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Advent Week 1: A Hope-Filled People

November 21, 2016

Read Verses: 1 Peter 1:3-9

3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls”  (1 Peter 1:3-9).

 

I remember my parents and grandparents saying that the older they got the faster the days and holidays seemed to fly.  It feels like we just packed away the nativity and decorations from last Christmas.  We have barely washed the dishes from our Thanksgiving dinner, and now it is the first Sunday of Advent, again.  So, are we ready to worship and welcome the baby in the manger into our hearts and our homes?  I’m not just referring to the Christmas tree, decorations, and Christmas Carols, but about preparing family members of all ages to receive the Christian legacy of faith and hope.  For example, like sitting down and reading the Christmas story from God’s Word to the younger members of our families and sharing what our walks with Jesus have meant to us.

This has been a wild and fear-filled year in our world with terror, shootings, natural disasters, politics, lack of finances, and rising bills.  In the late 1970s, I actually had a neighbor on my block who built a bomb shelter and stocked it for his family.  Should we go underground and take shelter in a storm cellar and wait for Jesus to come again?  Hymn writer Emmylou Harris expressed the hope that Christians have when she penned the lyrics to “Where Could I Go But to the Lord.”  We are all leaving a legacy, whether by choice or not and whether for good or not.

In 1 Peter 4:10, what jumped off the page to me was the phrase “serve one another.”  We all are gifted with different passions, and God can use all of our gifts, great or small.  All around us there are people who are desperately in need of hope.  Think outside of yourself, your home, your church, your city, and even your country.  What is God stirring in you and how can you serve someone else?  Maybe it is simply asking a waiter or waitress if you can pray for him or her.  Maybe it is visiting with, listening to, or praying for a lonely shut-in.  Perhaps it is taking a meal to the family down the street that lives in the run-down house or inviting them to share a meal in your home.  Maybe it is praying about going on a short-term mission trip to a third world country.

How willing are you to allow God to use you this Advent season to share your testimony, to share the Gospel, and to bring hope to someone who really needs Jesus?

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I’m reminded today of the lyrics written by Gloria Gaither, “Fully alive in your Spirit, Lord, make me fully alive!  Fully aware of your presence, Lord.  Totally, fully alive.”  Let us not be so concerned about the presents we give and receive this season.  May your Holy Spirit fill us with the hope and desire to be fully alive, living in the moment, in your presence.  Grant us courage to share the joy and hope that we have in Jesus Christ with others, until the day you call us home.  In Jesus’ powerful name we pray, Amen.

Link: Week 1 Devotional
Link: Week 2 Devotional
Link: Week 3 Devotional
Link: Week 4 Devotional
Link: Week 5 Devotional

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