In the earliest years following Christ’s resurrection and ascension, as people came to faith in their Savior and lived with many of the same deep regrets we feel today, the apostle Paul shared this encouragement,
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope… Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.’ 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.” — Romans 15:12-13
These words are written to remind a discouraged people that God delivered on His promises about the coming of Jesus. (learn more about Jesse and other Biblical prophecy pointing to Jesus on Wednesdays, beginning November 30th!) Paul wanted Christians to know that they were now living in the second part of this prophecy “In Him [JESUS!] will the Gentiles [YOU!!!] hope.” Paul then speaks a blessing of hope.
Those prophetic assurances and this blessing of hope from the God of hope is still ours to offer each other today and our world today! It is proclaimed at Zion in our every gathering and it is yours to speak and sing and share for the comfort of others everywhere you go. By the power of the Holy Spirit we too abound in hope!
The world offers a lot of disappointment, but God keeps His promises.
Today a lot of people are giving in to despair. “What’s the point?” “I give up.” “It’s no use.” “Who cares.” These are the words of a person who is losing hope. The world offers a lot of disappointment, but God keeps His promises. It is for our hearts and for our personal mission fields, our neighbors, friends, coworkers, and families, that we set our eyes on the promises and accomplishments of Christ anew each year in the season of Advent. In Advent, the four or so weeks before Christmas, we embrace God’s gifts of Word and Sacrament and use them to fight for and win hope for people’s lives through faith in Jesus Christ. In joy, in sadness, in tragedy, or in triumph; Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and promises give us hope that in Him there is better and bigger still to come.
To this end, consider participating in these special gatherings at Zion this month:
Advent Wednesdays at Zion – Generation
After Generation in God’s Promise
Each Wednesday, starting November 30th, receive encouragement through scripture and prayer by examining Old Testament prophecy and its fulfillment in the birth and identity of Jesus Christ. A hands-on component of our time together will be the building of Jesse Trees and the making of ornaments to correspond with each evening’s lessons. (See page twelve for schedule details.)
Bruce Nehring Consort – Concerts and Sunday Morning Service of Promise and Prayer
On December 4th, the professional singers and instrumentalists of El Paso’s Bruce Nehring Consort will provide musical leadership at our 10:30 AM service. These worship services of song, Advent promise, and prayer are different from the Concerts being performed at Zion on December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Invite a friend!
In Christ’s Love,