Words of Life ~ COMFORT

As an extension to our former post, Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation, we need to look further into the COMFORT  (consolation) that comes from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit.

The different meanings for COMFORT can be found here.

More than ever, in this generation, we are in need of consolation. As God’s children, we find all we need in the Word of God.

“This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” Psalm 119:50

 “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.” Psalm 119:76

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Roms. 15:4

Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God.
Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:1-2
“For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.”Jeremiah  31:13
“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.” Isaiah 49:13

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.” Psalm 23:4

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19
Comfort from our Father, and our Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit
Our Heavenly Father is the perfect Father, who knows when to chasten and when to comfort. He comforts after chastening brings us to Him in repentance.
Isaiah 61:2 is quoted in Luke 4:10, referring to Christ, the Messiah “To comfort all who mourn,”
Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit – the Comforter (paraclete) – as our advocate.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” John 16:7

“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”Acts 9:31

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are comforted, and together, without controversy, in our consolation and salvation, of one mind, endure the same sufferings. We live in peace, edify, exhort and comfort one another.

 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,” Roms. 15:5

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts 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. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

“But he that prophesies speaks unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.” 1 Cor. 14:3

 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” 2 Cor. 1:6

“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” 2 Cor.7:4

 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Cor. 13:11

 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11

Peter’s prayer for the Jewish Christians, was by “the God of all grace,” to be established in their suffering, “exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand” (1 Peter 5:10-12).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to send your Holy Spirit for conviction. In your chastening turn us to see you as our Father who chastens because you love us. Bring us in mourning for our sins to receive your forgiveness and comfort. Use these times of trial for our good and your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation

After a holy day when it seemed the whole world joined in the celebration, let us look at the reason for our Lord’s death and resurrection and why we should be observing every Lord’s Day as a holy day.

Is there a conspiracy in the world? Yes!

The controversy concerns the identity of the conspirators and when and where the conspiracy began. Consolation is for those who live in peace, while enduring the conspiracy and the controversy.

Our sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth,  has been, and always will be in control if the conspiracy, the controversy, and the consolation.

Our Lord God, ruler over His creation, keeps heaven holy, preserving His kingdom for His people – those who live in obedience to the rule of His kingdom.

The enemy uses every means and opportunity to war against God’s kingdom here on earth. This is the spiritual warfare the Christian encounters as we live for Christ and the truth.

The great conspiracy has always been “against the LORD and His Anointed” (Psalm 2). But the final attempt failed as Jesus rose from the dead, victoriously ruling in power over heaven and earth. This victory is now ours over every conspiracy the enemy may use against the Lord, His kingdom and His people.

Even as the conspiracy began with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, so did the controversy. Men want to blame other men as conspirators, not realizing that God’s enemy is not man, but as Paul identifies them.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13

Even as the enemy conspires through men to overcome God’s rule on earth, he continues to stir up contention among God’s people for unrest and anxiety, fear, and chaos. People use the sword of God’s Word against each other only to prove their inability to discern the truth.

God is Achieving His Purposes
As God rules over all (Psalm 103:19) He uses the works of the enemy to achieve His purposes.

Joseph’s brothers conspired against him, only that God would use their evil for good. (Gen. 37:18; Gen. 50:20)

The enemy was given permission to make Job’s life a hell on earth, but God used the enemy’s work to refine Job and make him an example for His people (Job 2:6; Job 42).

The religious leaders conspired to destroy Jesus and the truth He came to reveal. but it was the Father’s means to deliver His people (Acts 4:24-28). The conspirators were turned on their heels and the victory of our Lord was executed over death and the enemy (2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-17).

Paul was part of the conspiracy until Jesus confronted Him on the road to Damascus and turned Him to repentance (Acts 9:1-6). Afterward, Paul witnessed God’s working through his afflictions to conform him to the image of Christ (Phil. 3:7-10).Consolation
The enemy was defeated on the day Jesus rose from the dead, He lives forever and we live through Him. (2 Cor. 13:4; 1 John 4:9).

We live in the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer tossed to and fro by the enemy’s lies and upheaval, we can console others with the good news of the victory in Christ.

Even as Isaiah prophesied against God’s people because of their rebellion, he was instructed to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1). God judged, chastened, and sent His people into captivity. He restored them after seventy years ~ the number of years they had profaned His Sabbaths. God promised comfort through their affliction.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?” Isaiah 51:12

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercies… be of one mind,” Phil. 2:1

We will continue tomorrow with more of God’s Word on comfort.

Gracious Father, we pray that you continue to work in the hearts of your people. Even while we are apart, strengthen our hearts to comfort and exhort one another, to be of one mind, and edify the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Look Up!

(I am posting part of our pastor’s encouraging words to his flock today.)

I pray that we shall all seek the grace of our Savior, so that we may know how much God loves us, is watching over us for good, is working all things together for our good, now and in heaven forever.

Look up and see him as he walked as the man of sorrows — he knows our grief and temptations.

Look up and see him crucified, bearing our judgment, removing our curse, and reconciling us to God our Father.

Look up and see him resurrected, the Conqueror of sin and death, the Justifier of God’s elect.

Look up and see him interceding for us in heaven, opening heaven for us, making the throne of God’s dread majesty a throne of grace, a place of refuge, a place where we can unburden our souls to God and find fresh strength to fight the good fight and finish our warfare.

Look up and see him returning — the glory that will be revealed when we see him, the privileges and honor that await the believer when we see Jesus.

Look up and have your countenance lightened, encouraged, all because we look to Him, the light of the world (Ps. 34:5).

“What is Truth?” in Times Like These

Many are living in fear and confusion because they do not understand what is happening. Governments are accused of deceiving the people with false reports and keeping the public in suspense. Who really knows the truth about the virus that has spread throughout the world ~ even to the smallest towns and near all of us? Who knows what would happen if we did not observe the restrictions imposed upon us?

“What is truth? is a question for all times, especially while  we remember these words spoken by Pilate as he conducted the trial of Jesus.

Pilate’s question was a casual response to Jesus’ words,

 “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

John 18:37

Jesus had previously spoken of the truth to the people and privately to His disciples.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
” John 8:31-32

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

Our human nature causes us to doubt what we hear. We are inundated by data that only serves to confuse and distract us from our only true source of life.

The world continues to turn its back on the King and Lord of truth and so we live in a world of fantasy and fiction with no sure foundation for living.

Truth and Authority
When our trust is in Jesus Christ ~ the only bearer of truth ~ we do not have to rely on human sources. Our minds and hearts need to be turned to Him. He teaches us to trust Him even as we live in uncertain times under the human authorities placed over us. The truth in Jesus Christ brings us to trust in Him.

While He warns the sinner with the truth, it is good news of truth for those who come to Him in repentance and faith.  Whatever we hear falls under the authority of our Lord, Jesus Christ. All ~ including sickness and death ~ is under His jurisdiction as He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Let us bring every thought captive to Him and live in love, joy, and peace as He rules in all times and circumstances, and through all our tribulations (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 5:22).

He never  changes. He, in truth, rules  forever, leading us onward and upward in His grace to His glory.

 “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to reveal your truth to your people. Keep us by your Spirit in your Word to seek the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name, I pray, thank you, and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Article: Onward and Upward

Image: Google

God is at His Best in Times Like These

The most difficult the times, the closer our Heavenly Father draws us to Him.
When things are well with us, we are prone to forget Him.

 “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:
he is gracious,

and full of compassion, and righteous.”
Psalm 112:4

He waits to be gracious to us. In times like these, He opens heaven and His sanctuary to us, drawing us ever so close.

Dear Father, send your light and and by your Spirit, lead us to seek you, your kingdom and your righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Strategy for Times Like These

Few of this generation understand how to face and deal with the issues of this life. Not claiming to be one of the few but needing to know and use what our Creator has promised during these times, I write as I seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Only as we look to and receive His instructions can we discern the times and overcome our opposition.

Life is a constant battle (and has been since our first parents joined the forces of the enemy against God). The antithesis reveals the presence and power of God ~ good against evil. His grace and His glory are continually revealed in every generation whether through individual tensions or worldwide onslaughts.

The origin is the same. We each are dealing with our own thoughts ~ who we are, why we are, and how we are to live. It all boils down to self. Each heart beats to its own battle cry.  Each is bound and instructed by its own thoughts of what we see life to be. We walk according to the flesh. We respond to everything according to our own desires. And we buy, hold to and defend all we think will keep us alive.

This is the reality when the battle becomes prevalent and worldwide. We cannot escape the news of death and degradation when it mushrooms around us, but we can know and respond differently than the multitudes.

“Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

If we are aware of the battle in our lives during peaceful times and have learned to overcome the fleshly war, we are more apt to respond in faith and wisdom in times of crisis.

2 Corinthians has been a constant reminder of the greatest warfare we face. It teaches us that we are captives to the stronghold of our minds ~ thoughts that control us and keep us bound to ourselves and at enmity against God.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Paul spoke these words to the Corinthian Christians, knowing their need to deal with their former lives and their selfish desires. For every Christian, the power of the Holy Spirit works, teaching us through God’s Word, the strategy we are to use when facing the enemy.

We have this divine power available today as real as it was with Paul.

We must recognize the enemy within ~ thoughts that rule. Self has to be brought captive to Christ, in repentance and faith. We must ask and receive His Holy Spirit to bring us captive and teach us through His Holy Word.

We must spend time in His Word and prayer for the necessary instructions. When we overcome the enemy within (pride, fear, and unbelief), we will be confident in facing whatever the odds may be against us.

As we wait in times like these for what may come next, we must prepare.

Just as a soldier learns to use his weapon, we must have our weapon ready. Study and memorization of His Word is necessary for overcoming the enemy.


“Fear not, for I am with you;

    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,”
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

We have the promises and assurance of our Father’s presence and power with us at all times. They are for our consolation and comfort though we may have to endure sickness and death. Christ has been through suffering and death, leading us through the most treacherous of times we could ever face, excluding the eternal wrath of God.

When He wins the battle in us for our souls and minds, we become living sacrifices with all His people, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness to rule in the world.

 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

What promises of God’s Word do you use as a weapon of your warfare?

Gracious Father, forgive us as your people, living at enmity with you. Rend the heavens and come down to make yourself known to the adversaries ~ beginning with us, your children. Turn us from our selfish desires to receive all that you have prepared for us. Be merciful to us and all your enemies. For your glory, and our joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

In Times Like These

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast.”
Hebrews 6:19

Now in our eighties, Jerry and I have never known anything close to what the world is experiencing now. For over a week, I have been singing the hymn In Times Like These.

Searching for the composer and the story behind this hymn, I found it was written by Ruth Caye Jones, a pastor’s wife and the mother of five, living in Pennsylvania during World War II. She was distressed by the headlines of her Pittsburgh newspaper. She saw the World War II causality lists and she knew the Allies were making slow progress through the boot of Italy. Supplies were rationed at home, and everyone was living under incredible strain.

(Jerry was six years old and I was three at that time. I was born in 1939, when the war started, and I remember where I was when it ended in 1945. Jerry and I felt part of the aftermath of the depression of the late 1920s. But I had never heard of the pandemic of 1918 until I read about it two days ago.)

“Opening her Bible to 2 Timothy 3, Ruth studied the page and pondered the opening words. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. A song began composing itself in her mind. She jotted some lyrics on a small pad in her apron pocket. A series of notes also played in her mind. Only later did she realize they came from the old clock on the mantle with its iconic Westminster Chimes. Soon the notes and music congealed to become one of the most beloved Gospel songs of the 1940s and 1950s,

Ruth’s song may have been inspired by 2 Timothy 3:1, but it’s based on her knowledge of another verse—Hebrews 6:19, which says: This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Robert J. Morgan

Many of my thoughts during this time could be the source of articles on times like these, but I hope to share the encouraging ones for God’s people as minutely as possible. Not many of us can focus too long at one time.

Soon I want to look at the effects of times like these, how we can keep our focus on our Heavenly Father, thrive as His people even under the strain, and to share important and encouraging messages from pastors who are leading their flocks through this dark time.

Our Father in heaven, You are answering life-long prayers in ways we never expected, seeing and hearing things that are difficult to understand. We need your Holy Spirit to know how to pray. We are seeking your kingdom and your righteousness more and more. Draw us closer to you and help us to exhort one another to a deeper faith in you ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Redeem the Time

The current Free Grace Broadcaster,  Redeem the Time, with articles by Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Richard Baxter is available to read online or request the free booklet by mail.

Good material for these times.

Another suggestion: The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink
You can read this free online, or listen to the YouTube presentation.

Blessings for you during these times.

Dear Father, you have called us your children through Jesus, your Son. By your Holy Spirit, keep us close, lead us through your Word daily, to seek wisdom and spiritual knowledge as you are preparing us for eternity with you. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

Image: Google

 

Yet I Will Rejoice

From the writings of the prophet, Habakkuk, we learn of God’s judgment upon His people.

The Lord’s words are recorded in Chapters 1 and 2. Well-known promises are interspersed between God’s judgment and Habakkuk’s response in Chapter 3.

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
Hab. 2:4

“For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.”
Hab. 2:14

“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Hab. 2:20

 “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid:
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years,
in the midst of the years make known;
in wrath remember mercy.”

Hab. 3:1-2

And, as God’s people, in this generation, let us remember the source and the joy of our salvation. Neither are derived from good health, prosperity or anything of this world.

In times of adversity, we must consider what God is saying to each of us. We cannot point the finger at others. Let us use this opportunity to search our hearts, and in faith and repentance “humble ourselves before God and men.” (Andrew Murray, Humility)

Gracious Father, God and ruler of heaven and earth, give us wisdom and grace to turn our hearts to you. Revive your work in us and make us witnesses of your mercy ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Scripture Tunes ~ Habukkuk 3:17-18

 

A University President’s Message

Jerry received his degree in Industrial Engineering on December 15, 1961, from Auburn University. The following excerpts are from the President’s message, one you would not hear from a secular institution, today. We see how far we have come from the foundation of our nation and its institutions of higher education.We pray the Lord would bring us back to our humble beginnings.

“”””””””””””””””””

“My dear Friends,

You have completed your work for the degree in a time of the tremendous expansion of knowledge and in the midst of a world ferment of exploration of all the areas of thought.

I have the distinct feeling that the impact of new knowledge, which is producing so much of change is also reflected in changing outlooks among governments. I believe that you will live to see the effects of these forces also in the individual attitudes and beliefs of men.

We of the Western World have been conditioned in our thought and our morality largely through the beneficent influence of the Christian ethic. Although as individuals and as a nation, we have departed often from this ideal in individual acts, over the years and in the long view, we have been generally governed thereby. I would hope that the growth of knowledge, with the attendant dislocations which harass the world today, may serve to strengthen the influence of the Christian ethic and, eventually, ring wisdom and understanding among men and nations.

The prospects of that hope do seem dim at present, but I hope that you will cherish the ideal because I believe mankind must respond to the spirit of good and recoil from the spirit of evil. If this can’t be believed by men, there is little hope that civilization can survive.

I think that, perhaps, the best wish I could make for you on this occasion would be that each of you may be guided by the philosophy of the love of your fellowmen; goodwill; sensitivity to just and honorable relationships; and willingness to stand on the side of good against evil.

I wish for you, also, the joy of hard labor for worthwhile ends, and an awareness of the struggle in which you will be engaged throughout your lives. I wish for each of you good health, happiness, and success in that struggle, and I hope your lives may be blessed by the hope, the wisdom, and the influence of the Christian ethic.”

Ralph B. Draughon

 

The Auburn Creed includes seven points, the last of which is:

“I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing  justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.” (quote from Micah 6:8)