Archive

Posts Tagged ‘1 Thessalonians 5:11’

Grace and Comfort

October 14th, 2015

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father.” 2 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV.

Your comfort remains incomplete until shared with others.

My thoughts and comments today are about “grace and comfort.”

In the Bible, there are many descriptions of God’s attributes. Of all the writers who attempt to describe the Indescribable, I love the Apostle Paul’s description best. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 1:2-4 NKJV. Read those words deliberately – grace, peace, mercies, comfort – and embrace them personally. Were it not for His grace, there could be no peace. And were it not for His mercies, comfort would be elusive. Flowing from God’s grace and peace, mercies and comfort abound.

Life can be difficult and trying times confusing. That is when and where you and I need the One, “Who comforts us in all tribulation.” By New Testament definition, tribulation is, “pressure resulting from a too narrow place.” Maybe you presently feel discomfort in a situation with undesirable options in an uncomfortable context. Such a place is sometimes described as being, “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Tribulation is something more than a brief inconvenience from the antagonism of persons or adverse circumstances.

Paul knew such times and also knew the sufficient grace and peace he found in every experience, “We are hard pressed, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV. You need a powerful God with a tender heart and gentle hand, “the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” From personal experience, Paul wrote, “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.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV.

Comfort is wrongly assumed as merely kind, emotional support. However, the word’s origin implies a strengthening impartation of courage and fortitude. See Acts 28:15-16 NKJV. For Paul, the Father’s purpose is clear; you are comforted by God to be a comforter of others. “If we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” 2 Corinthians 1:6 NIV. Your comfort remains incomplete until shared with others. “Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be fortified in spirit and confident in every circumstance.

Christian Communications

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Better Together

August 11th, 2014

On a personal note: after this mailing of EDL, Gayle and I will be taking a few weeks to celebrate our 50th anniversary – though a year late! The importance of the occasion and the travel involved dictate that the writing of EveryDay Life be set aside, to resume in September. I will miss the discipline and enjoyment of sharing my thoughts from God’s Word, as well as reading your kind responses and comments, but anticipate resuming my joyful assignment upon our return. During these weeks, let me suggest that you use the option of browsing the archive of more than 1,100 previous devotionals available at the EDL website: www.allenrandolph.com. I look forward to our return and our visits together around God’s amazing and practical Word.

Blessings, Allen Randolph

————————————————————-

“That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:12 NIV.

Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “better together.”

Let me journey a little further on our recent theme of encouragement. The Bible is clear, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV. Human nature is a bundle of contradictive inclinations; for example, a person can long for meaningful closeness with others, while at the same time requiring privacy from others. Relational intimacy can seem threatening; isolation can feel discomfiting.

At every level of personality, our fallen natures conflict with the Creator’s intention. At creation, God observed all that He had made, then declared, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God’s solution was, “a companion who will help him.” Genesis 2:18 NLT. God’s assessment is unchanged and His solution remains the same. People need other people.

Jesus chose His disciples, “to be with Him.” Mark 3:14 NKJV. Much of God’s intention for you begins with a call to divine companionship. I think the mention is significant that when Jesus gave His disciples power over unclean spirits and all kinds of disease, He sent them, “two by two.”  Mark 6:7 NKJV. Jesus knew they would face challenges and feel rejection, and partnered them for the mutual encouragement they would require. Together is a better option.

The Bible is full of such examples: Moses and Joshua, David and Jonathan, Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, and others. In prison, Paul wrote to Timothy, “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life . . bring Mark when you come, for he will be helpful to me.” 2 Timothy 4:10-11 NLT. It is a wise individual who recognizes his or her need for others.

“I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:9-12 NIV. The encouragement of each other’s faith provides a mutual strength.

Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one . . pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. Solomon reasons that your efforts together are more productive; help is more readily available; comfort is found in company; strength is compounded. Some measure of your success requires the cooperation and contribution of others. You will not reach your full potential without the meaningful fellowship of others. And some measure of others’ accomplishments and fulfillment requires yours. Encouragement is neither complicated nor extravagant; it can be as simply expressed as a genuine interest, a sincere inquiry, an affirming word, a heartfelt prayer, an overture of assistance, or an act of generous benevolence.

Today, my prayer for you is to be as encouraging to others as someone has been to you.

Christian Communications, Inc.

 

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recognition and Opportunities

April 4th, 2014

“You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things.” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Greater responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition.

My thoughts and comments today are about “recognition and opportunities.”

People seem to think they should start at the top. You might hope for the big and important opportunities first, but that is not how life really works. You may look at the ease with which someone does their job successfully, and assume that you could do it just as easily. Greater opportunities and responsibilities require achievements worthy of recognition. You don’t understand the tireless effort that provided another’s success and developed their skills.

On your path to success, small responsibilities provide useful lessons and needed experience. Learn from the struggles and mistakes. Life experiences prepare you for greater opportunities. When the opportunity comes, be ready for it. “Overnight success” usually takes a long time. Success that comes too quickly usually isn’t handled well or enjoyed long.

Mistakenly, some begin to think promotion is about what they have done. Here’s what really happens. Along your way, people appreciate your effort and see your potential, generously giving you opportunities to achieve and applauding your success. As I look back across my life, anything that I have been allowed to accomplish or become has been the direct result of the grace of God and the graciousness of a lot of people on my behalf. I have given the effort, but others have given me opportunity, encouragement, and much assistance. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.

Most importantly, don’t confuse success with achievement. Everyone wants success, or at least the benefits, privileges, and rewards success can bring. A culture of impatience values the product more than the process. Noteworthy achievement requires sacrifice and comes when you have prepared well, become equipped for success, and worked diligently.

Be forewarned. Success, when unearned and unprepared for, can result in ultimate failure. In subtle ways, success can corrupt values and cloud your judgment, making you arrogant when you should be appreciative, or greedy when you should be generous. Hold public praise and recognition gratefully, but lightly; use it wisely, while it’s yours to enjoy. Jesus taught an irreversible principle of the Kingdom of God, “The Master said, ‘You did well. You were loyal with small things. I will let you care for greater things. Come and share My joy with Me.’” Matthew 25:23 NCV.

Achievement and success begin by your being a good manager and faithful servant with what you have now. Jesus taught, “If you have not been faithful in that which is least, you will not be faithful in that which is much. If you have not been faithful with riches, who will give you true wealth? If you have not been faithful in what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?” Luke 16:10-12. So much of your future can be the product of a diligent past. Be faithful in the things presently at hand and greater opportunities will be given and greater success achieved.

My prayer for you today is: prefer God’s reward above the recognition of others.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Being Compassionate

February 5th, 2014

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NLT.

The wounds you suffer create compassion for the pain others bear.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being compassionate.”

You live in a broken world among others who are broken, some more than you, some less. Tragedies and suffering abound, seeming at times that being shielded from the plight of others is a means of survival. The current world view is much different than that to which the Gospel calls you. Let’s look a little further into Jesus’ words from the “Beatitudes,” about living exemplary lives. Read Matthews 5:1-12 NLT.

(1) Being real. To those who prize nothing of their own to boast, God gives all He has to offer. See Matthew 5:3 NLT. There are times when what you have can blind you to what you could have.

(2) Being compassionate. To those who mourn a pain they cannot bear, God gives what He alone can best provide. “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NLT. Mourning can touch your life in diverse ways. Through repentance, you can mourn a wrong done by you; with forgiveness, you can mourn a wrong done to you; and by compassion, you can mourn a wrong done to another. Compassion is the cure for self-absorption and produces consideration for the plight of others. We are all wounded healers. Compassion is God’s way for you to be both healed and healer. The wounds you suffer can create compassion for the pain others bear.

Jesus is always your example, prophesied by Isaiah as engineering a great exchange, “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . to comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Isaiah 53:3/61:3 NKJV. Your God does not merely commiserate with you; He lavishes what you lack and transforms what you experience. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Matthew 5.4 MSG.

As I write, I hear a simple melody and lyrics from years earlier, “Let my heart be broken; Let my heart be broken; Let my heart be broken; With the things that break the heart of God.” Embracing God’s compassion for others fosters empathy for the struggles and sufferings of others. That is being exemplary, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tenderhearted . . Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Peter 3:8/1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV.

God’s promise is true, “. . they will be comforted.” Jesus “comforted” those who entered the suffering of others, responding with compassion. “’Come, you who are blessed by My Father’ . . and the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing so to Me.’” Read Matthew 25:34-40 NLT. But He also reserved the strongest rebuke and separation from those who were unresponsive to others. Read vs. 42-45. God’s comfort comes to those who comfort others. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you embrace compassion and extend it to others.

Devotionals , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Encouragers

May 24th, 2012

“Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Life requires courage and others who encourage that in you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “encouragers.”

I remember watching our grandsons play basketball, while our granddaughter was among the enthusiastic cheerleaders cheering for the team. Hearing those cheering voices must be a great feeling. Anyone can celebrate after the game has been won, but cheering is more inspirational while the game is still being played. In your life, someone in a tough time needs you to cheer for them. See Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT. Be a cheerleader for others, as someone has been for you.

There are things in everyday life that slowly deplete strength, dampen hope, or drain courage – times when you simply wonder if you have the strength to go on, feeling drained, even disheartened. You succumb to a pessimistic subjectivity. You need encouragement, the words or example of someone whose belief in you help recapture courage. Not anyone can do everything, but anyone can be an encourager. You can do this! Paul wrote, “Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV. That doesn’t sound like a suggestion.

There was a man in the young church in Jerusalem for whom encouraging others was so much a part of his lifestyle that those who knew him best changed his name to something that fitted him well. His name was Joseph, but his friends changed his name to Barnabas, “son of encouragement.” See Acts 4:36 NIV. Saul, the persecutor of the church, may never have become Paul, the great missionary, apostle, and author without the encouragement of Barnabas. See Acts 9:26-28 NKJV. Barnabas linked his good name with Saul’s name and reputation, introducing the new convert with a frightening history to a circle of faith that previously excluded him, settling unsettling questions the young church had about Saul.

Later, John Mark made a young man’s mistake and was deemed unreliable by Paul and others, but Barnabas saw good in John Mark that others didn’t bother to see. Acts 15:36-39 NIV. They saw his mistake; Barnabas saw his worth. The man whose lifestyle was to encourage found another life under God’s construction that needed encouragement. Did it help? Well, consider this. John Mark eventually wrote the Gospel of Mark, as had been told to him by Peter. Would he have done so, if someone had not encouraged him when he could not encourage himself? Mark would not likely have found the courage to try again without Barnabas’ help?

Someone says, “You can do this!” And your heart finds courage to believe you can. You will rarely need the size of courage that faces extreme danger or dares to attempt the impossible. But every day, there are those small but important moments when you need fresh courage – to trust a little longer, to walk a little further, to try a little harder, to believe a little more, to obey a little better, to bravely try again when you want to give up, and maybe when it counts most, to accomplish what you weren’t sure you could. You can encourage someone today, and make an eternal difference.

My prayer for you today is that you hear the cheers and have new courage.

Devotionals , , , , , , , ,