Today´s Scripture is one of my favorites. I learned it by heart many years ago without knowing that God would use it to comfort me in the years to come.

Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35) They certainly won´t separate Christ from us, but they may separate us from Christ if we´re not careful.

When we live through things we don´t expect or have to endure long periods of distress and trials, we lose heart. And it´s exactly in that moment when Satan will try to put thoughts in your mind. Thoughts like…

…God doesn´t love you. If He loved you, He wouldn´t allow you to suffer.

…You are worthless. Not even God cares about you.

…Why should you try? It won´t work.

If you let these lies dig deep into your heart, you may stray away from Christ.

Now think for a moment. Every day things, big and small, discourage us and challenge our faith. Imagine if you were persecuted for being a Christian. Put yourself in the place of the thousands persecuted, forced to abandon their home, incarcerated or killed because they identified themselves with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Standing firm for Christ in our western culture doesn´t result in torture or death, but it can have negative consequences. Today´s verses are an encouragement for all the Christians around the world who are, in a way or another, persecuted because of their faith.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Jesus doesn´t tell us only that we are blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He says something else

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)

This requires courage. You need to be brave to pray for those who persecute you. Our human instincts tells us to do exactly the opposite – fight, pay back, revenge.  But Jesus calls us to be brave and love back.

Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.

Are you in a situation today in which you are, to any extent, persecuted because of your faith? Take heart. Be brave to love back. Remember that the Lord is with you. He is your light and your salvation; He is the stronghold of your life.  Remember that, in Christ, you are more than a conqueror. That neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Content in His service,

Week 3 Challenge: This week, be brave and do something that takes courage. Pray for someone who has hurt you. Give to someone in need, even if that means you have to sacrifice in order to give. Live boldly and lovingly share uncompromising truth to someone who God has been pressing on your heart. Speak God’s truth to the discouragement that has been filling your mind. This week, choose to live your life BRAVE!

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