Matthew 5:7-12 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (NAS)
I pray that you had a wonderful time celebrating over the Fourth of July weekend. America is bountiful with blessings, first from our Heavenly Father and built on the Biblical foundations of the words of our “Founding Fathers.” In that frame of heart and mind, we continue the conversation and celebration.
While America is not perfect, we are thankful that the Spirit of the Lord is perfecting His people who live here. God established us to live right here, right now, to live out His Word and will as a living testimony of His authority, love, and grace. This Jesus-given model and mandate is our daily journey towards true life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our “rights” must be wrapped in righteousness; God’s Word lived out God’s way. My rights end where yours begin, I cannot harm another person with my rights – I may offend them with my Biblical beliefs and behaviors, but we do not have a Constitutional or Biblical right that protects us from being offended. The rights I exercise may cause me to be insulted and even persecuted but Jesus says, be happy; “rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great.”
In Christ, our sense of offense should actually be an immediate prompt to prayer; first asking for forgiveness for any unholy thought or attitude and then for the person or group who is speaking or acting out in their lack of knowing God, His love and His Word. Hurting people hurt people. As followers of Jesus, He taught us to pray, commanded us to love and commissioned us to go and make disciples. The memorable and mobilizing mantra would be, “Prayer, Care, Share!”
When you experience Biblically based offense, see it as an opportunity from God to encounter someone else’s pain from heaven’s view. Pray, “Lord, I pray for this person right now, even though I may not know them or their hurt, but You do. Lord as I pray, please draw them to You and make Your character and comfort known in their life, pain and need.” Secondly, ask, “Lord, show me how I could show Your love to them or someone You show me in a similar circumstance.” Thirdly, “Jesus, give me, or someone nearer to them, the opportunity to share Your gospel of grace, forgiveness and abundant, eternal life.”
We pray for everyone to have the abundant, eternal, fruitful, Spirit-filled life that God designed for them. We pray for everyone to experience liberty; the ability to live as God designs and defines through the destiny He has authored. He has placed His image and purpose in every person; our value is determined by Him and not man. Liberty is not a license to live any way we want, but rather to live out the fulfilling and fruitful life our Creator wills.
The pursuit of happiness seeks, practices and stewards God’s blessings in every circumstance. The word “Happy” is found over 40 times in the New Testament, it is the word, “Makarios,” it is translated and defined from its original word, “Blessed.” We are to pursue and share God’s blessings for true happiness.
Let’s unite in prayer:
Lord, we desire the life, liberty and happiness that You designated for each of our lives. Our life is not our own, but a magnificent gift that we give back to You as we prayerfully choose our attitudes, words and actions to respond to Your authority and love. You are for us, not against us. You desire our lives to be filled with good things such as love, joy, and peace. Please reveal Truth to those who believe following You is a life of hate, lack and misery – they do not know You at all. Walking out life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a continuous cycle of Your love and our reflecting response back to You and others. Thank You for my life, may I live it for You, exercising my God-given rights, as Your instrument to pray and live as “One nation under God.”
National Day of Prayer Task Force