You’re Not the Only One

FEBRUARY 6

MATTHEW 5:12 _for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Do you ever feel like you’re the only one? Everything that has to do with suffering, trials, and persecutions always comes to you. Everybody else has it made. Even if they do suffer for their Christian values, it’s short lived. You’re the only one for whom it goes on and on. Whenever something bad or hard comes around, it always falls on you. If someone gets the blame (for something they didn’t do), it’s always you. And, you’re the one who was doing right. The ones spouting the blame are the ones in the wrong.

According to Jesus, not only are you not the only one – but it has been going on since long before you were born. Jesus goes back to the Old Testament prophets and points out they, too, were persecuted for standing up for God’s truths. It is not something new. It is something that has been and always will be a part of a disciple’s life. 

Go ahead and rejoice – you’re in good company!

 PRAYER

God of comfort, I’m sorry for the times I whine, when I should praise. Help me thank You when I am persecuted for Your sake. Help me know the difference when I am persecuted for my own sake, and help me change my path. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.              

Christ knows who is persecuted—I’m not the only one!

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!

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!

The Amazing Heart

JANUARY 24

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!

PRAYER

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!