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Posts Tagged ‘comfort’

Steadfast Hope

October 22nd, 2016

I am resending this devotional, “A steadfast Hope,” because I have added the last paragraph, as well as a personal note from Gayle and I, and our family. I hope you will take the time to read the devotional again and note our family news at its end. Your prayer is especially appreciated in these next days.

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With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about “steadfast hope.”

The concept of hope is much misused and misunderstood. People use the word inaccurately, when referring to something they wish to happen but are not very sure it will. Many people live life wistfully, hoping what they wish could be true. Wishes don’t come true; faith does. Biblically, the word conveys a radical certainty which is the foundation for all you believe to be true now and in your future. Most people assume that, “seeing is believing.” Incorrectly, we require incontrovertible evidence before we venture into faith.  Contrary to every assumption, the Bible teaches that “believing is seeing.”

Paul reasoned, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:24-25 NKJV. True hope begins, rests, and thrives in this truth, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 NKJV. Contrast that with life before your heart was at rest in Christ. “At that time you were separate from Christ . . without hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:13 NIV. With Christ in your life, your past is erased, your present is blessed, and your future is certain. “[We who] take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 6:18-19 NIV. Biblical hope rests, “firm and secure,” upon the clarity of God’s Word to you and the surety of Jesus Christ’s work in you.

Hope is akin to love and faith, not a weaker version of either. Paul affirmed the Thessalonian Christians, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NKJV. He similarly encouraged the Christians in Corinth, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV. Biblical hope deserves more priority than is usually given.

“Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep His promise.” Hebrews 10:23 TEV. Paul prayed for the Roman church, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. You experience overflowing hope as you fill your thoughts and heart with God’s Word. “That we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NKJV.

When things aren’t working out as expected, choose hope anyway. Losing hope for your marriage or family? Place your home in God’s hands. God can mend hearts, restore love, and heal a marriage. Giving up on yourself or someone else? God can change a life. Struggling with finances? God is the Lord Who provides. As long as there is life there is hope. “Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3 NKJV. The Resurrection is God’s way to show that nothing is impossible.

Considering that day of Christ’s return and our glorification, Paul wrote of the Blessed Hope that awaits us, “Live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”  See Titus 2:11-14 NIV. We look with even more anticipation for that glorious day.

A PERSONAL NOTE. After I had written and sent this devotional, we received a call that our grandson – just twenty-one years old two weeks earlier – had died in an automobile accident that morning. The news was devastating. Yet these words about steadfast hope were tried and proven true. God has been faithful and His Word is ever sure. The Blessed Hope of which Paul wrote is nearer and dearer than ever before. Our family is grateful for the loving words of encouragement and faithful prayers of so many friends. Allen and Gayle Randolph

Today, I pray for you to experience hope that is undiscourageable and steadfast.

Christian Communications 2016

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Fragile Hearts and God’s Comfort

May 28th, 2016

“May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise.” Psalm 119:76 NIV.

Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

My thoughts today are about, “fragile hearts and God’s comfort.”

There are times when life should come with a warning, “Fragile, handle with prayer.” Life can be painful; people can be fragile. Life will hold its share of bumps and bruises. When your heart is breaking, when difficulties multiply, when problems overwhelm, when you think you cannot make another day, you can know and trust the God of all comfort. God always handles people with care. You or someone near you needs God’s comfort today.

If you have seen a mother comfort a sick or fussy child, or a father gather a frightened toddler into his arms, you were watching God at work. Nothing comforts a child like its mother’s arms, held close to her heart, and hearing her familiar, comforting voice. The crying stops and the child settles, resting quietly and safely in familiar arms. That’s a practical and tender picture of what God does for any child of His. God comforts them.

I have watched elderly saints struggling with pain that no medication seems to ease until God invisibly takes them in His arms and whispers His words of peace and assurance. I have witnessed families gathering at a graveside where hearts are aching and tears flow, until God touches broken hearts and they begin to heal. Remember, “The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT.

Jesus said, “I will pray to the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever . . the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name.” John 14:16-17/26. The word is also translated, “helper, counselor, encourager.” Comfort expresses God’s character even more than describes His compassion.

Run quickly to, “the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV. His comfort to you is to overflow to others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father, Who loved us and in His special favor gave us everlasting comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and give you strength in every good thing you do and say.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT. God’s heals your hurt to empower you to bring healing to others. A simple prayer, word of encouragement, or expression of practical care can be an immeasurable comfort to others.

Today, I pray for you to experience God’s loving care and healing comfort.

EDL fragile - prayer

 

Christian Communications 2016

EDL Facebook: allenrandolph.com

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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

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Suffering

August 21st, 2015

“What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.” Romans 8:18 NLT.

Job’s story was written to show God’s faith in Job, not Job’s faith in God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “suffering.”

First let me say, I do not presume to know all the answers about suffering. But this I know, God sorrows when we suffer. For any of us, suffering presents more questions than provides answers. In the Bible, a whole book is about the suffering of Job, a man the God described as, “blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job 1:1 NLT. Very few, if any, have experienced the breadth and depth of loss and pain that Job suffered. Read Job 1:13-2:10 NLT.

And therein is the dilemma for most of us. We assume suffering is the natural result of our own wrongdoing or the fault of others. Admittedly, those often do cause suffering. But how do you explain suffering where there is no fault to be assessed? Amid the pain of suffering there are questions and uncertainties. In the truth of God’s Word and His righteous character, you will find rest for body, mind, and soul. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, [produces] character; and character [produces] hope.” Romans 5:3-4 NIV.

This week, a pastor and friend, Dennis, shared an inspiring insight about the sufferings of Job. Let me share an excerpt with you. “The patriarch Job had lost his possessions, family, friends and health, Satan himself tried to take his mind. Chapter after chapter, Job anguishes over the hopelessness of his life. He asked the question we all ask, ‘Where is God in all of this?’ Unlike you and me, Job really had lost everything. He really was hopeless. Even his wife and friends’ advice was, ‘Give up, curse God and die.’ So where was God?

You have to go back to the beginning of the story. The devil had presented a challenge to God, saying he could destroy the faith of God’s servant. God accepted the challenge and allowed Satan to attack everything that Job had, except his life. Read Job 1:6-12 NLT. In a nutshell that is the story.

But underneath the story is a truth that is missed by most. A casual glance would say that God was testing Job’s faith to see if he could stand in the crisis. That is not the case. Job’s life-story was not written to show his faith in God, but written to show God’s faith in Job. Think about it. Satan challenged God that he could destroy the righteous believer’s faith. God chose one man to be tested, Job.

In essence, God places all of His faith in that man to stand in the day of trouble. God believed the very best in Job – in fact, He believed in Job more than Job believed in himself. Since God has faith in you, maybe it’s time to put your faith in Him.” Dennis Gallaher, ActLikeMenBlog.

If you could hear the conversation about you in Heaven, you would not doubt your strength in Christ to persevere. This is the perspective God honors, “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.” Romans 8:18 NLT. Your story is being written to show God’s faith in you, not your faith in God. Stop trying to have faith that impresses God. Start living a life that pleases God; give God reason to have faith in you. “Praise be to the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles.” Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-10 NIV.

Here is Peter’s perspective on righteous suffering, “For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:19-21 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to persevere in suffering, assured of the character and faithfulness of your God.

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Storms

May 15th, 2015

“Who is this Man that even the winds and waves obey Him?” Mark 4:41 NLT.

Life requires that you learn to safely navigate any storms.

My thoughts and comments today are about “storms.”

Life requires that you learn to safely navigate the storms you cannot avoid. On a vacation cruise with friends, Gayle and I experienced a violent storm at sea, a major hurricane off the Pacific coast of Mexico. To avoid the storm, the Captain turned from the coastline out to sea, intending to sail safely to our next port in calmer waters.

Then it happened. The hurricane had bounced off shore right into the path of our ship. There were high winds, extremely rough seas, and frightened passengers, even a few wearing their orange life vests, just in case. For a prolonged 36 hours, what the Captain had attempted to avoid, he now had to confront. Life happens like that sometimes. Some unwanted circumstances have to be confronted.

For practical reasons, I was cautiously optimistic. I believed the Captain and crew were experienced and prepared to navigate the storm. Also, I reasoned that a ship is built for success in its element, to sail safely in good and bad weather equally. Its element was the sea, not designed to be moored safely in port. And, I knew this storm was a temporary aberration of weather not a permanent condition. Convictions of truth will comfort and encourage you.

Life can be turbulent, personally and professionally. In such times, assumptions are shaken and uncertainty abounds. Days grow uncomfortable and tomorrows feel tentative. Those proclaiming “doom and gloom,” as well as those with wishful, but empty reassurances seem to drown any voice of reason and balance. Life is a storm through which you must navigate, neither a brief inconvenience nor the end of the world.

As a ship is designed and constructed to withstand stormy weather as well as gentle winds and calm seas, your faith is made for stormy weather. The disciples found themselves in a raging storm that left them fearing for their safety. “Jesus rebuked the wind and the water. Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. Filled with awe, they said, ‘Who is this man that even the wind and waves obey Him?’” Read Mark 4:35-41 NLT. Real faith is made for times when sickness intrudes, when resources are scarce, when relationships are strained, when questions exceed answers, or when others despair. In every storm, Jesus is with you.

Similarly, Jesus warned Simon Peter of personal storms ahead, but also assured him, “I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Luke 22:31-32 NIV. Jesus is praying for you; you should be praying too. Prayer makes a difference in your faith, “an anchor for the soul.” Hebrews 6:17-20. It’s always time to seek God; it’s time to have faith; it’s time to trust and believe. Your faith will “weather every storm” when you pray, know and trust God’s Word, and listen for God in your heart.

Today, I pray for you to live courageously and confidently through any storm.

 

 

 

 

 

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