May 20th

The Key of Forgiveness

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Have you ever wondered why God forgave you?

I think a lot of us are scared to ask the question, as though our inability to come up with an answer might make God change His mind. But there's no reason for us to be scared.

Do you know why?

Because it is God's very nature to forgive. And now, as His children, we need to recognize that our new nature is also one that forgives.

I don't mean in any way to minimize the hurt you've experienced. I know the pain is real,

and I know the pain runs deep. But I also know that unforgiveness is a prison, and the walls are really thick, and you're the one being imprisoned by harboring unforgiveness in your heart. So many people underestimate the ramifications of unforgiveness in our lives. This is why blood pressures are too high. This is why there are so many ulcers. This is why there are so many heart attacks. This is why there are so many problems with people's digestion and nervous breakdowns. Your body wasn't designed to hold onto these things.

Honestly, harboring hatred and unforgiveness toward others who have wronged us is like shooting ourselves with a rifle so that we could hit our enemy with the recoil of the gun. How stupid is that? I'm going to blow my head off so the recoil hits you. That's what unforgiveness does. I don't mean to minimize the pain of what's been done. What's been done was wrong. No one's getting off scot-free. But the Bible tells us to make room for God to take over and work in that situation, and whatever action has taken place, God is looking at our reaction to the action that has taken place.

Have I been hurt? You bet. Have I been betrayed? Absolutely. So have you. We all have.

But God is looking now at our hearts and our response and our reaction. We'll be judged on our reaction. And it doesn't matter how grievous or hellish the sin was that was committed that hurt you, it doesn't give you the right to sin in response to the sin that was done.

As long as you hold onto unforgiveness, you are stuck in the pain of your past. Forgive the people who hurt you so that you can be free from the pain they gave you.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You that You took all my sin and hurts on the cross so that I know You understand how much I have been hurt! But I need to be done hurting, so I choose to forgive the people who have hurt me and I ask You to heal me from the hurts I have suffered.

Amen

Horizon Church
May 19th

Are We There Yet?

Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 2 Corinthians 13:7-8

Do you know the biggest game-changer in the world? It's love. Love changes everything the moment it walks in the room.

And here, today, I want us to see from scripture how the truth of God's love changes everything for us, whether we feel like we deserve it or not.

Because, here's the crazy thing-I think most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, come to church feeling like we don't belong there. We're thinking, Man, if these people knew what I did this past week, they'd run me right out of the building.

Listen, I know you've messed up; so have I. But if you could really see the Jesus that is present before you right now, you wouldn't be thinking those thoughts. It would be all about Jesus and what He's saying to you right now. Because here's the reality-we're there. We've got His love.

Well, Bob, how do you know that I feel disqualified? Do you know how I know that you feel that way? Because I feel that way, just being honest with you. But God doesn't love you because you're loveable. He didn't love me because I'm loveable. But He unconditionally loves us anyway. We're there. We are complete in His love.

Now a lot of times, we don't feel that way. And Paul writes to you in our verses today and says, Isn't it cool that it doesn't have anything to do with feelings? Because a lot of times, we're not feeling it. I don't feel worthy to be your pastor. I don't feel worthy to stand on the stage. I know I'm undeserving of this. Do you know what I deserve? Hell. That's how I feel.

Yet God comes along and says, This is what I've done for you. And I desire that what I've done would forever change who you are and what you live for. No longer live for evil, not because you need to be approved. You don't need to earn my love. You don't need to seek my approval. I love you even though you're unlovable. I've chosen to love you. While you were still a sinner, I loved you. I chose to love you.

It doesn't have anything to do with how I feel; it is the facts that matter. Because you know what? Nothing we do can change the truth. You can reject God and refuse to receive His love, but it doesn't change the truth. The truth is the truth. And the truth is that God's love changes everything.

Prayer Father God,

Thanks for loving me even when I've been unlovable! Please fill me with Your love today so that I can be truly transformed into a new person.

Amen

Horizon Church
May 18th

Downpour

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Acts 1:8

It must have been crazy to be one of Jesus' disciples in the days surrounding His death, resurrection, and ascension. Imagine yourself in their shoes, standing there when He's caught up into Heaven.

That would have been quite a scene, don't you think? I mean just a few days earlier, you saw Jesus die on the cross and thought it was all over. But then Jesus starts showing up again, proving that He rose from the dead. You've had some great meals together, breakfast up on the Sea of Galilee. Momentum is building again and you're just waiting for Jesus' next move.

And you should be used to it by now, that Jesus' next move was not what you expected. Because He's gone-again. He said He'd return-but when? Then the angels show up and say, Hey, didn't Jesus give you some things to do? Stop staring at the sky and go get on with the program. Don't worry, He'll come back the same way He left.

Gang, there's our bookends. They saw Jesus leave and we have been given the promise that He is soon to return. But we can't just sit gazing up into the stars waiting for the lunar eclipse and big asteroid to hit. You know, we have to be about our Father's business.

Yes, we're waiting for the return of Christ. But this waiting is not a passive waiting, it's actively waiting. It's actively trusting. It is actively entering into this life of faith and obedience to which the Lord has called us. He's trusted us last-day saints to not just be stargazers, to not just be looking up into the heavens, but to be actively trusting and waiting and, I would say, daily entering into this Spirit-filled, guided, controlled, and led life until the trumpet sounds and the Lord returns.

Listen, we've seen God do some amazing, incredible things among us, have we not? We have seen Him-and I pray this is true for you personally-forgive us of our sins, fill us with His Holy Spirit, and empower us for life within His kingdom.

But now that we've seen God do amazing things, we have a job to do. We have to go testify to everyone who doesn't know Him yet of what God has done.

Jesus is coming soon. Are you telling others what God has done, or are you just staring at the sky?

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You that You are coming again soon! I submit myself to You to be filled and led by Your Holy Spirit to the places where people need to hear what You have done. Let me not just be staring at the sky when You return, but let me be doing what You have sent me to do!

Amen

Horizon Church
May 17th

For His Name's Sake

I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left you first love. Revelation 2:2-4

What is the driving force behind your actions?

Have you ever thought about that? Why do you do what you do? It's a big question, and one that certainly deserves an answer.

As we look through scripture, we see one of the driving forces behind what the Lord does, and it's His name. He does things for His name's sake. Just look through scripture and you'll see gobs of examples-Samuel, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many others all write about the things that God does for His name's sake.

Jesus takes it a step further in Luke 21:12-13, saying, But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

See, here Jesus is saying that unbelievers will do things to us for His name's sake. He's saying that we will be persecuted because we live for the name of Jesus Christ.

So God is driven to act because of His name's sake-His name is on the line. We are driven to act because of God's name, because we represent His name and His reputation is on the line in our lives. But even if we do this well, there is something deeper that we need to remember-love.

Specifically, we need to remember our first love, which had better be Jesus. Look at our verses today. Now, I imagine that most of us would love to have those things said of us; it seems like pretty high praise from Jesus, until you get to the end.

Really, I mean, yikes. How wonderful it is for us to live for the sake of the name of Jesus, but let us never forget the heart that those actions come from-a heart that absolutely loves Jesus above and before all else.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You for loving me for Your name's sake! Please let Your love grow in my heart as I choose to love You. May my love for You always grow until it is the motivation behind all that I do!

Amen

Horizon Church
May 16th

Women Drivers

My son, keep your father's command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you. Proverbs 6:20-22

Do you parent with faith? How much confidence do you have that your children will walk with the Lord their whole lives?

I think a lot of parents out there look at their own lives and how they wandered away from their parents' values, or they look at the children around them who are completely blowing off their parents, and a lot of parents are scared. They are afraid that they don't have what it takes. They are worried that their children will chase after their friends and forget the way in which they were raised.

I am here to tell you that you do not have to be afraid, because you can parent with confidence that your children will never forsake God.

What's the key? The key has two parts. First, have a law, and have commands. Moms, it's your job not just to comfort boo-boos and owies, but to lay down a law that you force your children to follow.

Let me give you a secret for this: The whole point of discipline is not about correcting behavior; it is about training your children live by your words. Deuteronomy 8:3-5 shows us God's pattern for this, in that the purpose of His discipline for Israel was so that they knew that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from His mouth. He wanted Israel to live by His words and our goal for parenting is the same. When our words to our children don't just go in one ear and out the other, instead actually carrying weight with them, then the law and commands that we give them actually get inside of them where their decisions are made.

Then you will find the promise of these verses coming true in your children's lives-your law that you gave them will guide them, keep them, and speak to them no matter where they go.

The second part of parenting with confidence is entrusting your kids to God. God is faithful with what belongs to Him, so it is silly to not trust Him with our children. Hold them openly before Him and ask Him to help you, to have His way in your life, in your family, and in your children's lives.

Then stand back and watch, for having taught a law and entrusted them to God, you can confidently parent, knowing that your children will remain faithful to God.

Prayer Father God,

You are the ultimate parent! Please show me how You parent so that I can do the same things You do, and thank You that You will show me how to parent my children so that they walk with You their whole lives!

Amen

Horizon Church
May 15th

Warrior Dad

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil... Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore... Ephesians 6:11,13-14

What do you stand for?

You can take this two ways. Either think of it like, I just won't stand for this!you won't tolerate it. Or, think of it this way, I'll take my stand on this issue. I want my life to stand for the things I believe in.

Where do you stand? What are the issues where you refuse to be moved? What wrongs or injustices will you never tolerate?

Paul gives us a good list to start with, telling us four times in Ephesians 6:10-17 that we need to take a stand. Here is what made Paul's list:

First, truth. Put truth around your waist like a belt. Like the light of day that chases away the creatures of night, truth is the light that overcomes the lies of darkness. Stand on the truth of what Jesus has done for you.

Second, righteousness. Did you ever realize that righteousness is not just a moral way to live your life? It is actually a protection for your heart! And while you need to follow in the righteous example of Jesus in your actions, it is His righteousness that covers you and not your own.

Third, the gospel of peace. Stand for the reality of God's peace-His shalom that is far more than just lack of conflict. God's peace restores, reconciles, and makes new. Whatever was lost is found, whatever was broken is fixed, because of the good news of God's peace.

Fourth, your faith. This goes far beyond your faith in Jesus as your Savior, though that is the heart of it. That faith is the faith that settles our eternity, but what are you doing day in and day out that requires faith?

Fifth, salvation. Stand firm on the reality that Jesus has saved you. Never let any doubts creep in concerning all that Jesus has done for you.

Sixth, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. What has God said? Stand on the Word of God and do not be shaken. Let it establish your life as you follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

If we will stand on these things, then our lives will be blessed. These are our keys for victory, the areas of battle on which we must stand.

Prayer Father God,

Thank You for giving me strategies for a victorious life! This armor is Your armor, so please clothe me in it. Never let me lack even one piece as I live for Your glory!

Amen

Horizon Church
May 14th

One Trumpet, One Throne, and Two Amazing Witnesses

In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:13

Everyone is wondering about it. Are we in the end days? Are we nearing the end? The answer is yes, and I'll give you one of the biggest measuring sticks we can use to know: Israel. Now, I'll be the first person to tell you that the Bible gives us a ton of measures to useprophecies-by which we can know that we are in the end times. The Bible is our ultimate lens through which to look at current events, and if we do, then we'll have confidence because we see everything that's happening as what it is-fulfillment of God's eternal plan.

But Israel, I'm telling you, Israel is a special measurement. We can look at what Israel is doing and how the various nations relate to them as a gauge to tell us that the end times are upon us.

Why Israel? Why are they singled out? Simply put, it's because God chose them.

But isn't that a bit dated? I mean, Israel rejected God. You're right, Israel rejected God, but God hasn't rejected Israel.

In fact, Paul tells us in Romans that God has hardened Israel's heart for a time until the fullness of the number of Gentiles comes in. Jesus tells us the same thing in Matthew 24:14, saying, And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

In other words, the only thing holding up Israel's salvation is ours. When the nations have heard, that's the end. Then God lifts the Gentile believers out of the way and, here, in our verse today, we see the moment that salvation will come to Israel.

You see, in the Great Tribulation, many disasters will be poured out that result in nothing more than people shaking their stubborn fists at God. This earthquake, however, is different. This one brings a new reaction-a giving of glory to God by all.

Let me say that again-ALL! It means the totality of Israel will finally get it, the blinders will be lifted, and all of Israel will glorify God.

Israel is the measure for the end times. Why? Because God chose them. He brought salvation to the gentiles through them, and in the end, He's going to bring salvation back home to them.

Prayer Lord God,

Thank You for being faithful! I take so much encouragement from Your faithfulness to Israel. Please help me to be just as faithful to You in these end times!

Amen

Horizon Church