1: 50 Days of Pray – Time For a Change

All too often we get to a point in our lives where we wonder where God has gone. We want to hear him speak to us and wonder where he has disappeared to.  I was reminded again today about the old saying that when it feels like God is distant it isn’t Him that moved. He is faithful and just and longs to have this relationship with us that is inconceivable to those who don’t know Him. When I took a break from writing it was only meant to be two weeks as I was moving, yet life happened, and the excuses flowed, and I never started up again.  To be honest, I felt like I was done with this chapter of my life, when I started, I dreamed of a following of readers that would change the world. High expectations from an unknown writer yet aspirations and hope stove me forward. After three years of seemingly minimal results, this felt like a good time to jump out, it wasn’t like anyone cared that I had stopped.

I don’t write this to ask for pity or comments of encouragement. I write this as an apology to you those who did read what I have written. You are important and there have been many moments where I have received confirmation that what I was doing was important. My pride and ego wanted something I don’t think that I would have been even close to prepared for. I know that God has called me to ministry and a journey I began three years ago is still going. But I had once again begun filling my life with distractions that have been working to silence God in my life. So here I am halfway around the world in a hotel room reconnecting with God and knowing that I cannot live the same anymore.

So, I am asking for forgiveness, I haven’t always followed through on what I have written in the past. I posted about accountability, yet I have not been able to find anyone to hold me accountable. I don’t put myself out there to help my brother be accountable either. I get scared and wonder what they will think of me if I call them out on their actions. It is something I have to work on, easy to say but harder to put into action. It confuses me how one can go to church on Sunday then get drunk the next week. How do I reach out to someone like that who I want to see grow in their faith yet give themselves into drunkenness? Are they ready for that sort of spiritual intervention?

 

Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:15-16 Living Bible (TLB)

 

For far too long I have been hiding my light, embarrassed by the glow and the power it has. Our lights are meant for more than out gatherings on Sundays, we are called to so much more then that. Far too long have I(we) been tiptoeing around the fact that this world that we live in needs to see who Jesus is. Who he is to them. Our brothers, sisters, families, friends, co-workers and more. I(we) have become so over sensitized into believing that what we have will offend others if we share it. That we will lose them in the process never to speak to us again. Jesus himself told us that following him would not be easy. He knew that some would forsake you for your choice, but that the reward would be far greater than the pain caused by losing the loved one. We focus on the pain we receive here on earth when it is only a blip on the grand scale of eternity.

 

It is time for a change. It is time for believers to step up to the calling we have been given. It is time to wake up from the slumber and rise to the occasion. I for one am so tired of the distractions and the excuses that I have been giving to live like this. It is time for a change. In writing this I am giving each and every reader permission to hold me accountable for my actions. If what I say or do contradicts what Jesus asks of me then please let me know. If you take the time to share this, you are making the same request of anyone who reads it. Are you ready for that?

If you are reading this and don’t quite know what this is all about, it boils down to this.

  • God Loves you, he created you,
  • God wants to have a relationship with you,
  • Sin separates us from having this relationship, and due to a serious of events all mankind is living in sin,
  • God sent His Son Jesus to live as a man, and die on the Cross, taking on all the sins past, present and future, paying the ultimate price, his life.
  • Jesus did not stay dead, he rose again after three days defeating sin once and for all,
  • And he is ready willing and able to take your sin from you if you would only ask it of him.

 

I would like to say that if you follow Jesus everything will change, and life will be filled with rainbows and puppies, but that would be further from the truth. You will, however, feel whole, love, joy and peace. You will be joining a family of millions who lift one another up. We will fall as you might assume from my writings above, but without these moments we cannot grow. In storms trees send their roots deeper to avoid falling over, they grow stronger because of the storm.  If we continue to trust God in the storm, we come through it we will be stronger because of it not despite of it.

 

So will you join me in another 50 Days of Pray? It’s time for a Change.

 

Father, forgive me for my inactivity and laziness. I ask that you strengthen me in all that I do. I no longer can sit back and just watch the days go by not doing anything. I need to be a man of action and working to share the love you have for others to those around me. Remove any fears I may have of failure and insecurities I am holding on to, no more excuse. The harvest is now and I want to be counted among the workers. Help me to be effective in sharing your love with my world. I know I have prayed this in the past but it still rings true today, they matter to you so they have to matter to me. Amen

 

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50: 50 Days of 3:16

As we conclude this 50 Dyas of 3:16 we see that many of these verses all lead us to the same thing. That God loves us and desires to know us more.

 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16

 

The words teach us how to live as believers.

 

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 3:16

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Colossians 3:16

Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Philippians 3:16

These words teach us how to be bold in our faith.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.”

Daniel 3:16

 

It reminds us that sometimes we must wait on the Lord but that he will speak to us.

After seven days the Lord gave me a message. Ezekiel 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

2 Timothy 3:16

Remember that God is always with you seeing what is happening and waiting for the right moment, our ways are not his ways.

“Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you.“

Exodus 3:16

 

Take some time to study your bible. Grab hold of a scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to connect you to God through it. You will find that he can speak to you through his word. There is truth in the scriptures that will help you manoeuvre through this life and become effective in reaching the lost.

 

Father use us to be a people who want to hear from you. Holy Spirit gives us boldness to step out of our comfort zones and share our faith with others. Bind our fears and help us to be great witnesses and fishers of men. Use me. Amen.

 

Thank you for following with me through his 50 days. I will be back in September with a new series.

 

 

 

 

 

49: 50 Days of 3:16

 Our journey through the 3:16’s of the bible is drawing to a close. It has been a busy summer for me and I apologize for the inconsistency of my blog postings. On a personal note, my wife’s grandfather returned home to be with Jesus at the age of 91. It was not unexpected, but we are thankful that he in just in recent years he had given his life over to Jesus. We will see him again, there is that hope. So, in writing this today I want to remind you that there is hope for those around you. God doesn’t count people out. We hear all the time of those who we would not expect to be forgiven choosing life in Jesus. John 3:16 continues to remind us of hope that is available to our loved ones, neighbours, enemies and strangers.

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. NIV

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. MSG

For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He[even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. AMP

For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.[a] So now everyone who believes in him[b] will never perish but experience everlasting life. TPT

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. VOICE

 

I have given these different translations to remind you that not everyone you meet is the same. How we reach out to those around us needs to be driven in such a way that we understand that the cookie cutter methods does not always work. We can pick up books upon books or watch a multitude of videos on how to reach the lost. These are a good starting point, but they cannot be the only way we evangelise. The Holy Spirit is available as your mentor and friend to help you each and every time you step out in faith to love someone and share with them the truth about Jesus.

It all comes down to believers actually doing something. We cannot be lazy in our faith, we must make a stand and be bold in sharing what we have found. To find a treasure and not share it is to live a lonely life. Why if we are living in joy and freedom would we not want to share this with everyone we meet? Why have we accepted the lie that people are just not interested in what we have to say? The enemy has convinced us that the truth is okay for us but would not be accepted by others and that they might even resent us for sharing it. We need to be bold, break this lie in our mindsets and push the enemy out of our lives. Trust the Holy Spirit to defend you from the lies that the enemy throws at us, remember greater is he who lives in us then he that is in the world. The devil is defeated and is working a last-ditch effort to drag as many as he can down with him. If he can convince you not to share what you know then his plan is working. Will you tell the world that God loves them?

 

Father forgive us for believing the lie of the enemy. The people around us matter to you, none are discounted or discarded. We are called to reach them and tell them of your love. Holy Spirit gives us boldness and encouragement to step out of our fear and into the light of sharing our story and the truth. Give us daily opportunities to be a witness of your love and help us to open our mouths with the love you have for them. Provide us wisdom in that we can meet those who need you right where they are. Use us. Amen.

48: 50 Days of 3:16

The church has come to a place where they need to decide where they stand in the world. Many have split and split again each time becoming something that suits the needs of the people. Inherently this leads to unbiblical foundations sneaking there way in and undermining the faith. The traditions and rules become the way of living and attendance almost feels more important than the relationship with God.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelations 3:16

 

Our relationship with God needs to be the driving force in our lives. We see here in today’s verse one statement that has been used by many ministers to hopefully motivate the congregation to action. The sermon preached and the all to action accepted but the follow-up is lacking. If we want to see the church come alive we cannot expect it to happen without follow-up. Expecting Sunday services week after week to grow a church might happen but there are a few key things that need to happen;

  1. Believers must spend time in prayer and read their bibles,
  2. Connecting with fellow believers in fellowship, accountability, and study, and
  3. Putting faith into action and taking the love of Jesus to the world around them.

 

Lukewarm tends to be comfortable. We were never called to live comfortable lives. Jesus promised us a comforter, he sent a comforter because our life in Christ isn’t meant to be comfortable. If we are living a comfortable life it may be time to asking ourselves where we stand in our relationship with God. A fire engulfs and consumes things around it. It is unafraid to share itself with others. We sing many songs that ask God or the Holy Spirit to send the fire, why? Because we need to have a life that is willing to be shared with others. Our faith needs to consume us and positively influence those who need to experience the love of Jesus. We are called to be the light, light gives off heat. Cold is the absence of heat. There is heat in life, God is calling us to live a life full of the light.

 

Father, set me on fire, help me to move past an apathetic kind of faith. I want to be more then an attendee and experience what you have for me. Let me be willing to share my faith with those around me. Give me boldness to step up in my faith, not being comfortable in where I am now. Use me. Amen

47: 50 Days of 3:16

The world desperately is looking for love. People have an ingrained desire to connect and have a relationship that foundation is so much deeper. Not just the superficial love in which we fall in and out of, but a love that will stick around when times get tough. Hollywood has become a love-generating machine showcasing fantasies of how man and woman might fall in love. It rarely continues the story and focuses on the deep love that keeps us connected.

 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16

 

Have you ever been in love? How many times would you say that this feeling of love has overwhelmed you to the point of telling the person? It is to bad that we have this one word overused to the point where in our conversations we throw it around cheapening the meaning. I love this hamburger. I loved that movie. I love this music artist. I love, I love, I love. We have truly lost the meaning of what it means to love. No wonder it is difficult for people to understand the love that Jesus has for us. If the acquaint love of Jesus with the love of superficial things it becomes non-important. Something we say when we enjoy something, yet it is really not going to become the centre of our lives. We may love the burger, but we do not embrace it in such a way we change our lives for it.

 

Here we see love explained in such a way that we must be willing to give up everything as Jesus did to showcase that love. This act of love asks us to change for the betterment of what we love. Jesus asks us to love him and follow him, giving up our old habits and burdens. His love for us is more than superficial love, so much that he was willing to die to show us how much he loved us. We often hear people say would you take a bullet for someone else, this is exactly what Jesus did for ever single person on earth, past, present and future. But we are called to do the same for our brother’s and sisters. Do we love them like that? Would you be willing to lay down your life so that someone else would live?

 

Hearing about these random shootings around my country, USA and the world, I often wonder why we don’t hear much about those standing up to take down the shooter. We are a people with a self-preservation instinct that gives us a flight or fight mentality and we tend more often than not to run. Love is stepping into the fight and preparing to lay down your life in love, not to be the hero, but so that others may experience the love of Christ. It has been said that love isn’t loving until you give it away. Laying down your life can also be sacrificing something that is important to you so that someone else can grow. It could be time, money, talents or many other things.

 

Father, thank you for sending Jesus and his sacrifice of love so that we could show love to others. We ask for boldness and faithfulness to show this love to others as Jesus did for us. Let our lives reflect a love that would be willing to be laid down for our brothers and sisters. Let our love be deeper than the word that is thrown around. Empower us to reach the lost. Amen

46: 50 Days of 3:16

Peter in writing his letters did not water down the faith and what each and every believer was responsible to do. This made it frustrating for those who wanted the express version of faith. They didn’t want to take the time to study his letters and see how they should apply it, they wanted the three easy steps. They would twist his words to satisfy their own version of Christianity.

 

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:16

 

The bible is clear about not twisting the words to satisfy our own version of Christianity. Yet even today there are people doing just that. It can be confusing to a new believer or someone exploring faith to run into two men telling them that they are Christians, yet their beliefs are not based on the teachings of Jesus. In truth, Jesus isn’t even close to the centre of their faith. I wish I could say all those who have done this are outside the Christian faith, but there are those inside who are teaching things that contradict the bible. The prosperity gospel is one message that is out there that many believers get caught up in. Yes, God will bless you and takes care of you, but we were never called to work towards being rich. If this was so would have not Judas been a more prominent disciple as his desire was riches? Jesus downplayed money and its importance in the life of a believer. He promoted character building over material wealth.

 

As followers of Christ, I encourage you to take hold of what you hear and read from others in the faith. Challenge what you are inputting into your life against the Holy Scriptures. Is what you are listening to following the truths that the Apostles wrote about, does it align with what Jesus taught? If we take the time to examine the sermon of the Sunday past during the week it will help cement the teaching and confirm what they were teaching is the truth. We tend to treat Sunday sermons like fast food, eat it and think nothing else of it. But if we think of it as fine dining, which we truly enjoy we would be talking about it for days about how good it was. How many of you can remember what was talked about last Sunday at your church?

Take some time and study scripture, it is okay if some things are hard to understand. Ask God to reveal what it means through the Holy Spirit. He is there to be the wisdom you need. Find someone in the faith who will guide you in your questions. We do not have to go through the Christian walk along, nor should we.

 

Father, thank you for the Scriptures. We thank you for the faithfulness of those who wrote them. Reveal to us the wisdom and knowledge we need to strengthen our lives and walk in faith. Give us boldness to go out into our world and share this with others. We want to be a light in the darkness. Amen

 

45: 50 Days of 3:16

We have an ingrained sense of what is right and wrong. Our upbringing will shape that to some extent allowing us to mould our moral compass. Our original programmed moral code is given to us by the creator. We tend to self-program ourselves to agree with some things because it makes sense to us. A little lie cannot hurt. Stealing from them shouldn’t matter, do you know what they have done and who they are stealing from, they have lots of money and no one will notice. God created the human form so why shouldn’t I be able to gaze at it in all its beauty whenever I want however I want in the privacy of my own home. Blurring the lines of what is right and wrong sets us up for all kinds of trouble.

 

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 3:16

 

We are living in a society where the moral compass of right and wrong might as well be broken. Some of the foundational facts are inherently followed, you ask anyone if murder is acceptable they will quickly correct you and tell you, of course, it is wrong. Then ask them their thoughts on abortion and you may hear them tell a different story. Or ask them their thoughts on those who prey on children or vulnerable woman. Some quickly change their tune and condone the destruction of these people.

 

As believers in Christ, we need to be better at following the moral compass that God has provided us. We do not need to be programmed robots, but we need to know right from wrong. How we live our lives outside of church needs to reflect our lives as a believer. We cannot be seen as one who speaks out of both sides of their mouth, saying they believe one thing but acting out another. What we do in secret will not always remain a secret. We will be tempted to do things, that is inevitable, we may even step into the temptation, but as a believer, we see our mistake, take a step back ask for forgiveness and walk away from it. When we choose to stay in the temptation that will lead us into all sorts of trouble.

 

Is your life focused on doing good things for God? Works do not get us to heaven and we do not need to do good works to be accepted into heaven. Jesus paid the cost for that and when we accept what he has done that is all the payment needed to be welcomed into heaven. We are to do good works because of what he has done for us. We have been called to share this faith with others. If we keep ourselves doing good work, other then being lazy, we will keep ourselves from doing things that lead us into sin. Idle hands tend to wander into places that tempt us to do things we shouldn’t. We see this in the children/teenage years, those kids who have activities to do tend, for the most part, keep busy and get into less mischief. Keep busy doing God’s work, not just to keep busy but to grow the kingdom of God.

 

Father, what in my life is keeping me distracted from doing the work you have called to do? Forgive me for the distractions I have allowed, the temptations I have dipped my hand in. I want to follow you with everything so forgive me for my weak ways. Strengthen me to withstand the temptations that are sent my way, Holy Spirit show me ways out and guard my heart from evil. Let those who wish to slander me realize that their words are not true and that the God I follow is the God who is calling out to them. Use me to reach the world around me. Give me boldness to be effective in all I do. Amen