Daily Spirit & Word: 696: A Postcard From Heaven.
Jesus Knows What You Are Going Through.
Revelation: Letters to the Seven Churches; Smyrna.
Good morning my friends. With three couples we had another session of Marriage Preparation last night in Church, we were chatting mainly about communication, levels of communication. How there are five levels of conversation ranging from Hello: Which says very little at all, then sharing facts (it’s raining), then sharing of Views (I know it’s going to be sunny later), then sharing of Thoughts (I think I like the rain), then sharing of Feelings (when the rain splashes on my face it makes me feel awesome), then sharing of the Heart (How does the rain make you feel?). As we chatted it soon became obvious that there was a need to be sharing and communicating at a heart level more in all our relationships. When we share at a heart-to-heart level we don’t need to say very much at all.
In our second letter from Jesus to the Churches, you’ll observe that He doesn’t say very much at all to the church in Smyrna, it’s like a Postcard to the Persecuted Church, but we must bear in mind our LORD Jesus is communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level: He’s skipped over saying “Hello” and “I know this” and “I think this” and “I feel this” to “This is what it is”…
Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
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 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 the crown of life.
11 He 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.
Such a short letter to a church that’s undergoing severe persecution, but within such a few words so much is communicated. It’s like a well crafted line on a Valentines Card to a LOVED ONE: “Roses are red, violets are blue, storms may blast, but I’ll always love you”…
Jesus is encouraging those poor, poverty stricken, faithful under trial, persecuted and suffering believers. He wants them to know that He KNOWS. He sees everything that happens under the sun. He even sees into the Heavenly realms and knows all about Satan’s tactics to bring those brothers and sisters down.
Keep in mind as you go through the book of Revelation the whole counsel of Scripture. Within the pages of the Bible believers are warned by God, by Jesus and by the Holy Spirit that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. We might just think we’re going through trouble, because trouble is natural, earthly, but most trouble is stirred up by Satan to “Afflict” the saints on earth.
- Remember how Satan came to Adam and Eve? They were in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) with everything they could ever need.
- Remember how Satan came to Jesus in the Wilderness? He was in a Desert Place with nothing.
Satan will come and tempt you, when you are in plenty or in want in your life. There is no place on this earth, no circumstance that he will not use to try to get at you. Once you are a follower of Jesus, then Satan takes note of it and begins to attack you, trying to tempt you, trying to stop you following Jesus Christ. No one is exempt. If Satan can come and try and tempt Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who Created the Universe, then my friends, he is going to come and try and tempt you too. He hates the fact that you’ve been saved and are following Jesus.
Verse 10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer” is a real encouragement to me today.
There’s NO NEED to BE AFRAID. Because you’ve got Jesus watching, you’ve got the Holy Spirit empowering, as Jesus did in the wilderness and overcame, you’ve got a Heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you and is watching out for you. He has promised that NOTHING in all Creation will be able to snatch you out of His all powerful hands. Submit yourselves to Him who is able to keep you from falling. Amen!
Verse 10: “I will give you the crown of life”… My friends, the gift of Eternal Life is waiting. Keep going!
NOTE: In the letter to Ephesians Revelation 2:1-7 yesterday, the promise at the end was: “I will give the right to eat from the tree of live, which is in the Paradise of God”… Today it’s “I will give you the crown of life”… Awesome promises from our Blessed Lord Jesus.
Like a Postcard To A Persecuted Church.
Like a Valentines Card Communicates His Heart.
You might be tempted to think: “They were going through all that trouble and hardship and that’s all that Jesus has to say to them, surely He could have encouraged them just a little bit more?” My friends, when you are communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level as Jesus does, you don’t need to say very much at all. Just as a Postcard reveals beautiful place and that everything’s going well. Just like a Valentines Card communicates the heart of LOVE: My friends, Just ONE WORD from the LORD will be enough to sustain you and keep you. Seek the LORD whilst He may be found.
Be blessed in Jesus today, be full of the Holy Spirit and you will be able to stand your ground against the enemy. Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).
BTW: Please, remember the levels of communication and try to get further than levels 1,2 and 3 to 4 and 5. Commune with one another at a Heart-to-Heart level.
LOVE: In Jesus,
NOTES: On Smyrna.
From The Commentary by J. Vernon McGee.
Smyrna is the martyr church, the church that suffered martyrdom for Christ. The word Smyrna means “myrrh” and carries the meaning of suffering.
The city of Smyrna is still in existence in our day. It has a Turkish name, Izmir, which may lead you astray, but it is the same city. It has been continuously inhabited from the time it was founded. I have been there; in fact, we stay in Izmir when we visit the sites of the early churches in that area. It is a commercial city. There are those who have told us that Izmir will soon be larger than Istanbul. It will certainly be a larger commercial center. There is a tremendous population there. The modern city covers so much of the ruins of ancient Smyrna that you are apt to miss the beauty which was there.
I have taken some pictures of it and use them as slides in an illustrated message. I try to point out the beauty of that harbor. It is very large and one of the most beautiful harbors that I have seen. In fact, Smyrna was one of the loveliest cities of Asia. It was called a flower, an ornament, and it has been called the crown of all Asia. The acropolis is located on Mount Pagos. In fact, the early city that goes back to about 2000 B.C., a Hittite city at that time, was built around the slope of Mount Pagos. Later Alexander the Great had a great deal to do with building it into the beautiful city that it became. There were wide boulevards along the slopes of Mount Pagos. Smyrna was called the crown city because the acropolis was encircled with flowers, a hedge, and myrtle trees. The city was adorned with noble buildings and beautiful temples — a temple of Zeus, a temple of Cybele (Diana), a temple of Aphrodite, a temple of Apollo, and a temple of Asclepius. Smyrna had a theater and an odeum, that is, a music center — it was the home of music. Also it had a stadium, and it was at that stadium that Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and student of the apostle John, was martyred, burned alive in A.D. 155.
In Christian literature, Smyrna means “suffering.” The Lord Jesus, in His letter addressed to the church there, said that He knew their sufferings and their poverty. He had no word of condemnation for them or for the church at Philadelphia. They were the churches that heard no word of condemnation from Him, and it is interesting that these two cities, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are the only two which have had a continuous existence. Their lampstand has really been moved, but there are a few Christians in Izmir. Although they are under cover, they have made indirect contact with us when we have been there. They do not come out in the open because Christians are persecuted even today in modern Turkey.
Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.