- Phone: (714) 528-1174
603 S. Valencia Ave. Brea, CA 92823
- Sunday: 8:15 & 10:45am
Changed by God’s Gracious Promise
In Genesis 12, God promised Abram that He would make him a great nation. In Genesis 15, Abram is struggling to hold on to that promise, given that he still has no children, not even one son. In his human nature, Abram focuses on the one thing he doesn’t have and overlooks the many things God has already done for him, such as safely leading him and his household over long distances to a new land, blessing him with large herds and flocks, protecting him from the Egyptian pharaoh’s anger, and granting him victory over Canaanite kings. Am I doing the same thing, right now? Am I so fixated on what I don’t have that I am failing to thank God for the many, many blessings He has given me? Think about that one thing you want but don’t have and ask yourself if it dominates your prayer time at the expense of thanksgiving for what you do have. Repent as the Holy Spirit leads.
God responds to Abram’s objection, not peevishly, but graciously, by directly stating truth and illustrating it with the visual aid of the starry night sky. Abram believes the Lord, and he is changed. He is justified – declared righteous before a holy God – in that moment. We know the right answer to the question, “How is a person saved?” We answer, “By grace, through faith; as a gift of God, not by works,” perhaps citing Abraham as an example, and so pass the Sunday School quiz. But, too often, we live as if our salvation depends on our works, with grace handy to fill in the cracks. Lord, help us to live out this truth, not just know it in our heads: We are not saved by any innate goodness in ourselves or by any good works we do but rather entirely by Your gracious hand.
I was struck by a phrase in Pastor Shannon’s sermon last week: buried in failures. I, for one, feel buried in spiritual failure on a regular basis. One practical way to live out the truth of the gospel is to find purpose in our failures instead of being defeated by them. One purpose of failures is to keep us humble before the Lord. When you experience spiritual failure this week, confess before God that even your “successes” fall far short of His glory and cannot save you.
Lift up the fathers and sons participating in the campout in San Clemente this Friday and Saturday. Ask the Lord to encourage fathers in their role as leaders in the home and to strengthen bonds of love between fathers and sons.
Having spent a short time with Jim and Lynette Hatcher last week, I can report that Lynette is managing radiation treatment for breast cancer with cheerful trust in the Lord. Continue to pray for rest and healing for Lynette during this time. Jim and Lynette also shared that leadership issues in their church in Kagran (a suburb of Vienna) are threatening the continued existence of the congregation. In his April update, Jim writes, “All of us need an extraordinary amount of wisdom (those in church leadership as well as the rest of us!) if we are to get through this unscathed. The enemy is hard at work to confuse and divide – none of which furthers the church’s witness.” Please pray for the Kagran church.
As we turn the calendar to May, Vacation Bible School looms for the team responsible for planning and preparing. Please be praying for them – for confidence that the Lord will provide all that is needed, for energy, for wisdom to prioritize and to balance responsibilities at home and at church.
Scripture commands us to pray for our nation and our leaders. Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, an opportunity to obey that command on one day, at least. Take time as a family or small group to pray over both the blessings the Lord has given the USA and the problems we face. The organizers of the NDOP are focusing this year on the theme of unity and offer suggestions for prayer on their website. You may also find it helpful to read through special editions of the prayer blog I wrote for the National Day of Prayer in 2016 and 2017. If you have trouble locating them in your inbox, feel free to request them from me via e-mail.
Calvary Community Church of Brea