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No Pain No Gain.

To gain in life, to gain in the eyes of God, requires you endure the pain of sacrifice. You will gain nothing if you do not exert yourself to the point of sacrificial pain. If, in the ministry of your life, you are not gaining from pain through sacrifice, then a radical restructuring and rethinking is in order. Too often in the faith we take the path of least resistance. Too often, we try to avoid painful circumstances at all costs. The early martyrs died horrible deaths because they believed that no price was too great when it came to serving our Lord.

Willing To Pay A Lesser Price

There is a wind blowing across humanity and in this wind is a great testing of your faith. The last one hundred years have seen those of us in the faith stand by and not speak up or speak out enough about the darkness, evil, and wrongs that plague our communities and our world. We have fought with each other over differences that we think are important to us but these differences are probably meaningless in the eyes of God. If you are not willing to sacrifice all that you have and all that you are for our Lord, what does He think of you?

A Call To Sacrifice

We are pampered and have become too accustomed to luxuries. Make no mistake, this is not a call to poverty, but it is a call to each of us to be willing to undergo poverty to serve our Savior. What would you give to keep a boy or girl out of prison? What would you give to keep a boy or girl off drugs? What would you give to save the literal life of a young person vulnerable to gang warfare and gang death? These are the stakes of your faith. These are the reasons why you are to sacrifice, to sweat, to endure, and to persist in the faith.

We Are All Called To Personal Ministry

Christ calls each person who accepts Him to turn towards Him and turn away from the world. In this turning process, He calls every person to engage in some kind of personal ministry. Christ calls a few people to be formal ministers or clergy the church. God calls everyone else to a personal ministry in a less formal way in his or her life. If you do not live your life like other persons lives depend upon it, then you do not understand the stakes with which we all deal.

You Are Critical To God's Plan

You must fully realize that you are not just a little cog in a big wheel, but you are the main drive shaft in the lives of thousands. We all connect to thousands and then hundreds of thousands of persons throughout our lifetimes. That connection to others must never, never be taken for granted. This connection must be used to further Christ's work in this world. Living a godly and devout life is a great starting point, but it is not enough. It is not enough to be just a showpiece for Christ. What is required is that you directly witness by how you act and who you are. In this world, people are starving for the love of God yet they are also trying to run away from it. They look in every dark and terrible place to run away from the truth of their starvation.

Your Personal Ministry

In conducting your personal ministry throughout your life, your focus must always be upon others rather than yourself. The death of Christ on the Cross should turn all of us inside out in contrition and sorrow to such an extent that we forget about ourselves. You live in an "I, me, and mine" world. Millions of people in the U.S. and all the other industrialized nations have grown up to believe the whole world circulates around them and that the world owes them something. This kind of thinking, attitude, and belief system is in grievous error. The fact is the world does not owe you anything. Other people do not owe you anything. The truth is that you owe the world, you owe others, and most of all you owe Christ. You owe a dying and starving world your service as a person redeemed and made new. The world is dying and you owe the world yourself to help the world find what you have found in Christ. You owe the world your service as a Christian worker or minister. If you turn your back on the world or turn your back upon others then you have not received the gospel truth of Christ in your heart. You owe Christ, although He has erased any indebtedness you could ever pay Him, you at least owe Him your love, dedication, and if necessary, your life.

If You Love Christ

If you love Christ enough, then no amount of pain is too great a price to serve Him. No amount of poverty or hardship is too great a price to be His true servant and child. We must all remember that suffering for the work of Christ is the noblest endeavor of life. No other act surpasses your willingness to sacrifice and suffer for Christ. Although He understands why you do what you do, His understanding is no excuse to ignore the labor He has for you. To say that you do not know what it is that God wants you to do in your life is a poor excuse for doing nothing and winds up in your doing nothing.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

Worship

Worship should be a time of restoration and refilling of energies. Each day you need to spend some time in worship and adoration of our blessed Savior. Each day these energies restored in you help you fulfill the Lord's destination for your life.

You Can Change The World

Every day the Lord has a job for you to do, people for you to meet, an outreach effort for you to make, or some other form of service to Him. The Lord gives you an opportunity to change the world every day that you live. This is not flowery language full of puff and fluff. Each person, in just his or her prayer life alone, can change the course of history. We do not see how important our work is because the Lord has kept that importance hidden from us, probably to keep our inflated egos in check. Do you think the Lord does not hear and then act upon the prayer of a child to protect a parent who might otherwise be in danger?

Ordered By God

We say we are "called" by the Lord. We refer to the Lord "calling" us in describing the activity involving us in our daily life ministries. The facts are that God does not really "call" people. He orders us. However, we live and work like God called us on the telephone and suggested we engage in some kind of hobby related to doing His work. The truth is that God has given us orders to serve Him. Because the Lord has given us free will, and a lot of it, we have the option of not following His orders. If we look at how those of us inside the faith live our lives it as if God and our service to Him is just one of many lifestyles. Christian faith is not a lifestyle; it is a way of being that extends to every minute of our lives.

Acts 27:23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, `Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island." (NIV)  

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2009 by Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
All content is presented on behalf of Shepherd’s Care Ministries. Shepherd's Care Ministries reserves no right or claim upon content.

Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018