Give Thanks……1 Thessalonians 5:18 …… November 18, 2018 PEACE …… Isaiah 9:6 …… December 2, 2018

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HOPE …… Psalm 42:5b …… November 25, 2018

Hope in God …… Psalm 42:5b

      To hope in God is to live in the assurance of His promises. It is being keenly aware of the fact that God cannot and will not lie. (Hebrews 6:18) In a day of instant gratification, this may be a difficult truth to grasp, but hope believes God in the midst of life’s storms. God will calm these storms in His time and when the storm has accomplished its intended purpose. Storms are nothing new in life, and there were many so-called storms that surrounded Jesus, months before his birth, then during His birth, and following His birth. Christian hope is believing and knowing everything will keep moving in the direction God intended for kingdom purpose, no matter what the circumstance. Let us look at storms experienced by those who were involved in the coming of Jesus the first time.

     Joseph found Mary with child before they had ever come together. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19 ESV  We don’t have a lot of information here, but one can only guess what was going through Joseph’s mind. Perhaps the heartache of misunderstanding, of trust betrayed, of love lost. What does this tell us about the man who would be stepfather to God’s son? The fact that he wasn’t going to make public her pregnancy caused by someone else showed restraint. In that day, unwed pregnancy was punishable by stoning the woman to death. This tells me much of the man God chose. He was a kind man, not self-centered, but was a man of love and compassion. He was man that also listened. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20 ESV ……When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife. Matthew 1:24 ESV  This storm gave us a glimpse of Joseph’s character.

     Joseph had a pregnant wife and was ordered by Caesar Augustus to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be registered/counted. This trip would be approximately 100 miles in distance and Mary his wife was very close to giving birth. This could be a difficult trip in modern days, but they had to do it by donkey and walking. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there were no vacancies anywhere which forced them to a dwelling made for animals that had a manger. Having to travel to Bethlehem was the storm, but it fulfilled the prophecy of Micah 5:2. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is the ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.

There was a king named Herod whom the wise men visited when looking for Jesus. Herod became troubled over the news of Jesus’s birth and planned to kill him. He requested the wise men return to him and give him the location of Jesus that he might ‘come and worship Him, too’. God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went home without returning to Herod. (Matthew 2:1-12) It was shortly after they left that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15) Why this storm? It was so another of many prophecies would be fulfilled concerning Jesus. When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1 ESV

We are given stories throughout the Bible of hopes fulfilled for those who followed God and believed. As we follow God as Christians, we are living in the hope of things yet to come. This is not a hope of possibilities, but a hope of assurance that gives us strength, for it is based upon the word of the living God. Jesus came the first time just as God had promised, and He will come again…. as promised. It is living in the hope, not that I might make it to heaven, but in the assurance that I will. This fact is not based upon who I am, but who Jesus is. The Lamb of God, who took away the consequence of my sin…..death. Every storm/event/experience has kingdom purpose in the life of the Christian. It gives us the opportunity to give testimony of the hope we have in God alone. Not a hope based on logic, but a hope based upon His word. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 ESV  So may we sing with boldness and confidence…… 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.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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