Day 3: 50 Days of Change

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.”‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ASV‬‬

Gale Sayers had this attitude towards his priorities. ” I am third.” In a world where almost everyone is looking out for number one, he stood out and made the claim, I am third. A couple years back a group came out called I am Second. But this man said I am third. 

When we look at our priorities in light of who God is, it is sometimes hard for us to justify what we are doing with our lives. If you were to break down you week or month into what we do it would surprise you just how little time compared to everything else we might be spending with God. Now if you have become a person and believer who is walking with God all day it may be hard to put a specific number in it. But in general we don’t have our priorities where they need to be. 

So I am third, relates to Jesus response to the young rich ruler, the greatest commandment, first was to love the Lord your God with all you heart. If priority number one isn’t God, then what is? Second was to love your neighbor as yourself, are you treating others as they have second priority in your life. How important would they feel if their needs outweighed your own. Third is us. I am third. We do need to take care of ourselves, but our pleasures, and tribal things shouldn’t take precedence over God. All to often God is moved not third place only visited when needed or once a week. 

So what do we change? We need to make God number one in our lives. How do we do that? It is in how we live our lives, the way we interact with people, how we spend our time, prayer, study, worship. If we don’t take time for him, we will be missing many opportunities to serve. He is preparing yo for amazing things, take advantage of them. As Gods workmanship he wants you to be effective in the mission of sharing his desire for relationship with others. 

Jesus, if you are not number one in my life, I want to aploigize, please forgive me, you need to be the most important thing in my life, then everything else will center around that. I am your workmanship and I don’t want to abuse what you have given me. Help me to be effective in reaching others showing genuine love for them. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 2: 50 Days of Change

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Before we came to a knowledge of who Jesus is or accept his mercy and salavation, we were loved by God. As part of the creation on the day we were created God himself said we were very good. All the other days were good, but the day he created you, you were very good. To believe that God stoped loving his creation is a lie from the enemy to keep us separated from his relationship he desires. Sin is what keeps us from the close personal relationship that our hearts yearn for. It isn’t him who stays away but us who feel ashamed of who we are.

In the garden our disobedience permitted sin to work it’s way into our lives. We had it pretty good, we could walk and talk with God. Yet we felt we needed more, and in that moment of weakness sin became reality. The sin that has its hold on this world is defeated, Jesus made sure of that with his sacrifice. Yet so many people feel unloved or accepted, they won’t even consider that Jesus would do this for them. 

So what must we do to change? We need to change the way we share the love of Jesus with those around us. We sometimes knowingly or unconsciously treat the world like us vs them, saved and unsaved, loved by God and those not loved by God. Our way of thinking needs to be shaken up. God loves all creation and each person individually. He wants to embrace them if only they would accept the gift He has given them. The old wa of reaching the lost will not work on this guiltless society, we can’t scare them into heaven, no promise of a ticket to heaven will work. We need to show them the importance of relationship. You have to work with the Holy Spirit Thor each individual you talk with, he will guide your conversations, give you moments and opportunities to share Jesus love and forgiveness. 

Are you ready to do a 180on how you reach people for Jesus? They are all loved by God, we need to treat them as such.

Jesus, thank you that you forgave all sin. Not just the sin of the ones who come to you, but all sin. We pray that you will use us to show those around us that you desire a relationship with them. That through your sacrifice then can receive your mercy and grace and restore what was lost in the garden, a true relationship with the creator God. Let us be effective in this mission even today, let us see our friends, family and coworkers in relationship with you. They are loved by you God, so I love them to, no matter who they are. Let nothing separate us from your love. Amen

Day 1: 50 Days of Change

“My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23:19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The desires of our hearts tend to guide us. What we consume with our eyes and ears shape us. Somethings we see and hear we don’t have power to hear or see, but much of is our choice. The things we watch on tv, pay money at the theatre to see, play on our car stereos and iPods and surf on the internet are all choices of things we consume. Music playing at the mall, bus or anywhere public, we have no control, similar to the ads that bombard our life, we are stuck with most of it unable t do much to avoid it. 

As children of God he calls us to listen and be wise. If what we are watching or listening to is offensive or goes against what we believe why are we watching it? Do we as believers feel the need to consume the latest Hollywood offering to fulfill our need for entertainment? Or do we find godly reviews and discern how this movie will impact our faith. Don’t be fooled by the thought that I am a strong enough Christian it won’t affect me. Look at David in his confidence in his relationship with God, first sign of a woman in he created a situation that spiralled out of control he brought the situation to himself. She didn’t tempt him, she was a few rooftops away. We can say know to temptation, Joseph is a fine example of a man who had temptation thrust at him and he ran from it. Jesus also was tempted and stood his ground.

Keep your heart on the right course. What you ultimatly do with your eyes and ears is between you and God. My thoughts and writings are just that mine, what you take from them and apply are up to you and God. The things we watch and hear can make us immune from their dangers. If we continualy watch shows glorifying premarital sex, adultery, divorce and abortion we become sensitized to the dangers they have in us and society. Listening to music that is racist, sexist and profane numbs us to this problem in the world. It actually encourages it. 

I personally am working hard to guide what I see and hear. It isn’t easy but as time goes on and I keep trusting the Holy Spirit in my entertainment life, he shows me things and guides my path. He can help you, ask him to be your rating system, giving you cues if your watching or listening to something that may be harmful to you.  Trust that avoiding a particular movie or music you are not missing anything important. Keep your heart on Jesus.

Jesus, so many times we get caught up in the newest movies and entertainment. I want to keep my heart focused on yo and your love for those around me, let me be open to your voice and show me how I can reach others. Let my heart and life reflect what I say I believe, let the people around me see your love flowing from me. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me. I want to change Amen

Day 50: 50 Days Deeper

“I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.””‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The city of Jerusalem was in ruins, the people of Israel were in exile, not all of them but the majority had been taken by Babylon. Nehemiah was a cup bear for the king of Babylon and felt called by God to go back to Jerusalem taking the exiles to rebuild the wall. God used the current king of Babylon to allow Nehemiah to go. 

The part of this story I want to focus on today as we finish off this 50 Days Deeper is that as we move the the whole of chapter 3 we read something pretty awesome. Everyone in the city worked together to rebuild the wall. The people didn’t expect that Nehemiah was going to rebuild the wall or the young men would do it. They each picked up the stones and worked to repair the wall of their city. Man, woman, son and daughter. Whatever section was in front of them they worked on, what was even more impressive later on it reads that when trouble was looming they worked with spear and sword at the ready and rubble in the other hand continually working. 

So what do I want to pareil this with, the church of course, individually and as a whole. Every Christian needs to be working to build up the kingdom of God. We can’t expect a few individuals to be doing this alone, if we do gaps will appear and they will grow tired and weak. In your personal church every member who is invested in the health of the church should be involved in service. Relying on a few of key families to do all the heavy lifting will cause burnout, discouragement and eventually failure. Everyone has a role to play in building the kingdom of God. Observer is not a role. Even a good supervisor will get his or her hands dirty to get the job done. 

Let me make this statement. God ultimatly doesn’t need you to build the kingdom. But he involves you because as a good father he knows involvement and participation strengthens our relationship with him. Jesus requested that we do the mission of reaching the lost as an act of worship and obedience.

So are you actively participating in the mission? Are you involved in your local church giving more then taking? If you are not involved I pray that you talk to your pastor, ask him what you can do to help serve.

Jesus, thank you for these last fifty days, I pray that someone who has read these words has been encouraged and motivated to dig deeper in their relationship with you. I pray for my fellow believers and ask that we all be motivated to build the kingdom. Guide are hearts with the love you have for the lost as the matter to you, s they should matter to me. Let us be a people of action. Amen

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