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Week One: It starts with HOPE...

HOPE

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles,

so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God… On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 10-11

Have you ever noticed that those who you are helping or ministering to… end up ministering and comforting you?

· We all carry many burdens daily, and many serious issues can depress us and leave us feeling despaired.

· The lockdowns, social distancing and the many losses have found us carrying an extra burden this season. Many of us are depressed.

· But we are to help each other through an amazing time in history. And God encourages us to pray for one another. As we are helped by prayers, we realize that the work of prayer is so powerful and comforting.

It gives new perspectives on the serious issues we struggle with.

· God does not waste our pain, instead when we go through difficulty, God is preparing us for a purpose.

What is that purpose?

· To be a comforter for others as we are being comforted.

· To have compassion especially with those who you don’t agree with about all that we are witnessing today.

· When life is pressing down on you, look for the purpose, for the lesson, for the way God is preparing and grooming you to serve and encourage others.


· Hope can be unexpected.


o The type of hope that Jesus brings is not primarily relief from worldly problems and issues.

o His advent was not anticipated throughout the ages to reconcile political parties or usher forward an agenda….except the agenda of redeeming the world from sin and evil, to a world of ‘love and order”.

o This is the longing and hoping of God’s people then and it is now. It’s what we all want. As we anticipate the advent of Christ…Immanuel, God with us…who will help us in our time of great need.

o We will all get through 2020 together!

What are you hoping for and expecting God to do in your heart this advent season?

Prayer: God of all our hope, we praise you and thank you for giving us hope in a tiny baby named Jesus. He came down that we may hope for something more and be a witness of your great love. Help us to truly live this miracle in our hearts and minds. Amen.


Reflective Questions:

1. God planned Jesus arrival thousands of years before it happened. What does that tell us about God?

2. How does Jesus’ light in our world today give us hope?

3. In what ways can we allow the light to shine through us?

Challenge

The commercial lights of Christmas can drown out the light of Christ in our lives. Take a moment and sit still by the candle of hope and let it set fire to your heart. Be still.

Invite the Holy Spirit to shine God’s light in your life and help you see the many ways God’s light is all around you. Then ask God to shine the light through you so that you can shine light of hope and encourage others.



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