Devotion: Hope Pulls all the Pieces Together[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.29.3″ global_module=”45710″ saved_tabs=”all” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0.0″]
I have never experienced a day quite like it. July 7, 2017, the day my precious daughter was born early in the morning and my sweet grandmother entered eternity with Jesus that evening. It is hard to put into words the wave of emotions that surrounded that day. I remember great joy and adrenaline as I gave birth and held that brand-new life for the first time and the sadness and shock that accompanied a phone call in the hospital room with the news of my grandmother breathing her last breath.
But regardless of the wave of emotions, the exhaustion, and surprise that occurred throughout the day, what I remember the most vividly was the hope in Christ that pulled all the pieces together.
My grandmother was a witness of the Gospel. She lived with eyes wide open and saw people with compassion and a deep desire for them to meet the Jesus she loved. Early that morning on the day she met Jesus in eternity, her great-granddaughter was born and given the name Reneé which means “rebirth or born again.” Every person who is born again into relationship with Jesus has hope for eternity.
I wonder about the emotions that may have occurred at the birth of Jesus. I imagine Mary and Joseph walked through joy, exhaustion, uncertainty, surprise, and hope because their God, Yahweh, was sending His Son to step down from heaven to be born as a human. They did not know what the future would look like. They did not know the grief they would one day encounter with Christ’s death, but I can imagine they had much hope as they held a miracle baby who embodied both God and humanity.
Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”
‒ Matthew 12:18-21
Take some time to answer these questions as a group:
- Have you ever had an experience in your life when you struggled through a variety of emotions but knew that there was hope in it?
- What do you think Mary and Joseph would have been feeling in the birth of Christ?
- How has God given you hope this year? What are your hopes for this holiday season?
- How can this group pray for areas in your life where you are struggling to hope?
As you enter this Christmas season, would you join me in praying and asking God to remind us of the beautiful hope He has given us through the birth of Jesus and our redemption through the Christ? May it also continue to stir in each of our lives a deep desire for the people we encounter to meet the Jesus we love!
“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.”
‒ 1 Peter 1:3, NIV[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ custom_padding_last_edited=”on|desktop” admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.22″ background_color=”#ededed” background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” custom_padding_tablet=”50px|0|50px|0″ width_unit=”off” global_module=”30936″ fb_built=”1″ bb_built=”1″ _i=”1″ _address=”1″][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” module_alignment=”center” custom_width_percent=”65%” _i=”0″ _address=”1.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”1.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_team_member name=”Sarah LeBlanc” position=”Director of Field Ministry” image_url=”https://www.stonecroft.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/L_Sarah_square.png” admin_label=”Person Module (DO NOT TAKE OUT OF INDIVIDUAL ROW OR SECTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)” _builder_version=”3.16.1″ header_font=”Open Sans|300|||||||” header_font_size=”24″ body_font=”Open Sans||||||||” body_text_color=”#404041″ body_font_size=”18″ custom_css_member_image=”max-width: 150px;” custom_css_title=”padding-top: 10px;” border_width_all_image=”1″ border_color_all_image=”#606060″ _i=”0″ _address=”188.8.131.52″][/et_pb_team_member][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″ fb_built=”1″ bb_built=”1″ _i=”2″ _address=”2″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”2.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”2.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Who is she? Where is she?” _builder_version=”3.27.4″ _i=”0″ _address=”184.108.40.206″]
Who is she? Where is she?
She is that woman who needs to know Christ. She is in your community.
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Prayers” _builder_version=”3.29.3″ _i=”1″ _address=”220.127.116.11″]
- Ask God to infuse a spirit of hope in your heart that spills over to action toward those who may not yet know Christ.
- Pray for the Christian friends in your life and all Stonecroft volunteers ‒ that they would embody a life of joy and hopefulness for the undeserved gift of redemption they have received through Jesus Christ.
- Pray for women around you who do not know our Savior. Pray that they might seek Jesus the Christ child this holiday season versus the counterfeit ways the world says to find fulfillment.
- Hope is powerful and transformational. The Gospel is about hope and changes everything. Ask a woman you interact with on a regular basis how you might pray for her this season. If she allows you to pray with her in person, embrace the opportunity to ask her what she is hopeful for. Then praise God for her hopeful heart and pray for her personal needs.
- Invite a woman who doesn’t know Jesus to join you in a Christmas gathering. Maybe a gathering at your home, a concert, church service, or some other holiday activity. Build the relationship with her. Share with her your hope for this season, and if she is open spiritually, invite her to know Jesus personally.
- Think about others in your community or neighborhood who are in need. Join in meeting that need and be intentional to ask how you can pray for them. Talk in your group about how you might integrate Holiday Prays with your outreach plans during December.
Add your own personal thoughts and prayers.
What steps will you take this month to develop a spirit of hopefulness in your heart that results in loving action? How will you share the love of Jesus Christ this Christmas season?
We Pray. God Answers. We Go![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]