VIDEO Blessed Are You When They Revile/Persecute/Falsely Accuse You for My Sake

Jul 9, 2016

This is the tenth video in the Beatitudes video series: Blessed Are You When They Shall Revile You, Persecute You, and Falsely Accuse You for My Sake. This video series is an expansion and fleshing out of the Beatitudes (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). The Beatitudes are the famous words of Jesus from His Sermon on the Mount given in Matthew 5:1-12.

Someone sent me an amazing expansion of the Beatitudes (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount). There have been innumerable (and many famous) interpretations, expansions, and dramatizations of the Gospels, such as The Robe, Ben Hur, The Spear, The Great Fisherman, The Silver Chalice, many TV series, many movies, and even Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (one of the highest grossing R-rated films in history) drew from multiple sources.

However, this interpretation/expansion/fleshing out of the Beatitudes is the best I have heard yet and it is remarkable. I hope you enjoy it! Please share this with anyone you think might enjoy this or might find some degree of benefit or inspiration from it.

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Yes, How Long?

How long, Lord, must I call for help? Habakkuk 1:2

When I married, I thought I would have children immediately. That did not happen, and the pain of infertility brought me to my knees. I often cried out to God, “How long?” I knew God could change my circumstance. Why wasn’t He?

Are you waiting on God? Are you asking, How long, Lord, before justice prevails in our world? Before there is a cure for cancer? Before I am no longer in debt?

God hears us and, in His time, will give an answer.

The prophet Habakkuk was well acquainted with that feeling. In the seventh century bc, he cried out to the Lord: “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (Hab. 1:2–3). He prayed for a long time, struggling to reconcile how a just and powerful God could allow wickedness, injustice, and corruption to continue in Judah. As far as Habakkuk was concerned, God should have already intervened. Why was God doing nothing?

There are days when we too feel as if God is doing nothing. Like Habakkuk, we have continuously asked God, “How long?”

Yet, we are not alone. As with Habakkuk, God hears our burdens. We must continue to cast them on the Lord because He cares for us. God hears us and, in His time, will give an answer.

Lord, thank You for bearing my burdens. I know that You hear my cries and will answer in accordance to Your perfect plan and purposes.

For encouragement, read When God Says No.

Don’t despair because of evil; God will have the last word.

By Karen Wolfe 

INSIGHT

Like Habakkuk, the psalmist David understood that life’s challenges get harder the longer they last. David asked “How long?” four times in just two verses, “How long,Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Ps. 13:1–2, emphasis added).

When you struggle, can you identify with Habakkuk and David? Does it feel like help is far away? Consider Lamentations 3:22–23, and let it encourage you to trust in God’s faithful care.

Bill Crowder

Why Isn’t God Speaking?

Job 34:29

The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole. David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2). Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him. And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …

He wants our attention. We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life. When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready. If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him. If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others. When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.

A Credible Lifestyle

“And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey.” (Mark 1:6)

At times we tend to think of John the Baptist as a wild man, one who would have been either an offense or a laughingstock to those he was trying to reach, but in reality quite the opposite was true. He was greatly respected and believed; some even wondered if he should have been worshiped as “that prophet” (i.e., the Messiah) or revered as Elijah (John 1:21). His “preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Luke 3:3) was so effective that not only the common people (Luke 3:10) but also the publicans (v. 12), soldiers (v. 14), priests, and Levites (John 1:19), as well as the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matthew 3:7), came to hear his teaching. Many repented and were baptized.

Far from lacking credibility, John’s style was what was expected of a prophet. Indeed, his ministry and message were in fulfillment of those of Elijah (Malachi 4:5), who himself “was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins” (2 Kings 1:8). Even false prophets mimicked this style (Zechariah 13:4) to gain credibility.

The point is, we should strive to package our timeless message of the gospel of Christ in such a way as to gain the greatest hearing and the most true converts. This is not to say that we should dress as John or Elijah did, for that would be bizarre in today’s world. Nor should we flaunt riches, for both styles detract from the message and induce ridicule and blasphemy.

Perhaps the principle is to dress and act as the hearers would expect a credible, sober conveyer of truth to behave. Let us be careful to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10). JDM

It is enough: stay now Thine hand

2 Samuel 24:16-25

Of that great population, in whose number David had sought food for his pride, the plague swept away seventy thousand men.

2 Samuel 24:16

The angel of pestilence, appearing in visible shape, added a special terror to the judgment. Solemn must have been the state of men’s minds as they saw the destroyer unsheathe his sword to smite the capital city of the empire.

2 Samuel 24:17

Was not this well and bravely spoken? Like a true patriot the king is moved by the woes of his subjects, and, like the father of his country, he would sooner perish himself than see Israel smitten. These people had often acted like wolves to him, but he forgot all their injuries and calls them sheep; they had been guilty of a thousand sins, but, in his zeal for them, he makes himself out to be a far greater sinner, and would have the bolts of vengeance spend themselves upon him and his. Even thus does “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” interpose between the destroying angel and his own redeemed. “If ye seek me,” saith he, “let these go their way.”

2 Samuel 24:18

On that very spot where the angel held the knife of Abraham from killing his son, there God restrained the sword of the angel from destroying his people.

2 Samuel 24:18-24

Here two bountiful spirits entered into holy competition, and one hardly knows which to admire most. True devotion is never sting miserly : to godly men that service of God tastes sweetest which costs them most. Nothing is dear enough to give to God; expense is not to be reckoned when the gift is for him. We would not be as those who only bring to God what they can collect from other people. Our gifts shall be from our own store.

2 Samuel 24:25

Thus was the site of the temple marked out in a very special manner. Zion, the church of God, of which the temple was the type, is founded on the hill of sacrifice; it is a monument in praise of sparing mercy; and there the sword of justice is for ever sheathed. Have we come unto mount Zion? Are we resting upon the precious blood of sprinkling? These are grave questions, which it behoves each one to answer on his own account as before the great heartsearching God.

 

The Lord beheld the sacrifice

There to be offer’d once for all,

He heard his Son’s expiring cries

For mercy and forgiveness call.

 

It is enough—our lives he spares,

For Jesus, our Atonement, died,

He sheathes the sword; he hears our prayers;

His justice now is satisfied.

 

What Is a Meek and Quiet Spirit?

1 Peter 3:3, 4

One day I was invited to speak at a church in the city of Kiev in the country of Ukraine. Ministers had gathered from all over to meet me that day and to attend our morning teaching session. After that morning meeting, a large table was set outside on the driveway where all the special guests were seated so they could be served Ukrainian borsch for lunch.

I noticed that an elderly woman, approximately seventy-five years old, was the primary person serving lunch to us that day. As she passed by me, I looked into her face and saw the deep wrinkles that testified to a very hard life. This was a woman who had faced many intense challenges in the course of her life.

Yet when I looked into her eyes, I could see that this was a woman who was very strong in spirit. Although it was evident that she had lived a hard and difficult life, it was also evident that she had never been broken by hardship. The look in her faded blue eyes gripped me, for those eyes seemed to literally radiate life from within her.

I watched with amazement at the way this elderly woman carried bowls of borsch to this person, then to that person, and then to the next. It was obvious that she was delighted to serve the pastors who sat around the table. The tender smile that graced her face and the sweet spirit with which she served captivated my attention. As I kept watching her, I thought to myself, This woman must be one of the most beautiful and graceful women I’ve ever met in my life.

Finally, I turned to the elderly pastor sitting next to me, and I asked, “Who is that woman?”

He looked at me with a sparkle in his eyes and glowingly answered, “That’s my wife.”

During the Soviet years, this pastor had been arrested and sentenced to fifteen years of prison because of his faith. While he was in prison, his wife had been completely responsible for rearing and providing for their fifteen children. As he told me their story, I began to understand why she had such deep wrinkles—a sign of the many hardships she had faced while her husband had been in prison.

Despite her wrinkles and gray hair, this woman’s indomitable spirit shone through and was evident for all to see. This was a woman who had lived a godly life. This was no weak woman, but a very strong and very capable woman.

I continued to watch the pastor’s wife as she kept serving the men around the table, smiling graciously as she refilled empty bowls with more borsch. As I observed her strong but gentle spirit, I thought of Peter’s words to women in First Peter 3:3, 4. In those verses, Peter wrote, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Today I want to speak to you about the phrase “meek and quiet spirit.” Contrary to what most people think, these words do not picture a woman who is weak, timid, or soft-spoken. The word “meek” is the Greek word praus, a word that describes the attitude of one who is friendly, warm, forbearing, patient, kind, and gentle. This would picture someone who is just the opposite of a person who is angry, temperamental, or given to outbursts of anger. Although a meek person faces opportunities to react in anger or to get upset, he or she has chosen to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Thus, “meek” people are individuals who have become skilled at controlling themselves and their temperament. You might say that meekness is power under control.

When Peter goes on to use the word “quiet” in this verse, he employs the use of the Greek word hisuchios, which depicts a person who knows how to calm himself and to maintain a state of peace and tranquility. Rather than speak up and utter words that are later regretted, this individual stays quiet and refrains from angry responses. He or she deliberately decides not to be a contributor to conflicts, but to be a peacemaker instead.

So when Peter writes about a “meek and quiet spirit,” he is paying the highest compliment to wives who fit this description. These wives are so strong in spirit that they are able to refrain from outbursts of anger and thus are able to become a calming force in a variety of difficult situations. Considering the many opportunities wives have to get shaken or upset by the affairs of life, it is very commendable when a wife is so strong, so consistent, and so stable in the home that she consistently “steadies the ship” and helps keep peace in every situation.

Once again let me stress that Peter is not referring to women who are timid, shy, or weak. It takes great strength to be the kind of woman he is describing. A woman who continually controls herself—holding her temper, keeping a lid on her emotions, and remaining a stable, tranquil force in every situation—is demonstrating evidence of great maturity.

This quality of a meek and quiet spirit is quite a treasure—so much so that God says a woman who has achieved this state of maturity possesses something of “great price.” The words “great price” are from the Greek word poluteles, which conveys the idea of something that is very valuable; something of great cost or great worth; or something that is precious and dear.

God highly values a woman who becomes this kind of strong, steady force in the home. He knows how many times a wife has an opportunity to get upset about something that has happened. So when she chooses to control herself and be a contributor to peace instead of strife, God sees this kind of woman as rare, precious, dear, and to be valued. He appreciates it when she puts aside her own anger or emotions and instead helps peace reign in the situation. God thinks very highly of such a woman!

When I looked into the face of that elderly Ukrainian woman, I could see the strength she possessed, for it was a strength that literally emanated from her. Seeing those deep wrinkles in her face, I could tell she had faced many hardships in life that could have upset her, hurt her, or made her want to take matters into her own hands.

But this was a woman who had allowed God to teach her how to look to Him rather than be swayed by the circumstances of life. Far from being weak and wimpy, she was a tower of strength. Her spirit was both gracious and indomitable. It was obvious that she was godly, pure, and powerful—someone who had made an eternal impact on many lives because of the life she had led.

How about you, my friend?

  • Can you say that you are a contributor to peace in your home?
  • Can you testify that you are a steady force in rough and upsetting situations?
  • Can you really say that you have learned to control your emotions and to be a peacemaker?
  • Would you have to admit that you contribute to strife and often make matters worse by giving in to your emotions and speaking things that you later regret?
  • Does God see you as a rare and special treasure who brings a sense of peace and stability to your family, or does He see you as a frequent cause of conflict, strife, and a lack of peace in your home?

You may not have experienced the same kind of hardships as the elderly woman in my story today, but you still face many potential conflicts in your own life every day. You have a choice to react either in anger or in meekness. Every time you have an opportunity to react in the flesh or be angry and upset, you can choose instead to be controlled, forgiving, and gentle. Rather than speak up and utter words that will later be regretted, you can choose to be a peacemaker.

In view of what you have read today, can you say that you demonstrate a “meek and quiet spirit,” or do you give evidence of a different kind of attitude? What is God saying to you about your heart and actions, and what are you going to do in light of what you have learned from today’s Sparkling Gem?

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so thankful for what I read today. Please help me learn how to keep a rein on my tongue and how to submit my attitude to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Help me also to perceive how I can become a contributor to peace and tranquility instead of strife and conflict. I want to be one of those rare and special women You consider of such great value and worth. Holy Spirit, it’s going to take a deep work of Your grace in my life for me to become this kind of person. So today I ask You to initiate this vital work deep inside my soul. Please transform me and make me into the person You want me to be.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am a source of stability and peace in my home. I don’t give in to anger or fly into a rage and say things I later regret. My husband and my children can depend on me to be a tower of strength even in the midst of turmoil and difficult situations. Because I am so stable, I help bring stability to my husband, to my children, and to the general atmosphere in my home. Instead of being a contributor to strife, conflict, and turmoil, God uses me to bring peace and tranquility to all those who are near me.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Are you a source of stability in your home? Or are you a constant contributor to strife, turmoil, and a lack of peace?
  2. If your husband felt the freedom to say what he really thought, would he say you are a help or a hindrance to the peace and tranquility of the home? What do you think your children would say if they were asked this question?
  3. In light of what you have read today, what do you sense God is telling you about needed changes in your life, attitude, and actions?

 

Inner Peace

Today, amidst the jangle of the phone, production deadlines, gnarled traffic, and family demands, you may be wondering if experiencing His peace is possible. Contrary to how you may be feeling, the answer is a resounding “YES!” And here’s why: Peace is not something we seek to attain; rather it is a quality we already possess:

 

He Himself [already] is our peace… ” (Ephesians 2:14)

 

Rather than striving for peace, simply appropriate the peace that is already yours to enjoy… in Christ. Why not take a moment right now, and thank Him for the peace that is yours by virtue of the indwelling Christ.

 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid… “ I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 14:27; 16:33)

 

The word “peace” in these Scriptures conveys the idea of quietness. Rest. Welfare. The Old Testament counterpart is shalom, communicating security. Safety. To be at ease.

 

And how, in a practical sense can we sustain His peace? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Understand that experiencing peace is the natural outgrowth of our justification: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ… ” (Romans 5:2)
  • Evaluate where your mind is focused. On the sinful? Or on values synonymous with those of the Spirit? “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace… ” (Romans 8:6)
  • Choose to surrender moment-by-moment to the Spirit’s prompting: “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful natureThe fruit of the Spirit ispeace… ” (Galatians 5:16a, 22b)
  • Offer each of your anxieties up to Him. And then leave them there! “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)
  • Seek to divest your life of confusion, working toward simplicity and focus: “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace… ” (1 Corinthians 14:33a)

QUESTION: We are faced with the choice of living anxiously or drawing on The Source to live at peace. Which will it be?

 

 

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