The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”
Revelation 22:17

My new friend texted and asked, “Would you like to come over for brunch on Sunday?” The invitation was the preface to a choice. Would we accept or decline?

When an invitation is polite, it softens the words and leaves the invitation open. Without politeness the words may sound like a strident command. For instance, “Please come over” has a much gentler tone than, “Come over here!”

Is it possible that many commands of Jesus are also invitations?  I’m beginning to think so.

In John 15:4a Jesus says, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” It’s an invitation to come be an integral part of a family, to take up space because a space has been made for you. You are invited to settle down securely and be at home with Jesus and, therefore, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

It’s also an invitation to be part of a life-giving system. In John 15:4 Jesus goes on to say, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” This is an invitation to spiritual vitality and effectiveness.

The invitation in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” is coupled with the command, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” (Matthew 11:29). What? A yoke? Who needs that? Yet it’s the yoke that symbolizes the connection. It is the reminder that we are in this with God rather than striving alone, carrying burdens that are too heavy for us.

What is Jesus inviting you to today? Will you drink from His thirst-quenching supply? Live with him? Bear fruit and experiencing rest?

Lord Jesus Christ, I am thirsty, hungry, and tired of trying to do life on my own. Will you please help me accept your invitations and follow the directives I find in them?

pine cones in spring feature scene

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart Psalm 9:1

Praise should always follow answered prayer, just like the mist of earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of heaven’s love warms the ground. Has the Lord been gracious to you, and heard your voice as your earnestly pray? Then praise Him as long as you live! Don’t deny a song to Him who has answered your prayer and given you the desire of your heart.

To be silent over God’s mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude. It is to act as ungratefully as the nine lepers. After they were cured of their leprosy, they did not even bother to return to give thanks to the Lord who healed them. (Luke 17:11-19)

To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves. Praise, like prayer, is one great means of growing our spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, and to increase our faith. It is a healthy and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves us for fresh enterprises in our Master’s service.

To bless God for His mercy is also a way to benefit our fellow brothers and sisters:

My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” (Psalm 34:2)

Others who have been in similar circumstances will take comfort if we say,

Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:3-4)

Weak hearts will be strengthened, and weak souls will be revived as they listen to our “songs of deliverance.” Their doubts and fears will be assuaged, as we teach and encourage one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Then they too will “sing in the ways of the Lord” when they hear us praising His holy name.

Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels do not pray, but they never cease to praise both day and night. And we the redeemed, clothed in white robes, with palm-branches in our hands, should never grow tired of singing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb.”

Question: Has your prayer been answered lately? Please share your story with someone about how God has answered your prayer now and in the past.

By Charles H. Spurgeon
Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2008