Monday, December 02, 2013

This Advent, may HOPE take you prisoner.

Isaiah 2

New International Version (NIV)

The Mountain of the Lord

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it.
Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between the nations
    and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Last Sunday's Old Testament lesson (above) was a wonderful reminder for me. Isaiah gave us an image of Heaven, where man "ain't gonna study war no more." 

Keep your eye on the prize, look past and through the darkness at the light at the end of the tunnel. Discouraged? Depressed? Frightened? Stressed? Look past your present circumstances and remember that whatever your're going through, it won't last forever.

If we put on the helmet of hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8 & Ephesians 6:17), God's hope will protect our heads- God will guard our minds (Philippians 4:7).

Lets face it, the holiday seasons can be stressful; work, family, finances. So guess what, maybe instead of focusing on everything you have to try to get done and who you think you have to please and how you're going to afford it- focus on Jesus. What a gift! The creator of the whole universe gave His only begotten son as a sacrifice for our sins so that we too can be His beloved children! 

When you keep that love in mind, it puts things in perspective. That perspective has given me a new motto:

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.” - Prof. Cornel West

And this is why I have been praying this verse so much for myself and for others-  "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 15:13

Psalm 33:20-22

New Living Translation (NLT)
20 We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
21 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.

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