Passing On What We Receive

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 —Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

The secular world has popularized “random acts of kindness” as a way to pay forward kindnesses that one receives.  It leaves the receiver of a kindness awed and inspired to do something nice for someone else and the giver feels good at having given away something of themselves to benefit another.  The classic examples include plugging someone’s parking meter that is about to expire, or quietly paying for the coffee drinks for the person behind you in line.

There is nothing random about how God the Father approaches us “in all our troubles.”  He is quite intentional in His comforting of all His people; it isn’t just kindness bestowed in a random way.  His compassion means we are never abandoned to trouble.  He is beside us at all times.

We are asked to respond in the same way, coming alongside “those in any trouble” overflowing with the comfort we have been shown from God.  This is also intentional; comfort is not just ours to receive and keep but it is ours to give.  We are comforted even more so knowing we are sharing as God intended when He shared the Comforter with us on Christmas Day.

E. Gibson

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Sharing Abundantly

2 Corinthians 1:5–For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

To follow Jesus does not mean an end to suffering but it means we willingly and joyfully choose to share the overwhelming burden He has borne in payment for our sin.

God sending His Son to walk among us
did not end sin on earth
but showed mankind how
to choose mercy rather than tyranny,
to offer forgiveness rather than blame,
to express gratitude rather than resentment,
to share what little we have rather than covet all that we desire.

By seeking truth, by following Jesus,  the comfort found in Him will far outweigh our suffering.

He was born for this.  And so were we.

E. Gibson

As a Father Comforts

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12— For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,  encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Jesus’ Heavenly Father knew His Son needed an earthly Father for supporting those crucial years of a boy becoming a man.  Joseph, a kind and righteous man, provided the guidance, encouragement and comforting that earthly fathers offer to their children.  Joseph was found to be worthy of God for such an important role in the life of Jesus.

All fathers are called to mirror our Heavenly Father.  In love, a father must urge his naturally rebellious children to live upright and righteous lives.  As an encourager, he is there to be the foundation upon which that child’s character is built and shaped for adulthood.  As a comforter, he is the source of strength in troubled times, always faithful and steadfast.

Joseph exemplified a life worthy to be the adoptive father of the Son of God.  Our Lord grew up knowing a special father’s care and comfort on earth as well as in heaven.

E. Gibson

As a Mother Comforts

Isaiah 66:13–As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.

Even the most grown up of adults needs a mom again when times get rough — we need someone who loves us no matter what, who knows exactly what to say, what to do,  and how to make things feel better.  Even Jesus, God Incarnate on earth, needed a mother.  The one God chose, Mary,  stood by Him through his tough times of being rejected by men, even to the end of His life.  As He was lifted from the cross she likely received Him into her arms once again, cradling Him just as she had when He was born and needed her loving comfort.

God knows His Son needed the comforting of a mother, as do we.

And so a young woman became His mother that holy night.

E. Gibson

The Promise

Psalm 119:50–My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

In our modern society the word “comfort” brings to mind a pursuit of leisure and luxury but the psalmist is talking about something quite different in this verse.  Comfort implied here means an intensive force that strengthens–literally a fortification of life in a time of trouble.  Like us, the psalmist lived in very troubled times.

The Promise was not born that night into comfortable circumstances in our modern sense,  but was delivered in a dark, smelly shelter meant for animals, hardly a place of comfort for parents or newborn baby.   The Delivered would become Deliverer, an enduring life preserver, assuming a human life Himself so that we might be rescued through His humility and willingness to become sacrifice for us.

Jesus’ birth fulfills the Promise of His (and our) Heavenly Father as spoken by the prophets and written in His Word, as we will explore each day of Advent this month.

~E. Gibson

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Wiser Lake Chapel Advent 2012

Wiser Lake Chapel has a tradition of sharing special Advent Readings during worship on the four Sundays of Advent, with additional Advent-themed scripture to be read at home and reflected upon during the rest of the week.  These daily readings will be available on our Chapel blog at https://wiserlakechapel.wordpress.com and can be emailed to you directly from that site.  This Advent Season, our Sunday readings will be taken from the 40th chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, who expresses the dire need of the people for the Lord, and through the prophet, we hear the Lord respond with promises to come.

Prior to each Sunday, there will be daily scripture readings and reflections posted here for your devotional time, in anticipation of the week’s Advent evening service.

The Sunday evening service during Advent will focus on that week’s central verse and theme, along with hymns, prayer, and shared meditation on the meaning of our preparation for the coming of Jesus–His birth and His return.  The final Sunday (December 23) will be the Childrens’ Program, culminating in the sharing of God’s Good Tidings for his people.  Please join us in worship during this special time as individual children of God, as families raising up our children on His word, as an extended Chapel family and as a broader part of the worldwide church.

First Sunday in Advent –December 2
Comfort My People!  Isaiah 40:1-2
“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. 2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and tell her that her time of warfare is over, that her punishment is completed. For the Lord has made her pay double for all her sins.”

Second Sunday in Advent–December 9
The Straight Highway  Isaiah 40:3-5
A voice cries out, “In the wilderness clear a way for the Lord; construct in the desert a road for our God. 4 Every valley must be elevated, and every mountain and hill leveled. The rough terrain will become a level plain, the rugged landscape a wide valley. 5 The splendor of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it at the same time. For the Lord has decreed it.”

Third Sunday in Advent–December16
The Breath of God  Isaiah 40:6-8
A voice says, “Cry out!” Another asks, “What should I cry out?” The first voice responds: “All people are like grass, and all their promises are like the flowers in the field. 7 The grass dries up, the flowers wither, when the wind sent by the Lord blows on them. Surely humanity is like grass. 8 The grass dries up, the flowers wither, but the decree of our God is forever reliable.”

Fourth Sunday in Advent–December 23 (Children’s Program)
God’s Good Tidings  Isaiah 40:9
Go up on a high mountain, O herald Zion! Shout out loudly, O herald Jerusalem! Shout, don’t be afraid! Say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”

December 24 and 25
Special readings to be announced