Our Hope Christian Academy
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"Hope and a Future" 
Jeremiah 29:11

Advent Devotional 2016
Advent is a time to clean house while we wait for something special to happen. In times past, Advent was a time of reflection, a time to prepare for the coming Messiah, a time search within the depths of our hearts for things that do not reflect Christ in our lives. In the Book of Romans Chapter 1 verses 28-32, the Holy Bible gives us a mirror which reflects our inmost being. It shows us our need for the Savior, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.

Romans 1:28-32New International Version (NIV)

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

In our modern world, Advent is a time to celebrate, not a time to reflect. Instead of preparing our hearts, we over-indulge our desires. By the time the birth of the Messiah arrives, our celebration is finished- been there, done that. Our greed is satiated for the moment. The tree comes down, and the decorations are packed away for another year with a “Boy, I’m glad that’s over” attitude. But in all of the furor and activity, we have missed the true meaning of Christmas; we have missed the Messiah.  
This year, be different. This year take time to reflect. This year take time to search your heart. This year take the time to answer the questions, “Who is my Savior?”, “When people look at me, can people see Jesus in me?”

Following the tradition of Advent, the first part of our journey will take us through the Messianic prophecies. The Hope that God gave His people Israel is clearly laid out in the Old Testament. The second part will take us on a journey of Preparation. The New Testament lays out God’s plan for the birth of His Son, Jesus. The third part will take on a journey of Joy. Scripture reminds us that the coming Messiah was for everyone everywhere; therefore, we are to share the Good News. The fourth part will take us on a journey of Love. The Gospels reflect God’s love for all people through Jesus’ actions while He was living on earth.  
Please join us each day as we take a trip through the Bible this Advent season. As Charles Wesley the great hymn composer wrote many years ago, “Come, Thou Long – Expected Jesus”.

Advent is a time to clean house while we wait for something special to happen. In times past, Advent was a time of reflection, a time to prepare for the coming Messiah, a time search within the depths of our hearts for things that do not reflect Christ in our lives. In the Book of Romans Chapter 1 verses 28-32, the Holy Bible gives us a mirror which reflects our inmost being. It shows us our need for the Savior, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.

Inspiration comes to me in amazing ways. I could be looking out a window at the blowing leaves or huddled with my Bible sipping a cup of tea. This time, inspiration struck me while I was enjoying some down time with my family. A few weeks ago, I was watching one of Disney’s animated movies, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, when a nugget of gold appeared in the lyrics of a song, “As Long as There’s Christmas” by Donald Black and Rachel Portman.

“Don't look inside a stocking
Don't look under the tree
The one thing we're looking for
Is something we can't see
Far more precious than silver
And more splendid than gold
Is something to treasure
But is something we can't hold

As long as there's Christmas
I truly believe
That hope is the greatest of the gifts
We'll receive (we'll receive)

As we all pray together
It's the time to rejoice
And though we may look different
We are singing with one voice

As Long As there's Christmas
I truly believe
That hope is the greatest of the gifts
We'll receive.”

Hope! HOPE is the name of our school- (Our) HOPE Christian Academy. Today, it is the word I live by because hope is something I ran out of a few years ago. But God is ever faithful, and He took me on a journey to remind me that hope never really went away. It was still there waiting for me to acknowledge it, for God is ever with me, and He is my hope. I pray that He is your hope too.
This year, our Advent Devotional revolves around hope. At this moment, if you are struggling, or if you wish to follow our journey to Bethlehem, come back each day to renew your spiritual sight. We welcome you as a friend and fellow traveler through life’s journey. May God bless you today and every day with His faith, His hope, and His love! 
Psalm 39:7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

As Charles Wesley the great hymn composer wrote many years ago, “Come, Thou Long – Expected Jesus”.