For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:24–25).
How did the church in Rome endure? Nothing seemed secure in their world. The Roman government persecuted the descendants of Israel and rejected the followers of Christ. They jostled people around, forcing the Jews to leave, and then allowing them to return. Their lives were unsettled. People needed a lifeline. Many turned to the truth Paul taught: Jesus. Paul encouraged them to hold on to faith and reminded them that everything in this life counts as nothing compared to the promises of Christ. At His return, the promised life would be worth the present suffering.
The hope they held was not wishful thinking but based on the unwavering character and promises of God. That confidence is available today. He is the lifeline to our generation. God is steadfast in His promises, and definite in His intent. Jesus will return for His followers, those who are resolute and waiting patiently for His return. That is hope.
Challenge for Today: Strive to wait patiently in hope.Quicklook: Romans 8:22–25
“Jodi, you are driving me crazy!” Dan’s future bride paced the living room while recounting all the things he still needed to address.
“Dan, I want this wedding to be perfect.”
He reached out and wrapped his arms around her. “Trust me. I won’t forget anything.”
Jodi looked into his eyes and said, “I’m trying.”
Dan countered, “There is no trying, just trusting.”
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).
If Jodi had trusted Dan, planning her wedding would have been more enjoyable. Christ has made promises to His bride-to-be—the Church. He has promised to prepare an eternal home and then come to take her to be with Him. Meanwhile, He keeps her in His care while she waits. His people need not fear a broken promise. He will not fail to do what He has said. With full assurance, the people of God can live in the excitement of His love. Even now He is preparing a promised place. When everything is ready, He will return.
Thought for Today: Christ can be trusted.
Quicklook: John 14:1–7
Mr. Summers walked through the offices, stopped at Jessica’s desk, and said, “When you are finished with your present task, please come into my office.”
Jessica surveyed the paperwork in front of her, put the folder in her hand away in a file cabinet, and then walked into her employer’s office.
As she sat in the chair offered to her, Mr. Summers took his glasses off and said, “My office manager is retiring next month. You always follow instructions and complete your work efficiently. I am offering you the position.”
“‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities’” (Luke 19:17).
Jesus told a parable, not unlike Jessica’s story, regarding rewarding those who serve Him faithfully and those who do not. God recognizes the efforts of those who work for His kingdom while waiting for Jesus to return. No matter how little or how much responsibility He has entrusted to them, He will give them even more. But those who mishandle their opportunities will face His displeasure. What they have will be taken from them.
Prayer Suggestion: Help me to serve You faithfully.Quicklook: Luke 19:15–17
“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak” (Luke 12:38).
Servants in a manor house or royal palace serve at their master’s pleasure. They sleep in the attic, use the back stairs, and eat a simple meal in the kitchen after serving a dinner party upstairs. They set up croquet games they never play, brush horses they never ride, and polish silver spoons they never lift to their lips. They toil from before dawn to make their masters’ lives far easier than their own.
Though this mind-set seems obsolete to Westerners today, believers must purposefully reconnect with the honor and dignity of serving a Master. He is not a boss who gives out bonuses for good work. Rather, He created His people and rules over them as their Sovereign. And when He returns, no matter the time of night or day, they are to have His home prepped and waiting for Him.
Challenge for Today: Approach this week’s worship service not as an audience member or spectator but as one serving a banquet feast to your Master.Quicklook: Luke 12:35–40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’” (Matthew 25:34).
Why does the Bible say that acts of benevolence will bring a reward when belief in Jesus’ sacrifice is what saves? It is true that saving faith in Jesus Christ is all that is needed to obtain heaven, but the paradox is that devotion dictates action. True faith is walked out in love that blesses others.
Someone who understands what God did for them cannot ignore the needs inside and outside the church. How people conduct their lives should reflect Christ’s life in them. Those blessed by God want to share His blessings. Reward is certainly not the primary motive. When they visit the sick, or feed the homeless, or give to the poor, they do so for the One who recognizes such acts of kindness as done unto Him. A Kingdom prepared since the creation of the world and an inheritance of eternal life in God’s presence await those who accept Jesus.
Challenge for Today: Let your salvation motivate acts of love toward others.
Quicklook: Matthew 25:32–35
Have you ever rushed to the car, put the key in the ignition, and then discovered that the gas tank was empty? The low fuel indicator light had been ignored for too long. It does not matter how important the appointment might have been. Without preparation, the trip is over before it starts.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” (Matthew 25:6).
Like gas for the car, the heart needs spiritual food. It takes time for the things of God, even when schedules are busy. Jesus told a parable about ten virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come. Five of them had ample oil for their lamps; five did not. Those who did not had to go buy some and missed the arrival of the bridegroom. Those who had enough were ready for Him.
Prudent people will keep the lamp of their hearts ready, lit with the oil of God’s Spirit and the light of His Word. His light will shine in those who seek Him in prayer each day and read His Word with a listening attitude.
Thought for Today: Preparation requires planning, and planning requires action.
Quicklook: Matthew 25:6–10