"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10
During this Lenten season, my pastor at First United Methodist Church has had a group of us meeting to 'Touch the 24'. What's that mean, you ask? We've been discussing the last 24 hours of Jesus' life before his crucifixion.
Throughout His ministry, he faced many obstacles from all sides, he faced ridicule, he faced betrayal. In the midst of all that though, he managed to reach the hearts and souls
of many, he healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and showed compassion to those who were the 'throwaways' of their communites.
Those who followed him faced the same situations he faced at that time.....persecution. They were mocked, ridiculed for being different, poor or not upper class or tortured.
Why am I telling you this? We have the freedom to worship, provide adocacy, education feed the hungry. For many who lived in the Restricted or Hostile countries, THAT is NOT an option for them. Men, women and yes, even children are tortured, raped, beated or murdered for their Christian faith. No matter where we reside in the world, as followers of God and His Son Jesus Christ, we belong to not only Him, but to each other in Him. It is for this very reason that we must reach out to the hearts of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and let them know "You do matter and you are loved."
When I began writing, 'the bottom line' was not my first concern. Yes, having money in the bank would be great, but I wanted to first, be an inspiration in the lives of others and to have the inspiration I give to them, encourages them to pass it on to others. Whatever your job is, whatever your career is, whatever your passion is, use it to be an inspiration to others and to bring God's presence into their lives. Blessings, Liz Ciccone