Daily Devotional

The Words of Hope Devotional is a non-profit, donor-supported publication whose goal is to encourage readers to grow in faith through the practice of daily Bible reading and prayer.

Today's Devotional: 
August 3, 2021

An Incomplete Life

Read: Mark 10:17-22

You lack one thing. (v. 21)

The rich young man reminds me of myself in too many college classes when I would ask, “Professor, is this going to be on the test?” I wanted the A, and often got it, but missed the learning that came from studying the subject. This young man could check all the boxes when Jesus listed six of the Ten Commandments. The disciples in the crowd likely nodded approvingly, “This guy is good. He must be saved.”

What Jesus said next must have surprised them. On Jesus’ grading scale, the man received an incomplete: “You lack one thing” (v. 21). He obeyed all the outward, visible commandments: do not murder, do not steal, and the like. By all accounts, he was a good person, but Jesus knew his heart. His possessions ruled him as a god that demanded worship. He missed the most important commandment: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

The “one thing” he lacked was not so much the selling of possessions as it was missing the invitation of Jesus: “Come, follow me.” It is good news that we do not need to prove ourselves to God by checking another box. No amount of wealth can satisfy our souls. No amount of good works can cover our sins. There is just one who can satisfy and save: Jesus. Jesus looks at us with the same love and makes the same invitation. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, accept Jesus’ invitation to follow.

Helen Hofman

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Read: 1 John 4:7-16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (v. 16 NIV) It was a cold afternoon when

Helen Hofman

Trust and Don’t Be Afraid

Read: Psalm 34:1-10 He delivered me from all my fears. (v. 4 NIV) I was in a hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, scheduled to have another lump removed from one of my breasts. Each previous growth had been benign, but

Helen Hofman

A Good Reputation

Read: Proverbs 22:1; 1 Peter 2:12-17 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NIV) During the Zapatista uprising, rebels often seized farms in Chiapas, killing or driving

Helen Hofman

A Blanket of Fog

Read: Acts 12:5-11 Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. (1 Kings 8:28 NIV) It was the late-1990s. Zapatista rebels had seized the Tzeltal Bible Center in Chiapas. Martin and Rosa’s

Helen Hofman

Forgive and Move On

Read: 1 Peter 2:19-25; 3:14, 17 But if you suffer for doing good . . . , this is commendable before God. (2:20 NIV) Construction of the Tzeltal Bible School in Chiapas began in the early-1960s. A Tzeltal carpenter, Martin

Helen Hofman

Worshiping in the Woods

Read: Psalm 95:1-7 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power. (Rev. 4:11 NIV) Thomas’s parents arranged his marriage to Maria when they were both teenagers. Maria was an orphan raised by her non-Christian

Helen Hofman

The Unexpected Mechanic

Read: Psalm 33:12-22 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (v. 20 NIV) It was ten o’clock at night. We were driving on a lonely two-track road in Tojolabal country. We had climbed

Helen Hofman

God Restores Peace

Read: Psalm 97 He guards the lives of his faithful ones. (v. 10 NIV) Every Wednesday evening we picked up our Tojolabal language helper, Francisco, and any other Tojolabal Christians who wanted to go with us, and joined the ten

Helen Hofman

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Read: Mark 5:1-13; 1 John 4:18 But perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18 NIV) I was a young mother of two sons, ages one and three. My husband was traveling on a missionary visit to a remote area,

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