The God Of All Comfort

We have and will suffer on this earth. God has never promised us anything different than that fact. From Elijah to Jeremiah, from Stephen to Paul, all of God’s people have suffered. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the state of his suffering. Something was happening to him in Asia. Paul said, “we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2nd Cor. 1:9). Have you ever felt that you were burdened beyond measure? Have you felt like the world has sentenced you to death? You probably have.

Thankfully, Paul shares his outlook on his suffering. Paul says that he might be sentenced to death, but he has put his trust “in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us” (2 Cor. 1:9-10). God has the power to raise the dead. Even if our suffering leads to death, who better to put our trust in than He who has conquered death?

This amazing attribute of our Lord makes Him the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). There is no one that God cannot bring comfort to. Even in our darkest hours, God can find a way to bring us comfort. David speaks of this as well in Psalm 23.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4)

There was no evil in existence that David feared because he knew the Lord was with him. He could walk boldly through the valley of the shadow of death knowing that his Lord could conquer death.

When we are suffering, do we show others the attitude of Paul or the faith of David? Paul suggests to the Corinthians that his afflictions were a teaching tool to bring the Corinthians comfort in their own sufferings.

“Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same suffering which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” (2 Cor. 1:6)

Paul says that he suffered as an example for others to learn how to suffer and trust in God. If Paul was comforted, it was an example to others of the comfort of God. Perhaps when we suffer, God is using us to help the suffering of others. They could look to us and say, “Our brother or sister persevered through this extremely difficult situation, I can perservere too through my current situation. I just need to rely on the God of all comfort like they did.”

Paul leaves us with two things we can do through suffering. First, we can share with others what we are going through. We are taught from early on to hide and conceal our problems. However, Paul tells the Corinthians that he did not want them to be ignorant of his current trouble. (2nd Cor. 1:8) Second, we can pray to God for comfort and help. Paul says that the Corinthians were helping him because they were praying for him! When we need comfort, let us first go to God in prayer and ask for the prayers of others. After all, He is the “God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:11).

— Andrew Smith

The Force Of The Apostle’s Teaching

The words that Jesus spoke in person are precious. Everyone who respects the Bible values the sayings of Jesus. However, there are those who value the words of Jesus, yet devalue the words of His apostles. The “red letters” in your Bible were put there by man; God did not make the print red. In fact, a careful examination of the Gospels will reveal that Jesus Himself taught that the words of the apostles would be a continuation of His own teachings. The words of the apostles do carry much weight.

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The Power Of God

The Lord did many incredible things in the Bible. He caused the Red Sea to part for the Israelites, sets large hailstones from heaven on those that tried to harm His people, and He even stopped the sun’s movement from horizon to horizon. The Lord did big powerful things, like raising Jesus from the dead, to smaller things like causing an ax head to float on the water.

These miraculous powers were always used by God to endorse the prophets. By giving them miraculous power, God was endorsing their message. It was a clear and easy way for God’s people to know that these prophets were telling the truth.

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A Lesson From Snow

On January 28th, 2014, central Alabama was taken by a surprise snow that stranded hundreds of drivers and shutdown highways. Many people were forced to abandon their cars, while others had to sleep over at their workplaces and even at their schools. The surprise of the matter is that none of the weather forecasters reported the possibility of more than a few snow flurries, or at the most, a very light dusting of snow. So business went on as usual until about 30 minutes after the snow started falling and falling and falling….

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A Strong Finish

Several of us might have received and read these articles all year. I hope they have been encouraging to us all. There are some that probably started reading these at the beginning of the year, yet they quit reading some time ago. They may have purposely quit reading, or maybe they just forgot. That is often how our plans turn out. We will make big plans early to get reconnected with God or do something for God, and then we slowly forget about those plans till they are non-existent.

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Are We Voted Into The Church?

One of the most popular misunderstandings about church membership is that one “joins the church.” It is common in modern denominational churches that one responds to the invitation, and the local church votes whether or not they will accept him or her as a member of that church; then, the member is baptized. This is what man teaches and what many churches of men practice today. We do not practice this at the Gardendale church of Christ because this is not what the Bible teaches.

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Keeping It Simple

Many have a poor view of Christianity because they see it as complicated. Understandably so because in one small town, you have over 50 churches all having different beliefs, different practices, different paths to salvation; yet, all churches claim they are following the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Are their 50 different ways to enter Christ’s Kingdom? Jesus says no. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber… Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them’” (John 10:1,7-8). The Lord says that He is the only door that leads to salvation. There are other doors available, but they are like thieves and robbers. These doors deceive you into believing they lead to Jesus when they actually lead to something else.

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Did Jesus Start Denominations?

“Neither pray I for these [disciples] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (Jesus, John 17:21-22)

It goes without saying that many people assume that any church that believes in Jesus must have been started by Jesus. Our society thinks that Baptist, Methodist, Mormons, etc., are all part of Christ’s Church. But there are serious questions that must be asked and answered in light of the New Testament teachings if one holds this position. Let’s look at a few necessary questions in this short article.

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Thomas’ Doubt

Many give Thomas a hard time for wanting to see the resurrected Jesus before he believed. Some even call him “Doubting Thomas” to illustrate his skepticism. However, Thomas’ doubt is powerful evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Paul explains to the Corinthians that the whole gospel hangs on the resurrection of Jesus. If the resurrection did not happen, then Jesus was not the Son of God and His sacrifice was void.

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A Cross Of Hate And Love

The title above might seem strange at first glance, but the Bible does explain that the cross has multiple meanings. God hates sin and the cross was the sacrifice the Son of God had to make to satisfy God’s hatred for sin. God loves mankind, and for this reason, He gave His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place for our offenses.

The Bible says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” or cross (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). God hates sin so much that he sent His Only Begotten Son to bear our sins on a rugged cross, thus becoming sin for us. “For He made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). You see, sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:21). When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it changed their lives forever. Instead of walking and talking freely in fellowship with God, there was a barrier that now existed between them—a barrier known as sin which God hates. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus, who lived a sinless life, had to die and become the perfect, once for all sacrifice to satisfy God’s hatred for sin. On the cross, Jesus was in so much agony that He cried out those horrifying words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). For six, long, grueling hours of the most cruel suffering, God laid the sins of mankind on the body of Jesus Christ. “He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many…” (Isaiah 53:11).

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