ADVENT: Opening the gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy & Love
“God of hope, I look to you with an open heart and yearning spirit. During this Advent season, I will keep alert and awake, listening for your word and keeping to your precepts. My hope is in you.” -Matthew Kelly
Advent season is upon us! Remembering, inviting in, and expectantly awaiting the coming of Jesus is a special time of awakening and fresh revelation for our souls. As a church family, we are hungry to posture ourselves towards opening the gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
One way we can do this is through engaging in an Advent calendar that we are excited to give to you on Sunday, November 29th at our 8:45 and 10:45 services. This Advent calendar will have a Scripture reading for each day of December, as well as some activity or discussion ideas for your family.
You will also receive a devotional each week on this blog and via email from different Mountain View families that have been prayerfully crafted to awaken us to God with us. Our first devotional is on the word HOPE, by Marty and Patti Mance. Enjoy soaking in God’s Hope, my friends.
The definition of hope: “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”. God has placed hope in each of us; he has given us longings, dreams, desires, and yes, hope! Have you ever wondered why hope is wired into our DNA? Why the creator of the universe designed us to look into the future with expectancy? Could it be because he wants to co-labor with us?
In 1 Corinthians 3:9 it says that we are fellow workers with God, another version says that we are co-laborers with Him. He is not interested in just providing for us. Although he does do that. We have all read the well-known scriptures that refer to not worrying and how the Lord provides for the birds, how beautifully he clothes the flowers in the fields, and how he will provide for us so much more! So yes, he does provide for us, but he is always more interested in our heart and our growth.
In Jeremiah 29, the Lord says he has plans to prosper, not harm, to give a hope, and a future. In the next verse, it says then we will call on him and come and pray to him. Also, in Matthew 6:32 it says that our Heavenly Father knows what we need, but in the very next verse he says to seek first his Kingdom and righteousness. Wait, what?! Why do I need to seek him and pray to him if he already knows what I need or if he is going to prosper me?
The answer is simple, it is because he wants us to focus our hope in him, and he wants us to walk with him. It is the very reason he told his disciples to walk with him and get away with him. He did not say to meet him at the pre-appointed time and that they will rendezvous. No, he said walk with him. Have you ever gone on a walk or a stroll with someone? There is conversation, laughter, problem solving, and deep-level discussions, it is a way to “do life” with someone. Well, that is what Jesus wants. He wants to spend time with us so that we can place our hope in him.
He knows that certain things take time to come to fruition, that patience, and perseverance is needed, and hope is the key to getting us through. It could be why Galatians says that a portion of the Fruit of the Spirit is patience and long-suffering. We need hope to spring eternal; we need to place our hope in the Eternal One to get us through.
What are you placing your hope in these days?
No judgement, just a question to ponder… Are you placing your hope in your strength, your tenacity, your knowledge or education, your employment, your partner, your personality, your faith, your friends, your net worth, your parents, or Jesus?… All of those things are good on their own, but the challenge is that all but one of those things have their limitations and they are not eternal. However, if you are willing to press in, here are some questions to ponder during this season.
- What am I placing my hope in; is it in Jesus, do I need to shift my focus on him more?
- What thoughts do I have when I think about Jesus truly wanting to spend time with me?
- Is there anything stopping me from placing my hope in him?
- How can I co-labor with him more?
- Where can I spend more time with him?
- Please note: When pondering these questions, please be sure to reject any spirit of shame or self-condemnation. These questions are not intended to judge or even change your behavior, they are only meant to help you on your journey of co-laboring with Jesus.
May the Lord bless you, may the Lord keep you, and may His hope rise up within you.
Love, Marty & Patti Mance