2 Corinthians (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.   

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (NIV)

16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.   

DEVOTION – Mary Haskett (Ontario, Canada)

Today I decided to go to the mall because I felt discouraged and needed a distraction.  As I walked through the crowds, I saw a couple from my church and stopped to talk with them.

Soon they were telling me about the concerns they had for a family member who didn’t have a relationship with God.  As I listened, I realized that when we belong to God’s family we feel free to share one another’s troubles.  The issues they spoke of weighed heavy on their hearts, and I became so sympathetic to their story that I forgot about my own sadness.  Soon I found myself encouraging them and, in doing so, my own burdens were lightened.

By the time we parted, we were all smiling.  We shook hands and went our separate ways.  Giving us good thoughts, encouraging words, and love to share, God lifted our burdens.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We can encourage others by inviting God to speak and act through us.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for our brothers and sisters in Christ who share our burdens and show us your love.  We pray as Jesus taught us, saying, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” (Matt 6:9-13, KJV).  Amen.