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SCRIPTURE: Matt. 5:43-48 w/ emphasis on vv.44-45a (AMP) - " 44 But I (Jesus) say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven."

Wow, what a radically different perspective Jesus gives us, than what the world would have you think.  It reminds me of something Chip Ingram once said regarding the meaning of the word love; "Love is not a feeling; it's giving someone what he or she needs most when it is least deserved, at great personal sacrifice."  Would you disagree, that would include our 'enemy' and 'those who persecute us'?   You see, like most things, Jesus is challenging our assumptions of what it means to truly love others.  He goes on to say it's easy to love those close to us, yet anyone can do that; implying He doesn't want us to be, or do, just like everyone else.  Indirectly, love doesn't mean we accept or tolerate a person's sin practice either; hence why we should pray for them.  What I love too about these passages, Christ goes on to tell us why we should love radically; because God loves us as such and that we are called to be someone higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
PRAYER FOCUS:  Open yourself to God’s presence. Ask God to speak to you, to prepare your heart, and to reveal Himself through this Word.  Holy Spirit, help me to see in what ways Jesus challenged His followers to be different from the world in this passage and know in what ways I need to be living to be separate from the world?   Search us God and know our hearts, test us and show us our anxieties, in what areas of our lives do we resemble the world too much and give us the strength and grace to follow Your teaching, and ways everlasting.