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Payday is Coming

Reward Persecution Perseverance

Contributed By: Bob Kombe | Date Posted: 2022-08-05

Scripture: Matthew 5:11 ; Matthew 5:12

Author: Bob Kombe
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ILLUSTRATION

You know, as I was thinking about the promised reward found in Matthew 5:12, it made me think of the work I am currently doing as a preschool teacher.  Now, most days at work are pretty OK - the people are friendly, the kids are behaving well, and it’s just a normal day.

But then there are some days when it feels really difficult. Maybe it's that I’m not getting along well with one of my co-workers, or maybe the kids are being particularly naughty that day, or maybe it’s just one of those super busy days - and I find myself getting irritated, frustrated, tired, and grumpy.

Now, do you know what always helps to lift my mood? I just think about payday. I imagine that there is a day coming when I’m going to be paid for all of my trouble. Now maybe that doesn't make the problem go away - but it does a lot in changing my attitude toward the problem.

APPLICATION

The kind of reward that Jesus promises in Matthew 5:12 is far greater than a temporary paycheck at the end of the month. Here, Jesus is talking about a heavenly reward.  In fact, Jesus calls it a great reward.  It is far, far better than any good thing you and I can think or imagine.  And this blessing, this reward that Jesus is talking about, is forever!

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:11-12, NIV).

Witnesses to the Resurrection

Resurrection Testimony Persecution

Source: "NBC’s Brian Williams recants Iraq story after soldiers protest" by By Travis J. Tritten for Stars and Stripes, Published: February 4, 2015

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Geoff Follas | Date Posted: 2015-04-04

Author: Geoff Follas / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

In Feb 2015, NBC's leading journalist and news anchor, Brian Williams, was pressured into recanting his claim that he had come under enemy fire while imbedded with US forces in Iraq. Williams had made the claim at different times over the years, most recently while covering an event honoring a retired soldier. “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

When those who remembered the actual events of the day challenged Williams' claim, pressure began to mount--from the Network, from the media, from the Armed Forces, and even from his fans--for Williams to come clean and admit that he'd not told the truth. It was clear that he faced losing not only his job, but his good name and reputation.

Under the weight of the pressure, Williams finally admitted that events had not played out as he'd previously reported. “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” Williams said. “I want to apologize. ... No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft.”

APPLICATION

The pressure for Williams to recant his account of the Iraq event was powerful. He stood to lose his job.

The pressure for the disciples to recant their account of the resurrection was far greater. They stood to lose their lives--and indeed, eleven of the twelve ultimately did.

If the disciples had in any way invented or even simply exaggerated the story of the resurrection, surely, under such duress, at least one of them would have admitted it. But that never happened. They knew without a doubt it was the truth, and were willing to face death because of it.

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also." (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).  

The Woman Who Knew No Fear

Fear Persecution God's Love

Source: “Inside the Rare Case of the Woman Who Has No Fear” By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff, posted Newser.com, Jan 21, 2015

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-01-22

Scripture: 1 John 4:18 ; Matthew 10:28

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

In January 2015, NPR launched a new program, Invisibilia. They describe it as “a series about the invisible forces that shape human behavior … interweaving personal stories with scientific research that will make you see your own life differently.”

In its sophomore episode it tackled the journey of a middle-aged woman known as SM (her real name is protected), who lost the ability to feel fear. SM suffers from Urbach-Wiethe disease, an extremely rare condition known to affect only about 400 people worldwide. Over time, Urbach-Wiethe disease causes the amygdala (the part of the brain which regulates fear) to calcify and become utterly useless.

SM has only vague memories of ever having felt fear prior to the disease having ravaged her amygdala. Since then, she has subjected herself to a variety of research studies which have placed her in various and sundry situations ranging from mildly risky to downright horrifying, and then tracking her responses. They monitored her reaction to everything from snake and spider encounters, horror movies, "surprise" muggings by gunpoint and knifepoint, and even less physically threatening, but still "scary" situations like gambling away large sums of money. She passed all tests without so much as a flinch.

Since she doesn’t respond with “fear,” she has never experienced what scientists would consider “trauma.”

The closest she has come to fear came as the result of a 2013 experiment in which she was asked to inhale carbon monoxide via a gas mask. She wasn’t fearful of putting on the mask, but did indeed experience panic when she began to struggle to breathe. Scientists found the same result in two other Urbach-Wiethe patients when put to the same test, leading them to theorize that the brain processes external threats (like seeing a poisonous snake or being mugged at gunpoint) differently than internal ones (like lungs struggling to breathe, or suffering a heart attack).

She may not know fear, “But she does have logic, so she understands that if a car is barreling down the street, she should try to get out of its way.”

APPLICATION

Wouldn't it be wonderful to live your life free of fear? Imagine the new things you might be willing to try or the adventures you might set out on, if you weren't afraid of the risks. And what about your spiritual journey? How would being fearless effect you as a witness to family and friends, as a volunteer in your community or at your church, as a student of God's Word? Have you passed all these tests without so much as a flinch?

The fact is, we fear for lack of the full assurance of God's love. Are you holding back because you haven't yet matured in your experience of God's perfect love?

"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love" (1 John 4:18, NLT).

Additional Application:

While Urbach-Wiethe patients are impervious to external threats, they do fear internal ones. For this reason, they serve to illustrate Jesus' exhortation in Matthew's gospel:

"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28, NLT).
 

There Must Be Roots

Persecution Spiritual Growth Self-deceived

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-09-15

Scripture: Matthew 20-: ; James 1:3

Author: Warren Wiersbe
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ISIS Destroying the Language of Jesus

Incarnation Love (Divine) Persecution

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-09-10

Scripture: Romans 12:21 ; Psalms 118:1

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Check Point Ahead, Turn Now

Persecution Evangelism God's Judgment

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-06-26

Scripture: Matthew 3:2

Author: Illustration Exchange
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French Jews Seeking Identity in Israel

Jesus, Messiah Identity Persecution

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-02-19

Scripture: John 1:12

Author: Elizabeth Bryant
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Washing Our Hands Of Jesus

Justice Jesus' Suffering Persecution

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2014-01-01

Scripture: Matthew 27:24 ; John 18:28

Author: Rod Crowell
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Vivit, Vivit He Lives

Resurrection Hope Persecution

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-09-25

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:20

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Sharing In Jesus' Suffering

Suffering Witness Persecution

Contributed By: Jerry Cowan | Date Posted: 2013-09-14

Scripture: 2 Timothy :

Author: Jerry Cowan
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