Monday, July 11, 2016

The Kingdom of God in This Troubled World

It’s so easy to get discouraged when I think about the state of the world—everyday, people are being killed for their race or the uniform they wear here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Children are being used and abused in atrocious ways. In many countries, women are considered property and have no legal or social avenue to look out for their own interests or to receive justice. National and cultural leaders who are nothing more than bullies have ultimate power to rain their terror down on others and they hold nothing back in pursuit of their own pride and agendas. It’s easy to lose hope by watching the evening news or scrolling through your social media page. When I think about these things, I turn to Revelations 21:1-6. It reminds me that one day Jesus is coming back and he is bringing with him a new world—one that is as it was meant to be before mankind turned to sin. A world where God walks with us in the garden and human beings love each other in a godly way. My hope is rekindled and the joy of the Lord returns to my heart in anticipation of that day.

1  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. 2  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4  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."
5  He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6  He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Revelation 21:1-7 (NIV)

But that can’t be where I stop because God’s Word demands my involvement—my response to his grace—when God’s Word goes out, it does not return to him empty, but accomplishes his purpose.

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:10-12 (NIV)

So how am I to respond? What can I possibly do that would fulfill God purpose?  Jesus ministry had one message—The kingdom of God is here. That kingdom that God speaks about Revelation 21 is already here? How? Where? The Bible tells me that when I give a drink of water to a thirsty man, the kingdom is here. When I feed the hungry, welcome the stranger and the refuge, when I comfort the sick and the mourning, the kingdom of God is here! So how am I to respond? By being available and reaching out to all people, doing what I can do to ease their pain and grief. In this way they might see the love of God and take hold of the promise of his grace and redemption giving way to a great celebration in heaven and in the kingdom of God here on earth.

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