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June 11 Think of Christ’s suffering

June 11 He 12.3 Think of himHeb 12:3 “Think*~  of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.”

Discouragement is inevitable for anyone who wants to serve the Lord. Families will not understand.

Acquaintances will think you are crazy. You might be accused of being a proselytizer, a fanatic, a heretic, a bigot, or worse. It is not easy to stay faithful.

In April 2007 in Malatya, Turkey, five Muslims attended an Easter service pretending to be “seekers” and agreed to meet with a missionary named Tilman Geske and two converted Muslim believers, Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel, to discuss Christianity. They entered the room and assaulted the Christians, tied them to chairs, and then tortured them for more than two hours, stabbing each of them more than a hundred times and finally slitting each of their throats. When hearing of her husband’s fate, Tilman’s wife responded, “I forgive them. They know not what they do,” as Jesus said.

A missionary to India, John Hyde, years ago wrote a booklet on prayer. In it, he described his daily practice of remaining on his knees before the Lord until, in his words, “Calvary was in my mind fresh once again.” He knew that in difficult, dangerous, and discouraging times, nothing helps more than to reflect on all that Jesus suffered in going to the cross.

It was the Father’s plan to punish His Son for the sins of all mankind. It was all worth it to Him.

The writer to Hebrews had just commanded, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1).

The readers of this letter suffered horrible losses, but they were asked to “recall the former days . . . , you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; . . . knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Heb 11:32–-35).

Knowing that their situation might not get any better, they needed to turn their focus from their pain and loss to the companionship and partnership they shared with Jesus by suffering with Him.

“As my mind’s eye flashes back to Mt. Calvary, I can’t imagine how You never retaliated when rejected and beat upon by cruel men. Thank You for enduring all You suffered for me, and give me the grace today to never give up in serving others.”

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