Digging in Deeper: Lamentations 3:17-18

“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)

Eighteen months. Eighteen months of nothing. There were rumors and reports, sure, but nothing concrete to embrace. Not a single thing. Then it suddenly arrived: Hope and the promise of a brighter future. We could all breathe a big sigh of relief because Marvel Studios had indeed not succumbed to the COVID economy. After waiting since July 2, 2019 when Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters, on Friday, January 15, 2021, the much anticipated new entry, Wandavision finally premiered on Disney+. Whether because it really is that good, or because we’d all grown so used to Marvel’s regular theatrical releases that the absence primed our hearts to be fond of whatever they released next, it has been a major hit. After months of nothing but rumors and scoops, the Marvel fandom finally had something solid to digest and debate. And so it has. This morning let’s talk about Wandavision and what it just may mean for you and me.

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Morning Musing: Mark 6:34

“When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you have kids, you can probably relate to this situation. You get home from work and it’s been a long day. You have used every last brain cell just to survive. You’ve been emotionally and vocationally bruised. Nothing went right, but you managed to put out all the fires. You still have a mountain of work waiting for you in the morning and that’s weighing pretty heavily on your mind, but for now you’re gratefully done. You manage to get through dinner and baths without losing it. Once the dishes are done you finally sit – collapse really – on the couch and prepare for nothing. Then it starts. “Daddy, will you?…” “Mommy, will you?…” If you’re being honest, the last thing in the world you want to do is whatever happens to follow the “you.” But you love your kids. So you dig down into those emergency reserves, get up off the couch, and say, “Yeah, let’s go, Buddy.” What we see here is Jesus saying, “Yeah, let’s go, Buddy.” Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 1:22-23

“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,’ which is translated ‘God is with us.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

All this week we have been talking about hope; what it is and how we can have it in a way that makes a difference in our lives. At the end of the day…or week…though, there is one thing that matters and stands out above all the rest: Our hope is in Jesus. When Jesus was born, He was the fulfillment of the hopes of the people of Israel. He was all they had been waiting on for centuries. They didn’t understand it at first, but gradually word began to spread and the hope He came bearing with it. And I could take great pains to explain this to you and exhort you to take great stock in it this morning, but sometimes there’s a better way.

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Morning Musing: 1 Peter 1:3-5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

So far this week in our conversation about hope, we have made clear that Biblical hope and the more cultural value of optimism are not the same thing. Optimism is ultimately a fantasy whereas Biblical hope has an entirely more solid foundation. This isn’t to say that being optimistic is wrong. Having a positive outlook on tomorrow is a good thing indeed. But real hope is better in the grand scheme. Today, I want to give you one more reason why this is the case. When it comes to the optimistic, wishful thinking our culture commends to us, it can be hard to maintain such a thing over the long haul–especially when that long haul is difficult. Biblical hope, however, lasts. Why? Because for followers of Jesus, our hope is not some inanimate feeling, it is a living thing.

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Morning Musing: Micah 7:6-8

“Surely a son considers his father a fool, a daughter opposes her mother, and a daughter-in-law is against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household. But I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you consider yourself more of an optimist or a pessimist? Do you respond to the circumstances you are in by looking for the best explanation possible, or the worst? Now, this may be the point at which you’re expecting I’ll start explaining why you should be an optimist. Natural pessimists are already gearing up to explain why they’re not really negative, they’re just realistic. But I’m not going there. In fact, you can be optimistic and still wrong. As followers of Jesus, we are not called to be optimists. We are called to be a people of hope. That’s different.

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