Prisoners of Hope!

In today’s reading, we read the 105th Psalm. Please read it for yourself: Ps 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. Ga 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. Ps 105:17 He sent a man before them, even […]

Prisoners of Hope!

In today’s reading, we read the 105th Psalm. Please read it for yourself:

Ps 105:6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.

Ga 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Ps 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

tried

I wish to focus on v19,  Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

Joseph had a dream from God as a young man, and it was authentic. He would become the prime minister of Egypt. He believed that word, and then all hell broke loose against him. Instead of his brothers rejoicing and participating in his development willingly, they beat him up, threw him in a well, and sold him into slavery. Then, as God promoted him as a slave, he was falsely accused, and thrown into prison, and God was with him. Then, the chief cup bearer for Pharoah and baker ended up in prison, and Joseph’s gift of dream interpretation ‘read their mail’.

joseph-dream

Looked like, finally Joe was headed for freedom, but nope, not yet…

There was a set time appointed by the Father for Joseph, and his life was on hold, while Egypt was being prepared for his leadership.

I love this verse. Joseph had a word from God!

Yet the very word he had received, tried him!

He had to believe he had heard God, no matter what the circumstances looked like…

joseph-dream-pic

Was Joseph trying the word of God?

Nope, the Word of God is already tried.

2Sa 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Ps 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Ps 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

So the word of God is already tried, God is holy and cannot lie.

It is us that need refinement, and believing a personal promise from God, when every circumstance is against us, provides that refinement.

Joseph is not alone in his trial, you and I are being tried too…

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

tried-as-gold

Now, read: Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is a heavenly substance, and after we have believed we received, then what?

Then there is Bible hope.

hope-filled

In order to understand true Bible hope, I quote Kenneth Copeland:

“ If you look up the Greek definition of the word hope, you’ll find it means “to be intensely expectant, to be confidently looking forward to something you fully expect to happen.”

You can see this kind of hope in action in Philippians 1:19-20. There, the Apostle Paul says:

“I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope…”

For emphasis, Paul used the two Greek words there that mean earnest expectation.

earnest

In other words, he was saying to them, “This thing is so inevitable I’m just burning up with expectancy!”

This sheds a brand new light on this wonderful verse brought before us pastors Terri and Steve Spanish of Victory.com, when we attended their connect group:

Zec 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;

When pastor Terri uttered those words, they literally leapt off of the page for me, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Here is what I saw, clearly that night!

It is only after we have believed we received, that we need Bible hope. Hope is the total, passionate expectation that which we have believed, will surely come to pass.

great-expectation

The very word from God that we have believed, is what makes us a ‘prisoner of hope’. We see clearly by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the vision of God for our lives, and no matter what the daily circumstances scream, we are captive to the vision. We have believed we have received, and each day, we fully expect that today is going to be the day it comes to pass!

This captivity, this heavenly vision, this faith in action, is what empowers us to:

2Ti 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

It empowered the apostle Paul, when he cheerfully proclaimed the gospel in chains:

Ac 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force!

kingdom-warfare

We are in a war, it is the fight of faith!

To believe when it looks impossible, because faith makes the impossible, possible, in fact, inevitable!

When we have authentically heard God, that which He has spoken, tries us, refines us, forces us to grow, to discipline ourselves, to get equipped, trained, fit for service.

impossible

I believe this is what sustained Nelson Mandela through his years in prison, before becoming the first black leader in apartheid South Africa. God raised him up, through hardship, to be a vessel of great wisdom, compassion, mercy, strength, and forgiveness, in prison.

mandela

I believe he knew he would be President for many, many years before it happened, and that this inward knowing was his faith in operation, and that this word from God, tried him, just like it tried Joseph.

How about Martin Luther King? The words, ‘I Have A Dream!’ have been a battle cry against racism here in the United States since he rallied this nation to confront this great evil. He died for what he believed, yet his work is immortal, and still goes on today, for there is power in heavenly vision.

mlk-light

Think about President Abraham Lincoln: his repeated failures, yet, one of the greatest Presidents to ever live: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/education/failures.htm

As Paul Harvey says, ‘now for the rest of the story!”

Isa 61:7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

Both yours and mine days of promotion and prominence will indeed come to pass, as we move forward in obedience to Holy Spirit, after we have believed we received.

Heaven is on its feet, the great cloud of heavenly witnesses, watching our course with joy, eternal testimony being written on parchment of time, we call, history.

Indeed it is HIS story, written in eternal record for all the universe to see, when we victoriously serve Jesus in this life!

Let the process have its work in you, remember, we never try the Word of God, it is trying us!

Let’s Pray:

‘Father God, I ask for confirmation, strength, encouragement, and fresh revelation of the vision for my brother or sister today. May we walk out, without compromise, the heavenly vision, and come out of this trial, perfect, entire, and lacking nothing. We ask this Father, in Your name Lord Jesus, Amen’

A Great MLK Speech

And then the Greek language comes out with another word. It’s the word agape. Agape is more than Eros; it’s more than an aesthetic or romantic love; it is more than friendship. Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that […]

And then the Greek language comes out with another word. It’s the word agape. Agape is more than Eros; it’s more than an aesthetic or romantic love; it is more than friendship. Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. And so when one rises to love on this level, he loves every man, not because he likes him, not because his ways appeal to him, but he loves every man because God loves him, and he rises to the level of loving the person who does an evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does.

And I believe that it is this kind of love that can take us through this period of transition and we can come to that brighter day. This is what we’ve tried to do. In the midst of our struggle we haven’t always succeeded, but somehow in some of the dark moments we have been able to stand up before our violent oppressors and say:

We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Burn our homes and threaten our children and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Yes, send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hours and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half dead, and as difficult as it is, we will still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.

We know that in the final analysis God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men; but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race, and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers and every man will respect the dignity and the worth of human personality, and so the challenge ahead is to move out with a strong action program undergirded by a philosophy and methodology of nonviolence.

If we are to solve this problem really, we must continue to have a sort of divine discontent. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in psychology — it is the word “maladjusted.” And this word is the ringing pride of modern child psychology, and suddenly we want to live a well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.

I would like to say to you this evening my friends that there are some things within our nation and within the world of which I am proud to be maladjusted, which I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted until the Good Society is realized. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to become adjusted to racial segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry. I never intend to become adjusted to economic conditions that would take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self defeating effects of physical violence.

It may well be that we need a new organization in our world: The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. Men and women who will be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream”; as maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who had the vision to see that this nation could not survive half slave and half free; as maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery could scratch across the pages of history words lifted to cosmic proportions: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”; as maladjusted as our Lord and our Master who would say to the men and women around Galilee: “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword” and who could look into their eyes and say “love your enemies,” bless them that curse you, “pray for them that despitefully use you.” And through such maladjustment we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.

And so I call upon you tonight not to be spectators on the sideline, not to be individuals who are looking on, but to be involved participants in this great struggle to make our nation a greater nation and to end all of the evils of racial injustice, poverty, and the evil of war.

I must admit to you that there are not always pleasant moments when you stand up in this struggle. I must be honest enough to say to you if you stand up in this struggle it may mean that you will have to suffer for righteousness sake.

The thing that must always console us is that as we struggle, we do not struggle alone. And there is something in our Christian faith to remind us of this: The God that we worship is not some Aristotelian “unmoved mover” who merely contemplates upon himself. He’s not merely a self-knowing God, but He’s an other-loving God working through history for the salvation of his children. And there is an event at the center of our faith which reminds us that Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the drums of Easter. There is something in our faith which reminds us that evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy the palace and Christ the cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into AD and BC so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name.

There is something in this universe which justifies Carlyle in saying, “…no lie can live forever.” There is something in this universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying, “Truth, crushed to earth, [shall] rise again. There is something in the very structure of the cosmos which justifies James Russell Lowell in saying,

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,— Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

This is our faith, and this is what will carry us through.

– Excerpted from MLK’s Address To A Methodist Youth Leadership Conference

martin-luther-king

The Walk

The Walk

The Walk…

Joni Erickson Tada – “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Got to thinking about this verse today, and found this Steve Curtis Chapman song running around my head, thinking about the complexity of walking with Jesus!

It is a walk of faith:
Rex Rouis – “Faith is hearing Jesus say, “Come.” Believing is actually throwing your leg over the edge of the boat.”

What have you heard Jesus say to you as you seek Him?

There is no telling how great He is able to make us, as we grow in grace, love, wisdom, and knowledge..
jesus-makes-us-great
Martin Luther King, Jr – “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
mlk-staircase

We walk in faith, trust, obedience to Holy Spirit, learning when to speak, boldly against injustice, and when to be silent before people – yet fervently to pray.

If you need personal prayer for anything, we would be honored to pray for you and your situation – there is a prayer request form on the side of this article, that comes to us personally.

Rex Rouis – “If our Christian walk was a business, faith would be our profits. It is the currency of God. Prayer is a transaction supported by faith.”
faith-currency

Right now, lets release our faith in God: let’s pray:

‘Father, help me to continue to grow in grace, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as I walk with You. Cause me to hear Your voice, and walk it out, in perfect faith today, In Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen!’