* Is your faith getting too comfortable
God promised to bless Abram and make him famous, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new land where God promised to build a great nation for Abram’s family. Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God’s promise of even greater blessings in the future. God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for him. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s plan for you. (NLT)
Genesis 12:2 – I will cause you to become the father of a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and I will make you a blessing to others.
* In many parts of the world today it is not especially difficult to be a Christian–people aren’t jailed for reading the Bible or executed for preaching Christ. But Paul’s descriptive list of behavior in the last days describes our society–even, unfortunately, the behavior of many Christians. Check your life against Paul’s list. Don’t give in to society’s pressures. Don’t settle for comfort without commitment. Stand up against evil by living as God would have his people live. (NLT)
2 Timothy 3:1 – You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.
* Doing God’s will doesn’t guarantee a comfortable life
Many people think that believing in God protects them from trouble, so when calamity comes, they questions God’s goodness and justice. But the message of Job is that you should not give up on God because he allows you to have bad experiences. Faith in God does not guarantee personal prosperity, and lack of faith does not guarantee troubles in this life. If this were so, people would believe in God simply to get rich. God is capable of rescuing us from suffering, but he may also allow suffering to come for reasons we cannot understand. It is Satan’s strategy to get us to doubt God at exactly this moment. Here Job shows a perspective broader than seeking his own personal comfort. If we always knew why we were suffering, our faith would have no room to grow. (NLT)
Job 2:10 – But Job replied, “You talk like a godless woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.
* The government forced Joseph to make a long trip just to pay his taxes. His fiancee, who had to go with him, was going to have a baby any moment. But when they arrived in Bethlehem, they couldn’t even find a place to stay. When we do God’s will, we are not guaranteed a comfortable life. But we are promised that everything, even our discomfort, has meaning in God’s plan. (NLT)
Luke 2:3-6 – All returned to their own towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
* Sensitivity in how you comfort others
Upon learning of Job’s difficulties, three of his friends came to sympathize with him and comfort him. Later we learn that their words of comfort were not helpful–but a least they came. While God rebuked them for what they said, he did not rebuke them for what they did–making the effort to come to someone who was in need. Unfortunately, when they came, they did a poor job of comforting Job because they were proud of their own advice and insensitive to Job’s needs. When someone is in need, go to that person, but be sensitive about how you comfort him or her. (NLT)
Job 2:11 – Three of Job’s friends were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him.
* Ways to comfort those in pain
Job’s friends were supposed to be comforting him in his grief. Instead, they condemned him for causing his own suffering. Job began his reply to Eliphaz by calling him and his friends “miserable comforters.” Job’s words reveal several ways to become a better comforter to those in pain: (1) Don’t talk just for the sake of talking; (2) don’t sermonize by giving pat answers; (3) don’t accuse or criticize; (4) put yourself in other person’s place; and (5) offer help and encouragement. Try Job’s suggestions, knowing that they are given by a person who needed great comfort. The best comforters are those who know something about personal suffering. (NLT)
Job 16:1-6 – Then Job spoke again: “I have heard all this before. What miserable comforters you are! Won’t you ever stop your flow of foolish words? What have I said that makes you speak so endlessly? I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off my criticisms against you and shake my head at you. But that’s not what I would do. I would speak in a way that helps you. I would try to take away your grief. But as it is, my grief remains no matter how I defend myself. And it does not help if I refuse to speak.
* Comfort may come through adversity
Judah still had 100 years of trouble before Jerusalem would fall, then 70 years of exile. So God tells Isaiah to speak tenderly and to comfort Jerusalem.
The seeds of comfort may take root in the soil of adversity. When your life seems to be falling apart, ask God to comfort you. You may not escape adversity, but you may find God’s comfort as you face it. Sometimes, however, the only comfort we have is in the knowledge that someday we will be with God. Appreciate the comfort and encouragement found in his Word, his presence, and his people. (NLT)
Isaiah 40:1-2 – “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and that her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her in full for all her sins.”
* Comfort in knowing God keeps his promises
Hundreds of years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had predicted that John the Baptist and Jesus would come. How did he know? God promised Isaiah that a Redeemer would come to Israel and that a messenger calling in the wilderness would prepare the way for him. Isaiah’s words comforted many people as they looked forward to the Messiah, and knowing that God keeps his promises can comfort you, too. (NLT)
Mark 1:2-3 – In the book of the prophet Isaiah, God said, “Look, I am sending my messenger before you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness: ‘Prepare a pathway for the Lord’s coming! Make a straight road for him!’ “
* Comfort instead of conflict – sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt
Sin, fear, uncertainty, doubt, and numerous other forces are at war within us. The peace of God moves into our hearts and lives to restrain these hostile forces and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus says he will give us that peace if we are willing to accept it from him.
John 14:27-29 – [Jesus said] “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, because now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that you will believe when they do happen.”
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