2.The prescription for a life of comfort comes from Philippians 4:1-8 2.2.1.Keep in mind your glorious future (4:1). 2.2.2.Take to heart that you are loved, wanted and constitute a source of joy to others (4:1). 2.2.3.Form a proper relationship with the Lord (4:1). 2.2.4.Form and maintain the right relationship with others (4:2). 2.2.5.Become involved in the Lord’s work (4:3). 2.2.6.Rejoice in the knowledge that your name is written in heaven (4:3). 2.2.7.Cultivate a gentle, sweet, forbearing, reasonable, considerate, courteous, generous, gracious, meek and yielding attitude (4:5) 2.2.8.Never forget the Lord is near (4:5)
Remember, you are loved and are never alone! God is always here and brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide stand ready to pray on your behalf.