Monday, February 18, 2008

More Letters from a friend

John continues in Revelation 2:

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. 9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10Do 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 the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

This is not a message that one could easily sell as a televangelist. 'Come to Jesus and suffer. Come to Jesus and you will be jailed, persecuted and possible killed." It's a much easier sell to say "come to Jesus and be wealthy and healthy." But that isn't the message.

It gives me hope to hear "He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death." We aren't promised an easy life. Actually, quite the opposite. Look at the disciples. Only John died of natural causes. But there is a promise that if we persist in our faith, there is an eternal reward that far surpasses anything we can imagine. That is something to hang our hope on.

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