Summary: For the people of God history was (and is) always going somewhere. Life has ultimate meaning because of this hope we possess.
Dakota Community Church
November 27, 2011
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 7: 14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
For the people of God history was (and is) always going somewhere.
Life has ultimate meaning because of this hope we possess.
What you believe about your “THEN” controls your “NOW”.
What do you belief about life after life is over?
Today is the first Sunday in advent.
This morning and over the next three weeks we will light each of the coloured candles on the wreath and then on Christmas morning we will light the fifth and final candle; each of the candles have special significance, each serves to remind us of a certain aspect of the Christmas season.
Let’s talk about hope:
1. Hope deferred
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Two of the most devastating words in the English language are “No hope”.
Sometimes we hope for things that do not come to pass, sometimes we are certain of God’s will and sure that good news is forthcoming – and we are disappointed; even devastated.
The Christmas season can be a reminder of hope deferred and sickness of heart.
Marriages fail, families are torn apart, bitterness takes root – what we had hoped for is lost.
Economies falter, investments evaporate, years of study end with unemployment and frustration.
On a fallen planet; eventually tragic loss touches all of us. It is not a matter of “if” only the when is unknown to us.
Kathy and I are mourning the loss of our friend M, she left us a number of beautiful Christmas ornaments that are sure to warm out hearts with memories of her on future Christmas seasons – but this year … Close friends of ours are finding the season very difficult after the death of their beloved pet – clichés and flippantly offered faith statements are no help!
I miss my mom every year at this time, Kathy misses her dad. We had hoped they would see their grandsons become men, attend their graduations and weddings, maybe even live to hold their great-grandchildren.
If this is resonating with you I want you to hear this:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
2. Clinging to hope
Sometimes clinging to hope is like fighting a war – it takes some effort!
This is the first Sunday in advent but it also Grey Cup Sunday and most of us are hoping our beloved Bombers will bring home the hardware later on this afternoon. In light of this I thought a couple of Winnipeg Blue Bomber illustrations might be appropriate.
Years ago my son and I were at a Bomber game and they fell behind early in the fourth by about four touchdowns, we were disheartened, discussed, and driving home with a large segment of the crowd that day. As we got to the car the stadium roared behind us – the Bombers had scored! Too little too late I said and we headed home. By now you have guessed that driving down route 90 we were delighted – and horrified – as the boys came all the way back to win the game. We didn’t tell anyone we had left early; we were so ashamed to have given up hope.