Calvary Church

Calvary Church

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today, Depend on God

'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

Hindrances, hang-ups, and hurdles are God’s gift to the self-sufficient. While He won’t let you use your weakness as a crutch or a cop-out, He’ll allow it to keep you dependent on Him. Paul wrote, I was given a thorn…to…keep me from becoming proud.’ (2 Corinthians 12:7 NLT)

Why would God keep you in touch with your limitations? To embarrass you? No, to empower you so that you can do His will. God’s intention is to increase, not decrease your need for Him. Perhaps this illustration will help you. Imagine four steel rings. The first can support eighty pounds, the second sixty, the third forty, and the fourth twenty. Linked together, what’s the greatest weight the chain can support? Two hundred pounds? No, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so the answer is twenty pounds! And it’s the same with us; we’re only as strong as our weakest area. That’s why we sometimes try to excuse or ignore them. But that’s dangerous because relying on your own strength may win you a few victories and accolades and cause you to think you can handle everything on your own. It was because Paul was so brilliant that God permitted difficult circumstances that kept him on his knees, living in a state of forced dependence. After praying repeatedly for God to take his weakness away, Paul finally came to the place where he could say, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) So today, depend on God!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Today, Speak Words that Encourage

'You have... encouraged those who are weak or falling.' Job 4:3

The Bible says, ‘...let us pursue what makes for… mutual upbuilding.’ (Romans 14:19 ESV) When Job was in trouble, his friend Eliphaz reminded him how in the past Job’s words had encouraged those who were weak or falling.’ Words can hurt or heal, bless or blister, destroy or deliver, tear down or build up. The tongue has the power of life and death.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

Think about this for a moment: ‘You…the one with Jesus in your heart—are capable of murder. And so am I. We have the power to speak death with our words, and… the power to speak life. Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of a message meant to murder. “You’re not smart enough…fast enough…good enough…a real Christian wouldn’t think such things.” In a world where people are beaten up and put down, God gives you superhero power to punch through the negativity. You speak life when you say, “You matter to me. I like you just the way you are… Your life counts. You were created for a purpose. God loves you, and you’re incredibly valuable to Him.” You can become the voice of God’s grace in the lives of others, supporting, loving, helping and encouraging them with the words that flow from your mouth.’ God wants us to encourage each other, but that doesn’t mean flattering or buttering people up. It means speaking words that help them to stay on their feet and keep going. What you say can give fresh hope to a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or a co-worker who’s about to collapse. What a gift!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Different Types of Prayer (2)

'Pray...with all [manner of] prayer.' Ephesians 6:18

Here are three more types of prayer: (1) The prayer of petition. You must learn to be confident in asking God to meet your needs. Jesus promised,Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ (Mark 11:24 NKJV) If we’d stop trying to impress God, we’d be a lot better off. Length, loudness or eloquence isn’t the issue; it’s the sincerity of our heart, the faith that’s in our heart, and the assurance that we’re praying according to God’s will that gets results.

(2) The prayer of agreement. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer...’ (Acts 1:14 ESV) When you’re up against something too big to handle alone, find a prayer partner and get into agreement with them. This isn’t for people who constantly live in strife, then decide to agree because they’re desperate. God honors the prayers of those who pay the price to live together in harmony (See Psalm 133:1)

(3) The prayer of thanksgiving. When your prayers outnumber your praises, it says something about your character. Self-centred people ask, but rarely appreciate. God won’t release us into the fullness of all He has planned for us until we become thankful for what we’ve already received. Petition avails much; praise avails much more! In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Philippians 4:6 NIV) Powerful living comes through thanksgiving. We can literallypray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV) by being thankful all day long, praising God for His favor, mercy, loving kindness, grace, longsuffering and goodness.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Different Types of Prayer (1)

'Pray...with all [manner of] prayer.' Ephesians 6:18 AMP

In Scripture there are many different kinds of prayer. Let’s look at some of them and see what we can learn:

(1) The prayer of surrender. When Paul met Christ on the Damascus Road he prayed, Lord, what do You want me to do?’ (Acts 9:6 NKJV) That’s like signing your name to a blank check and saying, ‘Here I am, Lord, do with me as You please. I hope I like what You choose, but even if I don’t, I’ll do it anyway; Your will be done, not mine.’ You’re deciding to voluntarily follow God rather than trying to get Him to follow you. As a result He will do the work that needs to be done in you, so that He can do the work He desires to do through you.

(2) The prayer of commitment. The Bible says, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him.’ (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) As long as you keep trying to control everything, your stress levels will keep mounting. But once you learn to hand things over to God, you’ll wonder why you spent even a single day worrying.

(3) The prayer of intercession. The prophet Ezekiel writes, ‘I looked for someone…who would…stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land.’ (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV) ‘The gap’ is the distance between what is— and what can be. And when there’s a ‘gap’ in someone’s relationship with God due to a particular sin, as a believer you have the privilege (and responsibility) of placing yourself in that gap and praying for them. You are Loved!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

God... "choses things the world considers foolish"

'God... choses things the world considers foolish.' 1 Corinthians 1:27 NLT

Writing about his time at a teen Bible camp, a counsellor tells this story: Teenage boys have a tendency to pick on some unfortunate child. That summer it was 13-year-old Billy, a child who couldn’t walk or talk right. When the children from his cabin were assigned to lead devotions, they voted Billy in as the speaker. It didn’t seem to bother him. He dragged himself up to the pulpit amid sneers and snickers, and it took him a long time to stammer, “Je–sus loves…me… and…I…love Je–sus.” There was stunned silence, and when I looked around there were boys with tears streaming down their cheeks. We’d done many things to try to reach these boys, but nothing had worked. We’d even brought in famous baseball players whose batting averages had gone up since they started praying, but it had no effect. It wasn’t until a special needs child declared his love for Christ that everything changed.' I was at a bible camp counseling the year I heard that story. Even today as I sit here and reflect on it, the story it still effects me. When you are tempted to look at and treat people in a less than positive manner; always remember that the Bible says, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.’ (1 Corinthians 1:27 NLT) So when you find yourself focusing on what you can’t do, remember His power works best in [your] weakness.’(2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT) Just do what you can, and God will do the rest! He’ll crown your efforts with success.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Your Time with God (4)

'I have...treasured His words more than daily food.' Job 23:12 NLT

Your quiet time with God is more than just a good idea, it’s vital to your spiritual survival. It’s also essential to your spiritual growth and maturity. You say, ‘But I go to church every week.’ Can you imagine what would happen if you ate only once a week? The patriarch Job said, I have…treasured His words more than daily food.’ Peter described the Scriptures as nourishing milk (1 Peter 2:2), and the writer to the Hebrews called the Word of God solid food (Hebrews 5:14). Your quiet time is also like a spiritual bath. Jesus said, You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.’ (John 15:3 NKJV) You shower every day to stay clean and avoid body odors. It’s not easy to be around someone who smells badly, and you run the risk of offending them by telling them so. But if you love them you’ll do it. Paul describes the Christian as: ‘...the aroma of Christ to God.’ (2 Corinthians 2:15 ESV) Here’s the bottom line. Unless you protect your quiet time with God: (1) you’ll be cut off from your source of strength, guidance, and wisdom; (2) your usefulness to God will be limited; (3) you’ll be inconsistent in your Christian life. You say, ‘But I don’t have time!’ You have the same 168 hours each week that everybody else has! And how you spend them is determined by what you think is most important. So if you think being in fellowship with God is important, begin to make time for it. You are Loved!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Your Time with God (3)

'He went out into the mountains to pray, and prayed all night.' Luke 6:12 TLB

Why do you need a quiet time with God each day? Because Jesus did, and He’s your example:He was up long before daybreak and went…to pray.’ (Mark 1:35 TLB) The truth is, we make time for what we value most, for the people we love most, for our highest priorities, and what we find most rewarding. Notice, Jesus seldom prayed for anybody in public. Why? Because He’d already done His praying before He got there! He made deposits each morning so that He could make withdrawals all day long. And the busier He got, the more He prayed. Did He know something we don’t? Jesus had no difficulty choosing between the crowd’s agenda and His Father’s will. I can do nothing on My own. I judge as God tells Me. Therefore, My judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the One who sent Me.’ (John 5:30 NLT) Why do spiritual leaders sometimes fall? Because they get caught up in the work of the Lord and neglect their relationship with Him. Throughout history, anyone who has been greatly used by God was a person of prayer. Martin Luther said, ‘I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours each day in prayer.’ Ceaseless activity will drain you and leave you vulnerable to Satan’s attack. The sign on a church bulletin board says it all: ‘Seven prayerless days make one weak Christian.’ So the busier you become, the more time you need to spend with God. Simply stated: if you’re too busy to have a quiet time with God, you’re too busy!