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<< HomeWord, with Jim Burns

HomeWord - April 27, 2006

  • 2006 Apr 27
  • COMMENTS


Blessed Are the Persecuted 
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

"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, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:11-12

 

The news has reported stories about the Afghan man who faced the death penalty for converting to Christianity.  Rahman was discovered with a Bible and arrested because Islam law does not allow a man to convert to Christianity.  After refusing to recant, Rahman, through the help of the United Nations, was given asylum in Rome.  Although the Afghan government released him after much unwanted press, there was still a public outcry demanding that he either convert back or face the death penalty.

 

Blessed are those who are persecuted.  It is a hard pill to swallow.  It seems backwards to think about being happy while being persecuted.  It seems unnatural to think about rejoicing or feeling blessed while being threatened for beliefs.  The biggest persecution I have faced due to my faith are people disagreeing with me.  Never have I been threatened.  I’m not sure about you, but when I hear a story like this, my first thought usually is “I am so blessed to live in a country where I have religious freedom.” 

 

Jesus tells us to be happy when we are persecuted because of Him.  My initial reaction is to say, “What good can come out of persecution?  What good came to the ancient prophets who were persecuted for their faith?”  However, when I look at the ancient prophets and consider this Afghan man, I see something different.  Religious persecution helps us keep our eyes focused on heavenly rewards, not earthly ones.  Religious persecution solidifies our faith, and tears through the superficial.  Religious persecution strengthens faith as an example for others.  Religious persecution gives us a glimpse of walking in Jesus’ shoes, and brings us into a closer relationship with Him. 

 

Most people in today’s world will not have their lives threatened for choosing to follow Jesus.  But the Scriptures declare all who want to live a godly life will come to a point where they are challenged or looked on with contempt for their beliefs. Rejoice when you are persecuted for great is your eternal reward.

To comment on today's devotional, click here.


         

GOING DEEPER:

  1. What is your first reaction to hearing the story of the Afghan man?
  2. Why is it sometimes hard to rejoice when you are being persecuted for your faith?

FURTHER READING:
Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:14; 2 Timothy 3:10-13


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