Tuesday, May 5, 2020

SMYRNA & POLYCARP

Today’s Reading: Revelation 2:8-11

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Smyrna was the second city to be addressed by Jesus in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:8-10 suggests that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey. Due to the fact that the port city of Izmir (ancient Syrmna) houses the second largest population in Turkey today, the site of ancient Smyrna has been little excavated. Except the agora (market place), theatre, and sections of the Roman aqueduct, little remains of the ancient city..

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Revelation 2:10b-11

Be faithful until 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. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

 

Each of these seven city churches is given a special promise conditional on living a life which “overcomes” the temptation to give in. In the case of the Smyrna church, the temptation was to give in to the threat of persecution by Rome and the opposition of “the synagogue of Satan.” Just as Saul of Tarsus persecuted his fellow Jews before his conversion to Jesus, so John, who was Jewish, and almost all the followers of Jesus who were also Jewish, were still persecuted by some of their fellow Jews. As Ephesus was the centre of the worship of the goddess Diana (Artemis), so Syrmna was the centre of the worship of the Roman Emperor. A great temple was there, and there are records showing that a Smyrna synagogue had abandoned Judaism and compromised to the extent of burning incense to the Emperor. A certificate was given to all who burned incense to the Emperor, without which business could not be conducted, and without which a sentence of death could be pronounced on all who could not show such a document.

Just imagine the encouragement to hold steady given to the believers by the words of Jesus, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” They will only die once, but those who deny Jesus will die twice. “He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I pray for strength, courage, stamina, and boldness in my testimony for Jesus. I know that I don’t face death for my testimony, but as I type this there are those who are being killed for their faith in Jesus Christ and their refusal to deny Him. Strengthen them, I pray, in their resolve. And for me, I pray that I will be an overcomer in the struggle against more subtle temptations here in the free world to compromise with the world, the flesh, and the devil. In the Name of the complete Overcomer, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I spent some time researching “Smyrna.” Apparently it was named after one of its ancient products, myrrh. Probably the believers in Jesus in that city knew this and may have meditated on the fact that myrrh was one of the gifts of the wise men to the Baby Jesus, and that Nicodemus, who came to Jesus as a secret believer, came into the open at Jesus’ burial with a mixture of myrrh and aloes to anoint Jesus’ Body (read John 19:38-42).

A hero of mine is the Pastor of Smyrna. His name was Polycarp. As a young man, perhaps 30, he may have been the one to read “Revelation” to the Syrmna church. History records this statement by Polycarp in the Roman arena just before his execution: “For 86 years I have served Christ. How can I now blaspheme my King Who saved me!” The Roman Pro-counsel had given Polycarp the choice to curse Christ and sacrifice to Ceasar, or die by fire. Polycarp should be a hero to all followers of Christ. He chose death. They were about to bind him to a stake, but he refused binding and voluntarily stood in the fire where he died. Polycarp preached to all in the vast stadium, “You threaten me with fire. You do not know the fire which awaits the wicked in judgment to come and in everlasting punishment.”

Yours, from one whose eyes are filled with tears so that I can hardly see the keys to type this,

David

Modern day Izmir, Turkey, is on the Mediterranean and is a major port on the Aegean Sea. The remains of Ancient Smyrna can still be visited here. The ruins can be seen in the middle of this photo.

34 thoughts on “Tuesday, May 5, 2020

  1. Praying David’s prayer for strength, courage, stamina and boldness in our testimony for Jesus. Strengthen those around us and all as we overcome the struggles in this world. We rebuke the devil who shall not shame us. In the Name of our Messiah, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen! God bless you fellow saints.

    “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’”
    Matthew 22:37-40, NASB

    Chris Renzema – “Springtime” (Official Audio Video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8wRprU4988

  2. Dear Lord God, thank You for overcoming every part of this dark world. You bring people out od darkness and into light, out of deception and into Truth, out of captivity and into freedom. Thank You! Thank You for those who trusted You before us, loving not their lives even to death. Thank You for those who trust You now, even in the direst of circumstances. As David prayed, we ask You to bless and strengthen them, and help them to stay strong in You no matter what.
    We pray for Sah; show her You are there with her, You hear her prayers, and You are faithful to meet all her needs. In this world we will have trouble, but You tell us to take heart, to take courage, because You have overcome. Your Kingdom is everlasting and we praise You for that. In Jesus’s name, amen

  3. Polycarp is to be admired for certain and all the other Polycarps in this world. Thank you Jesus!

    “I want to follow Jesus and let Him change me from the inside out to be more like Him. I’m tired of imitating people who are just fellow sinners like me. I want to set my sights high and strive to be more like the One who created me!”

    Have a blessed day all dear saints. Keep the faith and stay safe.

    • What a blessing to again read the testimony of Polycarp. What blessings and inspiration. What a challenge if one day we were faced with this kind of alternative. A good reminder of all those who are suffering for Christ around the world today; and especially, those who been martyred for the Name above all names – Jesus, our Lord!
      As you indicate, it is a challenge to live that transparent life for Christ because He is our ultimate Judge.

      Here is a beautiful prayer chorus:: “To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me; in every thought and deed, this is my aim, my creed: To be like Jesus, this hope possesses me, His Spirit helping me, Like Him I’ll be”

  4. Polycarp was certainly a great man of faith and to be revered. My dear brother Vinal passed away 10pm last night saints. Thank you for all your prayers for him. He prayed the sinner’s prayer with one of his daughters and his suffering is over. He died at home and unfortunately this same daughter was not able to be with him when he died after driving all alone up from New York and now has to be in quarantine for two weeks alone in a big house. One of the injustices of this pandemic which many have had to face. Lord Jesus bring some good out of this evil. Nevertheless I am so glad that my brother is able to join my other saved family in heaven. Good to share with you and God bless you.

    • Ahhhh Ger 💟. So sorry for the loss of your brother Vinal, but happy his suffering has ended and that he is with Jesus. ✝️ Praise God. Also, that most of you visited with him one last time. Sorry his daughter from New York did not see him. God has His reasons. His ways are always higher than what we know. Prayers for his daughter in quarantine, you, and all your family members.
      🙏🏼 God bless you!

    • So sorry to hear of your brother’s death Ger. My brother died on the 1st; he didn’t have the virus but he was 90 years of age. No one was allowed in to visit him during his illness and there was no funeral. My husband and I celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary yesterday so it was with mixed feelings we celebrated. It is such a difficult time for those losing loved ones. God bless you and comfort you Ger.

      • Lynda D. Sorry to hear about your brother ‘s passing. My deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family .
        Congratulations to you and your husband on your 52nd Anniversary. Eleanor M.

      • Extending my sympathies to you on the recent passing of your brother. One of the worst affects of the corona virus is not to be be at the side of a loved as they draw their last breathe – being with them – holding their hands – whispering a prayer and assuring them of God’s love. Even more difficult is not to have a Service to celebrate their lives., But it doesn’t change the wonderful assurance that our Loving God IS with us in our tears and our joys.

        You are shedding tears at the loss of your brother… but being blessed with joy as you and your husband celebrate your 52nd Anniversary. Congratulations. Enjoy and cherish each other as life is so short on this earth… but praise God, Eternal Life is for ever – all because of Jesus!
        Blessings.!

    • I pray for comfort for you Ger at this time; it is always difficult to say “goodbye” to those close to us, even when you know he is with the Jesus. and at peace, no more pain: thank You Jesus, Amen!

      • Ger: I am so sorry that your brother Vinal has passed. But do happy that he is with The Lord.
        Know that we are all thinking of you at this sad time. Praying that you will have peace in your heart knowing he is in a better place. Hugs to you my dear.🙏🤗

    • Sorry to hear of the passing of your brother Vinal. Thank God for the faithfulness of his daughter to be the instrument to lead him to the Lord. What a blessing! What peace that gives to all in His family who loves the Lord. May God sustain and comfort you and, in a special way, be with his daughter from New York. This is a hugely difficult moment for her., But the God of ALL comfort is present to comfort and give that inner peace that only come from know our Lord.,

  5. The reading for today was very short but the audio version is much longer . It is still good reading (I frequently both the reading & the audio). Glad to hear that Sah’s brother is with the Lord. What a Wonderful gift to know that he went into His presents. My sister is very frail in nursing home and I will rejoice when the Lord calls her into His presents. Praying that the Lord will make a way out of this Coronavirus for us all.

  6. Praying for you, dear Ger and for your family at this time of sorrow. Thanking God that Vinal is now in His presence and no longer suffering. It is sad that his daughter was unable to be there with him. It’s also sad that people cannot visit and support families for funerals, these days. May God fill in the gaps with His love, peace and comfort! 🙏

  7. Amen dear friends Gwen, Beverlee, Blessed, Doreen and Luisa for your condolences. Your kindness is much appreciated. Like your flowers Beverlee. This is a difficult time for all those losing their loved ones at this time, being compacted by not being able to be with them. Vinal was wanting to go and never complained but we will all miss him. God bless you saints and keep safe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.