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    603 S. Valencia Ave. Brea, CA 92823

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Prayer Blog

February 16 2021 Prayer Blog

Posted by Carol Gilbert on

Exodus 20:12-21

Love was a major theme on Sunday, both in Pastor Dave’s communion meditation and in Pastor Todd’s sermon, but not because it was Valentine’s Day. Both drew a direct line from love to obedience. Dave quoted John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command” – to explain why we take communion. We love Jesus, and he commanded us to “do this in remembrance of me.” Todd, preaching on the Ten Commandments, quoted Matthew 22:37-40, which says that the Law is all about loving God and loving your neighbor. Love is a lens through which to see the Commandments.

Before the Lord, ask: What is my motivation for obeying God’s commands? Do I focus on the commands I agree with and find do-able and ignore the rest? Do I obey in an attempt to earn points with God? Do I obey to look righteous in the eyes of others? To what degree does my obedience flow out of love for God the Father, for Jesus the Christ? Ask the Lord to grow true love for Him in you, and in all of us.

As Todd fleshed out the definitions of the sins covered by the last five commandments, many of his examples seemed to me to fall into two categories. Minimized sins are actions we don’t even think of as sin, either because they seem so minor to us (“small potatoes”) or because they’re so common (“everyone does it”). They include copyright infringement or plagiarism, doing less than a day’s work for a day’s pay, under-reporting income on tax returns, gossip, and white lies. Deeply hidden sins are actions we know full well are sins; we feel great shame and a hopelessness that they can be overcome and forgiven. The primary examples Todd mentioned are abortion and pornography. In the case of both minimized sins and deeply hidden sins, the right thing to do is to face them and confess them. Ask the Lord for the courage and honesty to do so. As Todd said, don’t walk the road alone. Confide in fellow believers you can trust. This is one purpose of our small groups and also our elders.

Fully obeying God’s commandments is more than abstaining from the “bad.” For each commandment, Todd suggested a positive action. For example, replace anger and bitterness toward a person – “murder of the heart” – with prayer for him or her. Take preventative measures against adultery; cultivate your relationship with your husband or wife instead of putting your marriage on auto-pilot. Be generous, which is the polar opposite of stealing. Exercise the muscle of contentment so as not to covet. Ask the Lord to show you positive, tangible ways to love Him and love your neighbor through His Law.

Calvary Family

I heard recently from Rose and Bob Palfenier, our retired missionaries who served for many years in South and Central America and who now live in El Paso, TX. Rose is suffering from severe arthritis in her shoulder, and Bob’s vision is threatened by macular degeneration. Their prayer requests are not limited to their health, however. They also ask for prayer for the church they served in Zaragoza, Mexico, in their last field assignment, for their unsaved grandchildren, and “that the Lord will make us a good testimony.” I suspect their prayer requests are representative of our other retired missionaries, Saundra and Dick Watson and Pat Pence. Please lift them up to the Lord.

Be praying for Diana Aksel, our Children’s Director, as she prepares for the re-start of Sunday School in coming weeks. She is figuring out what that will look like and estimating how many children are likely to attend. She is also contacting people who served in the Children’s Department pre-pandemic to ask if they are willing and able to serve again. Please support this crucial ministry of our church with prayer.

In Christ,
Carol Gilbert
Calvary Community Church of Brea