Thursday, July 17, 2008

Matthew 5:10 "Blessed" Part 8

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” NIV

Recently our church had a wonderful man speak to us about his experience with persecution. He was imprisoned for his faith for several weeks, beaten, starved, and just days from his execution before he was released due to international pressure. I listened and was saddened by his pain and the agony his wife and daughter must have gone through. But I could in absolutely no way relate. I am free to share my faith with anyone I want anywhere I want. I don’t fear prison or death because of my faith. I only feel persecuted when I am scoffed at for believing that Jesus is the Son of God. That’s the extent of my suffering. In many ways I feel like a spoiled rich kid who in no way appreciates or understands how blessed she is.

But I do know that persecution could reach our shores in the very near future. I’m not deluded into thinking we are exempt from the enemy’s schemes to touch our lives here in American as so many have suffered in other countries. I only pray that we, as God’s children, will have the strength to endure whatever may come. I know I serve a loving God and this life here and now is not the end of the story. You can kill my body, but you cannot have my soul. I surrendered that to the Almighty a long time ago, and I do not plan to take it back. I will stand firm for the Lord as my strength and my shield. I will not be moved.

Further Thoughts:

  1. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. Read his story in Acts 6:8-7:60. It’s a powerful example of sacrifice for Christ.
  2. In the Old Testament we can learn how Daniel suffered persecution and received God’s provision. Read Daniel 6:1-28.
  3. Paul is an amazing example of someone who would endure anything for Christ. Do a study of Paul and make a list of the persecutions and trials he faced.
  4. Are you ready to face whatever may come our way? If not, what area of your life do you still need to surrender to Him?
  5. Want to know more about those being persecuted around the world and how you can help them? Go to

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