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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"How would you know? You've never been through this?" How often has a well meaning, would-be comforter had these words flung back in their face? Often the honest answer can be little more than an honest admission that the one offering comfort has indeed not experienced that particular trial or difficulty. Our God longs to comfort us in our trials, as the God of all comfort. This comfort comes through our relationship to Christ Jesus. Our trials are an opportunity to grow in our relationship with Christ. They enable us to comfort one another by pointing each other to Jesus with the comfort and confidence of one who found comfort in Him.
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
John 1:16 NASB
One of the simplest definitions of the word 'miracle' I have ever heard was, "Supernatural forces interfering with the natural order of things." This time of year we celebrate "The Great Interference". Apart from this Interference man is without hope, lost, and condemned. Yet when God chose to interfere with His creation He chose the most intimate, personal and costly way imaginable. All because of His great love for rebellious mankind. (Romans 5:6-8) Merry Christmas!
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our hearts before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 1 John 3:19-22
Before I married April I was a bachelor. As such I had a very complex laundry system. My laundry system started with "the smell test." In this highly scientific analysis an article of clothing was carefully selected from the floor of the room and smelled at arms length for offensive odors. If it passed this test it got the "close up smell test." The results of this test were entered into a larger equation that took into consideration where I would be going that day, who I would be with and how likely it would be that I would be in close enough proximity to be smelled. Marriage is a good thing for people like me. In his first epistle John gives us a "smell test" for our faith. How can you know if you are walking in the Lord? Evaluate your feelings towards your brothers and sisters in Him. If bitterness, envy, frustration, fear and hatred dominate your thoughts towards fellow believers you can know without question that you have taken your eyes off of Jesus.
And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Luke 2:25-26
Think of this man, Simeon. He spent his whole life looking forward to this coming Messiah. The Lord let him know that he would get to see the Messiah before he died. When he saw Joseph and Mary in the temple he knew. He held the Hope of all humanity in his arms and he praised the Lord. Having beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, Simeon was ready to die in peace. His entire life was building up to the chance to HOLD the Savior. And this One, whom Simeon rejoiced to cradle in his arms, you and I have the opportunity to KNOW, personally and intimately. Even as we are known and loved by Him. Merry Christmas!