God’s promise of a future and a hope beyond your difficulty

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Olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane, perhaps witnessing the tears of the Messiah the night He sweated drops of blood and cried out to the Lord, Luke 22:44. Yet, there’s the hope of the tree of life.

We are approaching a season that can be filled with great joy. The season can be a refocusing upon what is important.

The season can also be a time of great busyness as we get caught up in the shopping, cooking, partying, and “shoulds” of expectations.

For some, the season can be a time of remorse as we see the happiness of others and feel that we are not as fortunate as others.

Several weeks ago, I asked what Scriptures you turn to when you are exhausted or frustrated. Whether you are joyous, caught up in the busyness of the season or a little down, take a moment to reflect upon the messages of these Scriptures.

Jeremiah 29

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. Jeremiah 29:10-14

Julie’s Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. God has plans for us, and they are good. These nuggets of hope are always sandwiched between situations that stretch us or make us question our circumstances, aren’t they?

The Israelites were exiled and slaves in Babylon. Diviners and false prophets told them that they were going to be freed soon. But God spoke through Jeremiah that the Israelites needed to build houses, plant gardens, and pray for the City of Babylon, for they were going to be in exile for 70 years.

The message of 70 years came with a promise for restoration.

Hope in the midst of exile. A future and a hope beyond slavery.

A promise to return to the Promised Land. A promise of restored relationship … the Israelites would call upon God and pray to Him, and He would hear them.

Psalm 73

Pastor Chris’ Scriptures were also prefaced with struggle and frustration ending in hope and a focus upon the goodness of the Lord.

When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
 I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.

But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:21-28

This is a psalm of Asaph. He was frustrated at the comfort and seeming success of the wicked until he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. Then, he understood their end. Then, his priorities were adjusted.

From pricked and embittered to guidance and refuge.

Psalm 139

Pastor Chris also turns to Psalm 139O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 

The Creator of the Universe knows our thoughts before we speak them. He formed our inward parts and knit us together. We cannot hide from Him. His thoughts about us are vast.

Yet, God’s enemies take His name in vain. David longs for the Lord to slay the wicked. But David refocuses upon God and asks God to search David’s heart and lead him in the way everlasting.

 Punctuated against the wicked, intimacy and guidance.

My prayer

Father, You are our Hope, our Guide, our Protector, our Maker, our Light. Thank You for Your goodness and holiness. The contrast of Light and darkness is amazing to us. Search us and show us the wickedness that is in us and purge it from our lives. Help us to see Your great and precious promises in the midst of everyday struggles and frustrations. Refocus us, Lord, upon You and Your ways. Lead us by the right hand in Your everlasting ways. Thank You, Lord. We love You.

 

Please share what your favorite Scriptures are for this season and
why they are special to you in the Comment Section.

 

The forever gift of Christmas … Jesus

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 14

God, Creator of the Universe, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace chose to enter this world through the womb of a poor teenage girl, breathe in the smell of hay and sheep, look into the eyes of shepherds and feel the rough hands of a carpenter who would take Him out of the promised land into Egypt for a season, return Him to Nazareth, and disappear from His narration.

Jesus became a man … forever … to live with us, to teach us, to heal us, to save us, to dwell with us … forever.

May the you have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19

Merry Christmas!

Love Eternal gives life eternal … Christmas as a verb

Ornament

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Glory, grace, and truth … we wondered.
Love Eternal beckoned us, “Follow Me.”
His body broken; His blood shed … our debt He paid.
Death, He conquered; Life Eternal He gave.
All who call on His name are saved.

May the full meaning of Christmas capture your passion.
May streams of His lovingkindness pour from you onto others.

My prayer for you:

Father, thank You for giving Your all for us. Your gift is the ultimate gift of love. Empower us to understand the depth of Your gift, and beckon us to unwrap all of the gift and receive it fully in our lives. Thank You for the true gift of life!