|Matthew 5:10–12 (MSG)|
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. 11–12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
|Jesus had the attention of thousands when He shared, what we know today as, the ‘beatitudes’. These teachings showed the people that when they stand up for what is right, or to what is taught and demonstrated by Jesus, then they will often be living in way that might be totally opposite to what the world has ‘hung its hat on’. For the world looks to win, whether it’s financially, or being at the top of its class, or just in name through immense marketing efforts. Unfortunately, the world will do this at every expense, even if its walking over the downtrodden or seeing the poor and needy do without. Contrary to the normal trend of the world, God teaches that there is eternal hope and joy for those who follow Him and obey His commands. In fact in the preceding 9 verses of Matthew 5, Jesus teaches that in cases of obedience and faith in Him, His followers are more than conquerors, for they are blessed because of their faithfulness to Him.|
|When Jesus taught, it was not just for those in His physical audience group, but it was for all His followers who might follow, even till the end of time. Friends, that includes me, and I sincerely pray that includes each of you that may meditate on this devotional also. If not, I urge you to read my ‘Footnote’ and sure up your position, while you are still able to. For many that may read this, you may be like me and know nothing about persecution, other than what we have heard from others who have done missions in a foreign country. I believe that this quoted Scripture today exists because God wants us to realize that if we were to boldly proclaim His Word and live according to His teachings – in other words, live like He did, then we should expect to not fit in with the world at large. This results in us being looked down on when applying for some jobs, when trying to befriend someone who lives very differently, and be rejected by all those that will absolutely refuse to follow such narrow views and practices. Friends, we make a choice everyday, will we accept Jesus and follow His example and His way, or will we simply go with the flow and be tolerant of everything the world teaches. Today that means pretty much anything, and of course that is attractive to most people. God had a plan from the very beginning of time, and He backed that up through the intense love of His very own Son, Jesus, for all who place their faith and trust in Him. Blessed are those who accept that love and who agree to be directed by the Son of the living and true God. For theirs is the kingdom of God, for ever and for ever, Amen!|
|Lord, thank You for providing for us, even though You knew right from the beginning that we would be a hard ‘nut to crack’, because of our stubbornness and desire to please everyone but You. Please forgive us for our weaknesses, and please continue to draw us closer to the source of our hope, our joy and our salvation. Lord, we want to be just like You. Please help us ignore the evil desires of this world and instead concentrate on the immense joy that’s in store for all who love, trust and obey You. We can only do this with You by our side to strengthen us and help us overcome the many sinful distractions that come our way every day. I ask these things in faith, and in confidence of who You are, AMEN!|
|There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
January 10, 2017