Read 2 Corinthians 1
The Lord expects us to do for others what He has done for us (II Cor. 1:3-7). Holy Spirit seals us (1:21-22). The letter (of the Law) killeth, but the Spirit giveth life (3:6). Ministry is tough; Paul says: “Don't give up” (4:1). Present troubles are short-lived, but glory with the Savior is forever (4:16-18).
Not everyone is called to be an evangelist or pastor, or to speak before a crowd. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (I Cor. 12:4). But every Christian, as part of the Body of Christ, can be used in a ministry of love and comfort as a servant of our Lord. This simply means that God uses believers to express His loving-kindness and to communicate the indwelling life of Christ to others. By telling us the greatest of these is charity (love) (13:13), God made us caregivers — a most important and exceedingly precious ministry.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation (encouragement) also aboundeth by Christ (II Cor. 1:3-5). Those who are willing to identify with Christ experience His suffering and can, in turn, express the comfort of the Holy Spirit to others who are suffering or are experiencing trials.
Nothing in physical pain in itself produces the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. But suffering with Christ will bring with it the comfort of the Lord. We can then, in the strength of the Spirit, share His love with others. We which live are alway delivered unto death (to self-interest when we have an opportunity to help someone in need) . . . that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you (blesses others) (4:11-12).
No matter how much you may have physically entered into another's sufferings, or how much you share of your own experience of that which another person is suffering, if you are ministering with confidence in the flesh and for the purpose of receiving recognition, then your ministry will be less fruitful. The ministry of comfort is a ministry of the Holy Spirit. We cannot expect Him to bless where there is self-confidence rather than reliance on Him. My friend, trust Him to use you as His voice and His hands. There is a great need for a ministry of comfort. You do not have to look far to find broken hearts, lives, and homes.
Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God (Is. 40:1).
Thought for Today:
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction (Phil. 4:14).
For II Cor. 3:13: See Ex. 34:33-35. II Cor. 4:13: See Ps. 116:10.
2:5 not overcharge, not overstate the case or be too severe; 2:9 know the proof of you, test your loyalty; 2:14 savour, satisfaction, sweetness, like a lovely fragrance; 3:10 even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth, what was glorious (Law given to Moses) has no glory in comparison to the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ; 4:15 redound, abound, overflow, result in abundance.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lt. Col. & Mrs. Walter Swanson • Staff: Barbara Jean Loyd • Government Official: Sec'y. Eric Shinseki (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) and Sen. Michael Bennet (CO) • Country: Guatemala (12.3 million) in Central America • Major languages: Spanish and Indian languages • Religious freedom • 60% Catholic; 35% Protestant; 2% Animist; 1.5% Other; 1.5% None • Prayer Suggestion: Know that the Lord is loving and merciful to His children (Jer. 31:9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 6:15