Revelation 8-10

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you into 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 a crown of life."  Revelation 2:10, NIV 

Jesus' instruction to His church at Smyrna was probably the last thing the Christians there wanted to hear. He told them that they would suffer, that that suffering would come in the form of persecution, and that the source of that suffering would be the devil.

Christianity can sometimes be hard! There will be times in our lives when we may actually be called upon to suffer, and that suffering will often come in the form of persecutions that are prompted by the devil. We might think that since we are being treated in such an ill fashion that it would be understandable if we just compromised a little. Maybe that compromise would come in the form of going along with evil - just for a little while, mind you - until things got back to normal.

We are doing that very thing in America, right now. We have accepted evil men commanding us to pay for abortion. We pretend that it will be okay, (after all, didn't Jesus command us to pay our taxes?). We have accepted evil men telling us that sexual immorality is okay, and we even let these evil men teach our children just that, (after all, aren't we to do our best to live at peace with all men?). The question is, do we even oppose such wicked men... or do we say nothing? Perhaps we even help to elect them, and we soothe our consciences by telling ourselves that the other guy is just as bad...

But the problem with being as bad as the other guy is that they may be going to hell, too!

I hope that you will not misunderstand what I am saying here. I am not suggesting that we not pay our taxes, nor am I suggesting that we cease from our best at living at peace with all men. What I am saying is that we vigorously oppose evil men. And, I am saying that we stop putting them in office and in the classrooms! You don't have to go to war with evil men in order to oppose what they are doing, but you cannot go along with their evil either. You can, at the very least, say something! 

When Jesus said that the devil would persecute the church from time to time, He was not just making idle talk - He was giving us a glimpse into the future. He also gave us a command regarding that future: "Be faithful, even to the point of death". And then He gave us a promise: "I will give you the crown of life."

That means heaven! That's why we are studying - it's because we want to be there some day. It will not always be easy, but Jesus will help us every step of the way.

"And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age."  Matthew 28:20, NIV

 May God richly bless you as you seek to learn His will and as you determine to be faithful, even to the point of death