The video of this message can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/IeuQ61J6Cio
Considering practical ways to receive and amplify God’s comfort
Psalm 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
- David says that the comfort he received came while in the time of affliction.
- Don’t think that comfort only comes when the affliction is gone. That’s worldly thinking.
- The greatest struggles of life present the greatest opportunities for God’s grace in its various forms of comfort.
While there are different Hebrew words for Comfort, in Psalm 119:50, David uses neḥâmâ, h5165 = consolation, to relent or comfort. It’s from a base word, h5162 nâḥam, which means to sigh, or to breathe deeply.
- Which is very applicable in times of distress when the believer can emotionally, spiritually, and possibly physically, take a deep breath of pause.
- This creates the opportunity to gather our thoughts from the perspective of God’s Word. Maybe through meditation of God’s Word, possibly by reviewing life, or simply to slow down what’s happening in our minds or in the surrounding events, to wait on the Lord.
- It’s in the spiritual deep breath of comfort that we find some ease, maybe the ability to set God back in the centre of our attention. Here, there’s a sense of well-being while the turmoil swirls around you. It’s a time when you may conclude that you have lost control, but God hasn’t. Therefore, there is hope in the LORD.
How do we receive God’s available comfort.
How do we amplify God’s comfort so that comfort drowns out the loudest pains?
1) Observe your life from God’s perspective
It’s only natural, and understandable, that life’s difficulties sometimes consume us.
When feeling afflicted, one of the early things that often happens, is someone begins telling you that God has abandoned you, you are obviously unworthy of His attention, you’re on your own, or God must be evil to allow such things to happen. It may be the voices in your own heart, it may be the devil, or it could be friends. Either way, the voices of condemnation are WRONG.
- If you are a repentant believer in Jesus Christ as Lord, and you are not presently dominated by habitual sin, listen to who you are in Christ.
- Read God’s Word, read books that tell you clearly who God says you are in Christ.
- Romans 8:1, There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- Romans 8:39, Nothing… in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- In Colossians 3:12, Paul addressed the believers as the elect of God, holy and beloved…
- In Ephesians 2:13-14, Paul told the believers that they have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace… Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are heavily invested.
Our confidence of acceptance by God is not found in self or in the church size or character, but in Christ.
- Our circumstances do NOT change any of these truths.
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NLT Paraphrase. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first instalment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
This is God’s commitment to every born again child of His. This is how He sees you, regardless of circumstances, regardless of how you feel about yourself, and regardless of what others tell you.
- God knows everything about you and what’s happening in your life (Psalm 139:1-2) and He loves you regardless. So, count your blessings, name them, and talk about them.
2) Engage & share with others – fellowship
When the going gets tough, we often just want to be alone, which is fine for short periods of time. But as creatures created in the image of God, we were designed for fellowship. God uses others to supply our needs, even though we may not want others, we need them.
Spend time with believers who weep and laugh with you, and who share their joy with you.
Spend time with those with courage and dogged determination to persevere. Be careful how much time you spend with those who continually look for a way out only.
- Proverbs 18:1, Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
This is why the New Testament speaks of the “one anothers” so often – we need one another to receive the relational resources of God. It is through one another the relational voice of affirmation and security is increased.
- 2 Corinthians 13:11, Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
It is often through one another that we realise the emotional impact of the God of love and peace being present in our lives.
This is why faithfulness is so critical to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing – God designed us to receive and amplify His love and peace through our loving and peaceful relationships with one another.
- Paul warns us in Galatians 5:15, if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
- 2 Corinthians 1:5, For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
As we open up to one another we become able to receive and give the comforts of God. When we distance ourselves from one another, we are more likely to judge one another.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 NIV
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.
12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.
13 As a fair exchange — I speak as to my children — open wide your hearts also.
This is how we build a stronger community amongst ourselves. We open up to each other. This doesn’t mean you bare your soul or your deepest secrets to everyone.
- But it does mean we all take time and make effort to pause, to attend fellowship times, to talk, to introduce ourselves, to offer help during the week, or ask for help.
- To get into a routine of communication with your fellow church members.
- To prioritise time together with your Christian brothers and sisters as significant time.
- This is how we share and amplify God’s comfort in our church relationships. Be content with one another, choose not to take offense at one another.
2 Thessalonians 1:3, We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Book Promotion: “Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen.
3) Read Scripture & Worship
This is an extension of number 1, “Observe your life from God’s perspective”
Spend time alone with God! Spend time with others, with God!
- Psalm 119:36, Incline (Stretch out) my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
- As we grow our understanding of God’s Word, that understanding comforts and reassures.
- Again, worship with one another is critical for our wellbeing. Private worship only goes so far. We need to make the connection, spending time in God’s Word fuels our worship.
- David likened his pleasure in God’s Word to that of his combined financial wealth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches (Psalm 119:14, cf. 119:162).
Psalm 119:52, When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O LORD.
Psalm 119:76, Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
Psalm 119:92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
- In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. And it’s only as we know God better, and view our lives from His perspective in Christ, that we are able to do this.
4) Serve on behalf of Christ
Serving is a powerful means of receiving, giving, and amplifying Christ’s comfort. As we serve, we act on behalf of Christ, and we see the blessing in others.
- Galatians 5:13, For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Spiritual freedom does not mean selfish living. No, we exchange those selfish activities for ones of service done in love.
Selfless service reminds us, and others, of the “freedom” we have in Christ. And we experience that freedom through loving service. This amplifies God’s comfort within us.
Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus informed His position hungry disciples that…
…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
When we disconnect or distance ourselves from relationships and service for God, we are disconnecting from one of God’s resources for encouragement and support.
- This is why 1 Peter 4:10 says, As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…
Mutual service administers God’s grace into each other’s lives. As we receive His grace, it is amplified through other’s service to us, affirming God’s comfort.
Review – We Receive and Amplify God’s Comfort when we:
Observe our lives from God’s perspective
Engage & share with others in fellowship
Read Scripture & Worship
Serve others on behalf of Christ