Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

     Yesterday was the first day of the season of Advent and Meridian Avenue observed it by lighting the Hope Candle on our Advent Wreath.  Advent is to be a period of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth and also for the second coming of Christ.

     When people speak they usually express hope in superficial ways.  We often hear statements such as ‘I hope it will rain’ or ‘I hope the weather will be good’. 

     So often we fail to recognize the importance of hope in our lives.  Having hope reduces feelings of helplessness and it increases our happiness.  Hopelessness, on the other hand, leads to despair and depression.

     To the believer in Christ, hope is the anchor of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Hope is our confident expectation of an eternal future with Him.  We are assured, in our faith, that our firm hope in God’s promises are always fulfilled.

     Faith and hope are a cord tightly woven.  Faith is a root, having taken hold in the past.  Hope is looking forward towards the future; an offshoot of the root of faith.  The two are inseparable.  It is impossible to have hope without having faith and without faith hope will never fully develop.

      As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, also prepare to look forward with hope towards the second coming of our Savior. 

We Give You Thanks

1 Chronicles 29:13, “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”

     Someone once asked me what my takeaway was after returning from my first journey to Nicaragua.  It took me some time to come to an answer that I was comfortable with.  The answer, when it came, was that I had returned home with a greater spirit of thankfulness.

     A few years before that trip I asked Rev. Dr. John Sundquist, former Director of ABC International Ministries, a question about ABC ongoing evangelism in third world countries.  I will not forget his first sentence in reply.  Dr. Sundquist said that the term third world would be better referred to as the majority world because more people live in those areas of the world than libr in communities such as our own. 

     To this day more people travel on foot than by motorized vehicles.  The dependence upon a community well is a basic necessity for masses of people.  Medical care is often not available to a great multitude of families, and if it is, their ability to travel to where it is available is often very limited.  Food in many parts of the world is what they, or their community, can grow or raise each year.  

     In October of this year, SmartCaptialMind.com posted that the median annual income worldwide is only $850 U.S. Dollars.  (They also printed that people who earn more than $41,000 U.S. Dollars a year are in the top 3% of the richest people in the world.)

     We at Meridian Avenue are among those blessed to have access to transportation either by car or by bus.  Medical care, water and food are available to all of us.  We are greatly blessed in this nation, and having seen some of the rest of the world, I dare say that we have become blind to what we have. 

      I humbly ask that in the eleven days remaining until Thanksgiving that we each take a moment to give thanks to our Lord, and our God, for what we have received.