In our reading Jesus through John now begins to share personal messages to the seven churches of Asia (central Turkey). To each church Jesus declares to them that if they overcome and remain faithful in the face of trials and persecutions … they will be victorious! There have been many times in my life that I have thought about the message that Jesus gave to the church in Smyrna. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” This message stands out for me because it reminds me that the promise is not that He will remove the suffering or the persecution, but that if we will stand with Him no matter the cost, in the end we win!