VIDEO Unexpected Blessings and Compassion

God… comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

A million things can go wrong in our lifetime. Most don’t; they never do. But sometimes a particular thing badly disrupts us—we’re diagnosed with a rare disease; our house catches on fire; we’re caught up in an addiction; our child has a car wreck; our spouse shows signs of dementia. Of the 7.53 billion people on earth, others have suffered the same blows. There’s a fellowship of suffering known only by those who have experienced the same issues.

If the Lord allows adversity to come into your life, perhaps it’s because He wants to use you to comfort others when they endure the same thing. Imagine how many ministries have been started by men and women longing to use the lessons they’ve learned in a crisis to encourage others.

One of the unexpected blessings in trials is finding a well of compassion—the unique ability of comforting others with the same comfort we’ve received from God. Learn to pray, “Lord, through this trial, equip me to better serve You in the future. Give me unexpected compassion.”

Among all the names that reveal God, this, the “God of all comfort,” seems to me one of the most lovely, and the most absolutely comforting. The words “all comfort” admit of no limitations. Hannah Whitall Smith


2 Corinthians 1 (Part 1) The God of all Comfort :1-7

When You Are Weary and Tested

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Children are a blessing. They give us much joy. But let’s be honest, there are days when they stretch our patience. Raising a child is no easy task. Parenting author Paul Tripp said it’s mission impossible.

However, while recognising the challenge, it’s sad and appalling to read in the newspaper about parents whose frustration went overboard. A five-year old boy developed a limp as a result of a misaligned kneecap he sustained after his mother allegedly hit him repeatedly with a broom over biscuits she found scattered on the kitchen floor. And sadly, there were many other situations where wrath was unchecked and unleashed leading to a tragic end.

As imperfect beings, we stumble and fall. We often do not react to situations in the best way. We need God’s grace to redeem our mistakes and prevent us from continuing down the path of destruction—for ourselves and for others.

In 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul outlines what perfect love looks like. His standard sounds wonderful, but putting that love into practice can be absolutely daunting. Thankfully, we have Jesus as our example. As He interacted with people with varying needs and issues, He showed us what perfect love looks like in action. As we walk with Him, keeping ourselves in His love and steeping our mind in His Word, we’ll reflect more and more of His likeness. We’ll still make mistakes, but God is able to redeem them and cause good to come out of every situation, for His love “always protects” and it “never fails” (vv. 7–8). We can read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 this way:

Jesus is patient and kind. Jesus is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Jesus does not demand his own way. Jesus is not irritable, and he keeps no record of being wronged. Jesus does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Jesus never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Now, let us consider how we can follow Jesus’ example by practicing love.

 

“Love is patient and kind”.
The word “patient” means “patient endurance under provocation.” The literal meaning of the word is “long-tempered”. A patient person is a person with a long fuse. In ordinary life, patience is not a difficult virtue to manifest. When life is stressful, however, patience becomes hard. When you are worried about bringing bread to the table, and a child is throwing a tantrum and do not heed your instructions, we can quickly lose our patience. We need God’s grace to be patient.

Well, being patient does not mean we silently endure everything . That’s when we need to remember that love is kind too. It’s interesting to note that the bible states, “love is patient and kind” instead of “love is patient, kind”. Perhaps, we are to see these two qualities as a couplet, one phrase.

The word “kind” refers to “active goodness that goes forth in behalf of others”. J.B Philip translates it as “look for a way of being constructive.”

So what does that mean: we need to be patient in disciplining our child. After all, we are all work in progress. God is not done with me. He is not done with our children too. He is at work in us and in them.

 

Keep practicing love
And here’s where it’s helpful to remember that Paul’s description of love are in verb form in its original Greek text. Emphasis is not so much upon what love is as it is upon on what loves does. The fact that these facets were written as doing words is a reminder to us that if we merely read the word and hear the word but do not put them into practice, then it is of no avail to us.

Verses 4 to 8 are not simply instructions but transformation. It must be truth applied, not truth simply learned in the head, but truth that is channeled to the hands and the feet and so on.

The present continuous tense denotes action and attitude which must become habitual in our lives. This characteristics of love must be factored into our life as we employed them on a daily basis making them part of our habitual activity. They will be employed, and seen gradually by constant repetition. In much the same way as we build our muscle by way of exercising, and would seen an atrophy when there is an absence of exercise.

In short, we must keep practicing love.

Thankfully, we are not our own. God wants to work in us so that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit, which includes love (Galatians 5:22). He will change us from the inside out, allowing us to bear fruit of the Spirit.—Chia Poh Fang

 

Lord, You know how much I struggle against sin.
Help me to presevere and not to give up,
for You have assured me that
You will help me overcome.

 

For more articles on biblical parenting, visit our new website, Biblical Wisdom for Parents.

Sharing Our Hope

1 Peter 3:13-18

For believers in Jesus Christ, the condition of lost humanity ought to be both sobering and motivating. Ephesians 2:12 says we were “separate from Christ … having no hope and without God in the world.” Is there anything worse than this? But apart from a relationship with God through His Son, there is no eternal hope.

Jesus Christ came into the world to take the punishment for sin and die the death that we deserved. In so doing, He satisfied God’s demands for justice, thereby removing the guilt and condemnation of everyone who believes in Him as Savior and Lord. The result is that those who were formerly “far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

Now we who have received this hope are called to share it with others. But people cannot know that Jesus is the only hope unless they learn about Him from us. As Peter points out, this assignment may not always be easy because some people are hostile to our message. Yet we are called to “give an account for the hope” that is in us “with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Our witness for Jesus Christ should be evident in both our words and actions. As the Holy Spirit begins the work of renewing our mind with the Word of God, our attitudes and behavior become increasingly Christlike. And that is a powerful witness to a world without hope. Christ offers a transformed life now and the promise of eternal life for all who will come to Him in repentance and faith. So let’s share our hope!

No Tears in Heaven

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8)

It may be surprising to learn there are tears in heaven, but there are three places in the Bible where we are told that God will wipe away our tears there. This promise appears first in the Old Testament in our text—a text that is quoted in the New Testament as applying to the events of the second coming of Christ. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). The graves will be emptied and death itself will die when Christ comes again! But there will still be those tears, even after death, that God must wipe away.

The other two occurrences are in the last book of the Bible, both again in the context of the return of Christ, “[who] shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Finally, in the new Jerusalem, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 7:17; 21:4).

But why should there be tears at all when death has passed away? The Scriptures do not say specifically why, but it seems probable that these may be tears of regret at lost opportunities and tears of sorrow for unsaved friends and loved ones. It does say that in the new earth we shall somehow “look upon” the lost (Isaiah 66:22, 24) and that even some of the saved “shall suffer loss” when their works in this life do not “abide” in the judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). But then, after these tears are shed, God will graciously wipe them away, and there will never be sorrow or crying anymore. HMM

He Did Lose His Temper

He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

—Proverbs 25:28

Some people have a temper. We blame it on our Irish grandfather or on something else; but it’s a plague spot. I remember a man who had a very high spiritual testimony and became a leading pastor in his denomination. One night at a board meeting, he lost his temper like a mule driver and after that, nobody believed in him.

One time, a man I thought was a fine Christian had a new car and somebody came along and dented his fender. He blew like a little bomb. I never believed in him again. Whenever I see a man blow his top, I never believe in that man unless I know he has gone to the Fountain that cleanses and gotten delivered. No man has any more right to go around with an uncleaned temper than he has to hold a rattlesnake in his jacket pocket. He has no more right to do that than he has to leave untreated a cancer on his tongue, because it will destroy his ministry. He can pray and testify, give and labor, but if one day he blows up, nobody will believe in him after that.   SAT060

Lord, deliver me from any tendency to an uncontrolled temper. Keep me from the loss of credibility that can do irreparable harm to my ministry. Make me a pure vessel. Amen.

 

Let the will of the Lord be done.

The will of the Lord be done.—Acts 21:14.

 

But if in parallel to Thine

My will doth meekly run,

All things in heaven and earth are mine,

My will is crossed by none,

Thou art in me,

And I in Thee—

Thy will—and mine—are done!

W. M. L. Jay.

 

Sufferings arising from anxiety, in which the soul adds, to the cross imposed by the hand of God, an agitated resistance, and a sort of unwillingness to suffer,—such troubles arise only because we live to ourselves. A cross wholly inflicted by God, and fully accepted without any uneasy hesitation, is full of peace as well as of pain. On the contrary, a cross not fully and simply accepted, but resisted by the love of self, even slightly, is a double cross; it is even more a cross, owing to this useless resistance, than through the pain it necessarily entails.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

The basis of all peace of mind, and what must be obtained before we get that peace, is a cessation of the conflict of two wills, His and ours.

Charles Gordon.

 

There Are Weapons Doomed to Fail

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” Isa. 54:17

There is great clatter in the forges and smithies of the enemy. They are making weapons wherewith to smite the saints. They could not even do as much as this if the Lord of saints did not allow them; for He has created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire. But see how busily they labor! How many swords and spears they fashion! It matters nothing, for on the blade of every weapon you may read this inscription: It shall not prosper.

But now listen to another noise: it is the strife of tongues. Tongues are more terrible instruments than can be made with hammers and anvils, and the evil which they inflict cuts deeper and spreads wider. What will become of us now? Slander, falsehood, insinuation, ridicule — these are poisoned arrows; how can we meet them? The Lord God promises us that, if we cannot silence them, we shall, at least, escape from being ruined by them. They condemn us for the moment, but we shall condemn them at last, and for ever. The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped, and their falsehoods shall be turned to the honor of those good men who suffered by them.