Becoming More Like Christ; Comfort and Encourage: God Shows Through Our Experiences. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Amplified Bible

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [a]experience. And our [b]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Come! Listen! Let Me Tell You What My Savior Has Done For Me.
Psalm 66:16-20 The Message

16-20 All believers, come here and listen,
    let me tell you what God did for me.
I called out to him with my mouth,
    my tongue shaped the sounds of music.
If I had been cozy with evil,
    the Lord would never have listened.
But he most surely did listen,
    he came on the double when he heard my prayer.
Blessed be God: he didn’t turn a deaf ear,
    he stayed with me, loyal in his love.

The writer of Psalm 66  wants to tell us his “GOD story” when he says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”

The psalmist does not want to talk about his accomplishments or achievements.

The Psalmist wants to talk about what God has done for him throughout his life.

His life had not been easy.

He had been tested and refined like silver.

He had experienced many burdens.

But through it all God had been with him and by listening to his cries for help,

God had led him, guided him, directed him to “a place of abundance.”

Like the Psalmist, each and every one of us has a strikingly similar story to tell.

All of us can bear great witness to the weight of burdens we have had to carry.

All of us can testify to hardships in our lives—but also to the one irrefutable fact that God, and God alone, has always been there and always acted on our behalf.

We must make sure we tell our story.

We must make sure you tell about God’s presence in our life and about his amazing grace in the midst of our much diverse and various degrees of trials.

We must wake sure we tell, re-tell it to our children and our grandchildren.

Someone once said to me,

“If something were to ever happen to you, I am sure I would not know anything about any legitimate kind of relationship to God or His Son or the Holy Spirit.”

Don’t let that happen to you.

Start contemplating your story.

Start writing or telling your story today!

A story which begins with (Song by Bill & Gloria Gaither and Ladye Love Smith)

Days are filled with sorrow
Days are filled with sorrow and care
Hearts are lonely and drear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Troubled soul, the Savior can see
Every heartache and tear
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

and ends with ….

A repetition of this guided affirmation of faith in our Savior Jesus Christ ….

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary
Jesus is very near

Let Us Now Lift Up Our Hearts Unto Calvary Because Jesus is Very Near

I want us to imagine that we are each standing at the end of a long hallway.

The hallway represents the entirety of our life so far on earth.

To begin with, look down to your feet, where you are standing is todays date; all the way down at the far distant other end of the hallway is the day of your birth.

Now, just begin walking – please do not run, skip or jog or sprint or fast walk, Neither get on your skateboards, roller blades or roller skates or your bicycles.

Leave your car keys, your truck keys, your mini-van, your hybrid or EV car keys.

You are not driving anywhere – you are only and just walking with Savior Jesus.

Go outside of self and stretch your legs a bit, start working that heart muscle.

As you begin walking down the hallway heading back in your life, I want you to take notice of all of the notice various and diverse sizes of pictures on the wall.

These pictures are all of the “events” from your life; it’s like a photo album of your entire life which someone has taken the time to paint or print and hang.

Some are large framed pictures; they are the most significant experiences you have had so far.

Some are good; some are bad; some are happy; some are sad.

As you steadily walk down this hallway of your life, I want you to take a long and considered look at the content and context of all of these large pictures.

What significant events from your life do you see that stand out?

Is there a wedding?

The successful purchase of your first home?

The Birth of your first child?

Are there family vacations or sporting events pictured on the walls?

Is there an achievement like a high school or college diploma or an award?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – high professional achievements?

Is there a significant milestone depicted – your long awaited retirement?

Are there spiritual experiences like your coming to faith in Christ or a time God miraculously entered into your sub-conscience, especially touched your life?

Are there significantly painful experiences—a divorce, the death of someone you really loved, a failure, a betrayal, abuse, alcoholism, a difficult to care for child which leads to a hardcore challenging, difficult marriage, a significantly threatening health diagnosis, an over abundance of “no money,” an addiction?

Take some time now to walk beyond all of that, walk all the way to the end of this hallway of your, notice “self-portraits” in all these significant experiences in your life… contemplate, take notice of all the ones named “my aloneness.”


As I pray, for you like the Psalmist did, I plead with you to realize that all these experiences have actually shaped who you are today, whether you like it or not.

I pray for you to realize there is no time for self-blame, or blame God, He didn’t cause all of these hard things to happen, but did allow them to happen to you.

What GOD wants to do with us, within us, is to use all of these experiences–Good and Bad–to grow us spiritually and mold us into the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus and to shape us for the unique purposes He has for our lives.

His intent is not to cause us any harm (1 John 4:7-12 The Message)

God Is Love

7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.

11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

By the unmeasurable enormity of this love He expressed through Calvary,

He does not intend nor want even one of our life experiences to be wasted.

With a very God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit specific long term intention:

Romans 8:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.  30 And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity].

God takes every single one of our life experiences—whether positive or painful, intentional or accidental, known or unknown, avoided or not, caused by you or by someone else, to shape all His Children for His unique calling in their lives.

Romans 8:28-30 may be, for some of us, the most personal verses in the Bible:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Your life experience and my own are one of the most overlooked ways that God uses to mold, shape, and transform us for the way He wants each of us to serve Him and others in this world, to edify, that is, to build up, His Kingdom alone.

The Bible says that God is working in every experience you have—our mistakes, our decisions, our successes and failures, our education or lack thereof, all of our different jobs, relationships, our lack of relationships, our unemployment, our disabilities, our marriages, our health issues, our finances—you name it.

God is working in every single thing in our lives—even in and through our own continued and continuous bent to our sins–to accomplish His purpose for you.

What Is The “God Specific” Purpose For Which God Is Even Now Working In Every Single Thing In Our life?

He is always working for the good in our lives.

Reverend Rick Warren puts it this way:

God can take the mess in our lives and bring a message out of it.

He can take the tests in our lives and create a testimony out of it.

He can take any crisis and show all of our Savior Jesus Christ through them.

GOD does not, never will, waste any experience any one of His Children have.

Moses murdered a man and had to flee into the wilderness between Egypt and Israel to save his life.

Some 40 years later God came to him in the vision of a burning bush and said, Moses, I have chosen you to go back down to Egypt to set my people free from slavery and guide and lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

Moses knew the wilderness; he had lived there, learned its ways for 40 years.

Likewise, as Moses did, that through God, not our wits, God wants to use the wildernesses of our lives to help guide others, to find God’s way for their lives.

Joseph, his father Jacob’s favorite, was conspired against, thrown down a well and eventually sold to merchants into slavery by his hyper jealous brothers.

He ended up a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but God gifted him and made a way for him to become the Prime Minister of Egypt and second only to the Pharaoh.

When famine threatened the very existence of God’s people, God used Joseph to plant, grow, harvest, store, manage the supply the grain that His people needed.

And when his brothers came to him starving, Joseph said to them: You intended to harm me, but God long intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the housing, settling and feeding, ultimately the saving of many lives.

But notice carefully God does not just do this for everybody.

God works His good for those who love Him and follow His plan.

The promise of Romans 8:28 is not for everybody.

God does not work His good in our lives when we don’t love Him or we turn our backs on Him.

It’s not that God turns His back on those who don’t follow His plan for their lives – God loves everybody, but He cannot help and use those who close their hearts, souls, minds, strengths and lives to Him and His plan for their lives.

One of the most common ways God uses our life experiences for good is to help others – to empathize, give comfort and encouragement while God works.

God can and does take each and everyone of our experiences, especially the painful ones, and turns them around, transforming them in a positive way.

Who better to help someone who is struggling than another person who has gone through the same struggle?

2 Corinthians 1:4 says, God, through Christ at Calvary, comforts and encourages us in all of our troubles so we can then, in turn, comfort and encourage others.

From Calvary then, when others are troubled, we will be able to reciprocate, to give them the same comfort and encouragement from Calvary God has given us.

Our troubles can become the very ministry God will use to help other people.

That uniquely painful experience in your life that you keep locked in the inner recesses of your soul could become your singularly unique, greatest ministry.

God has used the failures and hurtful experiences of my own life more than anything else to mold, shape and transform me exclusively for His purposes.

Those bad life experiences of my have helped me grow uniquely, spiritually.

Truthfully, in the good and happy times of my life, I have usually just coasted spiritually, taking God’s grace for granted that He will always, forever be there.

I have to see, from the long shadow extending outward from Calvary, and into eternity, God does not want me to allow my experiences to count for nothing.

I have to become the better person, through Christ, God needs me to become.

Now, it is my relationship with God which continues to keep me looking more forward versus more backwards, instead, a day at a time – Sweet Savior Jesus.

He was my Best Forever friend, much better than a brother I never had.

I was so “at ease, more comforted, more encouraged” with my Sweet Savior Jesus, stark comparison to the “disease of sin” I was struggling to recover from.

He truly brought wholeness to my life, an indescribable joy and immeasurable degrees of comfort that will always and forever be etched deep in my memory.

In His time on earth; Jesus had completed God’s mission for His life; and there is no doubt God touched uncountable many lives through him.

Through Calvary, by my walk to Calvary, My Sweet Savior Jesus helped me to see how life is supposed to be lived—in tune with my GOD and the Holy Spirit.

He helped me to find God and my family, the church to which my wife and I go.

On more than one occasion, the Bible says that God chooses to use weaker vessels to do His work so that He may get the glory.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul responds: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

God can help people more through their weakness than we can through our strengths.

That’s why we need each other; it’s why we need the supportive fellowship of the church.

You can learn from others who have gone or who are going through the same struggles you are.

Perfection, if we could achieve it, would help nobody.

What experiences have we had to confront in our own lives which GOD could use to help comfort and encourage others?

“I Thirst” and then “It is Finished”

John 19:28-30 Amplified Bible

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said in fulfillment of the Scripture, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of [a]sour wine was placed there; so they put a sponge soaked in the sour wine on [a branch of] hyssop and held it to His mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and [voluntarily] [b]gave up His spirit.

At Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, At Calvary, the death of the perfect Son of God was the darkest moment in world history, but look back at the portraits in the length and breadth and width of your hallway at how God used Jesus’ death.

Jesus’ death atoned for every single one our sins and everybody else’s sins and made for each of us an unobstructed way back to God, into heaven when we die.

Out of Christ’s crucifixion, God brought to all mankind the ultimate comfort and encouragement – God brought salvation for all who trust and follow Jesus.

This is our hope in Jesus Christ!

On that first Easter Sunday two millennia ago, God brought life out of death.

Jesus Christ died, three days later he arose from the dead and is now a living presence among us right now— forgiving us, delivering us, shaping us, guiding us, loving us, living in and among us and wanting to use us for His purposes.

God can use all your life experiences, good and bad, to shape you for His unique calling in your life—if forego any resistance to any, all change, if we let Him.

Hebrews 3:12-16 Amplified Bible

The Peril of Unbelief

12 Take care, brothers and sisters, that there not be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving [a]heart [which refuses to trust and rely on the Lord, a heart] that turns away from the living God. 13 But continually encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “Today” [and there is an opportunity], so that none of you will be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [its cleverness, delusive glamour, and sophistication]. 14 For we [believers] have become partakers of Christ [sharing in all that the Messiah has for us], if only we hold firm our newborn confidence [which originally led us to Him] until the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today [while there is still opportunity] if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your heart, as when they provoked Me [in the rebellion in the desert at Meribah].”

16 For who were they who heard and yet provoked Him [with rebellious acts]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

“Today, while there is still opportunity, if we WILL hear His voice …”

“Do not harden your hearts again and again, with further acts of open rebellion …”

God’s Call and Invitation to each and everyone of us through Mount Calvary:

God has 3 callings in the lives of each and everyone of His Children:

(1) He calls you to salvation and a new life in Jesus Christ;

(2) He calls you to be an active part of His church;

(3) He calls you to serve Him and comfort and encourage others in the unique way He has gifted and shaped you.

Encouraging one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

Comforting one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ.

We live in a world corrupted by unbelief, sin, and, at times, persecution.

How can we stay firm in our faith?

Scripture gives us this recipe:

Comfort, Love, Encourage, and Daily Pray for one another.

In God’s grace, the Holy Spirit uses these acts of mutual and shared comfort, care and encouragement to guide us, see us, through the most trying of times.

When fellow believers are struggling, be quick to extend your helpful, sharing hand.

Be graceful and be generous.

Be gentle and be merciful as unto the Lord.

Be comforting and be encouraging.

Offer words of comfort and prayer, as well as tangible acts of help, encourage people around you, and be surprised by how much you are encouraged yourself!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Would you pray this prayer with me?

Almighty God and my Everlasting Father, Lord of my life, I offer back my life to You. Everything I’ve been through, Lord, use it for Your glory. Jesus, I give You my all. In your name I pray and commit myself to Your continuing work in this world. Lead, Guide and Direct my Steps back towards Calvary from whence comes my Savior. That I may be a comfort as I was comforted, I may be an encourager as I was encouraged. For indeed, there is no other name under heaven through which mankind is saved.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: