Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Isaiah 51:12, 21, 22

Isaiah 51:12, 21, 22
I, even I, am he who comforts you.     
Therefore hear this, you afflicted one, 
       made drunk, but not with wine. 
This is what your Sovereign LORD says, 
       your God, who defends his people: 
       See, I have taken out of your hand 
       the cup that made you stagger; 
       from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, 
       you will never drink again. NIV
John 14:16
Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." KJV
Not much has changed in the past 2700 years. Just as the hopeless Israelites, held in captivity forgot who You were, we tend to do the same today.

Like the Israelites we have overdosed on the paralyzing potion of fear, scrupulously blended and served to us by that smooth-talker Satan who is bent on slaying our sweet spirits. Under his influence, we live in constant terror of losing everything we have because of chaotic world conditions. With the good life crashing down, an impending international crisis, and concern that our children are desensitized to immorality and injustice, we're in a stupor worried that no one will lead us out of the mess. Beaten down by dread and discouragement, we've willingly fainted in the streets of despair and allowed the Devil to rub our faces in the dirt and walk all over us. Forgive us, O Lord!

As You promise, look on us with compassion and awaken us from this awful nightmare! This is not the dream You had for us! By Your perfect love, take from our hand the dreadful cup of fear that's making us stagger. It's time for Your Church to get up, come clean, and wrap ourselves in the unending Comfort of the Holy Spirit. United with You in love and dressed in Your strong garments of splendor - compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience - it's time for us to stop worrying about the things we can't control and start parading through town, picking up people, and joyfully proclaiming the Good News: The Comforter has come!

Show me a hopeless believer who has fainted under the influence of fear. I will immediately stoop down, pick them up, and offer them hope this holiday season to magnify Your Almighty name. Amen.

In light of current events, You won't have to look far to see someone you can pick up! A kind word, a warm smile, and a gentle handshake or hug can easily comfort someone in captivity to fear or affliction.

One Sunday I went Christmas caroling in a retirement community. Like the rest of the world, my life is extra busy at this time of year, and I went begrudgingly. But, it didn't take long for my demeanor to change. Just singing lifted up spirits. Before long, I found myself striking up a conversation with an elderly man. He was thrilled to show and tell me about all his beautiful music boxes while the rest of my group moved on. 
Catching up with them a few minutes later, I found myself in front a precious old lady who couldn't bend over. With a tear in her eye, she began mouthing the words. My eye drifted from her to the newspaper lying on the floor by her door. Walking over to her, my friend gave her a big hug while I stooped to pick up the paper. The dear lady sobbed in my friend's arms. Her 90 year old aunt had just past away and she was overwhelmed with sorrow. We prayed with her while the rest of our group moved on. 
On the next floor, we encountered a joyful old woman with a great big smile. I complimented her on her pretty smile. And she said, "My husband died 36 years ago and I am so lonely. I make myself get up every day, and I paste this smile on my face no matter how I feel." Bless her heart! I stayed and chatted with her while the rest of the group moved on. 
Finally, we stopped near the door of a disabled young man. In his wheelchair, he came to the door with one of the most beautiful birds I had ever seen. While the group sang, he was delighted to show the youngsters in our group the various tricks his pet parrot could perform. 
It's amazing that a group of 6 adults and a bunch of rambunctious, unruly kids, could entertain so many people in one hour, and that I could personally pick up four of them by smiling, asking a simple question, and taking time to listen. 

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