Ask yourself this question, "What have I suffered for God lately?"
- Our sufferings are so light in comparison to Paul's and his are light in compare to the sufferings of Christ. How do their sufferings encourage you in your sufferings today?
- How do difficulties make us more like Christ?
- Is it worth it for you to suffer like Jesus did? And why is that true?
00:06 I get to see some of the most amazing stories in the world. I've got some of the greatest friends. Today I want to tell you about probably every one of these people's hero that I look up to in their hero is Jesus for sure, and then a guy named Paul. What an authentic guy he is as he writes these letters. In Second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 24-27, Paul reveals what he had to go through to become a hero to so many of us. He says this in verse 24, "five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one, three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a day and a night in the deep, in the ocean sea. I've been constantly on the move. I've been in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, and danger from my own countrymen, in danger from the gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and I've gone often nights without sleep. I've known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I've been cold, and I've been naked." Man, the devotional today is called Mt Perspective. If you want to climb up on top of mount perspective and get a real honest view of just how fortunate that you and are really are, read about a guy like Paul and ask yourself this question, "what have I suffered for God lately? What have I sacrificed for Jesus that really cost me something? I remember my little teenage friend Jennifer, who told her boyfriend that their relationship, even though he was just a superstar in the high school, that their relationship would have to be pure or there wouldn't be a relationship between them at all. She told me that she was ready to sacrifice everything if it was necessary because the relationship wasn't right before God. She said if not God would have something better for her later on.
02:17 I'll never forget my young friend Robert, who gave not 10%, but 50% of his entire savings account to the starving kids of a nearby third world country as an offering to God. He didn't think twice when God told him in his heart that it was the right thing to do; if Jesus could give it all for him, he said, he can give it all for Jesus. And I have an adult friend that I admire so much, who every dollar he makes, he gives 50 cents of that dollar to people in need in this world. And I know everybody can't do that, but don't you love it when you see people sacrifice? I remember one night on one of my Saturday teen call-in radio shows, when somebody named Lola called in just rejoicing over a campaign to get a thousand of her friends in New York City to wear "pray to Jesus" tee shirts to school. She did it. She got it done. You know, they probably got laughed at. They were probably ridiculed. They probably won't lose any sleep over the jeers, because compared to Paul's suffering, a few snide remarks, don't really cause too much concern, do they? There been more Christians martyred in the century we just finished, the 20th century, than in all of Christian history combined. Murdered, watch their family members taken from them for life, the persecution of Christians around this world is unreal today; but the crown of life that those dear saints will receive when they instantly arrive in Heaven after they are killed for their faith will make it far more than well worth the sorrow of saying goodbye to this earth in death.
04:08 And here's the questions for today. Our sufferings are so light in comparison to Paul's and his are light in compare to the sufferings of Christ. How do their sufferings encourage you in your sufferings today? And then the second question is this: First Peter Chapter 1 in verse 6 and 7 says that our sacrifices and our sufferings actually purify us, like gold is purified. How do difficulties make us more like Christ? And then the last question is this: is it worth it to you, thinking about the crowns in heaven that we get to lay at Jesus' feet, is it worth it for you to suffer like Jesus did? And why is that true? And then the lifeline for today is this: Considered it all joy, James says, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.