What does “hope” really mean?

What does “hope” really mean?

Today marks the first Sunday of Advent in the Christian calendar, and traditionally the first Sunday represents “hope.”

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve always struggled with the idea of hope. To me, it’s seemed like another word for optimism. Not that that’s a bad thing at all — I’m a very optimistic person, and I always try to find the good in everything. But I’ve never really understood the theological reason for the subject of hope to be so predominant throughout scripture. Until now.

According to Webster dictionary, hope is “cherishing a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true.”

So often, I simply tell God that I’m trusting Him because I know He has everything in control. I trust Him with my life and with my relationships and with my career and with everything. And that’s good. God wants us to trust Him. But that’s not all He wants us to do. He wants us to have hope in Him.

Without hope, trust is empty and futile. There’s no anticipation. Trust becomes easy and religious; it becomes pharisaical — blind to expectation and a strict adherence to the things we trust.

Hope brings that sense of expectation that God is going to do what He said He’s going to do and that He will fulfill His promises.

It’s not blind optimism. It’s anticipating in Someone.

And that’s what Christmas is all about. It’s the celebration of the moment God began to fulfill His promise that He will reunite us back with Him in a personal relationship.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Simple

Simple

If you’ve read anything by me, you probably know I love telling stories. I love painting pictures in the minds of others using nothing but words. Whether it be a divine letter, a dream by a lake, or a dragon fight, I love to think as creatively as possible.

If you love to read these stories, then this post might disappoint you. I’m not here to paint a word picture tonight. Instead, I want the simplicity of this post to ring the following truth loud and clear. I want it to resonate in your mind. The fact is…

God wants a meaningful, positive relationship with you.

 

Now, I could take this post in a million different ways from this point forward. That’s the beauty of God. We can’t see God and have only the bible and our spiritual experiences to explain it, so a relationship with God is incredibly complex.

But I’m going to keep it simple for right now. Because that’s what Christmas celebrates: God making it all simple.

Two-thousand years ago, God said enough of all these rules, regulations, prophetic analogies. He said here I am — in the flesh — so that you can experience my love first-hand. I want you to have a meaningful, positive relationship with me so much that I am going to live with you. I’m going to heal the sick, love the sinners, teach the teachers, and ultimately surrender my life to you so that you can be free of what burdens you. So that you can love the One who loves you.

So my simple challenge to you is one this:

Do you want a meaningful, positive relationship with God?

 

If your answer is yes, then let it be the most meaningful relationship you have. Embrace it. Let God’s love consume you. Let that love be on the forefront of your mind from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. Starting today, make that relationship a priority this year.

”For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

First Christmas Letter

First Christmas Letter

In the vast emptiness of space, outside of time itself, I existed. Rather, I always existed. In fact I created everything there ever was. With a single word I spoke every galaxy into motion and filled them with all kinds of planets, spinning them all into orbit. There was one special planet. In it I carved mountains and oceans, and filled them with all kinds of living creatures. Everything was good, but something was missing.

See, I am love. I wanted to show my love through my creation, so I created you in my own image. You would reflect my love in a perfect, intimate relationship. You would work but not feel pain… we would walk and talk… I would know you and you would know me.

Satan, who is the complete absence of me, has deceived you and brought sin into my creation. This sin keeps you from me, and it keeps you from knowing my love.

Now while the Deceiver has some power, my power is the greatest (after all, I created the very idea of power). Even though the payment for sin is death, I cannot and will not allow my most-loved creation to exist with no way of being cleaned of your sin.

So, I have a plan (I always do). I will become flesh and live among you. I will be born as an infant, grow as a child, and live as a man. I’ll experience what you experience, and I’ll feel what you feel. I’ll have growing pains, I’ll be laughed at in school, I’ll make friends — some of whom will stick by me, others will betray me. Ultimately, I will die for you.

You won’t understand it all, but that’s okay. The maker of the universe, the Lord of all creation, entering humanity as a child, being raised by a poor family is all difficult to comprehend. But know this: I am doing it all out of love. To show my love, and for you to know my love.

After all, this isn’t any ordinary letter. It’s a love story. This is the first Christmas letter.

Love,

God