Calvary Church

Calvary Church

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Forgiveness Begins the Healing Process

'...If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them...' Mark 11:25 NIV

As we go through the "Life of Jesus" Series, it's very easy to understand why the hardest offences to forgive are committed by the people who are closest to us.

Why? Because we have to live with them every day! When we’re young, our emotions are so intense that wounds and injuries may stay with us for a lifetime. The pain is worse when the one who wronged us was a parent. Perhaps a mother rejected us instead of providing the love we needed, or a father was similarly absent when he was needed most. Victims of such horror may still be consumed with resentment and anger many decades later. This can cause you to ‘act out’, and hurt the people you now love and need most.

What’s the answer? Forgiveness. Dr. Archibald Hart defines forgiveness as ‘giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.’ Only when you find the emotional maturity to release those who’ve wronged you, whether they have repented or not, will your wounds begin to heal. Jesus put it this way: ‘When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.’ (Mark 11:25 NIV) Here’s something you may not have considered: God’s willingness to forgive you depends on your willingness to forgive others. You say, ‘But if I forgive them, I’m letting them off the hook.’ No, you’re letting yourself off the hook! You’re setting yourself free of pain and resentment, and positioning yourself to walk in God’s blessing. Leave the offence and the offender with God; He’s the only one who understands what they did and why they did it. As far as you are concerned—forgiveness begins the healing process.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Power of God's Word (2)

'The commandments of the Lord are right....' Psalm 19:8 NIV

Observe: (1) ‘The commandments of the Lord are right…’ When people like Plato and Shakespeare speak, the effect of their words on us depends on what we bring to the process. Some of us may be informed and entertained, while others may be indifferent or bored. Their words could be described as intrinsically neutral but this is not so with God’s words: they radiate! Like heat and light, they are sources of spiritual energy. They possess a dynamic power that produces change wherever it goes. Likewise, God’s Word is dynamic. It radiates transforming power that changes anyone who lives in its ‘environment’! (2) ‘…The judgments given by the Lord are trustworthy…’ (Psalm 19:9 NET) The Hebrew word for ‘trustworthy’ comes from ‘certainty, honesty and faithfulness’. With absolute confidence, you can stake your all on the reliability of God’s Word. It guarantees you that God says what He means, and means what He says. You can stand secure on every syllable of it. In other words, you can ‘…live…by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4 NKJV) (3) ‘By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.’ (Psalm 19:11 CEV) God’s Word is more than just a list of ‘dos and don’ts. It’s like radar that signals to you when you’re in danger of straying off course and getting into trouble. Your conscience alone is inadequate. ‘How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults…Don’t let them control me.’ (Psalm 19:12–13 NLT) By obeying God’s Word, you will be ‘greatly rewarded’!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Power of God's Word (1)

'The law of the Lord is perfect...' Psalm 19:7 NKJV
Of all the words ever spoken this scripture reminds me why I need His word; ‘…the Word of God is alive and powerful.’ (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) So when you read your Bible, you tap into a life–Changing Force. Let’s look at some of the wonderful characteristics and effects attributed to God’s Word in Psalm 19. (1) ‘The law of the Lord is perfect…’ To understand the word ‘law’, think of governing forces by which things like gravity, aerodynamics and physics work. When you deny or defy these laws you suffer; when you operate according to them you succeed, but either way they are always in force! So is God’s Word. It cannot be improved upon, added to, or taken from. It is adequate and able to accomplish His purposes in your life. Additionally, it ‘refreshes the soul’! Why wouldn’t you embrace it? (2) ‘The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy…’ (Psalm 19:7 NIV) You can count on the reliability and accuracy of God’s Word in every circumstance of life. In a world of changing values, conditions and relationships, you can place your full weight on the Scriptures, confident they will hold up—and hold you up, too! Furthermore, it will ‘make wise the simple’—the ignorant and immature. It will produce in you wisdom far beyond what’s available through study and education. (3) ‘The precepts of the Lord are right…’ (Psalm 19:8 NIV) God’s precepts are accurate, correct and virtuous, and we are called to ‘…add to [our] faith virtue…’ (2 Peter 1:5 NKJV) or moral excellence. This cannot be accomplished through will–power, but through God’s supernatural Word–power.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dealing With Change (3)

'...Tell the children of Israel to go forward.' Exodus 14:15 NKJV

The last instalment in dealing with change leads us to Exodus chapter14. With the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s chariots behind them, Moses told the Israelites: ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians, whom you see today, you shall see again no more, forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said to Moses…“Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”’ (Exodus 14:13–15 NKJV) Notice, God told the people of Israel two things. First, that He would fight for them. Second, that they must go forward in spite of their fear. When you face the unknown it’s normal to feel fear, but that’s when you need to put your trust and confidence in God! In order for Him to fulfil His promise to you, you must obey what He has told you to do. How should you deal with change? In three ways: (1) Focus on its long–term benefits instead of its short–term inconvenience. (2) Be honest with yourself about what you really feel and fear about the change, and take it to God in prayer. (3) Keep an open attitude toward new ideas, and refuse to be influenced by rigid thinkers. Stand on this Scripture: ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left…’ (Isaiah 54:2–3 NKJV) God doesn’t change, but He moves! In order to succeed, you must move with Him. You are Loved!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dealing With Change (2)

'...Go to the land that I will show you.' Genesis 12:1 NLT

How would you feel if God told you to leave your job, sell your house and go to a city you didn’t know? That’s what happened to 75–year–old Abram and his 65–year–old wife, Sarai. ‘…Leave your native country…and go to the land that I will show you.’ Why would God do that? Because He has a special destiny in mind for each of us! He told Abram, ‘I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you…and you will be a blessing to others.’ (Genesis 12:2 NLT) With no hint of resistance, Abram embraced change, trusted God, and reaped the incredible rewards. It’s no wonder the Bible calls him the father of faith. To walk with God and fulfil His will you must have a mindset that adapts to change—sometimes costly and uncomfortable change. How do you do it? ‘By faith’! (Hebrews 11:8) Faith in whom? Yourself? Others? No. Faith in the goodness of God! Did you know that those who flow with change rather than resist it are less stressed, healthier, and generally happier? So start developing a ‘change mindset’. Break out of your rut and develop a new routine and if you’re serious about it, ask your friends and family to point out areas where you constantly demonstrate inflexibility. Where should you start? With this Scripture: ‘Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.’ (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) Live by the principle: ‘Where God guides, He provides.’ You are Loved!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dealing With Change (1)

'...Enlarge my territory...' 1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV

Think how foolish it is to pray for success, and resist the changes needed to bring it about. However much we resist it, we do it anyway don’t we? Let’s face it; it’s easier to settle for the status quo than to face the ‘what ifs’ that accompany progress. Some of us even think it’s selfish and unspiritual to pray for success. Not Jabez! Listen to his prayer: ‘…Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ (1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV) So God granted him what he requested. Consider this list of ‘changes’ you may be resisting: leaving an unfulfilling job, starting a business, or letting go of an unprofitable one, learning to use a computer, abandoning a toxic relationship, letting go of an unaffordable home, car or lifestyle, establishing a responsible spending plan. All these changes are normal; they’re part of daily life. However, panic sets in when the change is unexpected. That’s when we discover the difference between what we say and what we truly believe. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28 NKJV) The key words in this Scripture are ‘all things’ and ‘good’ and ‘purpose’. Since you are ‘in Christ’, nothing can get to you without first coming through Him. In ‘all things’, including things you don’t like, God has a ‘purpose’, and He’s working for your ‘good’. You’ll look back and say, ‘If I hadn’t gone through that, I wouldn’t be experiencing the blessing of God I enjoy today.’ You are Loved!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sound Minds (3)

'...God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.' 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

This is the last segment in having a sound mind.
By now you maybe asking, ‘What is this “sound mind” that God says He has given us?’ The original Greek word means ‘sane, rational, logical, realistic, and reasonable’. It includes qualities such as: (1) Being self–controlled. It’s not con-trolled by anyone or anything outside itself—including people, circumstances, impulses, emotions, intellect, and especially not fear. It stays in control at all times. Even when faced by problems with no easy solutions, it remains anchored to the truth, as defined by God and His Word. (2) Being discerning. It distinguishes wisely between alternatives. It discerns between reality and fantasy, good and evil, effective and ineffective, worthwhile and worthless. It’s the faculty that enables us to make good decisions in difficult situations. (3) Being focused. Like a laser beam, it has the capacity to lock in on a desired target. Like a finely tuned receiver, it can minimise distortion and resist competing sound waves. It limits interference, uncertainty and confusion. Once it’s ‘set on task’, a sound mind will help you concentrate your energies on fulfilling the important priorities in your life. (4) Being orderly. It is a process–oriented mind, operating with cause/effect logic. It’s concerned with getting you from A to B—goal to realization—by a series of orderly steps that contribute to the fulfilment of your purpose. You are ‘…fearfully and wonderfully made…’ (Psalm 139:14 NIV) The God whose mind created you is reflected in the mind He gave you to use. Knowing who you are, now go forward and experience ‘…life…more abundantly.’ (John 10:10 NKJV)
You are Loved!