MINISTERS OF COMFORT



SCRIPTURE TEXT: “He will rescue the poor when they cry to Him; He will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and He will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to Him” —Psalm 72: 12 -14

During hard seasons or times of disaster—whether natural or man-made, national or local—we are called to show kindness. True compassion tries to understand people’s pain, but it also provides practical help. So, how can we express care and concern for others? First, remember we have the wonderful privilege of prayer anytime, anywhere. As soon as word of a tragedy reaches you, lift up the victims, rescue workers, and others involved. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in petitioning God for protection, provision, comfort, awareness of His presence, and whatever else He deems fitting (Rom. 8:26).

Second, labour and donations of money, food, clothing, or household goods are usually a high priority. So donations of time and resources are helpful (after wisely consulting trusted sources about what’s needed). You also can express compassion with words of comfort, a warm embrace, or a listening ear. Through this kind of love, the world will recognize the true Light—Jesus Christ, who brings good news, binds up the brokenhearted and comforts all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2). We should notice the needs around us and reach out with Christ’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal ways to pray for those around you. Your concern can have a profound impact.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: IN TOUCH.ORG 


YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “As the Scripture says, “Godly people give generously to the poor.  Their good deeds will never be forgotten.”  For God is the One Who gives seed to the farmer and then breads to eat.  In the same way, he will give you any bread to eat.  In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously.  And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.” —2 Corinthians 9: 9 -11

Perhaps you feel you do not have anything to give.  But generosity is a response to the greatness of God’s power – the widow’s mite.  All resources ultimately come from God and He can increase these resources to give – Exodus 35– we give what we have – it should not be related or compared to what others have.  It is the sincerity of the heart- the expression of gratitude, not the size or worth of what is given.
 
Let us start our giving first with forgiveness of those who have wronged us – take away the bitterness, cease from judgment and condemnation. Think of the love of God – we always go to Him for forgiveness.  Let us also forgive those who have wronged us. Let us give ourselves- our bodies as living sacrifices – worshipping God with our all because we know that He has done so much for us. Let us give God our time and talents and finances – a sign of obedience that comes from our love for Him.
 
God has put us on earth and given us everything.  He is now depending on us to allow Him to use us to give to the extension and expansion of His kingdom – to provide for His temple, priests; the needy etc.  Results – joyful abundant rewards – Luke 6:30.
 
The liberal, generous giver needs not to give in fear and destitution – such a giver receives in return gifts out of the abundance of God’s generosity – Prov. 22:9

TO PONDER
God is honoured by our gifts – Exodus 35:22
Generous giving honours God- Ezra 2:68-69
God will reward us for giving to others – Mark 9:4.
Giving helps others live – Acts 2:44-45.
We should support Christian workers – Acts 28:10

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OUR RESPONSE TO THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

The Bible describes in clear and unmistakable language how we should respond to the Word of God in all its different forms. We must hear and receive God’s Word eagerly and depend on God to help us understand it. We must praise and honor God’s Word, love it and let it be our joy and delight. We must accept what the Word of God says, letting it get deep into our hearts. We are to trust it and put our hope in its promises. Above all, we must apply it directly to our daily lives. 

That means we must obey what it commands and live by its principles, instructions and guidelines. God requires those who minister and teach the Word to handle it correctly and to preach it faithfully. In fact, all followers of Jesus are called to proclaim God’s Word – to spread His message of hope, forgiveness and new life – wherever they go.

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OUR GREAT HIGH PRIEST

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, His priesthood lasts forever. Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” —Hebrews 7: 23-25

When you feel convicted about a particular sin, how do you react? Do you mourn with regret for days? Many Christians act as though God’s desire is for them to continually wallow in guilt, but this could not be further from the truth. The Old Testament sacrifices had to be repeated over and over. Why? Because those animal offerings were only a temporary substitute for the perfect sacrifice God required. The New Testament tells us that the once-for-all, fully sufficient, substitutionary atonement has been accomplished—it took place when God’s own Son died on the cross in our place. As the hymn lyrics state, Jesus truly “paid it all.”In the old system, a high priest took an animal into the temple and offered it as a sacrifice to God on behalf of the sinner. Christ, however, entered heaven itself and presented His life to the Father as the perfect atoning sacrifice  Hebrews 9:13-14This means that the work of forgiveness is done. If you are in Christ, then His sacrifice has already paid for your sin. So, when the Holy Spirit brings conviction, address the sin and move on. Do not cling to the burden of unforgiveness that Jesus has lifted from your shoulders.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: IN TOURCH.ORG 

GOD SAYS RESPOND TO UNFAIRNESS WITH LOVE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5: 43-44

Unfairness is part of the human condition. You can’t live on this earth for long without feeling like someone has treated you unfairly. Maybe it’s a parent who put you through a miserable childhood. Maybe it’s an employer who treats you more harshly than they treat your coworkers. Maybe you feel like you were handled unfairly by the legal process.

You can choose to respond to the people who hurt you by hurting them. That’s the easiest choice to make, no doubt about it. But God gives us another option in his Word: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44 NIV). When people hurt you, they expect you to retaliate. They expect you to seek revenge. But God wants you to do the exact opposite. He wants you to respond in love. If you respond to mistreatment with love, you’ll keep the other person from controlling you. You can’t control when another person treats you unfairly.

You can control whether you get bitter in the process. You can control your response to injustice. Just because you respond to an offender lovingly doesn’t mean you continue to allow injustice. On the contrary, we must lovingly seek justice. We must work for justice in the world without retaliating. The Bible commands us to “be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!” (Jeremiah 22:3 NLT).Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great example of this. He fought against injustice without violence. He overcame evil through the power of love. He followed the example of Jesus, who chose to forgive his persecutors even as they were killing him. That’s our calling as followers of Jesus. Unfairness and injustice may be part of the human condition, but we must not feed into it. Instead, God calls us to respond in love.

Talk It Over
1.What personal injustice in your life are you struggling to respond to in love?
2.How are we allowing others to control us when we choose to hate them or harbour bitterness toward them?
3What are some creative ways that your family or small group can respond to injustices in your community with the love of Jesus?

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: DAILY HOPE

HEALING YOUR PAST

SCRIPTURE TEXT: Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?  I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” Isaiah 43:18-19

All of us have been through difficult experiences of flood or fire, either literal or symbolic.  In what ways was God with you?  How did He preserve you?  Or are you still in the midst of trial?  If so, tell a fellow believer about your need, and ask for prayer that God will supply you with the resources to meet the challenges.
Cremate your past – don’t embalm it! Dr Harold Bloomfield writes: “Unresolved emotional pain wreaks havoc on your immune system, cardiac function, hormone levels and other physical functions. We must make peace with our past, because our life may literally depend on it!” Challenging words!

Here are four suggestions for dealing with your past:

1.   Re-frame It
Ask yourself, “How did it make me stronger?  What do I know now that I didn’t know then?”  Be a learner, not a loser.

2.  Break The Shackles of Shame
Shame is not feeling bad over what you have done, it is feeling ashamed of who you are. It is lethal!  When God created you in His image He said, “I like it! It is very good” – Genesis 1:31.”  Start agreeing with Him!

3.   Arrest The Acid Drip of Regret
Stop punishing yourself with the ‘if only’.  David said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (Psalm 32:1-2 NKJV). Forgive yourself, God has!  When He looks at you through the finished work of Calvary, you look better to Him than you do to yourself!

4.  Move From Grief to Gain
Healing takes time, so expect some anger, fear, and sadness.  Don’t disown them – they are part of the healing process.  But don’t adopt them either; know when it is time to move on. You can’t walk backwards into the future, and the future God has for you contains more happiness than any past you can remember – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future – Jeremiah 29:11.”

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IGNORING GOD’S VOICE

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”—Hebrews 4: 12

Believe it or not, many people who attend church choose to ignore God’s truth because they don’t like hearing sermons that convict or demand a change. But we tend to be guilty of doing the same thing when we pick and choose what to read in the Bible.
When you open God’s Word, do you read only verses that encourage, comfort, or promise blessings? Are you reluctant to tackle the more difficult passages, which prick your conscience and call for obedience?
Do you avoid sections that make you feel guilty about the way you are living?
If you find yourself reacting strongly to a passage of Scripture or a sermon, then you ought to take an honest look at yourself. God’s Word is meant to cut into the deepest recesses of our soul and spirit.
But the hope is that we then run to Jesus, our High Priest, in confession and repentance in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing. Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses and invites us to draw near to God to receive grace and help. The convicting passage of Scripture may cause momentary discomfort, but those who listen and take their burden to Jesus find sweet relief.

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: INTOUCH.ORG 

THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER OF UNFORGIVENESS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a footstool to the devil.”—Ephesians 4: 26-27
What is your first response when someone hurts you? Maybe you immediately become angry and want to retaliate. Or perhaps your outward expression doesn’t change, but inside you begin quietly nursing bitterness. Although these reactions strike us as understandable and perfectly natural, they are not how God tells us to respond. Unforgiveness is spiritually destructive because it is contrary to God’s will and affects our emotions, thoughts, prayers, and relationships. Scripture is clear that we are to forgive anyone who causes us harm because we ourselves have been forgiven a much larger debt of sin by God. The grace He pours out on each of us should be our motivation to extend grace to others. If we have received His loving pardon, then we must do the same for others, even when it feels unfair. Forgiveness involves a total change of attitude and action, whereby we give up resentment toward someone and relinquish a desire for revenge. In our own strength, this is impossible. But if instead of rehearsing our hurts, we ask the Lord to change us and fill us with His Spirit, He will begin the process of transforming our heart.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, give us the strength to be able to forgive those who hurt us. Amen

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: INTOUCH.ORG  

OUT OF YOUR LOVE FOR JESUS

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “God our Savior showed us His kindness and love.”—Titus 3:4
What should be our heart’s deepest motivation as we serve the Lord? If it is for personal fulfilment and satisfaction then our lives will be empty; if it is for recognition and the praise of others then our lives will be hollow; if it is for personal gain or benefit then our lives will be shallow.

God is never pleased when our motivation in serving Him is for our own ends. There are many benefits and blessings that come to us as we serve the Lord, but they are the fruits of our obedience, not the reason for it.

Today, as you set your heart on the Lord, let each thing you do be done out of your love for Jesus, for Jesus has done everything out of His love for you. 

STAY BLESSED
SOURCE: HIS FOOTSTEPS, MY PATHWAY 

LIVE WELL, WITH WISDOM

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”—Ephesians 5:15-16
Aside from the opportunity that time offers each of us, we also have additional gifts of opportunities – no one is without a gift or talent. But alas, not all of us know what our talents are, and certainly very few know what to do with their talents.
 
So, how do we make the most of every opportunity, especially that of time and talent?
 
Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”. To know how to make the best use of our opportunities of time and talents, we need wisdom. Apostle James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1: 5. God is the One who can direct us to apply our talents wisely and within the time that we have been given. With God’s guidance, we will be very direct and intentional in what to do and how, when, and why to do them. It will take us less time and effort to do the right things and do them well so that we can accomplish what might take us our entire lives to accomplish on our own. Let us get wisdom, from the All-Knowing, All-Wise God.
 
God is faithful, and will not leave us living like rudderless ships. He has the right map. Our responsibility is to be willing to follow and obey. There is no profit for a student to have good books or a good professor if he refuses to listen or follow what is taught, he will be as ignorant as someone who does not have any of these things. Our situation should not be like that with God, Who is the Ultimate Guide Who can direct our lives wisely and profitably. So, as we seek, we have the assurance that we will find, but we must also be ready to follow and obey.
 
Let us diligently avoid people, places, and situations that eat away at the time we should invest in being productive. Those who have no plan for their lives will have no good plan for ours, except to plan how we will waste our time with them. Whatever stage of life you are at now, make life count. Live, not as unwise, but as wise. Make the most of every opportunity.

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