June 5 Devotional

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you whose eyes are like a flame of fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze, you who searches the mind and the heart, may we always hold fast to your ways and your standards, and never let the culture around us determine what we will do or how we will think. Let our thoughts and our deeds, Lord Jesus, always be determined by you and you alone. In your name. Amen. 

Scripture: Revelation 2:18-29

Journal: How are you like the church at Thyatira? What does the vision of Jesus as having “eyes like a flame of fire” and “feet like burnished bronze” do within you? How does the message to the church at Thyatira speak to your life right now? Are there things I tolerate in myself that cause God great sadness?

Reflection: Being tolerant is generally thought of as a positive virtue in this day and age. And in terms of being loving, caring, and accepting of those around us, that would seem to be a good and right thing. After all, didn’t Jesus eat withtax gatherers and sinners? Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “It is no the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13) Jesus seemed very at home with, and embracing of, people from all walks of life, people who were lost in an abundance of ways. So we too, as his people, should always have a loving openness to people in this broken and hurting world.

But here in the letter to the church at Thyatira there is a different kind of tolerance that Jesus gives a pretty strong warning against. It seems that the people of this church were subtly being seduced into thinking that certain practices were okay, when the truth of the matter was that these very people and practices, that they thought would have little to no impact on their own individual or corporate journey, actually would impact it significantly…over time.   

Thus, the message of Jesus to the church at Thyatira seems pretty simple, “Watch out what you tolerate, because, in the end, it can lead you miles away from your desired destination.” Oh it might not seem like a big deal at first. In fact, it could be a very subtle thing, only one or two degrees different from the intended course. The problem is that one or two degrees difference, over time, amounts to a pretty significant difference in the long run. In fact, it is an easy way to get lost. And Jesus doesn’t want us lost, he wants us home. Therefore, he warns the church—not just the one at Thyatira, but of every time and every place - what an enormous impact tolerating a few things can have on life and journey with him.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Steve and Ruth Porter center their ministry around Steve’s dentistry at the Miango Dental Clinic in Nigeria. Their goal is to provide high quality dentistry, a winsome witness, sound teaching, and a compassionate outreach to those in need. They minister to local pastors, teachers, and other church employees, offering their services for the cost of the materials they use. Pray today for the Porters as they travel in the U.S. this month.

The Hope Center was established in 1996 to address the unmet needs of patients infected with HIV in Knox and surrounding 20 counties. Late last year, the Center moved from its location at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to a new home, operating under the auspices of Covenant HomeCare. Pray today for these patients and their families.

Closing Prayer: Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wilder seas where storms will show Your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push back the future in strength, courage, hope, and love. This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. - Sir Francis Drake