VIDEO God of Comfort

But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. 2 Timothy 4:17

Only one object can occupy a certain space at a time. And the human brain can only be aware of one thought at a time. And we can only move in one direction at a time. But that is not to say that a certain action can have only one purpose at a time.

Take God’s comfort, for example. When the apostle Paul received God’s comfort as a persecuted apostle, he said there were two purposes: One was his own comfort, and a second was that he might comfort others with the same comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). And when God comforted Paul with His presence when he was in prison, there were also two outcomes: One was Paul’s comfort, and the other was so he might continue to preach the Gospel to those around him in Rome. God comforts us for our own good—but also for the good of others.

If you are “uncomfortable” at the moment, allow God to strengthen you. Then look for ways to use your strength to serve Him and others.

There is comfort in the fact that God can never be taken by surprise. Frank Gaebelein


The Lord Stood With Me, 2 Timothy 4:16-17 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Rise Again

Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again. Proverbs 24:16

Olympic runner Ryan Hall is the US record-holder for the half marathon. He completed the event distance of 13.1 miles (21 kilometers) in a remarkable time of fifty-nine minutes and forty-three seconds, making him the first US athlete to run the race in under one hour. While Hall has celebrated record-setting victories, he’s also known the disappointment of not being able to finish a race. 

Having tasted both success and failure, Hall credits his faith in Jesus for sustaining him. One of his favorite Bible verses is an encouraging reminder from the book of Proverbs that “though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (24:16). This proverb reminds us that the righteous, those who trust in and have a right relationship with God, will still experience difficulties and hardships. However, as they continue to seek Him even in the midst of difficulty, God is faithful to give them the strength to rise again. 

Have you recently experienced a devastating disappointment or failure and feel like you’ll never recover? Scripture encourages us not to rely on our strength but to continue to put our confidence in God and His promises. As we trust Him, God’s Spirit gives us strength for every difficulty we encounter in this life, from the seemingly mundane to significant struggles (2 Corinthians 12:9).

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How has God strengthened you after a difficult disappointment? How does that give you encouragement for the struggles you face today?

Heavenly Father, thank You that in every trial and disappointment You’re always close, offering comfort and strength to help me rise again.

Visit ChristianUniversity.org/SF108 to discover how you can best serve others and understand yourself better.

An Example of Service

Philippians 2:5-18

When Jesus came to earth as the Jewish Messiah, He wasn’t what His nation expected. They were looking for a powerful king who’d liberate them from the Romans. While He could have banished the Roman presence from the region, that was not the mission His Father gave Him. Rather, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). 

Jesus left the glories of heaven and humbled Himself to take on the status of a bondservant—which was at the time a permanent, unpaid slave and the ultimate demonstration of servitude. The Son of God came into the world, willing to do whatever His Father commanded. And that included dying on a cross for undeserving sinners like you and me.

A servant isn’t independent or self-centered but is instead focused on doing whatever his or her master says. That’s our calling as we follow in Christ’s footsteps of selfless service. Are you willing to accept this humble position? The culture may think you’re weak and foolish, but by serving others without grumbling, you prove yourself to be a child of God and a powerful light in a dark world.

Treasures of the Snow

“Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?” (Job 38:22)

It is interesting that this book, the oldest in the Bible, contains more references to snow, ice, and frost than any other book of the Bible. This is despite the fact that Job’s homeland was in what is now essentially a desert region. Possibly the effects of the post-Flood Ice Age were still strong in Job’s day.

In any case, the beautiful phrase “treasures of the snow” is both appropriate and prophetic. Its crystal structure, though mostly in the form of delicate six-pointed “stars,” is endlessly varied and always intricately symmetrical and incredibly beautiful.

The snow is a treasure in other ways as well. The winter’s snowpack in the mountains is often called “white gold” because of its indispensable water storage capacity, released in the melting season each spring to provide life to teeming cities and irrigation in the desert for needed food supplies. The snow also aids in maintaining the planet’s chemical cycles by returning various elements in the nuclei of its flakes back from the ocean to the lands from which they were leached and transported by rivers to the oceans. When the snowpack becomes a glacier, it can greatly assist in the breakup of rocks to form fertile soils.

In the Scriptures, its pure white color is often used to symbolize the cleansing of a sinful heart that trusts the Lord. “Wash me,” said David, “and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow,” the Lord promises those who come to Him for salvation (Isaiah 1:18).

As the snow comes down from heaven, so comes the Word of God to ask the soul as in today’s text: “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?” (Job 38:22). HMM

At Jacob’s Well, II

John 4:1-42

OUR Lord must needs go through Samaria. Our byway ministries often are more fruitful than our service on the main road. “Being wearied with His journey,” our Lord sat on the well. It is a precious human touch.

Then follows a masterpiece of personal work. This woman, coming at noon to draw water, was a bad character. But our Lord saw a soul to save. We love to preach, but do we love the people to whom we preach? We still snub the Samaritans and need to read James 2:1-9.

“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water.” If only men knew the gift of God and the Giver! The “water” here points to John 7:37-39, where we know the Lord speaks of the Spirit.

The woman asks whether our Lord is greater than Jacob, for the well is deep and He has nothing to draw with. Are we not like her?—we let trifling circumstances stand between us and Him! And how we cling to Jacob rather than Jesus! We measure our lives by the things we get from Jacob, by inheritance or circumstance. We cling, as in Jeremiah 2:13, to broken cisterns, but here is one greater than Jacob who can give us living water so that we shall never thirst again! But the water of Jacob’s well never satisfies.

When the woman makes a light reply, our Lord strikes at the real problem in her life: “Go, call thy husband.” Sin always lies at the base of skepticism. “We are not sinners because we are skeptics, but skeptics because we are sinners.” The woman again sidesteps with another issue about where to worship, but our Lord meets it with the declaration of true worship: “in spirit and in truth.” Then comes a clear claim to be the Messiah, and the woman leaves her water pot to go tell others. When we come to know Him we shall leave our water pots which we have carried to Jacobs well! The old things are deserted; the water of the natural cannot meet our need—we have found living water!

This woman became a true soul-winner: she told others and brought them to Jesus. Thus they came to know Him for themselves and not only through another. “We have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” It is the argument of experience.

Our Lord was found by the disciples in the midst of this strong interview, which was astounding to them. Our meat, like His, should be to do the will of God. The world says, “Four months, and then cometh harvest.” We are not concerned for the lost. The Samaritans were likely coming across the fields even as our Lord spoke the words: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Oh that we might see the lost today with the urgency desired by our Lord! Remember, “He that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.”

Quiet Contemplation

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done.—Psalm 92:4

The contemplation of God humbles the mind, expands the soul, and consoles the heart.

How does it expand the soul? “The soul,” says one theologian, “is at home only when it is in God.” He meant, of course, that as the soul was made for God, it can only function effectively when indwelt by God. Contemplation of God is like breath to the soul; it inflates it and causes it to be fully actualized. “My body and my whole physiology functions better when God is in it,” said a doctor to me some years ago. I replied: “And so it is also with the soul, dear doctor, so it is also with the soul.”

Another benefit of contemplating God is that it consoles the heart. But how? It does so by focusing the heart’s attention on the greatness and goodness of the Eternal and also on His tender mercies and compassion. The more we know of God, the more we realize that when He permits us to pass through deep and dark waters, it is not because He is powerless to deliver us, but because a beneficent and eternal purpose is being worked out in that process. And what is more, we discover that God is not interested merely in working out His purposes in us, but in imparting to us a richer sense of His presence. In God there is a balm for every wound, a comfort for every sorrow, and healing for every heartache.

All kinds of remedies are on offer in today’s church to help the hurting (some of them more secular than sacred), but I know of nothing that calms the swelling billows of sorrow and grief as does the quiet contemplation of the Godhead.

Prayer

My Father and my God, forgive me if in times of trial and distress I look for comfort in the wrong places. You and You alone are able to meet my soul’s deepest needs. Help me to see this not merely as an opinion but as a conviction. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 145:1-21; Dt 32:1-4; 1Ch 29:10-13

How did David express the feelings of his soul?

How did Moses express it?

On Giving

1 John 3:16-17

God is the great Giver. It is not merely that giving is one of the great principles of action with Him, or one of the leading laws which He has laid down for His government; it is more than that—it is His nature.

We all know the difference. We can see it in a small way when we compare some of the people around us with each other. There are those who are selfish by nature, but who have, by force of will, or force of habit, or both, come in many matters to be kindly and generous in spite of their natural preferences and disposition. There are others to whom generosity is their natural element, of whom we can say they have a generous nature.

Thus it is with our God, only ten thousand times more so! His acts are generous. He gives because it is of His very nature to give. He gives regardless of the gratitude He may or may not receive. He gives as the eternal outflow of a loving heart. He gives because He just loves to give.

The moment we think of God at all we think of goodness, of one who is sending His rain on the evil and the good, feeding the wild beasts of the forests. The God our hearts need for the bestowal of our love and trust and service, the God for whom we could be willing to suffer and some even to die, must be the generous Being from whom there flows that loving stream of good toward all. Yes, this is the God we adore—the Great Giver.

Now we say that we are the children of God. Ought not the children to resemble the Parent? How can we consider ourselves to belong to His family unless, up to the measure of our ability, and so far as we have been entrusted with what can be bestowed, we are givers too?

When I speak of giving I am not thinking about material possessions only. I am thinking about influence. What a gift we can bestow there! I am thinking about kindness. What wealth every one of us may place in the hands and hearts of those who are around us by kind word and kind deeds!

I am thinking about faith. What a wonderful gift we can bestow upon others by our confidence in them, to their great enrichment! And I am thinking also of love, in the sense of goodwill, of service, of willingness to sacrifice for the good of the object loved. What riches God has bestowed upon us in giving us the power to love our fellows!

This also applies to our material possessions. “If anyone has material possessions,” says the Apostle John, “and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17).

Bramwell Booth, Life and Religion