In 1965, naval aviator, James B. Stockdale became one of the first American pilots to be shot down during the Vietnam Conflict. As a prisoner of the Vietcong he spent seven years as a P.O.W. during which he was often tortured in an attempt to break him and get him to denounce the U.S. involvement in the war. He was chained for days at a time with his hands above his head so that he could not even swat the mosquitoes. Today he still cannot bend his left knee and he walks with a severe limp from having his leg broken by his captors and never reset. One of the worst things done to him was that he was held in isolation away from the other American P.O.W.s and allowed to see only his guards and interrogators.
How could anyone survive seven years of such treatment? As he looks back on that time, Stockdale says that it was his hope that kept him alive. Hope of one day going home and that each day could be the day of his release. Without hope, he knew that he would die in hopelessness, as others had done.
Such is the power of hope that it can keep us alive when nothing else can. "For we are saved by hope," writes Paul, "but hope that is seen is not hope" (Romans 8:24). So, hope cannot be seen by the naked eye; but, it is observed with the mind's eye. Everything around you can be in turmoil, but you have peace because your inner eye sees something super. Hope is a strong medicine. It can keep us resolute and focused.
Victor Frankl, successor of Sigmund Freud, states that the loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect on man. As a result of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl contends that when a man no longer possesses a motive for living and no future to look toward, he curls up in a corner and dies. So, hopelessness can create premature death, but hope has the power to cause a person to try and try again until he gets what he has envisioned.
I would have to say that hope equals purpose, purpose develops passion, and passion is the fuel that propels us toward our vision. It's the steam in our engine. The magnitude of hope is far reaching. Know this! God is the founder of hope! People who serve Him without reservation have much of it. Their service to Him gives them great boldness to conquer any mountain. They believe that nothing is too difficult. Now, hope does not make life easier for them it just makes life much more exciting and inspiring.
The Apostle Paul had lots of it: 5 times he was beaten by the Jews. 3 times he was beaten with rods, stoned once, and suffered shipwreck 3 times. He was weary, in pain, hungry and thirsty, cold and naked yet he glorified the Lord. Hope was greater than any adversity. He could not be made to be discouraged. He was like a missile that was dialed in to its target. With so much bad news going on today, it's imperative to keep hope alive. This is the objective of the Bible and the church: to give hope to all! For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.
Manipulation, according to Charles R. Swindoll, is the attempt to control, obligate, or take advantage of others by unfair or insidious means. He declares that it is practiced by insecure people who are attempting to look superior by making others squirm. But, it isn't done in a bold, upfront manner, rather indirectly and by little hints or well-timed comments or facial expressions.
One type is the Take-Charge Manipulator. He is the one who has to come out smarter or stronger than others in order to be happy when others are around. Now to see if you fit into this category, answer the following questions honestly. 1. Do I drop hints that signal I know more about what's being discussed than those in charge? 2. Do I enjoy correcting factual errors in conversation? 3. Do I have the tendency to control an argument, looking for ways to show that the other person is at fault? 4. Do I make others feel guilty when I want a certain action? So, how do you rate yourself?
Now, the Poor-Me Manipulator is extremely just the opposite. This person attempts to get his way by appearing weak. After all, who can hit another while he's down and helpless? This kind will "clutch" at you using sighs, tears, sickness, even depression to gain control and get their way. They actually love the role of being victim, which seldom fails to arouse sympathy. Wives and husbands are really good at this. And so are the kids. We can appear so needy, so sick until we see it's not working. Then it is amazing how much energy we can muster up as anger replaces weakness. This is known as an infantile technique that is often practiced by adults. In fact, no profession is immune: ministers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, salesmen and more are all guilty of using this act at some time in their profession. Why not? It Works!!
O.K., now I want us to take a look at our perfect example, Jesus Christ the Son of God. He came to earth from heaven without ever taking advantage of finite man. Yes, He was omnipotent and omniscient still He gave others space to learn without a hint of manipulation. He was all wise and discerning yet He held His innate power in check. He used His power only to give God glory, but never to manipulate.
No matter who you are or what position you hold in life the temptation to manipulate will never go away. Why? It is a natural tendency to want things to go our way. We seem to feel that this will make us happy. But really? There are a lot of unhappy people today who seem to be getting their way. The more they have the unhappier they are. So, one more time let's look at Jesus. He was and is the Prince of Peace. He said "I have not come to earth to do my will, but the will of my Father in heaven." "He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off His hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting" (Isaiah 50:6). What did He gain? A name that's above all others: LORD! For more information you can visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com.
I don't understand electricity, but I'm no fool…I'm not going to sit in the dark until I do. I don't understand the thermodynamics of a gasoline engine and the hydraulics of an automatic transmission, but I'm no fool…I'm not going to refuse to drive a car and walk everywhere until I do. I am not expected to understand everything, but I have the privilege to enjoy them if I so desire. If it were mandatory for us to know something before we were given the permission to use it there would be very few inventions making it to the market place.
For you see, we don't understand a lot of things that are a vital part or our everyday lives yet they continue to play an important role. I would have to say that the same holds true concerning salvation. No one fully understands how God could become a man. How He could die, be buried, go into hell and preach, then rise the third day victoriously over death with the keys of death and hell in His hand. Who can understand that He gave His life so that all who believe in Him would be forgiven of their sins then receive eternal life? But only a fool would reject such a great gift just because he didn't understand it.
In 1829 George Wilson, a man from Philadelphia, robbed the United States Mail and killed someone in the process. He was arrested, brought to trial, found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. His friends intervened in his behalf and were finally able to obtain a pardon for him from President Andrew Jackson. When George Wilson was informed of this he refused to accept the pardon. The sheriff was unwilling to enact the sentence. His thinking was, "how can I hang a pardoned man?" An appeal was sent to the president. Being perplexed he turned to the United States Supreme Court to decide the case. Chief Justice Marshall ruled that a pardon is a piece of paper, the value of which depends on its acceptance by the person implicated. It is hardly to be supposed that a person under the sentence of death would refuse to accept a pardon, but if it is refused, it is then not a pardon. George Wilson must be hanged. He was executed, although his pardon lay on the sheriff's desk.
Eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ works the same way. To enjoy it, a person must believe it, receive it into his heart, then act upon it; we are not expected to understand. "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How impossible it is for us to understand His judgments and His ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:33-36). If God said it then it is written in His Word. And know that it is the absolute truth! The truth will stand the test of time. Inventions come and go, but God's Word will never change. For more information you can visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.