advent week 4 – future hope

 

Before participating in our Advent video or reading the blog, consider reading Isaiah 52:7-10 to prepare your heart for Jacob’s message.

 

 

Isaiah 52:7-10

 

7How beautiful on the mountains

    are the feet of the messenger who brings good news,

the good news of peace and salvation,

    the news that the God of Israel reigns!

8The watchmen shout and sing with joy,

    for before their very eyes

    they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.

9Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,

    for the Lord has comforted his people.

    He has redeemed Jerusalem.

10The Lord has demonstrated his holy power

    before the eyes of all the nations.

  All the ends of the earth will see

    the victory of our God.

 

One of the things I love about the Old Testament is that we really get to learn about the character of God. Time and time again, God promises that He will take care of Israel, he does, and then their moron-idiot brains get themselves into trouble and as always, God rescues them. The context of this passage is this: Israel is in shambles. They have been exiled to Babylon for multiple generations, and there’s no end in sight. In the midst of this, we have God (through the prophet Isaiah) bringing them hope. Their immediate hope was a return to Jerusalem out of exile. However, the greater hope they discovered (as prophesied in chapter 53) is that hope is coming, and his name is Jesus.

In the crazy Christmas season, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment right in front of us. For some of us, this is a really difficult season. For others, it may not be so bad. Regardless, how can we go through this season, however it has come, in the most Christlike and God-honoring way possible? 

The answer is this: We give the people around us hope. More specifically, we give them the hope of Jesus through encouragement. We must trust God enough to rise above our situations, elevate our perspective, and to love others. We are to point them to the future and to remind ourselves of God’s promises and reflect on what He has already done for us. Remember, Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) says: 

 

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

 

My pastor once told me: “I don’t know anyone who quit because they were encouraged.” Such a simple thought–but think about that. Who in your life needs to be encouraged today? Well, probably you! But also, I’m willing to bet there are a few folks that come to your mind right now. I’m also willing to bet that encouraging someone else will be an encouragement to you as well! 

So think about it, how can you be an encouragement to someone today? Wondering who you can encourage? Your spouse, kids, family, leaders, direct reports, peers, or literally anyone! If you’re not a words person, buy them a gift card to a coffee shop and just simply say, “I notice how hard you’re working. You’re doing a good job.” 

Now here is an encouragement for you, friend: God has called you to this team, to this mission for a time such as this. You are the right person for the job. God has given you the tools needed, the hours of the day needed, and the resources needed to get the job done. There are people who need a touch from God who are depending on you and your skill sets to help them see the face of Jesus. You are blessed because God has made you a blessing.


Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

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