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HOPE

Monday

"Hear this, O elders, give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." – Joel 1:2-3 NRSV

 

A community of believers living in occupied lands, in a system built to punish, supported by a government of evil and corrupt officials. 

 

The way of life for the Christians under Roman Rule was hard.  Some had to worship in secret.  The plague of the politics of that day weaponized isolation against the people.

 

Today we live under a different plague.  And isolation is still its strongest weapon.

 

Sisters and Brothers, as today's scripture says, we may be individuals, but we are all part of one body of Christ.

 

Let us face these times and all that is happening with one another.  The body has a lot of machinery that makes it work.  We are part of each other.  We work together, we live together, we love together.

 

You are a member of me.  I am a member of you.

 

We are not alone.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

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Tuesday

 

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” – Psalms 31:24

Advent may be new to some of us, so allow me to provide very basic info.  Advent is a period when Christians prepare for the arrival of Jesus Christ.  That “arrival” is His birth.  Advent is not in the Bible but created somewhere around the 5th Century.  Advent is 24 days before Christmas when there is intense prayer, fasting, and reflection.  And for children, there was an Advent calendar and they would receive a daily gift, usually a treat, representing the “Sweetness” of Jesus for them. 

 

There are 4 themes of Advent, one for each week, “Hope”, “Peace”, “Love” and “Joy”.  This week, we shall welcome “Hope”.

 

Why “Hope”?  Keep in mind, besides the rules and regulations, the protocols and procedures, the Old Testament is a collection of histories.  Histories of a people that for years needed a Savior.  And the story of their oppression, their wars, their sorrows, their joys and their victories, their wandering and wondering, when their Savior would arrive.

 

Today’s scripture is often anchored by the first two words, “be strong”.  For today, focus on the next two, “and let…”.

 

“And Let” your heart take courage.  We take it for granted, but think about those words in the context of “Hope”. Do you understand how difficult it is to have Hope?  When everything and everyone is telling you why it can’t, Jesus lives to say it can.  And we have to have hope, not in the trauma that we see and feel, but in a Savior who you don’t see. 

 

“And Let” your heart have Hope that Jesus is coming.  “And Let” your heart have Hope that Jesus will deliver you.  “And Let” your heart have Hope that Jesus has blessings for you.  “And Let” your heart have Hope that Jesus loves YOU!

 

“And Let”… let your Hope be rewarded by coming of the Lord’s Son… Jesus.

 

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

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​Wednesday

 

“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

 

Jesus is a “promise”.  Not just says “a promise”, but is the actual PROMISE. After all those centuries in the Old Testament, here we are in the New Testament with a reminder to a people who still require “Hope”. By the time we get to Hebrews, Jesus was born, lived, performed miracles taught through parables was arrested, convicted, sentenced, and crucified. 

 

 For the people of this emerging religion, “Hope” was still needed.  Sometimes, we may feel silly, feel weak, feel like a failure because after all we have been through, and even though we know and worship Jesus, we still need “Hope”. 

 

Sisters and Brothers, please never feel inadequate.  Never feel ashamed that, for whatever reason, you need to have Hope.  Never allow our need to have “Hope” to make us feel “less than”. 

 

As scripture says, we have to “hold fast”.  In common English, let us hold tightly and securely to our confession that Jesus is our Savior.  “And Let” know, that no matter what we are facing, no matter what they are saying, no matter what they are doing, no matter is happening, nothing, no one can stop Jesus coming for YOU!

 

Jesus didn’t just make us a promise, Jesus IS the promise.

 

Jesus is the promise for those who have Faith First. On this day of Advent Sisters and Brothers, have Hope with no doubt, with no worry, with no fear.  The world and those who dwell in it may make us sway, may weaken our knees, perhaps even put us on our backs, but as long as we Hold on to HOPE, Jesus will be the Promise we need.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

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Thursday

 

“but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

 

Isaiah knew that having hope is not for the impatient.  Our hopes need so many moving parts and people in order to be manifested, that it may seem like our hopes will never come true.

 

Renew.  Mount. Run.  Walk.  As we have Hope, we must keep moving in our "meantime".

 

Occurring centuries before Jesus was born, Isaiah was telling us then and now that is we prepare for the arrival of our Savior to be and bring our Hopes to reality.

 

Hope requires us to be active as we hope.  We have to make ourselves ready to receive what we are hoping for.  We have to gwt ready for Jesus to show up in our lives.

 

Let us stay ready for the Hope that is Jesus Christ.

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

 

- Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

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Friday

 

 

 “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” - Psalm 119:114: 

What do you think was going on with David to make him write this verse?  This is King David we are talking about here.  David led armies, brought truce, gentrified homes and built cities.  The David who the women loved and the men wanted to be.  David was the strategist and motivator.  The David who used stones to take down Goliath. 

 

We are taught to read scriptures, to not hold on to one verse, but to make sure we read and understand this verse in context.  Not today.  For today, I would like to use the author and the verse to get to a place of “Hope”.

 

The great and mighty David starts with, “You are my hiding place”.  Lesson 1, David is unashamedly hiding in his God from the challenges and problems of his day.  Just as mighty as David was, he still needed to “hide” in love of God. 

 

“… and my shield”.  David was a war-time General.  David loved to fight for his people and his God.  -+-David had no problem going to war.  One of the items in the warrior's arsenal is a shield.  David needed God to be his shield, to be the one who would take the shots meant for him and deflect them… even stop them from reaching David.  Lesson 2, God knows the challenges of life can sometimes attack, and God will be our protector, blocking their attacks, so they do not penetrate our bodies and spirits.

 

“I hope in your world”.  What I love about this line is the word that is not here.  David says, “I hope”, not “I will hope”.  David is giving us the Lesson.  Our “Hope” is not something that is temporary, but ever-present.  David is saying that “Hope” is not a noun, but a verb.  We have to live our Hope. 

 

Hope in what?  God’s Word.  God’s word is a living promise made real to us in Jesus Christ.  God’s word is that no matter what we are going through, no matter what the attacks are and whom they come from, GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR YOU!

 

Sisters and Brothers, Hope in God’s word.  God’s word never hurts, never harms, only protects, only provides, only redeems. 

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me

 

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Saturday

 

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

 

This right here is one of those real lofty type verses.  When I read it, I swear I hear Morgan Freeman saying it. 

 

All kidding aside, we close out this week on Hope with some encouragement. 

 

One of the many things I love about God is that even in all that God is, God keeps it real.  “Fill you with all joy and peace in believing”.  What is being said by Paul here is that God knows that us humans are not going to understand (or like) all that it takes to be a Christian, to be a believer.  When that happens, we could become full of venom, anger, sadness, rage, frustration, etc. while we are believing.

 

Paul teaches us that, Yep.  We may feel these things, however, God is going to pour into us joy and peace so that we can hold on to that Hope.  When a vessel has stuff in it, and then water is poured in, that stuff has to leave to make space for the water.  For us to hold on to Hope, we have to get rid of all the stuff that tells us not to, no matter from whom or where it comes.

 

“Abound in Hope”.  God gave us Jesus, Paul is reminding the church in Rome so that they (and we) do not forget all that Jesus means.  There is the Triune God, (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit). There is redemption for all who seek.  There is life everlasting for the confession of sins and of faith.  Simply put, by God’s love of us, we have been given Jesus Christ. 

 

If we can’t have Hope in a God who gave us, every last single one of us, then who is there to have Hope it?  Abound in Hope Sisters and Brothers.  ABOUND!

 

Hope should be all up in us because Jesus is all in us and the Holy Spirit is all around us. 

 

Hope.  In God.

 

 

Be Blessed, Beloved.

Rev. Damon

www.faithfirst.me