Week 7 - July 7th, 2019

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Week 7 - July 7th, 2019

Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”


Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Faith That Endures For Kids




Day 1: 

Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

Our perspectives are often so small. Our thoughts typically range from to-do lists to events or to circumstances directly affecting us. We often feel or think as though our own particular time and place is all that exists, because it is all that exists for us and we are by nature self-absorbed. As Christians, this is particularly dangerous.

The faith described here, and in the story of Abraham, is not one that is absorbed only with its own time. Abraham looked forward to a day when his descendants would be numbered like the stars and possess the promised land. None of these things happened in his time. He spent his life working toward and believing in a reality he would never see. His children and grandchildren did the same. It would be 500 years after Abraham’s time before the Israelites possessed the Promised Land, and 1900 years before the Messiah would come. His mindset wasn’t immediate. His results weren’t immediate. But he trusted that God knew what He was doing and would do what He had promised in His own timing.

So often we get caught up in our lives, our church, our moment, and forget that where we are is but a small byline in the pages of history. We are working for a much larger goal than our small perspectives can imagine. Our church is one small part of the church in America and an even smaller part of the worldwide church. We are working for and cultivating much more than our weekly headcount. We are working to be faithful in this generation and prepare the next to be faithful in their time. We need to be retraining our thinking to be generational, big picture, large scale, to believe the things that God has told us and to trust and obey with the time He has given us on this earth. 

Lord Jesus, help us to never limit You in our thinking. Help us to see that our small piece of the world is just that, small. Help us to be patient and not grow weary when we don’t immediately see the results for which we are hoping. Help us to press on and be faithful working towards the goal of glorifying You and planting, watering, and harvesting souls for Your kingdom. Help us to remain steadfast when the world seems too dark and evil to bear. Walk with us and give us strength.

In Your Name we pray, Amen.




Day 2: 

Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

Just as we get too caught up in our daily life, we get too comfortable in this world in general. We buy in, compromise, and accept the way things are even though deep down, our hearts are unsettled. We are not of this world; it’s not our home. Like the men and women of Hebrews 11, we need to acknowledge that we are strangers on this earth. The longing in our hearts for justice, equality, and peace speaks daily of where we belong. The pain of loss, separation, and change we feel exposes the tumult in our hearts, the rest we long for.

While this isn’t our home, we are also not wanderers without purpose. We are here for a reason. While Abraham dwelt his whole life in the land that would belong to his children without ever owning any of it, he was there with purpose. We are sent everywhere we go. It isn’t an accident that you are in Tulsa, Oklahoma or at Ethos Presbyterian Church. We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom. We feel off and isolated from the world because we don’t belong to it. Our churches are kingdom outposts, tools to gear up and send out believers into the world to spread the news of the gospel. You are as much a missionary here as the men and women living strategically in other countries around the world. There are lost all around us that desperately need the message of hope we carry.

Don’t wander as a pilgrim without a home. You have a home, you just aren’t in it. “Press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) until the day that you come home to Him.

Lord Jesus, help us not to compromise. Help us not to get too comfortable in this land where we are sojourning. Help us to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-2). Make us like you and use us where you have put us as a beacon of hope to a lost and dark world. Help us to be intentional with the time and place you have given us and restore our spirits to fight boldly for your kingdom to go forth in this place.

In Your Name we pray, Amen.




Day 3: 

Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

In the mire of daily struggles, as the exile drags on, we must look ahead to the city that is prepared for us. It is detrimental to spend all of our time focused on the exile itself without remembering the purpose for which we are in it. C.S. Lewis said: “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom, and what sustains us in our sojourning is the thought that one day we will be brought home to dwell with our Father.

It can feel like we need to keep our noses to the grindstone and focus on the work before us but Colossians 3:1-4 says that “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” This focus on heaven is what gives perspective to all the pursuits of this life. Because we have died with Christ and been raised to new life, the new earth following this one should be what captivates our hearts.

The promise of being with the God we love in close and intimate fellowship is beyond what we can imagine. St. Augustine said: “God himself, who is the Author of virtue, shall be our reward. As there is nothing greater or better than God himself, God has promised us himself. God shall be the end of all our desires, who will be seen without end, loved without cloy, and praised without weariness.” This is heaven, to dwell with our Father in union and harmony. He is the reward we seek.

In this heavenly city, there will be no hate, hurt, pain, anger, fear, brokenness, sin. All these things that shake us here and now will perish forever. The reality that this day is coming must be held close to our hearts on the days where the evil of the world presses in. Though we can’t see it, with faith we must cling to the promise of heaven.

Just before Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Nazi’s, he said: “Oh, God, this is the end; but for me it is just the beginning.” On his deathbed, D. L. Moody said: “Soon you will read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before… Earth recedes… Heaven opens before!” What these men of faith saw in their last moments on earth was the reality that heaven was before them. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). This world we sojourn in is so fleeting. In the face of suffering, let us look ahead to the glory that is to come. 

“O God, Father of all promise and hope, maker of a world that was once perfect and one day will be perfect again, help us to look beyond the fog of this world. Help us to see the shore of the homeland that awaits us – a glorious eternal Kingdom purchased by the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior and the King of Kings.” – Randy Alcorn “50 Days of Heaven”



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