Day 14: 50 Days of Passion

I had a boss once who explained my experience as a military man like this. At the floor level we only see about 25% of the picture, we experience what is happening immediately around us but don’t have an understanding completely of why, yet we must complete the job. At the supervisor level we learn a bit more and might get us to 45% and then as a manager closer to 60%, as you continue up the levels to the top still no one knows 100% of the truth because the truth of any story has three sides, theirs, yours and what actually happened.

 

“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12b NLT

 

 

I say all this because we don’t know the whole plan of God for our lives, we don’t know what he has in store for us, nor do we know why certain events or situations occur. God points us, with prompting from the Holy Spirit, in a direction he wants us to go and we as faithful workers should go. Yet many times we expect a full plan laid before us before we make the first step. This is never going to happen. If God gives you a direction take the step of faith and move towards it. One day when you meet face to face he will open your eyes to your life, let you see the whole plan as it unfolded what a highlight reel that will be.

 

Our passion is linked to our faith to step into the plan that God has for us. No matter what % of the plan you understand, if you prompted and confirmed that this is where God is sending you then you should take on that plan. It takes a lot of faith to submit to God’s plans. He tends to put people in areas they are not comfortable with, this is to help you grow as a person as well as spiritually. It is when we continually ignore the plans and callings that our passion or fire starts to fade. I don’t believe God calls us to just tread water and stay in one spot in our faith.

 

Do you want to look back and see that you avoided the plan your whole life? Or would you love to have the Father watch with you and see the proud look on his face when he says, ‘well done good and faithful servant’? Let focus our lives on following Gods plan for our lives and work to fulfill the mission we have been given.

 

 

 

Jesus, I want to walk your plan, even if I don’t know all the variables and details. Show me what I need to be doing to fulfill the mission. Give me the tools and resources required as I can’t do this on my own. Let me be an effective worker in sharing your love to those who need to know you. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

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Day 13: 50 Days of Passion

When someone is released from jail, they normal are on parole. They are expected to go back into society and live productive lives under the law. If they go and live like they did before they will most likely be returned to the jail cell the once occupied. But if they grasp and hold onto their freedom they will become reformed members of society. As believers who have been freed from the bondage of sin that held us captive, why then do we go back to the sinful lifestyle, will it not once again bind us back in the bondage we were freed from?

 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13NLT

 

There are some groups of believers out there who believe that being forgiven is a license to sin. ‘Well Jesus will forgive me of it so I can do it’. This type of thinking is destructive and will lead down a path of irresponsibility and problems. We are called to throw off our sinful ways and work to live a life of freedom.

 

What does the sinful nature look like you may ask? Well Paul gives a clear picture a few verses down in Galatians 5:19-21.

19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.

 

God desires that we live a life free from the above list. Why would God give us such a list to avoid? Does he not want us to have any fun? No that’s not it at all. God provides us with boundaries because he knows the dangers outside of the boundaries. He created them to keep us safe from the path to hell.

Inside of Gods boundaries there is an abundance of good things. Paul describes them as well. In verse 22-23.

22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.

 

These things create character, a person that others see and want to emulate. Passion flows from the hearts of believers with these traits. We don’t erase who we are, what are personality is or put aside what our talents and what makes us unique. We become what we were truly meant to be, God uses our uniqueness to become effective.

So do you want to build up for yourself a life in Christ that is full of evil or good? What kind of man or woman do you desire to become? Jesus calls us to follow him in the path of righteousness. Today choose life. Choose to avoid things that satisfy our sinful nature.

 

This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new follower of Jesus. Ask Jesus through the Holy Spirit to start working on you in areas he wants you to clean up. The relationship with Jesus you have started on isn’t boring, far from it. Try him and see.

 

Jesus, we want to walk with you daily. Our sinful nature tries to take over daily, we ask Holy Spirit to keep us strong to avoid those dangers. Let us be an example in our change and walk so others will see you in us. Burn in our hearts that they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 12: 50 Days of Passion

Choices are not always a bad versus a good. Sometimes we have two good choices and we just can’t have both or maybe can’t have both right now. It may be the job opportunity, the family vacation, Christmas plans or a plethora of other things. It is in these moments you need to carefully weight out the choices before, praying and ultimately deciding what is best for you and your family. We make hundreds of choices everyday, those seem to come to us quickly, it is the major life choices that can change everything.

 

For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet!  But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Philippians 1:21-25

 

Paul here in prison is not a man contemplating suicide. He is verbally or in writing weighing out what it means to make his choice to either just give in to his situation and the result would mean death, or to live. As a follower of Christ, he knows that once life ceases here it does not just cease to exist anymore, he understood that to be absent from this body on earth was to be with the God he loves. So, in his circumstance to go from a stank prison cell to the presence of God was looking pretty good.

As we read we recognize the passion in Paul’s heart for other believers. Not just other believers but opportunities to reach the lost. He saw the big picture and how his life, even in prison, was impacting others to grow in their faith. In these few verses we see the though pattern of Paul as he weighed out his choices and quickly the obvious came clear to him.

If you like me you have seen many believers in much better circumstances then Paul who look in rough shape. They are free yet there is bondage that has them in a prison of their own making. Maybe it is doubt, a poor self worth or something holding them down. They have a choice to make, live in that prison and eventually die, or live a life of encouragement, passion and love.

Maybe you need to make a choice like I made, no matters what the circumstance I am going to praise God. The passion I desire may not be bubbling up inside like I desire but I know that things are shaking up and will explode soon. I need to keep pushing forward in my faith, keep praying, reading, seeking God and the Holy Spirits power. I know that if it never explodes, I am founded in the hope of Jesus, I have a relationship with the Creator God. No one can take that from me.  No one can take it from you once you have submitted your life to him and started a personal relationship.

Father, like Paul we have a choice to make, lay down and die or live with expectations. We want to be like Paul passionate about reaching others, being used to love our brothers and sisters in the faith. Let your love overflow our hearts, give us a fresh passion for reaching the lost. We want our lives to reflect you and be a light to the world around us. Amen

 

Day 11: 50 Days of Passion

If you talk to any avid sports fan they aren’t ashamed to tell you why their team is the best. They know the stats, what it takes for their team to go all the way. Talk to someone into TV Dramas, they can explain the complicated lives of their favorite shows, may even know lines word for word. Nerds and geeks have knowledge they are willing to talk to on any subject that they are passionate about. They will fight seemingly to the death in support of their favorite genre. So why are we afraid to talk about our faith?

 

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die. Philippians 1:20

 

We are living in a world where there are spiritual battles happening all around us and we are unaware. Blind or ignorant either way it is happening and most of the word just doesn’t care to acknowledge it. The enemy is bound and determined to keep people from following Jesus. He knows that every person who accepts the give of salvation is another possible spreader of his love.

 

He has devised a strategy that if he is able to make a Christian lazy and apathetic to his or her faith then at least they are not sharing their faith. He sends his minions to hold us down, whisper lies in our ears, we believe these lies giving him a sort of permission to hold us down. Satan is one being unlike God who can be everywhere, so to say Satan is attacking you most chances it is his followers.  This oppression will keep you from the passion you desire to share the word of God.

 

The enemy will continually whisper lies that will make us ashamed to share the truth. They won’t accept it. They think you are looking down on them, you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your friendship over this.

Jesus has power over demons. He showed us this in his word when he cast them out of people. We have the right as believers to ask Jesus to remove any demon who is hindering our lives. (I don’t believe we can be demon possessed as believers, but harassed and held down.) Two thoughts on this. First if you ask Jesus to banish the demon that is harassing you, you must fill that area of your life with the Holy Spirit, scripture and prayer. If you don’t the enemy will try to work his way back in. Second, the enemy will keep lying to you telling you that it didn’t work, Jesus didn’t remove anything and that you just weren’t good enough for it to work. This is another enemy trying to discourage you even more. Ask Jesus to remove it as well.

I know this is a deep thought today. If may be something you haven’t considered. Our passion and fire is directly linked to our relationship with Christ. If we become lazy in our reading of the bible, prayer and fulfilling the mission our fire will dwindle. That’s what the enemy wants from us. Ineffective Christians aren’t dangerous.

If you are feeling held down by the enemy, maybe he is telling you lies, lets pray that Jesus will banish them to never return, and reignite our passion.

 

Jesus, if anyone reading this today is being held down by a spirit of fear, apathy or lies I pray in Jesus name that they be banished. As we cry out you name, le the enemy leave our lives. Refill the void that this enemy leaves behind with the Holy Spirit, love, compassion, joy, hope and passion. Jesus, we thank you for freeing us from the grip of the enemy. As your servant Paul wrote, let us not be ashamed of ourselves but let us boldly proclaim your truth to those around us. Amen

 

 

Day 10: 50 Days of Passion

Apathy, malaise and laziness are all symptoms of something much deeper. When you come to realize one of these or any combination have started to creep into your life it becomes time to react to the it. Now we may have bouts of laziness because we are just so busy in life and just need time to unwind, not what I am talking about. Paul had every reason and opportunity to just sulk and do his time in jail. He could have gone deep into depression focusing on the why me. But he didn’t.

 

I am going to keep on being glad, for I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good. Philippians 1:19

 

Here in jail Paul was determined to continue on, excited for Christ. He never threw in the towel and give up. He also knew that he could not endure this situation alone.

 

Our lives are not meant to be lived alone. When we isolate ourselves and close ourselves off from other people it is very easy to become aphetic to the world. The ‘whatev’ attitude can become a theme. We were not meant to live a life where we sign along to ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.”  Paul knew this and put his joy not in his own strength but understood that his joy came from two sources, the Holy Spirit and those praying for him.

 

First, he had people praying for him. Why would this give Paul gladness or joy? When you have someone praying for you it tells you that you are important to them, that you are worthy of their time and care enough to petition your needs before God. Paul would have made his situation know to his friends so they knew what to pray for. He didn’t keep everything to himself, he asked for help. If we keep our needs to ourselves and don’t ask for pray or a helping hand how can we expect to deal with life that is overwhelming us?

 

Second, he acknowledged that the Holy Spirit was there with him. Jesus told us that he would send someone to comfort us. To be comforted we must first be uncomfortable, now I think being in prison would be very uncomfortable. But I believe the Holy Spirit is already with all believers. We were living an uncomfortable life before we met Jesus, on the day we gave our lives to him he sent the Holy Spirit to live with us. Many believers don’t know he is there and don’t take the time to build the relationship that Christ has provided. To have a relationship with God is to have one with all three parts of his being, Father, Son and Spirit. To only communicate with Father and Son is to miss out on the Spirit that is ready willing and able to work wonders in your life.

So, if you are feeling any of these symptoms today and maybe you have continued further down the path into depression, I would suggest the first thing you need to do is pray. Ask God to show you who the Holy Spirit is in your relationship, ask him to reveal Joy in your life. Next tell someone what’s going on, your Pastor, your mentor, your family, a close friend, someone who can begin praying for you. Then with them find someone who can guide you properly, a consoler or Christian therapist, who can work with you to root out what is holding you down.

 

If you want a renewed passion in life I pray that apathy, malaise and laziness will become things of the past. A passion like the one Paul has in prison will ignite our cities if we will allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. We must start praying for one another, lifting up the needs and calling out for the Spirit to move. Passion beings in prayer, revival starts in our heart, our love for Christ must overflow and reach this world.

 

Father, we need a renewed passion. We pray for those who are feeling depressed, either full borne, or on the road to. Jesus send the Holy Spirit to those people and show them the path they are on so they can ask for help. Let us gather around them, encourage them, love them, show them that they are important. We pray that you will move in their lives and ours. Let you love overflow us so that we can reach those in our communities who don’t know you and need to meet you. Give us a Joy that can’t be explained. Amen

Day 9: 50 Days of Passion

 

Charles Stanley this week made a clear distinction on the way we hear from the Holy Spirit and the Enemy. After we have accepted Christ into our lives we are still prone to sin, but we have Jesus promise to forgive when we ask. The enemy will condemn us for this and try to convince us to either ignore it or that God would never forgive us. The Holy Spirit works differently, he never condemns, he lets us know and reminds us that Jesus will forgive. If we can heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit then we will be able to push forward in our faith and our passion will show.

 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

 

Do you ever do things that afterword’s you feel real awful about. Maybe it is something you know is wrong but in the heat of the moment it feels so right? Sin is like that. Sin aims at hitting at all the right pleasure points, creating a sense of entitlement. But sin is like a cancer, it spreads and works its way to your heart.

 

The Holy Spirit calls you to repentance, he sees everything you do. As a believer we still sin, but we are called to repent and move away from what causes us to sin. The Proverb says, ” as a dog returns to his vomit” well if we keep doing the same thing over and over each time we are repenting of it, are we repentant or just looking to feel better about our sin?

 

Repentance of out sin is to do a U-turn from what caused the problem in the first place. Get out of the situation, put up safe guards, get accountability, tell someone, do something. But the key is you must want to change. Freedom from sin is a choice you must make daily. Jesus told Peter that we will be forgiven 70×7, not to say after 490 times he stops, but that we will always be forgiven if asked. But it would be so much easier if we changed after the first time.

Is your sin dragging you down, is it stifling your passion? It is hard to be passionate about your faith when sin has not been dealt with.

 

So, are you living your life as to glorify God? Or are you living it to pleasure yourself?

 

Jesus, I want to live my life glorifying you. I don’t want to be like a dog returning to my own vomit. Forgive me of my sins. Help me to u-turn away from them. Let this day be a new day. Let me be able to reach others with you love because they matter to me. Move in this city. Move at my work. Use me. Amen

 

 

Day 8: 50 Days of Passion

We have people in life that just don’t like us. They don’t like the look of us, the way we act or what we believe. They are either jealous or for some reason we have just never connected. This can happen in your church, this can happen with other believers, this can happen to us.

 

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, Philippians 1:15-18

 

Paul wasn’t in total isolation when he was in jail. From accounts he wasn’t a considered a dangerous criminal and most likely had visitors or at least letters telling him the churches and places he had been. How else would he have heard of those teaching out of envy and rivalry?

Human nature has become a lifestyle where you have to outdo the other person to get a head. This thought pattern creates that envy and rivalry that Paul is talking about here. If their church has 100 seats, mine will have 200. If they send money to missions will send more. There bringing in this special speaker, will bring this better one.

Paul here takes a different view on it, he almost shrugs it off and says ‘whatever’. He knows that at least at the end of the day Christ is being preached. What could Paul do to change the motives of man? That change is something the Holy Spirit can do but not us.

So, we see Paul here telling us to rejoice that Christ is being preached. Not to get caught up in trying to fix their issues. All to often we get caught up in trying to fix their issues, point out their problems, spend hours talking about it or joining them by ‘fighting’ back. Maybe instead of doing all this we need to take an approach like Paul. Rejoice.

We need to rejoice when other churches are reaching the lost, we need to rejoice an be encouraged that no matter the motives Christ is preached. Pray for those churches that God will keep working in them. He will show them the change they need, not our job to fix them.

Do you want to see your passion flourish? Start praying for the whole Church. We are the body of Christ; all parts are important. Let’s pray that God is preached in the whole body.

Father, we pray today for the Whole body of believers. God we have separated into different circles of believers but we all belong to your Church. Although we may have different viewpoints we pray that they be continuing to preach the love of Christ. Help us not to get caught up in pettiness and become more loving to all our family, rejoicing when Christ is preached and people saved. Ignite our passion help us to grow in you, Amen