Just Pray

Anyone who is having troubles should pray. Anyone who is happy should sing praises. JAMES 5:13

Do you want to know how to deepen your prayer life? Pray. Don’t prepare to pray. Just pray. Don’t read about prayer. Just pray. Don’t attend a lecture on prayer or engage in discussion about prayer. Just pray.

Posture, tone, and place are personal matters. Select the form that works for you. But don’t think about it too much. Don’t be so concerned about wrapping the gift that you never give it. Better to pray awkwardly than not at all.

And if you feel you should only pray when inspired, that’s okay. Just see to it that you are inspired every day.

When God Whispers Your Name

Those Who Hurt

Mark 10:46-52

When in pain, we may question whether God cares or even knows about what we’re going through. Our adverse circumstances can give us a wrong view of Him.

Scripture teaches that our triune God is omniscient. In other words, He knows all things. No action, person, or situation—past, present, or future—is hidden from Him (Ps. 33:13-15; Heb. 4:13). The Lord “searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought” (1 Chron. 28:9 niv). Because of His perfect knowledge, He knows us intimately and understands what we really need (Matt. 10:29-30). What’s more, God’s love and concern for us do not change, even if our pain has resulted from our own sinful actions.

Jesus repeatedly demonstrated His Father’s care for people. He met with Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders, and without condemnation or accusation, showed him the way to the Father (John 3:3). Another time, the Lord visited Zaccheus, a man whose dishonesty had hurt many financially. And Jesus even initiated conversation with the Samaritan woman, a social outcast. He also delayed His journey in response to the cry of a blind beggar—He showed compassion to Bartimaeus and affirmed his faith. Because of Jesus’ life, we can be certain that our heavenly Father cares about us.

God’s love extends over us, and He wants us to come to Him with our questions and pain. Don’t allow trials to cloud your thinking about God’s deep concern for you. Accept Jesus’ invitation and bring your burdens to Him (Matt. 11:28).

The Sons of God

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1)

When John says “behold,” he uses the Greek word eido, which might well be here rendered “focus your mind because this fact is important!” We are called “sons of God.” The world can’t know this because the world does not know God.

We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4), selected out of many who will not be so favored (Matthew 22:14), and adopted (Galatians 4:5) into the family of the omnipotent Creator “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Not only that, but since we have been created “after God in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24), then as God’s “sons” we are “then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

This unique and priceless gift of sonship has the responsibilities of “sons” as well as the privileges. Yes, we are made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), but we are also called “unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and expected to “work out” our salvation (Philippians 2:12) with fear and trembling. Although we are granted rights to “sit together” with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), we are commanded to “put on the whole armour of God” here on Earth so that we can “withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

Sonship also demands the “chastisement” of the Father (Hebrews 12:8) and the careful additions to our faith of the character disciplines of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (2 Peter 1:5-7). Earthly sonship must “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM III

Servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord

“Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. The “Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.” (Psalm 134:1, 3.)

STRANGE time for adoration, you say, to stand in God’s house by night, to worship in the depth of sorrow—it is indeed an arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the test of perfect faith. If I would know the love of my friend I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the Divine love. It is easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree.

But let the song of the bird cease and the fruit of the tree fall, and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God’s house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the dolorous way? Will I stand beside Him in His dying moments with Mary and the beloved disciple? Will I be able with Nicodemus to take up the dead Christ? Then is my worship complete and my blessing glorious. My love has come to Him in His humiliation. My faith has found Him in His lowliness. My heart has recognized His majesty through His mean disguise, and I know at last that I desire not the gift but the Giver. When I can stand in His house by night I have accepted Him for Himself alone.—George Matheson.

“My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God;
‘Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His—
‘At any cost, dear Lord, by any road!’

“So faith bounds forward to its goal in God,
And, love can trust her Lord to lead her there;
Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard
Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer.

“No matter if the way be sometimes dark,
No matter though the cost be ofttimes great,
He knoweth how I best shall reach the mark,
The way that leads to Him must needs be straight.

“One thing I know, I cannot say Him nay;
One thing I do, I press towards my Lord;
My God my glory here, from day to day,
And in the glory there my Great Reward.”

Ye serve the Lord Christ

“Ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:24

To what choice order of officials was this word spoken? To kings who proudly boast a right divine? Ah, no! too often do they serve themselves or Satan, and forget the God whose sufferance permits them to wear their mimic majesty for their little hour. Speaks then the apostle to those so-called “right reverend fathers in God,” the bishops, or “the venerable the archdeacons”? No, indeed, Paul knew nothing of these mere inventions of man. Not even to pastors and teachers, or to the wealthy and esteemed among believers, was this word spoken, but to servants, ay, and to slaves.

Among the toiling multitudes, the journeymen, the day labourers, the domestic servants, the drudges of the kitchen, the apostle found, as we find still, some of the Lord’s chosen, and to them he says, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” This saying ennobles the weary routine of earthly employments, and sheds a halo around the most humble occupations. To wash feet may be servile, but to wash His feet is royal work. To unloose the shoe-latchet is poor employ, but to unloose the great Master’s shoe is a princely privilege.

The shop, the barn, the scullery, and the smithy become temples when men and women do all to the glory of God! Then “divine service” is not a thing of a few hours and a few places, but all life becomes holiness unto the Lord, and every place and thing, as consecrated as the tabernacle and its golden candlestick.

“Teach me, my God and King, in all things Thee to see;
And what I do in anything to do it as to Thee.
All may of Thee partake, nothing can be so mean,
Which with this tincture, for Thy sake, will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room, as for Thy laws, makes that and the action fine.

Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it

“Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Heaven is a place where we shall never sin; where we shall cease our constant watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there will be no tempter to ensnare our feet. There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. Heaven is the “undefiled inheritance”; it is the land of perfect holiness, and therefore of complete security. But do not the saints even on earth sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God’s word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe; that all the righteous shall hold on their way; that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of Christ shall find Him a faithful and immutable preserver.

Sustained by such a doctrine we can enjoy security even on earth; not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in Him shall ever perish, but shall be with Him where He is. Believer, let us often reflect with joy on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, and honour the faithfulness of our God by a holy confidence in Him.

May our God bring home to you a sense of your safety in Christ Jesus! May He assure you that your name is graven on His hand; and whisper in your ear the promise, “Fear not, I am with thee.” Look upon Him, the great Surety of the covenant, as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation you will drink the juice of the spiced wine of the Lord’s pomegranate, and taste the dainty fruits of Paradise. You will have an antepast of the enjoyments which ravish the souls of the perfect saints above, if you can believe with unstaggering faith that “faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”