Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all com- fort; 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 consola- tion also aboundeth by Christ (II Cor. 1:3-5).

Not everyone is called to be an evangelist or pastor and speak before a crowd. Many of us are called to use our God-given talents in other ways, both inside and outside of the church setting. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (I Cor. 12:4). Each of us, however, as part of the Body of Christ, has been called to serve others through a ministry of compassion. No matter what gifts or talents we have been blessed with, God expects our first priority to be sharing His love and kindness with everyone we meet. And now abi- deth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity (13:13). The ministry of sharing God's love is of utmost importance and is intensely precious.

The world that we live in can be harsh and foreboding. As Christ followers, we are uniquely qualified to support others as they fight to make sense of the suffering they encounter on a daily basis. We understand that tribulation, in one form or another, is a necessary part of the Christian life Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But re- joice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Pet. 4:12-13). We also understand that God does not leave us to face these trials alone. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:32).

Because of this understanding, it is we (those who are willing to identify with Christ and His disciples) that can, in turn, express the comfort of the Holy Spirit to others who are suffer- ing or are depressed. God has given us the tools to love and comfort others, even when we don’t have personal experience with the cause of their pain. The overwhelming infinite mercy that came from Christ's sufferings on the cross has become the source of our spiritual comfort that, in turn, becomes the source of sharing His love with others. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Just as God’s comfort to us does not always produce answers, so too it is with the comfort that we offer to others. We must guard against ministering to others with the single-minded intent to solve all of their problems. If we go into a situation trusting in our own ability to “fix things” we may soon find we do more harm than good. 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.

Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep (Rom. 12:15).

Thought for Today:

When faced with an obstacle that you don't know how to handle, trust in God. He will use you as His instrument to see souls saved.

Christ Revealed:

For II Cor. 3:13: See Ex. 34:33-35. II Cor. 4:13: See Ps. 116:10.

Word Studies:

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.

Prayer Needs:

Staff: Kevin Jennings • Government Official: Sen. Michael Ben- net (CO) • Country: Japan (127,103,388) Eastern Asia • Major Language: Japanese • Religious Freedom • 83.9% Shintoism; 71.4% Buddhism (Ex- ceeds 100%, many belong to both); 2% Christian; 7.8% Other • Prayer Suggestion: When you pray, be brief and pray from your heart (Eccl. 5:2).

Memory Verse:

Philemon 1: 4-7

Philemon 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

Philemon 1:5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;

Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

Philemon 1:7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Devotion courtesy Bible Pathway Ministries