Church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11)
* Although afflicted and in poverty they are rich (in Jesus)
* They are slandered
* They will (and have) suffered jail and persecution, Satan will come against them
* They will be tested, but Jesus encourages them to stay faithful, even to death.
* He will give them a Crown of Life
I find it interesting that the things Jesus praises this church for all revolve around how they are persecuted by others. They obviously are following the Lord and not the world. I can not find one thing that Jesus rebukes them for.
I truely do not believe that we find this church in America today. This is not to say that some of us don't suffer for our beliefs or we would not be willing to die for our beliefs. We definitely do, but not to the extent that this church did back then. This reminds me of the persecuted church in other countries where it truely takes faith and trust in God to follow Him because it is a reality that you likely will lose your life for Him.
On the other hand though, I think we need to prepare for this. I believe one day soon we very well may be living through things like this. I believe we are heading down that path now. It is just a matter of time. We need to be ready so we can truely say it is a Joy for us to suffer for Christ.