Daily Devotional

February 19th 2018

MONDAY

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. —II Corinthians 1:3, 4 (MSG.)

The words, “hard times” and “healing counsel”, stand out repeatedly in this passage; they are always together. “Hard times” describe pressure or stress. It ties knots in our stomachs and makes us feel anxious or frightened about what lies ahead. It is what makes for hectic days and sleepless nights. It gnaws continually at our minds and threatens our well-being; it refuses to go away and leave us alone; it depresses us and darkens the future with forebodings of disaster.

“Healing counsel” is more than just a little cheer or friendly word of encouragement. The word means, “to strengthen.” What Paul experienced was the strengthening of God to give him a peaceful, restful spirit to meet the pressure and stress with which he lived.

It is truly amazing how many Christians dread facing their daily lives because they feel pressured, stressful and tied up in knots, and yet they never avail themselves of God's provision for that kind of pressure. These words are not addressed to us merely to be used for spiritual problems. They are to be used for any kind of stress, any kind of problems. God's comfort, God's strengthening, is available for whatever creates stress in our lives.

We say that we do not avail ourselves to Christ’s comfort because we give every evidence that we behave just like the world when we are in trouble—we try to escape our pressures. Or, we pray that we will be rescued from our pressures, that the problems will be taken away. All our hopes are for escape, and all our reactions are either worry; a murmuring, complaining spirit; anger; or fear. This is not Christianity in action.

Listen to Paul: “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!” He praises God for the circumstances of his life even though there are afflictions. He calls God the “Father of all mercy (compassion). God of all healing counsel.” He sees God’s hand as having sent these things into his life; therefore, he doesn’t pray to have them removed so that he might escape from them. He sees them as opportunities for the release of the strength of God.

In times of grief and troubles, we must learn to find significance and comfort in knowing we are being equipped to serve others for Jesus’ sake.

Prayer: Eternal Lord, we confess today that we are often truculent about our difficulties. We resent them. We do not want to accept them. We want them removed. But as we go today, let us know in our spirits that we are not alone in our troubles, but that we can rely on You as our Healing Counsel. Help us to trust You and, in so doing, to be at peace. In the name of our Christ, we pray. AMEN!

(We invite your comments. Feel free to share this devotion with your friends and invite them to subscribe by forwarding their email address to the Pastor at: fredjeffsmith@cox.net.)

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