9/27/1998 6:00 PM
Speaks of the blessings of god and admonishes us to give God glory and honor - "forget not all his benefits." Benefits on the job are there - though you may not use them now - for use when you may need them. God helps that you may be strong. There is a benefit to serving God. Just religious acts/forms won't bring the benefits. There are times in your life when these alone will not deliver what is needed to get you through. You can tell who has the benefits of God when the going gets tough.
Speaks of how God is among his people. We can receive gifts of him... spiritual gifts. Rebellious people too can know the blessings of God if they will recognize themselves as they are and come to God for deliverance. There is a blessing to living right.
Christ came bringing light and life... "Get a life" from Christ. Just religion will not deliver. Religious acts cannot get you through the tough times for it is then that you will need the presence of God and his guiding light. A person said about the hour of death... "Conscience is but a little worm, but at the hour of death it becomes a big serpent if not clear." We want a clear conscience before God that we may face the rough road ahead. We need God to go with us, especially, then. The things we are doing today greatly influence the benefits we'll have tomorrow. It is the life that can be found in Christ that will make the difference.
"Is there any among you afflicted? let him pray..." Prayer is a benefit that you must put something into it to get something out of it. "Formula prayers" will not get you through the rough times. When the going gets rough... "Now I lay me down to sleep"... does not bring much comfort. Are you able to find grace, peace, assurance, and guidance in prayer in these times? Saying prayers will not bring this, but communion with God is what brings the benefits we need. It is a blessing to be able to pray a personal prayer, to feel the presence of God. It is good to have made a friend of God. Prayer is a benefit. Exercise yourself in it for there are tough times ahead. Find out what is there before you need it. Build yourself in prayer in preparation for the rough road that's ahead.
We need that trust and confidence in God. Joy, peace and hope come as a benefit of believing. These are nice in good times, but, oh the blessing they can be in the bad times. Hope, joy and peace have real value when the going gets tough. Those who have piles of money do not necessarily have these benefits. The presence of the Holy Ghost, faith, and trust bring these benefits. Admonition here is to not lose sight of those benefits and the spiritual life. How sad to see those who despair in the tough times because God is not in their life to take them through.
II Corinthians 1:3-7
Comfort is another benefit. God is the source of mercies... "the God of all comfort." He brings comfort in the hour of trouble. There will be trouble and times when you need comfort. We need to extend these benefits to others. We need to be a benefit to others. God comforts us so we do not have to focus on our troubles, which allows us to help others in their troubles. When you are riding on the edge of discouragement, you cannot be a great encouragement. Point them to the same helper. Be an encourager to all people. Are you tempted to give up? The apostle Paul had every right to feel so, but look at his example. He found a help in Christ. We can find consolation... do not always be troubled and distressed. All that you go through is for your consolation and salvation. You will be able to make it through. You cannot get the benefits until you get the life of Christ within. It is not just the religious act. It is sad when you hear and know the truths, but you are unable to take part in the benefit because you are not right with God. Take the time to build the spiritual life. The job cannot give these, the world cannot give these, but God can give these benefits. Build strong today - it may bring you through tomorrow. There are some things you can put off until some other day, but the spiritual life is not one of them. Plan ahead. Draw close to God. Build strong today that you may face tomorrow.