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Loving and Serving

September 15th, 2017

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. (Luke 7:41-43)

Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (Mark 10:43-44)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1John 4:7-8)

The sixth core value that the Vision and Mission Team identified in 2008 is: We love and serve God and one another. Love for God and love from God for others comes from God as He works in our hearts by His Spirit.

Love for God comes form the realization of how great His grace is towards us. The one who realizes how much he has been forgiven of, has a reason to love God. Love for Him results in keeping His commandments. When we are too busy to think about God, or to make Him and doing His will a priority in our life, then we have forgotten how great His mercy is toward us.

Love also comes into our lives as we know God personally, “for God is love.” Love for God and love from God will lead us to love others. We will love the people that He loves. And as we love others we will seek to help and serve them, just as Christ came not to be served but to serve.

The Prayer of Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Oh, divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

  • Pray that genuine love for God would deepen in our church
  • Pray that we would realize afresh how great God’s grace is toward us, that He has forgiven our sins
  • Pray that we would love one another as well
  • Pray for a spirit of humility in our church, that we would seek to serve one another out of love, and not desire to be served.
  • Pray that we might listen more than speak, seek to understand and encourage each other.
  • Pray for those closest to you, that God would show you how you may help and serve them in Jesus’ name today.

Blessings,

Pastor David

21 Days of Prayer 2017 ,

Forgiving One Another

September 14th, 2017

21 Days of Prayer
Day 12: Forgiving One Another

Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt. 6:12)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32)

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col. 3:13)

The fourth core value that the Vision and Mission Team identified in 2008 is:

We forgive because we are forgiven.

Forgiveness is not just something that is a good idea for a community. It is also a healing act for our own souls. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die. Someone said that unforgiveness is like an acid that does more damage to what it is stored in than what it is poured on.

Forgiveness also makes an impact in our own souls. Think of that person that hurt you. Would you like to be free from that pain? Then pray through the hurt to God. Let go of the anger and the desire for revenge. Give the problem to God and let Him minister to your soul.

Forgiveness is possible because of the ministry of the Spirit of God in our hearts as His children. We forgive others not in order to be forgiven by God, but because we are already forgiven by Him. There might also be people who we have offended, to whom we should go and apologize and ask for forgiveness.

Christ said that we should forgive from our heart (Matt. 18:35), and our hearts are multi-layered. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) We need God to search our hearts to show us what is there: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). The Word of God is His tool to search us:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

And His Spirit also searches us, as He takes the Word and reveals to us what is in our hearts: “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind” (Jer. 17:10a).

Forgiveness comes in different depths in our hearts. On the surface forgiveness is just choosing not to retaliate, but there may still be residue of bitterness in our hearts. We need to go deeper with the Spirit, letting Him lead our thoughts and examine our hearts. We need to let Him go deeper with forgiveness, until we see the person who offended us through the eyes of Christ. That is liberating for us and healing in our souls.

Often, I believe, God entrusts to us difficult people so that we might see our need for His inner healing.

In dealing with a difficult person, I have found, that it reveals to me how deeply I have forgiven others. I may think to myself that I have peace with regard to a certain matter, but then God puts someone in my life who is difficult to deal with, and who reminds me of an earlier acquaintance who had hurt me. I see myself transferring my old hurts to this new person, whom I have only known a short time. Why am I so angry with them? It comes from somewhere else in my soul. It comes from old hurts that I have not truly dealt with. And it is suddenly revealed to me that I have not yet truly forgiven, in the deepest sense of the word, someone who had hurt me earlier in life.

So, rather than ask God why He gives difficult people to us to deal with, we should thank Him for showing us the inner healing we need. An awareness of our need almost always precipitates times of spiritual growth. “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). The reality of sin in us drags us down, and then the Spirit opens our eyes to see what has become of our hearts. He pulls back the covers we have hidden these thoughts beneath - trying to hide them from ourselves - and shows us the other alternative, the choice of inner healing through His grace.

So, yes, difficult people are His blessings to us to show us our need of deeper grace.

Forgiveness requires that we also be “kind and compassionate” to each other, meaning that we seek to understand one another. Forgiveness is best shared when we consider the personal hurts that the one who offended us might have. Some people carry in their lives the evidence of deep personal hurts - perhaps things that happened in childhood that they have never gotten over. C. H. Spurgeon said, “There is always something in another man’s experience about which we know nothing.”

  • Pray that forgiving others would be important for us all in the church
  • Pray for inner healing of forgiving others in those who carry lifelong hurts
  • Pray for your own need to forgive
  • Pray that God would show you if there is someone you need to apologize to
  • Pray that we may “bear with one another” in love

Blessings,

Pastor David

21 Days of Prayer 2017 ,