By Brooke Holt
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Advent is all about hope! Throughout the season of Advent, the Scriptures call us to look back to the promises of God to send a Savior, to see his fulfillment of those promises in the incarnation of Jesus, and then to look forward to their ultimate fulfillment in the second coming of Jesus Christ. That second coming is the hope of all Christian people as it is the day when all will be made right in this world. God’s people will be with him, reconciled to one another, and fully set free from the bondages of sin, death, and Satan.
Until that blessed day, God has provided his people the Holy Scriptures. In them, he tells the story of his creation, redemption, and glorification. In reading these pages of Scripture, the Lord longs to equip you to live in this time of now but not yet. Advent reminds you that Jesus has come and will come again. As you wait, his will for your life is that you know him, live in relationship with him, and build his kingdom in this world.
The Bible is his guidebook to you on how to do these things. As you read the pages of Scripture, you get to know God’s character -- his love, faithfulness, mercy, goodness, and glory. You also learn what a faithful life looks like. Clearly, the best example is his Son, Jesus but there are also the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles. We read the stories of such men and women to see God’s work in and through their lives. Their stories did and still do have power and purpose. Your story also has power and purpose.
To faithfully live your story, you must learn to remain steadfast in the Lord in a culture that does not seek him or honor him; the Lord would have you learn to persevere through the challenges of this life, and then to be encouraged that there is always hope for God’s people as Jesus will come again.
Do you see God’s Word as encouragement, as the means to hope? Many see the Bible as a list of do’s and don’ts. However, it so much more than a rule book; it is our guide to a relationship with the God of the universe. God longs for you and for me to have true hope, hope in him and hope in what he is doing in and through us.
How are you experiencing hope this Advent season? Search the Scriptures for more of that hope. God longs to work that hope in you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments?
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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