"New beginnings with Jesus"

Advent 3: Hang On! Joy is Coming! December 11, 2016

Advent 3:  Hang On!  Joy is Coming!   December 11, 2016

Sin affects everything, including the environment.

Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin. Rom.5:12

Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.     Genesis 3:17-18

Sin affects everyone, so we cannot trust this world’s “blessings.”

Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich, but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

       and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

       and so dishonor the name of my God.                     Proverbs 30:8-9

Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life.         1Timothy 6:17

But we can hope, pray, work, and endure.  God is at work for joy!

But that’s not all! We gladly suffer, because we know that suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character, which gives us a hope  that will never disappoint us. All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love.      Romans 5:3-5

His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.   Colossians 1:11

Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence.        Jude 1:24

We suffer because Jesus is our king, but he gives us the strength to endure… “God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own…  He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain.  These things of the past are gone forever.”       Revelation 19, 21:3-4

James 5 My friends, be patient until the Lord returns. Think of farmers who wait patiently for the spring and summer rains to make their valuable crops grow. Be patient like those farmers and don’t give up. The Lord will soon be here! Don’t grumble about each other or you will be judged, and the judge is right outside the door.

10 My friends, follow the example of the prophets who spoke for the Lord. They were patient, even when they had to suffer.

Luke 1 26b  God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27 with a message for a virgin named Mary.  She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David.  28 The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant.  30 Then the angel told Mary, “Don’t be afraid!  God is pleased with you, 31 and you will have a son.  His name will be Jesus.  32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.  33 He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am not married!”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you.  So your child will be called the holy Son of God.  36 Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old.  No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son.  37 Nothing is impossible for God!”  38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant!  Let it happen as you have said.”  And the angel left her.

39 A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.  40 She went into Zechariah’s home, where she greeted Elizabeth.  41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby moved within her.  The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth.  42 Then in a loud voice she said to Mary:  “God has blessed you more than any other woman!  He has also blessed the child you will have. 43 Why should the mother of my Lord come to me?  44 As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me.  45 The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.”

46 Mary said: “With all my heart I praise the Lord, 47 and I am glad because of God my Savior.  48 He cares for me, his humble servant.

“From now on, all people will say God has blessed me.  49 God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy.

50 “He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him.

51 “The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud.  52 He drags strong rulers from their thrones and puts humble people in places of power.

53 “God gives the hungry good things to eat, and sends the rich away with nothing.

54 “He helps his servant Israel and is always merciful to his people. 55 The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever!”

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