Comfort for Troubling Times

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We must all be honest and admit that we are in very troubling times. I am not speaking of the political situations all across this globe, but am referring to the growing apostasy in the visible church. It seems that for every pocket of genuine believers I run across who are standing on the promises of God and not compromising their faith by buying into pragmatism or mysticism or outright heresy there is another "Christian leader" falling into the ranks of the apostate. Our error is allowing this to drive us to despair and doubt. When we do this we have lost focus. We are looking at the situation rather than keeping our eyes on our saviour. I pray that the following devotional from Martin Luther will encourage you and help you to not allow our enemy to distract you from the truth. – Mike Ratliff

by Martin Luther

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1)

Whenever we feel distressed and anxious, let us trust Christ and strengthen ourselves with his words. We should receive the comfort Christ offers in this passage. It’s as if Christ is saying to us, "What are you doing? Why are you cringing? Are you scared to death? Be encouraged and take heart. All is not lost, even if the devil, the world, or your conscience plagues and terrifies you. You’re not ruined if you don’t feel my presence. Don’t you remember that I told you about this long ago and left these comforting words to strengthen and preserve you?"

From these and other words of Christ, we should begin to know the Lord Christ in the right way. We should develop a more loving confidence in him. And we should pay more attention to his words than to anything that may come before our eyes, ears, and senses. For if we are Christians and stay close to him, we know that he speaks to us. We learn in this passage and elsewhere that he wants to comfort us with his words. Everything he says or does is nothing but friendly and comforting words and actions.

We can be sure of this: a sorrowful, timid, and frightened  heart doesn’t come from Christ. Christ doesn’t frighten hearts or make them depressed. He came to this earth, fulfilled his mission, and ascended into heaven to take away sorrow and fearfulness from our hearts and replace them with cheerful hearts, consciences and minds. That’s why he promises to send the Holy Spirit to his followers after he has left. Whoever can trust in what Christ says in this passage will be in good shape and will have won more than half the battle.

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9 thoughts on “Comfort for Troubling Times

  1. I am so glad you posted this, Mike! Do you ever wonder if you’re saved when you keep losing the battles over your sin? Maybe not but sometimes I do. It’s like I’m blind to how I went through the same trial before and felt the same way and can’t remember how I felt or how He rescued me with His sweet grace. Once again I’ve been rescued to once again give Him full glory. I have a hard head, but I continue to claim Phil. 1:6.

  2. Sarah,

    Yes, that is exactly how I feel when a besetting sin causes me to stumble and temporarily fall out of the race. Read Hebrews 12:1-2.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

    God is allowing you to be tested by allowing a besetting sin to attempt to make you stumble. Why? So you will learn to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. How do I know this? This is my battle zone too. I pray you will find victory by running straight to Christ with your eyes firmly fixed on Him. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Sarah, I recently felt as you do and this verse came to mind:

    ….who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1Pe 1:5) ESV

    in the NKJV it reads “kept by the power of God.” This phrase kept repeating in my head. It means that I am not kept by self: my efforts, my virtues, my “goodness”, my works, my strength, etc. BUT I am kept by the power of God. God’s power, shown for example in: creation and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. That Power! That power of God keeps me. On this is a firm foundation. Praise God!

    One other thought is this: when you are driven back to Jesus Christ, when you are made to fall on your knees in repentance and faith, clinging only to Christ who is the only Answer, when you are reminded again that yes, you are a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior, be thankful. God, in His mercy, is Himself bringing these truths to you. This is true repentance, this is true faith.

    And the closer we get to the HOLY ONE, the greater our sins loom over us. Yet my friend, I urge you to continually flee to Jesus. He alone can save and cleanse you. And, oh wondrous truth: it is His desire to do so! This brings Him glory for it acknowledges that He alone can do these things.

  4. Just recently I again realized that there is no hope in the visible church. The current rages against Christ and His salvation and the body of Christ is not interested in seeking Him.

    And like Luther to lose all hope in everything is to find the only hope…Christ. Good post, Mike.

  5. Rick,

    Very sobering thought and absolutely right. While I miss fellowship and worship services, etc. I know that God is doing a special work in His remnant, pointing them to Jesus alone as He removes all of our reliance on that man-made religious system that does not know Him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Thank you guys for all of your encouragement and for professing the truths of God. My mom and I and Kim, who comments here, are doing a Bible Study on one of my blogs concerning the attributes of God . Tonight, we both were elated in the study that we did tonight on His knowledge. I found more precious stones, through His grace and generosity, because of the trial that I went through…all to His glory! I am so glad to have brothers and sisters like you all!

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