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STRENGTH  IN SUFFERING

| Wednesday 6th April, 2022

Our Daily Bread 2022 Annual Edition

By Alyson Kieda

Read: Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 4–6; Luke 9:1–17

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness Matthew 5:10

In 1948, Harlan Popov, the pastor of an underground church, was taken from his home for a “little questioning.” Two weeks later, he received around-the-clock interrogation and no food for ten days. Each time he denied being a spy, he was beaten. Popov not only survived his harsh treatment but also led fellow prisoners to Jesus.

Finally, eleven years later, he was released and continued to share his faith until, two years later, he was able to leave the country and be reunited with his family. He spent the following years preaching and raising money to distribute Bibles in closed countries.

Like countless believers in Jesus throughout the ages, Popov was persecuted because of his faith. Christ, long before His own torture and death and the subsequent persecution of His followers, said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). He continued, “Blessed are you when people . . . persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (v. 11).

“Blessed”? What could Jesus have meant? He was referring to the wholeness, joy, and comfort found in a relationship with Him (vv. 4, 8–10). Popov persevered because he felt the presence of God infusing strength into him, even in suffering. When we walk with God, no matter our circumstances, we too can experience His peace. He is with us.

Read: Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

5 1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

INSIGHT

  1. With which of the Beatitudes do you most identify, and why?

  2. When have you felt God’s peace and presence in a trial?

PRAYER

Loving Father, we thank You for never leaving or forsaking us in our darkest times. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!!

Read: Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 4–6; Luke 9:1–17

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