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October Newsletter: Comfort

Well, we’ve got a bit of work to do. Yep, Faith is work. Jesus, when asked by the disciples what work they should do, replied: believe. Specifically, Jesus said, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom He hath sent (John 6-28). Believe is an action word. John uses the verb (pistebo) translation (action) of it 98 times in his Gospel. More times than all three of the other N.T. Gospel writers combined. In that question to Jesus, the Greek text used for the word work is also associated with the English word occupation. From my personal perspective, Faith and Trust are part of my occupation because I try to do those 7 days a week; they’re a part of my daily routine, never just occasionally. How should we live, how should we act, was the essence of their question. Jesus, as was often the case, simplified his answer: believe. And, he went a bit further. They could have asked, ‘Believe what?’ But Jesus beat them to the punch and answered that immediately, ‘Believe on him whom He has sent.’ The word ‘on’ in that scripture goes even deeper into the mind of Jesus in that it literally meant, not just on the Son, but implied movement into the Son. To me Jesus was emphasizing stepping into trust and confidence no matter what we see, what we hear, what we are experiencing.

I recently had a conversation with a pastor friend of mine and I expressed some of the things I think WBVN does differently than it did back in its beginning in 1990. First of all, we’ve always identified ourselves as a ministry of encouragement. We’ve spent 31 years of being very accepting with that expression. We still believe that was the beginning unction of this ministry and still holds the center purpose of the things we do and say. The word encourage in biblical language literally means to seize, to be courageous, to help, to repair, to bind, to strengthen, and to cleave. So that fits pretty well with our Gospel mission to offer an opportunity for all those things to happen through our music, programming and concerts. Ours is a ministry centered on trust and sharing our trust with our flock of listeners. I have to say that it’s been a 31 year pleasure to care about the people that, we believe, God has given us to ‘encourage’ daily. We will continue to do that as long as you wish. It’s your wishing that makes it our wish to serve our listeners in that manner. We want to do it as long as it’s relevant in believers’ daily lives.

However, in that conversation I expressed WBVN in another way. The world has changed so very much and we’re seeing a whole new environment we live in, all around the world. I referred to my friend that at the moment not only do we encourage but in some way we have also become a comfort for this unique day and time. There is no substitute for the necessity of The Comforter, but we trust The Spirit comforts through this ministry. Listening to the news, reading the blogs, checking the media, I need comforting sometimes, and I bet you probably feel the same way. As I said that to my friend, I was thinking about why I even said it that particular way at all. Swirling in my brain was the thought: Comfort brings Peace, Peace bring Rest. I love the expressions in scripture that emphasize the Word of God by using three expressions to complete the thought found on a written page. I see so much of what we need to be doing daily as progressive in the Gospel. Giving comfort to others is the beginning of finding Peace in Christ in our lives. Giving that to others creates that Peace in you simply in the giving. Our comfort is empowered by gathering together and celebrating Christ each day on the radio or perhaps at a concert. Jesus’ use of the word comfort would be expressed as a ‘calling near for exhortation.’ That was part of His ministry; it’s part of ours as well.

Thinking further about Christ’s Peace, comfort is extremely important as a first step when, let’s just call it, ‘stuff’ is going on. We need immediate exhortation in those times. My wife, Jane, has a calloused ear from all the phone calls she gets from people gathering on her phone (actually she uses the buds now). Generally, Peace is produced with those calls. Let me quote from E.W. Bullinger’s Lexicon: ‘Peace- a state of health or well being, it denotes a state of untroubled, undisturbed well being. The Peace which is the result of forgiveness enjoyed, and must not be confounded with the Peace Christ has made by the blood of His cross.’ That Peace, is possible because of the Peace the angels had declared at Jesus’ birth. The angels’ is eternal and the Peace found in the comfort of God is accessible in whatever’s going on around us right now.

That brings me to the third characteristic of God’s Comfort and Peace: Rest. Rest is a location, a dwelling place. Paul in his Hebrews writing refers to it as an abode. It’s a journey’s end kind of place. Once you arrive at Rest, you can relax in Jesus’ Name. Rest is comfort and peace married, combined to trust in Christ. It’s a place that the Pharisees would not enter into and actually obstructed others from entering in as well. It’s the same place where the Hebrews fleeing Egypt would not cross the river to enter. Rest is God’s goal for us, His purpose for us. And, He made it possible to find that Rest.

The apostle that writes the most scripture about Rest is Paul; the apostle that God set aside for 3 years and taught him the Gospel. Paul’s story is full of things that show no rest, persecuting the Christians, shipwrecks, physical problems and much more, but he ‘knows Rest.’ He knows that entering into Rest is a priority in this life if we are to experience all that Christ has prepared for us here, now. Hebrews chapters three and four are laced with teaching about Rest. Those are highlighted by Hebrews 3:18-19 telling us only those that believe will find that Rest. Some people, religious and secular may have alternative or variations of how to get calm, peaceful and relaxed but Christ and believing in Christ is the only way to find what the world seeks but continually rejects. In that scripture, Paul teaches of ‘labour’ to find it. ‘Let us labour therefore to enter into that Rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.’ In context, that Greek word refers most appropriately to: with speed, make effort, study.

What will this Rest give? In some scripture it’s referred to as pitching a tent and settling into its protection. Some teachings imply entering into a liberty from fear, some relief and some loosing or relaxing of tightly stretched strings or chords. All those freedoms emphasize a relaxation from endurance and soulish (my word) expectations. The Gospel, the Love of God, is an oasis in the earth. It’s a spiritual Rest, not usually a fleshly one. It’s an ark. It’s a Holy of Holies. It’s not of our understanding but of His. It’s not reached on the highway of logic or material success. It’s as near as the Spirit, not far away. It’s a gift, not something earned. It’s solid, yet can’t be seen. It’s able to be grasped and not mysteriously hidden away. It’s a Jubilee of freedom! It’s a treasure, yet free. In what we see going on around us today it’s necessary!

In this letter is information about Rich Mullins and his legacy in CCM. Rich sometimes liked to quote Catholic monk Thomas Merton: ‘How does a horse bring glory to God? By being a horse. How does a tree bring glory to God? By being a tree.’ How do we bring glory to God? By being what he designed us to be, being whom we genuinely are in Christ. His creation is meant to be in direct relationship with Him and was created to discover His Comfort, Peace and Rest by Christ Jesus.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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