Author Archive for Comfort and Encouragement Ministries

Let the Star Filled Sky Speak

While living in Tokyo, Delores and I rarely saw the stars and moon.  Dense air pollution and frequent cloud cover obscured heavenly objects from view.  When we returned to America, I began thoroughly enjoying the Lord’s star-filled sky!

One evening I realized that the star-filled sky speaks in God’s behalf to us earth-bound humans. Read More→

Conquering Unruly Emotions

“God, let me die!” Elijah begged.  To further bolster his excuse for depression, Elijah pointed out that “everyone’s forsaken you and I’m the only true believer left.”

Ordinarily, Elijah’s life demonstrated mighty power and awesome self-control.  On this occasion, we see the prophet of God succumbing to unruly emotions.  He wasn’t on top of life–life was on top of him.  Most believers understand Elijah’s struggle; after all, haven’t we fought to reject unpleasant or unChristlike emotions and feelings?  Is there any hope of conquering unruly emotions?  Yes! Read More→

Seeing the Cure Without Understanding the Cause

“If you understand the problem, you’re halfway to solving it.” Ever hear that before?  Such beliefs teach us to rack our brains so we can understand the cause of problems.  We expect that understanding the cause automatically leads to the solution.

It doesn’t always work that way!  Striving to mentally grasp the cause of life’s problems often intensifies the problem’s adverse effect on us.

True, when repairing an automobile we must first discover what’s broken.  Replace the defective part and, presto, it works again.

What must we do when the cause of life’s problems defies human understanding?Open Bible

Quit depending on your ability to understand causes.  You may think, “That suggestion is crazy!  How do you expect me to not depend upon on my own understanding?” Start depending on God’s superior, infinite understanding.  He knows everything about everything including all the hidden causes of each problem in the entire universe.  So, when all our worry and anxious thoughts fail to understand causes, it’s time to obey Proverbs 3:5: “Do not lean on your own understanding.” “Well,” you may wonder, “what should I do with my human understanding?”  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

No one event constitutes a lifetime.  Therefore, we should move on with life and not dwell on individual events.  Don’t fear events or they grow out of proportion to their actual importance.

Depending wholly upon God’s understanding redirects your attention from causes to cure.  The cure is a Person we call Heavenly Father.  Don’t we call on him during life’s difficulties and frustrations?  Why not call upon him when you can’t comprehend causes of struggles, difficulties and heartaches?  Let him figure it out!  He is more than willing to help humans who admit their inability to understand causes.  Don’t be distracted by “impossible to understand” causes.  Just look up to your heavenly Cure.

Please remember, “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed,” Isaiah 49:23. God is the cure which annihilates incomprehensible causes.

God Sends Four Trains and One Plane

 

One dark evening in 1991, I sat on a park bench atop Prayer Mountain.  No, not Pastor Cho’s Prayer Mountain in Seoul, Korea, but a 20-foot high mound located in a tiny Japanese garden near our home in Tokyo.  The pine and oak trees that towered overhead made the evening appear even gloomier.

But the worst gloom was inside me.  I felt so shattered.  The focusing muscles around my eyes filled my days with pain and fatigue.  Office work was torture and writing, impossible.  I simply didn’t know what to do.  So I decided to give up my missionary assignment and return to the USA.

Back to the Tokyo version of Prayer Mountain.  About eighty feet to my right lay a train track for diesel-powered engines.  Two hundred feet to my left lay tracks for electric-powered trains.  Well, God decided to exert his almighty sense of humor to perk me up.

I heard in the distance the distinct whistle of a diesel freight train.  Then a clattering electric passenger train approached; a second passenger train came from the opposite direction on another track, and, believe it or not, a third passenger train showed up.  A diesel freight train about eighty feet to my right and three electric passenger trains on my left!  The noise level soared.  But that’s not all.  A large twin engine U.S. Navy plane roared overhead.  I hadn’t heard such noise in all my life.

“God, time out!  Even you can’t hear me over this noise!”  I began laughing at the circumstances orchestrated by the Lord.  Only a supreme Creator could synchronize the arrival of four trains and an airplane at a tiny Japanese garden in Tokyo.

As the noise subsided and the evening calm returned, his presence visited me.  My inner gloom evaporated as I considered the great love of the Lord who sent four trains and an airplane to remind me of his control.  Is God good or what!

The One who always gives me the best of everything also  equips me to give the best of myself to him!

When It’s Polite to Stare

Our electric-powered Japanese passenger train approached Shinjuku Station.  Sliding doors quickly sprang open, and hundreds of passengers disembarked.  Surrounded by this sea of Japanese business people, housewives and school children, Delores and I stood out like sore thumbs.  I noticed two young children staring at us.  The embarrassed mother quickly pulled them away and probably told them a Japanese equivalent of “It’s not polite to stare.”

Like the little Japanese children, we Americans quickly learn that staring is very impolite.  However, there’s one exception to this rule:  It’s alright to stare at the Lord.

During my private fellowship time with the Lord, his Spirit often enfolds me in his presence.  My imagination envisions him seated upon an exalted throne.  His ornate, royal garments fill the temple; angelic creatures shout his praise.  Vivid colors fill my imagination as I gaze upon our Lord’s dwelling place.  Sights and Sounds exceed anything we have seen or heard upon earth.

His love glues my attention upon his person.  It flows around me, enters into me, soothes me, encourages me, and comforts me.  And I gaze, I stare!  I can’t take my spirit’s eyes off him. I dare not allow any thought to distract me from him.

You know what?  It’s polite to stare at Jesus.  In fact, when in his presence, you have no choice.  His unsurpassed beauty grips your attention.  “One thing I ask of the Lord…that I may…gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,” Psalm 27:4.

In the Lord’s culture, staring is totally polite.  Let his Spirit enrapture your attention.  No one will complain.

 

Your Other Atmosphere

Our Creator chose to envelop earth in an atmosphere we call “air.” Air surrounds and sustains us, refreshes us and protects us from harmful sun rays.  Air makes life possible.  Two gases comprise the bulk of our atmosphere: nitrogen, about 79% and oxygen, a little more than 20%. Read More→

My “V” in the Moonlit Sky

A beautiful full moon illuminated the night sky.  I could plainly see my own shadow in the grass.  As I looked up to admire Father’s glorious handiwork, I noticed some clouds backlit by the shining moon.

Astonishingly, these clouds formed an almost perfect letter “V”.  There I was, awestruck by Father’s moon and stars.  Then, he thoughtfully threw in a “V” for victory; he provided a reminder of the victories he generously lavishes upon us. Read More→

Our Gigantic Opportunity

How big is your God?

“He builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth; he calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land,” Amos 9:6.

He sustains “all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1:3.

How big is God?

Well, he “fills everything in every way,” Ephesians 1:23. Read More→

Dealing with Lions

You probably haven’t dealt with many lions recently.  We Americans rarely encounter lions on the city streets or in the back yard.

On the other hand, every one of us must constantly deal with a lion called Satan.  Although he doesn’t inhabit a physical body, he unceasingly prowls about in the physical world. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” 1 Peter 5:8.  He is an invisible spirit who exerts immeasurable harmful influence in the physical world. Read More→

Bringing You to the Place He Prepared

The Lord promised, “I will send my angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I prepared,” Exodus 23:20.  Just think of that!  The Almighty Creator of heaven and earth directs your steps.  He constantly works to lead you in ways that most benefit his purposes and your happiness.  How measureless is God’s love for us!

Delores and I moved to Singapore in May of 1988.  At that time almost three million people lived in that great city.  Can you imagine house hunting in a mega city where customs and culture are unfamiliar?  Well, let me tell you how God brought us to the place he prepared.

Just before moving to Singapore, a missionary friend of ours dined in a restaurant there.  He struck up a conversation with a Canadian couple who planned on leaving Singapore soon.  However, they needed someone to move into their apartment and assume the lease.  After finishing the meal, both my missionary friend and the Canadian coupe went their separate ways.

A few days later the missionary again came across the Canadian couple.  He mentioned to them that Dee and I would soon need an apartment in Singapore.  They invited him to bring us over to their place when we arrived in their country.

Within a day or two of our landing in the city, we visited the apartment my friend had located.  We loved it!  It amply fit all our needs.  So, we assumed the lease and soon moved into our new overseas home.

What are the chances for an American in downtown Singapore meeting a Canadian who had an apartment available?  Not only one meeting, but two!  Truly, God brings us to the place he prepared.

Dear friends be greatly encouraged; God leads you each and every moment.  No event is unimportant; no circumstance is beyond his control.  He’s always in the process of bringing you to the place he prepared.

Your God is the Director of decisions and Controller of circumstances.