Advent Second Sunday 2017: Hope

Hope.

It’s the second lit candle of Advent.

It’s the question of ancient Job.

If I hope for Sheol as my house,
    if I make my bed in darkness,
if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
    and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
where then is my hope?
    Who will see my hope?
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
    Shall we descend together into the dust?” –Job 17:13-16 ESV

The Apostle Paul provides the answer to Job’s question and the question everyone else has been asking.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus of hope” (1 Timothy 1:1, emphasis added)

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First Sunday of Advent 2017

If you’re a Christ follower (believer or however you’ve chosen to describe your relationship and walk with Jesus),Advent-1_3

and

celebrate Christmas, then I implore you to engage in Advent reading and reflection.  This intentional reading and reflection–as you look to another Christmas celebration–will certainly bless your journey and every step.

The temptations are fierce and endless.  The distractions are many.  But we must stay the course.

So if you’re on this Advent journey, to celebrate the first coming as you long for the second coming, know this, that we can partner in prayer to make the most of this season, together, in the Lord.

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How to Redeem Your Christmas?

AdventGiglioBegin with Advent Readings…

Every year I try to re-focus on the Reason for the Season–Jesus.

Yes, I listen to those Christmas songs and carols like everyone else. But as someone who loves to read, I’ve found nothing helps me to re-focus quite like my yearly Advent Readings.

In the weeks and days leading up to Advent, I seek out an Advent Reading plan, and with the help of the empowering grace of God, I try to faithfully follow through (it’s never easy, given the many distractions and temptations to quit).

In 2017, Advent begins on Sunday, December 3 and ends on Sunday, December 24.

If you’re serious about redeeming Christmas, actually taking it back from the world, then I submit to you an Advent Reading plan.

This year I’m going with Louie Giglio’s Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope.

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7 Surprising Health Benefits of Gratitude

As I was reflecting on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, my mind kept coming back to the prepositional phrase for you, concluding that there were benefits of giving thanks.

Well, a few hours later on my phone’s news feed I noticed the headline “7 Surprising Health Benefits of Gratitude.”

I clicked and browsed the article, and then returned to Paul’s 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and the phrase for you.

God always meant for us to take an interdisciplinary approach to life, since all truths, for our human benefit, come from his benevolent hands.

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Giving Thanks is God’s Will

Thanksgiving is more than the bird, the beers, the games, and even family and friends at the house.

Thanksgiving should remind us to give God thanks on a daily.  According to the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it’s God’s will in Christ Jesus to give thanks.

And we give thanks not only when things are going our way, but we give thanks “in all circumstances.”  Remember, this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

In the Greek text, “all circumstances” is literally “all things.”

So we give thanks for finding a remote control after a few grueling minutes

And those annoying keys!

Not just the big things like finding a job or recovery after a life-threatening surgery or illness.

So I agree with the Roman statesman and scholar Cicero when he said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

There’s something to be said for pausing, reflecting, and giving thanks.  It is indeed God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!!!

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