Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mid Week Reflections

This Sunday we looked at the final part of our series over The Beatitudes. It is a tremendous joy to serve along side the team here and I am always blessed to see what the Lord is doing in, to and through those who are a part of our community. Scott Finch and Susan Snowdid a great job leading us in worship this past Sunday. If you were not able to be with us, you can catch the video of the service here at GatewayTV

Here is what we looked at this past Sunday::
August 15, 2010~ The Beatitudes part9

Matthew 5
1When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.

2He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

3"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5"Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

6"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for heirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

12"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

* “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 lies about you to discredit me. What it means is 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 it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And you know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”

~The Message

The word for persecution is:
diōkō dee-o'-ko pursue; ensue, “follow after” with the idea of inflicting some sort of suffering

The dictionary describes persecution as: to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religion, race, or beliefs; harass persistently; to annoy or trouble persistently.

Persecution is to be expected.

(John 15:18-20) "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (19) If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (20) Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."

The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

(2 Tim 3:12) In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted ...

* Jesus qualifies the persecution when He says it is because of righteousness and because of Him. The persecution He speaks of is like the saints of old who were burned at the stake or thrown to the lions simply because they claimed to be Christian. There were others who were beaten and mutilated simply because they would not stop preaching the gospel.

William Barclay writes, ―The penalties which a Christian had to suffer were terrible beyond description. All the world knows of the Christians who were flung to the lions or burned at the stake; but these were kindly deaths. Nero wrapped the Christians in pitch and set them alight, and used them as living torches to light his gardens. He sewed them in the skins of wild animals and set his hunting dogs upon them to tear them to death. They were tortured on the rack; they were scraped with pincers; molten lead was poured hissing upon them; red hot brass plates were affixed to the tenderest parts of their bodies; eyes were torn out; parts of their bodies were cut off and roasted before their eyes; their hands and feet were burned while cold water was poured over them to enlighten the agony.‖

* Those who are persecuted will suffer insults, lies, and all kinds of evils. This will not be a continual persecution, but Jesus does say “whenever”. It is the idea that as the believer continues to live a righteous life he will cross paths with those who will despise righteousness and persecute him. It is not as much the individual but the righteousness that people attack because it exposes their own sin.

* we are not alone in our persecution. Jesus explains that the prophets before us endured persecution as well. You are not a lonely sufferer for God, but a child in the midst of many who have suffered for the Savior. There is encouragement in company.

In the end, there is the blessing of those who are persecuted gaining the kingdom of heaven. Live righteously and take the persecution of the ungodly in stride because in the end, you will be given the kingdom of heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, ―For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

The Apostle Paul knew an awful lot about suffering. Having seen it from both sides, he says that affliction "prepares" or "brings about" an eternal weight of glory. Jesus teaches us to rejoice and be glad in the midst of suffering for righteousness and for Jesus, because that very suffering will receive a very great compensation and a very great reward. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven!

Mark Your Calendars::

~August 21, 2010 Men's Breakfast
~August 20-21, 2010 Women of Faith Conf.
~September 12, 2010 Vision Sunday (notice this is a new date)

ConnectGroup Schedule::

TuesNite @ 7pm @ The Snow's
WedNite @ 7pm @ The Brown's
SunMorn @ 915am @ GFchurch

I love our church
I love our people
I love what He is doing in us
I love what He is doing to us
I love what He is doing through us
I love that He is not done with us

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