Monday, December 31, 2018

"Upward and Outward"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Upward and Outward"       


    Our challenges, of whatever nature and degree, provide opportunity to glorify our Lord and minister to people as we respond in faith and devotion.

    "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation" (II Corinthians 1:3-6).

   Pain and difficulty tend to direct our focus unto ourselves.  Conversely, the Apostle Paul declared that trouble first grants opportunity for believers to know the comfort of God, and then to administer to others the same balm of grace we have received.  Rather than dwelling on our usual initial response - "Why is this happening to me?" - we do well to affirm within our hearts,  "How can I honor the Lord Jesus Christ and be a blessing to others through this challenge?"   We divert attention to where it belongs, namely, to our high calling of loving God and loving others.  We realize purpose in our pain, and see it as a means of better knowing the Lord, and better serving others.  

    Again, such response is completely counterintuitive to our flesh.  Only the Spirit of God and the Word of God can splash grace into our face, as it were, thus clarifying our vision to look outward rather than inward when experiencing difficulty.  Even in those times when our Heavenly Father administers pain as a corrective measure, the ultimate end involves redirecting our focus upward to Him, and outward to others.  Thereby He sets our hearts at peace, and prepares us to give forth the comfort in Christ we have received.  Our Lord lived, died, and rose again to make possible our capacity to overcome our natural tendency of self-centeredness with His supernatural tenacity to love God and love people.  His presence within our hearts enables such focus whereby we look upward and outward…

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
(Romans 5:5)
"The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many."
(Matthew 28:20)
"Walk even as He walked."
(I John 2:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
   I will extol Thee, o God, my King, and I will bless Thy name forever and ever.
(Psalm 145:1)

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