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The longer something goes on, the more we tend to think it will always go on. But it would be a great mistake to think the world in which we live will always continue just because it has gone on so long already. The Bible teaches that the day is coming when Christ will return for His faithful followers, this world will be destroyed, and those who are lost will be consigned to their punishment. Truly, the coming of the day of judgment is a thought full of awe.
But for the Christian, the thought of Christ's return ought to be a comfort. If we are faithful, we can look forward to Jesus coming again. The prospect of being with the Lord and the saints of all ages before the very throne of God ought to be a thrilling hope. And there need not be any doubt about our place in heaven. John wrote, "And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming" (1 Jn. 2:28).
We need to be careful about the hope of our salvation. "Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it" (Hb. 4:1).
But to the extent that we faithfully love the Lord, the hope of one day getting to be with Him is a very positive thought. "By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world" (1 Jn. 4:17). And Peter said, "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Pt. 1:6-9).
This week, may our aim be to strengthen our hope and be more appreciative of it. Living in a difficult world, it makes a big difference to be a faithful Christian and be able to look forward to being forever with a Lord whom we love. Let's consider the meaning of this blessing.
Monday: John 14:1-7
Key Idea: Jesus Christ has gone away to prepare a place for us in heaven.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.1, why did Jesus say His disciples' hearts should not be troubled? Where did Jesus say He was going? What did He say He was going to do when He returned? What did Jesus say, in v.6, about the way to the Father?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:10.
Tuesday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Key Idea: Christ will gather all His faithful people together when He returns.
Questions for Family Growth: When Christ returns, will the faithful who are still alive have any advantage over those who have already died? Where will all of God's faithful people go? Whom will we be with forever? In v.18, what did Paul say we should do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:11.
Wednesday: 1 John 4:17,18
Key Idea: If we love and obey God, there is no need for us to fear the judgment day.
Questions for Family Growth: Why might somebody be afraid to think about God's judgment? In v.17, what does it mean to have "boldness" (NKJV) in the day of judgment? What is the difference that love makes? What is said in 1 Pt. 1:8,9?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:12.
Thursday: 1 John 2:28-3:3
Key Idea: When Christ comes, we shall be made like Him.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean that we may "have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming"? What change in us will God bring about when Christ returns? What did Paul say in Phil. 3:20,21?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:13.
Friday: 2 Peter 3:1-13
Key Idea: We should be looking forward to Christ's return.
Questions for Family Growth: What will happen to this world when Christ returns? Does God desire that anyone should be lost? What does it mean that we should be "waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God" (v.12)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:14.