Ministry Monthly Update

Dear Friend!
A few years ago, I did something very unusual and rather surprising at one of my conferences . . .

When I teach, I sometimes use props as illustrations, as visual aids can be a good way to help get an important point across. And at one particular conference a few years ago, God gave me an idea that probably seemed a little peculiar at first.
I remember telling our team...

“I need a jail cell. I want you to put it in the middle of the stage. And I want you to place a big sign with the word ‘HOPE’ above the cell.”

A jail cell? Hope? This idea seemed like an odd request at first. I didn’t even know if we could make it happen. I can still remember my son (who runs the day-to-day of our ministry) replying with a bit of sarcasm . . . “Sure thing, Mom, I’ll go ahead and order that up for you right away.” I laugh when I think about it now because people must have thought, “What is going on? Joyce has finally lost it!”

You might also be wondering why I wanted to use such an odd prop as an illustration, and the reason is this: the Word of God says . . . Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you (Zechariah 9:12 NKJV).

Prisoners of hope — what a powerful image! Hope isn’t something we should have occasionally. It isn’t based on our circumstances or how we feel on a particular day. That night at the conference, I walked into the jail cell full of hope to demonstrate this, and it ended up being an incredibly powerful night of ministry and freedom for those who were there.

This is why I want to plant that visual in your mind today because...

God wants you to surround yourself with hope &mdash: to live in hope every single day.

So why not make this a new reality in your life today?

Hope is a positive expectation that something good is going to happen to you because of God’s goodness.

• When finances are tight,
hope knows God will provide (Philippians 4:19).

• When the kids get off course,
hope knows God has a plan for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

• When you get a difficult diagnosis,
hope knows God is your healer (Jeremiah 30:17).

• When you feel alone,
hope knows God will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

The temptation to freeze in fear or even run in the other direction is something we all face from time to time — but if we hold on to hope, we’ll see God move in our lives.

Did you notice the second part of Zechariah 9:12?

Even today I declare that i will restore double to you.

God promises that not only is He going to restore what we’ve lost, but He is also going to bring us through tough times stronger than before — He is going to restore double. But we also have a part to play. We can’t sit around with a negative attitude, complaining about the person who hurt us or the opportunity that passed us by.

It’s impossible to be negative when you’re a prisoner of hope. Why? Because you have made the decision to surround yourself with a confident expectation of good.

So, the question I have for you today is simple . . . What are you expecting? Are you expecting bad news? Are you expecting to be let down? Are you expecting a confrontation with your coworker? Are you expecting the worst? Or are you expecting good news? New opportunities? Breakthroughs? Are you expecting God to restore double what it feels like you’ve lost?

Remember, you can only be defeated if you give up. No matter what you’re going through, no matter how challenging life seems right now, no matter what questions you have, or issues you’re facing . . .

...Being hopeful has the power to revolutionize your life! And today can be that day for you!

If you choose . . . to hold on — to trust God and stand on His promises — you’re going to see better days ahead. God loves you, and He has a wonderful plan for your life.

I know this is true because it’s a promise from the Word of God. The Bible tells us that we will reap a good harvest if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9) and that the path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter (Proverbs 4:18).

That means the only way you can lose is if you give up. But if you have the determination to trust God and hold on no matter what, your best days are yet to come.


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