When Actually…

FEBRUARY 3

MATTHEW 5:11_and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

A new light is shed on persecution. This is not persecution because you think you’re right and your persecutor is wrong. This is persecution because you believe Jesus is right! This is about being falsely persecuted. This is about having all kinds of evil lies spread about you because your enemies hate Jesus and His teachings … and His disciples.

Who was lied about more than Jesus? From the time of His conception to His ascension into heaven He was maliciously verbally attacked.

Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath, when actually He was the Sabbath. Jesus was accused of blasphemy by claiming to be the Son of God, when actually He was God in the flesh. Jesus was accused of being out of His mind, when actually He possessed the very mind of God. Jesus was accused of demonic possession, when actually He freed captives and put demons to flight. Jesus was accused of inciting riots to overthrow the Romans, when actually He taught His disciples to pay taxes to Caesar and obey their authorities.

The One who promises the blessing is the One who understands everything about persecution.

 PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I praise You for all You suffered in order to teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.              

Christ was falsely accused—He bore it all for my sake!

To Look Like Jesus

FEBRUARY 2

MATTHEW 5:11_and persecute you…

Christian persecution is certainly nothing new, and as long as there are disciples. persecution will continue. All lives, whether Christian or not, suffer hardships, heartbreak, emotional and physical pain. The difference in the Christian life is blessings.

The Christian has the promise of eternity in heaven.

The Christian has Jesus’ promise to be blessed when persecuted for His sake.

The Christian has overcoming power to withstand persecution … that makes rather than breaks. Psalm 46:1 (KJV), “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” It is the Christian who experiences this promise.

The heart of the Christian learns to love unconditionally. This kind of heart does not boast of persecution in order to gain martyr status. The supernatural work of the Holy Spirit inside a human heart is incredible. The reason it is incredible is because when the Spirit entered this heart – it was desperately wicked!

A new heart is willing to forgive and learn to love its persecutor. A new heart begins to look like Jesus.

You can’t top that!

 PRAYER

Loving God, Please give me a heart like Jesus. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ loved His persecutors—May I gain that heart!

The Prime Example

FEBRUARY 1

MATTHEW 5:11_Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you  

Jesus is consistent to connect blessings with eight characteristics. Christians call these characteristics beatitudes. If you’re going to have an attitude, have a beatitude!

The result of each characteristic is to be blessed, translated as happy, or fortunate

These are not earthly blessings given by earthly people (who could also take them away). These are spiritual, supernatural blessings. Nothing in this life can take away the love, joy, peace, or faith which comes from being blessed by God.

What does it mean to be reviled? It is to be harshly criticized. To be spoken to in great anger. It is a painful experience stinging long after the verbal abuse. 

As in the previous teachings, Jesus does not say we will be blessed if we are reviled for dishonest, immoral, or deceitful behavior. The blessings of Jesus’ promises are for the pain experienced for doing what is right and being reviled for it. 

There are examples of people in the Bible who experienced just that. The prime example is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 PRAYER

Holy Christ, Thank You for teaching me the truth through the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ was reviled for the truth—May I be as strong!

That Same Kingdom

JANUARY 31

MATTHEW 5:10_for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If the kingdom of heaven is something a little more earthly, than heavenly, we can experience it before death. 

When Jesus walked on earth, the kingdom of heaven was all around Him. After His ascension to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Spirit leads us into that same kingdom. At His return, He will bring a new Kingdom with Him.

We should be excited about living in the kingdom of heaven. Never forget, it is a reward for the poor in spirit and the persecuted. Only Christians will find the path. They won’t find it by trying to be and do good. They will find it by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach them how to love – God first then each other.

Jesus told us in John 15:20 (KJV), “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” This kind of righteousness comes with a high price. It also comes with a high reward – walking in the kingdom of heaven, in a fallen and sinful world. The apostle John said in I John 4:17 (KJV),because as he is, so are we in this world.”

 If Jesus did it, so can we!

 PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I believe I can be like You. Help me find the way! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is still alive—As He is so will I be!

The Righteousness Train

JANUARY 30

MATTHEW 5:10_Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake:

One key element of persecution is to be sure you are persecuted for righteousness sake, not your own sake. The quality of discernment will help you know. You have already learned to discern if your peacemaking succumbs to political correctness. Political correctness is to agree with the world’s ways over God’s ways because it is the popular thing. Now you discern if you have strayed from the righteous path, and are suffering for it.

Everyone thinks they are righteous. To board the Righteousness Train requires a Bible ticket. Those trusting in and building lives upon the Bible have purchased a ticket. If you become too self-assured you have a seat on the Train, you can easily fall into the Pit of Pride. Hungering and thirsting leads you to the ticket office.

Righteousness is a byproduct of loving Jesus and His words. It comes naturally when you draw into a closer relationship with Jesus. You cannot make yourself become righteous. Only God can make you righteous. Only God holds the standard to what righteousness is. No one can live up to that standard. The Holy Spirit leads you there. Actually you won’t even know you’re there unless you begin to suffer for doing what is right. That is your clue. If you become too smug in the fact you made it – you can fall back to where you were. You can only claim it in Jesus’ name, never your own.

 PRAYER

Dear God and Father of All, I want to be righteous in You, not in myself – lead me there. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ is righteousness—He makes me righteous!