blessed are those persecuted...
"That day saw the beginning of a great persecution of the church in Jerusalem." —Acts 8:1
Jesus says the persecuted are happy and the kingdom of God is theirs (Mt 5:10). We should be glad and rejoice if insulted, persecuted, or slandered because of our faith in Jesus (Mt 5:11-12). "Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God's Spirit in Its glory has come to rest on you" (1 Pt 4:14). The Bible clearly teaches persecution makes us happy. But we're not persecuted much in this country at this time. Could it be that this is why we're not happy?
We live in an age of persecution. Christians in almost half the world face savage persecution because of communism and totalitarian regimes. Yet these Christians are happy because they are seeing great revival and evangelization, just as Philip saw in Samaria. "There were many who had unclean spirits, which came out shrieking loudly. Many others were paralytics or cripples, and these were cured. The rejoicing in that town rose to fever pitch" (Acts 8:7-8).
Look at the persecution and evangelization throughout Africa and South Korea. Look at the unprecedented revival of Christian communities in South America, Central America, and the Philippines. Persecution prepared the way for these great movements of God. However, we in the USA sit on the sidelines. Let's repent, commit ourselves to Jesus as Lord, receive the Spirit, and become mature Christians. Let's become persecutable and get in on God's action.
Prayer: Jesus, may I let You get me off the bench and into the game.
Promise: "No one who comes will I ever reject." —Jn 6:37
Praise: John answered the call to be a missionary — in his hometown.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Beatitudes on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011
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