Matthew 5: 10-12, 43-48 (The Message)You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom. Not only that- count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak likes about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens- give a cheer, even!- for though they don't like it, I do! and all of heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend, and its unwritten companion, 'hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best- the sun to warm and the rain to nourish- to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like ti. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
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Most of you are well aware of the horrible things going on over seas. Most of you know all about the violence and injustice. Most of you have made mention of it on social media. You have changed your profile picture to the "N", you have tweeted your support for the Christians, you have vented about the horrid deaths thatIsis is causing. You have watched the news, read and shared articles on your newsfeed. You are aware. You are likely even thinking about it now with deep pain in your heart. You have cried and pleaded with the Lord to end the murder and bring about justice for His people.
Abba hears your prayers.
Abba hears the prayers of the ones being persecuted.
Abba hears the prayers of the rape victims.
He hears the prayers of the ones who have lost children and friends.
He hears the prayers of the ones who are taking their last breath here on earth, and He hears their shouts of jubilation as they find themselves in eternity, with their Friend forever.
Our Father sees. He knows exactly what is going on.
He experienced it Himself.
His disciples long ago experienced it.
His disciples today are sharing with Him in that suffering.
He isn't unaware. He hears their cries. He hears your cries.
Can I be offensive to some of you momentarily?
He hears the cries ofIsis. He hears the cries of terrorist. He hears the cries of rapists. He sees their brokenness. He hears their longing for freedom.
And the Father weeps.
His creation is living lovelessly. His children and deceived. The ones whom he so longs to call "friend" are lost.
Do you not think the Father is just as sorrowful, if not more so, about the thousands who do not know him and are persecuting His church?
Friends, yes, my heart breaks right along with all of you who weep for the women and children who are being horribly treated, even unto death.
My heart breaks for the ones being abducted and kept as personal sex slaves!
If you forgot, I work to fight sex slavery and injustice.
I am all about social justice.
But my Friend is all about people living in Love.
My Friend wills that none perish.
He wills that everyone will know Him intimately.
Any who do not know Love send Him running to the weeping room.
The Father is calling us to journey with Him to his favorite place- the weeping room.
The room where every cry is heard, every tear is bottled. Every tear of the just and the unjust. Every cry of the good and the evil.
Friends, If your sin can't change the way the Father feels about you, then why do you think it changes the way He feels about those who are persecuting the church?
Think about Paul. Before Saul became Paul he was murdering Christians. He did exactly what is going on right now. Then he encountered our Friend, his name was changed, and he wrote a huge portion of the book that you build your life upon.
How many Sauls are waking up right now? How many more will wake up as a result of your prayers?
I guarantee you that the persecuted ones are praying for their enemies at this moment.
If they can gather the strength to pray for the ones who are beheading their children, who are we to not join them?
Abba, we pray for the persecuted church. We thank you for changing the direction of the missiles in mid-air as you have done time and time again. We pray for you to deliver your children, yes; but I plead with you Holy Spirit, to bring those who are walking outside of Love home. Pour out your Spirit on those who do not know you. Give them dreams and visions. Wake them up in the night with encounters with Love. Abba, bring the lost ones home. Leave the 99 for the one once again. Jesus, we long for you to come.