Calvary Church

Calvary Church

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Seize the Present


'The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.' Jonah 3:1 NIV


Ask yourself this Question? Why do we spend so much of our lives in regret. We focus on what might-have been, could-have been and should-have been. Maybe we think that by replaying it enough we can change the outcome. But we can’t. The only thing you can control is what you do in the present.
 
The more you replay yesterday, the further you get from today’s opportunities. And the further you move from today’s opportunities, the tougher the road back becomes. Opportunities never look as good coming, as they do going. And they wait for no one, so you need to be attentive and grab them. They come in many forms, and they can come from any direction.
 
But one thing’s for certain: they can be seen and seized only in the present. Whatever has happened in your life, has happened. And since you can’t undo it no matter how hard you try, wipe the slate clean and go on to what’s next. We all make mistakes. Jonah’s mistake caused a storm that threatened the lives of everybody around him, and ended up taking him all the way to the bottom. But that’s not the end of his story: ‘From inside the fish Jonah prayed to…God…And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Then the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’ (Jonah 2:1;2:10–3:1 NIV) He’s a God of second chances—and third, fourth, and fifth ones too! ‘They are new every morning.’ (Lamentations 3:23 NIV) Today is a gift—that’s why it’s called ‘the present’. So repent of the past, seize the present and start living again!
 
You are Loved!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Three Things We Owe Each Other



'Encouraged...by...mutual faith.' Romans 1:12 NKJV

Paul talks about three things we owe each other. Let’s look at them: (1) ‘Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.’(Romans 1:9 NKJV) An unknown poet wrote, ‘I was a poor soul in the depth of despair, who climbed to the heights in answer to prayer.’ You can show no greater love and concern for someone than to say, ‘I’m praying for you,’ and do it! Prayer is submitting to God in the situation, letting Him know your requests and asking for His will to be done.  

(2) ‘I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established.’(Romans 1:11 NKJV) What did Paul long for? The chance to strengthen his fellow believers, and he was willing to travel a long way at great personal risk to do it. When two people decide to recognise and nurture the God–given gifts in each other, not only are they blessed personally, everybody around them benefits too.

(3) ‘That I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.Notice the words ‘encouraged’ and ‘mutual faith’. There are powerful dynamics at work here! First, we pray for one another. Second, we recognise and nurture God’s gifts in one another. Third, we unite our faith and focus on a shared goal. Paul said: ‘For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.’ (Romans 14:17-19 NAS)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Prayer Factor 2.5


Loving my cup of coffee today as I was praying; nothing like a caffeine boast to get your day going after driving on a sheet of ice to get to the church. I was doing some in Jesus name on my way. One of the most important things that all of us have to learn in prayer is to Pray in His Jesus Name! There is power in His name.

Do you know what a power of attorney is? “A power of attorney (POA) or letter of attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter, sometimes against the wishes of the other.” Jesus has given us the power of attorney here on this earth. “We have the legal authority to transact business in the name of Jesus.”

There are seven things the name of Jesus gives us.

Protection: A wall of fire around us. Zechariah 2:5 “I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its glory within.”

Stability: A sure foundation.  Isaiah 28:16 “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

Growth: A refiner & purifier. Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness”

Security: A sure place.  Isaiah 22:22 “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honor for the house of his father.”

Guidance: A great light.  Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

Authority: A scepter. Numbers 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”

Energy: A quickening Spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 “So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

3# This is why I’m calling you to pray!

We have a mission to do individually and corporately. The mission of the praying Christian is to:
#Pray Down divine Energy

We need to be energized to do the mission. We need more of His Holy Spirit to waken and excite us spiritually. Romans 15:30-32 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord's people there”

Paul was trying to rise up workers not only to pray for themselves, but for the mission to evangelize the whole world. Our mission here at Calvary will require all of us involved in prayer.

My prayer is that God will lead us:
Upward. {Eyes on Jesus}
Inward. {Eyes on Us, our spiritual lives}
Outward. {Looking beyond to see the need of the world}
Downward. {Believing ever soul is worth our effort}

The mission of the praying Christian is to:
#Pray Open closed Doors.

Pray against the strongholds of the enemy in our lives and church.
Colossians 4:2-3 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”

1Timothy 2:1-2 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

The mission of the praying Christian is to: 
#Pray Away Spiritual Darkness

 I shared last week that the enemy has a plan to defeat us, why shouldn’t we use Gods plan to defeat the enemy. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what the devils favorite word might be? I’ve thought about this and have come to the conclusion that his favorite word is tomorrow. If he can keep us away from praying he has nothing to fear.

When we pray our prayers have the power to defeat him.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armor of God so we can be ready for the forces of spiritual darkness. So we learn to pray against those forces in the authority we have been given and for protection.

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. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people.”

So keep on Praying...
You are Loved!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Prayer Factor 2.5

If I asked you what the underlying premise of a prayer life is; it really is amazingly simple…

#2 Prayer Works!
In Jeremiah 33:3 God was having a conversation with Jeremiah, 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Do you have a few questions for God? Why don't you ask Him? He will answer you and more.

James goes on to tell us in 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Prayer works when we are engaged in the promises, or laws of God. When we stand on these words of God and Follow the premise of belief, God’s word will never fail us.

 Who is the greatest example in following Gods word in prayer? Jesus!

@Jesus Life was Filled with Prayer.
Two things that stand out in Jesus prayer life are He prayed not only on Earth but continues to pray In Heaven.

On Earth: Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

As is in Heaven: Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” He is interceding for us right now. God has heard you all you need is to believe...next

@ We see Jesus Pattern in Prayer.
a. The Lord’s Prayer…Mathew 6:9-13…
b. The High Priestly Prayer. John 17…

In Matthew 6 in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus shows us the aspects of prayer and that prayer must have substance. In John 17 He prays for unity that our prayers must be unified in His name.

In John 17:23 he says, “I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
 
As we come together in unity and in prayer can God Move on our behalf. More tomorrow...
 
You are Loved!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Prayer Factor 2.5

When I was a young man I asked myself what’s the purpose of prayer? I even asked God several times why I should pray. It was during one of those times as I was sitting in the church basement in Hermantown listening to my pastor give a bible study on prayer; my mind was wandering; Amy pinched me a few times to focus. But I kept thinking, why should I pray, God knows anyway. It was actually during one of those prayers, a pinch from Amy that God spoke to me that prayer is Power! Prayer brings power into our lives. If I want more of Him I must pray and ask.


One of the biggest things I had to work through in committing to a consistent prayer life was I had to ask myself a basic question. Do I actually have a prayer life?

I was honest in my response. “Sometimes, I’m not sure, or no I miss the opportunity because I place other things as a priority. As a young Christian I wasn’t yet convinced of the importance of a prayer life. So I did some digging…what’s God’s purpose for His people in prayer.

 #1… You Must Believe He Answers Prayer!

The important truth we must learn is that answered prayer is a law of God. Let me give you an example. What happens when you put water into ice trays and put them into your freezer at 32 degrees? A scientific phenomenon occurs. The ice becomes solid. Are you surprised when that happens? What happens when the opposite occurs, and it melts? Are you surprised? Scientists do not say “let’s make a proposition, lower the temperature to 32 degrees and I’ll promise you as a reward, some ice or that if you hold it long enough it will melt. They simply say there will be ice and it will melt under the right circumstances.

 The same thing happens when we pray. What we call bible promises are not actually promises at all, they are laws, immutable, unchanging laws. I know we don’t like the word law when it comes to scripture. But these promises or laws when taken from God’s word and spoken in faith come alive. God has spoken them in His word to us so we can fulfill them here on this earth.

 Only through prayer can those purposes be fulfilled.
What is the underlying purposes of prayer…

 To Give God Glory.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We are to bless God and worship Him.

To Have Fellowship With Him In Exodus 25:22 it says, There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands” What happens is we get blessed when we fellowship with Him. We get to “Yada” know God more.

To Evangelize the World.
Roman’s 10:1 says, Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” By my involvement in prayer I’m obeying a command of God, to go into the entire world through my prayers.

If I asked you what the underlying premise of a prayer life is; it really is amazingly simple…More tomorrow.
 
You are Loved!

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Release Yourself

Release Yourself from Bitterness
'Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger.' Ephesians 4:31 NIV


Anger is often the product of frustrated expectations. We expect something, and when we don’t get it we end up disappointed and angry. And our anger leads to a dysfunctional personal, spiritual and relational lifestyle.
 
Frustrated expectations are often rooted in early experiences with our parents, siblings and authority figures. Perhaps our need for love, acceptance, security and significance were never met; then later we experienced broken commitments in marriage, business and friendships. Ultimately, smouldering anger becomes a weapon in our arsenal, threatening to hurt everything and everybody we care about. We become bitter people—avoided, excluded and lonely.
 
God instructs us to ‘get rid of all bitterness’, so that ‘no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.’ (Hebrews 12:15 NIV) How do we obey His command?
 
(1) By believing and acting on His Word.Without a Scriptural foundation, old emotions will repeatedly undermine your efforts to overcome them. ‘Get rid of all bitterness’ is an order that implies the promise of success when you obey it.
 
(2) By choosing to be released from bitterness. Choice isn’t an emotion, and it doesn’t require an emotional response. God won’t control your emotions, but neither will He be influenced by them. Believing God’s Word and making the choice to obey it always results in success. So start strengthening your will and your faith. How? By choosing to obey God in spite of your feelings! Practise this every day until it becomes a lifestyle. Then instead of being mastered by your moods, you’ll find yourself ‘reigning in life’ (Romans 5:17), no longer controlled by your negative emotions.
 
You are Loved!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pray Factor 2.4

Lastly Have Total Compassion

A humorous story is told of a man who repeatedly prayed aloud during a weekly prayer service; “Lord fill me with your compassion.” He repeated that phrase several times until his wife screamed out: “don’t do it Lord, he leaks.”
 

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

When Jesus came, he came to fulfill the whole law. Christ said, “I will show you a more simple way. If you love, you will unconsciously fulfill the whole law.”  I think we are all familiar with Galatians 5:22-23. Do you know what the nine ingredients of the spectrum of love are: patience, kindness, generosity, humility, courtesy, unselfishness, good temper, meekness, and sincerity?

Think about this: they are all in relation to men, in relation to life, in relation to the know today, and the near tomorrow and not to the unknown eternity.

Mark 8:1-2 “In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:”

Here is The Biography of Jesus in Six Words is this: I Have Compassion on the Multitude. Do you know what that is called…Love in Action.

When you love in action You become an Involved Christian.
I love when the light bulb goes off in new Christians and they realize that God has a plan for them and then they live that plan out. They love so others may know the love they have.

There are three steps for developing compassion…

a.   Intensity
Luke 9:51 “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” He had a resolve or intensity.

 B. Sensitivity
Luke 10:30-37 “In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' 36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Be sensitive to the Lords leading. People you come in contact with may be beaten and robbed, or someone who has lost control inside. You never know who God is going to give you opportunity to minister to.

c.   Generosity
Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Be generous with all you have, big or small.

What’s the bottom line: Become like Jesus.

You are Loved!