I have a significant word for the Church in 2013.
It is easy to look at what is happening in the world today and assume that we are going through times of trouble in a way that perhaps no other generation has done.
Questions abound. Will the American economy finally be revealed as the most bankrupt in world history, revealing that the nation is in reality perhaps one of the poorest on the planet?
Will Israel engage Iran in conflict over Iran’s self-proclaimed peaceful nuclear programme? What about the Church? Will the Church see the long sought after revival that they mistakenly long for more than the Lord’s return?
10,000 more questions wait eagerly in the shadows, but for all of them God has an answer.
In response, God has something to say to the Church, and he also has a task for her.
What God has for us is excruciatingly simple, but if the Church commits to it so much will change. If God asked for arduous activity, a frenzy of works, toil and sweat the church would respond immediately.
I can tell you now – you are not going to do what God says, but you will defend yourself, justify yourself and possibly blame shift.
That is why, before I tell you what it is I want to tell you about grace, and that is revealed nowhere better than in the gospel.
The gospel is God’s fantastic works and provision for us. It speaks volumes about God doing things for us, and in us that we could never do for ourselves. It speaks of righteousness imputed to us so that we can spend eternity in the presence of a God so holy that heaven is aflame with majesty and glory.
What God wants from us is not coerced obedience, but a willing heart sustained with a passion to do what pleases God. That is what Jesus was like, He did what He saw the Father doing, because he wanted to honour the Father whom He loved.
So this word is a word that will be calling to you throughout the year – calling you back to God, to intimacy, obedience and will be testing your heart whether you will look to your own hand and to the gods of this world to assist you or whether you will look to God. It is a radical call because your heart will defend you and tell you that you need to adopt common sense, it will mislead you that God helps those who help themselves, anything other than do what you are called to…
Devote yourselves to prayer. Colossians 4:12
Don’t think, “Is that it?”. All through the Bible God makes it clear that he hears and answers prayer, that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. He urges us in those pages that if you ask you will receive, that there is a reward for those who persist in prayer. God hears and answers prayer. Even the fantastic gift that God gave to the Church on the day of Pentecost was one that was to bring us closer to the heart of God; a prayer language. God so values prayer and the intimacy that it brings that even now in Heaven, the Son ever lives to make intercession for us – not Mary or any so called saints, Jesus!
You can’t sustain this in and of yourself, ask God to help you to pray as you should. It is not a taskmaster burden, but an encouragement from God. Will you make your magnificent obsession in 2013 the relentless pursuit of God – and Devote yourself to prayer?
If you do things could change radically in our world. If you pray in an unprecedented way, you will see unprecedented results.
And anytime the practice slips just start again – remembering that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him . . .
Devote yourselves to prayer.