Comfort and Life

57BE2A23-2339-4EEE-A715-94F527AF62B9The 119 Psalm is the longest chapter in the Bible and it’s all about the Word of God. Whether referred to as the law, the statutes, judgements, testimonies or precepts, the focus is the same. The author of this Psalm (whom many believe was David) reveals the importance of the Word of God. It brings liberty. It guides our way. It helps us walk in wisdom and in prudence.

Psalm 119 holds many precious gems. Among them is one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. The Psalmist testifies of a beautiful aspect of God’s Word; it brings comfort and strength.

The psalmist was no stranger to affliction. It is evident that he had experienced much hardship, but over and over he finds comfort in the Word of God. Notice what is said here, IN my affliction—While I’m yet in the thick of it! In the middle of a messy divorce; during a battle with an illness: in the midst of loneliness and depression; amid a financial crisis or legal drama; while fighting for your family and friends, The Word will comfort you. The Message Bible paraphrases it this way, “These words hold me up in bad times”.

The Word, like a faithful friend, gives us a place to lean on. It is a place where we can firmly plant our feet and ride out the fiercest storms. I’m not just referring to the lifeless words of a natural man or woman, but the Author of life gives us hope producing promises that we can hang our hat on.

His Word gives us life. It rejuvenates and refreshes us. It revives and even refocuses us. An elderly church mother would say, it gives us the strength to “run on a little while longer”. The Word breathes a fresh prospective into dry and hard places.

This is why being absorbed in His Word is so important! Read it, speak it, WRITE IT, listen to it. Breathe it in, inhale it and exhale it! It’s the life giving comfort you need.

Are you experiencing the comfort of the Word of God? Allow me to share some life giving promises that have held me up in bad times.

Loneliness- Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Joy- When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19

Healing- Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Lack- And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Hope- For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Heartbreak- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

All occasions- Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

 

He Will Finish What He Has Started

D952791D-5190-4B02-997C-EBD8DB4D8732 Many of us can reflect well on beginnings. A new job, a new baby, a new friendship, courtship, or marriage. Even teachers, like me, look fondly toward the first day of school. But as days go on, stress, strain and doubt begins to set in. What was exciting has become mundane. What was so clear now looks cloudy. And the wait. Oh the wait!

We face these same difficulties when it comes to the things of God. We can find encouragement in this promise from God- I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Paul wrote these words to encourage believers who were on a journey of faith. Paul reminded them that God began a good work in them and would also complete that work.

Let’s camp right there for a minute. There are three main takeaways in this passage.

1. It is God who began the work in you. The supernatural power of God created us for the work He’s assigned to us even before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 2:10)
2. The work He’s given us is good. It may not always seem that way, but it is that way. Even on a bad day, God has called us to good work.
3. It is God who will complete the work. It is God who is at work in us to fulfill His purposes. (Philippians 2:13) If we remain faithful to God, we can walk in His strength and be enabled to fulfill the assignment we’ve been called to.

When we understand that God has begun the work, that the work is good, and He will complete the work, it should encourage us to keep going. God is faithful to finish what He started.  This is not only true in us, but also in our children, our spouses, our friends and families.

God has started it, God will finish it. Got it! But what happens in between? This is where discouragement creeps in. The key is finding strength and encouragement in the middle. Let me offer you some ways:

  • We can find strength in God’s Word. Avail yourself to study in order to discover the precious promises that are available to us. Allow those promises to be written on your heart as sweet reminders of His love.
  • We find strength in fellowship. When discouragement comes, having community around you will help refocus you and refresh you. As others share their joys, testimonies and even journeys of faith we can get the reboot we need to keep going.
  • We find strength in solitude. Alone time with God is a sure source of refreshing. Christ, Himself, frequently practiced this (Luke 5:16). We must make time for prayer, worship, and meditation routinely. It should not only be an escape but a place of refuge that we seek often.
  • We find strength when we encourage others. Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon from prison. Some of the most encouraging passages of scripture are contained in these epistles. Even in the midst of his trial, Paul found a way to encourage others. Job did the same. When he prayed for his friends, the Lord restored him. Job 42:10

Dear ones, God will finish what He has started. Wherever you find yourself along the journey, don’t give up! Don’t get weary while doing well. Due season is coming and in that season we will reap a harvest IF we do not lose heart (Gal. 6:9). Let this admonishment inspire you to keep going, keep doing, keep speaking— Whatever the Lord has given you, don’t give up. He has promised a blessing! And He WILL finish what He started.

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9