2016 August Prayer Initiative - Day 28

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 21:6)

Biblical salvation lies not in an escape from this world but in the transformation of this world.… No faith holds out a promise of eternal salvation for the world—the ordinary world—that the cross and resurrection of Jesus do.
— Vinoth Ramachandra 

"Because It's Done, We Can Do It"

Revelation 21 gives us a picture of the end of the story—a new heavens and new earth, every tear wiped away, God’s dwelling place here fully, the nations walking in the light. As we think about the good news of Christ for the whole world, it’s good to keep Revelation 21 in front of us. 
The word for hope in the New Testament means “expectant of a guarantee.” So the promise of Revelation 21 is not something we wish for; it’s something we bet on. “It is done,” Jesus says. “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Which means no one gets the last letter, let alone the last word, but Jesus. 
What is this glorious ending that we can bank on? 
Well if you were hoping for harps and clouds and baby cherubs, you’ll be disappointed. (If that’s what you were hoping for, we should probably talk.)
When Jesus says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold I am making all things new,” He’s not talking about the kind of "new" that replaces the old. Bible scholars have pointed out that every time the writer of Revelation, John, uses that word "new", he’s not referring to something fundamentally different, but to the restoration of something that has fallen apart
The end of the story is THIS place. Only it’s THIS place restored. THIS place without sadness, without loss, without those knots in your stomach, without abuse, without abandonment, without hunger, without human-trafficking, without greed or cruelty or envy or idolatry or addiction or death. THIS place, made NEW.
Vinoth Ramachandra writes: “Biblical salvation lies not in an escape from this world but in the transformation of this world.… No faith holds out a promise of eternal salvation for the world — the ordinary world — that the cross and resurrection of Jesus do.”
So Revelation 21 isn’t wishful thinking; it’s a guiding reality. This gives us great confidence as we bring the good news to the world, because the end is already written, and it’s glorious. 
In the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Shaun White (everyone’s favorite red-headed snowboarder) dominated the half pipe event. Such was his domination that he had the gold medal locked up before his final run! As he lined up for his last ride down the half pipe, the commentators wondered if he would just cruise down the middle without doing any tricks. After all, the competition was over. He was already the gold medalist. But Shaun White did more than cruise. He upped his game completely. For his last trick, he busted out and landed a Double McTwist 1260, which had never before been landed in Olympic competition, and is arguably the best trick to be landed in the history of Olympic snowboarding. And he did it when he already had the gold medal lined up. 
I have a theory here: The reason that last run was his best ever was because he knew the end of the story. The gold was already promised. He was free. And free from the pressure to succeed, joy became his engine. And in joy, Shaun White took snowboarding farther than it had ever gone.
Revelation 21 is our guiding promise. We can move out into the world in joy because we know the end of the story. Even more, we know the Author of it—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Let’s go serve Him today.

How to pray...

  • Praise God for the hope of the gospel, that one day God will make all things new.
  • Africa is a continent where many find it difficult to have hope. Pray for the work of Christians throughout Africa, meeting both physical and spiritual needs.
  • Pray for Greg and Amy Justice, serving with International Justice Mission (IJM) in Accra, Ghana. They are working to address issues of justice related to children. Pray for physical safety as well as their work in the area of communications. 
  • Pray for the strengthening of churches and the power of the gospel of Christ in the face of radical Islamic terrorism.

For the Family

When we read books or watch movies, we never want someone to tell us how it ends, because part of the fun of reading a book or watching a movie is being surprised by the ending. But that’s not how Jesus wants us to live out our lives. 

Jesus tells us how the story of this lifetime ends, not because he wants to spoil the ending for us, but because the end is SO much better than what happens in the middle. It makes the stuff that’s happening in our stories more exciting and more fulfilling.

Because we know that the end will be so good, it also makes the bad things that happen now more bearable. 

As a family, talk about the hard parts of this life that you are excited to see “made new” when Jesus comes back. Parents, share with your kids some things that are hard for you now, like work, or sickness, or death, and how you look forward to those things being either restored or gone forever! 

Then talk about how you can live, even now, with hope that Jesus will fix everything, and how that hope is something we can share with everyone!


"Because It's Done, We Can Do It" - Joe White

Joe White serves as Assistant Pastor and part of the Sunday teaching team at Lake Baldwin Church. Joe and Tiffany (along with their children, Taylor, Lydia, and Jeremiah) recently moved back to Orlando after 6 years in Los Angeles, where Joe served as the Reformed University Fellowship pastor at UCLA. From 2005-2009, Joe did his graduate work at Reformed Theological Seminary, where he completed a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Counseling. 

"For the Family" - Joel Pollard

Joel Pollard is the Director of Worship at LBC. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary and intends to pursue pastoral ordination in the PCA after graduation. Joel and his wife, Katie, have been married since 2011 and have two children, Sam and Evie.