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How God comforts us

June 25, 2011

Depression is no respecter of persons. The reality is that godly believers sometimes get depressed. Those who have set their minds on “the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1) have not been exempted from down times. Those who have gone for it all, who have scaled heights we may never attain, sometimes were subject to depression and despair. If you are down in the dumps, you are not alone. Many great Christians faced the same predicament. Thank God, however, we can find comfort when we are discouraged. The question is how? How does the Lord comfort us? Again, the Bible provides the answer.

How Does the Lord Comfort Us when we are Depressed?

1. He uses PEOPLE to be an Encouragement and Blessing

Paul says here that he was comforted by the coming of Titus.

2 Corinthians 7:6Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;

The arrival of Titus was not only a relief, but also a shot in the arm for Paul. He did not feel out on the limb any more. Beloved, God uses people to lift us up when we are down. David had Jonathan, Elijah had Elisha, Moses had Joshua, Paul had Silas, Barnabas, Timothy, and Titus. The list is endless.

In the same manner, our Lord wants to use you to encourage others that need it. You can, if you will be alert to the needs of others and concerned enough to get involved. You won’t be a blessing if you are griping, complaining, critical, and walking around with a chip on your shoulder. It ain’t gonna happen! Does your presence encourage other people? Do you bring them up or down?

Proverbs 27:9Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel

Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Job 4:3Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

The Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517, produced virtually no church-sent missionaries until two Moravians, Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann, left the warmth of their community of Herrnhut and ventured to St. Croix in 1732. It was Herrnhut’s leader, Count Nicholaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, who spurred their going. Zinzendorf had visited Copenhagen the previous year on political business. While there, he had met a black man from St. Thomas, who pleaded with him to send someone to share the gospel with his enslaved family members in the Danish West Indies.

Back at Herrnhut, Zinzendorf shared this burden, and it took root. A year later, on August 18, 1732, two young men were commissioned as missionaries in an unforgettable service in which a hundred hymns were sung. Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann soon left Herrnhut for Copenhagen, seeking passage to the islands, but Copenhagen proved unfriendly, and the two men were pelted with obstacles. One disappointment followed another, and much opposition arose to their mission. No one would help them. No ship would take them. Their hearts sank.

At that critical moment, Numbers 23:19b turned up in their daily devotional book: …hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Inspired by these words, Dober and Nitschmann determined to persevere, believing that God would fulfill what he had started through them.

A handful of people in Copenhagen began helping them, and the tide of public opinion turned. Two royal chaplains lent their support, and even the Queen of Denmark encouraged them. Princess Charlotte contributed financially. A court official secured passage for them on a Dutch ship, and on October 8, 1732, they sailed for the West Indies, opening the modern era of missions. The Lord had spoken to them, and He had made it good. He provided the people they needed to encourage and strengthen them on their way.

2. God’s PEACE is Given in the Midst of Instability and Unrest.

Psalm 119:165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

3. He PRIES Us from Bondage and Sinful Habits.

Romans 6:22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

4. The Lord PROVIDES Healing & Strength for Our Weakness & Sickness.

Hosea 6:1Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

Luke 4:18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

5. PROBLEMS & Trials are Countered by God’s Provision of Grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

6. God PROMOTES Courage When We are Afraid.

Psalm 27:1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Matthew 17:7And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

7. He PARDONS when we Fail & Seek Forgiveness.

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

8. The Lord PROTECTS from Danger When it’s His will for Us.

Proverbs 19:23The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.

Psalm 91:1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

9. God PULLS us up when we are down.

Psalm 27:14Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Isaiah 41:13For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Praise the Lord, we serve the God of all comfort!

10. Jesus PLEDGES to Reward those Who are Faithful.

Matthew 16:27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Revelation 22:12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

The message of the vine is also a message of cleansing.

11. He PROMISED to Care For Us and Give Us Rest.

1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Matthew 11:28Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

The Ridderhof family had little money, but they were rich in singing, worshiping, and love. Their daughter, Joy, knew the Gospel from infancy, and at age 13, she gave her heart to the Lord Jesus. She went on to study at the University of Los Angeles, preparing to be a teacher. At the same time, Joy kept busy leading Bible clubs, witnessing to neighbors, and singing in a quartet.

Little did her friends realize that Joy secretly battled worry and anxiety. Exams, public speaking, and the uncertainty of the future kept her spinning from one state of worry to the next, all of it concealed and well-hidden, but inwardly was crippling her with discouragement.

Joy’s life was changed, however, when she attended a Victorious Christian Life Conference at her church. The speaker, Robert C. McQuilkin, declared, “Worry is a sin. It amounts to a grievous lack of faith in the Father’s care.” That week changed Joy’s attitude, and soon she found herself enrolling in McQuilkin’s Bible School in South Carolina. She made the decision to rest in God’s promises of His care for her.

Four years later, she was back in Los Angeles, well-trained for missionary service, but unsure of her next step. She prayed, “Lord, whatever door you open, I’ll go there.” Soon a mission board approached her about Honduras. Joy, wanting to serve God in Africa, was hesitant, but while lunching at a friend’s house, she picked a card at random from a little box of Bible verses. It was Deuteronomy 28:8, “The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

This promise spoke directly to her in an undeniable way, and Joy sensed God’s directing her to Honduras. As it turned out, Honduras became but the first stop on a lifelong, worldwide ministry for Joy Ridderhof. The Lord did more than she ever expected. Joy was the founder of Gospel Recordings, Inc., an enterprise that has blanketed the earth with recordings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in nearly 5,000 languages. Joy was greatly used of God because she learned to rest in God’s promises for her own life. I like what is written in Isaiah 41.

Isaiah 41:10Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Paul found comfort in a time of need. We have examined two elements that surrounded this comfort:

  • The Afflictions that Paul Faced vs. 5
  • The Arrival of an Encouraging Friend vs. 6
  • Next, the Account of the Attitude of the Corinthians vs. 7

C. The Account of the Attitude of the Corinthians—7:7

Not only did the arrival of Titus encourage Paul, but the news or report of the attitude of the Corinthians was such a blessing. Titus reported to Paul that there had been a change in attitude among the Christians in Corinth. He informed the apostle that they longed or had an earnest desire to see Paul again and shared with Paul that the Corinthians were sorry or mourning for what they did. The Corinthians Christians had a “fervent mind” toward the apostle. This phrase is from the Greek word zelos {dzay’-los} which means “zeal, excitement of mind, concern, or loyalty.” There was a total change for the good toward Paul. The apostle could not change their hearts, but God could and He did.

Are you having difficulty with someone in your life? Ask the Lord to work in their heart and change them. My father-n-law, Dr. Sylvester Matthews, shared with me recently that he deals with difficult Christians by asking the Lord to fill them with the Holy Spirit. He told me that since he has started doing this, time after time, God transforms the lives of these people within a short period. He said, “It is amazing and exciting to watch this happen.”

Are you facing discouragement and depression in your life? You can overcome it. In fact, the Bible gives us some insights that we can apply in dealing with depression. It tells us what to do when we are “Cast Down.”

What Can you Do When You Are “Cast Down?”

1. Rely on the Lord to help you face the Depression.

Psalm 42:5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

The Lord is close to those who are brokenhearted and discouraged.

Psalm 34:18The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

He heals the pain of discouragement and a broken heart.

Psalm 147:3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

The Lord revives us in our trouble and depression.

Psalm 138:7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

2. Rest in God’s faithfulness when you are Discouraged.

The Lord will not allow you to go through more than you can bear. He knows your weakness and limitations. Rest in His care for you.

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.

Psalm 29:11The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

3. Read Bible stories and biographies of great Christians.

Romans 15:4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

When you read about the lives of other Christians, you will find out about their trials and how God met their needs. You will read of their victories and the results of their trials. This may help you to see your problems from a bigger perspective and may help you discover God’s direction and purpose in your life. That which may be depressing you may be the tool which God uses to help others. Your trial may be the school room for future ministry in your life.

2 Corinthians 1:4Who 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.

Dwight L. Moody never imagined the chain reaction produced by his sermon as described on the previous page. In this life, Christian workers seldom see more than a splinter of their success. Many preachers thrash about in apparent failure, not realizing that some word or verse or sermon or deed, like a well-buried seed, will eventually bring forth a mighty harvest. Even Moody himself occasionally succumbed to discouragement. According to his son, William Moody, he once said:

One Sunday I had preached and there did not seem to be any result. On the Monday I was very much cast down. I was sitting in my study, brooding over my want of success, when a young man who conducted a Bible class called upon me. As he came in I could see he was away up on the mountain top, while I was down in the valley. Said he: “What kind of day did you have yesterday?” “Very poor; I had no success, and I feel quite cast down. How did you get on?” “Oh, grandly! I never had a better day.” “What was your subject?” “I had the life and character of Noah. Did you ever preach on Noah? Did you ever study his life? You had better do it now. It will do you good.”

When the young man went away, I got out my Bible and some other books and read all I could find about Noah. I had not been reading long before the thought came stealing over me: Here is a man who toiled on for 120 years and never had a single convert outside his own family. Yet he did not get discouraged. “I closed my Bible,” said Moody. “The cloud had gone; I have never hung my harp on the willows since that day.”

4. Realize discouraging trials can bring glory to God if you respond the right way.

1 Peter 1:6-7… Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Sickness and even death can bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10…. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

5. Remove any possible guilt by Repenting of the sin that could be causing your depression.

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Satan uses our past failures to keep us from removing guilt and dealing with discouragement.

6. Remove yourself from depressing, angry, fearful people.

Folks who struggle with these kinds of traits will spread fear, bitterness, and anger among others and make them the same way.

Proverbs 22:24-25… Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: [25] Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Hebrews 12:15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Depression is fed by brooding, resentment, gripe sessions, excessive eating, refusal to eat, and procrastination.

7. Recall God’s blessings from the past and present, and praise Him for them.

1 Thessalonians 5:18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

There is power in praising God. God defeated an army because another army praised God.

2 Chronicles 20:21-22… And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. [22] And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

8. Reluctance in sharing with authorities, family, or friends, that we are depressed should be mastered.

Pride keeps us from sharing our hurt. When we get depressed, we tend to avoid people, but as we humble ourselves, and seek help, God gives us grace and the encouragement we need from people who care about us.

James 4:6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

9. Resist making major decisions during times of depression. Wait until your head is clear.

Galatians 6:9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10. Release your offenders from your bitterness. Forgive them.

Many times depression is created by bitterness. People deplete their strength by using emotional energy to focus their anger upon other people, leaving them exhausted and down. This is why it is so important to forgive your offenders.

Ephesians 4:31-32… Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

11. A Reclusive place needs to be established in order to get alone with God.

Luke 6:12And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

It is important that you have personal times with the Lord, away from distractions. You need time to focus on Him.

Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

12. Remove any clutter from your life.

God is not the author of confusion. When your life is disorganized or in chaos, it leaves a sense of “Where do I begin? How am I going to get control of my situation?” This feeling of helplessness creates depression. Get organized and start cleaning up your junk. Throw away that which is not needed. Take on the task one day at a time. Break up your task into little goals.

1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

13. Rescue or reach out to others who are having trials.

Philip. 2:4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Helping someone else will help you get your mind off your problems and will encourage you.

14. Research the Scriptures for solutions to your problems.

Psalm 19:8The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:47And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

Psalm 119:165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Jeremiah 15:16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.

Psalm 119:105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:130The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

15. Relegate your worries and cares to the Lord.

Give what is depressing you, to the Lord. Trust Him with your worries.

1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

16. Realize that God will Use You for His glory if you are Willing to Serve Him.

For over 200 years Sunday schools have gathered people together, millions of men, women, and children, hearing, learning, and observing God’s Word. Did you know that much of the credit for the Sunday School movement does not go to a preacher, missionary, or evangelist? The birth of Sunday School goes to Robert Raikes, an eighteenth-century newspaper publisher in Gloucester, England.

Mr. Raikes was a prosperous and pompous man with a soft spot for ragamuffins. He determined to begin a school for them in the slums of Gloucester. Since children worked Mondays through Saturdays, he selected Sundays, and in 1780, his first Sunday school began in Mrs. Meredith’s kitchen on Sooty Alley. The children learned reading and writing, using the Bible as a textbook. After several years, Raikes’s experiment was working well enough to publicize in his newspaper.

Then he had another idea. An annual festival was held near Gloucester, and it was always packed with wild, hard-drinking, rabble—rousing crowds. Raikes distributed curious leaflets inviting the people to the festival to witness “a novel sight.” On Sunday, September 24, 1786, the crowds flocked in. There, standing before the church, were 331 clean, well-dressed Sunday school children. Many in the crowd had never before seen a clean, well-dressed child.

Mr. Raikes had persuaded his friend, Dr. Samuel Glasse, to prepare a special sermon. Glasse rose, looked at the throng of people, and preached a sermon from Deuteronomy 31.

Deuteronomy 31:12-13a…. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: [13] And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live….

Dr. Glasse’s sermon swept across England in printed form under the title, “The Piety, Wisdom, and Policy of Promoting Sunday Schools.” And the Sunday school movement was soon established. God used an ordinary Christian newspaper publisher to start something that would reach millions for Christ and disciple them in the Word of God. What a blessing to be used of God. Let me ask, “What does the Lord want you to do?” Beloved, when you serve the Lord and see God using YOU, it will help you to deal with depression. It’s when we get focused on our problems or failures, instead of focusing on God, we get down in the dumps. Keep your eyes on the Lord and He will revive and sustain your heart, mind, and soul.

Mattoon’s Treasures – Mattoon’s Treasures – Treasures from 2 Corinthians.


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