Day 49: 50 Days Deeper

“David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the LORD’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.”‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭6:5-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One may read this story about the return of the Ark back to Israel and thing why would God strike down a man who was returning this symbol ofGods présence back to his people? If you have read the ordinances that God requested when it comes to transporting the Ark you would see that firstly it was never meant to be drawn by oxen on a cart. Oxen were used quite common as idols and to be pulled by this symbol would have been against Gods command. Second, God had given them exact directions on how to carry the Ark, using the olds carried on the shoulders of the Levites. So with these two things happening, we see the cart and oxen stumbling, Uzzah reaching up to stop it and perishing. I don’t have all the answers, I wonder if God in his anger wanted to prove a point to king a David that if he was to follow God he needed to follow his directions. We see ”tis to have worked as the next time David moved the ark he did so properly.

We tend to think of God as ready to squash us like bugs when we screw up, and I am sure after reading this story you might be thinking that. God was dealing with a stubborn people who continually didn’t listen. How does that differ from us today? Many who should be following God have walked a way and are living sinful lives, so why doesn’t God just end them? Jesus’s death and resurrection bridged a gap and created a way for us to have a relationship with God.  God didn’t create us to destroy us at his whim, he created us to have relationship. I don’t believe he had any joy in killing Uzzah, but to show his sovereignty and power he did what needed to be done. Today he offers salvation to the people of this world, the ark is nowhere to be found because its importance is no longer needed. 

Jesus , the Holy Spirit, the presence of God that ‘lived’ in the ark, lives in us. Those who have experience this turn their backs on him and walk away could receive the same fate a Uzzah, but thankfully for us God is merciful and wants none to perish. He wants to see them return to the relationship they once knew, giving them another opportunity to repent and come home. God has not gone soft on sin, but he has provided a way to freedom from it, and wants to see all humanity experiments this freedom. 

Jesus, thank you for your freedom from sin. Help me to tel there’s about your great love for us, how the father really does loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. Let us see others how you see them, reaching out to them like you would have us. They matter to you so they matter to me, it’s time for action. Amen

Day 48: 50 Days Deeper

“My eyes are always on the LORD, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

David was a man who knew what traps of the enemy looked like. He spent a lot of time running from king Saul who wanted him dead. Saul was jealous of David, and this jealously became an obsession to wipe out David from existence. Saul was anointed by God, David was anointed by God, so what made David different then Saul? Saul at some point in his walk with God decided to take his eyes of God and asked for help from other ‘gods’, David on the other hand always kept his eyes on God. David walking in integrity with God, couldn’t even bring himself to kill Saul when he had the chance because Saul had been anointed by God.

The enemy had put a trap in place for David. Saul was asleep in the same cave that farther in David was hiding away in. David saw the opportunity to rid himself of his enemy, yet when the closer he got he realized that he could not do such a thing. So he cut the robe of Saul. Even this small act of defiance towards the king upset David. But David avoided the trap that the enemy had set for him. 

If David had killed Saul then and there he would have been king. His issues would have been over with. But David didn’t want to start his kingship like that. All the other kingdoms around hem lived by someone killing their king and assending the throne. David had insight from God that the Israelite kingdom needed to be different, set apart from all other kingdoms. 

This is just a example of one time David avoided traps, of the enemy. David wasn’t perfect and we read of the trap the enemy caught him in concerning sex, but God forgave him.

So are you keeping your eyes on the Lord? Or are you hitting every trap in your path? I pray today that you trust God with everything, and he will guide your path.

Jesus, thank you for guiding my life. I pray that when I keep my eyes on you you will help me avoid me traps of the enemy. Let my life reflect your love to those around me. The people of this world matter to you so they matter to me, let me be effect in reaching them. Amen

Day 47: 50 Days Deeper

“As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭7:59-60‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If you read this story of Stephen you must go back to read Acts 6:8 onward till today’s portion, I encourage you to do just that. But to summarize, Stephen was arrest by the religious leaders. Some of them made a complaint to the high priest as they didn’t like the message of Jesus that Stephen was preaching. So he was brought in for questioning. 

This gave Stephen a unique opportunity to share about Jesus with a captive audience who needed to hear what he was going to say. Stephen knew who he was talking to and knew what he would need to say to reach them. The stories of the patriarch heroes like Moses, David and Solomon would be something these leaders would relate to.  Their plights and stories were important to these leaders. So Stephen was able to relate to them on their level. Then Stephen did something that they didn’t like, he related it all back to Jesus the Messiah. He made a point to return it to the reason he was out speaking to the people. He didn’t relent or given he, he kept giving glory to God, he was given a vision of Jesus at the right hand of God, right before they stoned him. Even as he was dying he knew that he must forgive those who were his murderers. 

So what do we take away from this account of Stephen?

  1. We will get opportunités to speak about Jesus, don’t fight it, flow with it.
  2. Ask the spirit to help us relate to those whom we are speaking with. If you know that you will be in a situation prior it never hurts to prepare as well.
  3. Always make the end focus the need for relationship with Jesus. 
  4. Even if they reject what you share with them don’t get nary or resentful, but forgive and love them.
  5. Remember not all seeds will catch and grow. But if you read the story you will see an important man named Saul who was in attendance. Some seeds will grow abundantly.

Jesus, we know thathere in our safe countries that sharing your faith most likely won’t get us killed. We pray for those who do face death in other countries. I wonder sometimes why we are so hesitant to share our faith, I could understand It if death was an option. Jesus give us a heart for those around us, give us opportunities over and over again to share about you, help us relate and understand what they are going through so we can meet them at their level. We want to be effective in sharing your message of love. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me and I want to do more. Amen 

Day 46: 50 Days Deeper

“Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When we think of inheritance we often think of someone dying and their last will and testimony bequiths us an estate and hopefully a large sum of money. For us as believers the inheritance we have been given is life. Jesus died on the cross, in doing so bequithed life on us, freed us from sin and death, if we would accept it. But unlike the earth inheritance we come to expect after one dies, Jesus didn’t stay dead, he rose from the dead. But he didn’t assume his inheritance back, he left it available to humanity as a gift, or reward if we would accept it and follow him. 

Now Jesus talked about inheritances and the value of them. He spoke of a sin asking for his inheritance, it was his, he was going to get it once his father die. Yet he wanted to enjoy the reward early, why should he wait thill his father was old and finally died. So he grasped it and went to use it however he pleased. Our inheritance from our loved ones is meant to help us have a solid ground in our lives. But this young man used it to live a life of pleasure. How often do believers accept the inheritance given to us by God and then use it as an excuse to do whatever we want with it. 

Jesus then goes on to tell us that the man got so far from his father and lost sight of his inheritance, losing it all on worldly things that he was literally wallowing in the mud feeding pigs. No food, no money, nothing but hanging with the swine. He took his inheritance for granted expecting it to get him through life. He hit rock bottom. He decided to return back to his father, begging him to accept him as as servent, he was already feeding pigs, might as well do that at home, he might just get something to eat there.

The awesome part of this story is that it saws that the father say his son a far ways away as he was returning. The father hadn’t given up on the boy. He was eagerly awaiting the day his son would return. God has not given up on you or those who have squandered their inheritance. He is eagerly awaiting their return to him. The father hugged and clothed his son, preparing a feast rejoicing that his son had returned to him. God Does the same thing when a child of his returns. He lifts them up, returns their inheritance, loves them, clothes them, hugs them.

So as a child of God,what are you doing with your inheritance? Are you using it to further the kingdom? We are called to reach others, sharing with them that they too have an inheritance in God the father.

Jesus, thank you for dying in the cross for me. I am so grateful for the inheritance I have in you. Let me use it to reach other with youlove, willing to be bold in my action and words. Life can be tough, but with you by our side it becomes more than bearable. Let us see others how you see them, the atthey matter to you, so they matter to us, amen.

Day 45: 50 Days Deeper

“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.”‭‭Titus‬ ‭1:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There is a fine distinction in knowing of God and knowing God. How many ‘friends’ do you have that know you by name but don’t take the time to get to know you personally. This is what is happening in the world today. Most likely you have experienced a time where these friends have said somethings about you that if they really knew you would never had made those claims. Well thepeople of this world are making man claims about who God is. They have created so many variations of him that now it is hard for someone to even fathom who God is. 

We believe that God is a relational God who created us to connect with him. That he loves us, cares for us, wants to be involved in our lives. The world who thinks they know him, have given him attributes that are corrupted. The angry god, the genie god, the unobservent god, out of touch god, irrelevant god, dead god, and so many more. Others claim they know him and work to tell others, yet the way they present themselves does not reflect. We see this in ‘religious’ people who strive for riches, fame, power and lust. Their lives do not reflect a God who loves humanity, as they use God to make themselves better people. 

Some have met God and rest only on that one encounter. ‘Well I met god when I was 17, it was a bible camp. Best week of my life’. But ultimatly what have you done to foster the relationship since? Have you grown in your encounter with him, growing in him to reflect who he is? If an actor rested his career on the one good movie he made he would be known as a ‘one hit wonder’. But an actor who strives to work hard in his field will continue to push to make more great movies. We need to strive to keep our relationship with the Father current and meaningful. The bible tells us that those who draw into him he will draw into. Meaning that those who seek a relationship will get one, he won’t hold back from you, he desires it.

Today I pray that you evaluate your heart and relationship with God. Do you know of God or do you know God? The difference is immense. Knowing God is to embrace the relationship and love he has for you and the world. It is taking time in his word and in communication with him through pray. It is being obedient to the Holy Spirits callings and promptings. If you don’t feel like you know God today you can, talk to him, ask him to reveal himself in his word and dig in. 

Jesu, today I ask that you will help your people know you. For those reading this who know know of you, I pray that they will look past what they know and meet you for who you are. They are a child of God, I pray that they will experience a healthy relationship with you. Guide us to reach others with you love. They matter to you so they matter to me, it is time for us to be men and women of action. Amen

Day 44: 50 Days Deeper

“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.”‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The dèvil made me do it. I couldn’t help myself. It just came naturally. It just happened. I don’t understand what just happened. We all have one time or another used on or all of these excuses to justify our actions, good or bad. We all receive sinful urges that prompt us to go to areas or do things that are counter productive to our relationship with Jesus. We hear of Jesus being tempted hard three times in the dessert and think that was the only temptation he ever had. We have been given this story of Jesus in the wilderness with the devil not as a one time only affair, but as a examen of how Jesus handled temptation. He like us most likely was tempted every day just like us, yet he knew the scriptures and he knew that he had no obligation to do what the sinful nature urged him to do. 

All to often we feel that the sinful urges are just to strong, and that if we don’t give in they will tear us apart. Sometimes we feel if we don’t participate with the crowd we will be missing out on something important. Judas was a man who knew what Jesus was teaching, he seen the miracles, he experienced Jesus first hand. Yet when sin came knocking he felt the need to listen and partake in the sin of greed looking out for himself and betraying Jesus as well as his friends for a few bucks. Ultimatly his sin requested his life which he took himself, following it to the grave. Sin when we allow it to have control will destroy you. Sin is like a cancer tha once it gets in starts to work and weave its way inside to destroy you and those around you. 

For us as believers we don’t need to fear sins destructive powers. If we fall Jesus promises to pick us up and cleanse us of our sin. He destroyed sins power on the cross, for those who receive his mercy and grace he will free them from the bondage of sin. He will refine this earth from all sin, he is waiting for God the Father to give his order to begin, the Father is holding back because he loves humanity and he desires that all come into relationship with him. So as believers we do not need to give into sin, it really has no authority over us. We chose to let it work in us, we need to trust the Holy Spirit to guide us from and around it. 

Are you letting sin control you? Are you giving it more power in your life that it doesn’t have? Are you making excuses as to wh y you are sinning? Stop it. Jesus has given you power over sin. We no longer need to be slaves to it. Live a life of freedom.

Joues, all to often we feel overwhelmed by sin. It is all around us, we pray that you will protect us from temptation. Holy Spirit give us strength to stand up to the attacks and invitations of the enemy. We can overcome these pressures by focusing on the word of God. Let our lives reflect your mercy and grace, let your love flow through us. We want to reach others with your salvation message, they matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 43: 50 Days Deeper

“For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.”‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When you read slaves in reference to God, let’s not picture the old south or the the Israelites in Egypt. The writers are talking about a bondservent, someone who willingly binds themself to a master. As a child of God we willfully bond ourselfs to him and should be willing to work in his callings.  Too many people see the church as a bondage where we are like slaves who have no rights or freedoms, subjected to the will of a oppressive God who will punish us harshly at the first sign of disobedience.

This isn’t the case. God accepts us for who we are. He only corrects us as we ask, our imperfections are revealed to us in his presence and then we must ask to have him work those areas of our life. But ultimately it is our choice, that s the free will he has given us.  Yet many who believe feel that this freedom is a free pass to do what ever we want in life. Well god has forgiven all my sins now, my past and my future, so how I live my life is irrelevant. This attitude is what Peter is writing about. 

To claim freedom yet walk in bondage is what makes the church look so confusing to those desperately  looking for God. They see confusion and hypocaricy which sends off warning signs that somethings is amisss. Not don’t get me wrong, they are not looking for perfection, nor are we expected to be perfect. A Church riddled with imperfect people seeking Jesus is different then a church filled with Pharisees or pretenders. People who see a church with imperfect people drawing close to God, working out their issues is attractive to someone who is seeking. 

So I guess the question is do you feel like a bondservent to God? Or do you feel like a slave? As a bondservent are you walking in the freedom working to grow your relationship with the master? Or using your freedom to do evil? We are called to grow in our relationship with the master, turn away from evil desires,are work to reach others with Jesus love. 

Jesus, thank you for your salvation. I pray that we do a 180 from evil and walk in your desires for us. Let us not use our freedom in you as an excuse for sinning. We desire to follow you in all our ways, we want to fulfil the mission of reaching the lost as you have called us to do. The people around us matter to you so they matter to me. Give me opportunities to share your salvation with them even today. Amen

Day 42: 50 Days Deeper

““Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.””‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:20-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If you are like me you have heard this story before many times. A young rich man meets Jesus and proceeds to ask him what it takes to get into heaven. Jesus know what the man is asking gives him a list of rules that man would understand, things he would have been taught as a child as what ” must be ” followed if one wanted to be “good” enough to get into heaven. This man hearing these things started to get excited, probably thinking himself a very good man as he had followed all these things. But in his heart, he knew something was missing or he wouldn’t have continued asking.

Jesus knowing that the man genuinely was wanting an answer we see that he felt genuine love for him, so he told him what was keeping him from what he was seeking. The money and riches he had in his life had become a god to him. Even though he kept following the rules he grew up with, livening a moral life, the money he held close in his life was what was keeping him apart from a true relationship with the Father. We all have had or have something in our lives that can keep us separated from the Fathers love. If your reading this you may have put it aside to follow, but you could still be holding it tight not willing to let it go.

Jesus gave this young man the way out, the way to become free and be the man he was called to be. It wasn’t a simple thing as the money had defined this man. He may have felt that if he did what he was asked to do he would lose his identity in the process. So not willing to give away what was close to his heart the man walked away head held in defiance or shame. Jesus gave the man the straight answer he was longing for, yet the message was to big a change for him to accept. Jesus is showing you what you must do with what you keep close to your heart.

Today you may be holding on to something that Jesus is asking you to give away. You may be the most moral person, but whatever you are holding on to maybe hindering who you are in a relationship with the Father. Are you willing to give it away and truly follow Jesus? He has a genuine love for you, not because he has to because he truly loves you.

Jesus, if there is something in my life that I am clinging to that is hindering my relationship with you I pray that you will reveal it to me. Maybe it is something you have shown me before and have ignored, push me to see that it is keeping me from moving forward. Let my life reflect who you are and the calling you have for me to reaching others with your love. The people around me matter to you, so they matter to me. Help me to reach them. Amen

Day 41: 50 Days Deeper

“And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.””‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

““A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:5-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Our mission as directed by Jesus, is to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus described this as sowing seeds. If we go back to Genesis, Adam and Eve were both told that the sowing of the ground was not going to be easy. Jesus told us that 3/4 of all the seeds we throw may be for neigh.  God promised Adam and Eve that though it would be difficult to work the land that they would still eat of it, it would just take some hard work. Jesus told us that some of our seeds will land on fertil ground where it will mature and grow leading to a abundant harvest.

I wonder if we focus to much on the fact that it is going to be hard work and sometimes just reach deaf ears, then we do on the promises we have. The promise of God to Adam and Eve was if you work hard I will provide you with nourhishment. Jesu promise if you would only spread the seed, share his love, that there would be people reached and saved. 

Are you standing on the promises? Or are you stuck in discouragement? Are you ready to work the ground, prepare it for the seed? Fertile ground receives seed far easier then hard dry land. Faithfulness will be rewarded, you will see friends, family and coworkers come to know Jesus personally. Let’s work to throw some seed today. 

Jesus, help us to see that the ground today is more fertile then ever before. Give us a passion to sow the seeds of your love that you have given us. We want to see your kingdom grow, let us help. Give us opportunities even this week to invite people to church, love them and show them your compassion. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me. Amen