March 31 – Worship

March 31 – Worship

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.

      Hebrews 12:28-29

We worship God by how we live, the choices we make and the attitudes we have. An attitude of gratitude truly is a necessity in life. It is good to pause and thank God for all He is and all He is doing, remembering that our lives would be different without Him.

God, we worship You. We are thankful that Your Kingdom is unshakable, that You are a firm foundation. We are in awe of who You are and all You do, and we are grateful.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all God is doing.

March 30 – Go

March 30 – Go

“Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.”

Psalm 96:2-4

Candy. Games. Fun. As we grow and mature, these words lose their vitality and meaning. They become mere trifles among much more powerful words, such as: “investments” and “opportunities”.

To kids, these words speak much louder. These words are a language unto themselves that communicate something very powerful: kindness.

It’s the same kindness that Jesus displayed when He invited a group of children to sit with Him. It’s the same kindness He displayed when He sat down with Zacchaeus. And it’s the same kindness He displayed when He gave His life to pay the price of our brokenness.

May we display kindness today, to a child, a family and a community. In doing so, may we reflect the kindness of a Creator and Savior who is both mighty and gentle.

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for a great ministry impact through the Easter Egg Hunt.

March 29 – Serve

March 29 – Serve

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

When I was fourteen years old, I decided to volunteer in our church parking lot and help direct cars to available parking locations. This was not so much an area of deep spiritual burden for me, as it was an opportunity to skip church and hang out with my friends outside.

However, when I donned the blue ministry shirt that was entrusted to my care, there was a tangible change in my attitude toward this seemingly simple task. I learned quickly that a simple smile or kind greeting to the people whose vehicles I was directing could create an atmosphere of joy and hospitality that prepared them to enter God’s house.

It was an even more powerful experience to look around the parking lot and see my blue-shirted friends having the same realization. In that moment, we became much more than a group of kids trying to skip church. We became ministers.

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for the Easter Egg Hunt Setup process.

March 28 – Grow

March 28 – Grow

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Regardless of how long we may have been walking with the Lord, there are times when we question why pain, loss, or challenging seasons are part of our journey. It is easy to get distracted by the difficulties, large or small, rather than keeping our eyes and our faith focused on the One who promised that He would never leave us and that He would use them for our benefit and to strengthen others.

Many in the Calvary family are aware of the journey of Tim and Marie Kuck, who founded Nathaniel’s Hope following the death of their 4 ½ year old prematurely born son, Nathaniel. During his short time on earth, Nathaniel experienced multiple sicknesses, hospitalizations and surgeries. Instead of focusing inwardly on the pain of their loss, the Kuck’s reached out to minister to countless families who are dealing with the overwhelming challenges of raising special needs children with very little support or encouragement.

Every challenge can prepare us for future opportunities. The season in which we find ourselves may be a mystery and desert experience, but it is not a surprise to God and it is not wasted time. He can and will use it for His purposes if we will trust Him and allow Him to work in and through us.

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for a revelation of God’s work in our lives.

March 27  – Connect

March 27  – Connect

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:7-8

In his book “Loving People”, Dr. John Townsend speaks of how one of the best things people can do is connect with others. He writes, “What is connection? The best working definition of connection is a heart-to-heart attachment that goes beyond knowing about someone to actually knowing that person. We are not really connected until the heart comes into play. We live in the gap of isolation and aloneness. Connection bridges that gap.”

We have many new faces at Calvary from different backgrounds and cultures. Calvary has a great legacy of showing love and kindness to new people looking to fit in and to belong!

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for new friendships with those who are new to Calvary.

March 25 – Go

March 25 – Go

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:15-16

George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.

Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message — the most important in your life — and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?”

We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to proclaim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for the Calvary family as we invite friends to Easter Sunday.

March 24 – Serve

March 24 – Serve

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

I used to have trouble getting past the word “generous” because it was always directed towards my wallet. As I grew in knowledge of what God’s heart was towards us, I was able to focus on giving of myself rather than paying attention to materialism.

As I learn to relate to others and develop relationships, I find that I am being refreshed as I learn how to refresh others.

Faithful giving of ourselves does not result in us being diminished. Rather, we will be refreshed.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray God’s blessings over all who serve.

March 23 – Grow

March 23 – Grow

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  

         2 Chronicles 7:14

Humble – that word has various meanings and feelings that go along with it. A couple of the definitions are: “not proud or arrogant” and “to destroy the independence, power or will of”.  In this verse, it talks about humbling ourselves, not being forced to humility. God is asking us if we will choose to humble ourselves, turn from our own ways and surrender to His plan and His will, so He can work in us and work through us to heal our land.

Humbling ourselves and turning from our old ways can be difficult and a lot of work at times, but it is well worth it. God’s healing is so much better! And it is vitally necessary for God to accomplish all He has planned.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for God to spiritually prepare our church for the ministry ahead.

March 21 – Worship

March 21 – Worship

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18

“When praise demands a sacrifice,

I’ll worship even then.

Surrendering the dearest things in life.

And if devotion costs me all,

He’ll find me faithful to His call.

When praise demands a sacrifice”

As you are reading this devotional, I encourage you to listen to, “When Praise Demands a Sacrifice” by one of my favorite singers, Larnelle Harris. “And if devotion costs me all, He’ll find me faithful to His call.” The words of the chorus should challenge us deeply considering our Scripture today. Will you worship even when it may be difficult, even if it might include surrendering something that is very dear to you, including your life?

The three Hebrew boys did not doubt the king’s intention to throw them into the blazing furnace. They didn’t doubt his ability or his willingness to act if necessary. I am sure they had seen firsthand how cruel he could be to anyone who crossed him. What gave them the confidence to speak so boldly? Three little words: God is able. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had been taught the stories of God’s faithfulness and deliverance since they were children. Because they knew their God, they knew what he could do. Therefore, in their own time of crisis, they knew beyond any shadow of doubt that God is able!

They knew it was better to die a thousand times with God’s approval than to live one day without it. Better a fiery furnace than to live with the fire of a guilty conscience burning in your soul. They could die, but they dare not sin! Their convictions were not for sale. Not at any price, not even their own lives.

The cost of obedience is nothing compared to the cost of disobedience. There are so many distractions and interruptions the enemy uses in our lives in an attempt to cause us to lose focus. Nothing in our lives should stand in the way of our offering of worship to our one true God. Let God find you “faithful to His call, even if devotion costs you all.”

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for a greater commitment to worship God alone.

March 20  – Go

March 20  – Go

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…             2 Timothy 1:7-8

What is Christian boldness? Boldness is acting, by the power of the Holy Spirit, on an urgent conviction in the face of some threat. There are three things we need to be bold: Spirit-empowered conviction, courage and urgency. If one of these is missing, we won’t act boldly. Without sufficient conviction that something ought to be said or done, we won’t be bold. Without sufficient courage, we don’t have enough fiber in our conviction to face opposition or threats. Without a sufficient sense of urgency, we lack the fire under our feet to get us moving. People who are halfhearted, fearful or indifferent are, by definition, not bold.

Let us pray… “Lord whatever it takes, decrease the hold that unbelieving fear has over me and increase my boldness to declare the gospel to everyone you put in my path.”

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for a boldness to share Christ with those around you!