Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Comfort and encourage my people

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

21st September 2014

‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly…’ (Isaiah 40:1-2 NIV)

Over the years I’ve heard many corrective sermons and ones that warned me to get my life in shape before the Great Tribulation hits the earth.

Now it may be appropriate on occasion to give such a message but the more I’ve thought about preaching the more I’m convinced that preachers should comfort and encourage God’s people by speaking tenderly.

Many people in the world and some of our brothers and sisters in the church are broken, in pain, hurting and are in need of tender comfort.

A Greek word often used for ‘comfort’ is Parakelin. It also has the meaning ‘to encourage’, ‘to make a person capable to stand on their own two feet and meet life un-defeated’. It embraces the posture and position of being alongside to comfort and encourage rather than being over and above and lauding it over people. That seems to me what Spirit [Paraclete] filled preaching is about.

Preaching must comfort. As Paul wrote,

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God’. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).

People need comfort in sorrow because those sorrows can be turned into joy by His comfort.

Preaching must also encourage. Speaking of the resurrection Paul also said, ‘…encourage one another with these words’. (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

The resurrection gives us comfort and encouragement for the future.

The Christian message is one of comfort and encouragement for we do not have an angry God who is out to get us. God loves all humanity so much that he sent his Son to die so that we can be united with him.

The good, comforting and encouraging news is: We are all included. No one is left out of Christ’s saving work. Whatever trials, hardships and pain we are experiencing in this life we are all included in God’s plan for a glorious future where there will be ‘…no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ (Revelation 21:4).

The gospel is: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13 ESV). We just have to recognise that God has already shed his grace upon us and accept it.

How will people come to this faith? Again Paul says,

‘…how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching… faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ’. (V.14, 17)

Tenderly preaching the good news of salvation in Christ will bring comfort and encouragement to those who are hurting.

Tenderly sharing our faith in circumstances other than formal church situations will have the same result.

So let’s come alongside people as we have opportunity and bring comfort and encouragement as we re-tell the ‘old, old story of Jesus and his love’.

Prayer

Father, help me to tenderly spread the message about Jesus and may it bring comfort and encouragement to all who hear.
Amen.

Have a good week comforting and encouraging one another.

Pastor Barry

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