Posts Tagged ‘persecution’

Encounter With Jesus-Smyrna

November 11th, 2015 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Connection, today’s Encounter with Jesus examines His letter to the church at Smyrna.

In Revelation 2:9, His main message to this church is to commend them for their faithful witness. He says, “I know your afflictions and your poverty-yet you are rich.” “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

The witness of this church reveals that followers of Christ will, at times, face persecution for our faith.

Polycarp was the bishop at Smyrna, and when he was 86 years of age, he was pressured to acknowledge Caesar as Lord. But Polycarp would not bow to the pressure. He said, “Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” As a result of his stand for Jesus, Polycarp became a martyr for the faith.

A daily connection with Christ inspires faith and courage for times of testing.

John Shirk

Moment Of Celebration-Bold Witnesses

July 16th, 2014 No comments

JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the steadfast, bold witness of the apostles.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He did not keep it a secret from His friends. According to First Corinthians 15:3, “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,…he was buried,….he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures….and he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.” Here was a group of men who followed Jesus to Jerusalem, where they saw His suffering at the cross and the triumph of His resurrection. Brave souls will stand for the truth even in the face of persecution, but very few would die for a lie. Each of Jesus’ followers who saw Him alive again faced some type of persecution for their witness. Most of them died for their faith in Jesus.

In the life of the early church, the disciples went their separate ways, but they remained faithful to the mission of spreading the good news wherever they went. In their courageous witness for Jesus, they said to the governing authorities, who tried to silence them, “We must obey God rather than men.”

The steadfast, bold witness of Jesus’ followers is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.

John Shirk