“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11
I remember growing up and learning so much about the freedom we have in the United States to express our beliefs. I also remember learning about hundreds of thousands of people around the world who could not openly express their love for Christ for fear of being imprisoned, or even killed.
As I am writing this we are about to celebrate our country’s birthday, and amidst all fun and fan fair of a fun celebrations all over the country, I want us to reflect on what freedom really is. The birth of our nation afforded our fore-fathers the right to be able to speak freely, believe freely and yes, I will say it even bear arms freely.
Today’s political climate has so many narratives that actually threaten the foundational points this country was founded on. As each one gets challenged among the political parties, we must be diligently in the word of God to know where our strength comes from.
We cannot be complacent in our faith, we must stand up for it. We must not be worried about what the world says of us, but instead we must focus on what God has called us to, and what He says about us.
Let this birthday be a reminder to you to stand strong in your faith, even as core Christian fundamentals are being attacked. This may not be an easy season we are stepping into, but God is faithful and we are blessed.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- Read thru the Beatitudes
- Treat July 4thas a celebration for how you will move forward in your faith
- Stand Strong in your faith
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
I believe that many women today can relate to this verse. Over the last few years we have heard a lot about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. These movements have shined a light onto the victimization of women. It has helped and sometimes hurt our ability as women to stand up and be heard when we have been wronged.
We have watched “powerful” men fall as women speak out, but the same women speaking out have been raked over the coals for speaking up. It seems like the first woman to speak up was the hero, the ones who came after were treated more like lemmings just following the leader. These “followers” were discounted, made fun of and their voice was disqualified.
Does this mean their story didn’t matter? Absolutely not. While I know there have been accounts that were made up, there are still a large majority of women like myself who have been victimized. Some of us handled it in the courts, or workplace when it happened some of us didn’t; but only felt strong when others came out about the same things.
In the moments of being a victim some things happen, you start to feel isolated, alone and like you are the only one in the world this horrible thing has happened to. While we know not all circumstances are the same, we also know that our reactions to the circumstances are varied as well. However, there is hope. There is a way of realizing you have a right to stand up for yourself. The persecution of you seeking righteousness for your situation may come from just sharing your story or from testifying in a court case. There will be people who won’t believe you and will believe your offender, there will be people who will disqualify you at every opportunity. However, they can never disqualify what God has qualified. So walk boldly and confidently in your faith that God has you in the palm of his hand.
Here at DIVAS Impact we have been attacked for being a women’s organization that doesn’t talk about #MeToo or #TimesUp. Don’t get me wrong, like grief the journey from victim to victory has many stages, and I feel that these movements help you check off a couple of the boxes. However, we at DIVAS Impact have made a choice to focus on women who want to move past being a victim to walking in victory. Then being able to share our stories in ways to not only bring other women out of the darkness they find themselves in after victimization, but to also help women identify some ways to help keep them from being victimized.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- What does this verse mean to you?
- Have you been victimized?
- Have you found your way to victory after victimization?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Growing up in a home with a dad who was a police officer this was one of the verses I heard often. It wasn’t until later in life that I understood that my dad had to go into some very dark places and sometimes look evil directly in the face. Being a peacemaker is not always about being calm and docile it is about using all means necessary to bring the situation under control. They do not go in looking for a fight but they are equipped not to back down from one either.
This also reminds me of our military troops who are sent overseas. They may have a mission to eradicate terrorism in a region, but their overall mission is to bring peace to that region.
Too many times, I think people see this verse as being a people pleaser verse, and I don’t believe that is what it is saying at all. I believe it is telling us to seek peace and justice in all situations.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this verse.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- What ways do you bring about peace?
- What are some other examples of a Peacemaker that you can think of?
- Where would you like to see more peace?
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
When you hear pure in heart, I bet you have a few things that come to mind. Maybe it is someone you see that does amazing things for their neighbors, someone like Mother Teresa. Maybe you think of children with all of their innocence.
What would it be like to think of the phrase pure of heart and see your face come to mind? Being pure of heart is not for everyone else and something that you strive for. When Jesus was talking about this, he is encouraging you to let you know the type of followers He is looking for.
So how do we become pure of heart?
First off by not holding offenses, or better yet living a life where you are unoffended. I know, I know, it is hard today when so many things are thrown your way that you just don’t agree with. But let’s think about it, don’t you think Jesus was faced with things daily that went against the things he agreed with? People were always asking him questions trying to second guess his knowledge and belief system, yet with each answer he remained calm and spoke plainly.
There are many things that pollute our hearts today, whether it be on the TV, radio, social media, or just driving down the road and some of the billboards. The way we stay pure, is by being mindful of what we allow into our hearts when we encounter these things. Being pure of heart is about asking God to come in and flood your heart with His glory, building up your immunity to the toxic vibes we encounter each day.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- Are you living a life pure of heart?
- What are some things you do to purify your heart?
- What areas do you struggle with living a life with a pure heart?
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
I remember back several years ago we were attending a small church and like many churches they asked us to take a spiritual gifts assessment. It was no surprise that my assessment showed that I had strong Pastoral, and Exhortation giftings followed closely by and administration gifting. I was satisfied with my assessment because it seemed true to who I was and wanted to be.
However, when the pastor comes over to you and says, “I was looking over your assessment and I am concerned…..” you start to get nervous, like sitting outside the principal’s office nervous. He then went on to explain that my mercy gifting was the lowest he had ever seen. He just couldn’t see how my pastoral side and my low score in the mercy category would walk hand in hand. He really offered no insight, he was perplexed but I was not bothered by it, or so I thought.
If I am honest I still struggle with this because there are times, I would like to be the person who helps and takes care of people. I would like to sit with friends who go through their treatments, and hold their hands and be there for them. Yet every time I think I can do it, I get physically ill myself. I also know that my face says all the emotions I feel so it is hard to sit in a room and hide my emotions and put on a brave face for a friend who is struggling. With all that said, it does not decrease, my concern, my empathy, or my desire to be a helpmate to them during this time. My Mercy gifting plays out in other ways. It is reaching out and letting people know I care, it is a note card sent, a text message, taking care of a tangible need for the family. Sometimes it is just stepping back and praying while respecting a friends privacy.
I would like to say all of these are the right ways, but I am still figuring this out. I am not sure why I still struggle with this, but I am constantly looking for ways to grow personally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The fact that I am still asking the questions means, that I am still looking for the answers. I would love to hear your thoughts on being merciful and what it means to you.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- What does being merciful mean to you?
- How do you show Mercy?
- What ways have you been shown mercy?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
As someone who has been victimized before, I get to talk with many other women who have been victimized. Every time, I do, if they know anything about the Bible they know this verse. They are focused on the person(s) who victimized them to be held accountable, and they are looking for righteous justice. I totally get their feelings, but this verse is not talking to those who have done wrong against us, it is talking about seeking out righteousness in our own heart.
In our organization we talk about the V in DIVAS Impact standing for being VICTORIOUS. Being victorious does not mean we are immune from bad things happening to us, but it does mean that we have ability to hold true to our virtues in spite of them. One thing I have learned on my journey to healing from my attack was that I am responsible for how I choose to live my life after the attack. For me, I carried several things from the attack with me. Fear, anger, bitterness, insecurity, and a self-righteousness. Once I walked thru my healing from my attack, I began to follow my moral compass back to find myself and who I was created to be. As a matter of fact, although I had the dreams of starting DIVAS Impact years earlier, I did not have a clear enough vision for it until I walked through my own journey of healing.
What was the difference? First it started with a series of forgiveness, of people who I felt had wronged me. Believe it or not, if you have been victimized you not only blame the person who did the act, you start blaming others around the act. As you move forward years down the road, you find it easy to place blame on others for your life not going the way it should. The first step was forgiving myself, and then my attacker. These were both huge for me, have you ever heard the phrase unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies? Here is a sad reality, there were so many times I was so miserable in my own skin, although I never was suicidal, I would not have been upset to merely slip away.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I feel there is someone out there that needs to hear this. You may have had something terrible happen to you, but you can choose to live a life free from it re-victimizing you every day. You have to seek a righteousness that is more than vindication it is restorative and will re-ignite the passion for life you had before the trauma.
Daily DIVAS Challenge:
- Choose to forgive those who have done you wrong
- Choose to forgive yourself
- Reach out to us if you would like to start the journey to be set free from your life’s trauma. (you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org)