12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.
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.
Holy strength and courage. I love what James says about it. Perseverance through trials and hardships develops character. Character over a period of time develops Hope. What gives us the courage to “not be afraid of what (we) are about to suffer”, to go through the difficult tests in life, even tests brought upon you by the devil? The knowledge of the Alpha and Omega being on your side. By living a life where time and time again you see past the present sufferings and develop the muscle of perseverance. In this development, you find God begin to build in you a holy character that even sees the Hope in the midst of the storm. That’s the same strength and courage that God gave to Joshua, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego, Elijah, John the Baptist and now us! Know your present situation and know that He has already (or will) provided you what is necessary to rise above it or go through it! God is building within you the strength of His character.
Thoughts for the day
- In which area of your life do you need to persevere and do you rely on yourself or God?
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Take time to praise today. If you’ve got a phone and headphones, carve out time today to listen to worship music, or a song that helps you to connect with God. Start and end your regular routine with praise.