Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Be With You"1 (Lyrics)
It seemed as though my well had run dry regarding devotional material, because I have only so many experiences to draw from. But I had an email today from a sister in Christ. After commenting on one of my devotionals, she wrote, "I pray that God will keep you writing." I thought about what she had said. Her encouragement touched me and opened my eyes regarding writing about the subject of encouragement and comfort.
God uses people to encourage and bring comfort to other people. To encourage means to spur on, to inspire with confidence. Comfort is the act of consoling, giving relief in affliction. The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is our comforter:
Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)
Isaiah 51:12a – I, even I, am He who comforts you. (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NKJV)
God not only comforts His people, but as He comforts us, He encourages us to follow His example and comfort others.
As Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into the promised land, Moses was told by God, "Command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him." (Deuteronomy 3:28a NKJV) The apostle Paul expresses his desire "that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." (Romans 1:12 NKJV)
As we watch what is happening in our world today, many feel fearful that we are entering the last days. The apostle Paul describes what will happen when the end comes:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NKJV)
Did you notice the encouragement that God gives us from His Word regarding the end times?
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (NKJV)
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (NKJV)
Regardless of how things appear, I want to give you the most encouraging and comforting words that I could recommend to anyone: God is sovereign and in full control! We can trust Him implicitly!
Can you think of someone who needs a word of encouragement and comfort today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word, which You tell us is magnified even above all Your name. We thank You that Your Word is true and that we know the end of the story. Just when everything looks its worst, You show forth Your sovereignty in power and judgment. Thank You for the comfort and encouragement that You give to us, Your children, as we travel through this pilgrimage on our way to glory. Help us always to be an encouragement and comfort to others. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.