June 11, Thursday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, is an updated version of his blog first posted on November 3, 2013.  He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“What’s in a Name Paraclete?”

Psalm 94:16-19 (NIV)

Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? 17 Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. 18 When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

ellieelien-_kRFOlr65ig-unsplashOne of my favorite verses describing God, the Holy Spirit in particular, is John 14:26 where the Spirit of God is called our “Helper.” This is translated from a Greek word paraclete, which is difficult to represent with any single English word. It gives the picture of one who comes along side and provides necessary aid, guidance, and even defense (in many translations this same word is rendered “Comforter,” “Counselor,” or “Advocate”).

In an article in Christianity Today, Ian Coffey is said to have told this story:

“The Karre language of equatorial Africa proved to be difficult for the translators of the New Testament, especially when it came to the word paraclete. How could they describe the Holy Spirit?  One day the translators came across a group of porters going off into the bush carrying bundles on their heads. They noticed that in the line of porters there was always one who didn’t carry anything, and they assumed he was the boss, there to make sure that the others did their work. However, they discovered he wasn’t the boss; he had a special job. He was there should anyone fall over with exhaustion; he would come and pick up the man’s load and carry it for him. This porter was known in the Karre language as ‘the one who falls down beside us.’ The translators had their word for paraclete.”

It’s amazing to me that this is what God does for us. Not only does He provide the strength we need to carry our loads in life, He also is our counselor, defender, protector, and comforter. The psalmist knew this to be true about God by experience. God had been his help in times of difficulty, his support when he slipped, and his consolation in times of anxiety. Our God is our ever-present help!  What an apt reminder as we are all facing great hardship right now: as if the pandemic isn’t enough, now social unrest has broken out in our cities.  Lord, help us!  This does not mean, of course, that bad things will never happen to us; but when they do, the Lord will impart sufficient grace so that we can adequately handle any and every situation (1 Cor. 10:13).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, during this time of great hardship may the Spirit illuminate our minds so that we can think clearly on matters of great importance; may the Spirit fortify our hearts so that we do not given into hopelessness and despair. Help us, Lord!  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 52


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Cor. 1:3-7 (NIV): Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Questions to Consider

  1. What two ways is God described at the start of this passage? How have you experienced these two characteristics of God?
  2. According to the passage, why does God comfort us in times of trouble?
  3. What is the result of the comfort God gives us through one another?

Notes

  1. “Father of compassion” and “God of all comfort.” – As believers we get to experience God as a father who is compassionate toward us. We also get to experience God as our source of comfort in times of difficulty and trials.
  2. “…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – As God extends his compassion toward us, we are to extend that same compassion toward others who may be going through difficult times. One of the major ways the Spirit of God comforts and encourages us is through one another.
  3. “patient endurance.” – The comfort we extend to those in times of difficulty enables them to patiently endure. Without the support of a spiritual community, it is very difficult to endure trying times. But as we support each other, God is able to use difficult circumstances to sanctify us, making us more like Christ, and we’re able to withstand the process.

Are you in need of comfort today? Pray and ask God to be your comforter. Ask Him to send brothers/sisters along who can encourage you as they’ve been encouraged in their times of difficulty. Maybe there are some around you who could use your comfort. Pray and ask God to identify them to you and reach out to them as the Spirit leads.


Evening Reflection

josh-miller-uqVvIWyix0g-unsplashSpend some time thanking God for the help he has provided you. Remember seasons of difficulty when God provided comfort or times of transition when God provided guidance or times of weariness when God provided strength. Regardless of the form it took, the help we received in all of those times was from our loving God.

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