[ecko_quote source="Jeremiah 33:3"] Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know [/ecko_quote]
The prophet Jeremiah was not a popular man. When he declared the truth, God had given him - that Judah would soon start seventy long years in captivity - people threw him into prison.
Yet in such dire circumstances, Jeremiah learned something profound about prayer. Jeremiah 33:1-3 says: "The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 'Thus says the LORD who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the LORD is His name): "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."'"
Prayer is a significant part of a vital relationship with God. It is not for some special spiritual elite; it is for you. Three principles within these verses can transform your old notions about prayer into something fresh and new.
First, God says, "Call to Me." He wants to hear from you. His all-loving, omnipotent heart desires to hear your innermost thoughts and feelings. He wants to hear from you in the hard times and also when life is going on smoothly. In fact, your sweetest times of prayer happen when you come before Him simply to praise and worship and give thanks for what He has done.
Second, God says, "I will answer you." Do you believe that? Perhaps you once asked God for something He did not give you, and since then, you have harboured secret worries that He did not hear or did not care to answer. But God Himself says to you, "I will answer you." That answer may not take the form you anticipate or come when you desire, but He will respond. He might say "yes," "no," or "wait." You may not understand the reasons behind His answer - but you can trust that they are best for you (Rom. 8:28).
Third, God says, "I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." You have finite wisdom and understanding; God knows all. He knows the big picture; you see merely a tiny piece. When you ask Him to guide you, He works to direct you as a part of His higher vision and calling.
If you take that first step of calling out to Him, prayer can become an important part of a dynamic relationship with almighty God. Do it today - He waits to hear your voice.
Source: Jonah Ravinder- UEC Ministries; Dr Charles Stanley
[ecko_quote source="John 15:15"] I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me [/ecko_quote]
Years ago, there was an old German Professor whose beautiful life was a marvel to his students. Some of them decided to find out by resolving the secret of it; so, one of their student's hid in the study room where the old Professor spent his evenings.
It was late, when the Professor came in. He was exhausted, but he sat down and spent an hour with his Bible. Then he bowed his head in secret prayer and finally by closing the Book of books, he said,
“Well, Lord Jesus, we are on the same old terms”.
To know Him is life’s highest attainment and at all costs, every Christian should strive to be “on the same old terms with Him”.
The reality of Jesus comes because of a secret prayer, and a personal study of the Bible that is devotional and understanding. Christ becomes more real to the one who persists in the cultivation of His presence.
It's simple. Intimacy is close or confidential friendship. And God, far from making it mysterious or unobtainable, has sought that kind of relationship with us from the beginning: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). He revealed Himself to the patriarchs and prophets; He led the Israelites in the wilderness by cloud and by fire.
God’s ultimate invitation to fellowship with Him was in sending His Son to pay the price for our sin so that we who believe could be called His children. To seal His presence in us, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
God continually invites us to respond to His love and a desire to have fellowship with Him. He longs to love us because only He can, and He wants us to know Him in all His fullness. His commandment to us is "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Dt. 6:5). He wants us to be intimate with Him.
Those saints—past and present—who have enjoyed exceptional closeness with God are first of all those who have deeply longed for it. God promised in Jer. 29:13: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
David’s longing for God was insatiable. Even when enemies pursued him, he did not seek deliverance or a change in circumstances; he sought God.
A desire to only know the Lord and His character must be our motive for intimacy. If all I seek are His gifts or whet He can do for me; then I have a self-centered relationship based on God’s "performance" in meeting my perceived needs. Instead, my desire to seek Him must be based on a longing just to know Him, to fellowship with Him, to enjoy His company.
Someone once said that "The essence of holiness is not that we are perfect, but that we never stop pursuing it." If I truly want to draw closer to God, then my heart’s desire will be to please the Lord and to bring Him glory in all that I do.
Source: Jonah Ravinder- UEC Ministries; Cynthia Heald-Bible.ORG; Steams in the Desert
[ecko_quote source="Roman 6:1-2"]Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? [/ecko_quote]
Evangelist Reinhart Bonnke said, “Cool or casual Christianity will accomplish nothing. Our nation’s most urgent need is the flaming message of the cross --'Now' and not at our leisure.”
The story is told about a young boy who was failing in mathematics. So, his parents sent him to a special evening class at the local Christian academy. To their amazement, the boy began to get straight A’s. When asked, what made the difference, the boy replied, “Those people don’t fool around about maths. On the wall, they have a picture of some guy nailed to a plus sign!” Do we see the cross of Christ as a plus or a minus?
Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Do we see the cross of Christ as a positive or a negative? Crucifixion means that I choose to die, not physically, but in a more abstract sense. Yet this death is just as real as a physical crucifixion.
A Christian is dead to sin. Sin has no control over a corpse. Temptations can present itself enticingly and persistently, yet a corpse will not yield! Before you were a Christian you were keenly susceptible to sin. Sin held you in its grip. When you become a Christian, your 'old self' has died. Now, sin has no more control over you than temptation has over a corpse. You have died to sin. You can still sin, but you are no longer in sin’s power. If you choose to succumb to temptation, you are rejecting the freedom from sin that Christ gained for you by His death.
God’s grace(power) is further motivation for us to resist sin. It was God’s grace that enabled Jesus to endure mocking, beating, and crucifixion at the hands of those whom He had come to save. It was grace that led God to forgive our sins despite our rebellion against Him. It is this same grace that God expresses toward us each time we sin against Him. Knowing this grace, we cannot continue to practice sin (Roman 6:1-2). We cannot presume upon God’s forgiveness by committing further offenses.
You are no longer the helpless victim of your sin. The victory has already been won. God does not have to win a victory over your sin. He already has! You need only to apply His victory to each area of your life. If there is a sinful habit, an ungodly attitude, or an unrighteous relationship that you need to put to death, claim the victory of Christ’s resurrection today. Then you will be free to experience the abundant life that God intends for you.