Advent: We Choose Hope!

We are kicking off our Advent series with a focus on hope. To fully grasp our Living Hope in Jesus, let’s apply this eternal hope to various realities and explore His Word.  While this Hope is a gift from God, we must choose and live in Hope!

To choose hope, we remember His faithfulness in the past.

O Israel, hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is unfailing love. His redemption overflows.

Psalm 130:7

To choose hope, we acknowledge suffering.  Just this week I’ve heard of so much death, disease, illness, depression, bitterness, and poverty.  Our world in suffering.  We are suffering.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Romans 8:18-25

To choose hope, we must forget our own failures and successes, our pain and our pride.  The things of this world and want to overcome our hope.  Our waiting gets messy when we let our minds wander . . . let’s wonder in the things of Jesus.

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me.

Psalm 39:6-8

To choose hope, we anticipate and expectantly wait on Christ’s return.  Just as the world waited on the coming of the Messiah, we now wait on His return.  We cling to faith and get to choose to wait in His Living Hope, having eternal hope for a day when there is not more suffering or pain or pride.

In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.

Isaiah 11:10

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

I Peter 1:3-5

To choose hope this Christmas, we share the Reason for the Season with others.  Our world needs hope!  May we burn bright with hope!

Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.

Isaiah 60:1-3

Sing a new song to the Lord!

Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!

Sing to the Lord; praise his name.

Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.

Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!

He is to be feared above all gods.

Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.

Let all the earth tremble before him.

Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.

He will judge all peoples fairly.

Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!

Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!

Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!

Let the trees of the forest sing for joy

before the Lord, for he is coming!

He is coming to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with justice,

and the nations with his truth.

Psalm 96:1-4, 9-13

Invite, Pray, & Listen to Him

Last post we shared about receiving . . . inviting, praying, and listening to Him is a great way to receive. A dear friend shared a tool from her church called ISLA.  It’s an acronym for prayer and hearing from the Lord.  It’s simple yet supernatural . . .

I – INVITE: Invite God into the moment, closer your eyes and breathe

S – SHOW: Ask God to show you His truth about something specific or in general

L – LISTEN: Listen to Him, linger and look for His visual images as well that come to mind.

A – ACTION: Ask Him what He wants you to do and take action

Or maybe just share a simple prayer: ‘Jesus, show me Your love.’ (Psalm 139) ‘Jesus, I give everyone and everything to you.’ (From John Eldridge) ‘Clear my mind, calm my soul, fill my heart, and strengthen my body, Lord.’ (Holy Barre’s prayer)

Look up the scriptures listen the image and invite, pray, and listen!

Give & Receive

There are plenty of sayings about being a joyful giver and how it’s better to give than to receive, but can we chat a bit about receiving?  Specifically receiving the Lord’s love and truth and grace and correction and freedom.  

In this season, we may feel like we’re giving and giving and giving.  So it is so important we are looking to receive and receive and receive from Him, not anyone else.  

How do you best receive from the Lord?  When do you feel Him near?  How do you experience His love?  Do you have a cozy spot in your home where you feel the most peace?  Or do you feel closest to Him outdoors?

Find your resting place and receive. Read these scriptures as well and soak it all in!

Eat Veggies & Protein

Veggies and proteins help you stabilize your blood sugar and thus energy and mood.  Just add some throughout your day during meals or as a snack.  

They don’t have to be fancy.  Red peppers and hummus. Mixed nuts.  Protein bars.  Smoothies.  Pasta sauce or soups filled with veggies.

Just keep the veggies and protein steady as your schedule and social gatherings ebb and flow!  And keep the referenced scriptures on your mind as well!

Engage Your Core – Read Your Bible

Would you like to really live, body and soul? Would you like to burst with health?

Proverbs 4 describes the value of truth and staying engaged in the Word of God to all aspects of life.  The first piece of the armor of God is the belt of truth.  Because your stability, health, strength, and power hinges on the engagement of your core.  

While we physically move our bodies throughout the season, keep your physical core active and engaged.  But even more importantly, read your Bible and remain engaged in His Word for ultimate health and life!

Travel with a Routine

When traveling, it’s so tempting to take a break from maintaining your normal routine and making healthy choices.  And while we do highly recommending taking advantage of quality time with those you love and savoring this sweet season, plan ahead of time and pack your essentials to keep your body full of the things it needs to love well!

This might include vitamins, digestive supplements, bottled water, protein packed snacks, skin and lip care products, sleeping staples like your pillow, etc. 

Savor the season but don’t slack on your health!  You want to enjoy it all!

Keep Your Lips Happy

Whether it’s smiling, talking, sipping, or kissing, your lips get a lot of action this holiday season!  But with the change in weather, they can take a beating too!

Go ahead and stock up on your favorite lip products to keep those beauties happy.  Lip oil, lip moisturizer, lip balm, whatever . . . have some near.  And if you’re like me, most lipstick dries my puckers out!  So keep that in mind as you shop and socialize – natural, Spirit-filled lips are the most beautiful! 

Lips carry a lot of power and can easily influence a mood.  Read the scriptures for more details. Let’s keep them happy!

Stay Connected to the Vine

We are the branches, and He is the Vine.  As branches, we remain close to Christ and allow Him to produce the fruit.  It’s so easy to shift into self-sufficient mode during this crazy time of year.  Don’t fall into that trap, which will only leave you depleted and discouraged.

Stay connected to the Vine and love from that overflow.  The order of the fruit of the Spirit is intentional . . . start with His love, then seek His joy, pursue His peace.  All of which are beyond human understanding.  So let the Lord do the producing, and as a result, we will flourish!  And flourish in freedom and faith! 

As we celebrate the harvest of Thanksgiving this week, let’s give glory to the true Gardener and Vine. But don’t take my word for it . . . check out these verses listed in the image.

Join our YouVersion Reading Plan this week for more – Wisdom from the Vineyard from Beth Moore.

Celebrate through Gratitude

Grateful, thankful, and blessed, right?!  You’ve seen this sweet phrase before.  And while it’s cheesy, there is truth in it.  What if our prayer was to celebrate this holiday season through a heart of gratitude? 

That may look like focusing on the positives of each family member and expressing such qualities.

That may look like listing off things we’re grateful for as a family and truly celebrating, rather than stating, each.

That may look like playing worship music on your phone while you go up and down the aisles at Target, walking with a hop in your step.

That may look like taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus’ several times a day. 

That may look like working out with a heart of praise that your body can move. 

That may be telling your spouse thank you for big and little things and celebrating marriage in the bedroom. 

That may be sharing a smile on your face as you choose to focus on the blessings around you.

What other ways can you celebrate THROUGH gratitude?

Let’s not just give thanks and say thanks, let’s celebrate through gratitude! Read these verses for more . . .