Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Revelation: Discovering Life for Today and Eternity – Week Three


Smyrna:  The Church Who Suffered Well

This letter about suffering and resurrection is especially for those who are going through tough times.  While studying this letter, I learned that a sister in Christ was diagnosed with stage iv liver cancer.  This letter molded how I’ve prayed for her.

Jesus knows our individual struggles and provides real comfort in those times.  He knows what you are enduring for your faith:  ridicule, exclusion, ostracism, physical pain, death.  He’s experienced each of these things – and more – so He has intimate knowledge of what you’re going through.  So bring your cares to Him.  Then trust that the opposition you’re enduring will be used by God for His glory.

This week’s video teaching painted the picture that God comes to our aid.  He comforts.  He educates.  He strengthens.  God is in control.  He is sovereign.  This is a lesson that we all need to be reminded about at one time or another.

Jesus comforts the church of Smyrna – and us – by saying, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.”  Well, I must confess:  I still fear.  But I think I’m getting faster at recognizing that fear and I give it over to the Lord more quickly each time.  I will remember the words of a sign posted outside of a church in London during World War II:  “If your knees knock, kneel on them.”

This leads right to where we have some major acknowledging to do.  We cannot overcome suffering on our own.  We must give control over to the Spirit.  We must allow the Spirit to lead us.  We must rely on His power in us to overcome.  And that power does exist.  It has enabled others who have gone before us to endure great suffering, torture and even death.  Yes.  It is possible to be faithful unto death.  That blows my mind!

Memorize:  Hebrews 4:15-16

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