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Every day, Christians around the world die because of their belief in Jesus Christ. More suffer torment, abuse, rape, imprisonment, and persecution of all kinds. Men, women, and children. No one is immune. Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”
Tune in to this final installment of our summer series and hear what you can do to come alongside those who are being persecuted and how to prepare for the persecution you may also suffer. Even in the darkest night, we have hope in Jesus Christ who saves.
Find stories of those who have suffered for their faith at these sites below. You can also find ways to contact via letters those who are imprisoned, in an effort to encourage and strengthen their hearts and minds. There are also petitions to sign and places to donate financially so that those imprisoned will have access to legal counsel.
Please read these stories and see how you can help today!
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9
What if we have it all wrong? What if being a peacemaker means we actually ruffle some feathers. Turns out, that’s exactly what it means. Peacemaking isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s messy work, but it’s what we’re called to.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” – Matthew 5:7
Mentioned well over 300 times in the Bible, mercy is a word we probably ought to pay more attention to. Especially in this day and age when politics and religion are getting co-mingled in ways that often make us forget that first and foremost, we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
The biblical definition for the word mercy, as used by Jesus in his sermon on the mount, is this: to be compassionate (by word or deed, specifically by divine grace); have compassion (pity on).
Meanwhile, Webster’s New World Dictionary defines it this way: 1. a refraining from harming offenders, enemies, etc., 2. imprisonment rather than death for a capital crime, 3. a disposition to forgive or be kind, 4. the power to forgive, 5. a lucky thing; blessing.
This episode, as well as talking about what mercy is, we also focus on how to live a life of mercy in our day to day lives. We’ll look at 1 Peter 3:8-12 in the ERV (Easy to Read Version).
So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind [compassionate; merciful] and humble. Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. The Scriptures say,
‘If you want to enjoy true life and have only good days, then avoid saying anything hurtful, and never let a lie come out of your mouth. Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. The Lord watches over those who do what is right, an, and he listens to their prayers. But he is against those who do evil.’
Listen in to this week’s episode to see some examples of how this might look in your own life.
We all know what it’s like to be hungry and thirsty, longing for something to fill our bellies. But what about our souls? What if there was a way to fill up the mysterious void we all seem to have deep down inside us?
Join Brandy this week for a quick lesson on Beatitude #4 to learn how you, too can be satisfied to your deepest core.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5
If the best inheritance I can get by being humble is the earth, I’m not sure that sounds like a very good deal.
Let’s face it, the earth is kinda falling apart. We’ve got natural disasters galore, terrorism everywhere, racism that lingers despite our ‘enlightenment’, climate change and social injustice every direction you turn. It’s a mess.
But God only gives good gifts, so there must be more to it than what we currently see.
Turns out, there’s a lot packed into this one tiny verse in Matthew 5.
Often, when we think about the words meek, gentle or humble, we envision someone who is quiet and unassuming. This tends to be, in our mind’s eye someone who’s a bit of a wallflower. While this may be true in some cases, I think the best way to determine what a humble person looks like is to look first at what a non-humble person looks likes.
And boy, do we have some great examples. I’m not going to name names; I assume you don’t have to think too hard to come up with a list of at least 10 people who are, in fact, quite arrogant and loud about it. And beyond that list, all I really need to do is look in the mirror to find someone who’s far less humble than she’d care to admit.
While an arrogant person is often perceived to be loud and abrasive while a humble person is quiet and demure, God doesn’t look at what’s being projected out of us. He merely looks at our hearts and knows the state of our pride.
Arrogance is a lack of dependence on God. Humility is recognizing God’s rightful place in our lives and ceding that place to Him. It’s giving up our own agenda and right to rule our lives in order to seek God’s will in all things.
Tune in to this week’s episode as Brandy examines the third beatitude and what humility looks like, as well as the inheritance we’re longing for.
If we are born into this world we will, at some point, experience the exquisite pang of loss. We will weep for what was and mourn what will never be again. This world, it seems is the perfect training ground for grief and sadness.
But Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, as found in Matthew chapter 5, tells his followers, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
He doesn’t elaborate on this point, or frankly, any of the points he’s making in this exact moment of his discourse. He leaves it plain and simple. Essentially what he’s saying is, “The people who mourn will be happier than those that don’t because they’ll be comforted.”
Well, that seems odd, doesn’t it? Because like I said, if life teaches us anything, it’s that we’re all going to mourn at some point. So, what makes this statement so poignant?
This week, Brandy explores this brief beatitude by looking further into Jesus’ own suffering, the mission he was prophetically called to when he stepped into humankind as a man, and the mission of his second coming.
We’ll be looking at Matthew 5:5, John 11:32-38a, Isaiah 61:1-3, and 2 Corinthians 1:3.
The fact is, we are not alone in our suffering and grief. We have a God who can relate to our pain and has stepped into it with us.
Listen to this week’s episode to find out how well he can relate to us and what he promises us as our future with him unfurls.