“Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.” ‘ ” Zechariah 1:17
They’re struggling. They keep messing up. Recovery seems just about impossible.
All of us probably know someone who fits this description. One wrong decision after another leads to tragic results. Others are affected, wounded, weeping. Positive changes haven’t seemed to last. Two steps forward, three steps back …
After learning a great deal at a prayer workshop this past weekend, I’m so excited to put my notes into practice. Definitely one of my favorite take-aways consists of the recommendation, “When reading the Bible, ask the Lord to show you how to turn it into a prayer” (Rita Smith, “Battleground of Prayer,” 11-10-12). Since I was able to follow this wisdom the very next day, that point has already added new depth to my prayer life. God’s overwhelming compassion and grace jumped out as I read Zechariah 1:17. The word “again”–repeated four times in reference to Jerusalem–reveals our Father’s heart.
Let’s think about this a moment: the Israelites–God’s stubborn, selfish, and sin-sick people–couldn’t seem to get it right. They couldn’t maintain their walk with Him for long before falling back into evil ways. What a mess they were! Reminds me of a family friend … reminds me of me.
When we truly belong to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, He NEVER lets us go. Undoubtedly we suffer when we walk away from Him and His ways. But He holds onto us and disciplines us in order that we might return to Him. It hurts. It purifies. It accomplishes His will.
This is our lifelong story–again, again, again, and again!! Praise God for His redeeming love and faithful forgiveness. If you’re struggling to overcome a sinful habit, there’s always hope in Christ. Echo the tax collector’s prayer in Luke 10:13, “… God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” Or if there’s someone in your life who can’t seem to stay on the right track, please don’t give up on them. Join me in praying by filling their name in the blank:
Gracious God and Father, please make ______ again overflow with prosperity, may You again comfort ______, and again choose ______ to shine Your light as a city on a hill. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
Just as God remembers, has kept, and will keep His promises to Israel, so He will keep every person who genuinely belongs to Him. Assuredly He will do His part. Let’s do ours by praying … again, again, again, and again!
“and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” – John 10:28-29
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