Refugees have a tough life. Driven from their homes by things like famine, persecution, and war, they face danger, deprivation, and despair. No one chooses to become a refugee, but our Lord Jesus willingly took on flesh, knowing that the very first stage of His earthly life would be lived as a refugee in Egypt. But it was all part of God’s grand plan of salvation. Jesus would become a refugee for us so that we might find our refuge in Him. He would shelter us through His blood so that we might help shelter others in His Name.
Theologian Charles Hodge teaches us that for an effective prayer life, we should have our minds focused and understand that prayer is a means of grace. He encourages us to build important fundamentals into our prayer life so that we might realize more of God’s power through prayer.
No amount of human ingenuity or effort can bring forth Reformation. Only God can bestow it by His grace as we appeal to His glory, mercy, and purposes. He shines His face upon us through the man at His right hand, the son of man whom He has raised up for Himself: the good Shepherd, the true Vine, the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
Christianity transforms not only our thinking and beliefs, but our lifestyle and actions. Once enough people in ancient Ephesus had become born again, the very fabric of the city began to change. Popular pagan industries began to falter, resulting in a backlash of tribulation against the Church. But God used even the tribulation for His glory. His reformation through the gospel of His Son is a glorious work that can never fail, and it is a work that He is still doing today.
The first of Luther’s 95 theses read, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” Through repentance, the heart is broken and prepared to receive the life-giving word of God. The word of God then further enables us to grow in faith and repentance. This divinely appointed cycle results in reformation that transforms our lives, and entire cities, for His glory.
Ephesus is estimated to have been the fifth largest city in the Roman Empire. It was a major center of materialism, the occult, and the pagan worship of Artemis, whose temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Yet within three years, the city was transformed. The worship of Artemis had declined precipitously and Ephesus had become a church-planting hub for the entire region. God brought about a major reformation that began with thoughtful preparation and the proclamation of Jesus Christ. God continues to work in the same way today as we proclaim the same Savior who set us free.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers” was also a persistent “pray-er.” One of the keys to his passion for prayer and the power he experienced in prayer was his private communion with God. Spurgeon reflects David’s own intimate communion with the LORD as seen in Psalm 63. There are valuable prayer lessons to glean from both the King of Israel and the Prince of Preachers.