Wednesday, December 28, 2011

                                          A HOPE RENEWED IN THE                                     FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD

      A new year is upon us.  How we look at this year will determine our attitude as the days, weeks, and months begin to fade away.  As children of God we should be looking forward to the new year because of the privilege we have been given in living a life filled with hope.
     The hope we share is realized through the promised blessings of God.  In Luke 4:18,19 we have recorded for us the words Jesus read aloud to those gathered in the synagogue.  Luke records in the 17th verse the words being read by Jesus are from the prophet Isaiah (61:1,2).  Jesus wanted the crowd to understand that God was working in their lives and prophecy was being fulfilled in their midst (vs. 21). 
     Two things must be noted.  First, Jesus was making it clear there was no longer a reason to be in despair.  The anointed one of God was here.  This anointing is not to kingship but to the pronouncement of the Messiah and His appearance.  The one who was going to save them from their sins, and had the power to heal their infirmities, was now no longer a dream.  He was there.
     The second thing to notice was the skepticism among the hearers.  While they wondered about the gracious words Jesus spoke, they also recognized Him as the son of Joseph (vs. 22).  This is what prompts Jesus to tell them, "no prophet is welcome in his home town." (vs. 24).  Jesus would have to prove Himself to people.
     As the truth about Jesus began to be affirmed through His works, many still refused to acknowledge Him as the Messiah, and failed to receive the blessings of the Lord.  It was meant to be a favorable year, God's favor being poured out upon them.  Yet we today are much the same.
     Through this past year, we have mourned together and celebrated together.  We know of some who are in a prison, in the bondage of sin or other snares that prevent them from truly praising God.  Others have a blindness that keeps them from seeing the solutions the Father has provided to them as they struggle through life's dark valley.  Still others are downtrodden because of hurts inflicted upon them,  circumstances that have dampened their spirits, or maybe extinguished their hope altogether.  Yet, still others have enjoyed the freedom from bondage and have escaped their personal captivity and now rejoice in the Lord.
     Where do you fit in?  Regardless of where you are simply realize the words that Jesus spoke in the synagogue are the same words He is speaking to you.  Don't allow Satan to keep you bound, or blind, or downtrodden.  It is time to realize the hope that is in us and the blessings around us.  The good news is the words of Isaiah's prophecy have been fulfilled.  This year is not to be like those of the past.   Let us truly see the favorable year of the Lord, and His blessings.  Let us live this year with the renewed hope that will not disappoint (Ro. 5:5).

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