Advent – December 6th

Hope is Personal

advent 6


“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”  (Jer.29:11) God knows us personally and understands our needs and longings.  Our individual hopes can be met as we surrender to his providence and believe in his love for us

Psalm 42:5

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.

Romans 5:5

Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Colossians 1:27

God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Titus 1:2; 2:13

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.” . . . [We are] looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,


Often in a job interview there is an opportunity to ask the potential employer a question.  As a new teacher, I was concerned about the philosophy of the school district I had applied to, so I boldly asked, “What is your position on child-centered education?”  The superintendent was taken aback as I clarified my meaning.  “I want to work for a school board who shares my values, and I believe strongly in starting with the needs of the child,”  I said.  I got the job.  Later, after I had worked for the Board for several years, the superintendent confessed that it had been one of the most unusual interviews he had ever conducted.  I was embarrassed that I had been so bold, but I had more confidence than common sense at the time, so we were able to laugh at my hubris.  Once I was hired, I got to know the person behind the questions.  A fuller understanding emerged once I stepped out of the interview space into the staff room and the offices behind the front desk.

When we get to know Jesus personally, we begin to understand the meaning behind all the promises and expectations.  We can dialogue, through prayer, and honestly share our disappointments and joys without fear of being excluded.  It becomes personal.  He knows my name.  The better I get to know God, the richer the conversation becomes.  When I read scripture, I hear his voice speaking to me.  As I learn to trust in his love for me, I let myself release control of my hidden desires and begin to hope that He who created me is faithful and will bring about the best for me.  I put my name in the words, “I know the plans I have for you, Elaine.  Plans for good and not for evil.  To give you a future and a hope.”  Believing that God wants to be involved in my life story, I look for evidence of his presence and it becomes evident that he has been leading all along.  My hope for the future is based on a personal relationship with the living hope.


“God, I trust that you want to know me personally.  At times I don’t even understand myself, but I want to be included in your promises of hope for my life.  Help me to see all the times you have been personally involved in the pattern of my life.  Be patient with me as I learn to submit to your love.  My hope is in you.” Amen


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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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