Advent Study – DAY 3
It’s Your Choice
Why do we need HOPE?
So many Choices: When talking to a wealthy gentleman to wish him “congratulations” he responded sadly, “I have several homes, major influence in my community, a successful business that continues to provide me money, and all the things I have ever wanted - but no one but you called to wish me well. And for that matter, no one visited me during the last holidays.” He felt alone with a hopelessness to be remembered, even by their children. Without “love-based” relationships, all seemed empty. Life for him was all about what he had and could establish before his death. Once again, I offered to share the reason for my HOPE. Jesus was clear - to have immortal meaning for your life, you must first “choose to be connected” to the Father’s HOPE. That can only be done through the Grace of Jesus. All other hope is based on presumptions or false truths. It is the most important choice anyone ever makes!
So many are Hopeless: Your Advent Card shows this hopeless separation, or “gap of hopelessness” between the Christmas HOPE (the green line of relationship is not connected at the bottom of the tree) and the Resurrection HOPE through Jesus (the cross and arrows at the top). Sin separates every person from the Father when they are old enough to be accountable. Jesus came to offer us a choice to 1) reunite with his family (the Kingdom of God on earth), 2) be free from the bondages of sin, and 3) get a “VIP backstage pass” to resurrection, skipping judgment when we die. What an offer! It does come with a price, however. We must also choose to surrender our will to do things our way and obediently follow the way Christ has told us in his messages to us while on earth. We need to “get connected” and then “stay connected’ with his H.O.P.E. Formula. We must “Hook-Up” and “Obey” so we can “Praise” and “Enjoy” his HOPE. You will use it many times as you learn to follow Jesus’ Message. Carefully read these Messages of HOPE from Jesus.
Messages of HOPE:
- John 11:25-26 NLT “Jesus told her, ‘”I am” the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives “in" me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’“
- Matthew 24:11-14 NLT “And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
- Luke 12:32-34 NLT “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
- Matthew 24:35 NLT “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”
Why is TIME so important?
You can never make a choice tomorrow: Choices are always made today. From our birth to our physical death, we were fashioned biologically by our Creator to live and make choices in “real time”, or “in the NOW”. Our brains have memory of past “NOWs” and can anticipate possible future “NOWs”. Nevertheless, everything we do and experience is always done in the “NOW”. You can plan to do something tomorrow, but when and if it comes, you will always do it in the “NOW”. Note Paul’s quote: “For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.“ (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT; [Underlines Mine]) Hopefully you will have many tomorrows, but even if you do, your choice to follow his HOPE will always be made “today’, or in a “NOW” moment. The timeliness of your choices is important because of time’s uncertainty – you really only have NOW to choose anything.
Why must “YOU” make a CHOICE?
Choices are for the living: Jesus tells us that if you want to escape judgment and experience the benefits of knowing your Creator, you must personally do it before you reach the end of your time on earth. Since there are no “post mortem” decisions, you must do it while you are still alive. Refusing not to choose, or delaying your choice, is actually a choice by default. God designed us that way. Love should never be forced, and the choice is really about love. Choices are always done NOW. Love is always “real-time”.
Not all pathways connect with HOPE: Your Advent Card shows other pathways, if you choose not to “reconnect” to your Creator. These are trees that start with separation and end with judgment. No one can escape either if these are their choices. They can be connected to self, others, isms, or just about anything. God made us with independence, so He understands our drive to “go it alone”, or “try a new way”, or just “be stubborn”. The alternatives to TRUTH seem to have lots to offer, but their promises will all disappear when you die. In business we talk about good choices that lose opportunity. To choose a pathway to hope not “connected to Jesus” has a loss of opportunity as well. You will miss the daily joys of God’s Kingdom. Not many visit cemeteries, but that may be your only legacy over time with alternative choices. So, there are two choices Jesus asks you to make, and two questions Jesus asks you to answer.
Two Choices: Him (life, light, and joy) or Other (death, darkness, and temporary gain). The Advent Tree, which leads to resurrection, or Any Other Tree, leading to judgment. The Resurrection Pathway that connects to Grace, or The Separation Pathway that connects to judgment. In each case, these are the same two choices.
Two Questions: Will you connect NOW and reap the many HOPE benefits of God’s Kingdom in your life, or will you PUT your choice to connect OFF and “hope” you will connect at a later time. The sooner is always better – HOPE is a great thing to miss out on in life and death.
Hope is in the Lord
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus
You Make Me Brave
Bethel Music Kids
Why I Chose Jesus
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