{"devotional":{"title":"Feb 24 Perpetually be encouraged","content":"

\"\"<\/a>2 Cor 13:11b, \u201c\u2026 Be encouraged<\/span> <\/span>\u201c [Be of good comfort]~~.<\/p>\r\nAs the old joke goes, \u201cCheer up, things could get worse.\u201d So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse!

Believers could leave the world\u2019s problems outside the gathering and together celebrate the unchangeable wonder of personally knowing the God of creation and the redemption of the One who cares for them.

In 2 Corinthians 13:11, Paul uses the passive command form of the verb: \u201cbe<\/i> comforted, or take our appeal to heart<\/i>.\u201d The verb form is used 105 times in the New Testament. It is an important element of our walk with Christ.

Paul was not exempt from suffering and discouragement. Nothing went the way he had planned. Bearing the greatest news since the dawn of creation, he was still met with hostility and rejection.

After being beaten and left for dead by the road, imprisoned, and thrown out of towns with only a handful of precious converts for all his effort, he arrived in Corinth extremely discouraged. He wrote, \u201cWe were<\/i> crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would<\/i> never live through it<\/i>\u201d (2 Cor 1:8NLT<\/sup>).

Paul\u2019s discouragement seemed to reach a peak by the time he got to Corinth. He did not know if he could go on. Then, at the end of his strength and determination, Paul learned in the midst of failure that a deeper consolation is waiting to be claimed: Jesus is with us through it all. \u201cLo, I am with you<\/i>\u201d (Matt 28:20) is our comfort.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3b\u2013-4, Paul wrote, \u201cThe God of all comfort, who comforts<\/i> us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any<\/i> trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God<\/i>.\u201d 

The word comfort<\/i> is the same verb as in 2 Corinthians 13:11. Paul tells us, \u201cI learned in whatever state I<\/i> am to be content. I know how to be abased [in need], and I know how to abound.<\/i> Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to<\/i> abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me<\/i>\u201d (Phil 4:11\u2013-13). If Paul could be comforted by walking close to Jesus, so can I, and so can you.

\u201cKeep my heart satisfied in Your presence and my mind filled with Your purposes for my life. Grant me enough encouragement each day to stay positive for others who might become discouraged.\u201d<\/i>