Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Father of mercies and God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our tribulation. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4
A medical school program in New York gives students who are training for geriatric medicine a unique opportunity. They experience life as nursing home residents for 10 days. They learn some of the struggles of maneuvering a wheelchair and being raised out of bed with a lift, as well as reaching the shower bar from a seated position. One student learned how little things counted for a lot—like lowering nameplates on doors so that patients can find their rooms more easily, or putting the TV remote in a reachable location.
Although the students still can’t fully relate, they will be better able to serve the elderly in their future work.
Sometimes God gives us the opportunity to use the lessons we’ve learned and the comfort He’s given us during difficult times to help others in special ways. Paul indicated this when he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
Are you using the lessons you’ve learned in your trials to touch the lives of others? Remember—even little things can mean a lot.
The comfort God has given us
He wants us now to share
With others who are suffering
So they will sense His care. —Sper
God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable;
He comforts us to make us comforters.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
An angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. —Luke 2:9
When our children were young, we observed Advent (the time beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve) by making a wreath and lighting candles each night after supper. We sang a carol and read a short Bible passage about the birth of Christ. This was a special time of preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas.
But Advent is more than that. When Christians first started practicing it in the fourth century, they viewed it not only as preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth but also as a time of looking forward to His second coming. They found hope and cheer in the sure promise of His return.
The gospel of Luke describes “the glory of the Lord” that shone around the shepherds when the angel announced the Savior’s birth (2:9). Luke also records Jesus’ promise that He will return “with power and great glory” (21:27). These two events frame the purpose for which the Son of God came into the world.
In Latin advent means “a coming.” The weeks before Christmas can be a wonderful season of repentance and expectation as we celebrate our Lord’s first advent in Bethlehem and anticipate His second advent when He returns in glory. Christ has come! Christ is coming again!
The first time Jesus came to earth,
Humble was His story;
But He has promised to return
With power and great glory. —Sper
Christ has come! Christ is coming again!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed. —2 Corinthians 4:8
Have you ever heard skeptics say that the Christian faith is nothing more than a crutch—that the only reason people claim to trust Jesus is that they are weaklings who have to make up “religion” to get by?
Apparently those skeptics haven’t heard about the doctor in one Far Eastern country who spent 2 ½ years in jail being “reeducated” because he professed faith in Christ. Then, after his release, he was arrested again—this time for his efforts at his church.
And perhaps those skeptics haven’t heard about Paul. After trusting Christ, he was arrested, flogged, mocked, and shipwrecked (2 Cor. 11:16-29).
These believers were not looking for a crutch. No, they had something deep and essential in their hearts. They had a personal relationship with God—a relationship born of faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. As a result, they became children of the King—eager to sacrifice everything for the privilege of proclaiming Him. They were not limping along looking for something to hold them up.
A crutch? Hardly. Faith in Christ is not about safety and caution. It’s about believing Jesus and trusting Him no matter what. It’s about taking up a daily cross (Luke 9:23) and living for the Savior.
“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“If you would My disciple be;
Take up your cross with willing heart
And humbly follow after Me.” —Everest
Because Jesus bore the cross for us,
we willingly take it up for Him.