Loving Lord, in your marvelous grace, turn my memory into hope, my gratitude into energy, and my strength into service.
Read REVELATION 2:8–11
To the Church in Smyrna
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectMost of us suffer from distracting thoughts when we come to read and pray. Pause before you begin today and breathe slowly, asking God to help you focus.
The verse below was given to me at my baptismal service as an encouragement for the life of discipleship that lay ahead of me.* That was over 50 years ago, and by the grace of God I am still following Jesus today, although it has not always been easy. Faithfulness is another great Christian characteristic, which is often underrated. There is nothing spectacular about it, and the church in Smyrna itself seems to have been an unspectacular kind of church. But the ability to stick to a task, to see things through to the end, to keep going with a loyal and steadfast determination, is something commended by Jesus.
There is, however, another aspect of faithfulness that is far more costly, and that is the decision to remain true to Jesus in the face of opposition. The church in Smyrna is warned that they will soon be called upon to suffer for their faith (v 10). Indeed, the Spirit tells them that some will be thrown into prison for ten days. Satan will test their faith – will they remain true to Jesus? How might I fare under such a prospect? How courageous am I?
Where do you need to be faithful? How do you face opposition to your faith – at work, from your family and friends, in the attitudes of society? Pray for believers for whom physical persecution is a daily reality.
Faithful Father, I can’t imagine facing slander, prison, or death because of my faith. If that happens Lord, I know your power will see me through. Thanks and praise to you.
*Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10b)
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