Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. – Zechariah 9:12, NIV
When things get difficult, it’s easy to want to give up. It’s easy to get down and discouraged. But, that’s not God’s plan for us. God wants us to be so full of hope, so full of expectancy that we just can’t help believing for the best. He wants us to be prisoners of hope!
When you’re a prisoner of something, it’s like you’re chained to it. In other words, you can’t get away from it. I know people that are prisoners of fear, prisoners of worry, prisoners of doubt. You’ve heard them. “Nothing good ever happens to me.” “It’s never going to change. It’s just been too long.” No, you’re chained to the wrong thing. You need to break those chains and become a prisoner of hope. That means that no matter how long it’s taking, no matter how impossible it looks, our attitude should be, “I just can’t help it. I know it’s going to work out. I know I’m going to overcome. It may be taking a long time, but I know this too shall pass. It may be difficult, but I know that means I’m closer to my victory because I am a prisoner of hope!”
OUR LIFE BELONGS TO GOD
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 22:20-22
The image on the denarius, the only small silver coin acceptable for imperial tax payments, was probably that of Tiberius Caesar (reigned A.D. 14-37). The inscription upon the coin read “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Son of the Divine Augustus” with the reverse side reading “Chief Priest.” This inscription was a claim to divinity and as emperor, the right to be worshiped.
The Jews had tried many times to accuse Jesus on the basis of religious issues and had always failed. Now they approached Him about paying taxes in hopes that His answer might give them the opportunity to deliver Him to Pilate for prosecution.
These Pharisees and Herodians reasoned that any answer that Jesus gave would be wrong. If He approved of the Roman taxes, then He would lose popularity with the masses. If He spoke against the Roman taxes, then the Jews would hand Him over to the Roman government and Pilate would dispose of Him. It looked like they had Jesus trapped. Jesus, however, answered with such simple wisdom that these Pharisees and Herodians were caught in their own trap and made to look like fools.
Jesus declared, “Render (give back) to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk.12:17). People are made in God’s image, so we must render to God the things belonging to God (our lives) and to Caesar the things belonging to Caesar (his money and other benefits of his rule).
LISTEN MORE, SAY LESS
‘Be…[a ready listener].’ James 1:19 AMP
Talking instead of listening will get you into trouble. Two geese were preparing to fly south when a frog asked if he could go along. They questioned how he could do it. ‘Easy,’ he said. ‘You guys hold a stick between your beaks and I’ll hang on with my mouth.’ Off they went as people looked up, admiring their teamwork. The trio was making great progress until somebody below shouted, ‘Great idea! Whose was it?’ That’s when the frog opened his mouth and yelled, ‘Miiiiiiiine!’ Every time you open your mouth there are consequences! So learn to listen. Plutarch said, ‘The talkative listen to no one, for they are ever speaking. And the first evil that attends those who know not how to be silent is that they hear nothing.’ Listening without having to air your knowledge or interject your opinion is a quality of character that proves you’re mature. Television host Larry King once said, ‘I remind myself every morning: nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.’ Jesus was a great listener, and as a result He attracted people like a magnet. Doubtless there were times He was tired and didn’t feel like it – but He listened anyway. When the disciples fussed among themselves, and the Pharisees grumbled and caused trouble, Jesus focused on the important things. He listened, He spoke, and people followed. Listening is often more effective than talking. In fact, there’s a point in every conversation where you need to say less and listen more. In those moments you not only hear what others are saying, but what God is saying to you!
ON BEING KNOWN
I acknowledged my sin to You . . . . I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. —Psalm 32:5
One of the most difficult inner conflicts we have is our desire to be known versus our fear of being known. As beings created in the image of God we are made to be known—known by God and also by others. Yet due to our fallen nature, all of us have sins and weaknesses that we don’t want others to know about. We use the phrase “dark side” to refer to aspects of our lives that we keep hidden. And we use slogans like “put your best foot forward” to encourage others to show their best side.
One reason we are unwilling to risk being known is that we fear rejection and ridicule. But when we discover that God knows us, loves us, and is willing to forgive even the worst thing we have done, our fear of being known by God begins to fade away. And when we find a community of believers who understands the dynamic relationship between forgiveness and confession, we feel safe confessing our sins to one another (James 5:16).
The life of faith is not about showing only our good side. It’s about exposing our dark side to the light of Christ through confession to God and also to others. In this way we can receive healing and live in the freedom of forgiveness.
Lord, help me to expose my sin,
Those secret wrongs that lurk within;
I would confess them all to Thee;
Transparent I would always be.
The voice of sin may be loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder. —D. L. Moody
A WORD ABOUT ANGELS …
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. – Psalm 91:11
It’s time to set the record straight. Angels are not kid stuff. They’re not little fat babies with long blonde hair and bows and arrows in their hands. Angels are big, strong warriors. They are real. They are powerful. And, if you are a believer, they are a vital part of your life.
We see examples of what angels can do all through the Bible. For instance, when the children of Israel were fleeing from Egypt with Pharaoh’s army hot on their heels, the Bible tells us that suddenly the wheels on the Egyptians’ chariots got fouled up. They just quit rolling!
Who do you think caused that? The angels, of course!
They haven’t retired since then either. Angels are at work today just as they’ve always been.
A few years ago in one of Israel’s major wars, the enemy had their guns trained on Israeli cities. Those guns were the finest military equipment money could buy. They had a range of at least 20 miles and were equipped with electronic gun sights for accuracy.
But something very odd happened. Every time they fired those guns at the Israelis, they either overshot or fell far short of their targets. We know there was nothing wrong with the guns because later the Israelis captured them and fired them back at the enemy with perfect success.
What happened? Angels, that’s what!
My friend, that isn’t just a fairy tale. That’s a real-life example of the involvement of angels in the lives of God’s people today. And, if you’re a child of God, then you have a right to expect God’s angels to do the same kind of things for you.
So, start expecting! Say, “Thank You, heavenly Father for giving Your angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways.” Once you’ve spoken that word of faith, stand fast. Don’t fear. Don’t waver. Just be patient and keep believing, and you will surely see the salvation of the Lord.
BLESSED BASED ON GOD’S GOODNESS
EXODUS 16:11–12 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
Many years ago, when I was studying God’s Word, the Lord spoke to me, saying, “Before the law was given, none of the children of Israel died when they came out of Egypt. Even though they murmured and complained against God’s appointed leadership, not a single one of them died. This is a picture of pure grace.” I had never heard anyone teach this before or read it in any book, so I quickly went through that portion in my Bible and indeed, I could not find anyone who died before the law was given!
You see, when the Israelites journeyed from Egypt to Mount Sinai, they were under the Abrahamic covenant of grace. They only came under the law when the Ten Commandments were given to them at Mount Sinai. Therefore, in spite of their sins, God delivered them out of Egypt and provided for them supernaturally, not based on their goodness and faithfulness, but based on His goodness and faithfulness.
Beloved, the good news for you and me is this: Today, we are under the new covenant of grace (unmerited favor), and God’s unmerited favor is upon us. Therefore, His blessings and provisions for us are based entirely on HIS GOODNESS and HIS FAITHFULNESS. Hallelujah!
YOU ARE PERFECT IN GODS EYES …
Hebrews 10:12, 14, KJV But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God… For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.
God sees you with no flaw, spot or imperfection, so honor His Word and the finished work of His Son by saying, Amen! Dont doubt your perfection in Christ.
To see yourself as far from being perfect is not modesty, but a failure to understand the perfect sacrifice that Jesus has made for you.
The Bible tells us, For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Did you get that? You have not only been sanctified, that is, made holy, but by the same offering of His body, you have been perfected. You are both holy and perfect in Gods eyes!
Your sins have been purged perfectly. Today, Jesus is seated at His Fathers right hand not because He is the Son of God (although that is true), but because His work of purging your sins is completely finished and perfect!
So instead of being conscious of your sins, which is to have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22), you can have a perfect conscience, a conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.
When you find yourself conscious of your sins, just say, Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your wonderful work at the cross. It is a perfect work that has removed all my sins completely.
Holy Spirit, thank You for convicting me of righteousness, not my own, but Gods righteousness given to me as a gift. Keep on convicting me in the days to come, reminding me especially when I fail that I am still the righteousness of God in Christ.
My friend, God sees you perfect without any spot of sin. He sees you covered in the beautiful white robes of His own righteousness. He treats you like a righteous man because that is what He has made you. So expect good things to happen to you because blessings are on the head of the righteous! (Proverbs 10:6)
MUSLIMS TALK ABOUT CHANGING AMERICA THROUGH EDUCATION. WELL CHRISTIANS CAN CHANGE AMERICA THROUGH EDUCATION BY PROCLAIMING OUT LOUD THE TRUTHS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
NEED HEALING AND MIRACLES FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS
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