Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prisoners of Hope

Zechariah 8:4-5 (The Message)
4-5A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
"Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in."

Zechariah 9:12 (Amplified Bible)
12Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], you prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will restore double your former prosperity to you.(A)

“Hope is a dangerous thing.” –Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. The Shawshank redemption is a movie about a man named Andy who is wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He is imprisoned, raped, tortured, and used by the warden. He speaks to his friend played by Morgan Freeman of one day being free. His friend tries to discourage him by not “getting his hopes up.” Morgan’s character had prison thinking. He couldn’t see beyond the bars because he had settled that his fate would end there but Andy wouldn’t let his Hope die, like Jesse Jackson he believed in keeping Hope Alive, he believed like President Obama in the “Audacity of Hope.” When everything around you says to give up something within you will not let you settle for what you see.

We are all Prisoners of Hope. There is something going on around us that does not resonate with what is in us. There is too much God has deposited in our spirits to let us settle for anarchy on the inside when we know what he’s promised on the inside. We are prisoners of Hope particularly as we look at the devastation of our inner-cities. Just yesterday I saw video footage of the beating death of an honor student in the streets of Chicago. These teenagers took planks, fists, and feet and beat a 17 year old honor student to death for no reason. These kinds of senseless acts of violence must be stopped. We cannot afford to sit in our prison cells of hopelessness and give up.

God gave Zechariah a vision that one day old men and women would walk the streets with their canes and young boys and girls would play in the streets. He tells the prophet to inform the prisoners of hope to return to the strongholds because he was about to release a heavenly militia to restore order. God says today I will restore your prosperity double to you. Prosperity is more than just money; it is also peace and health. God is going to restore double for our trouble but I believe he’s going to use ordinary people to do it.

The answer to being released from being Prisoners of Hope is found in Zech 7:9-10

1. Execute true Justice. Whoever videotaped that murder of that young boy did right by turning it in to the Police so they can prosecute every person that beat that young man. We need to start speaking up in our communities about injustice.

2. Show Mercy and compassion. If each of us were to start showing compassion to those that need help, we could turn the tide on senseless violence in our communities. Jesus said our neighbor is whoever needs our help.

3. Do not oppress the widow (single mothers) or the fatherless (products of single mothers), the Alien (Mexican immigrants) or the poor (many Americans as a result of the recession).

4. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother. If we would each search our hearts and do good instead of evil we can turn this thing around. God told Cain that if we would do good his offering would be accepted like Able, but Satan was crouching at his door because he was jealous of his brother.

Dear God, release us from the prison of Hope to actualize your kingdom agenda on earth as it is in Heaven. Help us to restore peace and safety in our neighborhoods through our proactive faith and not sit idly by while our children are dying in the streets. Thank you today that my restoration finally begins. Today, I’m keeping my Hope alive that you will restore our prosperity. Today I’m keeping Hope alive!

In Jesus Name.

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