The Candle of Hope/Friday-December 9

And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in Him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:12–13 (NIV)

Let’s go on a short hope journey today …

Starting out at Luke 2:29-32, we read, “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Moving onto Ephesians 2:12, we see the Apostle Paul encourages the church remember that at that time you (Gentiles) were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

What people groups do you notice in the passages from Romans, Luke and Ephesians?

Biblically speaking, the world is divided into two people groups: Jews and Gentiles. Jews (Israel) are the descendants of Abraham, the one with whom God made a covenant promise of an eternal possession of land and a Seed (descendants). We discover in Galatians that the Seed (offspring) is Christ. God did not exclude the Gentiles, but planned all along to use the Jews to be the conduit through which to bring His Messiah. The Jews for the most part did not recognize their Messiah, but praise God, we Gentile believers have been grafted in and adopted as children of God!

As we move closer to Christmas 2017, let’s renew and refresh our hope. We have a confident assurance and expectation that God is going to complete our great salvation when Christ returns and gathers His own. After all, we are His body, His church, His bride.

Living It Out – Find a quiet place and speak or write words of confident expectation to Your God. Begin with remembering who He is and what He has already done in your own life. Ask Him to point out your fear and doubts and replace them with truth and hope.

The Candle of Hope/Friday-December 8

O Lord, You alone are my hope. I’ve trusted You, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You!
My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising You; I declare Your glory all day long. And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside. Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing. Psalm 71:5–9 (NLT)

Are you a Hallmark Christmas movie fan? They seem to be starting earlier and earlier each year and it’s almost like an addiction. You can count on it snowing on Christmas Day regardless of the location and Prince Charming always goes after the girl and gets her but you keep watching … and watching … and watching!

Life isn’t like that, is it? It doesn’t always snow on Christmas and relationships fall apart. We lose loved ones and have financial issues and our children misbehave and the list goes on and on. Even so, we long for the good guys to finish first and we cheer for wrongs to be righted and of course, for it to snow on Christmas!

King Solomon said that God set eternity in our hearts. Could it be that God set eternity by planting a hope seed deep within our soul? A seed responds to even the tiniest ray of sunlight and will push through layers of dirt and concrete for the prospect of someday becoming a bloom.

When sin entered the human race man was condemned … BUT GOD! But God planted a seed deep within our soul and that seed has the capability of responding to His Word, to His Spirit, to His Light! That seed of hope is awakened and becomes faith and faith pleases God and blooms and hope multiplies.

And that is why we can never stop praising Him; we must declare His glory. He will ultimately right all wrongs; He will bring about perfect justice; He will work everything out for our good and His glory. As we hope in God with every fiber of our being, we become an example to others and hope grows.

Living It Out- Determine that today you will focus on truth. Press into hope and when weeds of discouragement try to take over, pull them out by the roots! Replace those negative thoughts with truth, thankfulness and praise. The emotions will follow.