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Thursday, 14 June 2018

take this HOPE seriously

Friends don’t you let anyone anything cheat you of this hope; it is your spiritual lifeline. You have barely begun to take hold of it. Do not let anything diminish the beauty, power and significance of this hope above all hopes. Jesus lived the way He did in this world, for this world, because His hope was set beyond this world; that is the secret of his life. He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way; cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there…I the place of honor, right alongside with God.

Oh yes, we need to make this practical. we need to take this hope so seriously we sell everything to buy this field. We must make this utterly real and tangible so that over time our souls are truly anchored by it. Of all the things we could do that would be most practical, that has the most staggering implications.

Friends it is as simple as this; if you do not give your heart over to the renewal of all things, you will take your kingdom heart to something in this world. You will do compulsive things, like collecting way too many shoes. You will be tempted into far darker things. It is inevitable.

But if you will begin to choose the Kingdom – if you consciously and deliberately give our heart to the renewal of all things, you will notice the effects immediately …So much pressure will be lifted off your current hopes; when things don’t go well, you will find yourself less angry, less dejected. As your heart and soul become anchored in the Renewal, you will find yourself freer to risk, especially love. You can love people, because God will do everything in His power to make sure you will not lose them, the good-byes of His children are only momentary. You can love beautiful places and cultures and things like wilderness because even thou it looks like they may be vanishing, they will be restored.
For nothings is lost. He renews all things.

Faith is something that looks backward – we remember the ways God has come through for His people, and for us, and our belief is strengthened that He will come through again. Love is exercised in the present moment; we love in the ‘now’. Hope is unique; hope looks forward, anticipating the good that is coming. Hope reaches into the future to take hold of something we do not yet have, may not even see. Strong hope seizes the future that is not yet; it is the confident expectation of goodness coming to us.

Jesus Christ gave His life to give each of us a hope above and beyond all former hopes. Every action and teaching of His brilliant lifer were intentionally directed at unveiling this hope to us.

                  ‘Truly tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne…everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life’.

A the renewal of all things?! God’s intention for us is the renewal of all things?  This is what the Son of God said; that is how He plainly described it. I can hardly speak. Really? The greek word used here for renewal is palingenia – which is derived from two root words; paling, meaning again and genesia, meaning beginning, which of course hearkens back to Genesis. Genesis again. Eden restored.

The re-creation of the world. When the world is made new A promise so breath taking so shocking and heartbreakingly beautiful I’m stunned that so many have missed it. Oh yes, we’ve heard quite a bit about ‘heaven’. But Jesus is clearly not talking about heaven here – He is talking about the re-creation of all things, including the earth we love.                                  

I would say that when a casual hope is deferred, we are disappointed but no more. We are downcast for a moment or a day. When a precious hope is dashed, it can really break your heart. You may not recover for a week or five years, depending on the loss and the other resources of your life. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Doesn’t it, though? But when an ultimate hope goes unanswered, the result is devastation from which you will never recover.

Maybe another barometer would look like this: When our casual hopes are suddenly in question, they elicit worry, but nothing more. Precious hopes in question can usher in fear and anxiety. Ultimate hopes that suddenly seem uncertain shake the soul to its core. And I will be forthright with you—very few things deserve the place in your heart made for ultimate hope.

Here is my point: the renewal of all things is meant to be your first hope in the way that God is your First Love. If it isn’t the answer to your wildest dreams, if you aren’t ready at this very moment to sell everything and buy this field, then you have placed your hopes somewhere else.

Nearly everyone has.

We cannot move forward in our search for the palingenesia until we face the truth honestly. Otherwise, this will just be a curiosity; interesting, but not the rescue our hearts so desperately need. We fight this hope. We hear about the Renewal and think to ourselves, Well, isn’t that nice; I’d never heard it put that way, and go right on with our desperate search for the kingdom now.

You have a heart for the kingdom, for the Great Restoration. I said it might be the most important thing to know about yourself; it is a lens by which you can understand your longings, fears, addictions, anger—not to mention the actions of the human race. Where is your kingdom heart these days? Are you embarrassed by it? What are you presently doing with it? What are you fantasizing about? Where we take our fantasies is a helpful way to know what we are doing with our kingdom heart.

~John Eldridge

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