The Art Of Survival - Part 3

What Are Practical Steps We Can Take To Overcome Discouragement.

Chip Ingram
Sep 7, 2020    38m
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Have you found yourself feeling discouraged during this uncertain time we are facing? If so, this final message of hope from the Art of Survival series gives us practical steps we can take to overcome discouragement. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Chip Ingram: 00:00 Well, welcome to part three of our series, The Art of Survival, and a boy don't we need to survive and even thrive in these kinds of days. Now, this is part three, it's all from James chapter 1.

Chip Ingram: 00:12 And as I begin, I want to tell you an apocryphal story. This is not a true story, it was made up, but it has a very powerful point. The legend goes that Satan went into the market and he was having a big sale of all of his tools. Tools he used to blind unbelievers, but even more importantly, he had some tools to render Christians, especially leaders, people really walking with God, just to absolutely ruin their faith. And so he had a broad spectrum of multiple tools, and he had a price tag on each one of them. And all the junior demons were invited to come and buy these different tools to help them as they would persuade, and deceive, Christians and unbelievers alike. There was one very, very small box that had an astronomical price. I mean, it was so high that all the demons said, it's such a small little box, what could be in that little box that's worth that much? And Satan said what's in that box is discouragement, because it's more useful to me than all the others. He said, I pry open men's heart and I get inside of them, and I can get near to them with this tool, like no other. It's badly worn, because I use it almost all the time. But since few people know it really belongs to me, I deceive them, I discourage them, and I get them to give up, or to give in, and render them powerless in this fight against the enemy, the King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Chip Ingram: 01:49 And so a cute story, but a lot of truth to it. In fact, discouragement, I think is the number one destroyer, especially at times like this, that undermine us. And that might sound like an exaggeration, unless you're one of those people that's really been discouraged, that's felt like giving up, giving in, I can't do this anymore. As I was praying about it early this morning, and thinking of my time to get to talk with you, I thought of one of the seasons very much like now where, you know, the things that held me up there were health issues, and then there were ministry issues, then there were financial issues, and there were family issues. And I felt like it was a time in my life where I was seeking and praying and pursuing God like never before, and it just was getting worse and worse and worse, and actually it was about 10 years ago. And I dug this journal out this morning, I wrote for 20 months, I have clung to a passage and a promise in Psalm 25. The journey has been characterized by pain, injustice, betrayal, the stripping of the old, new insights into my pride, into ministry metrics that don't focus so much on the number of people that do this or that, but leading into new processes and strategies and focus and energy that really have to do with life change. While at the same time experiencing absolute desperate dependency, we're broke personally and as a ministry, we have no office, no staff to speak of, no clear direction for teaching, a future that is uncertain and unknown. And we're forced to live simply by faith, and the clear conviction and pain that we must move forward to helping Christians live like Christians with what we have, which has little, with where we are, which is difficult, and with God who brought us here. I've been tempted many times to give up, I have felt deeply, deeply discouraged, and I've battled feelings of hopelessness in the midst of this journey.

Chip Ingram: 04:05 That was 10 years ago, and as I look back now at what God did, I realize that he had to work deeply in me before he was going to work significantly through me. I had to learn what we've learned in part one and part two about, you know, considering it all joy, when nothing feels or looks joyful. I had to come to the point where I said, Lord, I don't know what to do. I don't have any money, I don't have direction. Difficulty is at every turn, I need your wisdom, and he gave it.

Chip Ingram: 04:37 And now what I want to ask you is, where are you at? How are you doing with discouragement? And what discourages you? You know, the definition of discouragement is to deprive courage, hope, or confidence. It's the lack of courage. Courage is that thing that wells up inside of you that says, the circumstances don't matter, the opposition doesn't matter, I'm going to press forward. I'm going to follow Christ. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, no matter what happens. Discouragement is when you lose heart. Discouragement is that feeling when you say, it's not worth it, nothing will ever change, I can't go on, I'm powerless. It's that feeling that just screams, just quit, just give it up, just compromise, take a shortcut. So let me ask you before we begin the teaching time here, and get into how to slay the dragon of discouragement. I want to ask you, where are you at in terms of what discourages you, what person, what circumstance, what's going on in your life or in your thoughts, what's happening in your country, where are you in your life right now that you would say, I mean, very specifically, this is discouraging me. These are the thoughts that are coming into my mind that make me want to say, God, I just can't do this anymore, I give up. What is going on, I want you to get it down very specific and very clearly, because God's going to take his word today, and he's going to speak to that very specific discouragement in your life, and in mine.

Chip Ingram: 06:22 Discouragement is the number one destroyer of God's plans for our lives. Just before we receive God's highest and best, many of us throw in the towel. You know, I've had some times, and I've counseled so many hundreds of people, right before there's a breakthrough in their marriage where it gets resolved, where they learn to forgive, and where they love, so many quit, and separate, or get a divorce. Right before there's a huge answer to prayer, whether it's finances, or an open door in ministry, just before that happens, so often many give up and they quit. You know, just before God is at work, and you know, the habit, the addiction, the struggle, that it has just been a stronghold in your life, God is working, working, working, working, and just before he answers and delivers, so many people give up.

Chip Ingram: 07:14 And what I want to say to you, is we're going to learn how to slay the dragon of discouragement, and God is going to give us a plan. He's going to answer, how do you survive when you're tired, when you've tried, when you've worked, when you've prayed, when you're exhausted and everything in, you says, I just can't take it anymore. God says, I have an answer for you, he has an answer for me, and he has a plan. And the plan begins with an attitude, it all begins with our attitude. God's will in adversity is this attitude, joyful endurance, consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials. Knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result that you might be perfect or mature, lacking in nothing.

Chip Ingram: 08:10 And then the second thing he gives us is a resource. In the midst of not knowing what to do, in the midst of not having answers and battling discouragement, he says, here's a resource, God's promise in the process is supernatural wisdom. He's going to give you insight into the best possible ends, by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time. He says in verse 5, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." And it will be given to him, condition, "But let him or her ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." God tells you and me in the midst of our discouragement, he will show you what to do, and how to do it, to get through your greatest challenges.

Chip Ingram: 09:12 And then the third thing in God's plan, isn't just an attitude, and it's not just a resource of supernatural wisdom. He's going to say, I'm going to give you a truth, a theology, if you will, about life, and about circumstances, and about the future. And when you get this clarity, this truth, it is the thing that will allow you to slay the dragon of discouragement. He writes, "But let the humble brother, in his humble circumstances, glory in his high position, and let the rich man glory in his humiliation." Why? "Because like flowering grass he will pass away." Speaking of the rich man, "For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away." And then he gives this admonition, this hope, this reward, "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

Chip Ingram: 10:26 God's prescription, his truth to persevere, to not give up, is this, a divine perspective. There is a truth, there's a theology about life. Here's life, God says, I want to give you a lens to look at life and your circumstances, I want you to see things through the kingdom lens. In the practical lens, rich people, powerful people, people with position, with homes, with money, with security, they're the ones that have it made. He's going to say, no, in God's kingdom lens, actually the opposite is true, those who have little, actually have a high position, and then he's going to explain why.

Chip Ingram: 11:11 Let me take a moment, and just explain this passage. And then from it, I want to give you three very specific principles that will allow you to hang in there when things get tough. He says, "Let the brother of humble circumstances." This word is socioeconomic. He's not talking about, you know, like character or humility. He's saying, you know, basically let someone who doesn't have very much money, glory, and the word means to boast, or take joy, or rejoice and say, wow, look what I have, in your high position. And I don't know about you, but I have studied the Bible for a number of years. And I remember reading and studying the entire Book of James. And I'm looking at each paragraph teaching through the whole book. And for years, honestly, getting to verses 9 through 12, especially 9 through 11 in chapter 1, and we do this don't we, who studied the Bible, especially some of us who teach it, and just scratching my head and thinking I don't get this. What's with this little section about poor people being having a high position, and rich people having a low position, and then this promise of reward.

Chip Ingram: 12:28 Well follow along, it's super insightful. One of the things I've learned about studying the Bible, if there's something in a passage that at first doesn't seem to make any sense, chances are it's very profound, and this is one of those passages. So he says to this, humble, to those of us that don't have very much, or for those of you that don't have very much. I'm thinking, you know, maybe because of COVID, you've lost your job. Maybe you've lost your business. Maybe you're in a country right now that things are very, very difficult, I mean super challenging, like you don't have food. I mean, he says to those who have little, to boast and rejoice in your high position. And what he is doing is saying, I want to give you a perspective from heaven about looking at life through this lens of faith. And here's his point, he's going to say when we don't have anything, our high position is we're automatically dependent. We automatically turn to God. We automatically pray.

Chip Ingram: 13:31 When I read this from my journal 10 years ago, when I said I was broke, I wasn't exaggerating, no money. I have had seasons where I have sat in the car with my family, we had no money, we had no food, and we bowed our head and said, Lord, you said that you would promise. It was literally after a church service, and we literally had nothing. And as we prayed, and while we were praying, toward the end, we heard a knock. It was the first time I went to this church, we had just moved to that city to prepare for ministry. And someone we didn't know that apparently sat behind us, and saw a young family, knocked on the window. We rolled down the window and they said, excuse me, do you all have plans for lunch? We would love to bring you to our home for lunch. You see, we didn't pray in the car because we were being spiritual, we didn't pray in the car because we thought, oh, this is important, let's be good Christians, we prayed in the car because we had no money and nothing to eat and I had three kids in the backseat. What he's saying is, as hard as it is to face when we are low socioeconomically, we are rich in faith because we are pre-positioned to be dependent, to trust God, and to seek him.

Chip Ingram: 14:57 And then he says, "To those who are rich." And the idea of New Testament being rich is, I have enough for today, enough for tomorrow, and I may have even savings for the future. In other words, the person who basically has their own security. Many in America listening to this, and many around the world that are watching and listening to this, would say to themselves by biblical standards, I may not think of myself as rich, but I'm rich. I'm not worried about can I eat tomorrow, or do I have a roof over my head? And he says to those who are rich, we should glory, now my season has changed, I need to glory in my low position. I need to realize that spiritually, I'm at a very big disadvantage, because money is powerful, and money can provide false security, and money can create idols, and money can create expectations, and money can get us thinking that we can live our life our way without God. And so he says, we have to willfully choose. I need to get up and say, Lord, I need you, I choose to depend on you. Because the fact of the matter is, if I didn't pray today, I have enough money in the bank to eat for this week, and next week, and probably next month, I don't have to pray. And so he says, rich people are in a more challenging spiritual situation, and then he gives this reason, "For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off." In other words, life is temporary, life is transitory, life is a vapor. life is a breath. And he says the low position of rich people, and many people are experiencing this right now, is that, you know, a few months ago, things were great, now you don't have a job. I've talked to men who have spent the last 20 years building businesses, and investing money, with this idea that they're retiring, and they're secure forever and ever. Are you ready, in the last four or five months, COVID-19, it's gone. It's gone. And so what he's saying to us is, that you can't trust in these things because of the nature, the transitory nature of life, they fade away.

Chip Ingram: 17:12 And then he says, "Blessed." And this word is an inner quality of happiness, not dependent on circumstances, "Is the one who perseveres." Now, are you ready for this? If you have your Bible, circle that word, persevere, and then go up at the top of chapter 1. Remember where it says, let endurance, it's the same word, [foreign language]. Blessed is the man, blessed is the woman who, under pressure, under stress, under discouragement, under spiritual opposition, under difficult circumstances, under finances that you don't know what you're going to do, but you refuse to give up. You refuse, I'm going to trust. He says, as you endure and persevere under trial, and it's the exact same word as in the earlier part, blessed is the man, with these external trials, once you've been approved, notice the word here is for a test. It says, once you pass the test. Do you know what passing the test is? It's being faithful to your calling, it's not giving up, it's not giving in it, it's not caving into temptation, it's not compromising, it's not saying the ministry is not worth it. It's saying, I'm going to hang in there in this difficult marriage, I'm going to hang in there in this ministry, I'm going to hang in there with this difficult situation with my boss or a supervisor. I'm going to hang in there in this difficulty, because I'm called by God to be faithful to him, I refuse in the power of the Holy Spirit to give in or to give up. And it says, "Once you've been approved, you'll receive the crown of life."

Chip Ingram: 18:51 And this is great, grammatically, this is the crown, namely life. It's yes, we're going to get crowns, and there's going to be rewards for believers, but the emphasis here is the crown namely life, this abundance. When you persevere, and do not allow discouragement to sabotage your life, there is a quality of life, there's an intimacy with Jesus, there is a power, there's a faith, there's a courage, there is a life experience that other people don't get. He says, you're going to receive the crown of life, not just now, but with future reward as well, which the Lord has promised, notice to who, to those who love him, to those who say, Lord, my loyalty, my loyalty is to you, it is hard, it is difficult, it is painful.

Chip Ingram: 19:49 Now what I want to do, is I'm going to take the truth of this passage, and I want to develop three very practical, specific principles, to help you slay the dragon of discouragement. Or as I like to say, hanging tough in tough times demands, first, that we get God's perspective on our circumstance. How do you do that? By looking at our circumstances, through the eyes of faith. That's exactly what he calls us to do. Look at your current circumstance, remember, what is it that's discouraging you? What is it that's difficult and painful right now that you just think I can't take it, I can't take it? Look at it through the eyes of faith, what is it that God's going to do, because you're trusting what you can't see, you're trusting his promises, you're trusting his character?

Chip Ingram: 20:46 How do you that, exactly? Well, you need to understand that the Lord has you in a position to develop a work in you, that's primary, and even more important than the work through you. So don't get discouraged, just by faith. I mean, remember I wrote for 20 months. There's a passage in Psalm 25 that God gave me that said, Chip, I will instruct you in the way in which you should go. And for 20 months, I'm going Lord, and do you know what he gave me? Here's what you do today. Here's what you do today. Here's what you do today. I kept saying, what about six months, what about six years, what about 10 years? Lord, I have visionary gift, I need to know where I'm supposed to go. And what he said is, I'll show you what you need to do today, and I'll give you grace to do it today. And what I didn't realize, I had no idea that God's purposes for my family, my marriage, my children, my grandchildren, and the ministry, they were going to expand, and expand, and expand. And when God's going to do something wide through you, he first has to do something deep in you. And when God wants to do something deep in you, he has to remove the pillars, and the dependency, of your arrogance, and your pride, and your trust in people, and wanting the affirmation of others. And he will strip you in ways for your good, because you're so precious, but it's painful. So in your discouragement, can you say, it looks like I have little, you should boast in your high position, because you are dependent.

Chip Ingram: 22:28 And I would love to say, I would love to say it, and after 35 years as a pastor, I would love to tell you this is true, but it's not. I would love to say that when things are going well, and when they're easy, and when all the relationships are good and circumstances are wonderful, and we have lots of money, that we just trust God, that we go to deep levels with the Lord. The fact of the matter is, all of us, all of us have to have seasons where God takes the things that we trust in, and he sets them aside, so that we have him, just him. And God's doing that right now, he's doing it in the world, he's shaking people, he's shaking communities, he's shaking the church, he's shaking the world. The question is, will we listen? Will we humble ourselves and be dependent?

Chip Ingram: 23:18 So the first thing we need to do is look at our circumstances through the lens of faith. The second thing we need to do is get God's perspective on our future. And how? By looking at our future through the lens of hope. See our hope, if it's in the now, if it's in what I can see, if it's in the ministry, if it's how people are responding to me, if it's in my bank account, if it's in things going well or not going well, my circumstance, what do we learn? It goes up, and it goes down. He says, you need to take what you're experiencing right now, whatever is discouraging you, and he goes, I want to give you another new set of glasses after the glasses of faith, you set those down, and now you put on the glasses of hope.

Chip Ingram: 24:01 Listen to what the Apostle Paul said, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." You know, the Apostle Paul is writing that after telling the Second Corinthians there, that Book of Corinthians, he tells them, I'm telling you this, after I've been shipwrecked, I've been beaten about three times, I've been left in the sea. I mean, he is viewing all of his temporal difficulty, pain, circumstances, through a lens of hope, and what God is preparing for him, not just now, but forever.

Chip Ingram: 25:01 The third thing that we need to do is get God's perspective on our circumstances, God's perspective on our future, and now God's perspective on our motivation, by looking at our motivation through the lens of love. Here's the question, and this is different for all of us, and this is very personal. So I want you to lean back, I want you to really think for a moment before you would immediately answer. Am I willing to enter into the fellowship of his suffering? Are you willing like the Apostle John, and the Apostle Peter, to consider a privilege and a joy to suffer for the sake of Christ? You see in the early church, as they were beaten, and taken in by the Sanhedrin, and when they went back, they are in Acts chapter 2 and 3 and 4, and it told the other believers what happened. They were filled with joy, being counted worthy to suffer for the Lord. It's out of loyalty, the Apostle Paul would say, I want the fellowship of his suffering. There's something about a love for the Lord Jesus, that when you are suffering, because you refuse to give up, refuse to give in, that is very, very precious.

Chip Ingram: 26:23 And what I would have to admit to you is that sometimes when I've worked hard, I've tried hard, I've prayed hard, I've ministered hard, and circumstances don't get better, and I don't feel better. And candidly, I'm not very happy, and I wish God would change things, and change them faster. What I have to admit privately is that my motivation is really about God working my life out, instead of me being willing to experience whatever I need to experience, for me to express my love to him.

Chip Ingram: 26:57 I remember a number of years ago, teaching a seminar, I was in Hong Kong at the time, and I was meeting with a group of pastors. And that evening I had dinner with a pastor who happened to be a house church leader, an evangelist. And he was telling the story, and we had helped him with some resources, and help them with what he was doing in terms of discipleship. And as he was traveling, doing evangelism, the church was meeting in his house, and the communist party came. It was a remote area, and his wife said, no, no, I'm the pastor, I'm the pastor, none of these people were here, and she got all the people to leave. And they took her down to the police station, and for two days, they beat her to a pulp. And he came back from his evangelistic trip, and found what was happening. And I'm listening to the story, and in my mind's eye, thinking about my wife, my wife's name is Teresa. And as he's telling this story, I'm just thinking, boy, if someone did that to my wife, I don't know if I could keep my faith. Boy, I would just, and I'm having all these emotions, and anger, and retribution. And he finishes the story, and when he gets done with the story, very calmly, he looks at me and my friend. And he says, can you imagine that God would count as worthy to get to suffer for him? And I was too embarrassed to say the emotions and the thoughts that I had. But I want to ask you that, these are the times that we're living in, is our love going to be loyal.

Chip Ingram: 28:31 As we wrap things up, let me help you evaluate kind of a little bit where you are, and to remind you that you can slay the dragon of discouragement. You are not a victim, victims have self-pity, victims look through the lens of me, victims looks through the lens of now, victims look at are things going well. Survivors don't, survivors have an attitude, and we count it all joy, whether we feel like it or not, survivors don't know what to do, but we have God's wisdom, and we'll take it one day at a time. And survivors get a eternal perspective, a divine perspective, a theology, a way of thinking about life, and circumstances, and the future, and our relationship with the Lord, which churns out motivation. And because of that, here's the deal, you can overcome discouragement, but you have to fight. So can I ask you, remember when we began this teaching time, I said, what person, what circumstance, what specific thing was really discouraging you? And I asked you to get it really clear in your mind.

Chip Ingram: 29:46 Before I go on and give you some practical tools, where are you struggling? From what I've shared so far? What is God saying to you today? What does it look like for you to look at life, your life, your sadness, your disappointment, your challenge, your heartache, through the lens of faith, through the lens of hope, and through the lens of love.

Chip Ingram: 30:16 Let me give you a couple of handles that I think will help. Number one, reevaluate your circumstances. And here's the test, is my faith in things that are perishable, or in things that are permanent. Just pause for a moment, your faith, what are you trusting in? Are you trusting in things that are perishable, or things that are permanent? I remember again in China speaking to a pastor Lam of many years ago, and he was beaten and tortured, and the church grew. And so they put him in prison, and the church grew even more. And so he got out of prison after many years, and he had almost like a tree house, I remember. And he had speakers, and just hundreds of people would gather to hear him preach and proclaim God's word. and the officials came at that time and said, we are going to kill you. And he smiled at them, he said, you torture me, that church grows. You put me in prison, the church grows bigger. You kill me, the church will explode. Do you hear it?? His faith isn't in what was perishable, his faith is in what's permanent.

Chip Ingram: 31:22 I was talking to one of our partners who does ministry in the Middle East, and you may know that the fastest growing church in the world is in Iran. And they came out of Iran and did some teaching, and they were growing in their faith, and as they were ready to go back into their country, one of the ladies said to the trainer before we go back into our country, would you teach us to die well. She understood, she understood what they were going to do and what they were going to share in all probability is going to cost them their life, and they wanted to die well. I sat across the table from a young doctor who had a contract on her life, she was in Yemen, and the church has exploded in the midst of that civil war. And she was making her way to another country to be safe, and she was young, maybe 30, 31. And she just looked at me and she goes, I know I won't live very long. And she didn't say it with any sense of self-pity, it was a sense of, this is my calling in life, there is more to life than right now. My question is, do you believe that? Does your behavior, does my behavior, declare that?

Chip Ingram: 32:38 For those of, in sort of the first world. I have a very good friend who's gone broke a couple of times, and made a lot of money, I guess, probably three times now. And this big COVID situation, and all that it does to the financial markets. And all the rest. And I asked him, well, how are you doing? And he looked at me and he said, it really doesn't matter, it's just money. In other words, they're numbers on a sheet of paper. Over time, he has come to actually believe and understand that money can't make you, money can't break you, he's looking at life through the lens of faith.

Chip Ingram: 33:16 Second is to reevaluate where your focus is. The test here, is my hope determined by the size of my problems, or the certainty of God's promises? I mean, is your hope where the promises are, you know, those problems are getting smaller, or is it these big promises of God? Where is your hope focused? The Apostle Paul writing to the Romans, and they have their share of struggles. The Roman empire is persecuting Christians, and he says to them, for everything that was written in the past, the Old Testament, instructs us, or teaches us, that through, listen carefully, endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope. "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement, give you a spirit of unity among yourselves, as you follow Christ Jesus. So that with one heart and one voice, you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And then he quotes a number of Old Testament passages, about four or five, about the inclusion of the Gentiles. And then he ends with verse 13 of chapter 15, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Chip Ingram: 34:31 In our dependency, I'm going to challenge you, one of the things that God wants to do is break down some of our preconceived ideas and our focus. For then it was Jew or Gentile, for some of us it's black and white, for others it's different tribes. For some of you in different countries, though you love Jesus, there is this division, there's this prejudice. God wants to take us to this place of dependency, that brings about unity. He says he gives encouragement and he gives what? Endurance. How? Through the scriptures. Here's the question, where is your mind going? Does your mind focus on the problem, the problem, the problem, the problem? Or are you focused on the promises, the promises, the promises? You know, as I shared before, one of the reasons I memorize scripture, one of the reasons I renew my mind, one of the reasons I sing in worship out loud, is I want to fill my mind and my heart with the truth and the promises of God, so I can look at the very challenging and discouraging circumstances in a fresh way, God's way. You see it's perspective.

Chip Ingram: 35:45 Finally, we reevaluate our motivation. And the test is, is your primary motivation, and the motivation of your heart, to love Christ, or simply experience relief and get what you want for you? This is a hard one to be honest with. But as I shared, I think the brothers and sisters that I've met around the world have taught me more about a pure love than anybody else in the world, because there's very little hope for any financial gain, or fame, or life getting better. They do what they do, they experience what they experience, and you all suffer what you suffer, because you love the Lord Jesus.

Chip Ingram: 36:31 As I close, when you start to get discouraged, are you ready, I just want you to remember three words, that's all you need, three words as you struggle. The art of survival word number one is faith, God is in control. Word number two is hope, you are his child, he has a place, a plan, and a promise for you. And the last word is love, suffering is a chance, and a privilege, for you, and for me, to express our love for the Lord Jesus.

Chip Ingram: 37:08 Father, these are words of hope and life, but we confess in our humanity, in our fallenness, that they're very challenging words to apply. Lord, thank you for your word, that gives us encouragement. Thank you for the examples of David, and Moses, and Deborah, and Ezra. Lord, thank you for Paul, and Peter, and John. Lord, thank you for people in our life, the heroes of today that blaze the trail, that love you, that live by faith. That focus on what's unseen, rather than what's seen. And Lord Jesus, may we be those kinds of people? Thank you, that we are not victims, that we're more than conquerors in Christ. Will you fill us with perspective, and wisdom, and hope, and will you grant us the ability to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to do all that you've called us to do? In Jesus' name. Amen. God bless you, let's keep pressing ahead.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600