Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2,3
The apostle Paul suffered through trials, tests and unbelievable circumstances to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For most today, spiritual warfare is driving to church in the rain or arguing with the kids on Sunday morning. There are not many who have suffered for the cross of Christ as much as the early believers and Paul experienced hardship beyond belief.
Five times he received the often times deadly thirty nine stripes delivered by the Jews, imprisoned, beaten three times, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked three times, snake bit and suffered a multitude of other various perils, all for the name of Jesus! This man was responsible for giving the gospel to the Gentiles and founding churches all across the land from Jerusalem to Rome and ended up in prison, eventually executed for his faith in Christ. If this wasn't enough he penned most of the New Testament scriptures.
Paul's life and the lives of those who gave all for the gospel is a far cry from the false prophets of today, begging for money and promising the blessings of God to gullible people if they will give to their ministry. Just this week alone one such prosperity preacher is asking for 200,000 people to give $300.00 each so he can buy a sixty five million dollar jet to go and preach a perverted gospel. I wonder what those who have given all, even their very lives for the gospel of Christ would have to say about that? May God have mercy!
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12,13
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin