Give and Receive

2 Corinthians 1:3-4Blessed 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.”

There is, in life, seasons to all that we do.

In the beginning, we are in full need of everything. Someone to hold us, diaper us, feed us, and dress us. Soon we become mobile and need restraint. Teaching and training follow with how to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, and care for ourselves. We are in a constant state of learning.

All too soon, we strike out on our own to take what we’ve learned and made our life our own. We succeed, and we fail. We learn and go on.

As a child of God, I have learned that I am always learning. God allows me to see things, experience things and all for His divine purpose.

My Heavenly Father has allowed things to happen in my life so that I may reach those who may stumble where I stumbled; to pick up the fallen, to ease the heavy burdened.

As I read today, I see a God who so desires to use us to help in His divine plan. In so doing, we are privy to His character, His love, mercy, and grace. It is given to us – not to keep as a prized possession; but, given away for others to see the wonders of our God.

As I have worked in ministry now for over 25 years and as a Christian for 30; I have come to realize God has a purpose for everything that comes into my life; the good, and the bad.

For someone who has been abused; they may not see it now, but God can make it work out for good. You may think this verse cliche’ but, it is true.

Romans 8:28-29And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Everyone, seemingly, has a different path to becoming more like Christ. But it is not as diverse as one might think.

1 Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Coming through the situation and circumstance of whatever trial God has allowed, you and I can then help those who might struggle trying to find their way back to God.

To the backslidden who was captivated by sin and found their way back can shine the light on the path for others to be brought back as well.

I need not stand on the mountain top of my own victory, I need to go down to where others are struggling as I struggled and shine the light on the stumbling blocks I found and fell so they may not fall as I did.

The times I received love – it was given to me to give to others. I received grace, mercy, and forgiveness to turn around and provide the same to one in need. Some have asked:

“If God is Sovereign, why didn’t He stop the bad things in my life? I thought He loved me?”

God IS Sovereign.

His ways are above finding out.

Isaiah 55:8-9For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Which begs the question: “If I had a God that I could figure out, how big would he be?”

He tells us today that we have been given comfort so that we can comfort others. You may be in a trial and in need of that comfort of which we are speaking. You may have just come out of a trial and witnessed the deliverance and comfort that only God can give.

Wherever you find yourself, and in whatever state you may be in, God has a divine purpose for what it is you are going through. He tells us in James:

James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Wisdom is the ability to see things as God does. Understanding is the ability to employ that wisdom given to us.

Proverbs 4:7-9Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”

In keeping with our thought this morning – get wisdom as we are commanded by God to do so. But also, in this life, give it freely as God would lead. As we have received mercy – give it liberally. As we have received forgiveness, may we exercise forgiveness in quantities immeasurable.

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