As you observe the lighting of the second candle of Advent today you will hear again and again the word LOVE related to God’s promise for a renewed life to those who will believe in the Son. Although there is not a clear tradition across the spectrum of Christian beliefs, whether some call this second candle the candle of hope, of love or of peace, ever since the 4th century when these traditions were formed, each Sunday builds on the next culminating with the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
As you observe the lighting of the first candle of Advent today you will hear again and again the word HOPE. Webster’s Dictionary defines hope as “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.” Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
So much of our relationship with God is dependent on our ability to understand forgiveness. When the Apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray Jesus immediately gave them a warning about allowing unforgiveness to reside in the heart.
An unforgiving heart will always get in the way of the possibility of a close relationship with the Father due to our inability to understand His forgiveness.
Our lives should be about fulfilling God’s purpose yet many of us miss His awesome plan for our lives because we choose to follow our preferences rather than God’s will. As we become members of His body and citizens of His kingdom we receive gifts that enable us to accomplish His will, yet most of us stubbornly hold on to what we know rather than to abandon ourselves into His arms to be led by His Spirit in the discovery of our new identity and giftedness.
1 Peter 1:3-9 “3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Over the past three days, here at the building where the Troy Church meets, a space and time wormhole opened transporting sixteen eager children and many of the Troy Church members to a first century Athenian marketplace.