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To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isa 61:3, John 6:37)
David T Battler
Courage friend, do not stumble
Though your path is dark as night
There’s a Star to guide the humble
Trust in God and look for Light
Maybe the road is long and dreary
and it’s ending out of sight
Foot it bravely, if even teary
Trust in God and look for Light
Tangled in doctrine and the sinning
Away with all that fears The Light
Whether losing, whether winning
Trust in God and look for Light
Some will see your life as very wrong
They tend to flatter, lie or slight
Through all that dims in your new song
Search the clouds and look for Light
So this simple rule I send your way
for your inward peace and inner Light
Sent in a heartbeat while I pray
that what you find will make it right
by David T Battler
(copyright 2019, all rights reserved worldwide)
“To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isa 61:3 AMP)
How important is it to seek and to experience God’s comfort?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God. (2 Cor 1:3-4, AMP)
As we move into the New Year, 2021, fraught with challenges and trials; let us recall that this same comfort of God is available to anyone who needs it, and is open to it.
For just as Christ’s [own] sufferings fall to our lot [as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.
But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted (consoled and encouraged), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement), which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo. (2 Cor 1:5-6, AMP).
This is why The Psalmist has referred to God’s comfort as “a very present help in trouble.” (Psalms 46:1).
And [my personal] hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. (2 Cor 1:7, KJV)
All who take part in sufferings for Christ are certain to be rewarded. Consolation here means the grace, strength, and deliverance that Christ gives to His servants (Luke 9:23-24).
Fortunately for us, the same wonderful promise of comfort/consolation is repeated often in the Bible: (e.g., Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17; 1 Pet 4:13).
Paul had a radically different view of suffering. Suffering—especially trials and discomfort associated with the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom—is God’s way of allowing Christians to become more like Jesus, to suffer for the gospel just as Jesus suffered for it (Philippians 1:29; Philippians 3:10). Peter agreed with Paul: Christians should rejoice when they suffer, for in their own suffering they will in some small way experience what it meant for Jesus to suffer for their sins (1 Pet 4:12-13).
In addition to drawing people closer to Christ, suffering can also help them grow in their faith. God uses suffering to improve his people and shape them into better Christians. In fact, suffering should be thought of as the necessary pain that accompanies spiritual growth. In Romans, Paul noted that suffering produces perseverance, which, in turn produces Christian character (Rom 5:3-4; see also James 1:3-4; 2 Pet 1:6; Rev 2:2, Rev 2:19).
This passage highlights another benefit to suffering: It teaches the sufferer how to encourage others who are also suffering. And that is why we can go into this New Year with praise on our lips for all “His wonderful works towards the children of men” (Psalms 66:5, Psalms 107:8, Psalms 107:15, Psalms 107:21, Psalms 107:31).
Here are a few notes from The Preacher’s Homiletical Commentary for those who would appreciate the extra study notes:
THE SIGNS OF A TRUE MINISTRY
Isa 61:1-3. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
This word, in all the beauty and grace of its meaning, was fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ; yet it may be regarded as setting forth the signs of a true service for the Kingdom of God, whether rendered by an individual labourer or by the Church in its collective capacity. Looked at in this light, the text becomes solemn as a judgment-seat, and terrible as the vision of God. It declares—
I. THAT THE TRUE MINISTRY IS ALWAYS INSPIRED AND DIRECTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
That our service may be animated by the Holy Spirit, and should express Divine ideas and purposes, is clear, from the consideration that ours is not an earthly ministry contemplating earthly matters. In working out religious ideas and Christian purposes, it is not the man who has the longest head that can always do the most good; it is the man who says—and says in reverence and humility—“I am but a vessel, an instrument, an agent; I am not the master, I am but a servant; Lord God, be thou my inspiration, my strength, and the completeness of my power!” (1 Cor 2:14). Our service at home, in the school,ought to be more intensely spiritual. Spiritual character, vitality, will exercise a subtle influence, intensify, and extend. Have we the Holy Spirit?
II. THAT THE TRUE MINISTRY IS ANIMATED BY THE SUBLIMEST BENEVOLENCE.
Throughout the statement of the prophet, there is a tone of kindliness, benevolence, sympathy, gentleness, pity for all human sorrow. The keynote of the Gospel is joy; the watchword of the Gospel is liberty. A ministry that interprets human sorrow downward is not of God 
 The great appeal which Christianity makes to the world is this:—“I come to make human life freer, grander, purer; I come to open worlds in which human life can be more perfectly developed; I come to set man towards man in the relation of brother towards brother; to break the chains of human captivity; to dispel intellectual and moral darkness, and to bring in an unending summer day:” and any religion that comes with a profession of that kind, even were it nothing more, will, primâ facie, demand to be heard as possibly for God.—Dr. Parker.
III. THAT THE TRUE MINISTRY, WHETHER PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, NEVER SHRINKS FROM ITS MORE AWFUL FUNCTIONS (Isa 61:2).
Without a day of vengeance human history would not be merely poetically incomplete, but morally imperfect. All trampled rights demand a day of vengeance. Peace is impossible so long as impurity is in existence. The day of vengeance will be spiritual 
 You cannot beat a man with rods, and cause him to suffer to the utmost extremity of his capability; you cannot whip a man with cords till you have whipped him enough: every man must be his own scourge. The Spirit of God must be so revealed in a man that he will see himself as he really is, and pronounce his own sentence upon himself, so that he shall turn himself away from heaven, and from life, and from God, and from saints, and say, “Yes, it is right; I ought not to be there.” When a man gives way so, when his heart collapses, when he says to God, “Yes, I am visited with Thy judgments: they are right and true altogether,” that is the day of vengeance.—Dr. Parker.
APPLICATION—Let us often stand before this text as before a judgment-seat. Have we the Holy Ghost, or is ours but a feeble testimony we have learnt from teachers that have no claim to Divine inspiration? Are we a joy to all that mourn, &c.? are we a terror to evil-doers, &c.?—Joseph Parker, D.D., City Temple, pp. 397–404.
THE DIVINE PREACHER “Of whom saith the prophet this?”
I. THE SPEAKER. Doubtless Isaiah was called to comfort the exiles in Babylon, But this language is too elevated to apply to him. The speaker is “the servant of Jehovah,” the Messiah. Jesus, when at Nazareth, appropriated the words to Himself (Luk 4:28, &c.) Though to all appearance a poor, unlettered peasant, Jesus was appointed to fulfil so high a function. What an evidence of His divinity!
II. IN WHOSE NAME AND WITH WHAT AUTHORITY DOES HE SPEAK? 1. The qualification. The Spirit was given without measure—the Spirit of wisdom, of compassion, of help. 2. The commission. The Lord “anointed Him.” Approved, sanctioned, prospered by the Lord, He must needs possess the attractiveness and the authority ascribed to Him. This is the explanation of His incomparable power.
III. TO WHOM DOES HE SPEAK? To the meek, &c. IV. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE MESSAGE Good tidings, &c. 1. Of the Father’s interest and care. 2. Of His purpose of salvation. 3. Of redemption, as expressing and carrying out Divine intentions of grace. 4. Of spiritual riches, which the poor of this world might possess. 5. Of everlasting life and happiness.
APPLICATION.—1. Accept Christ’s offers of grace! 2. Publish the compassion of this Divine Messiah!—The Homiletical Library, vol. ii. pp. 123, 124.
I. The moral disease—broken-heartedness.
By the broken-hearted, I understand those who, in the language of Scripture, “sorrow after a godly sort;” whose grief is occasioned by sin, in some one of its endlessly varied forms. It may be best understood by a reference to one or two examples—presenting it in its causes, and in its effects and outward features. Brokenness of heart is often the result—1. Of the presence of guilt upon the conscience (Psa 32:3-4; Psa 38:1-8). 2. Of a continued feeling of sin, in its strength in the nature (Rom 7:23-24). 3. Of God’s dealings with the soul, in order to recover it from backsliding (Psalms 51; Jer 31:18-19). 4. Of seeing sin prevailing in the Church, and among the people of God (Jer 23:9). 5. Of a season of desertion (Psa 77:1-9). 6. Of the reproaches, and calumnies, and persecutions of the wicked (Psa 69:20). If broken-hearted, is it through the sorrow of this life, or sin?
II. The Physician. 1. The sympathy which leads to the healing of the broken-hearted is with God. There are other comforters. 2. He who has come to heal is peculiarly qualified, by His nature and by His experience, for sympathising with the afflicted—the Spirit, the “Comforter.” 3. The balm which the Physician applies differs according to the different causes of brokenness of heart. (1.) If unpardoned guilt—the blood and righteousness of Christ (Heb 9:14). (2.) If unsubdued sin—grace, and strength, and purity, secured in the covenant (Eze 36:25). (3.) If backsliding—the tokens of reconciliation (Luk 15:22-24). (4,) If desertion and darkness—support of faith (Isa 1:10), restoration of God’s presence. (5.) If prevailing iniquity—the Sovereignty of God. He can vindicate His glory. He will yet do so.
We rightly seek the Comfort of God, the Comfort of the scriptures, when we seek it to be able to share it with others:
1/ Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
2/ 2Co 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
God of All Comfort
2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Co 1:5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
2Co 1:6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
3/ Mat 5:15 Neither do people light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.