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City Harbor Church – Hampden, Baltimore, MD
40 minutes | 6 days ago
Forgiving – Exodus 34:6-7
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV Today’s focus: “Long-suffering, forgiving iniquity, transgression, sin” Long-suffering: slow to anger, fore-bearing nostril-flaring worthy offense. Psalm 86:15 “You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down on have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me,” – Psalm 86:15-16 God clarifies in Ezekiel 18:19 that a person who turns to God in wholehearted devotion will not be punished for their parents (or grandparents) sin. “’What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? Says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.” – Ezekiel 18:19-23 Through Jesus Christ, God did what was needed to repair the damage that our mistakes did to the relationship. “He, Jesus, personally carried our sins in his body on the cross, so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 Forgiving – to lift, to take someone else’s burden on yourself, “If we claim we have no sin we are only fooling ourselves, and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:8-9 Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, forgive us as we forgive,” – Luke 11:4 David’s prayer (based on what he had learned about God to be true): “O Lord you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” – Psalm 86:5 Solomon’s prayer (at the dedication of the Temple referring to the character of God): “May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, year us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” – I Kings 8:30 Forgiving (to lift): one time, repeated mistake, habit original incident leads to turning away and then lifestyle Iniquity: wickedness, perversity, mischief, fault Transgression: rebellion, trespass Sin: habitual “missing the mark” What do we learn? God is slow to anger, and constantly forgiving. What should we do? Believe. Repent. Receive. (believe Jesus as Savior, repent: apology, turn, receive forgiveness daily) “You will perish too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.” – Luke 13:3 Give Thanks. “Don’t worry; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 Share Your Story. “And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” – Revelation 12:11 in John’s vision of believers walking in victory prior to the return of Jesus and culminated in the return of Jesus. God has placed you near someone who needs this message. …near someone who needs to see the evidence of this truth actively at work in your life.
30 minutes | 13 days ago
Gracious – Exodus 34:6
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV Gracious – Starting with giving you something good, that you do not deserve, and the faithfully continuing to give – A heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need “You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down on have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me,” – Psalm 86:15-16 “He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” – Psalm 103:7-8 “I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” – Psalm 145:5-9 “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” – Psalm 25:16 “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes.” (…because of my iniquity” – Psalm 31:9 “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.” – Psalm 51:1-2 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet…We must celebrate…this sone of mine was dead had now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” – Luke 15:22-24 What do we learn? God is gracious and merciful, constantly giving love. What should we do? Write down ways in which God has been gracious to you. Thank God! Read these verses and write down what you believe about God. Include what you believe about God in your prayer. Share what you are learning with someone else. “May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” – Numbers 6:25-26
20 minutes | 20 days ago
Merciful – Exodus 34:6
“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV rahum merciful & compassionate – to love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, It’s one of three root words that translate as mercy in the OT. This is where we get “tender mercies” “The personal God has a heart.” – John Barth This is not a God who has walked away, standing off at a distance, indifferent to our lives. Even in this moment with Moses, right after seeing His people betray Him, God is saying, “I am merciful-compassionate”. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18 “safe place to find and follow Jesus” our view of God in-person. “The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. ‘Don’t cry!’ he said, ‘I tell you, get up.’ Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother.” – Luke 7:12-15 “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” – Matthew 20:34 “Moved with compassion,” From a place of the deepest emotion, taking action for the love of another. “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” – Matthew 14:14 “I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry,” – Matthew 15:32 “Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’” – Matthew 9:35-38 As we grow in our understanding of Who we worship, we will also grow in effective prayer and spiritual strength. Merciful Compassionate “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV What do we learn? God is merciful and compassionate. What should we do? Read these verses and write down what you believe about God. Include what you believe about God in your prayer. Share what you are learning with someone else. God, we believe that You see our suffering and that it breaks Your heart. We believe that you are moved with compassion. God, we thank You for the merciful compassion that You have already shown us. Please see the broken state of our world. In Your great merciful compassion please set right the things that are wrong in our neighborhoods and nation. Please help us see where, when, and how You would have us show your merciful compassion.
28 minutes | a month ago
Steadfast – Exodus 34:6-7
5 Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. 6 The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” – Exodus 34:5-7 NLT “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty,” – Exodus 34:6-7a ESV Steadfast – steady, fixed in direction, steadily directed, strong in purpose, unwavering, fixed in place “steadfast love” heced: mercy, faithful loving-kindness Clearly important because God says He is abounding in it (continually giving them more than enough of it) and keeping it (maintaining, guarding, protecting). This clearly becomes a part of the relationship with God. Moses quotes it back to God in Numbers 14:18. David prays it in Psalm 86:15. The prophet Joel saw it as an essential truth in our relationship with God. This is also the context Peter saw when he quoted this prophecy in Acts 2. “12 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.” – Joel 2:12-13 “Be merciful even as your Father is merciful,” – Luke 6:36 For pastor James and the early church it was an essential ingredient of their view of God and the context for their relationship with God during difficult days. ”We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” – James 5:11 What do we learn? God is faithful in compassionate, merciful, loving-kindness. What should we do? Turn from wrong and receive forgiveness for it. Read today’s verses. Write out what you believe to be true about God’s love. Think about this before you pray.
29 minutes | a month ago
Faithful – Psalm 33
Faithful – true to one’s word or promises, steady in allegiance or affection, reliable, trusted, believed. Qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion. “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.” – John 4:10 The Message Who is God? Creator Provider Protector Redeemer God is alive, aware, able, and active. God is trustworthy (Psalm 33:4, 21) and faithful in love (Psalm 33:5, 22). God may have a variety of reasons for allowing challenges, in our lives. It is always an opportunity for us to look up, to God. With prayerful consideration, we should respond by following God closely. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” Psalm 23:1-3 What do we learn? Our God is trustworthy and faithful in love. What should we do? Think, answer, In what ways has God proven to be faithful? Have a thankful conversation with God about the present, based on His past.
28 minutes | a month ago
More than Enough, Part 5 – Ephesians 3:20
This is Part 5 and the conclusion of our series on Ephesians 3:14-21. God can give you love and spiritual strength beyond what you have, beyond what you need. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” – Ephesians 3:20 NLT Love & Strength: As you receive the love of Jesus, God is giving you a spiritual strength (stability & force). The love of Jesus is to be received, enjoyed, and then shared. What do we learn? God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. God can give you love and spiritual strength beyond what you have, beyond what you need. God is alive, aware, able, and active. What should we do? Receive the love of God through Jesus Christ. Pray, read, listen, write out what you have learned. Match up the love-sourced-strength of God with any area of lack in you. Share the journey with others. Examples of matching up love-sourced-strength of God with any area of lack: Insecure about God’s forgiveness – God can give the ability to understand how much the love of Jesus covers. Anxious about current events – draw strength from God’s love for you and our world, shifting your focus. Discovering a pattern of mistakes – let the love of Jesus become the basis for a new lifestyle, motives, decisions.
31 minutes | 2 months ago
More than Enough, Part 4 – Ephesians 3:19
Ephesians 3:14-21 “Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” – Ephesians 3:19b “Know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God,” 3:19 Experience and learn the love of Jesus, which is inexhaustible, so that you may be filled and made complete. God’s love, ability to make us complete. Filling inadequacies, removing faults. Fullness of life by the power of God. What do we learn? God’s love is limitless. God can give us the ability to grow in spiritual strength from a greater understanding of His love. We should be actively focused on God, relying on God, and drawing strength from God. As we are experiencing and learning about the love of Jesus, our emptiness can be filled. What should we do? Receive the love of God through Jesus Christ. Pray, read, listen, learn, reflect on the love of God. Write out what you have learned and experienced. Identify what areas of your life that you need more of the love of God. Match up the love of Jesus with any area of lack in you. Share the journey with other believers. Everything in today’s message is for you and it is also for everyone else in your life. God’s loving grace as spiritual strength is “more than enough” for you and your neighbor. Today’s there’s an invitation from the Holy Spirit for you to share this with the people who need it.
37 minutes | 2 months ago
More than Enough, Part 3 – Ephesians 3:18-19
God’s love goes beyond our spiritual needs and imagination. “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” – Ephesians 3:18-19 God’s love can be experienced by searching it out. God’s love goes beyond our spiritual needs and imagination. It covers more than you know. It goes beyond you and your world. Nothing is too far, deep, high, or low for the love of God. May you receive help from God to understand, believe, receive the limitless love & spiritual strength, from God. This is for you. This is more than enough for any area of your life where you don’t have the love, the strength. It is for any area of life where you are tired, weak, exhausted, trapped, or in pain. God’s love and spiritual strength are more than enough. What do we learn? God’s love is limitless. God’s love goes beyond our spiritual needs and imagination. God can give us the ability to grow in faith and understanding of His love. God’s love should be received before we do anything about it. We can grow in our understanding and the experience of God’s love, as we learn from each other and receive from each other. What should we do? Receive the love of God through Jesus Christ. Pray, read, listen, learn, reflect on the love of God. Write out what you have learned and experienced. Identify what areas of your life that you need more of the love of God. Share the journey with other believers.
29 minutes | 2 months ago
More than Enough, Part 2 – Ephesians 3:14-21
More than Enough Part 2 – Ephesians 3:14-21 Part 2: God’s love is the source of our spiritual strength. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” – Ephesians 3:17 Rooted – drawing spiritual strength from God keeps you healthy and powerful spiritually. “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalm 1:1-3 “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” – Matthew 7:20 Grounded – God’s love as a foundation for every area of life. “’Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.’” – Matthew 7:24-27 “You are God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9 “You must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.” – Colossians 1:23 “In his kindness, God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:10 “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:20-22 What do we learn? 1. The love of God that comes to us through Jesus Christ, by God’s undeserved grace. 2. God’s love is the source of our spiritual strength. 3. We should be actively focused on God, relying on God, and drawing strength from God. 4. This includes searching out the truth and listening to what God has said. What should we do? 1. Make a decision to focus on Jesus Christ. 2. Choose to rely on Jesus Christ. 3. Daily draw from the love of Jesus Christ for your spiritual strength. 4. Search out what Jesus Christ has said. 5. Read Ephesians 3:14-21.
24 minutes | 2 months ago
More than Enough – Ephesians 3:14-21
God can give you love and spiritual strength beyond what you have, beyond what you need. Part 1: verses 14-16, 20 God’s love is limitless. What do we learn? God is limitless. (The Source of Life from whom everyone derives their name.) “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” – Ephesians 3:14-16 We are limited. (We run out of time, energy, love, and spiritual strength.) God is able to work within us and do more than we think possible. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” – Ephesians 3:20 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 What should we do? Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Thank God for your life. Ask God for spiritual strength. Ask God to fire up your imagination. More than Enough – Ephesians 3:14-21 Part 1: verses 14-16, 20 God’s love is limitless. Part 2: verse 17 God’s love is the source of our spiritual strength. Part 3: verse18 God’s love can be experienced by searching it out. Part 4: verse 19 God’s love goes beyond our spiritual needs and imagination.
30 minutes | 2 months ago
God Loves You – Isaiah 43
Why does this matter today? Because God is our: Creator Provider Protector Redeemer Let’s read all of Isaiah 43. God is speaking in a time of difficulty. “In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 God is our Redeemer: “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” – Romans 3:24 “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9 What should we do about it? Pray Thank God for your salvation. Read Isaiah 43. March 8 Who is God? Creator – Hebrews 11:3 March 15 Who is God? Provider – John 10:10 March 22 Who is God? Protector – John 10:27-30 March 29 Who is God? Redeemer – Romans 3:24
32 minutes | 3 months ago
God Values Devotion – Luke 10:25-27
“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: ‘Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus replied, ‘What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?’ The man answered, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘Right!’ Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you will live!’” – Luke 10:25-27 Matthew 22:36-40 Mark 12:28-31 Personal Wholehearted Devotion to God: God, I give my life to you. God, I will live for you. God, all that I am and all that I have is yours. Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Did you know that Jesus quotes Deuteronomy more than any other book of Scripture? Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:5. Deuteronomy context: it is written by Moses in 1400 BC, covering two months. Preparing the people to enter the Promised Land, Moses is reviewing their past with an eye on their future. He is telling them, “God made a promise.” Deuteronomy messages: – Reminding the people to be faithful to the covenant God made with them. – Love is the right motive for following God’s guidance. – God calls us to hear and obey his guidance. – Those who obey are blessed. Those who disobey will suffer the consequences. Predicting a time when they would worship other things: “There you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” – Deuteronomy 4:29-31 The followers of Jesus responded to his teaching in this way: “But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.” – Acts 2:21-24 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today.” – Acts 2:32-33 “Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” – Acts 2:37-39 “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.” – Acts 2:42-47 Devoted: Authentic, committed, candid, complete, dedicated, determined, devoted, earnest, fervent, genuine, never-failing, passionate, real, unwavering, warm “They devoted themselves,” – Acts 2:42 As Jesus followers, let’s come to understand what God is asking us for, and let us respond with wholehearted devotion. What do we learn? God has shown us matchless love. We should love God with all our hearts. How do we respond? Ask God for help. “God, help me. Please heal my heart so that I can worship you.” Receive the love of God, repenting as needed. “Create in me a clean heart,” – Psalm 51 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalm 139:23-24 “That is why the Lord says, ‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.’ Return to the Lord your God for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.” Joel 2:12-13 Remove any obstacle to our wholehearted love for God. Love God with all our hearts. Benefits “If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” – Deuteronomy 4:40 “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.” – Deuteronomy 5:29 “Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.” – Deuteronomy 5:33 “And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day. For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us.” – Deuteronomy 6:24-25 Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today.” – Deuteronomy 7:9-11
25 minutes | 3 months ago
God Values Forgiveness
God Values Forgiveness “Your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 5:20 Reading Luke 5:18-20 “Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?” – Luke 5:23 Mark 2:5, 9 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous, He did this through Jesus Christ when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” – Romans 3:23-25 “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17 Same word Jesus uses in Matthew 6:12 “Father, forgive us as we forgive,” Sin – “missing the mark”, the moral consequence of having sinned. Separation from God, as a result of sin. Forgive – to remove the guilt resulting from wrongdoing. Restore the relationship, to give up resentment, to grant relief from payment for restitution. Forgiveness – a commitment by the offended to pardon graciously the repentant from moral liability and to be reconciled to that person, although not all consequences are necessarily eliminated.” – Chris Brauns Unpacking Forgiveness Illustration: holding the key to their jail cell, the right to see them punished. Illustration: not letting go, resentment, like drinking poison while hoping they die. God’s Forgiveness: a commitment to pardon graciously those who repent & believe so that they are reconciled to Him. Repent – turn around in actions and attitude….to change behavior as a result of a complete change of thinking and attitude. God’s Purpose: Remove Guilt & Restore Relationship Apology – this is what I did that was wrong ___, this is the harm it caused ___, I am sorry, I make a commitment to never do it again, please forgive me. How can I make this right? “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.” – Jesus in Matthew 18:15-35 We’re saying, “I will not dwell on this incident, bring up this incident again and use it against you, talk to others about this incident, let this incident stand between us or hinder, our personal relationship.” – Ken Sande The Peacemaker Why? “By making and keeping these promises, you can tear down the walls that stand between you and your offender. You promise not to dwell on or brood over the problem or to punish by holding the person at a distance. You clear the way for your relationship to develop unhindered by memories of past wrongs. This is exactly what God does for us, and it is what He calls us to do for others.” – Ken Sande The Peacemaker How to respond to unrepentant? Resolve to not take revenge. Proactively show love. “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you.” – Luke 6:27 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!” – Luke 6:32 Peter learned about God’s value system from Jesus directly. He said, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” – 2 Peter 3:9
21 minutes | 3 months ago
Love Gives Service – Luke 22:20-27
Luke 22:20-27 “I am among you as one who serves.” Serve – to give help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature Choosing acts of service that show love and respect. Jesus’ word “servant” = server, dedicated focused faithful – helper, attendant, apprentice, collaborator, companion “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” – John 13:14-15 “Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” – John 12:26 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26, 28 “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 “the leader should be like a servant,” – Luke 22:26 “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 Philippians 2:1-11 “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. ” Romans 12:9-16 The Message “Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.” Ephesians 6:5-7 The Message What do we learn about God? Father God sent Jesus as an example to us, a servant. Jesus invited us to a personal relationship, serving Him. Jesus taught us to serve each other. How should we respond? Out of a love response choose to: serve Jesus serve others What can I do? Think Big & Small (praying for miraculous results and focused on what can be done, simple) How do we do this? Pray Consider what would be helpful. Make a plan. Take action.
24 minutes | 3 months ago
God Values Humility – James 4:6
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6 1 Peter 5:5 Proverbs 3:34 Humble – modest, not proud or arrogant Dictionary.com Humility – the quality of having a modest estimation of one’s own importance Dictionary.com “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! ‘I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.’” – Isaiah 66:2 Clear picture of who God is, and who we are. “Scary thought: It’s possible to admire humility while remaining proud ourselves.” – C. J. Mahaney “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.” – John Stott “it is the essence of all sin,” – John Stott “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud. Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful.” – Proverbs 16:18-20 “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – Mark 9:35 Practical Suggestions (to weaken pride and cultivate humility) – C. J. Mahaney Begin Each Day: Reflect on the Wonder of the Cross (Freedom Book: so in love with Jesus as to leave no room for ___ selfishness) Acknowledging Your Need for God “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones Spiritual Depression Expressing Gratitude to God Practice Spiritual Disciplines (prayer, study/memorize God’s Word, worship) Casting Your Cares Upon Him “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7 As Each Day Ends: – C. J. Mahaney Avoiding Cosmic Plagiarism “We must hide ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the glory of all we have done to God.” – Thomas Watson A Daily Reminder from God Accept sleep as a gift from God. Embrace your limitations. Trust God. God is sustaining you. Laugh! “Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity; he cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego.” – Terry Lindvall Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C. S. Lewis
32 minutes | 4 months ago
God Values Learning – Proverbs 1:2-7
“Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. “Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies— I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” – 1 Kings 3:3-14 2 Chronicles 1:1-12 Proverbs – a book of instruction for wisdom “Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” – Proverbs 1:2-7 Proverbs helps us apply God’s guidance to various aspects of daily life in this world. (providing particular comparison between the benefit of learning and the consequences of refusing to learn) Knowledge – information “Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge.” – Proverbs 18:15 “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.” – Proverbs 15:14 Understanding – what the information means Wisdom – knowing the way to apply our understanding of knowledge “Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. “I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.” – Proverbs 8:10-14 “My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:1-6 “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10 “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” – Proverbs 4:7 “Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes, we know that “we all have knowledge” about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.” – 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 “For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.” – Acts 17:28-29 What do we learn? God is the source of wisdom. God values learning. God cares about our motives for learning. God has pleasure and purpose for learning. Learning should be helpful to the common good. Not all sources of information are equal. We can enjoy learning. What should we do about this? Choose to value what God values. Read Proverbs. Make a list of topics for learning. Consider the source. Give each source value-based input. Share the journey. Have fun.
34 minutes | 4 months ago
God Values Sabbath Rest – Genesis 2:1-4
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!” – Mark 2:27-28 Creation story God’s rest Genesis 2:1-4 Ten Commandments specific instructions Exodus 20:1-17 Day to stop work, enjoy rest, practice delight, and contemplate God. What do we do on the Sabbath? Stop work. “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.” – Genesis 2:1-4 Anything that is labor. Step back from errands and household work as well. Enjoy Rest. (same verses as above.) Requires advanced planning. Engage in activities that restore and replenish us – spending time with family/friends, reading for fun, napping, hiking, reading, eating good food, playing games, hobbies. Avoiding the news and social media. “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” – Exodus 20:8 Practice Delight. God described creation as “very good” in Genesis 1:31. Joyful recognition and celebration of accomplishment. We should enjoy God’s creation. “What gives me joy and delight?” Feast on the miracle of life with our senses. Contemplate God. Day for worship time. Gathering with believers. Personal time with God. “Pondering the love of God is the central focus of our Sabbaths.” It is time set aside to draw closer to God. Be with God. Who you are is more important than what you do. A time for healing: guilt (about what I do) and shame (about who I am). Time and space essential for healing. Core Spiritual Formation Discipline – essential delivery mechanism for God’s grace and goodness in our lives. It provides a God-ordained way to slow us down for meaningful connection with God, ourselves, and those we care about. “There are some things God can deposit into our souls only when we unplug completely from work and rest.” – Peter Scazzero “Sabbath is not primarily about us or how it benefits us; it is about God and how God forms us…I don’t see any way out of it; if we are going to live appropriately in the creation we must keep the Sabbath.” – Eugene Peterson “To fail to see the value of simply being with God and ‘doing nothing’ is to miss the heart of Christianity.” – Lynne Baab Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.” – Colossians 2:16-17 “In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.” – Romans 14:5-9 Talking about respect for each other and rhythms of life, local church context, wholehearted devotion to God. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” – Romans 14:17-19 Jesus is Lord, it’s okay to heal, to do good on the Sabbath: Matthew 12:1-14 Luke 6:1-11 Jesus heals a man who could not walk, in the context of Sabbath, confirming his identity as Messiah. – John 5 Jesus healing on Sabbath, establishing place of worship as a place to receive healing miracles on the Lords day, healing the woman under demonic impact on her ability to walk, for 18 years. – Luke 13:10-17 Jesus heals on the Sabbath, putting the question to Pharisees. – Luke 14:1-6 Mechanism to help us receive the grace of God (and new greater ability), the love of God (and give love to God). It is a day to simply rest in God’s presence and the truth that who you are is more important than what you do. How should we respond? Read up about Sabbath. Identify 24 hours. Make a list of what brings you delight. Prepare in advance. Define your protective “container” – and then experiment. Find support.
41 minutes | 2 years ago
Our guest, Robert Alvarado, a prayer pastor from Mannahouse.church in Portland, shares with us a 40 Day Worship Challenge. We start with his healing story and lessons learned from starting his day with 15 minutes of unscripted time with God. Our God is waiting for time in relationship with us. We gave the book “Unscripted” by Dr Mark Jones to each person. Resources for this invitation can be found here www.first15am.org
45 minutes | 3 years ago
Peace House Part 5
How can a home bring peace to a neighborhood? Part 5. Build & Repair Bridges – help conflict resolution How can a home bring peace to a neighborhood? There is a peace, a healthy state that we can find in Jesus. We can be safe and sound, able to rest and function at full capacity, complete, with our guilt removed, and free to enjoy life. Our God wants us to receive it and share it with others. We should understand this, pray for it, and work toward such a peace in ourselves, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our city. In this way we will pursue peaceful relationships inside our homes through forgiveness. Jesus motivates us to love neighbors by listening to them in an attempt to understand them and build relationships. This listening works best when we host people with food and offer to help them in what they’re doing. From this context we may create new personal relationships and repair broken ones. We will work toward natural peace and we will bring the spiritual peace of our God. Our homes will bring peace to the neighborhood. It’s a God idea. Peace inside the house. Build relationships, love by listening. Help & Hospitality Build Bridges & Repair Bridges “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:9 “Peacemakers, plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 “Search for peace and work to maintain it.” Psalm 34:14 “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 “Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 “The Kingdom of God…is a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 “Work for the peace of the city…pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” v 7 Jeremiah 29:5-14 “Joy fills hearts that are planning peace!” Proverbs 12:20 “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” “For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15 Jesus talks about conflict resolution and peacemaking in Matthew 18:15-35. Essential Ingredients: Source – What is the disagreement or damage? Active Listening Describe the Situation – Healthy Communication Practices Express your Feelings – Managing Emotions (appropriate/inappropriate) Specify what you Want Done – Resolution is always the goal. Empathy – Understanding Others
28 minutes | 5 years ago
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