Prisoners of Hope!

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’

ProsperGodsWay

ProsperGodsWay

Do Right in Your Service to the Lord, and Prosper!
2 Chron 31:
2 And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.
3 He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.

20 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.
21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Notice the actions of this king, Hezekiah. He set in order the sacrifices and worship in the house of the Lord, and made sure that offerings were set in order, for the temple, then for his house, first.
When he did right, and did it right, with all his heart, God prospered him.
This is critical to understand, because you have a spiritual enemy, that works through the minds of evil people to destroy you. Setting our lives in order before God, determined to build His kingdom, the church, and our personal homes in order before Him, is critical, for attacks will come. When they do, God will protect and deliver us, if we are sold out for Him.
We see the same principal exhibited in the life of King Uzziah, in 2 Chronicals 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
He will prosper you too, if you seek him first, and help to the best of your ability, at whatever level of leadership you find yourself in, to set in order your personal daily and evening sacrifice and devotion to the Lord, with all of your heart. When you do, you will prosper…
Poverty is from the devil and that God wants all Christians prosperous.
Benny Hinn

Let’s Pray:
“Father, show me my particular mandate before you. How can I serve you, every day, setting in order each morning, and evening my devotion to You, in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.’

The Good Knowledge of God!

The Good Knowledge of God!

The Good Knowledge of the Lord!

2 Chron 30:22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers

27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.

In today’s reading, the phrase ‘the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD’ jumped out at me, and the thought crossed my mind: “If Levites can teach the good knowledge of the Lord, then obviously, Levites can also teach incorrect, or bad knowledge of the Lord!”

I was immediately reminded of the Psalmist’s prayer:

Ps 119:66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

Judgment refers to our decisions, and this prayer is wonderful, in that he is asking God to teach him to be able to make both good decisions, but also to understand, from the Word of God not only what to do, but why it must be done.

In the academic world, this whole concept, of seeking God for direction, revelation, and knowledge is totally foreign. In fact, to make the statement: ‘The Word of God says’ to the average academic, would receive this response:

Job 21:14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

In modern language this might be stated: ‘This is an academic discussion, not a religious one, so leave your Bible verses out of it!’ As if God was not in academia, that academic reasoning is greater than the knowledge of God!

1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

Oh, that, like Job, they might meet Him! Hearing Him say to them:

Job 38:1 ¶ Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
In His presence, the vain arguments of men, cease.

Which is why I spend so many hours each day in prayer, for you!

Simply giving you an ear tickling teaching does you no good, but I teach and preach, in faith believing that you will have a radical encounter, each time, with the living God. That He might bear witness to what I do, by signs, wonders, miracles, and revelation in the earth:

Like Paul, I desire: 1Co 2:4 That my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

Yet there are religious teachers in the earth today, educated, yet not anointed:

2Ti 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Pr 19:27 Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

Lu 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

True knowledge of God, will produce a demonstration of His power, for He always backs up His Word, with His power!

Ho 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

I hear Holy Spirit speaking this verse to the United States this morning….

God has a controversy with this nation, with people who fill the airways with human opinions, devoid of truth, mercy, and the knowledge of God in the land…

The solution?

Pr 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

This is for Christians! Why because God always deals in the earth, through His people’s response or rejection of Him.

Isa 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge:

2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

God will heal our nations, when we humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.

One definition of wicked says: ‘braided with evil, as in the braiding of a string used in a candle wick’

Pride, I have learned, is not merely an arrogant, haughty, puffed up, elitist attitude, but in God’s sight, is in ‘simply having a better idea than Him’.

We act out of our culture, our earthly knowledge, and directly disobey the Word and Spirit of God, and this is pride!

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I have learned that I often do not know anything, until circumstances become desperate, then I cry out to Him, and seek His face, to discover, that I was wrong in my thinking in some area, and I needed to change.

Isa 33:6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.

So I cry out to Him, and often, only then, am I truly willing to hear a good word from him, and he usually sends it through ministry gifts.

Jer 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Mal 2:7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

Just a good Bible teaching is not enough, we, called of the Holy Spirit, by His voice, must constantly hear what He wants His people to hear, that day, directly from His lips!

Keeps us praying!

Ho 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,

People of God can be destroyed by lack of knowledge or rejection of knowledge.

The ‘lack of knowledge’ part I am working hard on two ways, for this is the clear responsibility of ministry to provide:
a. I am continually in prayer and study of the Word, growing in my gift and calling.
b. I am aggressively seeking to pioneer Bible schools internationally, to instruct and equip ministers to be able to bring that good word in season.

The second part of that verse deals with the reception of the word we teach and preach, by the hearer. We pray, fervently that we have a good word in season, and that the hearts of people who hear or read this, are receptive to what we share, but one of the greatest heartbreaks in life, is watching people refuse the Word of God, and experience often shattering heartbreaks in life.

Let me give one simple example: Healing. If a Christian studies the Word of God in the area of divine healing, they happily discover that ‘by the stripes Jesus took upon His body on the cross, they were healed when Jesus bore not only our sin, but also our sickness upon the cross’. They learn that though sickness exists in the earth, that we have a covenant with God, that also includes healing of our physical bodies, and that if a symptom should arise, any symptom, of any disease, that we can go to God, in faith, having believed His Word, and receive healing, from anything, anywhere, anytime.

Yet, this seems too good to be true, and so I weep, when I see the countless Christians that suffer horrible atrocities at the hands of cancer, heart attacks, and myriad other ‘incurable’ diseases by modern medical science, that kill loved ones, and God gets blamed for it.

Ec 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

We understand, we care, we love, and we weep….

1Co 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

These are verses from which I derive part of the daily prayer, I am praying for you, today, and every day, you are precious, and you are loved:

Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Php 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God

Let’s Pray:

“Father, reveal Yourself to us today. Meet with us, open our eyes, draw us by Your Spirit, and in Your mercy show us our pride, self-will, and areas of unbelief and wickedness. Grant us good knowledge of You and Your ways, today, that we might walk before You, in truth, in Your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.’