This Year, Live by the Beatitudes (8)

This Year, Live by the Beatitudes (8)

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”    Mt 5:10 NKJV

In Yellowstone National Park there’s an interesting tree called a Lodgepole Pine. Its cones can hang on for years before falling off. Even then they remain tightly closed. They open only when they are in contact with intense heat. Whenever forest fires are raging and all the trees are being destroyed, the heat opens these particular pine cones. As a result, they are the first to assist nature in repopulating the forest. Jesus said to His disciples, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There’s potential in each of us that’s only released when we’re under pressure or in a fiery trial. Job discovered this when God permitted Satan to test him. Job lost everything he had, including his children. And to add insult to injury, he was forced to endure the scorn of his wife and friends because of his unwavering faith. When it was over, Job, who got back twice as much as he lost, prayed, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5 NKJV). It’s one thing to hear how God works based on somebody else’s experience, it’s another to see it first-hand when you’re wondering, “What did I do to deserve this?” or asking, “If God’s really there, why am I here?” Why? (1) Because it’s in the fire that you discover new aspects of God’s care and character. (2) What turns worthless carbon into diamonds? Heat! Pressure! (3) In the fire you discover that when others abandon you, God remains faithful.

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