Calvary Church

Calvary Church

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Let Christ's Word Live in You (2)

'...if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.' 1 John 5:14 NIV

One of the things that moves us forward on our journey of faith is we must have a relationship with God's word. It's hard to live a life of faith unless we have a understanding of what God desires of us. So while you are waiting for God's Word to be fulfilled in your life, or you are in the beginning stages, do these three things:

(1) Verbalize it. The most effective way to pray is to speak God's Word. The patriarchs, prophets and psalmists regularly reminded God of His promises in prayer, confident He would keep them. The surest indicator of God's will is His Word. 'This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us...we know that we have what we asked of Him.' (1 John 5:14-15 NIV) God always responds to His Word, always!
(2) Obey it. God's plan for us is not just to speak His Word, vital as this is, but that we obey it (James 1:22). The hymn-writer said: 'When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.' Obedience - faith in action - aligns us with God and He responds by fulfilling His promise to us.
(3) Share it. 'Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you're at home or away, when you lie down or get up.' (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 GWT) You needn't be a qualified teacher, just a sincere teller. Sharing God's Word will produce fruit in the lives of your family, friends, relatives, business associates and neighbors, and also increase your own grasp and understanding of it. You are Loved!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Let Christ's Word Live in You (1)

'Let Christ's in you.' Colossians 3:16 GWT

Making the right decisions and choosing the right actions are the crux of living successfully. If you are the source of your own wisdom, or you're looking to others, your odds are not good. Paul writes, 'Let Christ's word with all its wisdom and richness live in you.' If you do, you'll have the winning strategy for your life. But you must: (1) Read it. You don't have to understand it all; it's not an intellectual exercise. Reading it prayerfully brings power and wisdom because '...the Word that God speaks is alive and active... [penetrating] to the place where soul and spirit meet.' (Hebrews 4:12 PHPS) (2) Meditate on it. That means 'chew on' it. Let your spiritual digestive juices process God's Word until its nutrients become part of you: strengthening, energising and directing you. (3) Believe it. 'My Word...always produces... It will accomplish all I want it to.' (Isaiah 55:11 NLT) There's only one thing that can short-circuit God's Word - unbelief. 'The message...did them no good, because they only heard and did not believe as well.' (Hebrews 4:2 PHPS). 'Hearing' opens the door; 'believing' walks through it and activates the promise. (4) Receive it. No matter how strongly you believe in God's promises and His intention to give them to you, they're not yours until you receive them by faith. 'Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.' (Mark 11:24 NIV) So believe your answer is on the way, and keep your faith strong until it arrives. You are Loved!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Word and the Spirit

'...we have the mind of Christ.' 1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT

Yesterday I spoke on Ezekiel 47, it was amazing! We need God's Spirit and His Word more in our lives then ever before. The intertwining of both is huge, because when your mind is not open to the Holy Spirit, you cannot understand God's Word. So if you find reading the Bible unrewarding, try this: before you open your Bible, open your heart and pray, 'Holy Spirit, show me what I don't see and teach me what I don't know.'
Paul writes: ' was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit. For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom...we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths... It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, Who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him? But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.' (1 Corinthians 2:10-16 NLT)
The Bible isn't like any other book. Its words are God-breathed; therefore when you approach the Bible, you must ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and give you understanding. He will!
You are Loved!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When God Speaks

This morning I was feeling a strong need to connect with the Lord and get a refreshed picture of His plans for me today. I don't always recognize the Lord's hand in my life... but this time it was clear and I listened. It's awesome when the Lord speaks and gives us His "plan for the day", Isaiah says,

Isaiah 40:25-26, 28-31
“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Trust in Him;
Rest in Him;
Take refuge in Him,
Letting the Lord of heaven and earth,
Our creator and sustainer,
Be our refuge and strength.

And acknowledge the things He does on our behalf.

Psalm 91:14-16
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

We do have an enemy - and because we belong to God, we're subject to attack from the spiritual realm. I suspect this is more true now than ever before. Not just for me, but our whole nation, as we face much turbulence, and significant issues that threaten our freedom to continue to acknowledge and honor our Creator in all that we do. But in Ephesians the apostle Paul tells us what to do -

Ephesians 6:10-18
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

So let's do this. Let's stand strong in Him, in His armor and His strength.  You are Loved!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ask God for Your Mountain (2)

'...I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me...' Joshua 14:11 NKJV

God has a mountain with your name on it. Do you know why? Because you only flourish as you face challenges in your life! Joshua and Caleb both brought back a good report, yet only Joshua was promoted to leadership when Moses departed. Caleb could have withdrawn and sulked, but instead he invested himself in the lives of the people around him. As an older man whose generation was dying off, he had to develop a whole new circle of friends and he did it. He became a mentor, guide and cheerleader for an entirely new generation. At 85-years-old, he did it with such gusto that he was able to lead the charge in conquering the hill country and defeating the giants who'd terrified an earlier generation.
Challenges undertaken for the greater good bind us to people, whereas the pursuit of comfort leads to isolation, and isolation is terminal. You say, 'I'm too old or too young to make a difference.' God doesn't think so. 'Even to your old age...I will carry you; I will sustain you...' (Isaiah 46:4 NIV) So start making plans. Dare to dream! Life isn't about comfort, it's about saying, 'God, give me another mountain.' Somebody said that when everything's coming your way - you're on the wrong side of the road. Living the adventure God planned for you isn't just another pursuit; it's the reason you were born! How will you recognize your mountain? There's no precise formula and like every other area of growth in your life, your mountain won't look exactly like anyone else's. But you'll recognize it, because it lies at the intersection of your greatest strengths and your greatest passions.
You are Loved!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ask God for Your Mountain (1)

'...give me this mountain...' Joshua 14:12 NJKV

Think about it, why would someone ask God for a mountain? In life we sometimes need to tackle something bigger than our self. When we do: (1) you grow; (2) you learn to depend on God; (3) you get to celebrate big victories. Caleb said: ' I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, with the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.' (Joshua 14:10-12 NIV) Anybody can occupy the flat ground, but it takes faith in God to tackle a mountain. What's more, that's where the sons of Anak - the giants - lived. These guys were so big they caused ten of Moses' spies to say, ' to them we felt like grasshoppers...' (Numbers 13:33 NLT) You'd think at 85 Caleb would have asked for a nice cottage in Shalom Acres! But no, he wanted another battle and another victory before he checked out. Stop asking God for a problem-free life, otherwise you might die of boredom. It's in working to solve problems and overcome challenges that you become the person God wants you to be. So ask Him for a task that will keep you learning, growing, uncomfortable, and hungry for significance. When you pray, 'God, use me,' be prepared to encounter four things: adventure, danger, risk, and reward. How about it - are you up for a little excitement?
You are Loved!

Monday, May 11, 2015

How do You Respond?

'...every good tree bears good fruit...' Matthew 7:17 NIV

How do we learn to live this scripture out in our life? Take a moment to consider these two questions. Question one: How do you respond when you're treated badly? A man stopped by a news-stand every morning to pick up a paper. The man behind the counter was always nasty, yet the customer was always nice to him. When a friend asked him why he remained so kind in the face of such rudeness, he replied, 'Why would I let his attitude dictate my attitude?' Question two: How do you respond when you're tempted? You say, 'Everyone is doing it, and I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.' Actually, you can. You can spend hour's listening to stories from people who lost control of there lives in sin. Look into the eyes of their children. Hear the betrayal, and see the broken promises in their eyes. When you do, you'll think new thoughts! The Bible says, '...Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.' (Galatians 5:16 NKJV) At any moment you can turn your mind to God and your thoughts will change. Feelings are like spoiled children; they can take a little longer to come round, but if you keep your mind 'fixed' on God, your feelings will eventually line up with your thoughts. Looking back, you'll be glad you were guided by God instead of your impulses. It's as if there's a little network called HSN (Holy Spirit Network) where you can tune in at any time. When you ask God to guide your thoughts, then pause and listen to what He says - He will guide you.
You are Loved!