Daily Reading: 09 Aug – The Revelation: Messages to the Churches – Revelation 2:1-3:22

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

E100:20.b – The Revelation

Messages to the Churches – Revelation 2:1-3:22 (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Ephesus

Revelation 2  “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

Church of Saint Simeon Stylites Aleppo, Syria It is the oldest surviving Byzantine church, dating back to the 5th century.

Church of Saint Simeon Stylites
Aleppo, Syria
It is the oldest surviving Byzantine church, dating back to the 5th century.

2 “I know all the things you do. 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. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

The Message to the Church in Smyrna

8 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:

Poor christian church in the desert, north of Namibia 2006.

Poor christian church in the desert, north of Namibia 2006.

9 “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. 10 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. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

The Message to the Church in Pergamum

12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “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.

Twelve Christians are publicly raped, beheaded, and crucified for refusing to renounce Christ in Syria.

Twelve Christians are publicly raped, beheaded, and crucified for refusing to renounce Christ in Syria.

14 “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. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

The Message to the Church in Thyatira

18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:

On Saturday, April 15, Katie Ricks will become the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In May of 2011 the 2.1-million member denomination voted to allow openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including those in same-sex relationships, to be ordained as ministers, elders, and deacons.

On Saturday, April 15, Katie Ricks will become the first openly lesbian minister ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In May of 2011 the 2.1-million member denomination voted to allow openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, including those in same-sex relationships, to be ordained as ministers, elders, and deacons.

19 “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.

20 “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. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.

28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Sardis

Revelation 3  “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:

Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, Houston TX – 45,000 members, 20 million television viewers in 100 countries

Joel Osteen, Lakewood Church, Houston TX – 45,000 members, 20 million television viewers in 100 countries

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

4 “Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

6 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Philadelphia

7 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.

To mark the homes of Christians in Mosul – which up until recently had the largest percentage of Christians anywhere in Iraq – ISIS-affiliated groups have tagged homes with the Arabic character [ن], pronounced nun, the equivalent of the Latin “n.” A stand-in for the for the full word Nasara, the sect of the Nazarenes, followers of Jesus of Nazareth, it is both an insult – casting Christians as a heretical sect of Islam according to the Nazarenes, placing them in a geographic area in Israel, outsiders to Iraq – and a threat. The tags came with a message distributed to the Christians of Mosul: “accept Islam, pay extra taxes to Islamic Sharia courts or face ‘death by the sword.'” ISIS means the nun as a mark of shame, but we should wear it as a mark of hope: Yes, we are in the army of the Resurrected Nazarene, the Master and Lord of the Universe, the Man who is God Almighty, the Second Person of the Trinity. You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.

To mark the homes of Christians in Mosul – which up until recently had the largest percentage of Christians anywhere in Iraq – ISIS-affiliated groups have tagged homes with the Arabic character [ن], pronounced nun, the equivalent of the Latin “n.” A stand-in for the for the full word Nasara, the sect of the Nazarenes, followers of Jesus of Nazareth, it is both an insult – casting Christians as a heretical sect of Islam according to the Nazarenes, placing them in a geographic area in Israel, outsiders to Iraq – and a threat.
The tags came with a message distributed to the Christians of Mosul: “accept Islam, pay extra taxes to Islamic Sharia courts or face ‘death by the sword.’”

This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open:

8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. 9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.

10 “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.

13 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

stand at door and knock

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.

22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”
__________

Prayer

“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

Holy Spirit: Help me understand what you are saying to your Church today, and renew your people through these words of encouragement and rebuke –

+ Lord Jesus – Sustain your people who have worked hard and patiently endured great difficulties for long periods of time. Refresh them with the joy of first love – for you and for one another.

+ Lord Jesus – You reserve a special place in your heart for those who are poor in material resources but rich in faith. Refresh them with the hope of receiving the crown of life for their continued faithfulness.

+ Lord Jesus – Protect your people in communities that are openly hostile to the Gospel. Refresh them in their efforts to remain true to you, and give them courage to stand against false teaching.

+ Lord Jesus – Thank you for your people who are growing in love, faith, service and endurance – may they continue to hold tightly to what they have. Deliver them from any false prophets in their midst who would distort marriage and human sexuality to justify their own disobedience.

+ Lord Jesus – Give your people the courage to examine their life together, not by the standards of this world, but by the standard of your word. Deliver us from evil, and may we lay up treasures in heaven where we will walk with you in glory.

+ Lord Jesus – Strengthen your persecuted people who are weak and tired. Sustain them in their continued obedience and faithfulness. Protect them during this time of trial – may they become a model for the rest of your people when their own time of trial comes. Refresh them with the certain hope of eternal life.

+ Lord Jesus – Correct and discipline your people who have become wealthy in the economy of this world, and yet are wretched, miserable , poor, blind and naked in the economy of heaven. Refresh them in your love – that they may turn from their indifference and embrace you with new vitality and enthusiasm.

Holy Spirit: apply your word to our hearts, and show us what we need to do in our own lives. Amen.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
__________

“Restore my Soul” – Vertical Church Band

Restore my soul, revive my heart | Renew my life in every part | Reveal to me what sin remains | Then lead me to the cross again

At at the cross I’ll find the way | To live the life Your hand has made | So find me there, Lord, and help me stay | In true surrender with You, my Savior

Relight the fire that burned so strong | Reminding me what You have done | My one request is to be changed | So lead me to the cross again

Closing Sentence

The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ, Life in Our Family

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