Thursday, February 28, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 63:1-8, Daniel 3:19-30, and Revelation 2:8-11
Those of us who grew up in church have heard the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego many times. It is an amazing story. They were faithful to God to the point that they accepted death rather than reject God. God, however, gave them life where others had died.
St. John wrote to the people in Smyrna (Turkey, not Tennessee) and told them that several of them would be arrested and tried for ten days. He told them to remain faithful until death. God promised a crown of life to those who remained faithful.
They were martyred.
God has a special reward for his followers who die as a result of their faith. This isn’t to romanticize martyrdom – it’s a horrible, ugly thing. But even in the midst of horror and unimaginable pain, God is there with us.
God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful. God takes the pain and makes it comfortable. That beauty and comfort seem awfully far away for those who are going through it, but God is faithful. We should be faithful, too. And if God expects us to be faithful in the midst of torture and death, how much more faithful should we be in less serious situations?
Will you remain faithful to God? Will you give yourself to him? Will you follow him, even in torture and pain? Pray about this. Ask God to give you the grace to remain faithful to him. Write your own prayer.