The churches in Revelation part 4

In todays post I want to look at the church in Thyatira. Like the other churches there are some good points and some bad points.

In verse 19 of chapter two it says, “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things“.

That is a very positive and encouraging statement. It is a great report. I don’t know a church that would not be happy with a statement like that! Then the bad news…

Verse 20 tells us the bad news, “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols“.

Thyatira was like the church at Pergamum where it had permitted people to come in and lead the people astray. Rather than focusing their love and attention on God and living lives free of sexual immorality,
they were lead astray to do things that God never intended for his followers.

It is just another reminder of the importance of good solid teaching in our churches and to filter those who come in to and have influence over God’s people.

In my next post on the churches in Revelation I will look at the church in Sardis.

God Bless,

Dave

The churches in Revelation part 3

The next church mentioned in Revelation chapter 2 is Pergamum. Like the church in Ephesus it has good news and bad news.

In verse 13 it says, “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city“.

This is very positive. They remained faithful under persecution, even when some from their own people were being martyred.

Then the bad news or the things they need to work on. Verse 14 says, “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin“.

In verse 15 it goes on to talk about tolerating the Nicolatians who were also very corrupt in what they taught and how they lived.

What can were learn from the church in Pergamum? We learn how important it is to remain faithful under persecution and how important it is not to tolerate wrong teaching that leads people astray.

Neither of these are easy to do, but it is something that God expects of us as Christians. When we are faithful and we do these things it not only honours God, but it is for our long term best too.

In the next few days I will look at the church in Thyatria.

God Bless,

Dave

The churches in Revelation part 2

Previously I looked at the first church mentioned in Revelation which was Ephesus. We saw some of their good points and something God wanted them to work on and remember. Today I want to look at the second one – Smyrna.

In chapter 2 verse 9 it says to the church in Smyrna, “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan”.

In this God lets them know He sees all the troubles they are facing. Knowing that God is aware of our sufferings can be of great comfort. It lets us know we are not alone.

Then in the first part of verse 10 God tells them more suffering is coming. It says, “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days“.

In the midst of all their suffering, God tells them more is on the way. However, the good news is that it will not last forever. That would give the church hope knowing that it would only be for a short time.

Finally in the end part of verse 10 it gives a great promise. “But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life“.

If you as a church or an individual are going through a time of suffering at the moment. Please know that God knows your suffering and that it will not last forever. Purpose to remain faithful to God and He will also give you the crown of life too!

In the next fews days I will look at the church in Pergamum.

God Bless,

Dave

The churches in Revelation part 1

This week I started reading the Book of Revelation for my morning devotions. In chapters two and three we see some messages to the churches. They are the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodecia.

As we read through these chapters we can get a glimpse of what God thinks are good about the churches and what needs some work. In other words the good news and the bad news. Today I want to look at the first of them – Ephesus.

The good points are in verses 2-3. “I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting“.

The bad news is found in verse 4. God says, “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”. In verse 5 He calls them to “Turn back to me and do the works you did at first”.

In Ephesus we see something that can happen to us as individual Christians or churches alike. We can get caught up in the work of the Lord and forget about loving God and loving our neighbour (Mark 12:30-31). For me it is a timely reminder.

In the next few days I will look at the church in Smyrna.

God Bless,

Dave

It was by faith

Hebrews chapter 11 is a great passage from the Bible that talks about faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” .

Verse 2 tells us that “Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation”. It then goes on to list some great examples of faith from the Old Testament. Here are a few…

  • v5 – It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.
  • v7 – It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood.
  • v8 – It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance.
  • v11- It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old.
  • v22 -It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt.
  • v23 – It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born.
  • v24 – It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.
  • v29 – It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground.
  • v30 – It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.

Hebrews chapter 11 not only tells us what faith is in verse 1, it also shows us some great examples of people who lived their lives by faith and trust in God. They refused to go with the flow and stood firm and trusted God. They had confidence that what they hoped for would actually happen; they were assured about the things they could not see.

How about you? What things can you look to God for today in faith? What things can look to the future for with hope and a confident assurance will happen because God has spoken to you about? I think that is worth refelcting on today.

God Bless,
Dave

Healing Scriptures

I came across these Scriptures while searching for them for someone. I used to read them out loud everyday when I was really sick with Rheumatoid Arthritis. They helped to fill me with hope and faith.

Exodus 23:25 – Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you

Psalm 103:1-3 – Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases

Psalm 107:20 – He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Psalm 118:17 – I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Joel 3:10 – …Let the weakling say, “I am strong!”

Matthew 8:2 – When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured

Mark 11:22-24 – “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Philippians 2:13 – For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Phil 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

James 5:14-16 – Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Obedience when it doesn’t make sense

In Luke 5:4-7 there is an interesting section of the Bible that touches on obedience when the request doesn’t make sense.

In this passage we see that Jesus asked Simon (Peter) to take his boat out into the deep water to catch some fish (V4). In verse five we see Simon’s response…

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

The thing I like about Simon’s response is that even though the request didn’t make sense to him at the time, he still chose to be obedient to Jesus’ request.

What was the result? He caught so many fish that he had to call other boats over to help. His boat was so full that it nearly sunk! (v7)

Often for us as Christians we can be in the same position. God can ask us to do something, but it really doesn’t make sense at the time.

Then after we have been obedient and done what God has asked, we get to see why He made the request and how important it was that we were obedient.

If God has asked you to do something that doesn’t make sense at the moment, I would encourage you to be obedient because it might just be one of those Simon and the fish moments for you!

God Bless,
Dave

My favourite verse of 2010

Each year I have a favourite verse/s for the year. It seems to rise up above all of the other Bible verses and resonates within me.

Over the years verses like Matthew 28:18-20 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-20 have really spoken to me about being outward focussed in my faith and life.

In 2010 a different type of verse spoke to me. It was more about how I lived my life as a Christian and the example it showed to those around me.

The verse was 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12. It says, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”.

As you can see it was still about being a witness and a light to the world, but it was more about how I went about the things I do. It inspired me to live a quiet life, work hard and mind my own business.

At the start of 2011 I don’t know which verse/s will really speak to me this year. But somehow I know one or two will jump out at me over the next month or so and they end up being like a compass for me.

Whatever you do this year, I really hope and pray that it is a good one for you. And I also hope that God gives you new inspiration from the Bible to act as a compass for your life too.

God Bless,

Dave