NavigateLife – December 31

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Today’s NavigateLife segment brings the good news that God’s mercies are new every morning. Accordingly, we are encouraged to approach the new year with a renewed purpose to experience life one day at a time. Not just in regards to our resolutions but in trusting that God will be there to meet us each morning in a new way.

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NavigateLife – December 24

NavLifeBlogHeaderThis week’s NavigateLife segment begins with great opening lines from classic literature, reminding us that Jesus’ birth is the greatest opening line in history. However, It is the whole story of Jesus’ life, including his death, burial and resurrection, that makes it possible for us to have hope for a fuller, richer life. If you want to hear more about the story of Christmas, we invite you to join us for our Christmas eve services tonight at Calvary Church at 5:00pm or 10:00pm.

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Our Daily Bread

ODBI was sent a link to yesterday’s Our Daily Bread.  It was written by a member of our congregation, read by another member of our congregation and referenced Jim’s Christmas message last year.  It is wonderful to be part of a church that uses a variety of gifts to minister not only at Calvary but to Christians around the world.

Please be in prayer for our Christmas services this year, and especially for visitors that they may hear the good news spoken directly to their hearts.

All is well,

Lisa

Sandy Hook Elementary School

I was deeply saddened to hear of the horrific news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut today.  As a father to elementary school children, I can only begin to imagine the immense grief and pain that so many families on the East Coast are experiencing today.  Our heartfelt prayers and sympathy go out to them.

During the Christmas season when as Christians we are called to celebrate hope, peace, joy and love, how do we reconcile the message of this holiday season with experiences of pain, sin and death?

When faced with the reality of evil in this world, we remember that at Christmas, God sent Jesus to be the savior of the world.  As Christians, we have experienced God’s peace and forgiveness, but we are still waiting for the whole earth to experience this peace.  So while we pray that God will give his peace to those who personally suffer as a result of the events of this day and we commit ourselves to share the message of peace with those around us, our ultimate hope is for Christ, the Prince of Peace, to come again.

Isaiah 9:6 tells us that “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

NavigateLife – December 10

This Monday’s Navigate Life segment encouraged us to take time this season to appreciate the stories of Christmas. As you enjoy traditions and share memories with your own family, how are you incorporating the stories of Christmas in your celebrations?

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Favorite Friendship Quotes

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

―  Henri Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

―  C.S. Lewis

A bosom friend–an intimate friend, you know–a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul.

―  Anne, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 

NavigateLife – December 3

This Monday’s Navigate Life segment encouraged parents to try mixing in a yes in the midst of all those no’s. Have you put this into practice this week? Let us know how it went.

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Evil Spirit in 1 Samuel 16

In 1 Samuel 16, our passage from Sunday, we read that God sent an evil spirit to torment Saul.  What?  If you or I were writing that passage, we would probably say, “God allowed an evil spirit to torment Saul.”  But that is not what the text actually says.

What does it mean that God sent an evil spirit?

God is sovereign over all things, including evil spirits.  This means that even evil spirits can be used by God to accomplish his purposes.  While God is never the author of evil, he sometimes uses evil to accomplish his plan.

In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers who sold him into captivity, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Somehow, the evil act of selling Joseph into slavery was intended by God for good.  Again, the language of “God intended” is stronger than saying “God allowed.”

Perhaps another parallel can be seen in 1 Corinthians 5 when Paul instructs the Corinthian church regarding a sinning brother.  Paul tells them to “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” The language of “hand over to Satan” is more active than merely “allow Satan.”

In each of these cases there is a sense that God is sovereign over evil, using it for his purposes. What an amazing God we serve – even evil must obey him!