Commitment to God provokes persecution

Matthew 5 (MSG)

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “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 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 heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

I’ve been struggling with a co-worker. This person over the past two months has gotten progressively more and more antagonistic towards me. I don’t know what to do about it other than to turn the other cheek as best I can and to bring it up to my boss when it has crossed a professional line.

This person sits right next to me which means I have a front row seat to various accusations and insults.

Over the past month these are some things that I have been told:

  • You look fatter
  • You are trying to play democratic games in the office
  • You are prejudice towards this client because they are from the same country as me
  • You are “Mother Mary”
  • Your college isn’t that great
  • You need to learn how to obey what I say
  • You are siding with this dept just by delegating internal work
  • You are trying to get me in trouble

All of these things are false and after speaking about this to my family and friends, I am reminded that sometimes just being a Christian makes people hate you. Being good at your job makes people hate you. Being sure of who you are makes people hate you.

It’s disheartening to know that this person speaks the above lies. It’s not even the fact that they are lies that hurt. It’s more of, hey, I’m trying to do my job, and so are you. Why do you have to be so spiteful? Why am I so interesting to you that you need to make up reasons to try to start an argument with me?

I don’t post this for attention. I’m posting this as a reminder, that sometimes we forget that this is the world we live in. As Christians you are looked at like dirt, like a clown, like a total fool. Sometimes even as a women you can be looked at as if you are drama, or not truthful. I’ve experienced all of these things and they have brought a heaviness to my heart some days. I listen to an entire worship CD every day on my way to work. I meditate and pray on my commute. I cling to God because my patience is thin for these attacks. I trust God.

But it can also be exhausting to continue to fortify yourself in the midst. Or to hear the buzzing of these “bees” around you. Sometimes its not the words themselves, its just the irritation of being stung over and over.

If you are experiencing something like this in your work or at home fill in your name below and be of good cheer. I am with you. God is with you.

Mine:

Not only that—Jessica is blessed every time people put her down or throw her out or speak lies about her to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. Jessica can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you, Jessica are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

For you:

Not only that—____ is blessed every time people put ___ down or throw ___ out or speak lies about ___ to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. ___ can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that ___ are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Karrueche Tran

“Dear God, Please keep me strong. To keep me strong, keep my head up and to put my best foot forward and to love regardless of whatever situation I go through. You know always love and be kind. To stay strong and keep the faith.” – Karrueche Tran

I don’t follow much in Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry when it comes to celebrity gossip. I work in a field where I so see a lot of headlines, but I don’t catch everything that’s out there or follow everything that’s out there.

Someone on my Facebook page posted an article about this girl Karrueche Tran and since she usually posts good articles I clicked on it. Long story short Karrueche Tran dated the singer Chris Brown who after some time, cheated on her. Through the power of the internet I was able to see that she did an interview and it inspired me to post today.

I don’t know much of anything about Karrueche Tran which I think is a good thing because I can be objective. I feel bad for this girl. I feel bad because I can relate. In my past I dated a guy who totally destroyed my trust through his use of drugs and other women while we were together. You suffer sometimes silently as a result. And sometimes you break down publicly whether it’s at work or school or grocery shopping. It’s truly sad in her case to have to go through something so painful with everyone in America watching you crumble. It’s even worse when social media enables people to heckle you in the midst of your suffering.

I hope this is a reminder to us all that we are not all that different from celebrities. It’s easy to thumb through a tabloid in line at the airport or laugh at snarky Tweets while watching our favorite show. But I think all of this has eroded our humanity. This isn’t all entertainment. This is still real people and their real problems in their real lives. I hope by extending grace in all aspects of social media–that it will no longer be acceptable to harshly judge and mock people from the comfort of our personal computers and cell phones. Proverbs 12 tells us that our words have the power to build up and the power to destroy. I don’t want to ever fall into the trap of destroying someone else with my judgmental words because it’s “funny”. I encourage you to build up someone you see is being torn down, even if it’s a celebrity you see being bullied on social media.

So as silly as this is. I wanted to make a comment on this especially after reading people’s horrible comments under the YouTube videos and seeing particular comments highlighted during the video that were extracted from Twitter.

Dear Karrueche,

I saw your interview online and I was proud to hear that you are owning your mistakes and being honest with yourself and your own brokenness. You said it many times and you are correct. We are human. I think after my own relationship’s demise years ago I began a new journey with God. I didn’t realize that through my Father’s own inadequacy in my life and bullying from peers growing up that I had very low self-esteem. I don’t say this to belittle your feelings but to merely acknowledge that I’ve been there too. When you are finally given attention and believe that you have found love you are willing to endure anything to keep it. As a romantic myself you can get lost in the fiction of it all. I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare and it seems so poetic to have such pain when you’re in love because it seems to validate that your love is real. That your love is passionate. That your love is unique. I would be lying to myself if I were to tell you that I am completely over it. There are still days even years later that it fills me with sadness. There are even more shameful days where I miss that relationship. It is important to remember whether you are at your best or at your worst when reflecting on your past that God loves you not only infinitely more than a man could, but loves you more than you even love yourself. In the times where I mourn my past relationship I am quickly reminded that I love myself less. Meaning, I don’t love myself completely yet. I am still healing. I am still in a small way, saying that my past hurt wasn’t bad enough and I could reunite with my ex. I tell myself that it is still a love worth missing. The greatness of God is that He will always listen to my cries and my prayers but His will for my life will be done. Not in a a controlling way, but in a gracious way. If my past relationship is full of pain and feelings of unworthiness He is not going to give me what I ask. As a healthy loving dad would, He desires more.

The Bible says it best in Matthew 7:9-11 NLT ““You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

You see? In essence we have settled for snakes and God wants to give us a fish. We have settled for tainted love when God wants to give us His true love and because of His true love He wants to give us a man who is worthy of His daughter. I pray that you continue to go to church and realize how much God loves you. I pray that you continue to heal. I pray that you will always be loving and kind. I pray that you guard your heart from those who would bring it harm. I pray that you will be strong and keep the faith. Last but not least I pray that you will (if you haven’t already) surrendered your life and all of your hopes and ambitions to Christ. I can honestly say that I regret nothing in my past. Over the course of the past few years I’ve felt happy and loved by God as I wait for His many blessings to unfold. I declare Isaiah 62 MSG over your life from this day onward as not only a verse you can hold to but a hope and a promise from God:

You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. 4 No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no more be called Ruined. You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight), and your land Beulah (Married), Because God delights in you.

Love,

Jessica

Monday Inspiration 10.13.14

It’s Monday. You could be facing all sorts of things. You could be studying for a test that you are scared to fail. You could be starting a new job. You could be moving back in your home after a separation in your marriage. Whatever situation you are facing today I want to encourage you to remember why you started. It’s hard to be human sometimes and to feel like you are drowning in confusion and wondering why God would allow pain or suffering into your life.

As annoying honestly as it is to accept sometimes—pain is gain. In our human weakness we don’t want pain. We can get resentful of it. We don’t want to feel it. It’s not…natural to desire suffering. The one verse that gives me encouragement when I go through hard times like this is Isaiah 66:

7-8 “A woman does not give birth before she feels the pain. A woman must feel the pain of childbirth before she can see the boy she gives birth to. Who ever heard of such a thing? In the same way, no one ever saw a new world begin in one day. No one has ever heard of a new nation that began in one day. But when Zion feels the pain, she will give birth to her children. In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.”

God is not sadistic. He does not revel in our suffering. Birth for example is arguably life’s greatest miracle and yet women do not seamlessly endure childbirth. There is blood, sweat, tears, the whole deal, and the strange part is that women are still having children. This temporary pain does not stop them from wanting the child. In the same way we can endure suffering, confusion, and all these feelings with a mustard seed of faith and confidence that it is not forever, and it will result in something new. Something that will make the pain worth it.

Remember why you started.

Photo Credit: Blog.freepeople.com