God's Comfort

In the past six months God has been talking to me about His comfort. There are times in our lives when we are struggling to find peace in the midst of a difficult situation. Our heart longs for a deeper connection and we try to fill that longing with comfort from the people around us, but people are not able to meet those deep desires of our heart. God wants to be our answer and the fulfilment of our desires.

I will shake all the nations, and the one whom all the nations desire will come. Then I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of Armies. Haggai 2:7 GW

I am He who comforts you. Isaiah 51:12 NASB

God wants to be our comfort because the truth is, He is our comfort. I often wonder why we do not always seek God’s comfort before we seek out the comfort of people. Yes, God will send people to comfort us. And we are not to live alone from other people. Yet there are areas of our heart where we do not know how to allow God’s comfort in.

This is something to do with trust, knowing that if we open our hearts to God, He will not destroy the last shred of hope that we have. But He promises us that He will not quench out the smallest part of our heart.

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He leads justice to victory. Matthew 12:20 BLB

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart. Psalm 51:17 HCSB

He is humble and gentle towards us. He will heal us and give us rest.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 NLT

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 ESV

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In difficult situations, our hearts yearn for someone to love, comfort and soothe us. In the world, people will use many different things such as relationships, food, alcohol, drugs, beauty surgery, online gaming, and other addictive behaviours to try to comfort their hearts. But as God’s sons and daughters, anything which takes the place of relationship with God has become an idol in our hearts.

Give me a sign of your goodness… for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me. Psalm 86:17 NIV

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NLT

So how do we receive our comfort from God?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 NIV

I was surprised when God showed me this door to His comfort! Mourning is what opens our heart to be comforted. It is not the kind of mourning where we sit in our rooms and cry from self-pity. Rather this is the mourning where we sit in our rooms and invite the Comforter Himself to come and sit with us as we pour out our hearts in tears.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf]. John 14:26 AMPC

We and allow the depth of emotion in our hearts to come forth. This is deep calling out from within us to the deep heart of the Father.

Deep calls to deep at the [thundering] sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. Psalm 42:7 AMP

God’s comfort is there for us when we are filled with doubts about what God has for us.

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Psalm 94:19 NLT

The truth is, no matter how difficult and unclear things appear to be and we are threatened with death, we have God’s comfort with us.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV

Now we see a beautiful transference here from our receiving the comfort from God, to our becoming God’s comfort for others.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me… to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. Isaiah 61:1-3 NASB

One beautiful, but overlooked part of giving comfort is knowing how and when to mourn with others when they are going through a difficult time.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 NIV

God has given us comfort so we can mourn with others and see them receive God’s comfort.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 NIV

God is asking us to bring Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who is dwelling within us out to comfort others.

God's Friend

For some time now I have been pondering what is the meaning of all this? What is the meaning of being “saved” and being a Christian? What is my purpose in life? Why did Jesus come? What is the bottom line purpose of everything? Is it so we can have prophesy and the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Is it so we can “save the world for Jesus”? Is it so we can make more money in our businesses and give to the poor in Africa or Asia? Is it so that we don’t have to feel pain and suffering anymore?

Well, in all my meditation I was pondering Hebrews 11, the Heroes of Faith. The faith of all these men was to what avail? It clearly says that they did not receive their promise. Suddenly, I felt the whisper of the Father, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness so that he was called a friend of God. Everything that I did was so that we could be friends, like I was with Abraham and with Moses.”

And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. James 2:23 ESV
Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11 NLT

Wait a minute! Believing God leads to friendship. God wants to be my friend? What does this look like in my life? I do not often see this modelled in other people’s lives. I felt like Mary talking with the angel or Nicodemus talking with Jesus and asking, “How can these things be?” My mind was not able to comprehend in that moment the depth of what God was saying to me. I began to see that I was not purely here for God’s service as His faithful servant, but to be in an intimate relationship of two equals in love with one another. He was talking about a relationship where both parties contribute in conversation and sharing of heart.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 BSB
Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises. Psalm 25:14 TLB

In fact, it now becomes so clear to me that everything Jesus did when He came to the earth, died and rose again is for our relationship and friendship with God. God had no other motive for us, but to bring us into equal fellowship and relationship with Him.

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. Colossians 2:9 NLT
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:18 NLT
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:19-20 BSB

A quick look through history reveals and confirms that His original intention was always for an equal, like-minded relationship with mankind. We were made in His image and likeness, which is LOVE, for the purpose of relationship with the divine.

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…" God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it. Genesis 1:26-28 NASB

Abraham and Moses were the two examples that the Father whispered to me, but there are also Jacob and David who encountered God face to face and heart to heart, before Jesus came on the earth as a man.

So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Genesis 32:30 NKJV
You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” Psalm 27:8 ESV
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What does it look like for us to be face to face with God, the Lord of all creation? How do we even begin to understand this kind of significance of relationship? The most intimate relationship on earth is the marriage relationship between a husband and wife. But this is still only a mystery of God’s intentions towards us.

Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5: 24,25, 28-30, 32 NKJV

The picture of marriage holds a deep mystery for us to pursue continually into the depths of revelation of His great love for us. In the same way, let’s look at this verse.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV

As we look at this verse, we see that God sees marriage as an equal yoking, a partnership. Righteousness has no partnership that which is not also righteous. So in light of God’s relationship with us, we see His deep intentions of partnership and relationship again in Revelation. He talks about a bride being prepared for the Lamb of God. She is beautiful and perfectly His equal.

Let us rejoice and celebrate and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7 BSB
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5 NASB

What a stunning picture of God’s love and intentions for us, to be His equal, in His likeness! His desire is for us to have face to face and heart to heart relationship with Him, as a bride with her bridegroom. This is our journey to discover by our own time spent with God in His presence.

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. Psalm 25:14 AMP

Wrestling With God

What is going on?! It seems everyone I know is going through massive wrestling with God and grappling to understand the struggles around their lives. I keep seeing my friends wrestle with deep questions of the heart, these are questions surrounding their existence and if is God real, why are these things happening in their lives. It feels scary to be in this place, questioning things so near and dear to heart. But there is a divine mystery here for us to discover. If we take this wrestling within our heart and use it to propel us into God’s heart, we find a hidden treasure.

The revelation God has been showing me is this: Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob has many difficult circumstances going on in his life. He finds himself in a place where his past and his future are colliding in his present. The truth of what has happened in his past, with his parents and his brother used to be far away from him. He had not yet faced the reality of those relationships. He had just gone through a difficult business separation with his father-in-law and was moving away. Now with seeing his brother Esau for the first time in perhaps 15 years or mow, he was suddenly facing the past. Only now he has no certainty of the future.

So much confusion and struggle is going on in his mind. The questions rage through his mind. Where are God’s promised blessings? Why didn’t my father-in-law treat me right? Does Esau even care about me? Did I do the wrong thing by cheating on him for the birthright and blessing? What if my brother kills me? Or what if he kills my family? Do I have a future? Where is God right now? What have I done bringing my family here? What was I thinking? Do I even deserve to live? Does God even care?

Jacob has to deal with so many questions in his heart. He has nothing else if God is not with him. He has given up everything for what? Maybe nothing. He doesn’t know. So we pick up the story in Genesis where Jacob has just left his father-in-law on moderately peaceful terms.

As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim. Genesis 32:1-2 NLT

Jacob knows this is the divine place of heaven and earth colliding. Song of Songs 6:13 reveals “the dance of Mahanaim” (NIV) is also “a dance before two armies” ESV or “between two lines of dancers” (NLT). Jacob can see the angels of God surrounding him. And once again he knows God is with him, even though other things in his life are still unresolved. Jacob gets his family settled in camps and retires for the night.

This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:24,26 NLT
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Jacob wrestled until he reached a point of determination, “I will NOT let go, unless you bless me.” Wow! This is such a profound resolution in Jacob’s heart. He prioritised this blessing above anything else which was happening in his life.

“What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” Then he blessed Jacob there.
Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” Genesis 32:27-30 NLT

Jacob’s whole identity changed from that wrestling he went through. His name was Jacob – one who deceives, but now his name is Israel – one who rules with God, as God. This is on the other side of wrestling with God; we become like God. As He is, so are we. Jacob knew it. He knew he has been in God’s presence, face to face as one speaks with a friend. Something changed forever.

Herein is our love made perfect, because as he is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17 KJB
Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Exodus 33:11 NLT

So we have this mystery of Jacob wrestling with God, which takes him into a new identity. But then David unlocks this revelation even further for us in the well-known passage from Psalm 24.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah Psalm 24:3-6 NKJV

As we desire to ascend into the hill of the Lord and to stand in the holy place, we find clean hands, purity with singleness of heart, and Truth are essential elements. But then there is a direct reference to Jacob’s wrestling with God which is now synonymous with seeking God’s face. Only now there is a whole generation who will wrestle with God and seek God’s face until they receive the blessing of God. But wait! There’s more!! David takes us in even deeper still.

Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle.
Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.
Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies— he is the King of glory. Interlude
Psalm 24:7-10 NLT

In this wrestling, the ancient gates and the ancient doors open up. My heart struggles to comprehend this. In our wrestling with God, the ancient doors open in our lives, and the King of glory, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Lord of Mahanaim enters. He enters the depths of our heart. He enters into every situation we are in. He is invincible in battle. He is the Lord, strong and mighty. He is the Lord of the dance, the Mahanaim, the wrestle. This is our King of glory.

One final thought of what perspective to have in the midst of our (at times confusing) wrestling. We should remember this; Jesus came to reconcile us into relationship with God, and everything that happens is an opportunity for greater intimacy with God.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT
For I know what plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai, ‘plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 CJB
I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 BSB

As we are wrestling and struggling to reconcile the truth of God in our situations and circumstances, we must stay in this frame of mind. This wrestle is not to discourage us, though the enemy would love for that to happen. This wrestle is an opportunity for our supernatural growth in intimacy of friendship with God.