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Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you
Matthew 5:11-12 When you face persecution for your faith, remember these verses and know that the blessing from God far exceeds the condemnation of mere men.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11-12 NASB1995
These two verses come from the Sermon on the Mount, given by Jesus and captured for eternity by the apostle Matthew. Barb did a wonderful series of posts about the Sermon on the Mount last year — here’s a link to the first article if you’d like to study the entire collection.
The verses are part of the Beatitudes, the “Blessed Are” statements made by Jesus during the sermon. To most modern ears, saying that being insulted, persecuted, or having other people say bad things about you is a blessing sounds absurd. But notice that Jesus is saying that you are blessed when people do these things against you because of Him.
Jesus is talking about religious persecution. It’s been around since the days of the Old Testament, and it is becoming even more pronounced in these strange times. Christians have been, and are currently being, targeted just for believing in God and professing their faith in Jesus Christ.
Barb and I once went out to dinner with a couple we knew. She was an engineering professor, he was a scientist working for a government agency; both were fascinating, intelligent people. When we brought our newly-rekindled Christian faith, she looked dubious and he attacked Christianity (and us) by bringing up “all the horrible things that have been done by Christians”. One of his major arguing points was the Crusades - he didn’t point out that the Islamic world had murdered millions of Christians and Jews in the name of Allah and the prophet Mohammed, and that the Crusades were more of a defensive response. No, it was only the Christians who were bad. Oh, and Christians also deliberately gave blankets infected with smallpox to Native Americans to kill them off…
It was a no-win situation; to him, Christians were the bad guys, he was 100% correct. If I remember correctly, there was even an insinuation that we must be stupid if we believed in God — “I thought you guys were intelligent people!” Any discussion of Christian charity, how hospitals were the domain of religious orders for centuries, and the continuing work of thousands of Christian organizations to help the poor and oppressed was obviously right-wing, conservative Christian propaganda and was wrong.
That’s just one personal attack. I try to stay as non-political as possible in my daily devotionals, but I’m going to touch on the current state-supported (state and federal levels) religious persecution that’s going on. Feel free to skip to the end of the devotional if you are squeamish about politics.
Here in our home state of Colorado, the judicial system has continued to harass a baker (Jack Phillips) who refuses to bake wedding cakes for same-sex weddings due to his personal beliefs. Thanks to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), he won his case in the US Supreme Court… but the left keeps baiting him, he keeps refusing, and Mr. Phillips continues to have legal issues — even when there are plenty of other cake shops that will gladly serve the LGBTQ crowd.
That same group — ADF — was also instrumental in overturning the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US, and continues to stand up for free speech, religious freedom, traditional families and marriages, parental rights, and many other Christian values. Would you believe that ADF has been defined as a “hate group” by the U.S. government for standing up for Christians?
We’ve heard of people from our own church that been denied promotions at their workplaces or even being fired for standing up for traditional values. Persecution based on our religion is a reality, and it’s only going to get worse. When you face persecution for your faith, remember these verses and know that the blessing from God far exceeds the condemnation of mere men.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Today I’m doing something different. Rather than writing the daily prayer myself, I am re-posting a prayer from KnowingJesus.com:
Loving Lord, I come to You to place the once great nation of United States of America at Your feet, knowing that our great country and it's constitution was made for a moral and religious people and is wholly inadequate for any other form of government, and yet we have strayed so far from the principles and practices of our great founders, who drew up our constitution based on Your Word.
But Lord, although this was once the land of the brave and the home of the free, sadly there is so much that is wrong with our country that I fear for its future. Lord, as a people we have walked away from You and discredited Your holy name by the way that we have conducted ourselves over the past few years and there is no health in our land.
Look down in pity on our people and our land, and protect us from those that seem determined on destroying our nation. Send Your Spirit I pray, through the land of America, and touch the hearts of all those that are called by Your name to plead on behalf our people. Convict those that are damaging our infrastructure and as a nation may we turn away from our wicked ways and return You to Your rightful position, in integrity and truth.
I ask this in Jesus' name,