Scripture Reading — Revelation 2:8-11
"Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10 —
Nikolai Antonovich's life story would make a great movie. Originally from the Ukraine, Nikolai was shipped to Nazi Germany as a teen slave laborer. There he heard and responded to the good news of Jesus. Then, back in the U.S.S.R. after the war, he witnessed to others. And because of these "subversive activities" he was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in labor camps.
Nikolai received amnesty after the death of dictator Joseph Stalin. So the prisoner returned home, served his local church, got married--and he and his wife raised four children. Recently he wrote us a letter of encouragement, saying, "Remain faithful to the very end, and one day I hope to meet you all in heaven!"
Nikolai's words are profoundly biblical. The Scrip?tures encourage us to remain faithful to God regardless of circumstances. In our reading for today we find the words of Jesus to the persecuted church: "Be faithful, even to the point of death"! Don't let difficult times turn you away from God. Lean on his grace, love, and faithfulness, and you will receive the crown of life.
Some people switch allegiances more often than they change their wardrobe. But the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We must remain faithful to him, from the beginning of our walk of faith to its end, knowing that his strength makes our faithfulness possible.
Our heavenly Father, in this world of unfaithfulness encourage us to be always faithful. Help us to endure as we press on toward the eternal life you have prepared for us. Amen.