Exceeding

FEBRUARY 4

MATTHEW 5:12_Rejoice and be exceeding glad…  

Maybe Jesus is a little confused. Rejoicing because someone speaks evil lies against you? That’s just not normal! If Jesus is anything (which He is … everything) He is not normal. Don’t be offended by that. Jesus is not normal because normal in this life is sin. Jesus came to turn the world upside down – He did!

Jesus is about to take His teaching to the next level, repeatedly showing how various types of hardships or suffering (all experienced because of choosing to be a Jesus follower) result in being blessed. Jesus says to rejoice and be glad. He’s even taking glad to the next level – exceeding glad! Exceeding is above and beyond what is expected, or required, or should even be considered. 

Jesus knows what is in store. He knows if you line up with His sufferings you will be blessed. He knows what kind of blessing that will be.

The biggest part of following Jesus is to trust Him. You have to believe He knows more than you. That’s why Jesus can say something like rejoice and be exceeding glad.

 PRAYER

One True God, I know all lives come with suffering, but I know not all lives come with blessings. Help me make the choices in life which line me up with Your blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ knows my trials—He helps me follow His path!

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!