The Hope Within


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Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

As Christmas quickly approaches I can not help but ponder what this time of year means to people. What comes to mind when you think about the Christmas season? For some it means food, family, and gifts. For others it means sadness and pain. Yet, for others it means presents, trees, and stress. What word would you use to describe Christmas?

As I thought about this question, one word kept coming back to me. Hope. Personally Christmas is not so much about the decorations, food, or the presents. Do not misunderstand me, I love all of these things. However, Christmas is so much more! It is a time to stop and remember the gift that was given to each of us all those years ago. There were not immaculate decorations, tables of food, and tons of presents under a tree. No, there was a young woman and her husband, a stable, and a star. More importantly there was Jesus. There was Hope.

When I stop and think back on that first Christmas, my mind often turns to Mary. I can not help but wonder what she must have been feeling. What thoughts were going through her mind as she traveled with her husband on that long journey?

Any woman who has carried a child understands how Mary must have felt physically. We can all relate to the discomfort she must have been in and the anxiety she must have experienced along the way. As a mother I understand the uncertainty she must have felt concerning childbirth. I know the excitement she felt as she thought about holding her baby boy for the first time. But what about the deeper feelings Mary must have experienced? What must have she been feeling deep inside her heart knowing she would soon deliver the Son of God?

I believe above all else, Mary felt Hope. Not only did she feel that Hope inside her heart, but inside her body as the Hope of the world grew.  From the very first flutter she felt, Mary knew that Hope was growing. I believe as those flutters turned into kicks and nudges, Mary understood even more that she carried the Hope of the world inside of her.

Friend, do you have this Hope? The same Hope that Mary carried all those years ago is still a gift for you today. Amid all the busyness and stress Hope can be found. No amount of money can buy it. No store sells it. It can not even be put in a pretty box and placed under the Christmas tree. Hope only comes through salvation and salvation only comes through Jesus Christ.

Do you want to lay down the sorrow that has been weighing you down? Would you like to lay aside that shame and heartache you have been carrying? Today you can. Give it all to Jesus. Let go of all that has you bound down and accept the free gift of Hope that is being offered to you today. I promise that no other gift you receive will ever measure up to the one that was given on that first Christmas oh so many years ago. Find Hope today, friend.

When Peace is Difficult to Find


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“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:14

Are you having trouble finding peace this Christmas season?

Oftentimes Christmas is thought about as a time of joy and laughter and presents. However, my heart has been burdened lately for the ones around me who are hurting this Christmas season.

As I sit and think about those who will be spending their first Christmas without a loved one, I wonder how they will find peace. Then, my heart is touched by Romans 15:13 which reads: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Friends, this verse reminds me that peace can only come from God. It is not found in any present. Peace can not be bought or made. Peace comes from knowing that no matter what we are facing right now, God is in control. You see, the only way to know true peace is to know its source, Jesus Christ.

I want to encourage you today. If you are facing trials this Christmas season that are making it difficult for you to find peace in your heart, look to Jesus. He is the giver of peace. If you will allow Him to come in and fill you with his love, peace will come as well.

Let us remember to pray for those who are hurting. May God wrap them in His comfort and bring peace to their hearts today.

A Countdown to a New Year


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Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-16

Christmas day has come and gone. The tree that was once filled to capacity with presents of all shapes and sizes now stands empty. All the wrapping paper has hopefully found its way to the trash. The feast that was enjoyed with family and friends yesterday is now tucked away as left overs.  So now what?

For many of us these next few days will turn into a time of resolutions. We will begin to think of the many new year’s resolutions we would like to make. Some of us will plan to lose weight, others will plan to save money. Some of us may even resolve to find a new job or seek out a new position at work.

How many of the new year’s resolutions that are made will be kept? How many of them will start out with a bang only to fizzle out within just a few hours?

Please understand, I have no problem with setting new year’s resolutions. I do it every year. What I want us to think about today, however, is the type of resolutions we set.

As you recover this week from mounds of turkey and dressing, as you ladies get your houses back in order after droves of company, as you men put away your tools from countless hours of putting toys together, let us begin to focus on reasonable resolutions for the new year.

The verse that I used today tells us that we should seek the Lord’s will. How much better do you think our new year’s resolutions would go if we took the time this week to seek God’s will?

I have a challenge for you and me. I would like to challenge you to take some time this week, as you plan for a new year, and get alone with God. Seek out His will for your new year. Ask God what He would like to do through you in 2014.

My favorite Scripture verse is Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

As we prepare for a new year, let us seek out God’s will for our lives. While we are standing on this side of 2014 wondering what it will hold for us, God is standing on the other side and he already knows what lies ahead. Knowing this brings much more comfort to my heart than any resolution that I could plan on my own.

I pray you had a very blessed Christmas. I pray that as you prepare for a new year that you will allow God to lead you. Seek His will for your life as you begin to make your new year’s resolutions. God bless you.

What will You do with Jesus?


open door“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

This verse has been on my mind for the past couple of days. We seem to be living in a world that, for the most part, has no room for Jesus. The world has removed Him from its schools, its legal system, and are fast approaching the removal of freedom to talk about Him at all.

At Christmas time we picture Jesus as a babe lying in a manger, helpless, meek, tiny, and really of no threat. I believe that Jesus chose to come into the world this way. I believe that it shows the humility of Jesus. In my mind it helps me to see that Jesus cares about going through everything I go through; even down to birth.

As I have thought about this verse over the past few days, however, I am afraid that often times we make a mistake. Many times we tend to leave Jesus here. We picture Him as a baby. We picture Him as quiet and helpless, yet the story does not end with the birth of a baby.

We tend to forget that Jesus grew from that baby in a manger. He grew into a man. He grew into a healer, a teacher, and has always been the Savior of the world.

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the coming of our Savior.  I believe, however, that we must be careful not to leave Him there.

I pray today that you will take the time to think about what Christmas means. Christmas, for the Christians, was just the beginning. Christmas for us means the birth of  a Savior, but it also means hope for our future. Jesus came to this earth as a baby, he grew into a man, and He died for our sins. He was buried and rose again in three days. He ascended into Heaven and now He sits at the right hand of the Father. One day soon He is going to come back as a King, to take His children home to be with Him in Heaven.

I want to encourage you today as you celebrate Christmas. Enjoy the Christmas season. Celebrate the birth of a baby. Celebrate the birth of our Savior. But please, do not leave Him there. Remember that He came first as a baby, but will return again as a mighty King to take His children home.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. I want to leave you with a question: Do you have room for Jesus? Will you make room for Him in your life?

Enjoy The Season


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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1

To everything there is a season…

In which season do you find yourself this morning?

We just celebrated the Thanksgiving season. Thanksgiving is a time when we reflect on all the things for which we are thankful, and on the blessings that God has placed in our lives. We offer up prayers of thanks to God for taking care of us and for providing for our needs. We thank God for His gift of Salvation.

We are rapidly approaching the Christmas season. Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We take time and think about the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and a baby born in a manger. At Christmas time we share gifts with our loved ones and plan family gatherings to celebrate another year.

Outside of the normal Holiday seasons which we celebrate each year there are many more seasons through which we go. Some of these seasons will bring happy memories and some will bring sad memories. Some of these seasons will bring joy and some will bring pain.

 Ecclesiastes 3: 2-8 reads:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I do not know in which season you find yourself this morning, but I can assure you that wherever you are God is there. You may not always be able to see Him moving; You may not be able to feel Him working, but He is there. If you will believe in Him and trust His timing, God will work things out for you.

God may not always work things out the way that we plan. We must remember that His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) We must trust that even when we do not understand, God still knows best. He always has our best interest in mind.

As you go through different seasons in your life I want you to rest in the assurance that God knows. He sees all, knows all, and is in control of every situation that you are facing. It is up to you to give each situation to God and allow Him to do as He will.

We are promised in Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

I want to encourage you today. There is not one single thing we go through where God is not right there. He already knows what is going to take place and He already knows how it is going to end. Let us put our trust in The One who has written the book. He knows the story. He is The Author of our lives. Will you trust Him today?