Read This Week: Luke 1 and 2
May you experience the hope that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ this Christmas season.
Hope is the benefit and not the doubt.
It is silver in the lining.
It knows the sunshine is somewhere behind the rain.
Hope moves the arm that goes down swinging.
It propels one foot in front of the other.
It compels the fingers to cross.
It is the effort in the last-ditch.
Hope is the wing that carries the prayer.
It is the gun that shoots for the moon.
It is the radiance of the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is the exclamation point behind joy!
Hope put a melody in Mary’s heart after she received news that would’ve startled the bravest of souls. Hope was the assurance of her purity amid the stinging voices of skeptics. It was her anesthetic during labor on the dirt in her fiancée’s hometown.
Hope serenaded her while listening to the rumblings of outside activity. It soothed her as the aroma of farm animals filled her nostrils. It fueled her happiness as she welcomed strangers and shepherds.
Hope caused her to trust when her family was on the run. It comforted her in hiding. It gave her energy as she watched her firstborn grow up. Hope sprung eternal as she saw him die. It was her confirmation when she found out he was alive. It whispered in her most desperate moment that she would see him again.
George Iles once said, “Hope is faith holding its hand out in the dark.” That is good but the writer of Hebrews put it better when he said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hope is not just faith holding its hand out in the dark. It is the faith that someone is going to turn the light on and something extraordinary is going to be in your hand. That is what God gave us in Jesus. Therefore, we hope. We have hope.
I hope you are enjoying the celebration of Jesus’s birthday. Happy birthday Jesus! Celebrating Jesus is the reason for the season. Jesus came so we can know Him better, relate to Him and remove the barrier of sin, so we can have direct access to God. He is in us and we are in Him. It’s all about our life with God and each other.
As we celebrate Jesus, we also celebrate the life of our pastor, Randy Tongg. It was so amazing to see some of the lives that’s were changed for the better, by knowing him. His life impacted thousands of people for Jesus. His life is a testament of one who loves Jesus and people. I can say so many sayings about how wonderful he is and what he means to us. For now, I will say this one thing; the desire of his heart is to hang out with Jesus, be filled with the Holy Spirit and worship God. This is exactly what he’s doing right now.
In the season and always, I want to encourage you to be the hope, just like Pastor Randy.
Thank God for those He fills with His Spirit to do his work and are faithful to it over a lifetime. It sounds like Pastor Tongg was every bit of that and more. May God grant peace to his family, friends and all those who were touched by his life and ministry. Praise God for the hope he gives us in Christ and the examples of that hope seen in the lives of his servants.
I’m so thankful for the best gift God gave us in Jesus! It’s all about Jesus and how much He loves us! Christmas is my favorite time because of Jesus’ birthday that we love to celebrate!
Thank you, God, for Jesus and for our Pastor, Randy Tongg. He got to celebrate your birthday in person this year! We love you, Jesus, and thank you for being our hope in life while we’re still here. Help me to continue to be hope for those you put in our life.
Praising God for the hope we have in Jesus and the fact that we get to celebrate and experience that every day and all year long. I am also thankful for the testimony of Pastor Tongg and how he obviously impacted so many through his ministry and expression of Christ’s love and hope.
My prayers are with his family and friends and all of you that knew and loved him. I know you and Ken are encouraged and filled with peace as you “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) That will be a joyous reunion one day.