Be Faithful

God gives strength.

Revelation 2:9, 10 – I know your tribulation…do not fear.

In the early chapters of Revelation, Jesus writes to churches in Asia Minor, modern day Turkey, with messages that encourage endurance. Today’s segment comes from that written to the church in Smyrna, a strategic port city on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Polycarp was bishop there, having been trained by John.

The Jews in Smyrna had become exceedingly angry and demanded the detention of Polycarp for preaching faith in Christ. An eyewitness account tells how Polycarp had gone to another village, and while in prayer for the church, he had a vision that his pillow caught fire. “So that it is: I will be burned alive,” he said to one of his helpers. Roman soldiers came to arrest him. The bishop offered them a meal and asked if he could pray a while, which they permitted.  He was 86, and the Roman proconsul said if would but swear by Caesar and deny Christ, he could live. But Polycarp is said to have uttered, “86 years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

They attempted to burn Polycarp alive but eyewitnesses reported the flames did not consume him. He was finally stabbed to death. Yet the story says that his charred body did not have the smell of burned flesh but of a brazier of frankincense, myrrh and roses.

Is martyrdom in your future? Probably not. But you will be forced to stand against evil schemes being put forth by false teachers and self-serving members of the political class.  When you know the promises of God never to leave you or forsake you, the sweet aroma of sanctity surrounds you, and you need not fear.

Pray With Us

Gracious Lord, like the book of Hebrews, says, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, many of whom, like Polycarp, were martyred for their faith in You.  Help me to keep them in mind when insults come my way or challenges arise against my faith in You. With the assistance of Your Holy Spirit, keep me strong during these days of turbulence. In Jesus’ Name,


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