December 8, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Burden”

Acts 21:11-14

And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’ 12 When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be persuaded, we ceased and said, “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

A few weeks ago, an American Christian missionary John Allen Chau was brutally killed by islanders off the coast of India. The story captured the hearts of many Americans and news channels on what seemed like a suicide mission. The islanders, unreached by any civilization for over 50,000 years, were well known for their hostility toward outsiders; and so, some have accused Chau of “cultural imperialism and insane arrogance” while others have heralded his attempts. Sadly, I too found myself in some ways questioning his wisdom and tact.  However, after reading about his last few journal entries and his motivations as to why he went, I was both humbled and convicted. It was clear that Chau had a burden for these unreached people—a burden that gave him the boldness to risk his life to share the gospel with them.

And this is what we see in our passage today. Though Paul knew and heard from others the persecution awaiting him, he refused to be swayed. He was determined to go and reach the people in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord. By no means is this a call for us to go and risk our lives, although a few of us may actually be called to do so. It is a reminder that all of us have been called to reach the lost. Even thinking about this can be daunting, especially if it means reaching out to people who are close to us. Sometimes our courage to reach out can get lost in our own methods and excuses. But before we ask for such boldness, may we pray that God would start with giving us a burden for them. It is a burden rooted in the desire for people to know the love of Christ as we have experienced. And may this love give us the same boldness to overcome our own fears and doubts.

Spend a few moments praying that God would give us a burden for those who have yet to know Him.

Prayer: Father, Your burden for us sinners was so great that You sent Your one and only Son to die for us. Jesus, Your love is too great for us not to share. Birth in us a desire to reach the lost, and may we have the boldness to go. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 8-9

December 7, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Body”

Ephesians 2:18-22

 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

In a recent survey by Dave Olson, the director of the American Church Research Project, found that at least 80% of Christians today believe they can be Christians and not be a part of church. In an age where modern beliefs of individualism and liberalism are celebrated, people have fallen into the misconception that their personal relationship is what matters and church is merely optional. Some have even walked away from the church completely due to past hurt experiences.

But in our passage, Paul points us to a fundamental truth that the gospel was more than just about individual salvation, but about communal redemption. When Christ redeemed our relationship with the Father, consequently all of our other relationships were now redeemed through Him. For, before Christ, our relationships with others were like that of strangers and aliens. There were more things that separated us and we have all witnessed the costs of such divisions. But through Christ, we come together to be the household of God, meaning we are invited into the very family of God. This is the beauty of the gospel and the church Christ calls his bride.

A pastor said it like this: “There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized.” The vision Paul puts before us is the church becoming the very temple of God—in other words, a place for all to encounter His presence. And in His presence, we would see the community of God coming together as one to worship Him. May we restore our hope in the church and remember we are part of something far greater than just ourselves.

Prayer: Father, we thank You that You not only invite us into a relationship with You, but into a new relationship with one another. In a world where division and hate can be so prominent, we know that in You, we become the family of God. May our churches become the very temple of God where Your presence dwells.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 7


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3:12-16: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Questions to Consider

  1. Why does Paul command us to put on these things?
  2. What does Paul reveal as our motivation to love one another?
  3. What would this look like in our lives? How does this change the way we treat one another? Are there people that come to mind as you read this?

Notes

  1. Notice Paul commands us to put on these attributes. The phrase “put on” is like that of putting on clothes something we would consciously do everyday. Paul is saying don’t expect these attributes from others, but we should put these on ourselves despite how others treat us.
  2. Paul says to forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven us. In other words, our ability to love others does not come from our strength, but from an overflow of Christ’ love for us. Paul sums up everything by commanding us to put on love above all things.
  3. Paul paints this image of what this would look like if everyone did this—a church that keeps each other accountable through the word while worshipping and praying for one another. Personal Reflection.

Evening Reflection

Rodney Stark, probably one of the most influential sociologists of our time, studied the spread of Christianity in the world. He realized “the spread of Christianity did not expand because of individuals going out, but because the community of Christ, became so fundamentally different for others to see, they were naturally drawn and attracted to these communities.”

Spend some time praying for your local church. Let us pray that our churches will become communities so different that people will see the love of Christ in the way we love one another. Pray for your leaders and members to have this desire.

December 6, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“The Trap that Nullifies His Grace”

Ephesians 2:4-8

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

I’ve been a Christian for almost 20 years and spent most of those years devoting my time, effort, and resources to the church. I would say I have a pretty good Christian resume—if such thing exists. It wouldn’t be too different from the people of Ephesus to whom Paul was writing to; in fact in Revelation 2, Jesus commends the church of Ephesus for its many accomplishments and good service. So in this context, Paul sternly reminds them of one of the most basic simple truths of the Christian message: grace.

If we’re not careful, it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of basing our faith on doing things. We can easily be tempted to think, “I must be doing well with Christ since I’m doing all these things.” It might even lead us to a place of entitlement and self-righteousness. The scariest part is that all these misconceptions can go unnoticed, because if we spend enough time in the church, we can easily become professional ministers. And so Paul says to remember grace. Grace keeps us in check because it reminds us of who we were before Christ—to which Paul says we were dead in our trespasses. It’s easy to love people at their best, but it’s another thing to love them at their worst. And yet grace says that even at our worst, He made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with Him.

Whether we’ve been a believer for a few hours or a few decades, we’ve all been saved by His amazing grace. This simple truth guards us from a sense of entitlement and self-righteousness, since everything we do and serve is a result of Christ loving us first. Grace turns our duty-based serving into glad submission. Grace points us to the love of Christ so that we may boast only in Him. Spend a few moments reminding yourself of His grace for you. Can you imagine who you would be if he didn’t come to save you? Oh, the person I would be today… Thank you, Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your grace. Thank You that even at my worst, You chose to love me. I confess that I am so prone to wander from this simple truth. Holy Spirit, allow this truth to speak over my life and reveal the areas I have deceived myself. May I boast in You alone. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 6


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 6:3-8: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean for us to have been baptized with Christ in His death and resurrection?
  2. Why does sin still exist in our lives?
  3. How should we then live in light of Christ’s death and resurrection?

Notes

  1. All the benefits and consequences of His death are ours as well. What was true of our old selves in Adam, as sinful people, is now completely gone/dead/nonexistent. Our past and sin no longer rules us. And what is true of Christ is now true of us. We have been given a new nature and identity.
  2. In verse 6, Paul says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing.” Notice how Paul makes a distinction here between our old self and the body. Though our old self has been crucified, we still have this thing called the body in which we live in. And since old habits die hard, the body is still used to living according to the reign of sin.
  3. Because Satan cannot compromise our identity in Christ, he tries to tempt us in our flesh by appealing to its desires. We must learn to deny our desires of the flesh, and yield fully to His Spirit. See Galatians 5:13-26 for reference.

Evening Reflection

Spend a few moments reflecting on this popular hymn “Amazing Grace” by John Newton. For hundreds of years this song has been sung to give both strength and hope during difficult times, such as the slavery movement. Though Newton himself was a slave trader before he dedicated himself to Christ, the song reminds us that in our weakness, we are made strong in Him, for His grace is sufficient for us. Spend a few moments reflecting and singing this old, yet powerful hymn, and may we find our strength in Him.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.”

The Lord hath promised good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine;

but God, who called me here below, will be forever mine.

– adapted by John Rees

December 5, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Ephesians 1:16-20

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

I was always amazed by the power of a child’s imagination. Anything and everything can turn into some great fantasy for a child. Take for example a broomstick: For us, it is used for cleaning purposes only; for children, it can become anything—a flying magical stick or maybe even a great sword. They may even spend hours flying around in their imagination. But as we get older, we start to see how such naïve and childish imaginations have no place in the real world. Yet some of the greatest breakthroughs in history came from a person’s imagination. Nelson Mandela once said that “the power of imagination created the illusion that my vision went much farther than the naked eye could actually see.” It was his imagination that allowed Mandela to see a completely different world driven by peace that was so outside of reality.  

And this is Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus—that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened to the immeasurable greatness of his power given to us as believers. Why is this so crucial? It’s because if we’re not careful, there exists a danger in which we may lose our sense of awe and wonder towards God. Our faith is constantly threatened by our own familiarity and can become limited by what we deem as possible. As a result, “we limit God’s help to our own ideas and we do not dare promise ourselves more than we conceive in our minds” (John Calvin). Faith was never supposed to be limited by our own means. It was always supposed to be grounded in His immeasurable power.

It may seem a little naïve at times, but may we never lose our wonder of God. He can take some of the most common and ordinary things in our lives and use them for His glory. May we continue to walk by faith and not by sight—believing God will do more than we can imagine!

Prayer: God, we confess our lack of faith in You. Forgive us that we turn to our own ways and limit what You can do in our lives. Restore us back to a place of wonder that is grounded in Your truth. Increase our faith so that we may experience You in a new and fresh way. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 5


Lunch Break Study

Read 2 Kings 6:15-19: When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Questions to Consider

  1. Notice the different reactions between the servant and Elisha. What can we learn from this?
  2. How can we fix our eyes upon the Lord?
  3. Considering this passage, how should this change us?

Notes

  1. The servant, seeing with his physical eyes, naturally sees the enemy coming upon them. This results in both fear and anxiety that leads the servant to panic. The servant focuses on his own ability, while Elisha’s eyes are focused on the Lord. While the servant turns to man, Elisha turns to God.
  2. Rather than looking at their situation, Elisha deliberately turns to prayer. Because the servant is focused on the physical world, he cannot see God’s power. As Elisha prays for him, the servant’s eyes are then opened, and he finds both peace and confidence. It is in prayer where we can find the faith to fight.  
  3. Personal response. May our first instinct be to turn to prayer and to Him. May we have the discernment to see how God sees things, rather than what we see with our physical eyes.

Evening Reflection

Mark 9 speaks of a situation in which a father asks Jesus to come and heal his dying son. Jesus condemns their lack of faith, to which the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” In this interaction we see that Jesus responds to the man’s desperation and honesty. Sometimes, faith begins with an honest confession of how much we can fall short. But take hope—even the faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Spend some time asking God to help you in your areas of unbelief and to give you a little more faith.

December 4, Tuesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“What’s God’s Will for My Life?”

Ephesians 1:11-14

 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Growing up, I wanted to be so many things—a policeman, a racecar driver, and an architect. What did you want to be when you were growing up? Oh, the good days, where the sky was the limit to our wildest dreams! It’s interesting that even at a young age, there’s this underlying question driving all of us: what is the purpose of my life? And as believers, we tend to rephrase it as, What is God’s will for my life?  Yet it’s a question that brings more frustration than motivation for many of us. Every major step we take, we wrestle with the question: Is this God’s will for me?

In today’s passage, Paul has an answer for us. Those who have been chosen by Him have been also predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Notice that Paul writes, who works all things: not just the good things in our lives, but also the things we may consider bad. In fact in Romans 8:28 Paul assures us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” But if we’re not careful, we may use verses like these to justify the bad decisions we make. God doesn’t necessarily justify the bad things in our lives; instead, He chooses to redeem them for a greater purpose beyond our understanding. While the specifics may be unclear in the moment, one thing we know for sure: He wills so that our lives may be for the praise of His glory.

It is both humbling and freeing for us, and yet it also brings us the utmost confidence, for this promise is given to those who have been called by Him and love Him. Rather than being paralyzed with this question of what is God’s will in our lives, we can put our trust in Him—that in all things He is working for our good. Whatever season we may be in, know that He is doing something good. Our job is to be faithful to what He is doing now. May we continue to obey and follow after Him!

Prayer: Father, we thank You that You see the greater picture of our lives. Though we only see a glimpse, I pray that we may be faithful and obedient to where You have called us now. Holy Spirit remind us and assure us that nothing can thwart God’s will being done in our lives. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 4


Lunch Break Study

Read Joshua 5:13-15: When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Additional Context: After this encounter, God reveals the plan to conquer Jericho. God commands them to march around the city once for six days. Then on the seventh day, they were to march around the walls seven times. On the seventh time, God commands them to shout and that the walls would fall down flat.

Questions to Consider

  1. Imagine yourself in Joshua’s position, hearing God’s plan to overtake this formidable city of Jericho: How would you respond? How did Joshua respond?
  2. How does worship give Joshua the confidence to submit to His plan?
  3. When God asks you to do something, what is your response? What are the areas where you are refusing to submit?

Notes

  1. The Scriptures are filled with God revealing some of the most ridiculous and extra-ordinary plans. Yet for those who receive these plans, it is in the place of worship that enables them to submit to God’s will. In worship, Joshua is able to submit to God’s will.
  2. Joshua comes before the Lord with his face to the earth. This teaches us that worship begins with our humble submission to the Lord. God also commands Joshua to take off his sandals, since he was standing on holy ground. Worship drives us into the presence of God and His presence sets us apart. In His presence, we are able to find confidence in His plans over our own.
  3. Oftentimes, we tend to put more weight on our logic and reason. This does not mean we should make decisions rashly, but we should allow faith to always drive our decisions more than our logic. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

Meditate on Psalm 16:11“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Reflect on the passage above. The psalmist reminds us that life is a journey and not simply a destination. We are reminded that God cares more about the process than the actual destination, or as Rick Warren writes: “God cares more about who you become than what you do.” But far greater than this, the psalmist reveals that more rewarding than our plans is His presence. Spend some time reflecting on this. When you come before Him, are you restless to hear some sort of direction? Or do you find the fullness of joy just by simply being in His presence?

December 3, Monday

The AMI QT Devotionals from December 2-9 are written by Andy Kim.  Andy, a graduate of Northwestern University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) currently serves as a staff at Radiance Christian Church in San Francisco.  Andy is married to Jane who is a pharmacist.

 

 

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“A Miserly Living—Not What the Lord Has in Mind for Us”

Ephesians 1:3-8

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Green was an American businesswoman who pioneered the way for women on Wall Street. Earning her name as the “Witch of Wall Street,” Hetty was not only known for her investment strategies, but also her frugal and miserable living habits. Rumors have it that she moved from rundown house to another to avoid taxes; ate cold oatmeal to not pay for hot water; and drank disease prone skim milk over the more expensive whole milk. Once her son injured his leg in an accident and she delayed treatment in search of a free clinic. This resulted in having her son’s leg amputated. Some even claim her penny-pinching habits caused her own death. But here’s the irony of it all: she died as the wealthiest woman in history with a $100 million to her name, equal to over $2.5 billion today! What a sad and ridiculous way to live!

And it’s precisely this type of living Paul warns the believers against. More often than not, we tend to live more out of what we don’t have, than what we do have. We say things like, “If I had this, then I’d be able to…” or “It’s because I’m not this, I am this way.” Sadly, we have everything at our fingertips, yet we find ourselves miserable and empty. These are the lies of this world and Paul paints a completely different picture for believers in Christ. He says that as believers we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing and lavished with all the riches of His grace. These are blessings entirely independent of us or even our circumstances, for they are blessings unconditionally given to us through Christ. Brothers and sisters, we have more in our accounts than we could ever imagine!

The most regrettable part of Hetty’s life was that she constantly lived in fear and anxiety, never being able to fully enjoy life. May our lives not be marked by such fear and anxiety, but may our lives be marked by the unending grace we find in Him. For in Christ we have more than we could possibly ask for—both a fullness and joy found only in Him.

Prayer: Father, we bless Your name, my soul blesses Your name. Thank You for all the blessings You have graciously poured over my life. Jesus, help me to remember I have been given everything I need in You. May I live out of Your abundance.  Amen.

Daily Bible Reading: Proverbs 3


Lunch Break Study

Read Romans 8:14-17: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Questions to Consider

  1. Who is a child of God? What are the blessings of His adoption?
  2. What is the difference between the spirit of slavery and the spirit of adoption we have received? How does receiving the spirit of adoption change our relationship with Him?
  3. How does Paul address suffering? What is the relationship between our adoption and suffering?

Notes

  1. Sonship to God is not a universal status to everyone. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” To be His child is a right given to us by the Father and to those who are led by His Spirit. As children, we have an intimate access before Him and an inheritance assured to us.
  2. A spirit of slavery is driven by fear. However, the spirit of adoption affords us the privilege of crying out to Him as father. The word “Abba” is an Aramaic term modernly translated as “daddy.” In other words, our adoption affords us intimacy, access, and a relationship with the Father.
  3. Suffering is a mark of our sonship with the Father in this world. But this suffering points to a glory awaiting us as heirs of God. The glorious riches available to Christ have also been available to us provided we suffer well.

Evening Reflection

Have you ever seen a toddler fall or lose something, and their first instinct is to cry out for his mommy or daddy? Even if somebody would assure him that nothing was wrong, the only thing that can comfort him is the presence of his mommy or daddy. It’s this primal instinct that captures this cry of “Abba” Father. Take a few moments to reflect on this idea of crying out to God as “daddy.” What emotions or feelings come up?

In the same way, may we learn to cry out to Him, believing that in times of need only He can comfort us. Spend a few moments reflecting on this truth. Remember, as His children, we may approach Him in full confidence as our Father. In all things, may we turn to Him first.

December 1, Saturday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Now Matters”

James 5.7-9 (NASB)

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

 One Friday night when I was praying at church, I received a picture of what looked like a banquet hall during the times of Jesus. You could hear the clattering of plates as all these people were running around, getting the tables set. There was an urgency to their preparation. I was quickly reminded of the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1-14). One of the key details of that parable is when the king notices a man amongst the guests who did not have the right wedding garments, that man is immediately thrown out of the banquet to a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is to foreshadow what it will be like when Jesus returns. Those who have the right garments will be welcomed into the wedding banquet.

The reason why I share this is because of the conviction the Lord placed upon my heart through this vision. When I asked for understanding, God’s responded, “The preparation for the banquet has started. What are you doing to help others to find their wedding garments?”

As those who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, what is included in this confession is the belief that Christ will come back. It is on that day where all things will be made new, death will be no more, and God’s people will be eternally in His presence (Revelation 21). There will be a great wedding banquet. No one knows when this will happen, only the Father. But as we see how quickly things are changing in the world, you can sense that it’s not too far off.

In my heart, I have assurance of salvation; I believe that because of Christ, my wedding garments are ready. But what am I doing to help others prepare?

James in today’s passage exhorts the church to patiently wait for the coming of the Lord. Just as the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, he calls the believers to be patient. The day is near. And then verse 9 seems to repeat all the teachings he had covered so far. What I believe James is calling people towards the day of the Lord with great hope and anticipation, while at the same time, reminding them to be mindful of the manner in which they are currently living their lives. There is hope that has been secured, but there is manner in which we are to patiently wait. We can easily become nihilistic, thinking that the end will soon come, and so not to worry about how we live our day-to-day lives. But this is not so for those who are in Christ.

The manner in which we live now matters. The way God challenged me in prayer to think about how I am spending my life now is the same message that James is reminding all of us here in this passage. We are a people who will behold unimaginable glory. But until that day comes, until we see our God face to face, I pray that the lives that we lived to that point would be ever so pleasing onto Him.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise that You will return. The Spirit and the bride declare, “Come!” But we ask for Your mercy that when You do come, we would be found living lives in a manner worthy of Your calling. And we cannot do this without Your Spirit— fill us with Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 12-Proverbs 1