Hope. That essential well from which you must continue to drink if you are to continue on in life and calling. You who have borne the weight of ministry for these past few difficult years understand how crucial hope is to the soul. It’s vital for the energy to continue with difficult work in thorny ground.
As American culture continues to shift into a Post-Christian Era it is all the more essential that you tap into hope for yourself and then for others. So, where is your source of hope entering into the holiday season?
Start at the finish
In the advent season the church looks to recreate that thrill of hope felt by a weary world so long ago. We rehearse the reality of a people in harsh and hostile circumstances desperate for salvation. Clinging to prophetic scriptures the faithful waited with expectation for God to come and rescue them.
The stories are sacred and well loved. Yet, this year may be easier to connect with that longing for hope. Maybe what’s needed is to flip to the back of the book. For the hope we have is truly in the finished work of Jesus.
As Peter preached at Pentecost, he hearkened back to David, many, many generations before, being anchored in this same hope:
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
Connecting to hope
Even as you embark on the celebration of his birth, it is my prayer that, like Paul, you continue to take hope from a resurrected Messiah. To greater connect with that hope this season, consider meditating on these questions:
- How did the above scripture encourage you to hope?
- What areas are you struggling to connect with hope?
- In what ways is this affecting your ability to guide others to hope?
- When are you most aware of God’s presence and love?
- What are 3 things you can do to connect with the hope that you have in Christ?
- When will you build in time to do so in the coming weeks?
As Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
An Undivided Heart- This book isn’t an instruction manual with step-by-step procedures. It is a journey, unique to you, that begins with your unique relationship with Jesus. Living with an undivided heart will naturally lead to living an undivided life. Cultivation of the heart flows into action.
“If you have been in going to church for a long time and are ready to be set on fire with God’s love to make a difference in the world, reading An Undivided Heart: Living and Loving Like Jesus is the next book you should pick up.” —The Reverend Doctor Adam T. Trambley