Spiritual Practices

The Hope of Advent

Scripture for this week:

December 1         Isaiah 11:1-5, Matthew 24:30-35, John 14:1-3
December 2         Jeremiah 33:14-16, Hebrews 6:9-20, Luke 1:5-7
December 3         Psalm 42, Romans 5:1-11, Luke 1:18-25
December 4         Lamentations 3:21-24, Romans 8:22-39, Hebrews 10:19-23
December 5         Psalm 43, 1 Peter 3:13-17, Matthew 8:23-27
December 6         Romans 4:16-25, Hebrews 6:9-12, Luke 1:46-56
December 7         Psalm 34, Luke 1:57-80
December 8         Luke 21:25-36, Psalm 46, Colossians 1:24-27

The world tells us to us to put our hope in earthly things—in our circumstances. But our circumstances are fleeting and always changing. In times of plenty, we are tempted to, bit by bit, shift our hope into the good things around us – the good job, the economy, our status, health or dozens of other things. In times of difficulty, we are tempted to despair and give up hope all together.

As you’ll see in the reading plan this week, Scripture tells us that the only real, unchanging source of hope is God. We find true hope by lifting our eyes beyond our present situation (good or bad!) and adopting God’s perspective, resting in His care, no matter our circumstances.

However, this does not come naturally to us! Our natural tendency is to look to what we can see around us in the present.

So, what can we do? How can we become people who live each day with our hope in God? That kind of transformation can only come through surrender.

This week, we are going to practice praying with a physical posture of surrender. This may be a new kind of thing for you, but when we involve our physical bodies – even in small actions like opening our hands – the concepts are embedded in our minds and hearts in a different way. Listen to the Prayer of Hope recording (6 minutes) daily and practice surrender in this Advent week of hope.

The Scripture reading plan and practices are also available in the YouVersion app. It’s called Practices of Advent (from Blackhawk Church.) You can also download and print the reading plan to keep in your Bible.

We will continue to post the weekly readings and practices each week on our blog. Subscribe to have those delivered directly to your inbox.