Closing the Gap 12.27.18

By December 27, 2018 Daily Devotional

Advent Season

Week 51 Day 4

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Rev. 21:1-2Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Reflect:

When we wait for a future “when” we don’t merely want another time we want other circumstances.  People do not just want to see next month, or next year come around if they are unhappy with their current circumstances.  They want the circumstances of their lives to change. The future they hope for and wait for is a different life not merely a different time.  So we are waiting not merely for “when” but for “what”…what will be different then that will make life better. As followers of Christ we wait primarily for “who” not “when” or “what.”  We wait for the time when what is true about our lives is that we will live fully in the presence of God.  God himself will be with us. He will very directly do away with the things that bring pain and sorrow.  He will bring about the new order where all of heaven and earth is remade. Part of preparing for this future now is that we are being trained through present trials and troubles to trust God.  There is a theology that is prevalent among Christians that says God is primarily concerned with giving his children abundant “stuff” now.  That is, the focus of growing our faith should be on accumulating wealth and possessions and maintaining physical health, precisely the things that most non-believers value and pursue.  This theology shapes the human heart in a direction away from God. Why would a heart that has been taught throughout life to value everything except God suddenly find itself valuing God alone above all else?   We are training for eternity now. Eternity for the Christ follower will be full of discovery and adventure but mostly it will be full of the presence of God. We are learning now to love God, to hope in God, to value God above all else.  Only when we believe this and pursue it as a compelling vision will what Paul wrote make any sense at all. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:1-5)  Rejoice in suffering not because you love to suffer but because it is part of a compelling vision for your life.  You can experience God in fuller ways now and you will experience God in his fullness in the future. Nothing compares to this.  Not the accumulation of stuff or the temporary holding on to physical health. In the end you will give up both your stuff and your health.  But if you have valued God now the character you have formed will continue on into eternity. This character will not disappoint.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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