Facebook - Friend or Foe?

I had originally thought I would write about a completely different topic today, but interestly enough a friend of mine on facebook posted a comment that social sites like facebook make her feel like she's in high school again - "friend request, friend blocking, popularity by numbers, relationship status" - says it "gives her a belly ache!" Sound familiar to anyone?

Needless to say, this has prompted some pretty good discussion about facebook and the time we spend on it, dealing with our insecurities and possibly hurt feelings, and perhaps whether or not we should be on it at all.

I started using facebook about a year ago (February '09) and I must admit that I was a "junkie" for about a month - maybe longer. I was amazed at how quickly people found me and I could look up long lost college friends and see what they looked like, what they were doing for a living, how many kids they have, where they vacationed, etc., etc., etc... I quickly realized the friends who posted a status for hurting their big toe or getting a cup of coffee, and the friends who rarely checked their facebook page or updated their status.

My feelings were hurt when a co-worker friend of my husband's requested me as his friend, only to delete me several weeks later. I wondered what I had done or not done to deserve to be deleted. After all, he sent me the friend request! I noticed a couple of others were no longer my "friends" and then after doing a little research, discovered that they had left facebook altogether which made me feel a little better. And then there's just that old junior high school feeling that creeps back when you feel left out when seeing photos of other friends getting together, or see comments going to and from between other friends on facebook of how much they enjoyed spending time with each other. Maybe you have experienced a situation where your daughter finds out that many of her friends were invited to a party that she wasn't, simply from logging on.

I guess my point is this...is it really "healthy" for us to know everything about each other's business? Or should we all just "get a life"?

I can only speak for myself, but I have spent entirely too much time on facebook over the last year. I have also been going through a spritual "drought" in my life and started a Bible study entitled "Downpour" by James MacDonald last week. The study is based on a verse in Hosea, "He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:3 There are many things that have contributed to my personal spiritual drought and I am taking responsiblity for those things. I have made the excuse for too long that I am "burnt out." We do go through periods of burn out, but usually they are directly related to our own choices that we have made. However, we make choices on where to spend our time and energy - whether it's on the couch watching TV, on the computer looking at facebook, or getting alone with our Savior in fellowship and prayer.

The Downpour study also has a song that goes with it. The first part of the lyrics go like this:

"here where self and sin and sadness/have displaced the oil of gladness"

The very first line gets my attention because what ultimately causes the "oil of gladness" to be displaced? SELF! Again, I can only speak for mySELF, but I have been so wrapped up in mySELF this past year. When we focus on SELF (and pardon me, but facebook is all about our SELFs!) we miss the boat. Turning away from God and looking to ourselves, is always the beginning of sin, which inevitably leads to sadness.

The good news is that "the Bible teaches clearly and repeatedly that God wants to revive our relationship with Him. Revival is renewed interest after a period of indifference or decline. He wants to wake us up, to refresh our faith - to fire us up again." (James MacDonald, "Downpour") I am praying that I will get fired up again!

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." Psalm 119:37 This too is my prayer.

Please do not misunderstand what I'm saying. I still like facebook just fine. There are a lot of good things that can be done through facebook. Old friends can find each other, families can stay in touch more easily, and Christians can use it as a witnessing tool for "lost" friends. I have even used it to promote my book and even have a "fan" page for "God Keeps His Promises." But like anything, used in excess, it can be damaging.

Below are some changes that I plan to make:

1) Limit the time I spend on facebook. I have no doubt that is has become a bit of an idol for me and therefore I will only be logging on no more than twice a day. It is also a good idea to check the clock when you sign in, or 10 minutes can quickly turn into 30! (I know this from experience!)

2) Look to Jesus first to fill my relationship needs. As a stay-at-home mom, the house can get pretty quiet during the day while the kids are at school and it's very tempting to log on to facebook or even check my email multiple times a day! Leaving the TV on Fox News is also a way to create some noise, but really what's wrong with the silence? How will I ever hear from God (of course, not audibly!) if I'm not giving myself some "quiet time?" We were made to have a relationship with our Creator, and I'm so guilty of tuning him out during the day.

3) Am I using facebook for God's glory, or am I using it to promote mySELF?

I would love to hear some comments on this one!

For His Glory,


"Comforsations" June 11, 2009

Be Here Now!

Quote: “Now we should live when the pulse of life is strong. Life is a tenuous thing…fragile, fleeting. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Be here now! Be here now! Be here now!” – Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge, Thomas Nelson, 2005.

This year has been extremely busy for me; too busy, in fact. As my children wrapped up the school year this past week, it has caused me to reflect on just how quickly it has passed by – I’m not even sure “super fast” describes it accurately enough! It seems that each year goes by quicker and quicker; much like our birthdays once we’ve passed over into adulthood. The above quote struck me in such a way that I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. We just finished studying Captivating – Unveiling the Mystery of Woman’s Soul , by John and Stasi Eldredge (the counterpart to Wild at Heart for men). As I was reading the last chapter in the book in preparation for my Sunday school lesson, I read the above quote. It was taken from an elderly couple the authors met who shared their “family motto” with them. In fact, the couple even said that these words have been on their refrigerator for the past thirty years! I had to ask myself these questions, “Have I been living like this? Am I really here for my family and the people who matter most to me, or am I just going through the motions of the everyday demands of life, surviving the craziness of each weekday morning, racing to beat the clock? How often do I wish my life away? Telling myself I will do it tomorrow, next week, when school is out, or next year when my youngest goes to preschool.” Ouch!

For several months now I have felt overwhelmed with some of the commitments I have made this past year and as unusual as it may seem for a stay-at-home mom to say, I have simply become burnt out. However, this year has been a learning process for me, and I believe God has shown me that I need to be more careful in what I sign up for, so to speak. For instance, in our previous study, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, (Moody Press, 2001) we covered an entire chapter on priorities. There are two sentences that I highlighted and starred for myself in the book. First, Nancy says, “The frustration comes when I attempt to take on responsibilities that are not on His agenda for me.” And second, “What God has called you to do as a mother with three toddlers [or in my personal case one toddler and two older children] will not be the same as the ‘job description’ He has for your husband, or for a single, young woman or an empty nester.” I will confess that when I started this website ministry a little over a year ago I was excited about the release of my book and kept trying to determine the vision in ministry that God wanted me to take. I think I was a little too gung ho about jumping in without considering how much time it would actually require. Last fall, I started teaching a Ladies’ Sunday school Class, helped lead a 12 week Beth Moore Bible Study, had a couple of speaking engagements lined up that I had to prepare for (I had never spoken before and used to hyperventilate when giving presentations in college!) and had to proof and re-proof my book as it was not released until November.

By January, I was getting tired, and by March (after not having missed a Sunday of teaching) I was feeling the signs of burn out. I had not considered how much time (other than lesson preparation) would go into teaching a class. My house was a mess and I did not feel that I was good at anything because I had spread myself too thin. In retrospect, I had not set proper boundaries in my life and I began to question my motives. What was God’s will for my life and ministry? I was certain that is wasn’t to be stressed out and cranky with my immediate family. Yes, we need to serve within the Body of Christ, but God wants us to take care of our husbands, children, and parents (when the time comes). I have felt guilty because last year I spent much more time praying and reading the Bible with my children. This year, however, I have been putting the spiritual needs of others first. I have been reevaluating my priorities and asking God what He wants me to do in ministry. I feel strongly that a commitment on a weekly basis is not something that I can continue and have therefore told the ladies in my class that I will not be teaching in the fall. I love each of them dearly and have really enjoyed teaching. I have no doubt that God has used it to help me grow this year, but He has also taught me a lesson in boundaries and priorities. He has shown me that I need to “Be Here Now!”

A week or so ago, I awoke to my alarm clock playing an old Billy Joel song – “The Times To Remember.” I had not heard that song in ages and as I lied there in the bed, still groggy, I just listened to the words. My heart began to beat faster as I became very aware of what he was saying. As the beautiful melody played, I heard these words over and over:

“These are the times to remember
Cause it will not last forever.
These are the days to hold onto
Cause we won’t although we’ll want to.
This is the time, but time is going to change.
You’ve given me the best of you,
And now I need the rest of you.”

Good and awake now, I remembered “Be Here Now! Be Here Now! Be Here Now!” My oldest- my daughter Madison, just finished sixth grade. She would only be living in this house six more years before she goes to college. That’s not a long time. I suddenly realized that I need to do everything in my power to make sure that she is spiritually prepared for life; that she will make good choices, and she will know Jesus as her All in All. The same goes for my younger two boys, of course. I’m just beginning to feel the urgency with her as she is quickly becoming a young lady. She is no longer my little girl. Am I giving her my best? Am I giving anybody my best? Lately, I have felt pretty mediocre.

A very dear Christian lady that I love so much, recently told me that this is the most important job I will ever have – being a wife and mother. That resonated with me as well.

Now, having said all that; please don’t misunderstand me. I am not going to sit back and never serve again in any way. Galatians 5:9 reminds us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I am certainly not going to give up. I will continue to post on this website, although I do plan to enjoy the summer with my kids. While I can’t make up for this past year of not “being here,” I can “be here” this summer! I hope to devote more time to this website ministry again in the fall. I am also praying about how Comfort to Comfort Ministries can do some type of monthly outreach and I have some new ideas. Whatever the ministry becomes, whatever I do, I just want to make sure I’m listening to what God’s plans are for the ministry and for my life.

Life Applications

What about you? Have you ever felt overwhelmed with life? Who hasn’t? Maybe it’s time we women get back to basics and examine our priorities. Are we really putting our relationship with God first, then family, then others?

Lord, it’s so easy to get wrapped up with the busyness of life. As I’ve seen this past year, Lord, sometimes it’s the “good” things that can still distract us from what Your perfect will is for our life. Help me, Lord, to hear you clearly. Help me to find the personal, intimate time I need with you daily in order to hear Your direction for my life. I pray that from now on, Lord, I will seek Your will before I make commitments. Help me to remember that I only need to be concerned with pleasing You. There is such freedom in that! May I never grow weary of doing good; and doing my job (the job you have selected for me) to help further Your kingdom.

Key Scriptures

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1Timothy 5:8 (NIV)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 5:9 (NIV)

Copyright 2009 by Christy Long
All Rights Reserved. Comfort to Comfort Ministries.

"Comforsations" April 15, 2009

A Date to Remember

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that hey may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

April 15th is a date most of know as Tax Day. Each year at this time we must either send to Uncle Sam our income tax forms that have been prepared, or we must file an extension. Either way, this date is known as the deadline to file our taxes. There will always be a news segment of some kind probably showing the lines at your local post office for those who waited to mail them in at the last minute. However, for me April 15th will always be etched in my brain as the day my husband left me.
Nine years ago today he made the choice to leave our home and never made any attempt at reconciliation. I remember the weeks and especially the final week leading up to the actual separation; I was a nervous wreck. I was physically sick on my stomach as I worried about our marriage and the baby I was carrying inside of me. We had a daughter who was not quite three years old at the time and I was seven months pregnant with our second baby; a son, although we didn’t know at the time if the child was male or female. The tension had become so bad in our home that last week that I finally forced him to make a choice that morning. I couldn’t take it anymore…not knowing whether or not he wanted to stay in the marriage. He couldn’t give me an answer and somehow I just felt that he was trying to stay until after the baby was born. I believed he was planning to make his exit after things settled down.
All day on April 15th, I wondered what he would decide. Would he come back home and tell me he wanted to try to work things out, or would he stay away for good and simply come back for his things at a later time? It was a Saturday. I took my daughter and went to my parents’ house. We all went out for lunch at a Chinese buffet where again I continued to ponder the question – would he stay or would he go?
Later that evening as I talked on the phone with my husband, he informed me that he would not be coming back home. It’s hard to describe the emotion I felt at the time. Betrayed, devastated, sick, anger, relief??? Relief because of the terrible tension I had felt in the home. The tension would no longer be there, but it would soon be replaced with many other emotions…fear was definitely a big one. What was I going to do? How would I be able to stay there by myself? How could he choose to leave his children? They didn’t deserve this – to be part of a broken home. I never wanted to be divorced and have a “dysfunctional” family. Would I be alone the rest of my life? Who would ever want me with all of my baggage?
I’m afraid a Tax Day will never go by without remembering. Just like remembering the date of a family member’s death. After all, this was the death of our marriage. But it’s okay to remember. It was during this time that I learned to “cast all my anxiety on him,” and He absolutely did care for me. It hasn’t even been a complete decade since all of those things happened to me and it not only seems like a lifetime ago, but sometimes it even feels like it happened to someone else. God has been so good to me and He most certainly took care of me and provided for all my needs – not just physical needs, but also emotional and spiritual as well. He had a plan for my life and even though I couldn’t see it when things were dark, gloomy, and uncertain, he was working to fulfill a greater purpose and ultimately reveal His glory!
Looking back, however, I wish I had handled things much differently. 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” I’m afraid I wasn’t very humble in my situation. I felt that I was the victim in my circumstance and wanted everyone to know what happened because it wasn’t my fault! Of course, I was not and I will never be a perfect person. I made many mistakes in my first marriage and although I had wanted to work things out, I did not initially take responsibility for the role I had played in the failure of the marriage. I wish I had not slandered and talked too much about our situation to people who really didn’t need to know everything. God did “lift me up in due time” but I should have quietly allowed Him to do His work without getting in the way.
April 15th may bear a reminder of past scars, but today I am thanking and praising God that He has healed me. There is truly no more pain when these memories come to mind. If you read What’s Happening on my website, you will see that God has blessed me with a new life and a fun-filled Easter with family. I am now married to a wonderful man, have another child (that makes 3 children total!) and am thankful beyond words for what God has done. Hopefully, He will use me to comfort others who may be struggling with a similar circumstance. He most definitely cares for you!

Life Applications

Are you anxious today about something? Whatever it is, why not give it to God? No matter how large or small, He tells us to cast our anxiety on Him. Remember He cares for you!

If you are hurting now, or even holding on to past hurts, would you be willing to allow God to heal your heart?

Lord, today I am feeling anxious about _______, and I give it to you. I trust You to take care of this because it is too big for me and You alone are God. There is nothing too hard for you as Your Word says. Heal the hurts of my heart, Lord, as only You can. Take away my pain and bind up the wounds so that I only have the bittersweet scars to remind me of Your amazing love and Your powerful work in my life. I look forward to the date and time when You reveal Your glory!

Key Scriptures:

“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one;’” Romans 3:10 (NIV)

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)

“But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13 (NIV)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

Copyright 2009 by Christy Long.
All Rights Reserved. Comfort to Comfort Ministries

"Comforsations" February 27, 2009

Whom Shall I Fear?

“The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV)

Yesterday afternoon I had a somewhat frightening experience at my local Costco. I was on my cell with my mother and had pulled into a parking space actually fairly close to the entrance. As I opened the door and started getting out of my vehicle, a man on a bicycle approached me asking me if I could give him a little money. It startled me of course, and I immediately sat back down in the driver seat of my vehicle and locked the door. I put the keys back in the ignition and rolled the window partially down. As I said, he had caught me off guard and it had sounded as if he asked for thirty cents. I thought that was a little unusual, but I had some spare change in my drink cup holder, so I just grabbed two sticky quarters and handed them to him through the window. He then asked me, “Is this all you can spare?” to which I replied a firm, “Yes.” He then pointed to the pavement and asked me a question that for some reason I couldn’t comprehend. I later realized he was asking me if that was my card. I could not see what he was pointing to but I was afraid that it could have been a ploy to get me out of the vehicle. Then who knows what he might do…grab my purse, take my vehicle, or worse!
Surprisingly I was actually very calm throughout this whole situation. I had continued to stay on the phone with my mother. At least if he grabbed me, someone would know immediately! I attempted to start my car. I was going to get out of that parking space and drive away from him! Then, to my amazement, when I took hold of my keys in order to start the engine, the panic button began to go off and he quickly left. My attention then became focused on trying to stop that annoying sound. I looked up to see him already across the parking lot approaching another lady. As I got out of my vehicle, I saw my Costco membership card lying on the pavement beside my car. It must have fallen off my lap as I had started out the first time. Perhaps he was just trying to ask me if that was my card, but I was glad I didn’t take any chances. I went inside and told an employee to call the police and there was another customer making the same request.
Recounting what had just happened I couldn’t help but feel God’s presence with me. First, I didn’t panic. I felt calm; God was with me and He had provided my mom on the other end of the phone. I kept a level head and for some reason I wasn’t afraid. Next, it was a bright, sunny day in the middle of the afternoon. There were people around and I felt secure enough in my vehicle. Finally, I just have to believe that God caused that panic button to go off! Although I must have pressed it, I didn’t mean to touch it! I would love to take credit for keeping a cool head and being able to say that I thought of it myself, but I didn’t. I firmly believe that it was God’s way of protecting me yesterday. When that panic button started going off, it caused the enemy to flee!
As Christians, we can press our panic button at any time. Whom shall we fear? Joel 2:32 tells us that, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” What is it you’re afraid of today? What kind of circumstances are you dealing with that may be causing you to fear? Is it the economy, a job loss, an illness, a broken relationship? Whatever it might be, why not give it to God? He loves us more than we can imagine and He will take care of us! The Bible tells us, “What’s the price of two or three canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail – even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” Luke 12:7 (The Message)

"Comforsations" February 13, 2009

“Comforsation” Hearts

This time of year, as we approach Valentine’s Day, there is an abundance of Kay Jeweler commercials, Hallmark movies (love stories with perfect, happy endings), and perhaps the absolute worst commercial ever – the Pajama-Gram! Who can’t help but notice the sea of red cards, candy, and stuffed animals at their local Wal-Mart, Target, or even grocery store? I have a lot of single girlfriends and through them, I am reminded of what it felt like when I was single and didn’t have a “significant other” to celebrate with on this particular holiday. All those jewelry commercials and “perfect gift” segments even on the local news channel can be downright depressing. Is there really nothing more newsworthy to discuss than the perfect Valentine’s gift? So this Valentine’s weekend, the ladies in my Sunday school class are celebrating “Red Weekend” instead. Because for some, the V-word is a four letter word!
If you are struggling with this red holiday for lovers, I hope that you will take comfort in knowing that YOU are LOVED!!! In stuffing some Valentine treat bags for my son to give to his third grade class today, I noticed the tiny messages on the candy conversation hearts – “Be mine,” “Cutie Pie,” “Love me,” “My baby,” and “I hope.” It caused me to think about these little love statements in a different way – as little love messages from God who always loves us!
Be mine - God is our perfect Valentine. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

Cutie Pie – Have you ever thought that God thinks you’re cute? Well he does! In fact, He thinks you are beautiful! You are His wonderful creation (Psalm 139:14). “The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11 (NIV) Enthralled??? Really? Wow!!!

Love me – There are so many ways that God loves us; there are too many passages of Scripture to even mention that confirms His love for us! First, it’s hard to fathom just how much He loves us. “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV) God is love; love comes from God; God loves us! 1 John 4:7-10 pretty much puts it in a nutshell – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (NIV) Human relationships sadly do not always last; but Psalm 119:76 tells us that we can be comforted by God’s unfailing love “May your unfailing love be my comfort…” (NIV) and in Psalm 136 we can read over and over throughout the entire passage, “His love endures forever.” (NIV)

My baby – If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, and we have a relationship with Him, we are a child of God. We have been born again and we are God’s precious baby! “…That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ's family, then you are Abraham's famous ‘descendant,’ heirs according to the covenant promises.” Galations 3:28-29 (The Message) and, “…You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, ‘Papa! Father!’ Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.” Galations 4:7-10 (The Message)

I hope - Sometimes life does not go according to plan. If this is a difficult season in your life, I hope that you will take comfort by putting your hope in the Lord. Psalm 62:5 says, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” (NIV) “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
God is faithful and He does keep his promises!

One last thing…when you notice that sea of red, think about the blood of Jesus that was shed because of HIS love for YOU. (John 3:16) There is no better Valentine!

Copyright 2009 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.
Comfort to Comfort Ministries

"Comforsations" September 19, 2008

How Much Longer?

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

This has been a difficult week for so many of my Christian brothers and sisters. Some have experienced the death of a loved one; some were expecting it, others were taken by complete surprise. Some are spending final days with a parent battling cancer, some are dealing with the shock and pain of a marriage falling apart, some are in the actual process of separation/divorce which is never easy and many times can get downright ugly; and still, others are trying to heal from the heartbreak and disappointment of a divorce that has already occurred. I know of parents who are watching their five-year-old daughter go through chemo and are praying that she will be a survivor. Many people in our city lost their jobs last week as a major company downsized, and others fear what will happen to their stocks as our nation has watched the collapse of several major banks and corporations. How many families lost their homes last weekend as they were swept out to sea in the Gulf Coast of Texas and are still without power and water? It is just plain depressing to watch the news! How many of us just want to cry out, “How much longer???!!!”
My family went on a couple of trips this summer and I wish I had a dollar for every time one of my kids asked, “How much longer?” One trip in particular, we were on a long flight which was by far the worst part of the trip. My older two asked many times, “How much longer?” and if my two-year-old could have, I’m sure he would have asked the same question at least a hundred times! Finally, within the last 30 minutes or so of the flight, he had a meltdown! It was as if he just couldn’t take it anymore, and quite frankly I was beginning to feel that way myself! He cried and cried and cried! Nothing could calm him down. We tried to reason with him that we were almost there and would be on the ground soon. It would all be over in just a little while and we were going to have so much fun at our destination! Of course, it did very little to satisfy him because he was only concerned with his immediate situation. He couldn’t see past his present discomfort.
I wonder how many times we appear as little children to our Heavenly Father. We are so consumed with our present suffering that we are unable to see past it. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 Take comfort in the expectation of his glory revealed! Trust that whatever trial you may be going through, He will use it for His glory! God’s plans are always better than our plans. He will “restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” When we are tempted to cry out, “Lord, how much longer?!” we can be assured that whatever journey we are on, be it long or short, and no matter how uncomfortable, the destination of His glory will far outweigh our pain in the process.

Heavenly Father, I surrender all of my trials and painful sufferings to you. I pray also for all of my brothers and sisters who are undergoing struggles of their own. Through your Holy Spirit, help us to handle them in a Christ-like way. Give us the patience and strength we need each day until the season of suffering is over and we can finally see Your glorious plan revealed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Life Applications:

Spend some time in God’s Word today reading His promises to you. Perhaps read through some Psalms. There is no human emotion that is not mentioned in the Psalms.

Talk honestly to God about your situation. He knows each of us intimately and He wants us to take our burdens to Him. See also 1 Peter 5:7.

How can you be a blessing to someone else by comforting them with the comfort you have received?

Key Scriptures:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Copyright 2008 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.
Comfort to Comfort Ministries

"Comforsations" July 9, 2008

The Comfort of Jesus – Part Two

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you’re going through a difficult season in life, do you ever ask, “Why?”, “Why me, Lord?”, “Why am I having to go through this?”
I believe the second part of this verse provides an answer to those tough questions. Though life seems unfair at the time, God will use these journeys in our valleys for His good – to grow us stronger in our faith, to teach us to trust Him more, and finally, so that we may comfort others!
Again quoting from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, “Past experiences encourage faith and hope, and lay us under obligation to trust in God for time to come. And it is our duty, not only to help one another with prayer, but in praise and thanksgiving, and thereby to make suitable returns for benefits received. Thus both trials and mercies will end in good to ourselves and others.”1
Our faith and hope grow when we see God work in our lives. He becomes very real to us when we experience firsthand His taking care of us in the midst of whatever we may be going through. I once read a church sign several years ago when I was going through a rough time. It said, “When God is all you have, God is all you need.” It is true - He is enough!
Once we see His faithfulness and His goodness, we learn to trust Him the next time. When we may have before worried over a situation, we can now wait on the Lord to follow through again. He wants us to trust Him; He is delighted when we have faith! I am reminded of the old hymn “‘Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus”:

“’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise; Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!”2

Finally, once we have experienced His comfort and His goodness, it becomes our duty to pass it on! We are called as Christians to help one another by interceding in prayer, speaking encouraging words, and carrying each other’s burdens. Allow God to use you to encourage someone else, thereby bringing good out of your suffering. Take comfort in knowing He does not allow us to suffer without using each of us for a greater purpose!

Heavenly Father, help me to have a deeper, stronger faith in You and Your promises. Help me to learn to trust You more each day. Use my struggles for Your glory and Your purpose. Show me, Lord, how I may comfort others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Life Applications:

If you’re going through a trial right now, ask God what He is trying to teach you through this process.

Write down some of the ways God has provided for you or taken care of past situations in your life. Perhaps keep a prayer journal, listing prayer requests with prayers answered as well as unanswered. Sometimes God’s best for us is choosing not to answer the way we might expect.

How can you be a blessing to someone else by comforting them with the comfort you have received?

Key Scriptures:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3 (NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

1) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Bible Explorer 4 Limited Edition CD-ROM, WORDsearch Corp., Austin, TX, www.WORDsearchBible.com
2) Copyright, 1882 and 1910, by Wm. J. Kirkpatrick. Hope Publishing Co., owner.

Copyright 2008 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.
Comfort to Comfort Ministries

"Comforsations" June 30, 2008

The Comfort of Jesus – Part One

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Since this is my first “Comforsations” message, it seems appropriate to begin with this verse. After all, this is the verse this website was “founded” on and reflects the entire mission of this website ministry – to comfort others with the message of hope that God is faithful to work all things for good no matter what our circumstances; and that we can experience true love, healing, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. It is my hope and my prayer that women going through a trial, whether it be a separation, divorce, a troubled marriage, the death of a loved one, an illness, or anything else causing pain or suffering, that they would experience the love and comfort of Jesus. There is absolutely nothing or no one else on this earth that is able to give us peace, healing, hope, and even joy if we allow Him to do so.
The Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says of these verses, “It is our Saviour who says, Let not your heart be troubled. All comforts come from God, and our sweetest comforts are in Him. He speaks peace to souls by granting the free remission of sins; and he comforts them by the enlivening influences of the Holy Spirit, and by the rich mercies of his grace. He is able to bind up the broken-hearted, to heal the most painful wounds, and also to give hope and joy under the heaviest sorrows.”1 First, do you know God as your Abba, Father? No matter what kind of relationship you have had with your earthly father, there is a Heavenly Father who loves you more than anything. We can take all of our hurts to Him and as the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”, he will lovingly calm our fears, speak consoling words through His Word – the Bible, and give us His healing touch in the midst of our deepest heartaches.
Second, we can also experience peace in all circumstances through Jesus. If we know Him as our personal Savior, He has paid the price for our sins, and we have the assurance of being with Him in eternity. There is no greater peace than that! Jesus himself speaks also of the peace we can know through the Holy Spirit in John 14:26-27. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy
Spirit and guide you in your circumstances. Look to Him for comfort, peace and security rather than things in the world.
Next, surrender your broken heart to the God of all comfort, the only One who can put it back together. Imagine God wrapping your wounded heart with a large heavenly band-aid, giving you a loving hug and a gentle smile, saying, “My child, I will make it all better.” It may take some time, but if we allow God to heal it, He will do it. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Finally, have faith in knowing that God will do what He says He will do. His Word is true and He will take care of you. For this we can have hope. If we obey His Word and put our hope in the Lord we can be certain that He will bring joy to our lives. There should be joy alone in knowing Jesus as our Savior; but think how much more joy we will have if we allow Him to comfort us in our troubles.

Key Scriptures:

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

“When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.” Psalm 94:19 (The Message)

1) Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, Bible Explorer 4 Limited Edition CD-ROM, WORDsearch Corp., Austin, TX, www.WORDsearchBible.com

Copyright 2008 by Christy Long. All rights reserved.
Comfort to Comfort Ministries

My Testimony

I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and was raised in the Moravian Church. I was christened as a baby, and went through Confirmation around age 11 or 12. I was involved in my youth group during high school, but college was a different story. It was not good for my "spiritual health." I'm not really sure of my salvation during my young adulthood. I had always believed in Jesus, but I had certainly gotten off the right path and I seriously doubt that I had a personal relationship with Him. Psalm 66:18 says, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened," thereby not hearing our prayers. Even if I had accepted Christ at a young age, I have no doubt that the sin in my life had caused a barrier to that relationship with Jesus during this time in my life.

In June 1995, I married my first husband and gradually began growing in my faith at my husband's church - it was a Baptist Church. It took me a long time to join because of was fearful about being baptized. Finally, in 1999, we had an interim pastor, an older gentleman, Pastor Ray. I will describe him as an old timey Baptist preacher and I just fell in love with him! He did a study on the Book of Revelation on Wednesday evenings and we started going to church on Wednesday nights. I really began to have a hunger for the Word and by that summer I told him I wanted him to baptize me before he left. I know for sure at that point I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ - not merely because of the baptism, but because of the change in my life.

Actually, June of 1999, is also significant because that's when my marriage started to fall apart, only I didn't realize it yet. Satan was lurking around like a lion ready to pounce.

The next fall I became pregnant with our second child, but by January 2000, it was evident my marriage was in trouble. Even though we went for counseling, my husband left me that year when I was 7 months pregnant. Our daughter, Madison, was 2 1/2 years old. I was devastated. I was sick on my stomach all the time, I couldn't sleep, and I was a nervous wreck. My nerves were so bad that when I would get in the bed at night I would just lie in a fetal position and shake. My mom said, "Why don't you just ask Jesus to wrap His arms around you?" So I tried it - and guess what? It worked! I would imagine that He was holding me in His arms and it really helped to calm my nerves so that I could go to sleep. I truly felt His comfort!

I had a lot of questions during this time. A very dear friend of mine was going through in vitro fertilization and was unsuccessful. We would have lunch together almost every day and talk each other through our situations. I was so disappointed for them and I wondered why God would choose to make me pregnant instead of my friend, and He laid this verse on my heart:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb...When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16(NIV)

God had a plan for my baby, and He had a plan for me too. I held onto that and I was comforted by the fact that God does not make mistakes!

I could not understand why God did not answer my prayers to save my marriage. I clung to Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." For my good! He had something better for me. God hates divorce, but he knew my heart and He knew that I had tried to save my marriage so He took care of me. He became my Great Provider. I was trusting Him to supply all my needs. "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19(NIV)

I was also terribly insecure and afraid of being alone. I was actually seeing someone who was not a Christian and at the same time I had gotten involved in a Bible Fellowship class at the new church I had joined and was continuing to grow. I was being convicted because the crowd I was hanging out with on Saturday night was not the same crowd I hung out with on Sunday morning.

About this time, our Bible Fellowship lesson was on Insecurity. It was on the Book of Ruth. Ruth was obedient and a woman of noble character - God took care of her and used her in a much greater plan. It helped me to see that I needed to trust the emotional area of my life to God as well, so I broke it off with the fellow I was seeing and started focusing more on important things like my children.

Next June, I went to Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina, with my parents and my children. One morning during our vacation my dad showed me a verse that he had read. I feel like it's my life verse because I believed it for myself and God has restored my life again.

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again." Psalm 72:20-21(NIV) (Emphasis mine)

I remember that week walking on the beach talking to God and just basically turning my life over to Him - whatever His will was for me, I was okay with it. Less than a month after this happened, He brought Mark (my current husband) back into my life. Mark had been through similar circumstances and we dated for a long time when we were very young. I was the first girl he ever kissed! Little did I know what God had in mind! The Great Comforter has completely healed my heart.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3