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Week 1, Thursday: Hope

Joe Hittle

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In his great passage of the Holy Spirit's gifting of God's people, the apostle Paul brings the whole issue into sharp focus by concluding, "these three remain: faith, hope and love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Hope is included as one of the ever-enduring gifts that God gives us for daily living. This is not a Christmas wish list (even though those are fun to compose and to dream about) but a real living vision of what the future could be.

Old Testament visionaries longed for the day that the hope of a strong kingdom in God's name would be established. They ached for the promised Messiah who would deliver their people from the shame and pain that years of captivity and outside rule had forced upon them. God's love was no longer felt and even the most optimistic of them cried out for God's deliverance. Their pain was real. Their hope was not realized within their own lifetime. To some, it seems that they wasted their efforts.

So, why hope? Why take the chance of dreaming about things that may never come to pass? Why make yourself that vulnerable?

Interestingly enough, the ability to hope seems very much to be part of us. We all long to better our circumstances and situations. Where we are seems to be in need of improvement. It is said that even John Wesley recognized that a person without a desire to become better than the present probably had less than a healthy outlook upon life, spiritual matters, and their relationship with God.

To look forward, to dream, to seek to improve one's self, one's world, one's future. Don't give up. With God, all things are possible. Even your hopes!

~ Joe Hittle
Ottumwa, Iowa, USA 

Today's Scripture Readings*
[Psalm 18] [Amos 4:6-13] [2 Peter 3:11-18] [Matthew 21:33-46]

Heavenly Father,

Don't let us give up. Not on You, not on ourselves, not on our friends, our churches, or our families. You set the tone in this determination to reconcile Your creation to Yourself. You have never given up. You not only paid the great price of Jesus' life and reputation, You continue to move amongst us in the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us KNOW that power and His comfort and never-ending presence. May our hopes come alive in YOU!


*These readings are adapted from the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer, Year 2.  For Year 1 readings, see Daily Readings, Advent 1.

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