April 2 Devotional

The Persecuted
April 2, 2021
By Pastor Lesly Broadbent

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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.

I know a pastor who sees himself as a prophet. He’s been “persecuted” in almost every church he’s pastored. He’s just too much of a prophet, or so he thinks. And it’s not just pastors who falsely claim persecution. I read about a difficult and contentious person who went to speak with her pastor saying, “Nobody in my office likes me, because I’m such and outspoken Christian.” In a moment of candor and honesty the pastor responded, “Not really. I suspect it’s because you’re so unpleasant a person.”
 
We must be careful that when we face opposition we don’t automatically place ourselves as the upright prophet experiencing persecution for being on God’s side. It may very well be we are on the wrong side. This beatitude says, “Happy are those who are persecuted because they are good,” and “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” (Living Bible)

The blessings of the persecuted come not with any persecution, but when that persecution is because of righteousness, right living. You are blessed by God when you face ridicule for your Christian morals and values. You are blessed by God when you are dropped from social circles because of your Christian convictions. You are blessed by God when you are turned down for a promotion because of your honesty. Remember, these blessings and be thankful for the opportunity to enter into Jesus’ sufferings in a small way.

You are invited to attend our interactive Stations of the Cross services tonight at First Church at 7:00 in person and streaming online. This intense examination of the cross will bring you to tears as you fully prepare yourself to meet the resurrected Jesus.

Also, don’t forget about our two Easter Sunday worship services. Our online-only sunrise service will begin at 7:00 a.m. Our primary Sunday morning worship will begin at 10:45 and will be offered in-person and streaming online.  I look forward to greeting you this Sunday morning as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!!
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