Saturday, May 16, 2009

Are You Suffering Because Of Your Faith?

Years ago I use to listen to pastor Leo Giovinetti on Calvary Sattelite Network. Here is an article I ran across recently that I thought would bless readers.

Are you suffering because of your faith? Are you getting beaten up and put down because you're trying to live differently - because you're trying to live for God? Jesus said: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." Matthew 5:10-12

Are you suffering great things because you're serving God? God's chosen vessels must suffer. Why? Because it's the only way those watching you will believe your testimony. It's the only way the world will believe that salvation is real. All of God's chosen vessels will suffer. But great is your reward!

Look, I'll bet you'd invite several people to church every week if you got $10 million to do it. Who wouldn't? But what if you get stomped on and tromped on and beaten up instead? Would you still serve the Lord? Would you serve Him with joy? If you do, people will want to know why. When people see the glory of the Lord in your life, they want a part of it - even if it involves suffering.

Look at Paul. Except for Jesus, I don't believe there was ever anyone who suffered more for the Gospel than Paul. But I want you to understand, Paul knew what he was going to suffer before he got started in ministry.

The Lord told Ananias: "He (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." Acts 9:15-16

What did Paul have to suffer? He tells us: "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 2 Corinthians 11:25-28

Paul knew the extreme hardships were good for spreading the Gospel. He wrote: "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." Philippians 1:12-14

And Paul knew the rewards: lives changed, souls saved for Jesus, and crowns of glory in heaven: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8

What about you? Are you suffering because you're serving, or are you suffering because God's trying to get your attention? If you are serving, the enemy will do all he can to discourage you and stop you from serving. But if you continue on in the face of suffering, those you are serving will notice that you serve because you love the Lord. You will be a witness, they will be blessed, and God will be glorified.

How do you start serving? Begin every day by reading your Bible. That's how a servant of the Lord gets his orders for the day. Read your Bible every day. Let God speak to your heart through His word. Read your Bible everyday and draw closer to Jesus