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Blessings in Adversity

It’s shocking to see nowadays how Christian politicians and others in the public eye are being vilified and insulted as they stand up for biblical truth. However, this is nothing new. It seems from Jesus’ teaching in today’s verse that this is to be expected, and He says that the prophets of old were also treated in this way. Jesus tells us to rejoice in these situations and even says that those who are being persecuted because of Him are blessed!

I’ve been looking in more detail at the section of Matthew 5 where Jesus teaches about those who are blessed. This passage is sometimes known as ‘The Beatitudes’ – or the ‘Beautiful Attitudes’, as the late Jim Graham used to call them. I was struck by how different the world’s way of looking at things is from God’s way. The world might think that those who are most blessed would be those with material assets, great intellect, a highly paid job, good looks, and fame. However, Jesus’ criteria for blessings are very different.

As well as those who’re being insulted and persecuted, He includes those who are ‘poor in spirit’, meaning those who know their need of God and are desperate for more of Him, knowing that without Him they can do nothing meaningful.

Meekness isn’t considered by the world as a quality to be sought after. It’s often seen as weakness, but Jesus says: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5).

No one wants to go through times of grief and mourning, but God promises to comfort us in those times, and there’s blessing in that. Jesus says, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted’ (Matthew 5:4). I can personally testify to having received very special care and comfort from the Father during a time of grief, and this was indeed a great blessing.

So, if you’re suffering insults and persecution because of your faith, if you’re going through a time of grief and mourning, or if you’re just feeling weak and inadequate as a Christian and know you need more of God in your life, be encouraged. Jesus says you’re blessed! Try to turn your focus away from the difficulties of the situation and look to God, thanking Him for the blessing He has for you in that situation. He’s promised to work in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Prayer: Lord, I’m sorry I haven’t always appreciated the blessings I have in You. Thank You that You’re with me in the situation I’m in today, and thank You for the blessing You have for me in the midst of it. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"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, NIV

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Today's Writer

Jilly Lyon Taylor is part of the Leadership Team at Ellel Pierrepont. She worked in publishing and then with children in Hong Kong before concentrating on being a full-time mother and serving in the local church. Her desire to see people healed led her to the Luke Nine Eleven Training Scheme(NETS) at Pierrepont, and now she teaches and ministers there.

Jilly Lyon Taylor


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