July 5th

Blind Corners

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him...But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. 1 Corinthians 8:3,9

Americans love their freedom, and Christians love their freedom that much more.

In many lives, this freedom turns into licentiousness-the permit to sin without accountability or consequence.

When the New Testament era began, God gave a freedom to His people through Christ Jesus that they had never before known. The Jews in the Old Testament had their Law, and many Jews wanted the new Gentile converts to adopt these laws. But God gave them only one law-the Law of Love.

Paul wrote the Corinthian church to straighten out their priorities concerning their liberty. He said, You know that you are free, and that's good, but do you understand the purpose of your freedom?

Within the church, at that time, the people knew well that they were free from law. They understood that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to do, but this freedom went to their heads.

It became a selfish obsession that was more important than the other believers around them. It was better, in their eyes, to do something that used to be taboo simply because they were free than to prefer their brother who still wasn't so sure it was okay.

Paul set the record straight, saying, It is more important to be kind to your brother or sister in Christ than to take full advantage of your freedom, because your freedom is pointless without love.

The heart of this truth is the heart of God. Jesus was free to stay in heaven and let us die in our sin, but His love trumped His freedom, so He laid down His life for us. In so doing, He both set us free and gave us the example of love in which we should follow.

Take a moment to examine your life. Which takes higher priority for you-your freedom or your love? Your answer to this question will tell you how much of God's heart beats inside of you.

Prayer Father God,

If I am Your child, then I know I should be like You. You put Your love before Your freedom, and because of that, I am Yours. Please help me to do the same for the people around me.

Amen

Horizon Church
July 4th

Blind Corners

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish menas free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 1 Peter 2:15-16

Have you ever wondered what God's will is?

We always begin to ask this as we approach times of transition in our lives. Whom does God want me to marry? Where does God want me to go to college? Does God want me to start this new business? Is it God's will to move and take a new job?

These major shifts in our lives give us pause, forcing us to seek God for His plan for our lives. While I am not saying this is bad, I can say for certain that God's will is not an elusive mystery, for He has already told us plainly what it is.

God's will is for us to do good, and in so doing, silence the voices of those who would malign God and His Church.

Yet there is a tension, isn't there, because God has also given us freedom. God is sovereign, yet He also holds us accountable for our decisions. We must choose what to do with our freedom, whether to use it for ourselves or for others.

This is what Peter says, that we should not use our freedom as a cloak for vice. It is not to become an excuse for sin that controls our lives!

Oh, well, I can drink as much as I want because I'm free. It doesn't matter that I'm drunk more than I'm sober.

Oh, I can sleep with my boyfriend. What else is freedom for?

Oh, I can join in the negative conversation and gossip at work. Besides, that's what keeps me in relationship with them, and how can I reach them if I don't ever talk to them?

A better question would be, how will you reach them if you sacrifice your witness by how you talk? Or, how will you reach them to change if you are no different?

Our freedom is not a gift for ourselves, but for others. As a bondslave was freed, yet chose to remain in service, God has freed us, yet we choose to serve Him.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You for setting me free! I choose to use my freedom for others, serving You to do good. Please help me as I look for ways every day to do good to those around me!

Amen

Horizon Church
July 3rd

Holey Moley

The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. Isaiah 3:9

What has the power to destroy a nation?

This is an interesting question, and to answer it, we can see in scripture five flaws that can bring on the collapse of any nation.

First, debt can destroy a nation. Often this begins as a day of abundance where people get used to living the high life. But people do not reach the end of their appetite when they reach the end of their means, so they go into debt to acquire more. Debt turns our day of abundance into a drought of dependence in which we have begun to rely on creditors instead of on our God.

Second, the departure of godly leadership can destroy a nation. This does not usually happen when all the godly people decide to move, but rather when the desire for godly leadership is replaced with disrespect. When there is no honor for wisdom then people do not pursue it or follow it, and those godly, wise leaders become irrelevant to the direction of the nation.

Third, a nation can be destroyed when the office of authority is no longer honored. When we are just begging someone, anyone, to run for office-we just need a warm body to sit in the chair-then this is a bad sign. When good people quit running for office, then goodness quits running.

Fourth, when sins that should bring shame are celebrated, it can destroy a nation. The plain fact of the matter is that, as enticing as the life of sin is, it is a life of living Hell that we create for ourselves because it is a life that is separate from God.

Fifth, when children of the Crown become children of the culture, it can destroy a nation. This can be summed up as a change of focus from inward beauty to outward beauty. When we stop caring about the character of our hearts more than the attractiveness and adornment of our bodies then it takes our eyes off of the eternal and focuses them on the temporary.

These things put together, lasting over time, spell disaster for any nation. Change must come to our nation, and it starts with us. Where do you see these five things in your life?

Prayer Lord God,

I want my nation to be blessed! I repent for any way that I have helped lead my country the wrong way by living out these five things. Please release mercy to me, and to America, and lead us back to You!

Amen

Horizon Church
July 2nd

Holiness Up Close and Personal

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim...And one cried to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!' Isaiah 6:1-3

The king was dead and his throne was empty. No one knew what his son would be like, whether he would be a good king or a bad one.

In that vacuum of security, God gave Isaiah a vision in which He made a clear statement: I am on my throne. In that vision, there are four things Isaiah saw that are important for us to see as well.

First, Isaiah saw God's majesty. The moment we see God's majesty is the deciding moment. God is no longer just the big man upstairs or some higher power. He is now a majestic God who is worthy of me deciding today that He is to become the purpose of my life. This comes down to our heart, where we choose to desire for ourselves to experience His majesty in an up close and personal way.

Second, Isaiah saw his inabilities. He saw how amazing God is and immediately knew the depth of his weakness in comparison. The reality is that you can't be saved until you admit your need for it. And honestly, you could be the best in the world at something, yet partnering with God in it will still make you better. Just ask Peter, who in Luke 5 saw Jesus transform a wasted night of fishing into a catch so big that it began sinking two ships.

Third, Isaiah saw the depth of his sin and iniquity. It was only when he saw his sin, so wretched that he was convinced he would die there in God's presence, that God could send the angel to cleanse him with the coal. We cannot live a holy life until we see our sinfulness, because only then can we repent and turn to God for Him to make us holy.

Fourth, Isaiah saw his availability. If God showed Himself to you in the same way He showed up to Isaiah, and He said, Whom shall I send, who will go for me? you would say, Send me. It's amazing that God would use the likes of us, but when we have seen the first three things today, we cannot answer with anything else but, Send me. Whatever God asks of us, our answer will always be yes.

Ask God to give you this revelation today, and whenever He calls, say yes.

Prayer Lord God,

I can't possibly imagine how majestic You are, so I need You to show Yourself to me. Please capture my heart with a vision of Your majesty so that I will always say, Yes, I will go. Send me.

Amen

Horizon Church
July 1st

The Be-Ready Attitudes

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Ready or not, here He comes! Jesus is coming soon, whether we are ready to meet Him or not.

This is a message that we have heard for a long time, and maybe you are thinking, Yeah,

I've heard that before and I haven't seen anything yet. Why should it matter to me?

It should matter to you because of the heart behind Jesus' delay. It is not like Jesus is truant on His promise to return. He did not forget His word. He did not get lazy in the paradise of Heaven.

No, the truth is that Jesus is waiting to come again for the same reason that He came the first time-He loves us. His love caused Him to come into the world to save the world from sin and death; He waits now so that more people can experience His salvation.

He eagerly anticipates His return, longing for the day when we shall see Him face to face. But for the sake of those who are still lost, he waits ever so patiently, so that yet one more might come to repentance.

What if Jesus did come today? Are you right with God? Are you ready to stand before God face to face, or have you let your heart grow cold?

God can give you His saving love right now. Let's get right with Him. Let's get ready.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You that You love this world. Teach me to keep myself ready to meet You face to face!

Amen

Horizon Church
June 30th

Crossing the Finish Line

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.' ...But thanks be to God, who give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54,57

Icould really go for some rest right now, couldn't you?

There are so many things in life that demand our attention, stress us out, make us worry, and just one thing at a time, wear on us until we are exhausted. Even our vacations wear us out and we need a break from our break!

With all these things stressing us out, leaving us in need of rest, we are living restless lives.

And my question for us today is, are we restless for the right things?

I ask because, when I look around me, all I see is people freaking out over the things of this world-things that will need replaced, become obsolete in a matter of months, increase the stress of maintenance on their lives, and are ultimately useless where eternity is concerned. And where eternity is concerned is where we should be restless; we should be concerned about eternity and nothing else. What are you doing now that will matter forever? It's great if your investments will carry you all the way from retirement until your death, but then what? What will carry you from your death into the forever of eternity? What stock market or invest-

ment portfolio will help you then?

The only thing that can help us in eternity is Jesus. His investment in us opens the way for us to Heaven, and our investment of faith in Him pulls the benefit of His sacrifice into our lives.

Once this issue is settled in our lives, it is amazing how much of our restlessness disappears. All of a sudden, we are not striving for the things of this world anymore and where eternity is concerned, we are resting in the finished work of Jesus.

Even the sting of death has been dealt with so that the only thing that keeps us restless now is thinking of how to please our Savior.

But having eternity settled and a Savior who loves me, now there's something that gives me rest no matter what is happening around me.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

Thank You for conquering death for me! Thank You that I can rest in what You have done for me and not worry about anything else that I see going on around me. Please fill me with Your rest and peace as I live for You today and everyday!

Amen

Horizon Church
June 29th

The Losses of Lawsuits

If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? ...Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:4,7

I get this question probably every day. Can I sue him? Can a Christian sue another Christian?

Um, did you read the verses today? The obvious answer from scripture is no. I mean, you couldn't have a clearer answer. No!

Here's the deal, both sides lose before a verdict is ever read when you sue your brother or sister in Christ. Did you hear what Paul said? It is already an utter failure for you. How would you like to stand before God on that one someday-an utter failure!

Well how about this one, pastor-can a Christian company sue another Christian company?

Give me a break. As if what applies to the one doesn't apply to the one hundred? The Christian company has a witness to uphold the same way an individual does.

Alright, well, can a Christian sue a non-Christian? Because I've got a claim, man, and I know I could win. I'll even tithe off the winnings.

You know, the Bible doesn't say. But I'll tell you what it does say. The Bible says, if you're only going to do good to those who love you, then what's the point? Even unbelievers do that. We're set apart, proving that we are of Christ Jesus, when we love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us.

Even if you're legally right and you would win your case in the end, so what? It's no win in the end. The greater honor is for you to witness by offering the forgiveness and fellowship of Christ. Get this-we're actually called not only to forgiveness and love, but to kindness. If it were me, I'd show love to all, especially to the ones who are hardest to love, whether they're a believer or not.

The only time I see biblical justification for a lawsuit is defending yourself if someone sues you, and then you'd better get yourself some good counsel. But let me say this, your interests in that court are first about protecting and demonstrating your witness for Christ, then about making sure you receive justice.

The heart of God loves even at the cost of self. Let's do the same.

Prayer Lord Jesus,

When I did You wrong, You didn't sue me; You died for me. How can I not do the same thing? But sometimes it's hard because I've been hurt, sometimes I've lost a lot. I trust You to give me justice, to heal my hurts, and to provide all my needs as I forgive those who've done me wrong.

Amen

Horizon Church