Read the last chapter!

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Spoiler alert! You see this warning in a review of a book or play when there is about to be a revelation of a critical turn in the plot. If you don’t want to ruin the story for yourself, you stop reading, right? Occasionally a writer will show you the end of the story and then turn time back to unfold the drama that led to the conclusion that you now know.  I’ll admit that sometimes I read the last chapter in a novel first. Silly? Maybe, but it’s something I do.

God told us the end of the story, the promise of eternal life, the defeat of evil, the joy of Heaven in His Book. I am so glad He did! Why? Because sometimes, in the middle of this thing we call life it all looks overwhelming, doesn’t it?  Whether we are talking about world problems – and there are plenty of those; or the more local challenges of our situation – and at least in my life there are enough to keep things ‘interesting;’ or even our personal struggles, we are encouraged to remain faithful to Him because we have assurance that He has our lives in His hands.

The closing passage of Romans 8 is packed full promise!  It’s a sort of spoiler alert for our lives, but in the best sense. Because we are called and justified in Christ, “we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. …After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? … Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. … None of this (death, demons, etc.) fazes us because Jesus loves us.” (Romans 8:37, The Message)

On this Friday, perhaps you have had a tough week.  My heart has been full of concern this week, perhaps more than usual, for the people in my pastoral care – for those with broken hearts, for those with unrelenting pain, for those battling addiction, for those who are wondering if it’s worth the struggle, for those trying to make sense of what seems senseless, and more.

I will confess that these concerns have kept me awake in the night, have heavily weighed on me. Some of my prayers have just been sighs, knowing that the “Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26, NIV)  Yes, I pray those heavy prayers with faith in the promise – He has made us ‘more than conquerors’ through Christ Who loves us.  I know the end of the story, ‘cause I have read the last chapter.

Fighting the good fight? Never quit. Don’t settle for apathy or resignation. Here is a word from the Word. My prayer is that the Truth will infuse us with courage, stamina, and vision, for the Glory of God, now and forever. “And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will anything be cursed.

For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5, NLT)

Jesus says, “See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay all according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:12-13, NLT)

________

O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

 O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

 Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
O sing all ye bright
Hosts of heav’n above
Glory to God all
Glory in the highest

 Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

Frederick Oakeley © Words: Public Domain

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