How a Peruvian Girl Showed Me How Poor I Was.

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I am Journaling Through Revelation Here in Tampa Bay

 

I think I’ve made an interesting observation, at least to me. The church of Smyrna, which receives no rebukes, thinks that it is poor but is told it is rich.

I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! Revelation 2:9 NLT 

Later, Laodicea, the only church that gets nothing but rebukes, thinks that it is rich, but is told it is actually poor!

 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. Revelation 3:17 NLT 

Reminds me of my mission trip to Peru about ten years ago. We came from America to help hold meetings in several churches in Chiclayo. Many of the churches had no roofs, and seemed to be made out of tin. We pitied them and gave them our projectors and other equipment they could not afford. We thought they needed what we have. But they had many committed, passionate members. Their lives revolved around God and His church. They even took turns sleeping in the church every night to guard it from thieves. They held meetings in their homes. Whenever they were not at their regular jobs they were out working for the church. We had 1,000 baptisms after our meetings, and while the missionaries from America took all the credit, the real credit belonged to the local Peruvian church members who were studying with people in their homes, and inviting them to church and the meetings.

When we first arrived at our hotel in Peru rather late on a school night, we were greeted by about a hundred Peruvian Pathfinders. I approached one girl, about 14, who understood English. I told her how nice it was for them to welcome us. I tried to give her some money for her group of friends to get some ice cream. Kids in Peru don’t get sweet treats like American kids do every day. She smiled, almost laughing, and told me “no thank you.” They did not need any treats. They were just very excited that we were here in her city to hold meetings, so the people they were working with could get to know Jesus better. He reward would not be ice cream. The reward she was desiring, was to see her friends get baptized in our meetings!

I thought I was a rich man offering a poor girl somethings she needed. But when she smiled and almost laughed at my offering, telling me how excited she was that we were in her city to talk about Jesus, was there was such a beautiful glow in her smile and gleam in her eyes the most skilled cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills could never recreate. I walked away with all my money still in my pocket, not feeling like a rich man anymore. I realized she did not need what I had. I needed what she had!

Following Jesus Into the Grave and Right Back Out Again

Davis Island Oct 14

Journalling through Revelation from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“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: Revelation 2:8 NLT

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…..Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death. Revelation 2:10-11 NLT

Before Jesus tells His people they may be facing death, He tells them, He was dead and is alive now-don’t sweat it! IF we follow Jesus to the grave, we will also follow Him right out of the grave into eternal life.

Revelation 2; No Fear

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jesus gives seven churches in Asia some relevant instruction for their time and place, but it is also relevant to us as well. The churches also represent different time periods of the Christian era. Jesus loves His church and gives them special instructions to help them with the trials that they will be encountering. Read what He tells the church of Smyrna.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  Revelation 2:10

Usually when someone says, “Don’t be afraid,” we take it to mean that they are going to save us from death. While Jesus is telling His church not to fear, He is not promising them they won’t die. He is just telling them don’t be afraid to die, because I will still give you eternal life. As Christians there are things we should fear a lot more than death, like sin and compromising with the world. Christ promises to save us from evil, and one of the ways He may do that is to let us die and rest until He returns. Those who are asleep in Jesus are eternally beyond the annoyances of sin and evil! And yes, Jesus promises us a crown of life if we are faithful. Not just faithful as long as it does not cramp our style. Not just faithful as long as are lives are saved, but faithful until death. Is that not how faithful Jesus was to us?

 Jesus is not promises us a bed of roses. He is not saying we will never be cast into prison, or die. He is just saying, Hey don’t worry about it. I will still give you eternal life.