Comfort and Encouragement

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. 

– 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (AMP)

So I was reading one of my devotionals* this morning and the above verse (different translation) was included. It struck me that many folks I speak with either via the internet or in person say they don’t really feel comfortable evangelizing. Okay I get it not everyone is a Billy Graham type :). But everyone has a story to tell of how God has comforted and encouraged them at some time in their life and just about everyone knows or runs into someone who needs that same type of Comfort and Encouragement. Huh, I wonder if God could have been setting us up for a little evangelizing? Do not hesitate remember we can do these things in the power of Christ. – Mike

*Source: DAILY LIGHT ON THE DAILY PATH – MARCH 2

Take Courage

 

by Darrell B. Harrison Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Scripture is clear that believers are divinely equipped by Christ to overcome the threats of this world (1 John 5:4—5). That means we don’t need to yield to the mounting pressure to conform to the world’s skewed values, sinful social norms, and ever-shifting morality. We don’t need to acquiesce to a world determined to sideline the church and silence the proclamation of the gospel.

At the same time, we must not make the mistake of thinking we’re incapable of caving in to such pressure. We need to remember that none of us is impervious to momentary compromise, and we must not be quick to judge others who stumble and fall. As Charles Spurgeon said, “Do not judge a man by any solitary word or act, for if you do you will surely mistake him. Cowards are occasionally brave, and the bravest men are sometimes cowards.” [1]

Continued at Source: Take Courage

The High Cost of Cowardice

by Darrell B. Harrison  /  Monday, February 18, 2019

When you think of courageous Christians, your mind likely runs to the heroes of church history. You think of the men and women who endured imprisonment, torture, and even martyrdom for the sake of their faith. And certainly there are many places around the world where believers still face similar threats today.

But that’s not the context in which most of us live and work. What does courageous Christianity look like in our day-to-day lives?

That question has been on my mind since late last year, when controversy swirled around a statement made by contemporary Christian recording artist Lauren Daigle. During a radio interview, she was asked, “Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?” Here’s how she replied:

You know what, I can’t honestly answer on that, in the sense of, I have too many people that I love that, they are homosexual. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it, and I was like, “I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.” So when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go-to is. Like, I just say, read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know, because I’m learning too.

Let me say at the outset that it is not my goal to condemn Lauren Daigle. As my (professed) sister in Christ, I am obligated to be charitable in my efforts to understand her remarks in the context in which they were offered. I cannot read her mind or her heart as to motive or intent. And I can only imagine the contempt she has endured, having disappointed many of her fans and other Christians by not answering the question as dogmatically as they had hoped. It is against this backdrop that I unreservedly and wholeheartedly give Lauren Daigle the benefit of the doubt that she is, as she said, still learning—as should be true of every Christian (Romans 12:2).

Nevertheless, I must confess that I am burdened by the fact that Daigle—or any professing Christian, for that matter—would be so ambiguous on an issue about which Scripture speaks unequivocally (Leviticus 20:13Romans 1:25-27).

After spending no small amount of time prayerfully and—I hope—graciously reflecting on Daigle’s words, I was reminded of a sobering eschatological reality in Scripture—one that is germane to the subject of courageous Christianity, but of which many believers, sadly, are unfamiliar. It is the reality that those whose lives are marked by cowardice are identified first among those destined to perish in the lake of fire.

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

God regards spiritual cowardice as a damnable sin—one that exposes a heart of unbelief. In his commentary on Revelation, John MacArthur explains who these cowards are.

These are the ones who lack endurance (cf. Matthew 24:13Mark 8:35). They fell away when their faith was challenged or opposed because their faith was not genuine. Jesus described such people in the parable of the soils: “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matthew 13:20–21). These are the ones who “shrink back to destruction” (Hebrews 10:39).

Biblically speaking, “the cowardly” are professing believers who are so overcome with fear and timidity in a given situation that they equivocate on the truth, or deny it altogether. Like Peter (Matthew 26:69-75), spiritual cowards yield to the world’s pressure, fearful of what an uncompromising life of standing for Christ and His gospel might cost them. Those pressures are familiar to us all—they routinely weigh on our friendships, family gatherings, and workplace conversations. And in a society that is driven by the ever-shifting winds of political correctness, we all understand the potentially high price of nonconformity.

For followers of Christ, the question is not if but when we will be rejected for standing for the truth (John 15:18). Such treatment is both a natural and expected response to a message the unbelieving world does not want to hear (John 3:19). And yet, we must not lose heart. In fact—we are to rejoice (Luke 6:22), knowing that we serve a courageous Savior who, by the power of His Spirit, has equipped us to live courageously as well (Psalm 31:242 Timothy 1:7).

Trapped

December 7

Psalms 142:7
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Mikhail was released after seven years in prison. Because of his political views, he had been detained in a small cell, isolated from the other prisoners. His only human contact had been with his jailer, who brought him food once a day. Walking into the sunlight, Mikhail lifted his head skyward, tears flowed down his cheeks, and he began praising God. Many thought he had gone mad in captivity, but others knew that he was merely giving thanks to the one who had sustained him through his imprisonment.

When we find ourselves trapped by situations that have no end in sight, we need to draw on the courage and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will enable us to survive any trial, whether it be long or short. We have the assurance that God is greater than any problem that might arise. Call upon the Lord, and He will life you up.

Prayer: Lord, I need to feel Your presence near me. Alone, I get so tired and afraid. This life has many trials that I’m not ready to deal with. Free me from the captivity of my fears and doubts, and empower me to praise Your name always. Amen.

From http://www/crosswalk.com/devotionals