March 19 – Serve

March 19 – Serve

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to praise the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 

   Psalms 18:1-3

Isn’t it interesting how the sudden flashing of blue lights in your rearview mirror seems to somehow be a surprise? This is usually followed by mixed feelings of remorse and disgust. Although expensive and inconvenient, this is also a time when we need be reminded that the eminent traffic ticket is intended for good. Okay, give it a day or so and then reflect when you have a better attitude.

In a traffic ticket occasion, the police officer has an obligation to serve and protect not only you, the driver, but the general public as well. This would be the same if there were an accident, where a paramedic would arrive to comfort and prevent further harm. If there were a fire, a fireman would arrive to rescue individuals from potential harm and to contain the threat. The list goes on. Consider these public servants as extensions of God’s shield and refuge – His visible presence that is always available for us 24 hours a day.

This is just one small aspect of how we can see God’s hand in our everyday lives. We can take refuge in knowing that He not only works directly in our spiritual bodies, but that He also has other resources He uses to protect our physical bodies, as well. He is worthy of our praise!

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray God’s protection over all who serve and protect (Police, Fire, etc.)

March 18 – Grow

March 18 – Grow

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Many times in our lives, we have dreams for ourselves. While it is certainly gratifying to pursue our dreams, it is also healthy to ask the Lord what His dream for us is. From today’s verse we can learn that God’s dream can be wrapped up in one word: love. We are to love Him for all He is. We are to love one another as ourselves. Today, fulfill God’s dream for us. Love. Look for opportunities to show God you love Him and that you love others.                                                

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for our church to fulfill God’s dream for us.

March 17 – Connect

March 17 – Connect

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

     Romans 12:16-18

Fellowship with other believers is not only a joy, but is essential if you want to grow in the Lord. “And let us consider how we may spur one another onward toward love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24 NIV) God teaches us through the trials and triumphs of others. When we see others in our group receive the victory over their circumstances, we learn how to fight and win the battle for ourselves. We all need other believers whom we can be completely honest with, whom will bear our burdens and take our concerns to the Lord in our behalf. The Bible tells us to do so. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2 NIV)

The apostles knew the importance of small groups as is recorded in Acts 5:42: “Day after day and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Having been in the small group ministry for over 40 years, I can attest to the impact it has had on my life as well as the lives of countless others. No one can really attain to all of God’s purposes in their lives by only attending a service once a week, so please pray for this vital ministry of Calvary to grow into the dynamic ministry that God desires it to be.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for Calvary’s Small Group Ministry.

March 16 – Worship

March 16 – Worship

Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.

2 Kings 17:38-19

True biblical worship so satisfies our total personality that we don’t have to shop around for man-made substitutes. William Temple made this clear in his masterful definition of worship:

“For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose — and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.”

To worship God is to recognize his worth or worthiness; to look God-ward, and to acknowledge in all appropriate ways the value of what we see. The Bible calls this activity “glorifying God” or “giving glory to God,” and views it as the ultimate end, and from one point of view, the whole duty of man (Ps. 29:2; 96:6; 1 Cor. 10:31).

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray an expression of worship for God’s protective hand.

March 15 – Go

March 15 – Go

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

I Peter 3:15-16

A young man enlisted and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing cards and gambling. Before retiring, he fell on his knees and prayed, and they began to curse him and jeer at him and throw boots at him. So it went on the next night and the next, and finally the young man went and told the chaplain what had taken place, and asked what he should do.

“Well,” said the chaplain, “you are not at home now, and the other men have just as much right to the barracks as you have. It makes them mad to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you just as well if you say your prayers in bed and don’t provoke them.”

For weeks after, the chaplain did not see the young man again, but one day he met him, and asked —  “By the way, did you take my advice?”

“I did, for two or three nights.”

“How did it work?”

“Well,” said the young man, “I felt like a whipped hound and the third night I got out of bed, knelt down and prayed.”

“Well,” asked the chaplain, “How did that work?”

The young soldier answered: “We have a prayer meeting there now every night, and three have been converted, and we are praying for the rest.”

Oh, friends, I am so tired of weak Christianity. Let us be out and out for Christ; let us give no uncertain sound. If the world wants to call us fools, let them to it. It is only a little while; the crowning day is coming. Thank God for the privilege we have of confessing Christ.

D.L. Moody

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray God gives wisdom as we share Christ in our community.v

March 14 – Serve

March 14 – Serve

And the report of this went out into all that land. When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this? ”They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.”

Matthew 9:26-28

When I look around my community, I can see the need of those around me. I see men and women standing on street corners asking for handouts, children in single parent situations looking for attention they aren’t receiving in their homes, grown men trying desperately to recapture their youth and young ladies trying to replicate the airbrushed women in magazines.

If we just open our eyes, recognizing the need is not difficult. We are in a fallen world and the predators are constantly on the prowl, looking for victims to consume. There are good, even great causes that we can engage in and be participants. Yet, there is a difference between doing good and doing God’s best.

When Jesus was asked about the poor, His response was interesting. He said, “the poor will always be with you, but I am here a short time.” On the surface, this seems like quite a cold and uncaring statement, but we know that is not the nature of God…what was Jesus really saying? I believe He was saying to seek God first and have Him direct our paths.

Allow God to be your road map, not the moral compass of your humanity. This doesn’t mean to ignore what’s around you! Look at the needs surrounding you and ask for God’s guidance. In waiting for an answer, don’t hesitate to help in doing good until the definitive direction of God comes.

Opportunities will present themselves. If they aren’t then maybe you aren’t looking hard enough. God is not silent; we just aren’t listening hard enough. Pray that God opens your eyes to the need that surrounds you and that you will hear His voice and direction.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for a greater awareness of the ministry opportunities around us.

March 13  – Grow

March 13  – Grow

Therefore let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God… 

Hebrews 6:1

Recently in a radio broadcast, I heard the famed apologetics’ writer Ravi Zacharias tell of his habit of early morning prayer, followed by some time to sit at his local Dunkin Donuts to watch people. Although the first part is very spiritual, I was having a hard time understanding how such a powerful man of God saw it necessary to sit in a donut shop each day. Then, he explained: “I sit in the same booth each day with my coffee and my donut and I pray that God will have me see people with the same heart that He sees them.”

Wow. Such an accomplished man of God still asks Him daily to grow his love for the lost and returns to the same location for God to develop that request!

There are so many areas where we could grow in God. As we press into Him and pursue Him, He will begin bringing increase to the character traits that are His and developing us more and more into His image.

Today’s Prayer Focus:  Pray for an enlarged understanding of God.

March 26 – Worship

March 26 – Worship

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 Psalm 100

When you think of the heavens and the earth and the fact that an entity is responsible for its creation and everything in it, it is difficult to not be overwhelmed by God’s sovereign presence. Worship of this sovereign presence is similar to other pagan beliefs. What makes God different? Love. Because God is the creator of all things, He made you and I for a purpose. To understand our purpose and to realize our value to Him, we have to consider the sacrifice that was provided on our behalf. John 3:16 reminds us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son; not to condemn the world like an overpowering deity looking for submissive subjects, but to allow us the ability to have a relationship with Him – to reason with Him, pray to Him, confide in Him, to look to Him for purpose. The same love He showed to us through His Son is the same love He expects us to share with one another. This is part of our purpose. And although we all fall short of the glory of God, He provides us the righteousness through His Son’s sacrifice to be able to not endure life, but live it to its fullest.

How wonderful that we do not have to work to earn His love and our salvation! It has already been provided to us if we simply commit to believe in His Son’s sacrifice and share His message of salvation.  Before we present our prayers to Him, whatever they may be, let us first give thanks and praise. Recognizing that His presence and love are enduring.

He is worthy of our praise!

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray an acknowledgement of God’s enduring love.

March 12 – Connect

March 12 – Connect

When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.  I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings

1 Corinthians 9:22-23

We live in the age of information; which, according to Wikipedia, is a period in human history characterized by the shift from industrial production to one based on information and computerization. And these days, most people carry a super computer in their pocket in the form of a cell phone. Ironically, making phone calls tends to be the least used capability. We’re all linked, but not connected.

This handheld mobile technology gives us access to the Internet, social media, cat videos and even one-click shopping. You can order something on Amazon and have it at your doorstep within hours, or you can browse Amazon and see ads for the product you didn’t buy in every other website you visit; until you click on it, which brings you right back to Amazon where it all started. In the advertising world, this is called targeted marketing. Companies leverage this type of data to create messages, ads and communication to establish a personal connection with their product and convert you to a shopper.

In that same mindset, you can network for the gospel. You can be a living advertisement for the Lord by making connections and establishing relationships with those who need the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

God doesn’t call us to reach everybody, but He does call us to reach somebody. Ask God to open up the right opportunities for you to connect with people, and allow Him to use you to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray for new friendships among those who have yet to accept Christ.

March 11 – Worship

 

March 11 – Worship

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”     John 4:21-24

In the Old Testament, “worship” in Hebrew meant to “bow down” with the sense of reverence, respect and honor. So, what does the phrase, “in spirit and truth” mean? This is a critical question to answer, because the Lord states specifically that those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. There

are only two “musts” in the Gospel of John. One is in John 3:6, where Jesus states that one MUST

be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. The other is John 4: 24…one MUST worship God in

spirit and truth.

Calvary family, it is important for us to sing songs of praise and worship unto God both in our private worship and together as a congregation; yet, worship is not just a song. It is to be much more an act of obedience, a lifestyle and a posture of our heart.

Today’s Prayer Focus: Pray a prayer of deeper understanding of genuine worship.