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25 May 2012

Victorious Living - 25 May

When you are suffering, feel unjustly treated, or think the world is out to get you, do you feel blessed or cursed? Do you feel God’s arms and love surrounding you, or do you want to get even with your tormentor? Let’s see what Jesus had to say about persecution and insults.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt 5:11-12 (ESV)

Jesus laid it on the line here. We can expect to be reviled (subject to verbal abuse) and persecuted (treated badly, especially because of race, religion, gender, or national origin) and slandered (words that damage your reputation). Lovely!

Jesus response sure isn’t what I would expect. I’m blessed? Really? Rejoice and be glad? You sure about that?

When we read the whole statement, we discover that we are just like the prophets. Just like ancient God followers who were laughed at for preaching God’s word. We may be getting the short end of the stick on earth, but persecution (for Jesus’ sake) gives us rewards in heaven.

When you are suffering for your stand for Christ, you might want to have this verse in your memory bank!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 (ESV)

… to the glory that is to be revealed to us. Just imagine! We are following in the prophets’ footsteps. We are following in Jesus’ footsteps. We know that Jesus has promised to prepare a place for us and that He promises to come and get us. Keep your eyes on the prize, friend, not the suffering of the moment!

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

We saw these verses on Wednesday. I just wanted to put them here to reinforce the command to rejoice in Christ’s sufferings!

Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 9 who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.  Psalm 66:8-12 (ESV)

As we read these words of comfort, take a moment to thank God that it’s HE Who tested and tried us. God allowed the persecutions to happen. And yet…

…He brings us to a place of abundance!

As you begin your Memorial Day weekend, I pray you will thank God for the place of abundance He has brought you to. Think on all the trials you experience in His Name. Are you burdened? Feel like you’re drowning? Like you want to explode? Remember what He promises.

Abundance and a reward in heaven.

Be safe this weekend, and take time to think of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for us – police, fire fighters, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, US Marshalls (and those I forgot).

I will post a blog on Monday!

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