The Savior our Hope

IMG_8350The Savior has come.

Words spoken every year around this time.

The Savior has come.

Words that often pass through me without effect.

The Savior has come.

Words that hold truth that changed the world.

The Savior has come.

Words that continue to change the world.

The Savior has come.

And we… I, so often miss it.

The Savior, my Savior, the hope of the world has come.

He came out of love for the world and for people; for you and for me.

The Savior has come.

He entered into the darkness and he brought salvation’s light.

The Savior has come.

He rescues us from the lies and ties and agreements we’ve made with that which kills, steals and destroys.

He rescues us from the pit.

He lifts us out of the darkest night.

He holds us in the surrounding destruction and whispers His truth over us.

The Savior has come.

The Savior has come

and

it

is

good.

The story told at Christmas time is a salvation story. It is not an easy story. It is not a comfortable story. It is not a story filled with consumption. Nor is it a story of selfish ambition.

The story told at Christmas is a salvation story.

The story is a selfless story.

The story is an uncomfortable story.

The story is an awe inspiring story.

The Savior.

The Messiah.

The hope of the world, came.

He came!

He entered into the darkness – in the most delicate of forms – breathed human breath, depended on a human for sustenance, and though he was the very definition of life, needed a human’s care to live. His life, brought life. His life, was the light of all people.His life is the very way and truth and He is salvation. He is life. This tiny little baby, the center point of the story, Jesus, was the promise fulfilled… the hope of the world.

The unexpected but long expected Savior had come.

Jesus, the Savior continues to come.

The Savior meets us in our darkness.

The Savior meets us in our hopeless state.

The Savior meets the oppressed.

The Savior meets the hurting.

The Savior meets us with rescue.

The Savior, the hope of the world, Jesus, has come, He is here.

Do you see Him?

Do you believe?

Do you long for him?

Your hope has come. Your salvation is here.

Breathe in His truth. Soak in His hope and taste His salvation.

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The fulfillment of a wish and hope

IMG_7557I am a person of misplaced hope. Daily I hope for things to turn out a certain way. I hope for the fulfillment of desires. I hope for circumstances to change. I hope for other’s circumstances to change. I hope for felt comfort and experienced satisfaction.

I am often left wanting and disappointed.

When this happens how do I view God? Does He change because my hope was not met in the particular way I desired? Too often I tie the fulfillment of a wish or a desire to hope in God. I beg and plead with God for something, even something that most would consider good and the begging and pleading seemingly leads to nothing. “Lord, where are you? Why have you abandoned me?” is too often the response of my heart when this happens.

This is none the greater when praying for a loved one who is suffering from illness. We beg and plead and go before Jesus and believe that He can heal, and it feels as though He does nothing as the loved one continues to suffer or eventually their body gives way to death. “Lord, where are you?”

I have misplaced hope. I have placed hope not in the character of God or the promise of Jesus, but instead, I place hope in the fulfillment of a wish. When I tie the character and goodness of God to the fulfillment of a wish, I have misplaced my hope and will be disappointed and will question whether God is ultimately good. But, when I stand in all circumstances and firmly say, “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. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand,” I have placed my hope in truth that will not waiver or disappoint.

Hope is the deep internal knowing that all will be made right and hope can only truly and securely rest in Jesus, for He is the hope of the world.

I pray today that you will know hope. I pray that I will know hope. I pray that we will live out of a place of hope, knowing that Jesus, who is the way, truth and life, will be our way out, the truth to which we cling and the very essence of life within us, even though we experience death on earth. May Jesus be your hope and stay.

The first word of Advent

IMG_0458Hope: its the first word of Advent.

I don’t know about you, but somehow these dark days of December seem to ache for hope. This evening it was dark by 5. The sky was filling with stars and there were sill many hours left to the day.

I have felt a seemingly premature dark these past days. In moments, I have felt the heaviness of a life without hope. This absence of hope has left me aching. This aching points me to the first candle of Advent.

The light comes and lights the candle of hope.

This week, my prayer is that we will feel the absence of hope, so that we ache for the true and fulfilling hope of Christ.

O Come thou long expectant Savior! Bring your hope into the darkness and let it give strength to the brokenhearted, the forgotten, the lonely, those in the midst of struggle and those who have long forgotten your name.

May your hope grow as we move step by step closer to being greeted by your light.

Love is too Big: 1

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the topic of love lately. It’s Advent season and Love is one of concepts given to a week of Advent. As I’ve spent some time thinking and praying over the topic I’ve decided that love is too big of a topic. It is something not easily defined with words.

Every culture has a definition for love. Some have more than one. Check this out:

Most English speakers define love as an intense feeling of affection or an emotion.  If you think about it, ideas of love permeate our culture in movies, books, music and art. It is one of the most common themes.  There are different kinds of love, interpersonal: between people, impersonal: between a person and an object, there are scientific understandings of love, styles given to love, and theories of love.  Religions also carry with them various understandings of love.

Christianity, much of the time equates love to, agape, one of many greek words for love.  Agape love is a love that is charitable, altruistic and unconditional.  It is a kind of love that creates goodness and is reciprocal between God and people.

A Jewish understanding of love holds a much larger view of love. Love is given between people and between God and people. The idea of loving your neighbor as your self and Loving God with all your heart, mind and soul. So basically love is, in the Jewish understanding, expressed with good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one’s life, willingness to sacrifice one’s possessions and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity.

Many other religious views see love only in terms of pleasure and therefore are filled with sexual concepts and ideas. Indulging these desires is a gift to their god.

As I continued to peruse articles, books, websites my understanding of love got more clouded from the pure love I was wanting to describe. Love as a concept has so many definitions and interpretations. And although there are many definitions for love, our personal understanding of love is greatly influenced by how we were and are loved by others.

Love is BIG! Love is misunderstood. Love is at the core of human desire. Love is expressed. Love is withheld. Love is given. Love is received. Love is… you fill in the blank.

How do you define love? I’m still figuring this one out.

Car Alarms and Advent a Prophetic Turn of Events

Sunday morning I was participating in a worship service. We were singing songs and reading from the text of Scripture as a car alarm just outside the building was blaring. It was incredibly loud. People were getting antsy as they tried to pay attention. Heads turned, looking back to see if anyone was addressing the noise. Others were shifting, some were praying for silence and still others continued to raise their voices in song.

As I tried to sing I couldn’t help but think that I was living in a sacred moment. The morning’s theme was Peace. The first Sunday of Advent. We daily, anxiously, await the peace that is offered in the person of Jesus. And here we were, setting aside an entire morning to the idea of peace, and we were met with nothing but noise, interruption and  chaos. Funny.

That sounds about right actually. We long for peace. We pursue it. And in the midst of that pursuit we run into noise, interruption and chaos! Peace isn’t natural. We live in a world that constantly seeks to steal our peace.

The car alarm continued through most of the morning. I don’t know if others thought about the reality the car alarm offered, but that morning the noise of the alarm spoke loudly as it was juxtaposed with the gift of peace we’re offered in Jesus. As the alarm continued to blare, my heart continued to long for my expectant Jesus. My heart longed to connect with the peace He brings, the peace which is his very character and I was drawn to worship in chaos.

As you walk through each day, seek peace and pursue it. Even in the midst of the noise, interruption and chaos. It can be found!

O Come O Come Emmanuel

How do you connect with Peace in the midst of noise?

A Daily Longing

Advent season is here. A season where we anticipate the coming of Jesus. I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church that celebrated Advent, well outside of the wreathe we’d make in sunday school.  I’ve come to love the season of Advent in the past decade.

I love the Advent season because I know what it is to long for the coming of Jesus. I long to know Him and to walk in the truth and freedom He offers. Isaiah 61 paints a powerful picture of Jesus.

he Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.

I know what it is to long for this! For what is ruined to be rebuilt. For what is dead to be alive. For what is captive to be free and for what is ashes to be beautiful.

I Long for Jesus’ advent every day. May you connect with the longing for the advent of Jesus in your life this Christmas Season and may it lead you to extend grace, beauty and love to others.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.