Hope Restored

I answered the gentle call of our Lord to come to the Prayer Room around 2:00 AM this morning. My heart felt heavy. I had received some disappointing news on a health issue for someone I had been praying for yesterday and I needed a Faith Booster Shot. I discussed the matter deep in my spirit as I offered my praise in music. Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and breakers have swept over me.  I did not feel like praising, but I went through the motions in obedience. Song Lyrics: “Praise the Lord! He can work through those who praise Him. Praise the Lord for our God inhabits praise. Praise the Lord for the chains that seem to bind you serves only to remind you they drop powerless behind you when you praise Him.”  The first song I sang was one written by a young man in the Liberty County Jail in 1980. He had written the lyrics and asked me to put it to music. I started singing at our local jail when I was 15 as part of a ministry started by my dad. He was not personally involved long. Individuals from area churches who joined him began rotating responsibility for leading a service at the jail each Sunday morning at 9:00 AM. I stayed involved for 22 years and loved every moment. As I sang these words, HOPE began to ripple again in the depths of my heart:

Down a lonely road a man was walking.
The night was stormy and cold.
Life had lost its meaning and was mocking
Like a story that once has been told.
Headed down a path to find a river
To end his life in its stream. 
Passing by a church he heard them singing.
He thought he was caught in a dream.

He could see his dear old fashion mother.
He could see his precious old dad.
His little sister and brother,
The best friends a man ever had.
By the fireside the family was singing
Around the old alter of prayer.
On his daddy’s knee an open Bible
Then his name was mentioned in prayer.

Now the teardrops were falling,
As he stood in the still of the night.
From the church a voice it was calling
Make Jesus your Savior tonight.
Then he looked down the path to the river.
He looked at that bright open door.
He chose the open door and the alter
And the church sang as never before.

I sang through three hymns from the Baptist Hymnal and started to move toward singing my Sword (27 scriptures I chose to meditate on yesterday) when I spotted the Hymn, Breathe on Me Breath of God, I decided to sing five songs of praise instead of my usual four before singing my scriptures from the prior day. I sang the lyrics as a prayer which God answered in the next step of “Swinging my Sword” by singing His Holy Word. What follows is the “Breath of God” that filled my lungs and restored my heart today. I am quoting the New International Version of the Bible.

Psalm 18:29 & 30 With Your help (God), I can advance against a troop (cancer); with my God I can scale a wall (any concern in my heart). As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.

Isaiah 51:11 Gladness and joy will overtake (the ones I am praying for) and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

II Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Romans 5:1-4 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

Gladys M. Hunt, author of Access to God writes: What are you doing with the privilege of coming into God’s Presence? God is taking the stuff of our lives and making something good out of it. We are on our way somewhere. Our resources are inexhaustible: God keeps pouring His love into our hearts. Jesus has invited us into His very Presence and has given us all we need and more besides. This passage in Romans 5 is a renewed invitation to take advantage of your privileges as a son or daughter of the King.

II Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

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John Stetzer