Focus Moment- Jan. 27

Please take a deep breath and release it, and trust in faith with me as we read 2 Corinthians 1:3-10 (NLT):

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

Have you ever felt like just giving up? I know that I have, during my most heart wrenching experiences. It’s those times in life when your spiritual tank is empty that you feel hopeless—those moments when you want to crawl under a rock and hide or lay on your side in the fetal position. I tremble as I begin to carefully ponder, spiritual discouragement. Our brother Paul, wrote to the believers of Corinth these encouraging words likely during A.D. 55 or early A.D. 56. These comforting words are for us today as well when we feel overwhelmed. The spiritual highs and spiritual lows of actively living the Christian life can leave us feeling spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally depleted. When we stop to think about our fallen condition, the betrayals, the insults, the many losses, the countless personal wounds coupled with the oppressive spiritual war occurring behind the scenes of all humanity, our souls are left feeling weary and crushed beyond measure. Brother Paul’s Divinely Inspired Epistle, informs us that these things are to be expected, as he directs our attention to the Source of our Strength, Jesus Christ. Which begs the question how? How do we begin to see Supernatural Manifestations of God’s Transformative Power in our lives? We have all heard the weekly messages, with clear Biblical applications, but everyone has their limits. There is always something, or a combination of things that can spin our faith walks into a whirlpool of despair. There is always “opposition” as my pastor, Leon Aguilera clearly explains. As a matter of fact, there are periods in our lives when we oppose ourselves as individuals; we discourage ourselves. Paul informs us that we can battle through, and overcome these discouraging episodes through comforting personal experiences with our God, and His Grace.

Combating and enduring spiritual discouragement:

Dr. Henry Cloud explains the process of overcoming these dark moments in our lives: “The fact that you and I need someone greater than ourselves is not a weakness. Some say that our need for God is a “crutch” and that only weak people need God. But that’s not true any more than our need for air or food is because we’re weak. We are created and designed to reach outside of ourselves to find the things that we need each and every day. One of the biggest oxymorons is the term “self-made” man or woman. No man or woman ever “made” him-or herself. The psalmist understood this when he wrote, “It is [God] who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100: 3, NKJV).” He adds, “I do believe that God is enough to meet all our needs and solve all our struggles. However, the Bible teaches that God has designed us to not only open up to him and his love and grace but also to people who will be kind and safe with us.” The Lord has provided us with many resources, which include pastoral counseling, clinical therapy, close-knit relationships, and most importantly, Himself—it is through God Himself that we can discern our needs of any or all of the aforementioned options. It is through God’s Amazing Act of Grace of Indwelling us that Empowers us to be open to change. So, if an individual is seeking a quick fix self-help approach, the situation is truly hopeless, but when the individual understands the fact that there is no clear pathway towards freedom, and that instead he or she must seek the Lord directly to know what appropriate steps are necessary. Spiritually discerning ourselves starts with Grace, for we need Grace to be able to see ourselves clearer, as we recognize and accept that there are plenty of grey areas in our souls. Therefore, me must begin with the acceptance of who we are as individuals, which is seemingly impossible to do because of shame, guilt and a myriad of other issues—God comforts us by providing His Remedy in Isaiah 53:1-6 so that we can face our painful realities, because we are already accepted, and loved by Him with all of our issues. Please slowly read the next few Verses, in Isaiah 53:1-6 as many times as needed until you experience God’s Grace in your life, which will enable you to take the next step in your journey.

Prayerfully Read Isaiah 53:1-6 (CEV):

Has anyone believed us

or seen the mighty power

of the Lord in action?

Like a young plant or a root

that sprouts in dry ground,

the servant grew up

obeying the Lord.

He wasn’t some handsome king.

Nothing about the way he looked

made him attractive to us.

He was hated and rejected;

his life was filled with sorrow

and terrible suffering.

No one wanted to look at him.

We despised him and said,

“He is a nobody!”

He suffered and endured

great pain for us,

but we thought his suffering

was punishment from God.

He was wounded and crushed

because of our sins;

by taking our punishment,

he made us completely well.

All of us were like sheep

that had wandered off.

We had each gone our own way,

but the Lord gave him

the punishment we deserved.

 

Ask God Right Now, and as many times as needed:

Holy Spirit, is there any specific, unsettling situation from my past or present that I am having difficulty processing well?

 

Converse with God:

Jesus, we understand that godly acceptance means that we know that we are already accepted, and loved by you, our Omnipotent Author of Life, which means that we are able to accept our realities. Dad, please make us to be receptive to all that you have to say to us. Papa, we know that our prayers are not thrown into a vacuum, and that you attentively hear all of our fears, and insecurities. Yes, Daddy, by your stripes, we truly are healed! In the Almighty Name of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ, we pray, amen.

Devotional By Hugo Henao 

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