Shining Under Pressure

Don't be surprised by trials. We get to share in Christ's suffering so that we share in His glory. You are blessed if you still shine and stay strong under criticism or pressures.

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12-15, Ephesians 4:28


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doin’ all right today? Well I trust you are. You struck a rough day if it was hard to get up and if things are falling in on you already. A bunch of worries clustering around your heads like, like, like a bunch of buzzing angry bees. (Laughs) There are days like that, aren’t there? Well if you struck one of them, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. “When thou passes through the water…” remember? You don’t have to worry about getting through things victoriously when your blessed Lord has His hand upon your life.

I’m glad to be back with you, this is your good friend, Bob Cook. And of course I’m speaking with you as usual from the little ground level studio. Well it’s not so little either. It’s, it’s a one room apartment in this home that we are buying — the bank and I own it — in the Pocono Mountains. And it’s about, oh I guess it’s 25 feet in one direction, and 20 or 30 feet in the other direction. It’s a big room, one room apartment with a, a kitchen on one side, and a little alcove for a bathroom around the corner. And it’s, it’s, it makes a good studio for me. And so I’m here surrounded by my comfortable collection of junk. You know how I am, I have lot of things around me.

Looking right in front of me I got a scratch pad, and Young’s Concordance and four versions of the Bible, and a great big mug full of pens and pencils. And right next to the big timer there’s a Chinese chop mark that they gave to me over in Taiwan. It’s Chinese, and it says ‘Cook’ on it. I had to take that by faith. (Laughs) I hope some prankster didn’t make it read in Chinese ‘dumbbell’ or something like that — you never know. (Laughs) And there’s a calculator and there’s, oh, a scratch pad, and there is all sorts of things — a stapler, and a bottle of ink, a ruler, and two microphones in front of me — and that’s the picture.

And I’m happy to be with you, bless your heart. I’m so grateful that God set this up for us years ago. I started with the King’s Hour back in 1962, in June, with one station over on Staten Island. John Camp, who was then one of our board members, he’s now with the Lord, owned that station and he put me on it. And I began the King’s Hour. And when I was just starting to, to develop the concept of the program I thought, “Well what can I say that will, will identify with the King of Kings. And so I developed the tagline that we use as we go off the air ‘Walk with the King, and be a blessing’. And that seems to have stuck through the years.

And then I had traveled many thousands of miles with my good friend Eliott Stedelbauer who is still alive, although he’s had a series of strokes and is immobilized. But his, his, his brave and, and dauntless spirit still keeps him going, still praising the Lord up there in Toronto. And I traveled lot of miles with him. And his expression, he would whack you on the back with a, with a resounding thump that jarred your molars, and he’d say, “How in the world are you?” (Laughs) And so I, I adopted that as the, as the beginning phrase. And, and that’s the format, it stuck through all these years from ‘62 to ’89, and we’re still going. I hope that I could keep on broadcasting the Word of God as long as I’m alive.

1 Peter 4. He said, “Don’t think it’s a strange thing when you get into trials. Beloved,” he said — this is verse 12 — “think it not strange…” you know, something that shouldn’t come your way. “Why is this happened to me?” Have you ever said that? I’m sure, we all have. “Why is this happening to me?” ‘Course the unspoken part of that sentence is, “when I’m such a nice person.” (Laughs) It’s that, it’s that unspoken overtone of self-esteem that makes us say, “Why should this happen to me?” And then of course we always add the word ‘now’. “Why does it have to happen now?”

Well, remember Murphy’s Law: ‘If anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time.” He said, “Don’t think it strange.” Why? “But rejoice.” Why? Because you’re sharing in that mystical way that we really won’t understand till we get to glory. You’re sharing in the very heart and in the heartache of God over the sin of the world, in order that… See, the purpose of sharing… in order that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

You wouldn’t be able to appreciate heaven if you hadn’t had some trials to share His heartache over the world’s sin on the way there. You realize that? He said, “The trial is here because God wants you to share in His heart, so that when His glory is revealed you can rejoice.” And you’ll be able to say, “We won.” Rejoice with exceeding joy.

Exceeding joy is a phrase that Peter has used before, did you recognize that? “Whom having not seen ye love,” said he “and whom though now ye see Him not, yet rejoicing, yet, yet believing,” excuse me, “yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

Your relationship with the Lord Jesus now is one of love, and that produces joy that you can’t even describe. Your relationship with the Lord Jesus in the tomorrows will be one of sharing with His glory. And there again you’ll rejoice said he, “With exceeding joy.” ‘I’m going to be at the meeting in the air,’ says the old song, ‘in the sweet, sweet by and by.’ Yes it’s going to be that meeting, and you’ll rejoice. Halleluiah, we’re on that way.

Now he says if… this is verse 14, and that’s where we left off the last time — the extra Beatitude. It says, “Happy are ye.” And that’s the word makarios, Greek which means ‘blessed’. It’s the same word that’s found in the Beatitudes in Mathew 5. “If you’re reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye,” happy, fruitful, “for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth on you.” The distinguishing mark of the believer is the shine of glo-, God, the shine of God’s glory when you’re under pressure. It’s easy enough to look beautiful, and, and holy, and, and pious where there isn’t any pressure. But when, when, when the trials and the pressures and the persecutions come, then if you’re shining, that’s the distinguishing mark of the Christian.

I think just now of a, of a lesson I, I learned a good many years ago. Something like you might say 50. (Laughs) I had, had observed some people in my congregation who seemed, especially when they were singing in the choir, seemed to be so angelic. Oh they just looked beautiful as they sang. Well, that’s great, nothing wrong with that. But I had the uncomfortable experience of being with those same people under pressure, and they didn’t look angelic then. There was quite a different performance when they were under pressure.

And I learned that it’s one thing, its one thing to shine when everything’s going fine and there isn’t any problem. It’s quite another thing to shine when the world is falling apart, or when you’re being criticized, or when your plans have gone awry and things aren’t working out the you want them to. If you shine then, that’s the distinguishing mark of the believer. “The Spirit,” said he, “of glory and of God, resteth upon you.”

Oh the, the ultimate, it seems to be the ultimate proof to anybody — believer or unbeliever —anybody who watches your life, the ultimate proof that you’re the real article is that when you’re under the pressures of life, those who observe you could say, “God is in that life.” Oh may that be true of you and me. How I pray that that may be so with my own life, and I want in, beloved, for you as well.

Now he said, “The Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you, on their part…” Now when he says ‘they’ that’s those who, who criticize you or, or, or persecute you, or reproach you — the word reproach is in verse 14. On their part he is evil spoken out. Small thought here. When you’re a believer and you’re doing the will of God, and people oppose you, don’t take it personally. You can save a lot of heartache if you realize that opposition in Christian things is not against you as a person, but it’s against the Lord whose orders you are following. Did you get that?

When you’re doing God’s will, and you know you are, you’re following out what is found in His inerrant, infallible, eternal Word, ‘The Bible’, you’re doing God’s will. You’re doing what God told you to do. And you are then opposed by someone or, by many as the case may be. Don’t take it personally, they’re not against you so much as they are against the one that gave you the orders. So you don’t take it personally, you don’t think it’s something strange, and you don’t let it devastate you.

It’s hard to be criticized, isn’t it? I’ve been there. Hard to be criticized. And you do your best, and somebody says, “That was a stupid thing to do!” Oh, that cuts deep. Just remember, they’re not opposing you. It says on their part, “He is evil spoken up. But you keep on shining,” he says, “on your part, He is glorified.”

It’s a wonderful thing to see if you just last a while and keep on shining, to see people who opposed your Lord’s work coming around and, and glorifying Him. That is a blessed, wonderful experience. And Simon Peter urges every one of us to go that route. “But,” said he — now we’re into verse 15 — “let none of you suffer.” Still talking about, about having a rough time in life, see. “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody, in other men’s matters.”

Now isn’t this an interesting list of things? Murder, why our blood chills at the very thought. And yet you look back into the, the history of the Church, and you’ll find people who have indeed taken other people’s lives. So he says don’t, don’t go the route that, that allows you to yield to your, your temper and end up killing somebody else — don’t do it. Or as a thief, oh you wouldn’t steal something would you? You’re a Christian.

Well Paul wrote to the most spiritual Church in the whole New Testament group and he said, “Let him that stole, steal no more,” verse 28 of Ephesians 4, “but rather let him labor working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Steal, thief? Oh yes, you’re in the human race; you got that to deal with. Then he says, “An evildoer,” doing things that are wrong and doing them… the overtone is doing them because you want to. An evildoer is a person who does wrong things because he wants to. And then he says, “As a busybody,” and that’s gossip. Duh! Isn’t this something! He links murder and thievery and evil doing with gossip. Have you ever stopped to think that when you indulge in idle gossip, you are in a very poor company of murderers and thieves and evildoer’s? Something to think about. We’ll come back to this verse the next time we get together.

Holy Father, today may we shine with the glory of God in our lives. In Jesus name I ask this. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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