Thursday, September 22, 2016

Comfort in Times of Distress

 Hello all.  

I pray everyone who reads this is well as I know there are so many who are not.  Our days seem to be filled with so much darkness.  From terrorist attacks to domestic violence in families and on the streets, death and strife seem to surround us on every side.  It is so easy to look at our surroundings and think that we are living in the worst of days.  

However, if we look back on history we will remember that their have been days equally as dark or darker.  Our history as a nation and as the human race is peppered with wars, famine, and genocide stretching from the womb to the grave in terms of the ages it impacts.  And so it seems we are not so unique in our age after all.  Sin driven darkness has always surrounded us on every side. And yet we have found  hope.  And yet we have found comfort.  

However, things have changed in our day.  There is one difference, God.  At least in our country, there has never been a time when Christian teachings have been so trivialized.  God and biblical morality has been cast aside in pursuit of selfish, humanistic, relativism where truth is relative and everyone is entitled to whatever makes them happy no matter what it's cost to anyone else.  Because of this we are a morally corrupt nation.  In light of this, hope and comfort seems all to difficult to find many times these days.

You may be thinking, "I thought you were going to be writing about comfort Josh."  Hang with me, I'm getting there.  You see, I believe that the reason we have lost sight of hope and comfort is that, as a country we have cast aside the one constant in which comfort can be found. 

Thankfully,  we have been given reminders over the ages that the faithful, orthodox evangelical churches of our day still hold to.  Whether they are found in a catechism or by simply reading the scriptures, these reminders help us remember from whence our hope, comfort, and help comes. Let's get into it.

Our Only Comfort In Life And Death

The Heidelberg Catechism is a document containing truths that are demonstrated in the form of 129 questions and answers.  It is the very first question and answer from which I would like to draw.  Here it is.

Q:  What is  your only comfort in life and death?

A:  That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.  

He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood. And has set me free from all the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; indeed all things must work together for my salvation.

Therefore, by His Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him

So What Does This Mean To Us?

It means there is hope and comfort still to be possessed!!! It is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  It means we do not have to despair.  It means that no matter how bad things get, we know that their is someone who always has the best in mind for those whom are His(Romans 8:28) and promises a moment when we will begin eternity sin free, pain free, drama free, death free. Yes, it begins now in part but we will see it's fullness at Christ's return.(Revelation 21:4)  

However, this hope and comfort is not free for all.  It comes through salvation which must be given as a gift, obtained by faith, and followed by righteous works that evidence the reality of this salvation in your life.  

You see:
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but shall have eternal life."(John 3:16)
This is the reason that I say it is not free is because it cost Jesus, God's only begotten, His life.  Our salvation was bought at the highest price.  And it's victory over sin in our lives was demonstrated through Christ's victory over death and the grave through His resurrection  

The reason I say this salvation is a gift, obtained by faith, followed by works can be explained through two scriptures.

Romans 6:23 tells us this:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us this:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one my boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
This Is Great News!!!

When we surrender our hearts to Christ, repent of our sins, and believe this good news that God has redeemed us from the curse of sin and death; we then have access to "peace which passes all understanding"(Philippians 4:6-8) and "joy unspeakable and full of glory!!"(1 Peter 1:8)

We obtain these precious promises through prayer and faithful obedience to God's word.  This peace and joy can be yours today.  If you are not experiencing these things it means one of two things: 

1.)You are not a Christian.  2.)You are not living a life submitted to Christ's lordship in faithful obedience.  In fact, all of the worlds troubles today are tied to one of these two realities.

Both of these dilemmas are resolvable.  

1.)Repent and believe the gospel.  Place your trust in Christ as the only one who can save you from the curse of sin and provide you eternal life and begin walking in obedience to His word.  Your life will not be perfect, but it will be perfected in due time.

2.)If you have already done #1, then begin walking in it.  Analyze your heart and life and begin making adjustment through prayer and application of God's word to your daily walk.

I pray that in any time of distress in this life, you will find hope, peace, and comfort in the only sure foundation, the rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.


"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen!" (Jude 1:24-25)

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