Rough Road

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Revelation 2:8-11

Our four short verses on the church in Smyrna are sobering. They're also a little scary because they let us know what we might very well encounter as Christ-followers. But then, a life of comfort and ease has never been part of the promise of being a Christian.

So what do Jesus' words convey about our ability to press on for Christ in the here and now (regarding poverty as well as persecution)? Tami W.

P.S. For more on today's topic, tune in to Back to the Bible. Or, get the entire Revelation series on CD.

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15 Comments

Jesus' words are encouraging for us in today's world. The words that leap at me are in verse 10, "be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life". (NIV) We need no more reassurance than that if we are afflicted, in poverty or are being persecuted.

The words, "Do not fear" - really stood out in today's reading. The Lord is always with us and we have nothing to fear!

Jesus speaks of the church's poverty, and then adds "though you are rich" - I wonder if he means rich in the sense of laying up riches in heaven as written in Matthew 6:20? So perhaps the message is, don't worry about being poor in earthly riches, but take heart in the fact that you are rich in heavenly treasures through your faith and love in Jesus Christ?

What better encouragement against persecution can we receive than Rev 2:10 - "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life"? Praise God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

I agree with Ed, and I would add that it is only for a short while that this suffering occurs. At the end there is a reward - the crown of life.

I have read this verus recently in a differnt translation and though I do not understand everything of what I think it is telling is that even in times of doubt, of being treated poorly by others it is important to stand up for God. For me personally it tells me not to be afraid to talk about God in my everday life at work , when someone is hurting and it is also a reminder that if I beleive I need to share God's word.

I was talking with a psychologist last week whose practice is in her home. She had a cross on the door of her home, but some of her clients complained, so she took it down. I disagreed with her decision. She said she had to consider the client complaints because her practice is her only source of income and is different from those who work for companies. I think her decision to submit to non-believers coincides with the meaning of today's scripture. I agree with Dr. Kroll's broadcast that Christian persecution is on the rise in the US. Persecution doesn't have to be "burned alive" or "sawed in half;" it can be pressure on us to "hide" God. I think the US has become so concerned with "politically correct" so no one is "offended" that many of us are falling into the snare to "hide" God.

We have to think how much God loves us. He loves us so much that "He gave us His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3:16. This same Son, went to the cross by shedding His blood and dying for us. This love is beyond comprehension because we do not deserve it but by His grace are we saved by faith. Jesus is emphasing what He already told us many times, fear not because I will always be with you.

Reading His Word each day, opens new doors and His love is everlasting, so let us accept it. May God continue to lead and guide us through all the trials and temptations. Wait on Him and trust Him.

Rachel, I think you are right. As you described, this is HER home. Jesus said that if we're ashamed of him, he'll be ashamed of us. Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel." While it is possible she might lose some clients, it is a matter of trust that God will send to her those clients she is supposed to help and who are supposed to help her practice.

It is the crown of life we seek. My treasures are laid up in heaven, where I have my true citizenship! Suffering is something we take up when we identify ourselves with Jesus and His cross. But the future that is promised in the Bible to the church is bright, powerful, and worth EVERYTHING. To be with HIM for all eternity and with our loved ones, and to have peace and joy forevermore is the prize. What a blessing that we are invited to press toward the prize!

Rachel I understand completely what you're saying. I have a Bible concordance at my desk, but I keep it in a plastic bag so no one will know what it is. Part of the reason I do that is because I don't want to be misunderstood. Perhaps I should be a little more bold about it. I do feel that I need to hide because we are overly concerned about being "politically correct." How do we get beyond that?
How do we know when it's ok and yet not offensive to someone?

Carol, I think your situation may be a bit different than the other one described by Rachel, in that, I'm assuming your "desk" is not at your own business. I don't think it is God's choice that you deliberately choose to be fired. He knows we must be discrete in our workplaces, and can help you to minister in ways that are surprisiing. If, however, you are found out, then His will be done. Either way, take heart, Carol, as God knows you, truly knows you and He is FOR YOU!

Rachel, I can totally relate to your predicament. I have a copy of the Bible at work as well, but I keep it in a desk drawer because I'm afraid of it being discovered and being mocked by co-workers as being a "bible thumper". The fear of gossip, and the fear of being ostracized by cynical atheistic drones. It's a weakness I need to work on, and I need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome this, because I know I can't do it on my own. In little ways, I'm coming more and more out of my shell, but I'm so new as a born-again Christian, it's pretty overwhelming.

I don't think it is nearly as important to be politically correct as it is to be sensitive in our relationships. In today's society people are turned off by Christian's preaching at them. It can harden there heart and make them bitter. I think a good way to reach people for Christ is with friendship evangelism. We should try to accept our neighbors,coworkers,family and friends where they are at in life but not compromise our own. I try not to preach but if they have any comments or problem with the bible we carry, the prayer we say, the life style we live or the bumper sticker on my truck that says real men love Jesus then I say bring it on. That kind of persecution is great. Even if they see all my faults and call me a hypocrite it still allows me to talk about the cross. It allows us to talk about our sin and admit how much we need a relationship with a loving god that paid for our sins. It allows us to talk about undeserved mercy and grace that is free just by asking and believing. It's that simple.

I have a bible on my desk I do not know if anyone has ever really noticed it. If someone asks me a question about church or God I answer them honestly. Others have items on their desks that could be considered not policatlly correct so my bible will stay out.

I am very fortunate to work with a friend who is also a christian and grew up in a church setting that required her to wear skirts and long hair which she has kept and from her outward appearance everyone knew she was a Christian they came to know that I was as well when she and I had coffee together and shared conversation with others. She felt very torn at some responses she got or things she heard in the break room from others describing their weekend activities and sex lives.

I found at times people would say things that were so off base about being a Christian they would want to discuss all the scandals of the world invovling any church and want to know what we thought. I now go to the gym at lunch and we spend most of our coffee breaks going for a walk outside.

Thank you Susie. You do have a very good point. My desk is in my office at work not at home. You really encouraged me.
Thank you

I am not ashamed to show that I am a christian at work, most of us have cubicles and I post my favorite scriptures on it, along with my family pictures. Some people read them and comment how they like them, others don't comment at all. Our work ethic here is that you can't have any explicit posters, obsentities, etc. I also leave the two books that I read everyday right on my desk, Our Daily Bread and InTouch magazine. They are so inspiring! our cleaning lady is a chrisitian and asked me about the books, so now I pass them along to her I also have told others about how to receive them if they are interested. If someone is having a bad day or I am having a bad day myself and looking for guidance one of this books or my on-line devotionals always has a message and I either tear it out for that person or send it to them.

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About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

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This page contains a single entry by Tami W published on July 14, 2010 5:00 AM.

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