Archive for November 2010

Prisoners of Hope

Prisoners of hope are believers in Jesus who recognize a limitation in their circumstances, but refuse to be limited in their expectations and actions.

Too many people look at their circumstances and make the decision that they can do no more, or become no more than what they see.

You should be glad that many of your forefathers and parents who were socially imprisoned by segregation and other bad policies didn’t believe that. Before the year 1900, black and white people who believed in education for blacks

Zech 9: 2 Doom is certain for Hamath, near Damascus, and for the cities of Tyre and Sidon, though they are so clever. 11 “ As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.

Zechariah prophesied doom for the cities of Hamath, Tyre and Sidon, but hope for the people of God who dwelled in or near those cities.

Abraham was a prisoner of hope who became the “father of faith” to us all. We learned about him last week in Romans 5.

Look at how God inspired hope and faith in him. He’ll do the same for you.

Hebrews 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Prisoners of hope...

Focus on the promises of God more than focusing on the conditions and circumstances around us Understand that the world is full of darkness, but know that they are full of light Keep their love warm even in a cold world Are not distracted from serving God by the pressures and activities of this world Have high expectations of good things to come Follow the example of our father of faith, Abraham, who hoped against hope and fulfilled God’s purpose in his life. Like Paul and Silas Have hope as a refuge and anchor for our souls. We are steady and steadfast in all conditions because Jesus has already entered the presence of God for us.

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EXPECTATION - Hope in the first dimension looks like our reaction or response to circumstances. Our expectation or anticipation in the moment comes from whatever is inside of us. Things happen and we try to deal with it. People do something unexpected or situations arise that put us in a bind.

This first dimension of hope will always be needed because you will always face situations that try to take your hope away. But this is not the only way to understand hope.

DESIRE - Hope in the second dimension looks like the things we want, or what we want to happen. We sometimes refer to this hope as our “dreams,” “goals,” or “desires of our hearts.” This hope is like a picture we paint of the kind of life we want to live. It looks like a picture of a reality other than we are currently experiencing. This kind of hope can be healthy or unhealthy.

This kind of hope is healthy when your hope is based on the Word of God and rooted in genuine faith that is willing to both trust and work towards the picture being painted.

This kind of hope is unhealthy when we are doing little more than engaging in “pipe dreams,” “wishful thinking” and daydreaming because we are unwilling to take the steps necessary to receive the promise.

This second dimension or aspect of hope is made health and active by faith in the grace of God. The same grace that brought salvation, justification and victory through tribulation, will produce the kind of character needed to sustain hope.

Read Romans 5:1-5

Hope is more than a survival strategy. Hope is not only for the hopeless. Hope is more than a campaign slogan. Hope is substance. Hope is a picture. Hope is a sustaining power from the Spirit of God. Jesus is the true hope giver.

PURPOSE - Hope in the third dimension looks like a mighty force for change and the emergence of greater purpose. This kind of hope shapes destiny and changes generations. This is kind of hope that Paul imparted to the Galatians. Col. 1:27 “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The J.B. Philips transition reads, “Christ in you, the hope of all glorious things to come.”

Rread Romans 4:16-19

Abraham was not simple trying to deal with a negative circumstance. He was not only tying to hand on to something he desired to have. Abraham was dealing with a promise from God. He was wrestling with something far bigger than what is mind could conceive. God not only promised him a son, but promised him that he would be the father of a many nations, and that through him every person in the earth, present and future, would be blessed.

Key points from this text:

Verse 17, as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”[d]) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did

Strong hope and faith comes from the direct presence of God

Verse 18, who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, 19And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.

Strong hope permanently bends your expectation and anticipation away from the problems and towards the solution

Verse 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Strong Hope produces a faith that will make you stand and not waiver at God’s promise because you know that Christ in You is your hope glorious things to come. You become fully convinced and persuaded that God can and will perform what he has promised.

Hope is: “Having Only Positive Expectations”

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