The Hope of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The Hope of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Mother and son praying at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem

Acts 5:12-16 (The Apostles Heal Many)

In this passage, we see a growing church where God is miraculously at work in the physical AND the spiritual realm. The physical manifestation was to be a symbol, a sign, of the spiritual power that would be released among the people.

The believers met in public. This means there were no comfortable seats, heating, air conditioning, or classrooms for teaching as we have today. Their worship and proclamation was open to public scrutiny as they met in the eastern part of the open temple court. It appears they met regularly and with growing numbers, and the healing ministry of this flourishing body of believers attracted visitors from neighboring communities, which gave hope to early Christians.

Hope is real and is the confident expectation that something better is coming tomorrow. Hope is at the core of what it means to be the Church (body of Christ) and a defining characteristic of a Christian. Our hope is anchored in God. He is the God of Hope. It is individual and personal, but it is also communal— we are a people of hope. God expects us to be a diverse community gathered by hope, a biblical community rooted in hope, and a Spirit-filled community overflowing with hope. When the people of God live together in unity we experience peace, healing, and life overflowing.

We live in a time of great change and turmoil. It is sometimes difficult to make sense of the world around us and to find our purpose. Many today are among the walking wounded. Some have physical ailments, others, spiritual ailments. Just as the apostles, God wants to use us, individually and together, to rescue broken people and to change the culture of our communities. We must show “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

God's plan for humanity unfolded in the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Messiah, joyously fulfilling a long-awaited promise. Today we confidently wait for the Messiah's triumphant return. As we journey to Bethlehem at Advent, may we remember that we are called to a community of hope.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being our true source of hope and for Your powerful promise to provide peace, healing and life overflowing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Brenda Smith-Keene is Missouri Conference United Methodist Women Spiritual Growth Coordinator.

Posted or updated: 12/12/2016 11:00:00 PM

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Mission Focus:

India: DDMM Institute of Cardiology: Providing cardiac care for women.

Testimony for Dec. 11-17:

Each teen residing in the Near Northside neighborhood need to hear words of hope, love, and affirmation; mentors remind these youth who are often considered “the least of us” that they are, indeed, precious in God’s sight and created in Christ’s image. -Wesley Community Center, Houston, Texas.
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