Category Archives: Comforter

Follow Yeshua’s Example of Prayer and Submission

Yeshua sets the example for intense prayer. We have a hard time living up to His example. No matter what we face, however, let us follow His example and come before the Father in prayer. Let us submit to the Father’s will and trust in the Father’s wisdom, even if we have an opinion or preference which is different. We may even pray for the Spirit’s help that we would not fall into temptation.

Luke 22:39-46

The Garden of Gethsemane

     39And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Let us model ourselves and our relationship with the Father after the example of Christ, whether we face big situations or every day small ones.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Character of Christ

Scripture is so deep and rich with meaning. I find myself pouring over the same section of scripture three days in a row now… for 11 verses. There are different themes worth highlighting and prayerfully reflecting on. This morning I am focused on verses 10-11. We see on full display the character of Christ. He is selfless and concerned for others. He is loving and kind. He puts the needs of others above His own.

Luke 9:1-11

Ministry of the Twelve

     1And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. 3And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. 4“Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. 5“And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

      7Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was happening; and he was greatly perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen again. 9Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him.

      10When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. 11But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing.

Jesus sent the apostles out on a mission and they accomplished it. They had such an impact that they gained the attention of Herod. When they returned and debriefed Him on all that happened, He withdrew with them to Bethsaida. The apostles were likely tired from their evangelical efforts and Jesus I am sure was impacted by the death of John the Baptist. It was a good idea to withdraw for some rest and regroup time.

However, the crowds followed. What a true reflection of Christ’s character… rather than turning them away, He welcomes them, speaks to them about the kingdom of God and cures those in need of healing. He is totally unselfish and focused on our needs. We should pray for His help to follow in His example by the grace of God.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Lord Encourages The Faithful Abundantly As They Do His work

Mary and Joseph married and Mary’s pregnancy came to near full term and then they were called to travel to Bethlehem for a census. This would seem a hard journey given Mary’s condition. When they arrive, they find no room at any inn, but instead go to a stable and Mary gives birth to Jesus there. Not exactly an easy path in life as they get started together. However, the Lord continued to provide them encouragement along the way.

The Lord provided an angel as messenger. He provided Elizabeth’s pregnancy to help and encourage Mary. He provided the shepherds at the stable where Jesus was born. Now as Jesus is presented at the temple, the Lord provides another to continue encouraging Mary and Joseph about who Jesus is as Messiah. Then He brings in Anna as yet another. The Lord encourages the faithful abundantly as they do His work.

Luke 2:21-38

Jesus Presented at the Temple

     21And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

      22And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”), 24and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.”

      25And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

      29“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;

      30For my eyes have seen Your salvation,

      31Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

      32A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

      33And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

      36And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

I am so grateful that our Lord sees fit to encourage us and reaffirm to us when we are on the right path, the path of obedience. It is not always the easiest path. Quite the contrary, sometimes the sinful and selfish path appears the easiest. “Just go along and get along”. But He calls us to be separate. Along the way there are trials and difficulties. It is such a blessing when He provides us with other believers around us or a word from the Spirit within us to encourage us and affirm to us that we are on the right path. I have experienced this many times in my life as a believer. I am greatly encouraged by how much my Father cares for me and for my family. He truly supports and guides us along the way… sometimes at just those times when the journey may seem most difficult.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

You Can’t “Out Give” God

It sounds cliché, but it really is true. You can not “out give” God. He is a generous and loving Father, an all powerful king of kings. He provides His people with gifts and blessings that far exceed what we could hope to give back to Him or give to others. We are but His servants. Let us pray for His help, His grace through the Spirit in us, to given and give generously to help others with joy in our hearts. Let not covetousness or personal greed get in our way of glorifying God as we look to help one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

2 Corinthians 9

God Gives Most

      1For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; 2for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; 4otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to speak of you—will be put to shame by this confidence. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

      6Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

9as it is written,
“HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR,
HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”

10Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Generous giving may include money or time and talent… or all three. Look for opportunities to help others generously… but don’t determine to do so on your own power and will alone. Seek God’s grace to help you through the Spirit within you. In His power we can do so much more and joyfully!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Broken Spirit

Sickness and hardship can be endured, but a broken spirit is devastating. It drains away our hope.

Proverbs 18:14

      14The spirit of a man can endure his sickness,
But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?

There are many difficulties which we can confront and endure, but hope and a strong spirit are necessary to thrive or even survive these situations. Put your hope in Christ and His promises. He will never leave us or forsake us once we wholeheartedly submit to Him.

Hebrew 13:5b-6

5b for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

6so that we confidently say,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.
WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

It sounds cliché, but it is true… there is no hurt too big for God nor any situation which is beyond His ability to handle. Put your faith and trust in Him and ask Him for help.


Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

More Than Just An “Introduction” to 2 Corinthians

Take care not even to skip or skim over the sections of Paul’s letters identified as “introduction”. Let us study that as well for insight. There is much we can appreciate and apply in our lives here.

Paul gives glory to God rather than himself for his role as apostle. He identifies his audience which is helpful in understanding context. In this case his audience is to the church… that is believers. You can study other engagements Paul has with non believers to get a grasp on how he communicates differently with nonbelievers compared to believers. In verse two, he again points to the Father and Christ and the powerful grace they provide and the peace that results. In verse 3, the focus is again on God the Father and Jesus Christ, highlighting the mercy and comfort we receive in our afflictions. Clearly Paul is speaking to suffering and tough times affecting the church, and pointing them to look to God for comfort. A poignant reminder that we as believers can expect suffering and difficulty as well… and we too can look to God for comfort. Paul also points to the power of prayer from other believers and credits as tangibly helpful in bringing about God’s help through his tough times in Asia.

That’s a lot of information in an “introduction”!

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

Introduction

     1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia:

      2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

      3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

      8For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, 11you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.

Are you facing suffering and burdens that seem to overwhelm you? Do you know others who are? Pray for God to help you and others. Seek and find comfort in the Lord. In Him, we are to place our hope.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.