[January 28, 2024]

Heartland Community Church


What is persecution?

By Molly Fisher

Blessed are the persecuted?!? Being persecuted is not part of my ordinary day. In fact, I feel fortunate to have grown up in the USA, where going to church is normal and is not, in any way, taking our lives into our own hands. I fully recognize this luxury in a historical context and today. Christians have been and are being persecuted, imprisoned, and put to death for meeting, for having a Bible, or for declaring their faith. I’ve read so many phenomenal books that have made me question what I would do, really do, if admitting I believed in Jesus meant certain death or if I lived where being a Christian was illegal.

What if Jesus was serious? I no longer think it impossible for me/us to face persecution for being a Christian in our world today. Christians are more and more likely to face being insulted, thrown out or fired, put down, unfriended, blocked, lied about, all for living a life following Jesus, not being silent, and not being afraid to admit what they believe. As Jesus defines it, “persecuted for righteousness” would look like suffering for doing what is right as we follow in his footsteps.

A few months ago, I experienced a friend, a kind Christian man, being attacked (primarily on social media), insulted, gossiped about, and judged for what he believed about loving and accepting those different than those inside the conservative Christian culture. He exemplifies loving others who are hurting and feeling judged as Jesus did. Social media posts/pictures were taken out of context and sent to others to spark outrage and offense, which it did. It was rough because I had yet to witness gossip in the digital age. It made me aware of how guarded we can be to our way of thinking and how quickly being righteous can turn into the self-righteousness we see from the Pharisees in the Bible.

This was not how Jesus treated people. Living a life like Jesus will not be acceptable to all. Still, Jesus called us blessed for being persecuted for the sake of righteousness…yours is the kingdom of heaven – you are in good company!


[Sunday, January 28]

Matthew 5:10-12

A blessing is profound, abiding, unshakable, and each beatitude seems to be for those whom no one else would be considered blessed. Once again, the beatitudes turn our typical way of looking at things upside down. These blessings are the epitome of delayed gratification. Can you live for God unfettered by the pressures and expectations of others, regardless of the cost?


[Monday, January 29]

Matthew 5:10, 1 Peter 2:19-25

I guess most of us have figured out that life is unfair, and sometimes we are treated unjustly. Suffering for breaking the law or doing evil is just punishment or natural consequences, not persecution. Some are persecuted unrelated to righteousness, but God blesses those who stand firm in living righteously, even through adversity. (MSG) “This world is not your home, don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” Am I a little too comfortable? How might God be unsettling me?


[Tuesday, January 30]

Matthew 5:11, John 15:18-19, Proverbs 16:29

Avoiding conflict is not God’s way to peace. Jesus never denied the presence of evil or its power, and he never avoided it. He faced it head-on and made evil uncomfortable, as truth often does. Wickedness loves company, and there are repercussions to stand against it.
Being known and loved by the world or following Jesus can have different outcomes. Am I more likely to opt for affirmation instead of opposition? Do I avoid conflict only to find a false peace?


[Wednesday, January 31]

Matthew 5:12, John 15:20-27, John 10:10

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but in a way that masks that intent. You will face persecution if your eyes are opened to the truth, you too will be “hated without reason…(but) the Spirit of Truth will testify about Jesus and you also.” (MSG) “All of heaven will applaud.” Living differently can be offensive to the world. Do I desire more of God at the risk of my own self-protection?


[Thursday, February 1]

1Peter 2:24-25, John 3:19-20

Light came into the world and people loved the darkness. We tend to stay in the dysfunction we know, but by his wounds we are healed. We have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our soul. We get to live differently, but we have a choice: Jesus or the world?


[Friday, February 2]

Matthew 5:10-12, John 16:33

Rejoice and be glad when your commitment to God provokes persecution. You are in the company of the disciples, prophets, saints, and Jesus himself – you are NOT on your own! Jesus came to bring joy, but he knows we will have trouble; he knows we will face persecution, but he has overcome the world. Consider ways to let go of your sense of entitlement and craving for comfort and how to open up to opportunities for growth.


{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

CLICK HERE to get the Read Scripture App, from our friends at The Bible Project.

CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

The Bible App For Kids YouVersion partnered with OneHope to develop the Bible App for Kids, designing it specifically to engage children with Bible stories on an age-appropriate level. The Bible App for Kids is a free app for Android, Apple, and Kindle devices, available in over 60 languages.

Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and share what you are learning, questioning or experiencing. We love conversations!


© 2024 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

Unsubscribe from The Journey.

to receive our future emails.


Comments are closed.