10. God is our refuge
God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in sea-storm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. Psalm 46:1-3 MSG
Because the Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He allows me to rest in a pleasant place.
He leads beside a peaceful stream because he knows I won’t drink if the water looks scary.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths–the paths that bring honor to his name.
Even in darkest valley, I choose not to be afraid. I remember he is close beside me.
He protects and comforts me.
He prepares a feast for me and my enemies have to watch me eat it.
My life overflows with blessings.
His goodness and unfailing love follow me all day every day.
I look forward to eternal life in the presence of my Lord and savior.
Jesus spoke tenderly to the Jews who were burdened by the nitpicky rules heaped on by the religious leaders. In verse 30 he says, “my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” NLT
I take Jesus up on his offer:
When I get weary carrying heavy burdens others heap on me, remind me that YOU didn’t put that yoke on me.
Show me and teach me what you actually called me to do.
Remind me to please YOU, not people.
Remind me to look for YOUR reward, not the earthly ones.
May I emulate your humble and gentle heart while I’m at it.
I have to take this verse on faith. I know it’s true, but during the toughest times in my life when I was the most vulnerable, insidious and persistent temptation came knocking.
It happened to Jesus, too. After fasting for forty days, Satan tempted him to turn stones into bread. Jesus passed the test. I didn’t.
God may not always change me in the areas of my flesh where I am most vulnerable. Those issues keep me humble and dependent on his grace and mercy.
Jesus, our High Priest understands our weaknesses. He faced all the same testings and knows exactly how it feels to be human, yet he did not sin.
I can come boldly to the throne of my gracious God and receive his mercy and grace when I need it the most.
Revelation 21:4 NLT
When John “saw a new heaven and a new earth for the old heaven and earth had disappeared”… He “saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (He) heard a loud shout from the throne, saying:
—God’s home is now among (us) his people!
—He will live with us.
—We will be his people.
—God himself will be with us.
—He will wipe every tear from our eyes.
—There will be no more death,
—No more sorrow,
—No more crying,
—No more pain!
—All these things are gone FOREVER! Hallelujah!
11. Offer Comfort to Others
John 15:12 AMP
Jesus said, “Love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.”
1 Peter 4:12-19 NLT
Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials I am going through [that is, to test the quality of my faith (AMP)] as if something strange or unusual was happening to me.
Be glad–for these trials make me a partner with Christ in his suffering, so that I will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
Consider the reason for the suffering—
Was I insulted because I bear the name of Christ? For doing what is right and pleasing to God? If so, I will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests on me and he will never fail me.
Am I suffering because I did something illegal or mean, causing dissension, or trying to stick my nose into someone else’s business? Shame on me.
I love this—
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.
And this explanation of mercy—
…our heavenly Father the author, originator, and source of all mercy. “Mercy is condescending love, reaching out to meet a need without considering the merit of the person who receives the aid” (“Expository Dictionary of Bible Words” by Larry Richards). via Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary
Colossians 3:14 NIV
Verse 14 says, “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.”
I tend to personalize these passages by inserting “I, me, and my” in place of “we, our, and us.” While that has its place, this question asks me/us to consider our calling to share God’s comfort with others.
As the people of God, we are all part of his body and we are family. We need each other.
I’m more likely to reach out to someone when I see they have a need.
I’m less likely to reach out when I have a need.
I especially like Larry Richard’s definition of God’s mercy which includes “without considering the merit of the person.” So powerful. And so convicting.