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How often do you sit down and take the time to remember the love of God?
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). He then went out and did what He said. He showed His love—He gave a tangible, solid demonstration of His heart. He is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). He is the friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19), laying down His life for us before we were holy, when we had nothing to our names but sin. We were His enemies when He lay down on that cross, ready for the nails, but on that cross, He made us His friends.
Love is willing to lay down its life, as Jesus revealed. Love looks like laughing delight and unspeakable joy, but it also can look like sacrifice. Jesus gave His disciples an invitation in John 15: 14-15
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
He extends the same invitation to you and me. This call to obedience isn’t just a call to give love to others—but to trust in God’s love for us. A huge part of our obedience to His Word means knowing His love and trusting it.
The Heart of Prayer
God desires intimacy with you. He desires communion and communication. He desires commitment, friendship, love, and affection. These aspects of your relationship with Him must increase, or your relationship will eventually decrease. You are never in neutral with God. You will not stay the same, and neither will your relationship with Him. If you’re not moving forward, you will move backward. I tell people that if they’re in the same place spiritually they were five years ago, they better think through some things. Change needs to happen, and it probably is not God who needs to change.
Abraham J. Heschel, a Jewish theologian from the 20th century, said, “Prayer does not change God; prayer changes the pray-er.” If you want to know His love more, it is imperative to develop an effective prayer life.
For the last few months, I’ve written about Lectio Divina, a life-changing way of praying Scripture. You meditate on a particular passage and wait for God to give you greater understanding about it. The purpose of this type of prayer is not just to establish relationship with God but to strengthen a relationship that already exists. I’ve noticed that the more
I pray in this manner, meditating on His Word, the more
of myself I am able to
offer to Him. At first
I was able to offer
only five minutes of myself to
Him. I might have spent
an hour in prayer, but
it all boiled down to about five minutes of
concentrated “good stuff.” But the more I have employed Lectio Divina, the more often it ends up being an hour or more of offering all of me to the Father. Imagine that! You end up giving God an hour of your full attention, not just five minutes boiled down.
Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” The result of an ever-growing, ever-deepening relationship with God allows you to call on Him, and He will show you things you didn’t know before. That is a promise. When you set your heart on Him and humbly choose to seek Him out, He hears you.
Daniel was told, “From the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard” (Daniel 10:12). Remind yourself who He is—and remind yourself who you are: His beloved.
The underground house church movement in China is growing exponentially. We don’t know exact figures because, quite frankly, these churches are doing a good job of remaining underground. However, reports from missionaries returning from Mainland China describe one of the greatest, albeit quietest, Church movements in history. It can’t even be called a revival because nothing existed there before it to revive.
This reality that spiritual hunger grows in direct proportion to the corresponding amount of persecution surrounding it is a profound irony. When something is easy and readily accessible it can become mundane and unappreciated. When something is rare and hard to come by—even forbidden—it is savored, revered and protected. This principle applies today in Bible-based discipleship and teaching.
Prayer is more than just speaking to God. It also means listening to God. It can mean quieting the soul, being still before Him, momentarily letting go of a busy schedule—and just listening.
The greatest “noise” that hinders us from hearing Him comes from our minds. My life is so full that my time is usually spoken for, and my mind is constantly working. Demands are placed on me. I’m recovering from radiation therapy and facing potential surgery. There is a lot of “noise” in my life right now.
In order to hear the still, quiet voice of the Lord in the midst of chaos and distraction, we need to develop the habit of meeting with Him on a regular basis. There, in His presence, we can practice two things that are capable of changing our lives forever.
The Bible is filled with examples of godly men and women whose lives were infused with prayer. As a result, entire nations were changed, and the earth saw God displayed in power.
Prayer is the most mentioned doctrine and practice in Scripture. The command to pray is found 250 times in the Bible, and praying specific prayers is mentioned another 280 times.
I know that prayer can be an intimidating word for some of us. In the middle of busy lives, the thought of prayer can make us feel overwhelmed. So in this month’s article, I want to share with you an easy way to pray—a practice that has radically shaped my walk with God, and I know it will impact yours as well. It’s called Lectio Divina, which is a fancy phrase that essentially means praying Scripture back to God.
The Lord wants to increase your hope. No matter what you’re going through right now, whether you view your life overall as a positive or negative experience, whether things are going well or things are going poorly, if you are in good health or poor health, if you are living in surplus or in need, if you are content or sick at heart—the Lord wants to increase your hope.
India is a unique harvest field for Christianity. It’s the birthplace for Hinduism—a religion of many Gods. Some say Hindus worship hundreds, thousands, even millions of gods. And 80 percent of the people in India are Hindu. What makes India unique is that many Indians accept Jesus as a god. Indians accept many of the Christian saints of the Bible as gods as well. But they don’t have a concept of one true God.