Thoughts on Day 42: We as a people are, for the most, part quick to jump all over someone when they do something wrong. We see this today especially with the media quick to run stories not always checking the facts. These stories, rumours, half truths or even full truths can break trust between the best of friends. We quickly lose trust and our opinion fades. But is this just one incident? If a limb on you tree dies or is sick you don’t chop down the whole tree? No, you prune the sick or dead part and encourage it to grow again and live. I say this because I feel that many people have seen faith as sick or dying due to one or two incidents or experiences, and instead of pruning the bad part they just chopped the whole tree down in their lives and moved away from it. I am here to tell you that they never got it all and the roots are still there waiting.
But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God! But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. (Romans 10:14-17 MSG)
Are you trusting that Gods word is for everyone? Do you care that there are lost people out side your door? Do you truly believe that Jesus wants to save the lost? Or do you think that some people are beyond saving?
Our actions truly speak louder than words, but it doesn’t mean we should be silent. When we walk the walk, we need to be able to talk the talk. Back it up.
One of the hardest things I am coming to realise is that people’s trust and respect for you can be lost in one action or deed. Someone may have high regard for you, and when you screw up, because we are still human, and do something opposed to our normal character, how quickly they are to judge and say something like “well that’s not very Christian of you”.
We should then apologize for our actions, and if we are sincere, then continue on, if they choose to keep that view of us from now on there is little we can do but keep on walking in Christ and pray they will see that one or two moments in time does not define who we are.
But pushing past that, are you a sight that takes others breath away? Meaning, when someone sees you, or talks to you, are you different than the world or do you conform? When around the water cooler and a dirty joke is told do you stay and laugh or do you excuse yourself from the situation? When you see a fault at work do you work to correct it or bring it to a superior’s attention, or do you just ignore it?
All these things and more are show people around you who you are. If they can trust you, then when you tell them about the God whom you trust in, they will be more willing to trust Him.
Dear Jesus, am I trustworthy to my peers and in my job? Do people see the trust I have in You? I want to be trustworthy in the life You have given me so that other will see the love and trust I have in You. Please share with me the trust I need to make my life a mirror of Yours. Amen
Thoughts on Day 41: In a world where intolerance is unacceptable there is becoming a class system. With so many different belief systems and ideas that contradict one another, it is hard to imagine this not happening. We expect others to accept everything, but when you accept everything you really have no foundational center. Certain groups of people who originally wanted to be recognised and accepted are now pushing to rise to become social norms. We are seeing laws and rulings that are making it punishable to speak out if one has a differing view on the matter.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. (Matthew 5:10 MSG)
We as a people fear persecution. Sure, we may never experience things like death for our faith, but we could lose our job or be reprimanded for sharing our faith. We might lose a friend over it.
When I compare those things to what some Christians face such as torture, jail time and execution why am I worried about these things? Do I not have faith that the God who is with those who are willing to die for Him, is the same God I serve and should be able to talk about?
We live in a country of religious freedom yet we are afraid to tell others about Christ as it may offend them. I find it becomes a debate quickly and I want to walk away because I feel unprepared. But I am prepared. Why can’t I just share my faith?
I think in this country it boils down to we have been fed a lie that we need to cater to each others’ beliefs, we shouldn’t step on someone’s toes, even if they are wrong. If you speak out about someone’s lifestyle or belief system, calling them out, you become a bigot or intolerant.
But isn’t it all about how you do it. We as Christians have been labelled by a few bad apples who have spoiled the hearts of millions with their actions. We get judged by our friends once they know we follow Christ, and heaven forbid we make a mistake or a wrong judgment call in the heat of the moment, then our faith and character is now tarred forever.
Today’s challenge is to keep moving forward. Take up the cause. Do what needs to be done to share the love of Christ. Don’t worry about the consequences, let God worry about them. Jesus said there is blessings in the persecutions. If you trust Him with your life then He won’t let you down.
Dear Jesus, to live is great, to die is a direct invite to You. Why are we afraid in the country of freedom to share the freedom You have for the lost? Holy Spirit take away the fear and replace it with a hunger to reach the lost, no longer of what may happen to us if we share Jesus name, but more worried about what will happen if we don’t. Amen
Thoughts on Day 40: We hear of people won’t allow themselves or their kids to attend church as it will fill their minds with things that are counter productive to the world today. What they fail to understand is that church plays a role of community. What they will learn from the bible is not something new but an augmentation or focusing on what we were originally intended to be. This is scary for someone who thinks they are living a “good” life. We send our kids to school to teach them how to survive in the world, we send our kids to church or Sunday school to teach them how to thrive in the world.
He said, “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.” (Matthew 13:52 MSG)
If you grew up in a church setting, like I did, you may have sang songs like ” read your bible pray every day and you’ll grow grow grow”. Maybe back then you understood what the song meant or like me it was was a catchy song that you enjoyed.
In today’s scripture, we see that being a student and learning about Christ, through the scriptures are very important. There was a reason our Sunday school teachers were helping us memorise verses, singing songs about Jesus, and tell and retelling us stories from the bible.
If we can get these things embedded in our hearts when we need them most like a store owner, we can pull them off the shelf as required. What we stock our hearts with is what is available for us to share with others. Ever have a song it scripture come to mind at a time when you felt down? Ever talk to someone and a verse pops into your head? The Holy Spirit will use what you know and placed into your heart to reach others.
What is on the shelves of your life?
Dear Jesus, it is not too late for us to stock our spiritual shelves with good things. Show us scriptures in Your word that we should hold tight and try to memorise so that they will be readily available for use. Holy Spirit, use what’s on my shelves already and feel free to knock the junk to the floor. Amen
Thoughts on Day 39: So many groups claim that what we do and how we do it will bring us closer to God. When really there is nothing, outside of acceptance of Jesus gift of salvation, that we can do that will bring us any closer to him. There is nothing we can do to drag people into heaven either. No quick gimmick, sales pitch or magic prayer. That is the role of the Holy Spirit to show them their need for a savior. We are to share about you to the people around us, show them the truth and pray that the Holy Spirit will move in their lives.
Really! There’s no such thing as self-rescue, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The cost of rescue is beyond our means, and even then it doesn’t guarantee Life forever or insurance against the Black Hole. (Psalm 49:7-9 MSG)
The psalmist was a man who sure had an insight into what is going on today. Self-help is all over the place, people thinking it is what I do that gets me into heaven. If only I am a good person. Jesus Himself debunked that theory with the rich young ruler, who wanted to follow and was doing everything right, but when asked to give up what was most precious to him could not do it.
I sometimes wonder where the doctrine of once saved, always saved came from. The Bible I read doesn’t say that. Jesus gave the command to the people He healed, “go and sin no more” He didn’t want those who He saved from their sickness to go back to their sinful ways. Jesus also tells us to daily wash our feet as we do get dirty. I use this as the symbolism of sin, we need to ask forgiveness for our sins daily as we are still human and are prone to make mistakes.
But in saying that there are those who neglect to wash their feet daily. There are those who completely deny the love of Christ they once knew. The stop coming to church, they stop interacting with the family of God and the friends who love them, and they start living a life contradictory to what Jesus taught us.
Jesus isn’t a fire insurance salesman. He is so much more.
Pray for those who have walked away from the faith. The Holy Spirit can lead them back to Jesus. Don’t give up on your friends and family. They may be lost but not forgotten. Just like the prodigal son’s father God is patiently waiting for your return to him.
Dear Jesus, I can’t understand how someone who has experienced You love and mercy can walk away from you. My thoughts are it is not you who they have walked away from but an experience with a church member or rule in place that caused them to leave. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to encourage them to return to You. Bring people into their lives who will share the love of Christ with them. Bring them back to You. Amen
Thoughts on Day 38: To understand what a principled person looks like we should look no further than Job. A man who walked to the best of his abilities to follow God. This was no easy feat as this was life before the sacrifice of Jesus. He made the animal sacrifices, ensured he did everything he could to live a life that honoured God. Compared to Job we should have an easier time living a principled life.
“But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life, sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger! (Job 17:9 MSG)
Job was a man who had everything and still loved God. He was a devote follower, he would even pray that if his kids had sinned at their parties that God would forgive them. He was a good father, a good steward and a good husband.
As you probably know Job lost everything, and not because of what Job had done, no, in this case, it was because of who Job was. Satan came before God and made a decree that if Job was to lose everything he would have no choice but to curse God. God knowing Job better then Satan agreed to allow this, knowing that Job was a righteous man and trusted he would persevere.
Job may not have cursed God, but he did in no certain terms become depressed, he was torn up over what he had done to deserve such punishment from God, in which he could find no reason. His three friends kept on him trying to convince him that there must be something that he had done.
Then in one of Jobs replies to his friends he states the scripture above.
Principled people, can you honestly look at your life and attach that to you? Do you know anyone whom that fits, I hope you can name a couple…would they say the same about you?
Jobs friends were either not that close or not that observant, if they had really seen how Job lived his life would they not have seen that he lived a life for God?
So strive to be a principled person, keep your hands on the work of God, striving to do good, keeping your hands pure, avoiding evil desires, so that you can be strengthened.
Dear Jesus, help us to be like Job. A principled man whose life’s desire was to honour You in all he did. Even when his life fell apart he didn’t dismiss or curse who You were, nor did he blame You. Help us to follow his example in this. Give us clean hands, keeping a firm grip on life so that we may grow stronger in You. Amen