Comfort And Joy – October 13, 2018

Comfort And Joy

The last two night have brought a refreshing coolness that I’ve grown to treasure since moving into the deep south over 15 years ago.

This morning as I woke and shifted my body on the edge of the bed so my feet could feel the carpet a slight shiver came over me. Not one of discomfort but sufficient to trigger thoughts about warm fires glowing in the dark and the contrasts of this season.

Note from Kip,

Fall has been long in coming to central Alabama this year. I suppose that is why I welcome this change in the weather so much more than normal. Fall is perhaps my favorite season.

I reflect back to a time when my home was in more northerly latitudes. The hallmark of the season was the colors changing and the beauty of nature being painted on a canvas, that only God Himself could conceive of.

And yes, the coolness of the air accentuating every warmth that the body can gather to itself, a warm scarf, a comfortable jacket, Hot chocolate with a touch of marshmallow cream melting on top of it.

There is no better time than now to reflect on the abiding comfort and joy imparted to the Disciple of Christ every day in their walk in the Master’s footsteps.

Comfort and Joy

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”

John 14:27 (CSB)

Those that have yet to make a commitment to Jesus Christ do not ‘get’ what, being His, really is.

The perception from outside the Body of Christ tends to be influenced by Satan’s perspective of God, rules, and requirements that inhibit freedom and independence.

If we don’t give a reason to change that perception that is what they will believe our lives are filled with. Can you blame the lost for not understanding what we possess in Christ Jesus?

And if they do not understand, why is that? I would suggest that it is because the only voice saying anything to them is the one that accuses them and tells them that they are not worthy. They are convinced that they must do something to produce their own happiness. That lasting joy is a fantasy that exists only in fairy tails and stories.

And that is partially right. True lasting joy does reside in a story, the story about God loving mankind so very much, that he was willing to sacrifice His own Son so that He might be able to redeem this lost treasure. A story of challenge and sacrifice that momentarily appeared to end in death but ultimately erupted into life everlasting, comfort, and Joy beyond reason and understanding.

If they are not getting that message from our lives then I’m going to suggest that we are at fault for that. We have fallen victim to deception and diversion placed in our path by the enemy, which has silenced the voice that should be counter to the charges being thrown at them by our nemesis.

The devil is playing us against the loss. Telling them that we foolishly follow a bunch of rules blindly, while at the very same time mocking them with their failure and inadequacy. Meanwhile, he manages to distract us enough that the light we possess inside is shaded from view. As a result, we supply no opposing argument to his challenge to the lost. They are convinced that the only way that they can find fulfillment is through the gathering of possessions and pleasure at all costs, even their souls.

Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.”

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16 (CSB)

The peace Jesus left us with is comprised of light and salt. The light is the radiance of Christ that He has placed in us. The salt is the agent that acts as a catalyst transforming the bitter view that the enemy has instilled in them, into a savory warmth that only comes from knowing God in a personal way.

When I said earlier that it was our fault that the lost perceive Christians as a bunch of blind misguided people that are bound to our rules, I meant it.

If we do not exhibit the comfort, joy, and peace that Christ Jesus imparts to us then we are at fault for there not being a counter message to the one being proffered by the world.

Comfort 

Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me.

Psalms 23:4 (CSB)

Most of us can recite the 23rd Psalm fairly accurately and without a lot of effort. Have you ever consider why it is that we can read and recite it over and over again but never allow it to impact our lives day to day.

Comfort is part of the package! If we are not resting in comfort then that should tell us something about our relationship. We should be aware that something is wrong and address it.

Peace

Peace plays a huge roll in the vibe we give off to those around us.

Remember that first verse we quoted in the beginning? What did it say?

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”

John 14:27 (CSB)

If Jesus left us with peace, what have we done with it? Might it be hiding under that basket with our light as well? We squander our opportunity to have an opposing voice to counter the enemy.

I’m fully aware of the trouble we have in this world and how we can become distracted from our mission.

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 (CSB)

Yet we allow worrying to control us. We worry about our family, our friends, our job, our country and every other possible thing under the sun. This is in direct conflict with Jesus telling us not to.

At times we just can’t imagine these things resolving themselves and there is no one that is going to change the situation, keep and protect as we can.

Listen to yourself!  That message sounds so much like the one the enemy uses on on the lost. Unworthy, incapable, and must gather things and people to ourselves so as to protect and preserve.

Who are you listening too?

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (CSB)

It would appear that we are listening to the wrong voice.

Joy

Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (CSB)

Inexpressible and glorious joy‘, it says. Do you think perhaps if we had that joy running loose in our lives that that voice might come throughout from under that basked we’ve been muffling it with?  Do you think maybe that the impression that we are all about a book of rules would be obliterated by that very joy?

Present an Opposing Voice

The world is missing something we have.

Satan tells the lost that we are a bunch of fuddy-duddy do-gooders that want nothing more than imposing our rules on their freedom.

We fail to make it clear that the freedom they seek, we are thriving in.

So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.

John 8:36 (CSB)

Are you free?

Are you free to embrace the peace, joy, and comfort that we have by abiding in Jesus?

If we find that we are not then we’ve had our voice silenced and must take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

Lives are being lost every day as a result of our inability and unwillingness to counter the message of the enemy to those lost to Christ.

We are the image of Christ that they will remember. We cannot afford to darken that image with doubt, fear, and worry. Instead, we should present a reflection of the ‘Comfort and Joy‘ we have abiding in us, through the mercy of Jesus!

Leave your troubles at the cross and allow that light to shine!

Blessings,
kip…


 

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