We move on to the second of the seven letters in Revelation. This time the letter to the persecuted church in Smyrna. Jesus has good things to say about the church in Smyrna. It’s a bit harder to determine whether there’s any bad news in here – at least the kind of bad news that the church in Ephesus received. There were certainly warnings. But whether things would actually turn out “badly” was dependent on how well the people in that church listened to and carried out what Jesus said.
And so it begins. The first of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation. The one to the church in Ephesus. Jesus had some good things to say to them. And some bad things. But then another positive statement. The Ephesian church certainly wasn’t in the worst condition of the seven. But then, it wasn’t the best either. So there’s plenty to look at.
The title – The letter to the loveless church in Ephesus – is taken from the section titles in two different translations. I chose to do that because I think it gives a a direction to start with while examining this letter. Not that it’s the only direction. But it’s one that people who did the New King James Version thought was important enough to include, as opposed to the NIV usage of just the location in their section title.
This then is how you should pray.
That’s the passage before The Lord’s Prayer. Short. A mere 4 verses. But what is Jesus really saying?
In the first part of the passage, Jesus talks about this then is how you should not pray.
But is it like, I wish you wouldn’t pray like the hypocrites? Or maybe it’s, I’d like it if you could avoid praying like them. Or is it more like, you really need to ask for My help and try very, very hard to not pray like them? Or do you think it’s just a suggestion, as in it’d be nice to not be like them but don’t worry if you can’t help it?
Wait ’til you find out what they meant. It’s shocking if you’ve never noticed before.
Beer, biscuits and butter – is that settling for less? Some people will ask, “less than what?” Others will just say, “I’m fine with that.” How about you? Is that enough to make you happy? Keep you happy? Or do you want more? A whole lot more?
It seems weird – a site about religion talking about beer, biscuits, butter and bourbon. Relax, I’m not going to get into the evils of drinking and eating unhealthy food.
No, we need to consider something Jesus said. Something we probably just assume means we can eat whatever we want. But Jesus points out a whole new category of things that we should have been watching out for all along. But probably didn’t. Check it out.
That’s hard for some people to accept. It can seem too “convenient”. Too simple. It’s not enough.
For many people, with the lives we’ve had, it’s hard to “believe”, just because a list of things was done.
This is for you – the people who have a hard time. Because it’s not just a list of things that could be checked off as “accomplished”. It’s also about things that weren’t done. Things that couldn’t be done.