25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
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.
Every once in awhile I will get someone to ask me to teach them how to play guitar. Most of the time I agree but I always have these two disclaimers I tell every student of mine. Number one, it’s gonna hurt. (You should look at my calluses on my fingertips, they’re gnarly!) And Number two, you’re going to be really bad before you’re going to be good. Lots of people see musicians and singers on the stage and think that they can get up on stage and do it too. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? What people fail to realize is that almost all the musicians and singers playing on stage have invested HOURS, DAYS, YEARS into their craft and their expression of worship through music comes off looking easy and sounding excellent. Training counts, it matters. After all my years of training and playing, now I get to have this amazing gift that I can use for the rest of my life and into eternity! But it didn’t come easy and I sure trained hard. I have the scars to prove it!
Thoughts for the day
- 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.
As you travel on your daily journey, take a few minutes to pray through your day before it starts: any tricky classes, meetings or people you’ll encounter in your day. Then after your day is done, take time to give everything back to God again as you travel home.