DECEMBER WEEK 1

HOPE

The hope that is found in Jesus Christ is one that cannot be shaken or taken away. It is not “hope” in the sense of wishful thinking, as we often mean when we refer to hope today. When the early Christians talked about hope, it was a certain expectation that gave them unwavering confidence in the midst of trials. The hope to which Christians have fixed themselves is the certain return of King Jesus and the hope of our own future bodily resurrection. 

THIS WEEK’S VIDEOS

Instructions for Daily Reading

Each day as you engage the Scripture, we recommend following this pattern of devotional reading.  

[Take a brief moment of silence to quiet your heart.] 

  1. Read the Scripture aloud.
  2. Seek out where King Jesus is at work in the Scripture.
  3. Pray over the Scripture.
  4. Discern how this Scripture impacts your life.

[Demonstrate loyalty to Jesus in one tangible way today.] 

DAILY READING

MONDAY - 12/2

Monday: Proverbs 23:1-18

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Hope is such a vital component to the kingdom, and it is the substance that sustains us in difficult seasons. The world we live in replicates hope through materialistic outlets that may satisfy the hunger briefly but without sustenance.  Why do you think hope in the right person is important in our daily lives? How does hope in Jesus shape your perception of what the world has to offer?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

 

6 Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. 9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

 

10 Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, 11 for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you. 12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. 13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. 15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.

 

16 My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. 17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. 18 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

 

 

TUESDAY - 12/3

Tuesday: 1 Peter 5:1-10

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: The restorative plan of God offers a relief in the chaos through the return of Jesus. In our suffering, we can take heart in the reality that King Jesus will return to restore peace and bring justice to the world as described in verse 10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” How does the return of Jesus change your perspective of suffering? Has your filter on hope changed?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

 

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

 

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

 

10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

WEDNESDAY - 12/4

Wednesday: Romans 5:1-11

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: A frequent deterrent of faith can be suffering. However, it is a requisite in the decision to follow Jesus. Suffering is rarely, if ever, welcomed however it can produce an endurance that sustains our faith. Paul outlines the essence of suffering in Verse 3, where he says “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”. How has the endurance of past suffering shifted how you see present suffering? Has your endurance for suffering grown?

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

 

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

THURSDAY - 12/5

Thursday: Jeremiah 29:1-14 

Group Discussion & Reflection: Jeremiah 29:11 seems to be the most commonly quoted scripture in response to adversity. However, the verse isn’t meant to point to the success of our lives. Instead it points to the purpose of our suffering. Do you think suffering is necessary to your faith? Have you seen the fruit of your endurance in suffering?”

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

1 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem.

 

The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.

 

Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

 

For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

 

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

 

FRIDAY - 12/6

Friday: Romans 12:9-21

 

Group Discussion & Reflection: The challenge of hope is that there is often no substantial evidence of reprieve. In Romans 12, Paul is very direct in his advice: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” How can we rejoice in hope when an end to suffering doesn’t seem imminent? Have you ever felt like your hope came before evidence?”

 

Today’s Reading: 

 

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

 

13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

 

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

 

20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

VIDEO CONTENT COURTESY OF THE BIBLE PROJECT