CCOG Newsletter

Weekly Updates

Reflections from Pastor Jennifer

Have you ever felt like the church in Smyrna? Doing everything right, serving the Lord, and still faced with challenges? If you have served Him for any length of time, you may have felt this way. Hold on to your faith. Cling to hope. We understand that suffering is just a part of living. And suffering for our beliefs is a part of believing in something true. God never promised ease and luxury. However, He has promised us the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Endure for a few more days. God is making you holy and whole.

Smyrna: A Church Suffering

Have you ever regretted scrolling through your social media feed? While everyone seems to be enjoying their storybook lives, do you wonder why your life is a nightmare? I imagine we have all been there once or twice. And I imagine the Church in Smyrna may have understood how this felt.

Smyrna was considered to be the most beautiful city in Asia Minor. The ornament of Asia, the crown of Asia, and the flower of Asia were its rightful nicknames. A grand city on the Aegean Sea, it possessed the safest harbor in Anatolia, and was covered by rolling foothills with temples and buildings on top. Its streets were broad and paved with well-cut stone. It even had an exquisite public library, a stadium, and an Odeon for music and theater. Smyrna was the birthplace of the Greek poet Homer. It was well-known as a learning center for science and medicine, known for its beauty, education, culture, and the arts.

The name Smyrna (also Smyrna in Greek) means “bitter” because myrrh was its chief export. It served as a prophetic label for the Christians. Times had become harsh. The Jews living in Smyrna had become hostile toward them because they had been making converts of Jews. The Jews wanted to put a stop to this, so they ganged up with the Romans and a persecution against the Christians began. While the rest of the Smyrnaeans were enjoying the sweet life in Smyrna, the Christians were looking to God to save their lives.

It’s ironic that the worst persecution was taking place in the most beautiful city. That seems to encapsulate suffering: when it happens to us, it seems like everyone else is going about their wonderful lives. Part of the pain of suffering is having no one else to suffer with. This either forces us to quit or makes us look to God. Fortunately, the believers in Smyrna didn’t pay attention to or compare themselves with everyone else is Smyrna. Instead, they looked to Jesus and conquered the suffering.

If we want to conquer suffering, we too, must look to Jesus. And this means spending less time focused on how “good” everyone else seems to have it. Why not spend more time in the Word today and less time on social sites? Doing this will help you recognize God’s grace at work in your life and will give you the peace and joy you need to overcome this time of difficulty.

It Happens in the Middle I Robert Madu I Social Dallas