Sunday, September 7, 2008

Prisoners of Hope

I just finished the book of Zechariah. It is a very mysterious book full of prophecy and symbolism. The most known verse in this book is near and dear to my heart..

" 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." Zech 4:6

This could be my life verse. I cannot tell you how, since giving my life to the Lord, I have seen God do incredible things through His Spirit. When I attempt things in my might and power, it is impossible. I strive, fail and feel defeated in my own strength.
I attribute so much of my life to this verse.. meeting and marrying Tim, having my boys and surviving this illness to name a few. Being able to homeschool (and love it) is such evidence of the power of this verse. God is allowing me to do things that I KNOW are not of my own strength. Praise God that He sent us His Holy Spirit to empower us to do the things He is calling us to do! If there is something you believe God is calling you to do but think it is impossible, you are right! But, if you are walking in the Spirit, be prepared to be amazed. There is nothing more exhilarating than knowing God's power is working through you!
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." Jesus speaking in John 14:12
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The verse that I cannot stop thinking about is a different one. It is 9:12.
"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."
Ya'll, as Christians we are PRISONERS OF HOPE. Before Christ, we were bound by sin~now we are bound by hope. Doesn't that bring life to a weary heart! I know my blogs are all starting to sound the same but I hope the message is clear. There is hope found in Jesus Christ.
Have you ever woken up day after day cloaked in hopelessness? Hopelessness wrapped so tightly around you that you can hardly move? Our enemy loves for us to feel hopeless. He tells us that there is no way out, no way to redeem and that it is only foolishness to hope in God to rescue us because He won't do it. Those are LIES. When those days come, I want you to remember that, if you have received Christ as your Savior, that you are a prisoner of HOPE. There is no way you can NOT have hope. It surrounds you. You cannot escape from it.
Now, when I say hope, I don't mean hope that everything will work out the way you want it to and that suffering will end. I believe that this verse is speaking about the hope we have in Christ. A few verses back, there is a prophecy about Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Remember, this is a prophecy hundreds of years before it happened. Zech 9:9
"See your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
What does this have to do with us being prisoners of hope? Just as Christ came to rescue us from our sins that day when He rode in on a donkey on His way to the cross, so He will rescue us from our suffering when He comes back a second time. This time He will be riding on a white horse.
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True...On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Rev. 19:11,16
That doesn't mean we don't have hope now. I believe God loves to heal our sicknesses, loves to restore marriages and loves to answer our prayers in ways we could have never dreamed.
We are prisoners of hope because he saved us from our sin, is coming back for us and is working ALL THINGS together for the good of those who loves Him. Pray for miracles. Expect God to answer. God hears your every word.
The first part of the verse says, Return to your fortress. Where is our fortress or refuge? I believe it is found in Jesus Christ and what He did for us by dying on the cross and resurrecting. That is our stronghold when everything else gives way. Return there when nothing else makes sense. That is where you will find Hope.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and honor depend on God,
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."
Psalm 62:5-8
The last part of that verse is about restoration. "I will restore twice as much to you." Believe God for restoration in your life. For healing your broken heart, for double portions of grace when we desperately need them, for turning ashes into beauty. If He doesn't deliver you, He will give you the grace you need to not only endure it, but have JOY in it. I have lived this truth.
He has already restored to me twice as much and more. I don't think He is ever finished restoring if we allow Him to. Just make sure you are asking for things according to His will and not your own.
I hope that you do not need to hear this... that you aren't experiencing suffering but my guess is that most of you are. There is hope in Jesus. Remember that He IS Faithful and True. He came on a donkey and is coming back on a white horse for you. Serve Him with all your might until then and DON'T stop trusting, asking and expecting. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy that tell you there is no hope.
"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me."
Micah 7:7
"God help us to keep hoping, asking and expecting. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are Faithful and True. You came to die for us and You are coming back to take us with You. There is no other name under heaven able to save but the name, Jesus. You are our rescuer now and for eternity. Help us to run to Your fortress. Thank you that You are our refuge and that we are PRISONERS OF HOPE no matter what our circumstances are.
Show us your glory! Demonstrate Your power! Hear our prayers! Do miracles among us! May we never stop watching and hoping as we wait for You."
Be blessed~
Steph

4 comments:

hennhouse said...

No matter how much it seems like an oxymoron, "prisoner of hope" is an amazing promise.

Anonymous said...

I never comment on the blogs I read, but I just wanted to say thank you soo much for your post. It was just what I needed to hear today. Life doesn't always turn out the way we would like, but Scripture does tell us to keep going back to Christ. Thanks again, your post is appreciated more than you know.

Jill said...

Whew... I hope you get to share some of this in person tonight at your prayer time. What a sermon ! I loved it, I needed it and I am better for it. Thanks. Also, kudos on your weekend with the boys. I do love the photo at the top. And yes, he did nail it...those words are forever written on the tablets of his heart.

Jenny said...

I really needed to read this today.. Thank you.. so much.