(Revelation 1:1-18) This morning as I read John’s words, I was once again reminded of how amazing it is to have a God that has defeated death for us, who loves us so much that we can completely trust with our lives. John was instructed to send a letter to seven churches as whitness to what he saw, for the purpose of encouraging them to persevere in the faith.

As Christians, living in the US, it would seem that the walk is becoming harder. I really think that even in the 2000 years that have passed for those not living in the US the hardships that come from following Christ have not changed all that much. We have been rather fortunate in the US that Christianity has been acceptable for so long. Was that really such a good thing? At times it would seem that American Christians have really become quite comfortable, and even lazy, because of the vast acceptance of our religion. As the society around us begins to turn away from that acceptance we fight it and even complain. Christ proclaimed truth when He said “In the world you will have trouble” and that is exactly what we are going to experience more and more in this country. However, Christ also gave us another wonderful truth along with that, “take heart I have overcome the world”.

If we really think about what an amziing thing Christ did for us, we ought to take the attitude that Paul had, “to live is Christ, to die is gain”. Persecution can serve to strengthen our faith and our testimony. When I think about the times I’ve heard foreign missionaries speak of some of the hardships they have gone through, I am in awe of the kind of faith they have. That is what I desire for my life. Hardships may come my way, and I pray that God will give me the strength to stand strong. As Paul also said, “to fight the good fight”. Amen!