Posted by: howvoicebegan | 01/07/2010

He Who Has an Ear, Let Him Hear

I have been in Turkey since I left the States a week ago. This place is filled with thousands of years of history, dating back farther than any history I have seen yet. So many great empires have ruled over these lands through the centuries; empires that have come and destroyed cities and built new ones on top, or cities that are still around today but have been changed by modern technology.

I was pondering about two cities that I have seen in Turkey: Izmir and Ephesus. Izmir was once called Smyrna, which is perhaps a more recognizable name. Both of these were cities that were written to in the book of Revelation. I have had a living, spiritual reminder of what it is that lasts in God’s eyes, not men’s.

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: …I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not…. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet, I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent … if you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Revelation 2:1-6 (NIV)
The church of Ephesians received a letter of praise and also of warning. I compared this with the letter to Smyrna:

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ….I know your afflictions and your poverty– yet you are rich! ….Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:8-10

While Ephesus was told to repent for forsaking their first love, Smyrna had no such judgment upon them. This is certainly applicable to our lives and all kinds of lessons stem from these letters. But I want to focus on what else I saw. Also compare these two pictures:

Ephesus in 2010

Ephesus in 2010

Smyrna in 2010

Smyrna (Izmir) in 2010

The difference is immediately obvious: Ephesus is a dead, ruined city. Smyrna (Izmir) is thriving at 3 million people. It is a modern, living example of God’s letters to the churches. Today, Ephesus’ “lampstand has been removed;” it remains in ruins. But Smyrna is still alive, 5000 years after it was founded. How true His words remain still today: ” I will give you the crown of life.”
I hope to be like Smyrna!

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Responses

  1. Brought back sweet memories of when (11 Years ago) we were in these cities and more. Enjoy the rest of your trip — The Lord Bless.


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