37: 50 Days of 3:16

All too often, and I can attest to this, we work to strengthen ourselves up with earthly riches. The quote goes something like, ‘he who has the money has the power’. The strength we receive on earth from material things is very temporary. With the snap of a finger or the stroke on a keyboard, it can all be gone. We tend to put our trust in our earthly power and hope that is enough. Yet outside of God’s grace, this is all they have. It is all they know.

 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Ephesians 3:16

 

I have fallen into a trap of the comfortable. It is not an easy trap to get out of when as a believer you want to do so much more. It is very easy to be complacent and just let life just move forward. This complacency leads to lazy believers who think only of their own faith and are not too interested in making waves and sharing it with those who may have an opposing viewpoint. To much work. Too much effort. We fill our lives with entertainment satisfying our earthly bodies desires drowning out the voice of the Holy Spirit that is calling us to so much more. We go to church on Sundays out of routine and cry out asking God why we cannot hear His voice during the week yet truly are we listening? If you were to chart out your time in a week what priority would God have? I know that sadly in my life God would not be number one. This breaks my heart to write yet pushes me to make it right.

 

On our own, we are going to fall over and over again. Unless we reconfigure our lives from the inside out we are bound to go through this life on a loop. Paul understood this, he says many of the new converts making the same mistakes and was writing to remind them that in their own strength they will keep failing. Until we draw on the strength given to us personally by Jesus through the Holy Spirit, only then can we break the loop that binds us to complacency.  Take some time today to read Ephesians 3:14-20, Paul knew that together we are strong. We build one another up and keep each other accountable for our actions. He saw the power the Jesus has for us when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. We must embrace the Holy Spirits power in our lives, only then will our inner being be strengthened and the power we desire given.

 

There is also a part we need to play. Turn off the distractions that are keeping us from hearing God. Set limits to your entertainment time if you cannot go cold turkey. Prioritize God in your life. Spend to much time watching TV? Video games? Sports? Hobbies? Whatever it may be God needs to be glorified, those things cannot be put ahead of His love. He wants to talk to you, empower you to do the mission of reaching the lost and we must get out of our homes to do it.

 

Father, forgive me for my complacency, I have fallen into the trap of lazy faith. I want so much more and willingly turn from those things that keep me from haring your voice. Holy Spirit I invite you to call me out on these things, push me to grow in my faith and let go of the things that hold me back. I trust that what you have to offer is much more valuable then what the world is offering. I pray that eyes are opened today to this and lives changed. Use me to be a vessel of love to those around me and witness to your grace. Let me be the salt and light to the world around me. Amen

Advertisements

36: 50 Days of 3:16

Paul sees something in the Genesis story that many overlook. He saw that when God was speaking to Abraham and promising him the land he was offering the land not to Abrahams children but to the future King, Jesus. All too often we would read and take it as written, but the word used means seed and the seed that brings life is Jesus.

God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ.

 

Galatians 3:16

 

I am getting better, but I had a hard time actually studying the bible. I grew up hearing the old song ‘read your bible and pray every day and you will grow grow grow.’ But it was missing something. Reading the Bible is vitally important but just reading it without investigating how to apply it to your life is like buying IKEA furniture, reading the instructions, throwing them aside and then building it on your own. If we want to do things right, we need to apply the instructions to our lives. Reading the Bible is important but how will it impact you?

 

Paul before he met Jesus knew the scriptures, it said he was a devout scholar. He would have known the original verse here and more than likely he would have interpreted it to the descendants of Abraham. Here though we see that now that he knew and understood the truth about Christ he was able to understand what the scriptures and the promise of God were truly all about.  God reveals things to us when we read and study his word. He has left us messages of love, life and purpose in these pages. Does it matter which version you look to, I don’t really think so, for if you truly start to study the word of God, you will not stick to one version but see how it is interpreted by others. The subtle differences can open the truths and reveal God’s love in many ways. However you study the word combine it with a conversation with God allowing Him to speak through his text.

 

Father, help us to not just read your word, but study it and soak in the truth. Show us how we can apply these truths into our lives and impact our world with the light of Jesus. Do not let us waste our time with idle things but bringing glory to your name. Push us to love others how you love them, see them as you see them. Use us. Amen

 

35: 50 Days of 3:16

For the last couple of days, I have been off grid or at least separated from the electronic devices that tend to keep us connected. Working as a counsellor at a Camp for Children. I really enjoy taking these times to pour into the lives of the next generation and although it wears me out I know that these times are vital to the growth of these kids. The kids learned about being empowered with Jesus. He is their hero they are looking for. He gives them Super Purpose, a Super Mission and Super Power through the Holy Spirit. This power is available to anyone who has turned to the Lord.

 

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away

2 Corinthians 3:16

 

Back in the Old Testament, before Jesus had made the scene, God had provided the people with an earthy way for them to distinguish His presence. He had first given them a portable tabernacle and then they build the temple. The ark of the covenant was created not as an idol to be worshipped but as a seat where God’s presence rested. The power of God’s presence was revered and separated by a curtain and eventually a large veil. No one but the highest priest was able to go inside this veil and see the ark. This task was performed not very often and when it was the priest assigned went in with a rope around his ankle and bells so that if the presence of God overwhelmed him or he fell over dead that the other priests could pull him out. That is how serious they took the presence of God in their midst.

 

Jesus came along and turned everything upside down. He when talking promised to shake things up, he promised that every believer would have access to God’s presence, no veil required. He would take the place of the veil and ensure that those who needed to see God would and could experience His presence without fear of falling over dead. Not only that but He promised that each and every follower would have Gods presence inside them through the Holy Spirit, who will live within every believer. He even proved his power and authority in this by ripping the veil in two, when he died on the cross. This was no accident that the veil was torn, no Jesus didn’t sneak into the temple and cut the veil, he was hanging on the cross. The veil was no longer required Jesus displayed his power by removing the veil as a symbol that we could now enter into God’s presence.

 

Do you feel unworthy to be seen by God? That may be the sin that is shaming you. Sin separates us from God, Jesus on the cross provided a way for us to be free from the sin that causes this shame. This sin cleansing is offered freely to anyone alive that makes the step of faith and chooses Jesus. He may have died on the cross but displaying the awesome power of God, He rose again bringing life and forgiveness. Providing a way for us to remove the sin that separates us and removing the veil that divides us from Gods presence, and even goes one step further sending the Holy Spirit (which is part of God) to live in us. We are empowered by God, what is holding you back from receiving this power?

 

Father, many who will read this may not know you, I pray today that they will find the truth they need and finally make that giant leap into your arms asking Jesus to forgive them of their sins. They say the first step is admitting that we have a problem. Until they realize this they will fight the help Jesus offers. Give us wisdom and boldness to show the world that they need help, in my family, my friends, my community, and my world. Let me be the light you are asking me to be so that those around me can see what you have done for them and the power you want to give them. That following Jesus isn’t about losing everything but gaining everything.   Amen

34: 50 Days of 3:16

For many believer’s today’s verse has become the line in the sand about what we can and cannot do to our bodies. Should we have tattoos? better read 1 Corinthians 3:16. Drink? Look it up. Homosexuality, quick flip open the bible here. But what if we have for years been looking at this as a verse that focuses on the individual when maybe it was meant it be talking about the church. Keith Krell suggests that we should be talking about the church in this verse, not individuals. I tend to agree.

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:16

 

As believers, we are called to be part of the family. Groups of believers that gather are called churches but part of the global Church. So as God’s church (temple) we need to represent who God is to the world. All to often the church is filled with infighting and quarrels that the focus is on those things and not the mission of reaching the lost. They will say they are focused on the mission but there is no fruit, they have forgotten that they are God’s church and have become more of a club.

 

We see this as we are experiencing an expanding trend where believers are becoming part-time attendees. They may show up to church once a month. If something more important to them comes up they prioritize church as secondary and choose other activities. Participation in prayer meetings is at an all-time low, the faithful few showing up. Commitment to spiritual growth and discipline is being replaced with our own desires and wants. Membership in a local church is dwindling as those attending don’t see the importance of commitment. If this trend continues many churches as we know them will eventually close as they won’t have the people to run it.

 

The church needs to be reminded that they are part of God’s church. What they do in their communities, in the lives of those attending and those they support worldwide matters. God is using them if they will just open their lives and let him. When they join a group of believers each Sunday and throughout the week He is giving them vision and strength to go out and fulfil the mission they are called to. When they meet the Holy Spirit is stirring them up and giving them a renewed passion. Believers are stronger when united under the same mission. The enemy knows this and works very had to keep us away from joining in worship with others in the faith. He convinces us to stay up late on Saturday, so we are just too tired to go to church. We believe the lie and stay home.

 

Are you a part-time believer or participant in your church? Feel like God isn’t speaking to you and you don’t know anything about the plan he has for you? Take a good hard look at your habits and investments.  What has your heart? What do you love? Is it God or is it something else. What do you treasure most? Whatever that is will be what is most important to you and you will make a priority in your life. God wants to be what you treasure most. Can you honestly admit that he is?

 

Father God, thank you for everything you have done for us. Thank you for the church each of us belongs to, you use each one to bring others to know you. I pray for focus in the church that they will work to fulfil the mission and if there is any fighting among the family I pray for forgiveness and civility. Let the church rise up as one to preach redemption and hope. For those who are part-time believers, not committed, I pray as they have read this you have stirred their hearts and they have rededicated to you and the church you have placed them in. Let them impact their world through their commitment. You strengthen the church you will use us in amazing ways. Use us to change our world. Amen

33: 50 Days of 3:16

Mankind without the redemptive power of the cross is destined for destruction. Ever since sin was unleashed in the world it has steadily been working to destroy the creation that was meant to glorify God. Many are oblivious to this destructive destiny that is a part of their lives going through the motions.

 

Destruction and misery are in their ways:

Romans 3:16

 

Here is Romans Paul is writing about the human condition. How by our own means we are not or never will be righteous in Gods eyes. We all will one day be held to account for our actions and the sin that we have accumulated in our lifetimes. The judgement is based on sin, not on levels of good and bad, which many believe is what is coming. Our good deeds and bad deeds are not put on a scale with whichever has the most weight winning. Our sin, fully exposed will be the basis of what we are judged on. Each and every human born into this world is born into sin and they with their own strength cannot remove it.

 

God knew this to be true and worked out a way for mankind to be free from the bondage of sin. He sent his son Jesus to be born on the earth, walk among us and die so that we may have a way to be free of the curse of sin. Believe my sin is a curse, unknown to us this curse has infected us, and Jesus blood is the only cure. This cure is freely given to those who would surrender themselves to serving him. This must be a choice of each person as this gift must be accepted never imposed.  It just doesn’t work any other way.

 

Do you feel like your life is full of destruction and misery? Maybe you have been living your life trying to weigh your deed feeling the good outweighs the bad. The harder you work at this the farther behind you get. Jesus is waiting for you to surrender your life to him, all you need to do is admit that you cannot do it yourself and need his forgiveness. He will remove your sins, not just cover them over but remove them as far as the east is from the west. No other religion promise this type of grace, love and forgiveness. What are you waiting for?

 

Father, forgive us for our sins and help us to surrender fully to you. You never promised that this life would be an easy one, give us the strength to endure. Give us the wisdom to talk to others and share your love with them. Help us overcome our fears and speak the truth to them. Use us to be your light. Amen

 

32: 50 Days of 3:16

It’s Sunday morning, a man is brought into church into your church in a wheelchair, easily observed this man cannot walk his legs deformed in such way that he may have been like that since birth. During the worship service, the man is rolled up to the front where he cries out for healing. Some come to pray for the man asking Jesus to heal once again. No one truly expecting anything to happen to the man. This attitude is a reality in many of our churches. We know God still heals but not really getting our hopes up as we never see it.

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Acts 3:16

 

Take a second look at my story, what would happen if at the prayer moment throughout the building a loud crack is heard. Only seen to those who were faithful to come to pray, they see the man’s legs shoot out and start to gain strength and muscle right before their eyes. What if that man climbed out of his chair and put one foot in front of the other and gaining momentum started walking, no running and jumping around the altar praising God, how would the people in the pews react? There would be many surprise reactions, some disbelief others in shock.

This is what is happening here in Acts 3. Peter and John just met a man in need of a life-changing event. He was asking them for money, but they offered him the power of Jesus to be healed. What amazes me about this story is that they offered it but instead of waiting for the man to decided they took his right hand and pulled him up fully expecting him to be healed. Peter and John filled with the Holy Spirit had no doubt in the power of God to heal this man. They had personally seen Jesus do it, he told them they would do it, so they just did it. They gave all the credit to Jesus and the mans faith. They did not want any glory for this act nor should they. It was in the name of Jesus that the man was healed, and they had no doubt that it was going to happen. How would this world be changed it those who trust Jesus had this kind of faith to heal?

I can’t do that, I am no Peter or John, and I am definitely no Jesus. That was all back then and has no power now it just does not happen in this day and age.  Jesus promised us that the same Holy Spirit that worked with Him is in us and that we can do the same miracles and healings He did and even more. Why would his promise only extend for a generation or two and then disappear? If you google healings you will find that there are healings happening all over the world. Amazing things are happening in places, mainly in places where believers have less comfort and more reliance on God’s provision. Where I am it is very easy to get health care, but in a third world country where hospitals are in short supply trusting that God will heal seems to have more clout. Can God use you to heal someone right where you are? Yes he can, will you let him use you?

 

Father, we want to see people being healed. Not to build ourselves up as the ones doing the healing but to give you glory and draw men and woman to you. Strengthen our faith and destroy our disbelief. For far too long we have been quiet about what you can do, some thinking that it was only for the New Testament time period. Even today Jesus use us to reach this world through love, sharing your salvation and even healings. Give us the wisdom to reach the lost. Amen

31: 50 Days of 3:16

Not surprisingly, John 3:16 is the most well-known scripture in the world. Why exactly would this be? It most likely has to do with the fact that the Gospel is wrapped up in this one verse of the Bible.

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.

John 3:16

One of the things this world has a hard time comprehending is that our eternal destiny is given to us as a choice. Why would an all-powerful, just, good God give the people He created a choice? If they live a good life would that not be enough to grant admission into heaven and life eternal? This train of thought keeps many from ever accepting the Son and what He has done for them. They do not see any importance to His death and resurrection. They could be judging God based on what they have seen religious institutions do in the past but never being involved in the Church. On our own strength we have no way to redeem ourselves from the sin that separates us from the relationship God desires to have with us.

How then do we reach people around us when we as believers do not understand, let me explain;

On one hand we talk about the fact that we cannot force someone to accept Jesus into their lives, yet in the next breath we are praying that God will ‘soften’ their hard hearts to the truth.

Well God does not force Himself into people lives. Revelations says that Jesus is knocking at the door. Some days we wish Jesus was there at the door ready to kick it in, but He patiently waits for each person to open the door. How do they know who is on the other side of the door? That is what we are called to do, we are to tell others about who Jesus is so that they freely desire to open the door to Him. We need to be His salt and light in this world, showcasing who Jesus is, telling others why we accepted Him. Using the simple Gospel in this verse to be your starting point.

Father, today I pray that we be your salt and light, reflecting who you are in this world. Help us to remove the fear that holds us back from sharing your love with this world. The moment of possible rejection is a small price to pay for exposing them to the truth that can free them from an eternity of suffering. Give us wisdom to speak life into their lives. Use us to fulfil the mission. Amen.