May 14
Trials and Triumphs of Christian Ministry
2 Corinthians 4:5-18

Key Verse: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Exalt Jesus and never become comfortable with the spotlight upon yourself. That was one of Paul's secrets and one pastors cannot afford to ignore. Paul preached Christ. We must preach Christ.

John Wesley said to his preachers, "Offer them Christ!" That is what we must do if we are to realize the results God desires from our preaching.

We are not to preach ourselves for the best of us is but a weak vessel. Strangely, though, when we lift up Christ in spite of our weaknesses, God is able to use us in powerful ways. He is able to gain glory from our weaknesses, even our suffering.

All of us have afflictions as Paul did. But Paul did not turn back from his mission because of opposition and persecution. He refused to be defeated. He offered his suffering as a sacrifice to God and pressed on to share Christ with all who would listen.

Underline Paul's words in your Bible and post them on the billboard of your heart: "we do not lose heart." When discouragement came knocking on Paul's door, he refused it admittance and praised God instead.

Paul had "a thorn in the flesh." Scholars have argued for centuries about what Paul's problem was. The truth is, it does not matter. Whatever it was, Paul endured it. Like the Timex watch, he took each licking and kept on ticking -- and for no other purpose than to lift up Jesus Christ.

If you have a problem that might be called "a thorn in the flesh," then rejoice, for you are a normal member of the human race. Spare yourself the thought that you have it worse than anyone else. Self-pity is a dead-end street. Don't go there.

Instead, reach down and get hold of enough grace to hold on and honor Christ in spite of your suffering. Refuse to lose heart. Exalt Jesus Christ in any way you can, and press on. Take your eyes off what you can see and rejoice because "what is unseen is eternal," and it is the only thing that lasts forever.

Keep saying "He is able" until you truly believe it, and allow God to help you rise above every obstacle in your path. And, believe me, He is able!