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  • Matt Kinniburgh

Hope


READ


Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for…all these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things they promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them…These people were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what they had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:1-2, 13-16, 39-40 NIV


REFLECT


We often associate the word Advent with celebration. It’s the beginning of the Christmas season. It’s time to decorate and eat a chocolate everyday. But it’s also not the true nature of the season. Advent is a time of preparation. A time to get ready. A time to look backwards and a time to look forwards.

When we look back, we remember the story of ancient Israel — those who the author of Hebrews says were longing for a better country. We remember their longing for the Messiah to come and to bring the kingdom. We remember their waiting under the boot of various empires and their longing for freedom. They were in the land of promise, but things weren’t as they should be under the oppression of invading kings. As they look around at their world, they longed for the coming of the One who would make all things right.

When we look forward, we look to the return of Christ — the time when the King will return and bring the kingdom in all its fullness, when the heavenly country and earth country will be united as one. We have longings as well: we look at our world and see violence, warfare, disease, environmental disaster, relational brokenness, death and so much more. Our world is broken and we long for it to be made right. These feelings of things not being as they should be are longings for the heavenly country. They are longings for Jesus’ return just as we read: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). When we see the brokenness of the world and our lives and long for it to be made right, we join in with the chorus of those who have gone before us — those who have said, in hope, ‘Jesus come soon.’ This prayer is a prayer from the Spirit, who also longs for the day when the heavenly country and the earthly country are united as one.

In advent we wait not in despair, but in hope, looking forward to his arrival once again.



PRACTICE

Journaling Prayer

What longings do you feel for the heavenly country? Where in your life do you need Jesus to come and make all things new? How about in the world?

Take time to write these things out in prayer. Tell Jesus your longings.

Praying through Song

Watch Andrew Peterson's music video for Is He Worthy? and allow it to voice your longings as you listen and place your hope in Jesus.

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)

Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)

But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)

Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)

Is all creation groaning? (It is)

Is a new creation coming? (It is)

Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)

Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)

Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?

Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?

The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave

He was David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

Of all blessing and honour and glory

Is He worthy of this?

He is

Does the Father truly love us? (He does)

Does the Spirit move among us? (He does)

And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does)

Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)

Is anyone worthy?

Is anyone whole?

Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?

The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave

He is David's root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From every people and tribe

Every nation and tongue

He has made us a kingdom and priests to God

To reign with the Son

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

Of all blessing and honour and glory

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

Is He worthy of this?

He is!

Is He worthy? Is He worthy?

He is!

He is!

RESPOND

PRAY | God you are with me and I trust you to be my hope.

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