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May 10 – To the angel of the Church in Smyrna (1)

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’” – Revelation 2:8-11

Scripture reading: Luke 12:1-11

Today, we again come before the Lord in corporate worship. This is the day of all the week the best, emblem of eternal rest. We may celebrate in joyful worship as the body of Christ, the glorious life of Christ. We may hold fast to the hope that does not disappoint. We, in God’s grace, may happily confess; God is great and greatly to be praised. Many, if not most, reading this devotion can do so in peace and without fear or alarm.

But that is not the case for a large portion of Christ’s church scattered across the face of the globe. Accounts of believers dying for Christ can be read daily. In certain quarters, there is fierce opposition and terrible suffering. It has been that way since the beginning of the church (not only in the New Testament as the church of Smyrna would attest, but also in the Old Testament era).

How important for us to hold tightly to the conviction that the:

“Son of God through His Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects and preserves for Himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.” – Heidelberg Catechism Answer 54

Let us not take for granted our blessings. Let us not put our heads in the sand as to the encroaching restrictions of our own freedom to confess Christ the King of Glory!

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for the persecuted church and do so often. Pray to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees (Luke 12:1). Thank the Lord He will never leave or forsake His people.

Pastor Peter Vellenga serves as an itinerant preacher in the churches of Southern Ontario. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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