Today is Day 3 of 31 Days of Hope-filled Living. To start at the beginning click here, and scroll to the bottom of this post for a link, in case you missed yesterday.
His message was this: “At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!”– Mark 1:15
“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.”
Humanity’s hope was born in Jesus Christ.
When John the Baptist prophesied about Jesus, he spoke of a fulfillment of time because for centuries the Jewish people had been waiting on a deliverance yet unseen. John wanted to be clear about the Message God had given through him: The stuff you’ve been waiting for, it’s here, in the form of a person. This is that. The Kingdom of God that you’ve been praying for which your great-great grandparents told you about—yeah, it’s here, and the King’s name is Jesus.
When the angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, they used a specific form of the word peace which implies the specificity of “The Messiah’s peace” which is also found in Luke 1:19 and 19:38, as well as in Acts 10:36, all of which infer eternal salvation and a hopeful peace with God, prepared for us in heaven. It was given through Jesus at His birth and was meant to carry us on into eternity with the Father. This word, eiréné (i-ray’-nay), means “one (unity), peace, quietness, rest.” This is the peace that gives us hope. And the hope that gives us peace.
“Our Christian hope is that we are going to live with Christ in a new earth, where there is not only no more death, but where life is what it was always meant to be.”– Timothy Keller
People of every generation have known the life we live is less than what it was meant to be. We feel an inner sense that something is missing and we’re meant for more. It’s what the ancient prophets foretold, what John the Baptist said would be revealed in Jesus, and what the angels told the shepherds about: that elusive thing you’ve been missing, it’s here and on its way. He’s going to bring you peaceful hope and the promise of eternal salvation.
In the presence of others, I sometimes feel odd because I think about heaven often and wish for Jesus to come back every day that ends in Y. I don’t hear other people’s thoughts, but it doesn’t seem like other Christians think this way. I hope Jesus comes today. Whenever I vulnerably share this with others, they try to correct me. They say, “No, don’t you want to live more of your life, see your kids grow up or have some grandkids?” Nope. I would much rather be with Jesus in a perfect place. Or they say, “Not me, I want to get married and live my life first.” Which is not bad. I’m not judging, simply admitting I’m different.
It doesn’t mean I’m not discouraged by life’s disappointments, but one beneficial aspect my heavenward vision does offer is a sense of peace. No matter how I’m blessed, I’m also stressed. Because this life is tough and it’s not what I’m destined for. I live in a beautiful and free country, but I’m a citizen of heaven, and I’d like to start living there as soon as possible. When life gets painful or complicated or difficult, my hope for being with Jesus face to face forever carries me through to an unfathomable peace.
And maybe you’re like me and you think about your Heavenly Country often, but maybe something about eternity scares you and makes you avoid those kinds of thoughts. Wherever you find yourself on that spectrum, remember Dear Reader that God’s Kingdom is here, but only in part. When Jesus comes to reign again, each of your hopes will be fulfilled and you will long for nothing. All of your broken pieces will be mended and all of your stresses will be transformed into eternal blessings. There is but one condition on this hope, and that is nothing more or less than putting your trust in Jesus as the Way to God, receiving His forgiveness over your past and future failures as a human. And if you’ve already done that, then your hope is secure. Your peace is tucked securely into that hope.
Hope How-to: Spend at least five minutes daydreaming about what you think heaven might be like. What will it be like when you see Jesus’s face? What will you do with Him? What kinds of adventures await with the entire universe in your backyard? Who will you visit and what are you looking forward to? If anything is confusing or frightening, talk about that with God and ask Him your hard questions.
Prayer: Oh Jesus, we long to see you and be near you. I pray for my reader today and ask that you would grant a clear vision of what she is hoping for in eternity. Show her just how much she has to hold onto when it comes to hope. Guide her through any questions or concerns she has about heaven and reveal something new through Your Word today. May every hope she has be found in you. Amen
Please be sure to subscribe so that I can send you these hope-filled words every day this month. You’ll get my Daily Guide to Hope printable as a free gift, and that’s something your heart can hold close. And if these words have been helpful and hopeful for you, please consider sharing them with someone who could use hope too.
With love from my Nest,