Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Matthew 5: 10-12

Matthew 5: 10-12 
 Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven."

Jesus, Generous Giver of Great Gifts,
Thank You for the promise of bountiful blessing when I choose to do what is right to follow You. The kingdom of heaven is mine! A great reward awaits me there!  

Admittedly, I am fearful of harassment, criticism, and rejection. It frightens me to be tested, ridiculed and mocked. It scares me to be scorned, criticized, and misunderstood. Fear of man is the obstacle that hinders me from making right choices.

I want to live a life pleasing to You. I desire the rich, abundant treasure You promise in heaven. It's the only treasure I will keep forever! Breathe fresh power on me. I want to serve You, my Master, with bravery, boldness, and wholehearted devotion. I want to diligently work the fields, plant the seeds, water the crop, weed the thorns, and reap the harvest for You no matter the cost. I want to conscientiously serve You even when the scorching summer sun is searing my soul, and the wicked winter winds are wildly whistling, "worry". Trouble is coming. I want to have the resilience of the saints, both past and present who have suffered and died for their faith. 

I know how the story ends! For fearlessly dedicating my life to You, I will receive a fortune beyond my imagination when I arrive at my final destination in the kingdom of Your dearly loved Son. People may think they've imprisoned, tortured or killed me, but when You call my name and I arise to claim my heavenly reward, they will watch from Hell in bewildered wonder. Please give me an unwavering Spirit so that I can focus on the end of the story and the riches of Your glory. Amen.

Claim the two promises: the kingdom of heaven, and a great reward. They are yours when you set aside your fears and courageously labor for the Lord. What is He asking you to do? It may involve a whole lot of effort, sacrifice and risk. He gave His life for you. Are you willing to give your life for Him? The rich rewards are only for those who obey and endure hardships. 

Pray for those Christians who are being persecuted for their faith. Right now, ISIS is raging in Iraq, Syria, and Africa. Christians are being kidnapped, tortured, beheaded, burned alive and experiencing incomprehensible atrocities for proclaiming their faith in Jesus Christ, while the Church in the west is enjoying the good life. However, while the Church in the west is in a stoned stupor, enjoying the good life, our rights are slowly being taken from us. One of these days we too could wake up, and be carried away by radical terrorists whom we allowed to transform our nation while we frolicked and played. Trouble is coming, I believe. Will you have faith to withstand persecution? 

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

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