Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; … be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10.
By the emperor’s decree John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, condemned “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). Here, his enemies thought, his influence would no longer be felt, and he must finally die of hardship and distress.
Patmos, a barren, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, had been chosen by the Roman government as a place of banishment for criminals; but to the servant of God this gloomy abode became the gate of heaven. Here, shut away from the busy scenes of life, and from the active labors of former years, he had the companionship of God and Christ and the heavenly angels, and from them he received instruction for the church for all future time…. Among the cliffs and rocks of Patmos, John held communion with his Maker. He reviewed his past life, and at thought of the blessings he had received, peace filled his heart….
In his isolated home John was able to study more closely than ever before the manifestations of divine power as recorded in the book of nature and in the pages of inspiration…. In former years his eyes had been greeted by the sight of forest-covered hills, green valleys, and fruitful plains; and in the beauties of nature it had ever been his delight to trace the wisdom and skill of the Creator. He was now surrounded by scenes that to many would appear gloomy and uninteresting; but to John it was otherwise. While his surroundings might be desolate and barren, the blue heavens that bent above him were as bright and beautiful as the skies above his loved Jerusalem. In the wild, rugged rocks, in the mysteries of the deep, in the glories of the firmament, he read important lessons. All bore the message of God’s power and glory….
By the rocks he was reminded of Christ, the Rock of his strength, in whose shelter he could hide without fear. From the exiled apostle on rocky Patmos there went up the most ardent longing of soul after God, the most fervent prayers.
Conflict and Courage p. 362
—–pray for my sister who has colon cancer. A couple of weeks ago we discovered that her cancer is a stage 4, metastasis to her liver. Joel
—–Pray for a neighbor, which I found out today, that her cancer seems to be coming back. Her name is Barbara. Pray that she will give her life to Jesus before it’s too late. Kathrin
When I was a little girl, my mother would never eat potato chips. My grandmother never bought them, but on Saturday mornings my mother would take me to a restaurant in town where they always served them with every meal. One day, I happened to notice that she didn’t eat them and asked why. She told me a story that made me not want to eat them either.
When she was a teenager, she had worked in a potato chip factory. This was before the many health regulations that we have now, and this factory was very dirty. There was dirt and grime everywhere. Worse still, the cat that the owner had to keep down the mouse population used to walk through the unpackaged chips that were on a table waiting to be packaged. When my mother told the manager about it, he said, “Put the chips in the bags anyway. No one will ever know.”
Just like that factory owner, we often think that we can get away with hidden sins. We think that our secret is safe and no one will find out what we do behind closed doors or what we think in our mind, but that is not the case. Isaiah observed, “The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.” Isa 3:9 How true the words that Moses declared so long ago, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Num 32:23
Moreover, there is a Heavenly Watcher Who sees everything we do, hears everything we say, knows our thoughts and attitudes. We cannot hide from Him. Paul tells us, “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb 4:13 David observes, “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:1-12
Whether we try to hide our sin as the potato chip company owner or whether our sin is quite evident, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23 We are so weak and helpless and unable to cleanse ourselves. “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isa 64:6, 1:5,6 We cry out as did Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Praise God we have a Saviour Who promises, “I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me, and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” Jer 33:8 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt 11:28,29
May we go to our Dear Redeemer for the cleansing that we need, accepting the grace that He so freely offers, allowing Him to lead us in the way everlasting. May we heed Paul’s advice, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15,16 May we keep so near to the our Dear Saviour that all of our thoughts, all of our words, all of our actions will be pleasing in His sight.