Celebrating 50 Years! Calvary Church of Naperville
Devotional Countdown

DevotionalCountdown

We're counting down to our anniversary celebration! Each day features a devotion written by one of our pastors. Check back daily and be encouraged with us!

33. It's not your battle!

May 30, 2017

He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 2 Chronicles 20:15

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was faced with an impossible situation. A huge army was marching against him. The Bible makes it clear that the army was much larger than anything this king had dealt with in the past. Three different countries had aligned to attack his nation. His response was to seek help from the Lord. Jehoshaphat, his elders and the people all gathered together and petitioned God. God answers clearly: "The battle is not yours!" What happens next is confusing. The next day when they go into battle, Jehoshaphat appoints men to lead the army not with logical weapons of war, but with praise and worship to God. As these men worship and praise God, a confusion sweeps into the enemies' camps, and the three nations turn on each other. When God's people made it to the remaining camps, their conquest was quick and easy. In fact, there was so much plunder and supplies, it took three days to collect it all.

How great is this story? What battle are you facing today? Maybe you need to hear with clarity the same words Jehoshaphat heard: This is not your battle; it's the Lord's. When we allow God to fight the battles for us, we enter with a different resolve in our spirit. Our method of war becomes thankfulness and worship. If you are facing a situation or battle in your life right now, and if there is discouragement and fear, you might be fighting in your own strength.

Put down what you are fighting with and lift up some worship. It is amazing what happens in our spirit when we trust God to fight the battle. A new energy and rest is waiting for you. This battle is not yours; it's the Lord's!

34. First things first!

May 29, 2017

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

If there was a fire in your home, and you could only take one thing, what would it be? This question makes our minds race and quickly prioritize the most important things in our life. Some might think about people, some think about pets and some think about electronics or valuable items. But what if you did something different? What if you took one thing out the fire, and that one thing saved everything else?

In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about worry in the context of stuff. Don't worry about what you will wear, eat or drink, where you will lay your head and don't worry about tomorrow. His answer? God will take care of it: Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added. We can get so consumed with different priorities in life that we get distracted from the main priority of God's kingdom.

Worry can stop us from being who we were created to be and stop us from accomplishing God's purpose for our life. We can become so consumed in chasing after the wrong priorities, worrying about not having or doing the latest this or that. At the end of the day, the question is about trust. Do you trust God to come through on his promise that when you seek him first, he will add everything else? Let's put first things first in our lives and see what happens.

35. Perfect equation!

May 28, 2017

Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7

In 1905, Albert Einstein developed the Special Theory of Relativity. This theory explained the relationship between energy, mass and light—specifically the way in which these three components interacted with each other. Most people probably do not understand the theory, but have heard of the most famous of mathematical equations: E=MC².

Equations and formulas are important in math. If you have the right equation, you get the correct answer. More importantly, if you have the right equation, you have consistency. A person could guess enough times and eventually come up with the correct answer, but there would be no consistency in his or her process. With the correct equation, there will be a consistency of correctness.

This is similar to your walk with the Lord. Is there consistency or randomness? Colossians 2:7 gives the perfect equation for a consistent spiritual walk. Here are the variables: be rooted and be built up in Jesus, strengthen your faith and remain thankful. If we continue on in this equation of rooted, built up, strengthened and thankful, our lives will display a consistency that can weather any season and any storm. It is truly the perfect equation.

36. God is able!

May 27, 2017

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

There is a big difference between desire and ability. Imagine you were sitting in a room with 100 other people and someone walked on stage and said, "I would love to give you each a million dollars." You might begin to dream of the ways you would spend that money, all the while knowing you would never see it. The person on stage only desires to give you a million dollars. Imagine, however, if a speaker came into the same room and said, "I have a hundred million dollars, and I'm here to give it out to you!" In this case, your dream doesn't have to end, because the speaker is able to come through on their promise.

Do you approach God with the idea of desire or ability? God, through his mighty power at work in your life, wants to do so much more than we could think or ask. It is his desire to do so. But even more so, he is able to accomplish this desire. The question becomes: Are we asking? Are we believing and trusting that God has infinitely more for us?

Life can get interesting at times throwing out challenges, frustrations, hardship, sickness and disappointments. These can come at any moment and without any warning. When life happens, what we believe will determine how we respond. The reality is that God's power is at work in your life regardless of what the circumstances around your life look like. He is able and willing to accomplish infinitely more in your life. So, what are you asking for?

37. The Sound of Rain!

May 26, 2017

And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain." 1 Kings 18:41

The story of Elijah and the Fire from heaven in 1 Kings 18 is an iconic story in the Bible. God makes himself known by sending fire from heaven to burn up a sacrifice set up by Elijah. There was a massive drought in Israel at this time, so when Elijah thinks he hears the sound of rushing rain, he sends Ahab to go out and look. Ahab goes out and looks over the Mediterranean Sea, but sees not even a cloud in the bright blue sky. Elijah sends Ahab back seven times before a cloud the size of a man's hand appears. Before they could even make it down the mountain they were caught in a rainstorm so great that it caught the attention of an entire nation.

There are times where God choses to speak before he moves. We can become frustrated looking for the action of God in our lives when he is trying to get us to hear his voice. Has there been a time in your life where you were praying and waiting for God to move? Maybe, like Ahab, you are looking for a sign of God's movement, hoping to see something as small as a cloud the size of man's hand, only to see nothing. It's in these moments that we should be encouraged to listen for the sound of God's voice. Don't get so caught up in the sight of rain that you ignore the sound of it.

God might be trying to get something into your spirit before he puts it into your hand. He does this because once his promise is released to you, it will be like the rainstorm in 1 Kings 18. It will be so big that it demands the attention of everyone around you. Do you hear that? It's the sound of rain!

38. Like a Flood!

May 25, 2017

So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. Isaiah 59:19

In 2005, NBC reported a story about a little girl from Ethiopia. Men had kidnapped her from her home and were trying to force her into marriage. 350 miles from her home, authorities found a miracle: three lions stood guard around the little girl, acting as a shield. She was safe, and her kidnappers were nowhere to be found. As authorities approached, the lions "left her like a gift and went back into the forest."

Can you imagine being guarded by lions? You don't have to imagine; you already are! Revelation 5:5 says, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." The enemy tries to attack our lives in so many different ways. Some of these ways are financial troubles, fear and sickness. Even though the enemy attacks, there is no reason for us to lose heart, because it is a greater indication that God is going to set a new standard in your life.

The lions in the story stepped out of their natural role as predator and stepped into a new standard as protector. This is exactly how God works. When the enemy comes in like a flood, God lifts up a new standard to keep us above the waters. It is when we stand confident in God as our strength and defense that we begin to see life-changing movement happen within us.

39. Encouraging Others

May 24, 2017

Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24

Have you ever felt left out? Maybe you were the last one chosen for a game, or you didn't make the final cut for a school play, sports team or cheerleading squad. Maybe you didn't get that promotion at work. The fact is, we will all experience times of discouragement, confusion and disappointment. It's part of the trials of life.

Think of what happened to Saul (also called Paul), shortly after his dramatic conversion, when he tried to join the other disciples in Jerusalem: They rejected him. Saul was a man who had experienced a genuine change and total spiritual transformation, yet the Christians in Jerusalem weren't convinced that he truly was a new man. It is possible that Saul would never have been accepted by the church leaders were it not for the courageous efforts of Barnabas (whose name literally means "son of encouragement"). The Bible states that "Barnabas took him [Saul] and brought him to the apostles" (Acts 9:27a). Saul needed someone to look beyond his reputation and see the heart of a changed man. Barnabas' support was a tremendous encouragement to Saul as he fervently pursued God's plan for his life.

Everyone needs supportive friends like Barnabas who believe in them when they are worn down by the demands of life. That's why you are called by God to be sensitive to those around you who need encouragement. God wants people to take the time and effort to build up others. Will you be that kind of person? Look for opportunities to speak an encouraging word or perform an act of kindness that really makes a difference in someone's life!

40. Putting Christ First

May 23, 2017

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

In the 1950s, five young missionaries felt a deep calling to share the gospel with the Auca Indians, a violent tribe in the rain forests of Ecuador. Each man was prepared to put his life on the line for the opportunity to convey God's love. In January 1956, these five men made contact with the Aucas who brutally attacked and killed them. Even though the missionaries had weapons, they didn't retaliate. Instead, they spoke words of love and friendship with their dying breath. Because of their courage and willingness to place the lives of the Aucas before their own, their sacrifice was not made in vain. Others were later inspired to carry on their mission, and ultimately, the tribe accepted the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

The missionaries had a deep understanding of Christ's compassion and sacrifice. Jim Elliot, one of the men killed that day, once wrote in his journal, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Those five men understood that if you desire to serve God, you must be willing to look beyond yourself and put others first. A true disciple is characterized by a passionate commitment to move beyond selfishness to selflessly serve others. You may never have to choose between life and death for the sake of others, but each day you have to decide whether to sacrifice your wants and needs for someone else's benefit.

God is searching for people willing to put their lives on the line. Are you genuinely interested in meeting the needs of others before your own? Ask the Lord to give you a heart of compassion and show you how to put others first.

41. God Cares!

May 22, 2017

Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you! 1 Peter 5:7

Have you ever felt alone? As if you were the only one carrying the weight of what you were going through in that season of life? One of the hardest ideas to wrap your mind around is the idea that God wants to be involved in your life. He doesn't just want to be asked into the big decisions and the tough moments, he wants in the everyday activities in your life.

In weight training, there are times when you push yourself to such a high weight that a spotter is needed. A spotter is someone who can carry the weight for you when it becomes too difficult to lift. It is not a good idea to try to carry the weight alone. How often do we approach life with the attitude that we have to carry every burden on our own shoulders?

In 1 Peter 5, the writer's instruction is to cast all your cares on Jesus, because he cares for you. The word "cast" used in this verse means to "throw or throw down." The picture here isn't one of handing politely and hoping someone takes it from you. The picture here is of you throwing down whatever you are carrying, because the promise is that God will be there to pick it up and carry it for you.

What are you trying to do in your own strength? What would it look life if you threw down your weight today and trusted God to pick it up?

42. A New Thing!

May 21, 2017

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

In 1908, Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T to the world. Before this moment, horses were used as a mode of transportation to help people get from one destination to the next. Since this introduction, horses have gone from the main method of transportation to almost never used at all. How does this happen? How does something so imbedded into the normal way of life in one generation, become nonexistent in the next generation? The answer: a new thing.

When asked about the Model T and the innovation of the assembly line, Henry Ford responded, "If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse." How true is this statement? At times, it seems we feel most comfortable looking at the past. Isaiah is telling the people of Israel to stop remembering the former things, and look at what God is doing now.

When it comes to your spiritual life, are you asking God for a faster horse or are you letting him do something new? God's promise for your life is that he will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. God is doing a new thing in you—will you let him?

43. As Yourself

May 20, 2017

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

A couple of years ago there was a fad on the internet called doppelganger. A doppelganger is someone who looks like another person. How many times do people try to look and act like someone they are not?

This happens when people do not like who they are. Maybe a fear or insecurity has caused them to question their value or significance. It is just like the enemy to try to get people to believe that their value is insignificant. They try to find it and end up chasing the image of another person. Mimicry isn't all-bad; the Bible tells us to mimic Christ.

This is different because we were formed and created in his image. Too many times we are busy trying to project someone else's image. Our time, energy and resource are invested into being something that we are not. Let's be just like Christ and, in doing so, become more of ourselves.

44. The Holy Spirit is our Partner

May 19, 2017

And I will ask the Father and He will give you another advocate that will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit... John 14:16, 17

You've probably heard someone say that the only thing that is inevitable is change. Most people cringe at the idea of change because it's something that alters our normal routine or our way of doing things. It's different. And different can seem really hard when we're comfortable.

That's when a partner comes in hand. A partner can encourage you, compel you and advocate for you. A partner that has the same goal and wants to see you succeed is invaluable. It's a good thing we have one!

The Holy Spirit is our partner. Jesus tells us that he's going to send someone greater than him to be our helper. That's the Holy Spirit. Now, those are pretty big shoes to fill (greater than Jesus). But that's what the Bible says, so we know it's true. The Holy Spirit came to walk with us through everything, including change.

45. Fight the Right Battle

May 18, 2017

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

When I was in the 6th grade, I played in the most confusing basketball game of my entire life: both teams had the same color of jersey. To make it even harder, we all went to school together. It was hard to know who to pass to and who to guard because no one looked like the enemy. They all looked friendly!

As the game progressed, we had to find unique ways to identify friend or foe. As a spot shooter (meaning I picked a spot and shot from it), I had to figured out friend or foe quickly. The game ended and my team won, but not without confusion and mistakes.

Doesn't life get this way? As hurt, pain, fear, frustration and relationship all collide it can become difficult to know who the enemy is or even the right battle to fight. When our attention becomes confused, the enemy can sway us to fight the wrong battle. We can turn our attention to approval or weight or addiction. We need to remember that our battle is not against things of this world, and our enemy is not against flesh and blood.

46. Consistency!

May 17, 2017

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:27

I tried to read my Bible every day, but I failed miserably. I tried to wake up early to pray, but I missed the alarm clock … multiple times! I tried to take big leaps in my health, personal and spiritual life, but I get frustrated that the results are not immediate. It's made me want to give up. What am I missing? Consistency!

Don't forget the power of consistency! Commitment and consistency go hand in hand. In order to grow, we need to be committed to the end goal and consistent in our steps toward that goal. A faithful relationship with God is the best goal! Do something small over a long period of time, and it will have a big impact. Don't believe me? Water cutting through the earth over a long period of time forms a canyon – the Grand Canyon.

47. Strong Tower!

May 16, 2017

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

In running there is this concept called "the runners wall." Runners will start off fast and outrun their pace and energy. What happens next is they run into an invisible wall. Exhaustion takes over their bodies, and they will not finish their race at the level of energy with which they started. Training, practice, water and a good coach can get these runners back in the race.

This same idea can happen in a person's spiritual race. The race starts off well, but people begin to outpace their endurance levels. They hit the proverbial spiritual wall, weariness creeps in and some even choose to give up. A Christian can regain stamina by running, but this time running toward the right finish. When we run into the Lord, he is our strong tower; life and safety are found in Him. If you find yourself weary today, run to the Lord. He is your strong tower.

48. No Call Waiting!

May 15, 2017

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Have you ever needed to get in contact with someone? You call them, but don't get an answer. You send a text, but there's no response. You leave a message, but did they get it? In a world full of technology and communication, not getting a response can be annoying, frustrating and disheartening.

God isn't like that. When we call to him, he always answers. The promise of God goes so much further than just answering. When he answers, he shows how great and mighty he really is. His answers give you more than what you want—they give you what you need. Try it today. Don't wait! Call out to God and he will not only answer, but wrap you up in his arms. You are his, and your calls do not go unheard.

49. Stand!

May 14, 2017

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

For many, a round-about is a form of traffic punishment. That's one of those intersections that makes you drive in a circle and exit at various points. If you know what you're doing and where you're going, you'll be fine. If not, it's never-ending.

In our lives, without clear direction in front of us, we continue with the same behavior patterns. These behaviors have the potential to keep us trapped in a never-ending cycle of action, guilt, shame, repentance and repeat.

What if we stopped? What if we took a different course and changed our behavior? Instead of going back again to the "yoke of bondage," let's break free and pursue the road Jesus won for us. This path of freedom never steers us back toward our shame—it leads us to God. What would your day, year and life look like if today you choose Freedom Street over Sin Circle?

50. Fear Not!

May 13, 2017

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Fear is an interesting motivator for the simple reason that fear motivates inaction. If you see something that startles you, your body freezes for a minute, and then you have two choices: Do I run, or do I fight? In our Christian walk, the enemy uses fear tactics to keep believers in a stance of inaction. If we continue in the pattern of fear for too long, something dangerous can happen: we can lose our courage.

In Joshua 1:9, God is encouraging Joshua to be strong and of good courage because God will be with him. This same promise is for you today. Whatever you face, whatever the circumstance or situation in your life, God is with you.