Wednesday, February 8, 2017

For To Us - Advent Reading 3 - Hope

This is the third advent reading that went along with the For Unto Us 2016 Christmas Prayer Loft at the Gathering House Covenant Church in Spokane Washington. 

by Margot Cioccio 

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
In the Voice it reads like this. “His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before—sustainable peace for all time.This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us, to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken. He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always.”

As I have thought about these readings I have made a point to not make them nostalgic, or filled the typical holiday fluff. Jesus wants to give you a gift of a greater revelation of himself as alive and truly active in your life. Today our Advent candle is Hope.  Our verse reminds us that Jesus has been given a throne forever among us. There is no end to what he is doing in you or in his beloved creation. To know that he cares and is still actively working gives us renewed hope for our lives and the world around us. 

We are his ambassadors. We are the very people through whom he chooses to work. Yet too often we have gotten saved and in our minds it has mostly been an insurance policy and our ticket to eternal bliss. It does very little to change our present circumstances or our lives moving forward. However, Salvation is a much bigger concept, it applies to here and now and to eternity. Over one hundred times when the word saved or salvation used in the New Testament, it is the word SOZO which means Saved, Healed and Delivered. Those are things that actively transform our life in the here and now.  We are to be reflections of His glory and his love in everything we do and every place we go. 

Our verse today talks about there being no end to the greatness of His government and peace. I want to talk about God’s government and what it looks likes. His government is free from corruption and when we are free from that we are able to experience his power in the form of love. God cares about all of us and uses His power and authority for our good. 

 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.” it says in Psalm 89:14 NIV

Hebrews 12:28 NIV  Says, Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, In Matthew 5:13 we are reminded  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 

If we stop being salty, influencing the flavor of life around us,  we are cast aside and trampled. Religion is too often seen as useless and what we have walked in too much of the time is simply legalism. We have tried to conform others by use of law, or to force them to our version of morality. We now have a reputation as Christians of being those people who are anti everything. That is a corruption of God’s heart and not the kind of people we are called to be. My hope today - that repentance and revival would begin in the house of God. Let it begin with in each of us. 

To understand God as ruler and King we need to look at how Jesus lived and walked among us. According to Jesus, to be a leader one needed to be a great servant. To have true authority one must be willing to lay down their life for others. He showed us that those with real authority are always submitted to authority as well. It is his love that must move us and his kindness that leads to repentance. We as his people need to work to restore Gods image by power of His love where ever we find it has been distorted. The lie is that God doesn't care about things on earth. That we are left here as orphans to try and do the best we can against terrible odds. The truth is that God is for us, he does care about his creation. He has not left us as orphans we are adopted and accepted as sons and daughters who have been given authority to represent him in every segment of society. 

Trust brings His government into our own lives and that government brings us true peace. So now we light the candle of hope. A hope that as he changes us to conform to his image that the world around us can also be changed and his government and peace will increase. 

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