July 29/2Corinthians 1

Discouragement is no respecter of persons. No matter who you are you will go through times of discouragement, even the Apostle Paul despaired of life at times.

2 Corinthians 1:8–9 (NLT) — 8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.

He is referring to the time he was in Ephesus and Demetrius the silversmith started a riot against Paul because at Paul’s preaching many were turning away from idol worship to Jesus and Demetrius and others were losing business. Paul barely escaped with his life. You can read about it in Acts 19.

In verses 3-11 Paul gives us a little insight on how to get through discouraging times.

Verse 3 > Praise can change things. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves to praise the Lord whether we feel like it or not. Praise God that he is God an no one else! He works all things together for good! Praise him because he is the Father of Jesus. He loves us so much he sent Jesus to rescue us from sin and he will rescue us from this terrible time! Praise him because he is a merciful Father. He doesn’t give us what we really deserve which is death without hope. He gives us what we do not deserve and that is grace, the strength to persevere under difficult times!

Lamentations 3:22–26 (NLT) — 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

Praise him because he is the source of all comfort. The Holy Spirit is called The Comforter and God sent him to reside within us! The Holy Spirit will lead us to scripture that will bring comfort to us and he will send others to us who will encourage us. After all of this praise you will find the spirit within you beginning to rise with encouragement.

Psalm 121:1–2 (NLT) — 1 I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!

Verse 4 > sometimes the best thing you can do is get your mind off your own trouble and go and be an encouragement to someone else. This is the will of God.

Job 42:10 (NLT) — 10 When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!

Verse 5 > God allows us to suffer so that we can experience how great his comfort really is. Otherwise how would we really know?  No amount of trouble can soak up all of God’s comfort!

Psalm 124 (NLT) —  1 What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: 2 What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? 3 They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. 4 The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. 5 Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. 6 Praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! 7 We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! 8 Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Verse 6 > God allows us to go through tough times so that we can minister to others. Again we need to get our thoughts off ourselves an on to others. What better person to minister to a mother who lost her child in a car accident than a mother who has experienced that same thing. Our prayer should be, “Lord who can I help?”

Verse 7 > This verse seems to indicate that our comfort will come as we go out to help others. We harvest what we plant. Do you need encouragement then give some encouragement to someone else.

Galatians 6:7&9 (NLT) — 7 …You will always harvest what you plant. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Verses 8-9 > God allows suffering but when we turn to him and rely on him he gives us the strength to handle the suffering. Sometimes we can sort of drift away from the Lord and suffering wakes us up and pulls us back to him.

Psalm 119:67 (NLT) — 67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.

Verse 10 > Sometimes God delivers us from our troubles but not always immediately > Paul and Silas in prison > Acts 16. John the Baptist was delivered in his trouble > he was beheaded. Matt 14:10. The point is that God does deliver!

Verse 11 > How do we help others? One way is to pray. Never ever discount what God will do through our prayers. But remember he gets the glory!

Acts 12:5 (NLT) — 5 But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

God answered the prayers of the church and Peter was delivered.

To summarize: Focus your attention on God rather than yourself!

Be Inspired Hilltop!

 

Comments

  1. Mark Gundersen says:

    Paul reminds the church that God does not change his mind even if people do. His yes is yes and his no is no. Paul was hoping to visit Corinth twice on this missionary journey but did not want to reprimand them and therefore wrote this letter to build them up while correcting them. He shows us that sometimes keeping your distance in a situation prevents saying unwise words.