December 5, 2021 | Rick Atchley

Gift Wrapped

The message of Christmas is not just that Jesus came our way; Christmas celebrates the way that he came. The way God chose to wrap the greatest gift ever says a lot about who He is, and about how valuable we are.


Discussion Questions


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Well, hello, and welcome to the Hills Church to everybody who is joining us online and in person at all three of our campuses. It is.

It's a great day for our church, but also a great great weekend overall for our church with in our campus, having the Kids Christmas musical and then at our South Lake campus, there was the Santas drive through village and heard great things about the team that helped put that together and all the volunteers.

And then today, our senior teaching minister, Rick Astley is alive at both our West Fort Worth and South Lake campus campuses to help ordain new elders for those campuses. So at now, can we give some love to South Lake in West Fort Worth as they may ordain these new man who will help serve and lead?

And yeah, it's a great day. And and for anybody tracking that our West Fort Worth campus and our South Lake campus are not very close. Be praying for the traffic in between as Rick makes that drive to to help have that happen today.

Well, I'm excited to get to start the Christmas season with with this message today, but first we've got one last piece from a previous season to give you an update on. And that's our harvest season. If you're new to our church, I'm so glad that you are with us.

Harvest is an offering that we do once a year that helps fund all of our national church planters. Our international missionaries and then our global partner organizations and even some local vision initiatives. So that's a lot. And and the goal was pretty big this year for our harvest offering.

It was over $2.6 million. We gave you an update one week after that offering that at that point you had given and pledged a little over $2.3 million, which was a great start. Well, Hills Church. I'm very excited to give you one last update because as of this week, by God's grace, you have given and pledged over $3 million to

harvest. 2022. Absolutely. I mean, praise God, it is incredible what God has done in the years I've been part of our church. I don't know that I've ever seen us surpass this goal that quickly by that much. So thank you.

God's glorified in your generosity, and I know our Kingdom expansion team, they are already praying about what they're going to do with that overage. And who knows what we will be able to say yes to. What project, what initiative because of your investment in the kingdom.

And we even saw an example recently of where where some of those dollars are going to go. Many of you know, we helped years ago to to start a Christian liberal arts university in Uganda. It's called Livingstone University, and they're one of our harvest partners that we support.

Well, obviously during the pandemic, it has been very difficult for them to to continue school. And yet in a dark season, there was a bright spot recently when they got to have last month their commencement ceremonies and have graduates.

Look at these photos of students who graduated because of your generosity. They were trained up and raised up. They're being sent out as lights in their community and generations will be impacted in Uganda and the surrounding region because of your faithful giving.

Thank you so much. What a gift to the kingdom and gift is what we're going to be talking about in this Christmas series, we've titled Gift Wrapped. So if you've got your Bibles, go ahead, go ahead and turn to Luke Chapter one.

We're we're going to kick into the Christmas story in just a moment. But as you turn there, let me just kind of give a little bit of of an insight as to why we called this series gift wrapped.

So growing up, at least in my household, here's what I learned at Christmas. There's an old adage that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I learned in the walling household at Christmas time you could judge the giver based on the wrapping of the gift.

They know what I'm talking about. Like I growing up. I remember if it was, if it was very neatly wrapped and had a beautiful bow, you knew that was from my mom. If if it was newspaper comic books in it and it was kind or comic strips and it was messily wrapped, you knew that was from my

brother. If if it had the name of the store on it and it had been wrapped by a professional, you knew that was from my dad. And if it was a bag that had a pathetic amount of tissue paper poking out of it, you knew that was from me.

I'm way more of the I hate wrapping. And so the bag is just a very efficient strategy. That's this kind of my go to for Christmas, but that's what that's what I learned in the walling household that you you could look at the wrapping and it told you something about the person who had given that gift.

Well, that's the idea inside this Christmas series gift wrapped. Then when we look at the greatest gift God ever gave, we look at the events. Surrounding Jesus, his birth, the circumstances, the words that were spoken. It tells us something about the God who gave this incredible gift.

So having said that, we're going to launch in to the Christmas story in Luke chapter one. We're going to start part way through verse 26. God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin, pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.

The Virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored, the lord is with you. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you found favor with God.

You will conceive and give birth to a son and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and we will be called the son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever.

His kingdom will never end. How will this be? Mary asked the Angel, Since I am a virgin, the angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the most high will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the son of God.

Even Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age. And she, who was said to be unable to conceive, is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail. I am the Lord's servant, Mary answered.

May your word to me be fulfilled, then the angel left her. This is God's word. Now, the first message in this series is entitled Wrapped in Promise, and as we look at the event at the events and the words spoken surrounding the announcement of Jesus's birth, we're going to see from the gospel writers to the Angel Gabriel

. There are promises all over the Christmas story. So if you're taking notes, let's begin with this. God kept every promise to send a savior. Now, I wish we had time because I'm a little bit of a Bible nerd.

I wish we had time to look at every single promise in the Bible tied to the what what Jews call the Messiah the anointed one. There were so many promises about what God was eventually going to do through this redeemer, but for the sake of time, I'm just going to show you a few.

So to better understand the scope and the consistency with which God made promises that would eventually be fulfilled at Christmas through Jesus, we need to kind of unspool the wrapping paper of the Bible's story and come to the very beginning when God first made the world and established a garden she called Eden, and this garden was made

so that the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve, could flourish. They could be fruitful and multiply. They could. They could serve and have dominion and spread God's blessing because they were made in God's image intended to reflect God's nature all over the world.

That's what they were made to do. And it was going to happen in a life with God because God was with them there. But Adam and Eve. Were deceived by a serpent and chose life without God. And as a result of that choice, God had to come and share the first consequences of the first problem the first

act of distrust in the Bible. And the first promise actually comes right in the midst of the first problem. Just note that for half a second, like this is not the main point of the message, but I want you to understand if your version of God is that he's always coming to point out problems.

You need to understand that the God of the Bible, the God the Christians believe in is a God who meets our problems with promises to help us to lead us forward. And so in in this moment, it's interesting.

It's not to Adam or Eve, but it's actually as God pronounces curses to the serpent who deceived them. Here's what God says. I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.

God's promise is that eventually this personification of evil and deceit would be done away with that there would be someone down the line of Adam and Eve who would become in the language of Genesis, the one who would be the snake crusher who would defeat evil.

That was the promise in the midst of the problem. We'll follow the story a few generations down, and God has another promise to a man named Abraham. Later, Abraham and God promises in Genesis 22 through your offspring. All nations on Earth will be blessed.

Now you could call these two these two promises in Genesis, some pillar promises that God had headed towards Christmas and the announcement of Jesus's birth. one promise would be that that down the line of Eve, there would be someone who would defeat evil.

And the other promise was that down that same line through Abraham God would bring blessing to everyone everywhere. Follow the line of Abraham further down and you get to a king in Israel named David. God makes another promise in second Samuel seven.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever. Before me, your throne will be established forever. An incredible promise about what God would do through this specific line of David. But when you follow the story, it things get a little bit messier.

The kingdom that David was leading, eventually the nation of Israel becomes divided into two different kingdoms. Both of those kingdoms at different times are overruled by outside nations. Many of the people in Israel are taken into exile, and it seems like God has given up on some of his promises.

Where is the blessing, where's the defeat of evil? How in the world could David Lyon continue if the nation is overrun? And the prophet Isaiah picks up this promise again. And says through the Holy Spirit and say a 94, two us, a child is born to us, a son is given.

That's what's stitched on the pillow at all the Christmas stores. But look at what follows. And the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor. Mighty God, everlasting father. Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace.

There will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness. From that time on and forever. This is the promise held out by the prophet. But then.

There's the silence. one scholar said that the Old Testament, what we call the Old Testament, the Jewish scriptures, are a story in search of an ending. There's all these promises from the prophets about this coming redeemer, this messiah.

And then there's nothing. Some 400 years of silence. And waiting. And the question is, what will God do to keep his word? And so in light of all of that story, here again, the words from the angel to a young girl named Mary.

You will conceive and give birth to a son and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the son of the most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever.

His kingdom will never end. The story of Christmas arrives in a much larger, longer story, and what the gospel writer Luke wants us to understand in all caps is that Jesus is going to be the one who will bring the fulfillment of all of these promises.

There's been all this hope, all these promises, all these these prophetic words about someone and that someone the Christmas story claims is Jesus Christ himself. The one who would be born. And the thing is, we've barely scratched the surface of the number of promises in the Old Testament about the Messiah.

The challenge with but with preaching a message like wrapped in promise at Christmas is not that there's not going to be enough wrapping. Have you ever tried to wrap something when you got to the end of the spool of wrapping paper and you're kind of halfway through and you realize like, Oh, and there were some ripped pieces

. And so you're taping that on. I don't know if anybody else has done that. I've been there before. The challenge with with preaching a message like wrapped in promise is not that there will be too little promises to show you how meaningful this is is that there's too much.

It's like, it's like, has anybody played the unwrap game before? It's played this with my community group at Christmas parties. It's it's where they take a small kind of gift. Usually it's like a gift card. They wrap it up and then they tape over that and they put it in another box and they wrap over that.

And it's wrapped and wrapped in wrapped wrapped. And then people have to wear oven mitts to try and unwrap it. Meanwhile, other people are are throwing dice, and if they get certain numbers, they get to go and it's their turn.

And whoever did, the last one gets the card. I did a terrible job at all three services, explaining that, so I'm going to bail on it right now and just say this. Looking at the Jewish scriptures in light of Jesus coming to Earth is like playing the unwrap game with all the promises that are fulfilled in Christ

over and over and over again, we see Jesus was wrapped in all of these promises. All this expectation. All of this hope. And according to the Angel, it's all pinned on this little baby who's going to be born.

Because Jesus is going to be the one who will fulfill these promises. And that is one of the favorite words of the gospel writer Matthew. We just looked at Luke's account when the angel speaks to Mary, but look at the Angel's words to Joseph.

Who's betrothed to marry Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. Because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.

And Matthew writes, All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means God with us. A friend of mine calls this passage a promise explosion.

Because Matthew wants us to connect it with this promise that first started with the prophet and then that promise spoken by the prophet is extended to all of Israel that promised to Israel is then extended by the angel to this man, Joseph.

That promises then ends up being a promise to you and to me that there is a savior who will come, which is now a promise that we, as followers of Jesus, get to share with all the world. The promise continues extended generation after generation Jesus is going to be the one who will defeat evil forever.

Jesus is going to be the one who will bring a blessing to everyone everywhere. The fulfilled promises of God are all over the Christmas story. So why does that matter? For you and I today. What matters because. I'm speaking to people who have all been on the receiving end of broken promises.

And I'm speaking as one knowing that pretty much all of us have been the ones to break promises we've made. I'll give I'll go first. I'll give you an example from my life. I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving.

My my Thanksgiving was a little bit a little bit unique this year because my, my family, all of my extended family, my parents especially had planned a unique, more tropical Thanksgiving that all of us were going to meet up on on the west coast of the Pacific in Mexico and and kind of enjoy the beach, something very

different. We've never done this before. It was a huge treat. Well, in the months leading up my my wife, Courtney was nervous about about the travel. Travel in general, stresses her out, and then travel with young children would stress out anyone with a pulse.

So for her, she was just she was just kind of feeling a little bit nervous. And so I promised over and over again, there's going to be a great trip. I mean, it's going to be it's going to be fun.

It can be relaxing, like stress free. We're going to be relaxing on the beach. I promise this many times. So we we go on this trip and and initially first couple of days, you know, they're going, OK. And then there was there was like an excursion day and my wife decided she was going to just chill at

the hotel, enjoy the beach. And and I went with my family on this little excursion. It was a boat day and then there happened to be a jet ski that I could ride. So for the sake of time and also my wounded pride, I'm going to make this a short story.

I elected to ride this jet ski at a speed that could be described as ill advised. And while going on this jet ski, I ran into some choppy water and the water was choppy enough that some of it crested into what you might call a wave.

And so going at this ill advised speed up this wave, I was no longer the jetski wasn't in the water, but it was above the water, meaning I was very much above the water. And the Lord, in his wisdom, created gravity on our planet, and gravity had its way with me and the jet ski.

And so as we came down at a speed, I was not prepared for a kind of crash landed with the nose, meaning I was the nose of the jet ski. So I'm thrown from the jet ski somewhere during all of this.

My sunglasses are smashed into my face and that kind of left a little bit of a cut above my right eye and caused some some bruising, which at the time when it first happened, was very light bruising. So just remember, during all of that, my wife is poolside, relaxing at the vacation I have promised is going to

be stress free. Meanwhile, I'm becoming intimately acquainted with the Mexican hospital system because I needed stitches above my eye from the cut. Meanwhile, the bruising is getting a little bit worse, and so after a couple of hours of being at the hospital, I come back to the hotel to my bride, to whom I have promised a relaxing

, stress free vacation. And if you're squeamish, you may not want to look at the screen. But just imagine that I come in and my eye looks something like this. Happy holidays, everybody. So that's what I look like at the Thanksgiving table.

I do want to go on record that I texted a photo very similar to that to our senior teaching minister, and he immediately quipped that it was an improvement on my looks, which tells me, I mean, you've got to love somebody to teach them that badly, right?

So that's I love you too, Rick. Definitely broke my promise. It was not the stress free vacation that I had hoped and promised it would be. And it's one thing to laugh about a vacation fail. But it's another thing.

To have held on to promises that meant. Something more and are harder to forget when they're broken. It's the boss who promised you were on track to get the job, only to find out you've been passed over for the promotion.

It's the parent who promises, Hey, I'm going to be there to see you with that event. And then they end up texting, saying, I'm sorry, I can't make it. It's the friend who promised that they would keep your secret.

But now the secret's out. It's the spouse who promised they would stick with you for better or for worse. But now they pack their bags. We live in a world of broken promises. And and it can cause some skepticism when we look at the promises of God.

The part of the hope of the Christmas season is that though we have been promise breakers and those promises to us have been broken, we can look at a God who has a track record of faithfulness, a god who keeps his promises.

He promised he would send a savior and he kept his promise. But but Jesus wasn't just the fulfillment of ancient promises, even at the announcement of his birth. He came wrapped in new promises for us. Did you notice what the angel said to Joseph, you are to give him the name Jesus?

Because he will save his people from their sins. There's some wordplay happening that gets lost in English. The name Jesus means God saves or Yahweh saves. And so the angel says to Joseph, Here this way you are to give him the name God saves because he will save his people from their sins.

So if you're taking notes, write this down. God kept his promise to save sinners. Now, what do we mean by that word, sin? Kind of a dangerous churchy word that that can be depending on who you ask, you might get a different definition.

So the Bible has a pretty clear and simple understanding of the word sin. Sin means to fail. Literally, it means to miss the mark. Sin is not about the reasons for that failure. Sin is not about the motivations that caused that failure.

The Bible has other words for that. The word sin just means to fail. Moral failure. So part of this Christmas promise comes with what might be, for some of us, an offensive assumption, and that is that people have failed.

And we desperately need a savior. Well, what have we failed at? We failed to do what we were made to do in the first place. God made us to reflect his image, to spread his blessing, his nature all over the world.

God made us for life with him and yet we have chosen. Life without God. Life where we get to set the mark. And as a result. We continue to sin and missed the Mark God's set for us. As a result, we have a world that doesn't just have broken promises.

It has broken hearts, broken homes, broken societies and systems. A world that for all the advancements and all the innovation that we've had in the 20 years since Jesus came to Earth, our world is just as broken today as it was that day in Bethlehem.

And that's because of sin. Because, according to the Bible, sin comes with its own perverted promise. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans six that the wages of sin is death. That's what sin brings, sin brings death relationally mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically into our world.

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ, Jesus, our lord. So why does this particular promise? Why does it matter? It matters for so many reasons, but at least for these.

The first is that we have to understand that that a core fundamental aspect of who Jesus is and the purpose of his life and ministry was to be a savior who would save people from their sins. What that means is that Jesus was not a benevolent rabbi with a nonprofit project.

Jesus did many great things in his ministry, he he helped to serve people, he he helped sick people get well. He he helped to feed the hungry. But what you need to understand is that Jesus was not here just to help some hungry people get food or some sick people get well.

Jesus came to raise spiritually dead people to life through resurrection. That's what Jesus came to do to save sinners and offer the gift of eternal life. The other, if you don't understand that, you will misunderstand and misread the Ministry of Jesus, and he will be just another admirable character in history who did some nice things.

But that's not the Jesus who's witness to in the Christmas story or in the Gospels. The other reason this promise matters is because this promise tells us we can't save ourselves. The promise of a savior who would save people from their sins assumes salvation has to come from outside us.

It's not going to be through our effort, it's not going to be through us trying, trying to hit the mark and finally do it right. We cannot do it. But the genius the mystery of the Christmas story is that God would join his children born of a woman, fully god, fully man.

And then Jesus would be the one to hit the mark. Jesus would be the one to bring this salvation, and Jesus would be the one to save us. How did he do that? In a twisted upside down way, Jesus earned the gift of eternal life for you and for me by taking the wages of our sin.

Jesus was the one who was willing. To go and die. Face all of the brokenness, all of the evil and an on the cross he paid for our sins. He died for our sins, for our salvation, through his blood.

We have forgiveness of sins. Jesus was the one who did this for us. He was buried in a tomb. But the Christian witness is that three days later, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power that helped conceive him in Christmas at Easter rose him from the grave.

And because of that, Jesus said all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. He would be the one that on the cross in an upside down way. While his heel was struck and he's crucified, he would crush the head of the snake and do away with evil.

That means for followers of Jesus, sin doesn't have power over us anymore the way it did because we serve a god who is sovereign over all. We serve a promise keeping Lord and Savior who rose from the dead and who promises us eternal life and promises us powerful presence that he will be with us.

That was one of the parting promises Jesus gave his followers before he ascended to heaven after his resurrection. He said in acts one wait for the gift my father promised, which you've heard me speak about. Well, then they gathered around him and asked, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?

They're still thinking like Isaiah. nine Like, OK, it's time for the government to get set up. It's time for all that stuff. And again, Jesus will fulfill that promise in a way they don't expect, he said to them.

It is not for you to know the times or dates the father has set by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.

Pause for a moment. That means that followers of Jesus are meant to be the ones who helped spread the blessing that was long promised to Abraham that we go spreading this good news of salvation. We go embodying the love of Jesus to other people filled with the spirit of God.

Well, after Jesus said this, he was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hit him from their site. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

Men of Galilee, they said, Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you've seen him go into heaven. This was the parting promise from Jesus.

So if you're taking notes, write this down. God will keep his promise to come back. That's what we believe that God will keep his promise. What I love about about the way God works is that at the beginning of the Christmas story, angels promise God is coming to Earth and at the end of the Gospels here this

moment and acts, it is angels who promise God is coming back to Earth. And we stand as those who bear witness and who wait for that promise to be fulfilled, because when we look at the track record of God's faithfulness, we can believe in a promise we have yet to see come to pass.

Now, it may not be in in the way that we think. But but isn't that like the Christmas story? It was 400 years since the Prophet Malachi had spoken and the Jewish people were waiting in silence, hoping for a messiah and then an angel shows up to an unwed teenage girl in a backwater region of Israel.

And that's how God kept the promise. The timing was later than Israel thought the method was miraculous, the circumstances were scandalous, the setting was unexpected. The people were unimpressive, but the promise was still fulfilled. And so when Jesus promises that he's going to come back, it probably is going to happen in a way that we wouldn't script

in a timing we wouldn't set in a manner we would not predict. And yet we can still believe God will keep his promise because he is a promise keeping God. So where does that leave us? I think it leaves us a little bit like Mary, who hears these wonderful, incredible promises and honestly says.

How? How will this be? And I love that the angel answered this question. With another promise. No word from God will ever fail. It's a beautiful promise, but let's just Grant for a moment. That it kind of feels like a double down, doesn't it?

A bit of a divide, because we said so. Let's just be real that here's this promise, here's what God's going to do. And Mary says, yeah, but but how? And the angel answers, but then seals it with a second promise.

It was like, OK, so here's the question I've wrestled with this week. What is a faithful response to a promise from God that seems impossible from where we stand? And from our vantage point, some of these promises from God in the Bible, they're so beautiful, they're so incredible, and yet they seem, humanly speaking, impossible.

Well, look at Mary's words again, back to the Angel. I am the Lord's servant, Mary answered. May your word to me be fulfilled. I love Mary's answer. Even in this simple response, Mary understands that the burden of the promise does not rest on her shoulders.

Even with doubt, with maybe some confusion, as a young girl, she's able to say, may your work because God, it's your promise to me, you're the one who's going to make it happen. You're the one who spoke it.

And so I don't know what your faith. Looks like today. I don't know what this year has been like for you. But whatever you've gone through, whatever you're in the midst of, whatever you're worried about in the future.

Every single one of us. Can use these words from Mary. And say. God. May you do what you've said. Maybe not in the timing, I expect. Maybe, maybe not in a way that I would think and maybe I'm still doubting as I say that, but God, may you do what you said.

So for a moment, I just want us to borrow Mary's words. We're I'm going to read some promises from the Bible. 11 theologian tracked. There's some 7400 promises in the Bible, from God to people. That's just a a Bible stat that doesn't mean that much on its own, but what it tells me is that promises are woven

into God's relationship with his children. Promises are an invitation to trust God. And so we're going to read these words. As a people, as the people of God, here's what we're going to read, read these out loud. We are the Lord's servants.

May your word to us be fulfilled. So I'm going to read some of these promises and we're going to respond with those words. The first set of promises are to when we approach God, when we come to him.

In John, six Jesus promises that whoever comes to me, I will never drive away. In Matthew, eleven, Jesus promises come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest in Romans ten God promises that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved in a Ephesians one.

God promises that through the blood of Jesus, we can have redemption and forgiveness of sins in the presence of God's spirit. And so to those promises. We can say we are the Lord's servants. May your word to us be fulfilled.

And then there are promises of life with God. And first, John, three God promises that because of his great love, we are now his children in Hebrews 13, God promises I will never leave you or forsake you. In second Corinthians twelve, God promises that my grace is sufficient for you and my power is made perfect in your

weakness. And so do those promises of life with God. We can say we are the Lord's servants. Your word to us be fulfilled. I want you to stand for these last promises. Promises that lead us into the future.

In Revelation 21, God promises to wipe every tear from our eyes because a day is coming when there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. And in Revelation 22, God promises that someday we will see his glorious face.

We will have life with him and we will reign with him forever. And so in expectation of what God will do. We can say we are the Lord's servants. May your word to us be fulfilled. And these are the promises of God spoken over his people that we can hold on to and for a moment, for anybody

who's not a follower of Jesus. These promises don't apply to you yet, but they are on offer to you. You're invited to receive these promises. You are invited to put your faith in Jesus Christ, the one and only Savior.

And for all of us who are already followers of Jesus, we can grab on again, believing no word from God will ever fail. Let's bow together. Oh Jesus, we thank you. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you that you are a faithful promise, keeping God who sent the savior we desperately needed, who provided salvation and

forgiveness from sins that we could not earn. Who invited us into life with you again in your kingdom, with your rule and reign, a throne that will always be established? Lord, these promises are incredible. But God, would you increase our faith?

Help us help us to have the words that just like your mom, we would say we are your servants. May your word to us be fulfilled? God, would you put those words in our hearts no matter the season of struggle or doubt or trial that we're going through?

God, I pray for those who have yet to call on your name that they would realize you're faithful to keep your promise and you can save them. We pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.