Redeeming the Time

November 27, 2017

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Scripture Reading

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

1. Hard times can draw me closer to God

When anything bad happens in your life you have a choice. You can either run to God or you can run away from God.

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NIV)
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,

2. Hard times can draw me closer to others

Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

What is the law of Christ? Love your neighbor as yourself.

3. Hard times can make me more like Jesus

Hard times are an opportunity to grow in character. To grow in the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

You can choose to let hard times draw you closer to God, closer to others, to make you more like Jesus, or you can choose not to.

But when we choose to let the hard times change us, they have a redemptive value.

4. God can use my hard times to encourage others

2 Corinthians 1:4-5 (NIV)
4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Encourage is a compound word consisting of “en” which means to put in or into and the word “courage” which means brave, strong, or confident. To encourage literally means to put courage into someone. The ministry of encouragement then would be to put courage into people to trust and obey God because He loves them.

If you add the prefix “dis” to a word it basically reverses the word it is attached to. So to discourage would mean to take someone’s courage away.

An encouraging person is good to be around because they build you up with their words, actions, and attitudes.

A discouraging person leaves you feeling weak, hopeless and fearful.

In the New Testament, the word that we translate encourage from is the word “parakaleo”. So, “para” means beside or near or alongside and “kaleo” means to call or summon. A “paraclete” or encourager is someone who comes alongside and brings comfort, hope and courage. Paraclete is the word used to describe the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Discouragement causes us to be unable to face life’s challenges effectively. It causes us to be dysfunctional and fearful.

Encouragement, however, helps us to know and remember that God is the one who provides spiritual power that equips us to handle and difficulty that comes our way.

Luke 1:37 (NIV)
37 For nothing is impossible with God.”

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

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