Highlights In Today's Reading:
Ministry within the Church — how the God of all comfort cares for us during our sufferings is how we should care for others during their sufferings (1:3-24). Holy Spirit is God's Seal (1:22). Forgive and comfort others (Ch. 2). Glorious ministry of the Spirit (Ch. 3; see 3:17). Honest ministry; power of God; ministry in suffering (Ch. 4).
Not everyone is called to be an evangelist or pastor and speak before a crowd. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (I Corinthians 12:4). But every Christian, as part of the Body of Christ, may be used in a ministry of love and comfort as a servant of our Lord, which simply means that God uses His servants to express His lovingkindness and communicate the indwelling life of Christ to others. The greatest of these is charity (I Corinthians 13:13). This ministry is of utmost importance and is intensely precious.
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 (1:3-5). It is those who are willing to identify with Christ and His disciples that experience His suffering and can, in turn, express the comfort of the Holy Spirit to others who are suffering or are depressed.
There is nothing in physical pain which in itself produces the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. But Christ's sufferings on the cross became the source of our spiritual comfort which, in turn, becomes the source of sharing 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 to receive recognition, then your ministry will be less fruitful. The ministry of comfort is a ministry of the Holy Spirit. He cannot bless where there is self-confidence rather than reliance on Him. Just 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.
The Father of mercies . . . comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
Thought for Today:
Most of us are fearful of being vulnerable, but true ministry means being open to another's pain and dependent on God rather than ourselves for answers.
2:5 not overcharge =b> not overstate the case or be too severe; 2:9 know the proof of you =b> test your loyalty; 2:14 savour =b> 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 =b> what was glorious (Law given to Moses) has no glory in comparison to the surpassing glory of Jesus Christ; 4:15 redound =b> abound, overflow, result in abundance.
For II Corinthians 3:13: See Exodus 34:33-35. II Corinthians 4:13: See Psalm 116:10.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Dorothy Koeneman • Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall & Staff: Barbara Bivens • Government Officials: Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (MI) and Secretary Michael Chertoff (Department of Homeland Security) • Country: Papua New Guinea (5 million) in the southwestern Pacific • Major languages: 715 indigenous languages • Religious freedom • 64% Protestant; 33% Roman Catholic; 2% ancestor worship, belief in spirits, and witchcraft • Prayer Suggestion: Recognize the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness and praise Him (Psa. 100:4-5).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28