2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NLT When we arrived in Macedonia there was no rest for us. Outside there was conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told me how much you were looking forward to my visit, and how sorry you were about what had happened, and how loyal your love is for me. I was filled with joy!
Paul cared very deeply about those that God had placed under his care. He preached the truth to them, he taught them and he loved them. Through his ministry his own life was often under attack. He became a prime target for the enemy because of the work of Christ that He was performing. He was very real with those that He ministered to in sharing his deepest concerns with them. But he was a person, with feelings, just like you and me. In verse 5 he shares that when he reached Macedonia there was no rest for him. There was conflict going on all around him and even fear within. But in the midst of the storm God, who encourages those who are discouraged, sent someone into his life to encourage him.
As believers in Christ Jesus, our ministry for the Lord is to be ambassadors of reconciliation, bringing the lost to Jesus, restoring those who may have wandered away back into the family of God and encouraging and each other as we all are on this same walk to reach our final destination of spending an eternity with Jesus in heaven. We are often on the front lines. The more exposure we have in the ministry the more of a target we become. Conflicts come, the enemy attacks, and sometimes we are even misunderstood by the very ones who mean the most to us. But Paul said that he was encouraged by the arrival of Titus.
I woke up this morning with this portion of scripture running through my mind. I thank God for those that He has placed around me to encourage me as I pursue the ministry that God has called me into. My husband who always encourages me, is my greatest fan and God has placed others around me as blessings as well!
Last year I felt God was calling me to a different level in ministry. My involvement had been strictly through my local church where I taught some on Wednesday nights, led our Women’s Ministry and prayed for people during our altar time at the end of our services. I have for years taught all ages in our church and have spent some time outside the church ministering in Prisons and teaching Bible Studies in people’s homes. But blogging was something new to me. I had no idea of the world-wide exposure that would be opened to me through writing a devotional/teaching blog. My desire throughout my adult years has been that I might have an impact on people’s lives for eternity for Jesus Christ; to further God’s kingdom here on earth. I feel that God has opened a great door of ministry for me through this and have sought to teach the truth of God’s word and minister to those who have contacted me with God’s love and acceptance. But at times I feel that I can identify with Paul when he said that there was no rest for him because of the conflicts going on around him and the fears that were even within. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16:9:
For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
It is in these times that I have run to the Lord, cried out to Him and depended on those around me, whom I trust, to minister His love and understanding. The enemy is a ruthless one who comes only to steal, kill and destroy and the ones who are on the front lines become his prime target. But, Praise the Lord, there is One you can run to for safety; the Rock that is stronger than any foe who might come against you. Jesus is my strong tower, my refuge from the storm, my rock that I cling to, rely on and trust in. He is my everything and He brings into my life those who encourage me and make my heart glad! We used to sing a song in church that was based on Proverbs 18:10: The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. It is to Him that I run for rest, hope and encouragement!
Are you weary this morning? Do you have conflicts without and fears within? Run to Jesus! He understands your weariness. He said that if we would come to Him we would find rest.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The word in verse 30 for “easy” is the Greek word “chrestos which means that which is useful, pleasant, good, comfortable, suitable, and serviceable.
The legalistic religious system was a severe burden, but service to Jesus does not chafe, because it is well-fitting and built on personal relationship with God by the indwelling Spirit. It comes through relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When we run to Him He gives us rest and refreshment!
Father, this morning I come before You as Your child, covered by the blood of Jesus and washed clean in His cleansing flow. Father, You are the One that we can run to in the time of trouble, in those times of conflict and fear. You are our strength through the storm and our refuge from harm. I thank You for those You have placed around us to love us and encourage us as we continue doing what you have called us to do. I thank You for healing the hurts and wounds that often accompany ministry. I pray this morning for those who may be weary while fighting the good fight of faith. I ask You to minister healing to their hearts, strength for their journey and faith to overcome the enemy. I pray for those who don’t know You, Father, that they would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus before the time of their departure from this earth. I thank You, Father, for Your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.