Category Archives: Biblical Counseling

Extending Grace: God Comforting Through Us

God comforts His people, by the power of His Spirit, through His people.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

 

God’s Preparation of Hudson Taylor

“Years afterwards, when responsible himself for the guidance of many missionaries, it was easy to see that the trials of those early days were all needed. He was pioneering a way in China, little as he or anyone else could imagine it, for hundreds who were to follow. Every burden must be his, every testing real as only experience can make it. As iron is tempered to steel, his heart must be stronger and more patient than others, through having loved and suffered more. He who was to encourage thousands in a life of childlike trust, must himself learn yet deeper lessons of a Father’s loving care. So difficulties were permitted to gather about him, especially at the first when impressions are deep and lasting, difficulties attended by many a deliverance which made them a lifelong blessing.”[1]

 Adolphe Monod:

“It is through the anguish of temptation that you will learn, like your Savior, to some day sympathize with the weaknesses of others and to help those who are tempted [Hebrews 4:14-5:3].”[1]

May the Spirit of Christ, the Great Comforter, fulfill His ministry to others through us as willing channels of His healing, comforting, and edifying grace. May He strengthen their hearts and sustain their faith through our example and loving presence. And, may He continue giving us grace so that we might perpetually extend His grace to others and be a source of comfort to them.

________

[1] Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009), 50.

[2] Adolphe Monod, Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness: Sharing Christ’s Victory, trans. Canstance Walker (Vestavia Hills: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2010), 38.

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Filed under Biblical Counseling, Holy Spirit, Pastoral Ministry, Suffering

Old Habits Die Hard

1 Peter 4:1-6:

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.”

In the midst of suffering, we are often tempted to revert to our former way(s) of life. Yet, the saving work of God tenaciously refuses to leave us in such futility. He transforms every soul that He saves–even when the purification is best accomplished by the providential furnace of His persevering love (1 Peter 1:3-9). There has never been a more beautiful, though seemingly brutish, sort of love. The mysterious beauty of divine love is that suffering typically precedes the sweetness that it procures. This was the reality of Christ’s death for us in the pursuit of His Father’s glory; and much will be the same for us when we endeavor to follow in His footsteps. As we share in the sufferings of Christ, we incarnate His love as “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1). May we suffer and die well as we remember that He alone is our Life.

This past weekend, my pastor gave the following points of application when faced with the peer pressure of returning to former passions:

1. Remember WHOSE you are.

We belong to Jesus ,the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross….

2. Remember your motivation.

We live to honor Christ rather than self.

3. Ask God for help… Employ the means that He’s given.

The Word of God is our sword and the prayer of Faith is our shield of defense!

The Body of Christ are our fellow soldiers who provide support, accountability, and love.

4. For those who have fallen back into their former ways…

A. Remember what Christ has already done and that He has secured God’s love and forgiveness for you.  You’re accepted in Christ, not in and of yourself.

B. Confess your sin to God and fellow believers as you repent of it.

C. Get into God’s word and get God’s word into you.

D. Pursue open, honest transparency with others in spiritual community.

5. When others are struggling, come alongside them and offer: Humility, Hope, and Help.

Humility: You’re capable of sinning in the same way, if not worse, given the right opportunity.

Hope: God’s saving love has the power to change and restore even the worst of sinners.

Help: God’s people need one another to stir up and minister His sanctifying grace to one another in time of need.

 

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Filed under Biblical Counseling, Brokenness, Sanctification, Suffering

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Filed under Biblical Counseling, Tribbett