December 2019 / January 2020 - Vol.107

Prince of Peace painting by Akiane Kramarik 
Held Captive to Hope
“We Christians must be prisoners of hope, held captive to hope,
 never to be held by despair”

Advent Reflections by Dave Quintana

Hope as an anchor for the soul
I don’t know how one could survive without hope.  It seems to me that despair is one of the saddest of conditions (though I suppose hoping in the wrong thing might be even worse). Now, I’m not talking about vain hope – “hope” that in actual fact is just “wishing,” or “really wanting” something to be the case.  I’m talking about Christian hope, the hope of Christ. The hope of Christ coming again, of God fulfilling his promises, of God’s kingdom being fully and finally established.  I am talking about placing your trust in a sure and certain promise – about hope as an “anchor for your soul” anchoring us to heaven itself (where Christ our hope has gone ahead and where he prepares a place for us).

We Christians must be prisoners of hope, held captive to hope, never to be held by despair. We live therefore in confident expectation of a hope that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. May we set our hope more fully on God and his coming kingdom during this season, and may this hope be as a weapon in our hand, fending off any despair or doubt that would ever array itself against us!

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. 
Hebrews 6:19-20 NIV

The King and his kingdom
We focus during this season on the King and his kingdom. We know that with Jesus’ invasion of this earth 2000+ years ago that the kingdom has come – but we also know that it is also clear that it is not yet present fully. So we Christians, we believers in this Jesus who came once and will come again, long for the full establishment of his reign. And we long for the day for righteousness to be established and for wickedness to be cut off. The King will come in righteousness to judge and to make war – and that will be a good thing, a very good thing. In his kingdom he will reign sovereignly, all will bow before him, and his will alone will be done. Lord, let your kingdom come! And let your will be done – in all the earth and in all my life!

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.  Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty he is the King of glory. 
Psalm 24:8-10 NIV
Not made for here
I love the way a Kiwi musician paraphrased C. S. Lewis, "If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy, I can only conclude that I was not made for here." Do you ever feel "not quite at home", or "not quite where you belong"? I hope so! I certainly do. I've come to believe that this, in fact, is the proper state for all true Christians—all full Christians. We were made to dwell eternally in the presence of God. Through sin, we have separated ourselves from our God and from his presence. This life is about turning away from all that hinders us from being in his presence, and preparing ourselves to dwell with him forever in heaven. You see, you and I were not made for here.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 NIV
Just Imagine
And it goes on.  Just imagine a day when every tear will be wiped from your eyes-a day when there will be no more pain, no more crying, no more death anymore!!  All that is dark will be made light.  All sadness will be turned to joy.  All discouragement and despair will be transformed into hope.  This is heaven.  This is the place for which we were created.  This is the place that God has prepared for us from the beginning.  Do you believe that?  This is the place that God has prepared us for from the beginning.  Everything that is torn, divided, confused, strayed ... will be restored, once and for all.  May the Lord use this season as a winnowing fork in his hand, separating that which will pass away from that which will abide forever.  And may our longing for this glorious day drive us to live in such a way so as to hasten its coming.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will then light. And they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 NIV

The Glory that awaits
If our hope and our eyes are truly set on heaven, on that kingdom which is to come, then we too can say with Paul that "these present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that awaits us".  As a friend of mine put to song, "Brief life is here our portion, brief sorrow, short lived care."  What a great perspective for the true believer in Jesus to have and to live.  Life here really is short.  Life here really is temporary and passing away.  Life here is "in part" and "incomplete" and profoundly lacking.  It is filled with pains and sorrows and sufferings.  But I’ve got good news for you-this is all nothing compared to the glory that awaits! Do you believe that?  Does that all-important truth invade your daily existence?  Are this life’s pains and sufferings transformed for you by the glory that awaits?
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will deliberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:18-21 NIV

Excerpt from Daily Meds from the Q Source © 2012 by Dave Quintana.

Dave Quintana is the presiding elder of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He currently lives in Detroit, Michigan, USA

top Image credit: Prince of Peace painting, cropped, (c) by Akiane Kramarik
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