December 2012 - Vol.  64

Prisoners of Hope: Reflections for Advent
.“"“We Christians must be prisoners of hope, held captive to hope, never to be held by despair 
by Dave Quintana
For many years now, I have been sending a Christmas letter recounting a bit of the past year as well as some thoughts on how I have experienced God working through it all. Many people have responded encouragingly over the years, saying that they greatly look forward to hearing from me and that I should write more. A similar thing happened a number of years ago when I shared some writings about a one-month mini-sabbatical that I took working with the poor in the Philippines. So, what you have before you is their fault! It is also the result of me getting a bit more reflective in my old age, and growing in my desire to attempt to share the riches of God’s dealings with me.  [excerpt from the Introduction to Daily Meds from the Q Source Book]

Let the Feast Begin!

We just recently celebrated American Thanksgiving [a national holiday in the U.S.] – man do I love Thanksgiving!  A day or two is dedicated to the task of setting the finest of culinary delicacies before you – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, rolls, etc. … and all drowning in a super-sized portion of gravy! And all followed by multitudinous home-baked pies!  Wow!  Anyway, from my perspective, the season of Advent is like that. Heaven, hope, God as King, Jesus coming again, going home, the full establishment of God’s kingdom, everything finding its “yes” in him – the “Advent Banquet” is a season that we set aside to give our hearts and our minds, and indeed our entire lives more fully to the life-giving, spirit-sustaining truths of our faith.  This is a season of preparation, of watching and waiting for the coming King. We prepare for the celebration of the Incarnation (Christmas), but we especially long for his second coming at the end of the age as we live in this “in between” time.  So with a feast like this set before you – dig in!

Then 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.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling 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.” 
Revelations 21:1-4 NIV translation

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 ofg lory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory. 
Psalm 24:8-10 NIV

Watching, Waiting and All That Jazz

I will always remember waking early on Christmas mornings, eager to walk down the stairs to see what wonders lurked under the Christmas tree. And I can think of many a fishing outing sitting for hours on end, keenly attentive to the taught line, looking for the first indication that a fish was yielding to the temptation of the lovely bait I had skillfully placed before it. And I remember those grueling neighborhood football games, poised as a linebacker, awaiting the proper moment to drill my enemy (I mean opponent) into the ground. Advent is a season of watching, of waiting, of meditating on what it means for us as Christians to be prepared. If the Lord is in fact coming again, well then let me humbly suggest we best be prepared. Scripture exhorts us in many places to be alert, to not fall asleep, to not be caught “left out”. Are you ready for the Lord’s return? If he were to come again would he find you asleep? Or perhaps nodding off? Or just a good bit drowsy? Are you watching and waiting, expectant of his imminent return?

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Matthew 24:45-51 NIV

An Anchor for Your 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
[Dave Quintana is an elder of the Servants of the Word, a missionary brotherhood of men living single for the Lord. He is also a regional coordinator for the Sword of the Spirit in Europe and the Middle East. He currently lives in London, England.]

Daily Meds from the Q Source
By Dave Quintana, published by Tabor House, 2012, 250 pages, $11.00

Dave Quintana's daily meditations and Bible readings to stir our minds and kindle our hearts in 2013. He explores themes important to all who search to be wise men and women in the Lord, and provides a wealth of personal experience from living and ministering in Central America, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be inspired. Expect to meet the living and loving God. Order one for yourself and more to give as gifts!

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