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Tag Archives: hope

A Heritage of Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith. (Hebrews 11:1-7, NRSV)

Faith is knowing something is true even when you can not prove it.

Faith is trusting that something is true even when you can not prove it.

And Hebrews chapter 11 sets out and tells us about people of faith from the Bible, those that trusted God. They didn’t always do the right thing, but in the end, they always trusted God.

Do you have faith in God?

Do you believe His promises are true?

 

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Come to the Waters

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. (Isaiah 55:1-5, NRSV)

Have you ever gotten anything for free?

Actually for free, nit free because it is included in the price of admission?

You see what God gives us in His grace is something that is free. We can not buy it, we can not earn it.

We are all invited to the waters and the table to get our fill. That is the hope of this season!

 

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The Lord’s Servant, part 2

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12, NRSV)

He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

By his punishment we are healed. We are brought back into a right relationship with God through the unjust suffering of God’s servant.

And all of this was done way before you were here. God loves you and wants to give you the life He has for you.

As we wait this Advent in hope and expectation, let us not forget what will happen to this baby born in a manger and the baby was born knowing what would happen. If that isn’t the only gift we need, I’m not sure what could out do it.

Hope and love this advent as we help the world see the grace in the eyes of a baby.

 

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The Lord’s Servant, part 1

See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals— so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate. (Isaiah 52:13-15, NRSV)

God’s servant was marred beyond human semblance…

Rulers couldn’t speak or wouldn’t speak before him.

This sounds more like Good Friday than waiting for Christmas. But remember that the prophets of God told the people about the coming Messiah and what would happen to him. These stories were, and are, stories of hope for us.

The Messiah faced terrible things for you. And as we await his birth in manger, let us help the world wait and learn what his birth is really about.

 

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Jerusalem will be Rebuilt

Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel. Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth; who frustrates the omens of liars, and makes fools of diviners; who turns back the wise, and makes their knowledge foolish; who confirms the word of his servant, and fulfills the prediction of his messengers; who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be inhabited,” and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be rebuilt, and I will raise up their ruins”; who says to the deep, “Be dry— I will dry up your rivers”; who says of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd, and he shall carry out all my purpose”; and who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” (Isaiah 44:21-28, NRSV)

Sing o heavens and the depths of the earth cry out! For the Lord has redeemed you!

As we draw closer to the birth of Jesus and as anticipation builds we still have the hope of what is to come. Even though we know not when, or how. We know that God has redeemed us and has swept away our transgressions and our sins and they are no longer ours. We have been named and claimed by God.

Wait in that hope! Knowing God’s promises are real.

 

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Fear Not!

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1-7, NRSV)

Advent is the season of hope. But for some people, there isn’t a whole lot of hope as we approach Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a time filled with awe and wonder, joy and love, but looming bills or loved ones passed has a way of bringing darkness where others see only wonder.

But Isaiah tells us that God is with us even in the darkness, in the unknown. God has called each and every one of us by name and has redeemed us. We do not need to fear what is happening in our lives but can walk with God because he has claimed us and named us. We are His and He will never leave us.

Even in the darkness and despair, we find ourselves, God is with us. We are His and He will never let us go.

And we can always find hope in that.

 

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Waiting and watching

The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law becomes slack and justice never prevails. The wicked surround the righteous— therefore judgment comes forth perverted. Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told. For I am rousing the Chaldeans, that fierce and impetuous nation, who march through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own. Dread and fearsome are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith. [God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. The brightness was like the sun; rays came forth from his hand, where his power lay hidden. Before him went pestilence, and plague followed close behind. He stopped and shook the earth; he looked and made the nations tremble. The eternal mountains were shattered; along his ancient pathways the everlasting hills sank low.] Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4, 3:[3b-6], 17-19, NRSV)

What are we watching and waiting for this Advent season?

it seems like the world is in full swing for Christmas. With sales and people going on the internet and shopping for the perfect gift at the perfect price. Is that what we are watching and waiting for?

Is he perfect deal what Advent is about? Notice I said Advent and not Christmas because we are supposed to be watching and waiting for Chrismas. That is what Advent is all about, preparing for the coming of Christ.

Are we watching and waiting for Christ?

What can we do to help the world see the real meaning of Advent and waiting for Christmas?

 

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