Riches Through Prayer
Buy from me gold refined in fire, so you can become rich. Revelation 3:18
When crisis arises in the life of someone we are praying for, it may try us as Christians far more than it would try an unbeliever. For the crisis may challenge all I believe about God. It may seem to give the lie to the very things I have entrusted to God. With a sinking heart I am tempted to think that my prayers have all been self-deception.
It is important when your faith is badly shaken to wait until you have time to spend alone with God before you allow yourself to wallow in despair. And when you come to God, the first thing you must remember is that He does not mock His children. He is still there. His faithfulness has not wavered a scrap. You may or you may not have misunderstood His will and His intentions about one detail or another. But your mistake, if indeed it is a mistake, does not alter the basic situation.
In your own pain and tragedy you are being invited to enter into a close relationship with God. Whatever may or may not happen to your children, great good and enormous enrichment can come into your own life if only you will draw near to God. You may not enjoy unusual experiences or glory in visions, but your spirit can be set free. You can pass through fire and come out as fine gold. You can become more truly alive, more aware. Your very pain brings with it the possibility of untold riches.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Let me say a very important bit about freedom: freedom does not consist in doing what I want to do, but in doing what I was designed to do. If I do what I want to do, I wind up not liking what I do. What at first promises liberty turns out to be a more onerous slavery. You fling yourself with wild abandon to serve an ideology, and at first it feels like the most heady liberty you have ever known. But the high subsides. The sense of liberty goes. In the end, the grim dreary enslavement seems no better than the enslavement to your former selfish whims. Many Christians find themselves enslaved to a hideous mixture of dogma, spiritual cliché and psychological technique. They are chained to a semi-Christian ideology rather than to a person. Do not misunderstand me. I do not underestimate the importance of truth. It is just that humanity was not designed to serve a theory – even a true theory. Theories enslave. The truth is a person. Jesus alone gives freedom to human beings. He knows what He designed our beings for. He knows where true freedom exists for us. And He has infinite patience in teaching us, lesson by lesson, how to be free.
Truth can be true but still cold, Lord. But you’re a vibrant living person to whom I owe my life and loyalty. Thank you for your warmth and commitment to me, which makes possible my commitment to you. Amen.
Motives for Revival
Revival is what we desperately need and it is God’s delight to send it. First and above all, we must pray. Indeed, we must give ourselves to earnest and persistent prayer. What we term renewal is not enough. Dramatic evidences of divine power are of no importance in themselves. If renewal within the church is to fulfil God’s purpose for it, and if Christ is to be glorified, it must lead to a major evangelistic thrust. It must result in what was once called an awakening in society. Only an extraordinary outpouring of God’s Spirit will accomplish that.
The awakening must lead to reforms in society.
In the Great Awakening, when large numbers were truly born from above, they did more than join churches. By their prayers they radically changed British society. A climate emerged in which legislative and political changes followed – the ending of slavery and child labour for example – and followed in a way that could and would not ever have been achieved by political activism alone. The changes were a sort of spin-off from the outpouring of divine power.
We must therefore plead for an outpouring of the Spirit on Christian congregations. This seems to be what God would like to give us. We are called to collaborate with Him in prayer that it may happen. And in praying for such an outpouring we must, if we are consistent, pray that the Spirit may be poured out on us each personally. What I ask for the church and society I must ask for myself.
My prayers must not, however, be self-seeking. There must be no hidden agenda in my traffic with God. Do I secretly long for an esoteric experience? To seek it will not only be wrong but could be dangerous. Do I long for power and gifts that will elevate me above my fellow Christians? Gifts and power are one thing, but elevation above my fellow Christians is quite another. My desire must be both for God Himself and for an empowering that will enable me to serve Him.
Lord, teach me to pray aright for revival – first in myself and then beyond. amen
Living Beyond Time and Space
We lead limited lives, if size is anything to go by. We live on the head of a pin for five minutes. Lost in vast reaches of space and time…….
Consider for a moment how you are trapped in time….
We are limited too in our contact with ideas and truth………Yet we are invited to private tutorials with the fountain of ultimate wisdom; to a daily audience with the author of history; to fellowship and communion with the source of all holiness and love.
There is no charge for such privileges. Yet strangely, we pour out our substance to purchase vastly inferior ones, scrabbling among straws and garbage while a jewelled crown is offered to us.
To commune with God is to touch both infinity and eternity, not metaphorically but in very deed. We have opened a window to both a beyondness and an immediacy which time and space are powerless to provide and which we can experience in no other way. To that degree we have broken away from time- space to discover infinity close at hand……
O mighty and infinite Lord God, thank you for your offer to take me beyond the confines of time and space. Thank you for wanting to teach me, for wanting to spend time with me. Forgive me for often being too busy for you. Help me draw close to you. Amen.