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Advent Week 1 - Our Everlasting Hope

As the month of December comes roaring in, I want to take some time to reflect on the season that we are going into. Throughout the following weeks we will all be inundated with songs, parades, decorations, family get togethers, work parties, church parties, gift exchanges, and, of course, all of the shopping that goes along with all of these things.


Sometimes in the midst of all of the work and toil of the Christmas season we forget the meaning, the reason why we come together and celebrate. I have already written about this in a previous entry entitle “Remember Why” and I would love for you to go back and read that if you have not already done so. In this short series of posts, I will be reminding us all of who we are celebrating and why He came to earth in the first place. This week we will be looking at Our Everlasting Hope.


For some people, even God-honoring Christians, hope is something that seems far off. I can’t tell you how many times in my own life I have felt this way. I have often felt like there is no hope for the future, for tomorrow, or even for the next breath. This is attributed to an ongoing fight with severe depression; a fight that I am winning, even if it is a long – possibly life-long – fight that I have been waging since I was a teenager.


Many people around this time of year battle with depression. If you are one of them, I want you to know that there is hope for you, and that hope can only be found in Jesus Christ. Depression is nothing of which to be ashamed and it is something that can be overcome. The main thing to remember is that you are not alone.

Jesus is the only source for hope that will never go away. That is why I call Him our everlasting hope. Jesus Himself has promised us that He will be with us always.


Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Emphasis added)


Our only hope can be found in the name of Jesus; the name by which we are saved from our sins and therefore have everlasting life with Him in Heaven.


Mat 12:15-21 (ESV)  Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all  and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Emphasis added)


This Christmas season I issue another challenge to us all. I challenge us to remember in whom we have put our hope. If you know someone who is feeling hopeless during this time, reach out to them. Do not let them go another minute without knowing that there is hope for the future, for tomorrow, and yes, even for the next breath, but that hope is only found in Jesus Christ because He is the only one who came to save us from our sins and put us on the path to eternity with Him.


If you are feeling hopeless this season, remind yourself where your hope lies. David said many times that he had to strengthen himself in the Lord. We have to do the same. Our hope comes through our faith and our faith comes through the Word. Read the Word, listen to it, study it, devour it, but whatever you do, don’t neglect the Word of God.


I want to close this post with some lyrics to a hymn that I find extremely helpful when I find myself losing hope. I know that my hope is not in my family, my job, my ministry, or even my church; my hope is only in Christ, and in Christ alone.


1 My hope is built on nothing less

than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.


Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

all other ground is sinking sand,

all other ground is sinking sand.


2 In every rough and stormy gale,

my anchor holds within the vale.

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]


3 Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move;

I rest upon unchanging love.

I trust his righteous character,

His counsel, promise, and his power. [Refrain]


4 When he shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in Him be found,

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]


Jesus, that little baby that came on that first Christmas, is now seated at the right hand of the Father. It is in Him that we put our hope that one day we will be found righteous. Not because we have done anything to deserve His love, but because we have trusted in Him for our salvation. That, and that alone, is our only hope, now and forever more.

 

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