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.
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!
MATTHEW 5:8_Blessed are the pure in heart…
The amazing heart seldom receives its full due. If you think in scientific terms you know it keeps blood pumping. Essential to life. Leviticus 17:11 (KJV), ‘”For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
When you think of the heart as the center of your emotions, you see love, joy, panic, and fear. The beating heart keeps hormones producing and functioning. Have you discovered something significant? There is a reason deep sorrow and sadness are called heartbreak.
The Bible teaches much more about the heart. The heart is the very center of decision making. When the heart is filled with bitterness, you become a bitter person. You may not even realize it, but the people who know you see it plainly. If your heart is full of hate, you become hateful. A heart filled with unbridled hate may even be moved to murder. The heart instructs the brain, not the other way around. Even though this is not popular science it is what the Bible teaches.
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV), “For as he [mankind] thinketh in his heart, so is he…” What you dwell on in your heart is who you are.
Another thing to count on is what your heart dwells on will eventually come out of your mouth – guaranteed!
Father in Heaven, I know what rules my heart will rule my life. I want that to be goodness and purity. Please help me obtain it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants my heart clean—He will cleanse it!
MATTHEW 5:4_for they shall be comforted.
The Bible is such an incredible book. It is the Book of Life. Life is tough. There’s nothing easy about living in a fallen world – even when you’re a fallen person. What? Seems like it would be easier to fit in if you were a Jesus rejecter and a satan follower. Ya think?
Satan is the alpha and omega of deception. Read his introduction into the Scriptures in Genesis 3:1, ‘Now the serpent was more subtil [deceitful] than any beast of the field.’ Satan and his spirits of darkness are not your friends. His ultimate plan for your life is destruction.
When you are developing a new heart from Jesus you will mourn. A new heart living in a fallen world mourns over satan’s destructive work to convince people to believe his lies.
Your new heart mourns as it sees people become captive to: Alcohol. Pills. Pornographic Images. Anger. Hate. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Sexual Abuse. Unkind, Cruel Words which cannot be stopped because hearts are hard.
Blessed are you for mourning over those things. Jesus can deliver from all of these deceptions and give a life of freedom.
Jesus Deliverer, You are my deliverer. There is nothing satan can hold me captive to which You cannot free me from. Blessed be Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ breaks all my bonds—and gives me freedom!
MATTHEW 5:2_And he taught them…
Whenever Jesus taught, multitudes came. Multitudes filled with variety. The desperate came to find freedom from demonic bondage. We think of demonic possession as something very graphic and frightening, but demons are at the core of hate, unforgiveness, bitterness, and stubborn rebellion, just to name a few.
Some came with hope of physical healing. Perhaps their diagnosis was “incurable.” Perhaps there was no money to pay for a doctor. Whatever the reason, they had heard of the miraculous power of The Great Physician.
Some came out of curiosity. Who was this man that attracted multitudes whenever He spoke? Was He genuine? What kind of magic tricks might He perform today?
Others in the multitude were Jesus’ enemies. Their hope was to find a loophole in His teaching and to expose Him before the crowd.
Jesus had not come on the scene in the usual method. He spoke differently. He taught differently. And what His enemies hated most, He attracted more followers than they.
When Jesus spoke people listened, were freed, and healed.
Dear Jesus, Please teach me to listen when You speak to me through Your Word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ speaks to me—I will learn to listen!
MATTHEW 7:13_for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…
Then there is the second gate. Jesus describes it as wide and broad. You won’t need any help finding that gate. It is wide—how could you miss it? When you reach an accountable age, your eyes are opened to two gates; you’ll see the widest one first. The size makes it visible, and … more tempting.
Because of its size, you see something else—how easy it is to enter. The wideness allows you to bring all kinds of baggage.
Not only is the gate wide, but once inside the way is broad. If in the baggage you brought along some pride, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes arrogance. If you brought just a little bit of a grudge, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes hate and bitterness.
In Jesus’ words it’s plain – this broad way leads to destruction. Count on it! Psalm 27:11 (KJV), “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”
Make the choice in your youth to enter the strait gate. It will save you numerous regrets in your adult life.
God Who Saves, Please save me from entering the destructive path of life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ saves me from the wide gate—I will follow Him!