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18 Sep 2022

Comforted to Comfort [2 Corinthians 1:1-11]

Overview

People often assume that "Sufferings = not loved by God", and that prosperity = "loved by God. " Whilst it may be true at times, this is not true all the time. In the Bible, we see that God uses the instrument of pain for the good of His beloved children. Whilst the Corinthians despised Paul for his many sufferings, Paul reveals that they are instrumental to molding him to be the minister God wants him to be. He is afflicted, so that he may then be comforted, and so that he can comfort others too. So we see that afflictions are not a good sign of God's favor or disfavor. But afflictions is a good school for us to learn of the things of God. And finally, this sermon will help you see that afflictions is like a seamstress to weave our lives together in the church. Find out more from this sermon, and see how we can all rejoice in the Lord, in good times and tough times!

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In 1st Corinthians, we went through a journey of about a one year in that book. So in a sense, this is not unfamiliar to us. It's a letter written to the same group of people, the people in the church at ancient Corinth.

So, you will see some familiar themes like the hint of how they were rejecting Paul is now coming to full-blown measure here in 2nd Corinthians. But there are new things, for example, how Paul will emphasize and speak a lot about his own sufferings.

When I think about sufferings, I remember about two months ago, I received a text from Sister Benita. Ben, we call her, is a ... is the head of admin in our church, some of you may not be so familiar, so I share with permission the photo. She's here with Ee Kwang, and her kids, their kids.

And I received a text from her in July about two months back, that her father, Pastor Robert was not able to verbalize or articulate or express himself all of a sudden. In fact, whatever he read in the morning in the Bible, he forgot about it right away, and whenever he wanted to stand up, he would be on the verge of a blackout. She texted me and asked me, "What should she do?" I said, "I think this might be something serious, you should bring him to the A&E."

Well, after some time, actually he didn't want to go, but after some time, they eventually got there, went to the doctors, and it was found that he had an irregular heartbeat that resulted in insufficient blood flow to the brain. Added to that actually Pastor Robert had previous surgery and radiotherapy that causes the blood vessels to be thin or to be narrowed, and therefore, that exacerbated that condition, so he had a stroke.

Many of you were familiar, you prayed for him and I'm thankful that he's well, but it was a harrowing time. But that was not all because on the same evening, she texted me, her son, Ethan, the eldest son was out walking with Ee Kwang, when suddenly he went into a seizure, an epileptic fit. He was, of course admitted to the hospital, and he was there for quite some time. Again, many of you were aware of the situation, you prayed along with the entire family.

Well, he was actually suffering from dengue round about that time, and right now on retrospect, he suffered from an auto-immune attack on the nervous system. So, he had an infection of the brain and the brain covering and ... and so it was a particularly scary time, because imagine your son just go into a fit.

Ee Kwang, the father was with Ethan at that point of time wanted to prevent Ethan from biting on his tongue, so he stuck his fingers in, and his finger was of course, injured. He went to the A&E to seek treatment, thinking that it will be a rapid, a quick dressing and medication. But he was, I think really shocked and dismayed when they told him he might need to be admitted, because the mouth is where it's very dirty with lots of bacteria and germs, and he will need to be observed and given intravenous antibiotics.

Well, just to make things worse, if you're not already aware, Ben was having dengue at that point of time, and a few days later, Ee Kwang also got dengue. So, when I saw all that, heard all that, I realized, "Wow, it must be really difficult for the entire family, and I'm reminded when it rains, it pours." That's how afflictions come, sometimes not just one but wave after wave after wave, and all in such rapid succession.

What do we make of sufferings? Well, Paul was a man who was familiar with sufferings. He experienced suffering, next level kind, not like what we are familiar with. The Bible tells us, for example, he went through troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, riots, sleepless nights, hunger, he was dying, he was beaten, he was sorrowful. [2 Cor 6:4-10]

Just these few words alone tell us, next level sufferings, as if this is not enough, he tells us further in a later part of 2nd Corinthians, he was flogged, that's whipped, he was exposed to death, 40 lashes beaten with rods, stoned, three times shipwrecked. He was in danger from rivers, from bandits, from countrymen, from Gentiles, danger in the city, in the country, at sea, facing danger from false brothers, he was without sleep, hunger, thirst without food, cold and naked. [1 Cor 11:23-28]

I don't think I come to an even a tiny fraction of what he has gone through. But you see, when he went through these sufferings, the Corinthians knowing that he was a man acquainted with sufferings, began to doubt whether Paul was the real deal. Because they are thinking that, "The true servant of God, that true messenger of God shouldn't be so!" If I may say, in Singapore language, suay. [unlucky in Hokkien]

"Where got so suay one! Where got someone who serve God go through so many problems! He must be a cursed man!" Probably that's what they are thinking, doubting his apostleship amongst other things. And therefore, Paul had to write to them a letter to clarify, explain the theology of sufferings. And how that is really not incongruent with being a servant of God, in fact, that is a necessary thing for the servant of God.

Now, the Corinthians are a people dear to Paul, because Paul knew them. Paul spent some 18 months with them in the city. Now, there are some letters that Paul writes, that are addressed to people he did not really personally ministered to. For example, the church at Colossae, he did not really go there, he did not really start a church there. But the Corinthians are different, he spent time with them, 18 months in, recorded for us in Acts chapter 18.

But after he started the church, 18 months later, when the churches established, he left for Ephesus, and then he heard that there were problems in Corinth. And so burdened for them, caring for them, he wrote the book of 1st Corinthians. That's what we went through about a year ago, for more than a year, just ended up four or five weeks ago.

He wrote to them to deal with some of the problems that I think I will not rehash today. But after he wrote the letter, he gave a follow-up visit, he visited them, but it was not a pleasant visit, it was a painful visit. Because they did not receive his letter well. They were still obstinate, they were still defiant, they were still doubting him.

So having experienced a kind of rejection from them, he went back and he wrote another letter to them. Now, you may think that this other letter is 2nd Corinthians, but it's not, it's a letter in between 1st Corinthians and 2nd Corinthians. It's called the severe letter, or the painful letter, we have ... we don't have it now, it's not preserved for us like 1st and 2nd Corinthians.

This letter was delivered to the Corinthians by Titus. Titus went there, he delivered the letter, spoke with them, and his heart was burdened because the Corinthians was still hardened against Paul. They did not take to Paul well, instead they were actually now more inclined to listen to the false teachers there. So, when Paul heard from Titus about this report, regarding the Corinthians, his heart broke. It was ... it was heart wrenching for him, and so he now writes 2nd Corinthians.

It is a letter, I think drenched in tears, it's an emotional letter, if you read it. It's filled with the anguish of heart because he yearns for the Corinthians, but they are now taking on to the false teachers. And Paul's goal is not so much that he wants them to listen to him for his own ego, but he doesn't want them to be led astray from the simplicity of the devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, that is the background, that is the context of this letter that we're going to study. I'm not sure how long, probably another year, but I hope that will help you set that context right. With that, we come to the very first 11 verses of this book:

v1: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy, our brother, To the Church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

So Paul, right from the start, reminds them of his authority. "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus." The word, "apostle" simply means messenger, but in this context refers to one of the key leaders in the early church. And he says, "I'm an apostle not because I appointed myself, not because I wanted it myself, but I am an apostle by the will of God."

So he establishes that, talks about how this is co-sent by Timothy with him and to all the saints in the whole of Achaia. Achaia here would contain the cities of Athens and Cenchrea, which you will read of in other parts of the Bible. And he gives his typical greetings, nice greetings,

v2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace refers to God's unmerited favor for us. Peace is the chief benefit of this grace, that we are now no more enemies of God, but we are at peace with God. I think that is the primary way we should understand peace in this context. And the source of all this favor and reconciliation with God is from God Himself.

So with this typical greeting, which you will find quite often in Paul's writings, he now enters the body. He enters his praise, his thanksgiving, he says,

v3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,

Now, I would just like to focus on that last word there, "comfort", because that is the main theme in these 11 verses that we read. This word appears 9 times in this next 8 verses. So, it is a significant thought that Paul is going to talk about comfort in trials and in pains.

v4: The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.

Affliction is a simple word, it means to be pressed, to be under pressure. It can be translated distress, or anguish or trouble or tribulation. The word, "comfort" is the word, "parakaleo" in the Greek, which simply means the person or someone called beside you. So, Paul says, "Our God is the God of all comfort, because He comes alongside us to strengthen us, to encourage us as we go through our trials and tribulations, our ... our troubles and our afflictions."

Right off the bat, I would say to you, it is important for us to note that God does not call Himself the God of ease, because that's what many people think. "Oh, believe in Christianity, and the deity there, the God there will shield you from all pains. You will never suffer!"

Nope! The Bible doesn't call our God, the God of ease, but the Bible tells us that our God is a God of comfort, that or who allows us to go through afflictions, but He is the God who is able to comfort us and strengthen us through our afflictions.
So Paul says, "I praise God." He ... he doesn't say, "Aiyah, so suay. Aiyah, don't know why my god like this." But he says, "Bless it be God." He gives thanks to God, He praises Him, not because God always takes him out of trouble, but God strengthens him, comforts him, encourages him through the troubles, through the tribulations.

And God is faithful, He is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction. So, Paul does not complain, murmur, he rejoices in God through his sufferings. And then he says,

v4: Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that he or we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

So there is a purpose clause, "so that". So God's comfort for us is not the end, in and of itself, it is a means to a greater end. God allows me to go through sufferings, because there is a purpose. So if I may say it, "Afflictions are not accidental, nor incidental, like just have to have it, but they are very intentional."

There's a purpose to it, afflictions and comfort! God is working something out. God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters, I think this is a very obvious point.
Praise be God, to God, He allows us to go through afflictions, so that we may be comforted and so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.

So, it was John Piper who said, "A 1000 sorrows prepare a preacher to preach." And if I may expand it a little bit more, "A 1000 ... a 1000 sorrows prepare a Christian to minister."
You cannot minister well if there is no sense of empathy, and that you do not understand sufferings in an experiential way. The more you suffer, the more you have received comfort from God, the more you are able to comfort others also.

This is a picture of Pastor Chee Kin, he has been away for a year or so, taking time necessarily to heal, to go through the treatment to recover. But he's looking to return to serve, he has been joining us for some of our staff meetings already. And one of the things Chee Kin wanted to do, well, we spoke about some of the ministries, but one of the things that was prominent in his mind, is that he wants to write about his experience.
He wants to share the afflictions he has gone through and the comfort he has received so that he may be able to encourage, strengthen, and comfort others also.

"A 1000 sorrows prepare a preacher to preach. A 1000 sorrows prepare a Christian to minister." Maybe some of you are going through sorrows today and you're asking, "Why?" Well, this might be one of the reasons why. But let's move on, because in verse 6 or verse 5, Paul goes on to say,

v5: For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

God does not leave you to suffer and say, "All the best, you go through it alone." But He's the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, He will surely provide that comfort.
And Paul says, "Just as we have experienced that comfort, it is for you."

v6: If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation ...

He doesn't sit in a corner, having a pity party, "Oh, why me?" He says, "It's good! I go through sufferings for your comfort and salvation."

v6: ... ;and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experienced when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

So, the equation is very simple. We suffer, I suffer so that we or I will be comforted, and when we are comforted, we can comfort you, we can encourage you, we can help you along. So Paul is saying, "Our lives, your lives and mine are inescapably intertwined in God's mind. God uses me to bless you, because our lives are joined together in the bonds of Gospel love."

And so he says,

v7: Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

"As you go through your hardships, we will minister to you, we will bring comfort to you." So you see, the Corinthians are thinking, "Oh, Paul, what a sad case! You went through so many problems, really "suay" man, you. I think you maybe not from God, if you're from God, you wouldn't have to suffer so much." So they thought that Paul's sufferings means that he's a fake apostle.

Paul says, "I need to correct your theology. No, far from fake, it is actually part of God's plan to make me a servant more suitable to serve you." He turns the whole thing around from a biblical perspective. "My life is inescapably intertwined with yours, and in order for me to bring comfort to you, God has seen it fit that as an apostle, I will suffer much, go through the afflictions, experience the comfort, so that I may now be able to comfort you."

So, this is right off the bat, chapter 1, first 7 verses. He lays down a robust theology of suffering, and then he talks about himself in verse 8.

v8: For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experience in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despair of life itself.

It was really jialat [in Hokkien], it was really serious because the language he uses tell us that. He was utterly burdened beyond his strength, despaired of life itself.

v9: Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death ...

This is a legal term used in a court of law to pass the sentence of death. He says, "It felt like we were going to die." That's the kind of sufferings Paul was going through.

v9: ... but that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.

You know how hard it is for us not to depend on our own selves! Very hard, because we ... we are all control freaks, we are all such a people who want to depend only on our capabilities. Paul says, "I was pressed to such an extreme, that I had no choice but to look to God. God was training me to rely on Him. He can raise the dead, He can raise me from this affliction."

v10: He delivered us, [Oh, God did come through.] He delivered us from such a deadly peril, [we were almost going to die,] but He delivered us [and we trust that He will deliver us again] On Him], we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.

So, you also, Paul says,

v11: You must help us by prayer, [don't despise me, don't reject me because I suffer, understand that it is for your good that I suffer, but pray for me], so that many will give things on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

Paul's concern is so that God be praised as he goes through the sufferings, as he endures, as people recognize it is because God has answered the prayers and strengthened Paul and his ... his fellow laborers, that all praise will be given back to Him.

So in summary, what Paul is saying in these 11 verses is this: "You guys reject me because I suffer much, but that's not the right way to think, God is fitting me for the apostleship, God is using me to comfort you. So I am going through afflictions that I may be comforted, so that when I'm comforted, I may be able to comfort." That's his point! That's the big picture! That's the big idea!

Before we close, I like to tease out, just extract some of the observation learning points for our application, for our lives today.

[1] Afflictions as a Sign?
The first thing is this question people often ask, "Afflictions as a sign?"

Is afflictions or suffering a good indication of God's love for us?" Because there are people who will always think, that when we are afflicted, or when someone else is afflicted, it means God does not love him. And if someone else, contrary wise, if someone else is rich and successful, it means God loves him. Is this a reliable sign? I put a question mark, because I want to ask this question.

I think we just need to look at a text such as this, before Paul served the Lord Jesus Christ ... God or the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to Paul saying or spoke to Ananias, with regard to Paul, saying, "He, that is, Paul is a chosen instrument of mine to carry My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel." [Acts 9:15]

Chosen instrument! Privileged position, but quickly Jesus adds, "For I will show him how much he must suffer." [Acts 9:16] Hah! Chosen instrument? Yes. Suffer? Absolutely spot on! Paul is not suay [in Hokkien], Paul is blessed, privileged, chosen, but he will have to suffer.

So there are people today who say, "Oh, if you're afflicted means God does not want to use you. You are ... God does not love you." I don't think that's a reliable sign of God's favor or disfavor. You can't always draw a straight line, that when you are sick means God doesn't love you, or when you struck it rich, God loves you. That doesn't always pan out that way!

Just think about Paul! Oh, surely he's a man chosen by God, God said so Himself. What's better, think about Jesus! Huh, the world looks at Jesus on the cross and says, "Ah, he must be a fraudster, He must be a liar, He must be a cheat." No, He's the Son of God. How can we assume that the crucified Person, Jesus Christ is a fraud just like that. Got to look on - Jesus rose from the dead!

And then think about what God calls Himself in Paul's writing, He's not a God of ease, He's the God of comfort. In other words, it is absolutely in God's wisdom and sovereign will, that His beloved children, including Jesus, His Son will have to go through afflictions and pain.

So when you go through your sickness, when you go through your job loss, when you go through your family heartbreak, it is very tempting to say, "Why?" You know that posture, "Why God? You don't love me, is it?" And that's the thought that comes up to our minds! And it's very easy for us to imagine that coming to church means, "Oh, if I come to church, God loves me, and He will give me my health and my wealth." That's not biblical thinking!

See, God says, "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." [Romans 8:28] Notice the Bible says, "All things work together for good" it is Not "All things work together for your comfort, for your ease." Some things are not nice, they're not pleasant, they're painful, they're difficult, but all things are for your good.

So I don't think this is a reliable sign, and so this is something we need to be mindful of. That's the whole problem with the Corinthians, they looked at Paul, he suffers, they looked at Paul, he's not eloquent, they looked at Paul, he's weak. They say that he doesn't have any commend letters or commendation or credentials, like the false teachers. He was physically unimpressive, not charismatic, doesn't do many miracles, according to them, not like the false teachers, so they despised him. But that's not reliable, not a good gauge. Certainly not in the case of afflictions!

[2] Afflictions as a School
A second thing I'd like us to consider is that while afflictions are not a reliable sign of God's favor or disfavor, afflictions are a very good school we can go to.

Nobody likes to go to school, right? I ... I hear you ... you. Nobody likes to go to school, right? Because it's painful. I rather go to the playground, I rather play with my neighbors, nobody likes to go to school.

"But school though painful is good for you, Matthias." (Matthias is Pastor's youngest son, laughter in the background) It teaches you things, it makes you a better person, and God enrolls us in His school of afflictions.

Some of the points I highlighted earlier, afflictions are not accidental, they are not incidental, but they are intentional.
In the Bible, there are many reasons why God puts us through afflictions.

For example, in James 1, it talks about how it grows us, matures us.

For example, in Hebrews chapter 12, it talks about how it disciplines us, so that when we are going the wrong way, God changes our course.

In Romans 5, it talks about how trials, afflictions produce hope in us, helps us see the certainty of our faith.

According to 1st Peter, chapter 1, how our faith tried as by fire may come forth as gold.

The Bible tells us how afflictions humble us, like in 2nd Corinthians 12 - the thorn in the flesh. Even in this text, we learn about how afflictions cause us to rely on God and not on ourselves.

Afflictions teach us the lesson on comfort from God that we may be able to comfort others. There are many good reasons for sufferings. It's a school, not easy to go through but necessary to go through. God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters and 1000 sorrows prepare a preacher to preach. It's a good thing!

Maybe today, you want to go to the playground and say, "God, I don't want to go to school anymore." Well, your Father says, "Go to school, son, it's good for you. When you have learned your lesson, I'll let you graduate, but till then, stay in school, do your math, do your science, learn these things."

[3] Afflictions as a Seamstress
The third thing I'd like to add is that afflictions is like a seamstress.

A seamstress is someone who weaves things together, and when I read this text, I see that God uses affliction to weave our lives together. God use Paul's sufferings, so that he might be able to serve the Corinthians better — weave their lives together, join them together.

I share with permission all the pictures and illustrations, I've asked permission, I share with permission also this story. It's a picture of two of our church members, you have Kelvin and Michael. Kelvin is the one with darker hair, Michael is the one with white hair.

About a year ago, Kelvin, he had difficulties adjusting because COVID came, and situations change in his job. He took too much onto himself and he became stressed and anxious and eventually slipped into depression, he was not in a good state. Someone new in church - Michael, the one in white hair ... with white hair, he had just joined Gospel Light not too long ago, and he was in the same Care Group as Kelvin. And knowing Kelvin's situation, he was burdened for him and together with their Care Group Leader, Gordon, they did Bible studies with Kelvin, encouraging Kelvin in the Word and supporting him through a difficult time.

Well, some weeks passed, and suddenly Michael himself experienced excruciating pain in his back. He went for a check up and he was found to have a recurrence of stage 4 cancer. He needed to go for radiotherapy amongst other things on a daily basis, to treat the cancer in the spine.

And he could only go on the MRT train because even if you drive him, it will be awkward, because of the shaking or the movements in a car, and it will be very painful. So, he had to take the train and ... and upon hearing this, Kelvin volunteered to bring Michael back and forth to the hospital daily.

God used Michael to comfort Kelvin, and when Kelvin experiences that comfort, Kelvin comforts Michael. Today, their lives are weaved together. Just as afflictions are like a fast track to individual spiritual growth, afflictions are a fast track also for community building. This is what church is about, that we will love and serve one another, and in so doing God joins us in our hearts and weaves our life in true Gospel fellowship.

So afflictions, are they a good sign of God's favor or disfavor? Nope, not exactly! God's love is demonstrated not in the circumstances of our lives, but God's love is demonstrated on the cross of Calvary. That's God's unchanging demonstration! But afflictions are a good school we can go to ... to train us to build us, to help us learn and afflictions are used by God for His church to weave our lives together.

No wonder Paul begins in verse 3, "Blessed be the God of all comfort." He praises God, because He always comforts us in all our afflictions for a good purpose. And when you have such a renewed perspective, a biblical perspective, then you can understand why we can be joyful in sufferings. Why we can say, "Count it all joy when you fall into diverse or different kinds of trials."

In Gospel Light, we have a simple vision to be an Acts church for today. Seven characteristics of the people in the book of Acts, the last one we have is that they are a people joyful in suffering. Now, you can't go there, you can't arrive there, if you do not understand the theology of sufferings. I hope today has been a glimpse and a remembrance, a reminder of God's ways, and how they're higher than our ways.

But let me close with Jesus, Jesus on the cross, Jesus going through afflictions, Oh, is that a sign God doesn't love Him? No, not at all! "This is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased", God declared early on in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

But this afflictions was a school even for Jesus, you know that? Hebrews 5:8 tells us that, "The Son learned obedience, even through death on the cross." He learned obedience, it was a school for Jesus - afflictions.

And afflictions was like a seamstress that weaved His life with us, because now He is tempted, He went through pains like we did, and He is now our compassionate, merciful, High Priest. Today, He knows what we go through and as we endure sufferings, we know we have a compassionate Savior who listens, and is willing to support and encourage and strengthen us.

Well, today if you're new to Gospel Light, if you're new, seeking what Christianity is about, I tell you, this is what it is - Jesus came to be man to suffer and to die, so that He may be our Savior, so that He may be our High Priest, to be the One who represents us before God. And the Bible tells us, it is through His death, His sacrifice, His bloodshed that you and I can be reconciled with God. I pray you'll do that.

And if you are here today, and you are a Christian, a fellow brother or sister in Christ, I hope you'll take courage. I do not know all the sufferings you go through, but I'm sure you have, you will, remember, it's a school. And remember, maybe God wants to use you one day to comfort others, as well. So rejoice in the Lord, turn to Jesus, find grace in times of need. Comforted to comfort, may we experience that in Gospel Light.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

It is said that all of us, all of our lives are lived in the context of sufferings. Some of you have just experienced sufferings, some of you are going through sufferings, and some of you will go through sufferings soon. God is not impotent, God is not ignorant, God is not uncaring but in His wise, loving and sovereign will, He is working good for you and through you.

This morning, may we not follow the thinking of the world, may we not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Let Scripture inform us, let our minds develop this biblical perspective towards suffering, because some of you need it today. You're tempted to murmur, complain against God, you have been asking why, and you are grievous at your situation. You want to get out of school, but God says, " Here's why I sent you to school." You want to get out of sufferings, but God says, "But this is not for your sake, but for someone else's sake. Stay there."

And one day when we all get to heaven and we look on the other side of things, we will see the amazing tapestry, the amazing masterpiece, God is weaving in our lives and in the church today. But most of all, look to Jesus who suffered for us, and is now seated at the right hand of God. He suffered for us and has opened this new and living way, that we might come back to God. By His stripes, we are healed, this is the way of the Gospel. Suffering and then glory. Death and then new life. Pain and then everlasting joy. That's the way of the cross!

Father, thank You today for Your Word. Bless each one today and we pray that You will comfort hearts, strengthen our arms, weave our lives together and glorify Yourself. Thank You, Jesus Himself suffered and died, that we might be saved, I pray all in this room will look to Your Son and they will repent and believe in Him for everlasting life. Teach us to be a people who rejoice in suffering, who rejoice in the Lord. We pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen.
 

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