Day 20: 50 Days of Change

““God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Humanity has always been drawn to lies and untruths for the sake of a good story. We have come through life tearing others down to build ourselves up. This hasn’t changed much over the centuries, yet in today’s society and the introduction and use of the internet it has become more wide spread. At one point in history it would have been confined to your community or province, now you can spread lies and mockery all over the world. 

Personally I am not aware of any other time in our timelessness where Christians have been mocked in the name of comedy. It is like there is no limits to what can be said to offend, and a weird phenomenon is growing where we are openly working to mock ourselves. The ‘Christian comedians’ who continually make fun of our differences and uniqueness in our churches are not helping, I am guilt of this. They may be exposing hard truths though laughter but some of it is hurtful and crossing the line, let’s be honest a lot of it is.

Good Christian men, woman, leaders, Pastors are being torn apart by fake news and lies spread on social media. I believe as Christians we don’t help it much either. We don’t try to curb it, instead some of us feed off it, we share it and like it, not even sure if what being written is truth. We need to use these oportunities to find the truth and use it to share love and forgiveness.

Now as humans we will get upset with the lies and the mockery as it is prt of our nature. Jesus tells to be happy in it. What? How can I be happy when these things are going on? I should be glad? Why? If these things are happening in your life it is a good sign you are following the path Jesus has set for you. These forms of persecution are attacks from the devil and his minions to trip you up. He does not want you on the path moving forward, he would prefer you in the ditch playing in the mud. The devil would prefer apathetic Christians who do nothing, he will leave you alone in that state, you are no threat, you may be out of his kingdom but your not working to grow the one you are apart of. 

A great example of this is Elijah. He obeyed God, destroyed the priests of babel after their gods didn’t show up to accept the sacrifice when the true God did. Almost immediately  after this Elijah went in hiding fearing as if he was under attack. The enemy, satan will attack when you are on the path Jesus calls you on. Do not fear, be happy, be glad, for it is evidence you are on the path.

Jesus, forgive us if we have been putting people down in our faith. We can’t be living a life where we tear others down it’s untruths and mockery. Keep us on the path and help us to see that when we are attacked with lies and untruths that they are from the devil who wants to distract us from the truth. Encourage us to keep our eyes on you. Watch over us today and help us to know that the people around us matter to you. They Matter to me and we are ready to tell them that. Amen

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Day 19: 50 Days ofChange

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I decided to watch the New Star Trek last night, and one conversation had me thinking. Kirk was chatting with the Admiral of the star base about taking the job as Admiral of the Star base, thinking that the life would be easier there then onboard his ship. After his mission he returned and in his second conversation he was offered the position. He asked the question ‘ does the position have a ship I can command’ in which the response was ‘no’. Kirk then replied ‘ well what’s the fun/ adventure of that?’ (Paraphrased of course) 

As believers in Christ are we content to sit in our church buildings, going on with the “church” business not really caring about things going on outside, hoping that people will stumble in? There are many believers right now in this world who are like that. The church building has become their safe haven, a place to go to hang out with their friends, sing, fellowship and pay their dues. They pay someone to lead, they pay someone to maintain, pay someone to teach thier children and they pay others to do the work of reaching others. If I give towards a missionaries work then that will cover my mission. If any of this resounds to you it is time to change.

Jesus calls us to a mission, not a 5 year mission as in Star Trek, but a mission for all believers that continues on in your life till you meet him face to face. We need to be excited about this mission, when others comment about the safety of the church building we need to cry out ‘but where is the fun/adventure in that?’ We need to throw off the stereotypes that telling others about Jesus love and sacrifice is boring. Every mission has success and failures. Each failure can be the moment you feel like giving up or it can be what propels you to push harder in the mission. How you respond will be the key factor. We learn from our failures, and most of the times what we consider a ultimate failure may not be one, it may be the enemy trying to discourage us. Sometimes those momements may be vital in preparing someone to relieve Jesus in a day, week, month or even years. You may never know what impact telling someone about Jesus may have.

You may be persecuted for being part of the mission of sharing the love of Jesus. If you are that means you are on the right path. It mean the enemy is upset that you are in his business, he desires to keep his followers. So of course he will retaliate when we come against him. Be prepared, out on the full armour of God, read his word, pray, build other believers up, encourage one another. If we are doing the mission as designated to us by Jesus himself then expect that not everyone will be open to it, do not let this discourage you, remember some will. 

Are you comfortable in you life mission? Are you comfortable where your at or are you ready for adventure? 

Jesus, we life a life that is comfortable, yet we strive for adventure. I pray that as believers in you we will accept the mission of reaching the lost. Help us realize that most of the time we need to go to the lost people, they don’t normally come to us. This is the adventure. Holy Spirit be our guide and give us wisdom to know who to talk to, words to speak, actions to showcase the love of Jesus. Let us see others the way you see them. They matter to you so they matter to me. Mission accepted. Amen
How is your adventure going? In you mission have you seen success in reaching others? I would love to hear about it. Sharing is a great way to encourage others to join the mission.

Day 18: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Do you know anyone who strives to create dissention? It seems to those on the outside that their main objective in life is to cause others grief. We have a name for these folks on the playground but it does carry over into the workplace, famalies and the church : Bullies. They most likely will not see themselves that way but their actions reflect that of someone who push people about to achieve their obectives. This personality type likes to get their way no matter what, it very well could be the root cause of many a church split. One person or two with opposing views on an issue not willing to work towards peace in the name of not feeling weak. 

What I love about this beatitude is it doesn’t say achieving peace, it say working for peace. It has more to do with understanding what peace in relative to our relationship with God, then peace that ensures everyone is happy with the situation. Peace to make everyone happy is unachievable. One lean in a direction for one group will be unfavourable for another. This type of peace making leads to bitterness from sides who feel another is getting a better deal. 

Peace described here, I believe, comes from the understanding of the commandment to love one another. Taking the time to connect with the body of believers and not just a select few can be a great way to show this love. When we get bonded to a rare few believers we start thinking the same line and when the party line gets challenged we jump to the cause, but we need to be towing Jesus line of loving one another, that is the main objective. Investing in your fellow believers will create a peace that will be a desire of those outside the church. It will show them that the church is a true family whose members love one another and have more then enough love for new brothers and sisters. 

Are you working for peace or are your actions agressive? If you don’t get what you want how do you responded? If your church makes changes how do you respond? Are you connected with just a few brothers and sisters or many? Work for peace, strive to love one another.

Jesus, I pray that we love one another more. To be a church who loves our neighbors as ourselves, to show them peace in a world that is full of discention. We need to embrace those who darken the doors of our buildings, or talk to us at work as loved by God. If they are all loved by God then we as believers need to love them too. To work towards peace I pray you will help us drop our preconviced notions and see them as you see them, people in need of a saviour. Amen

Day 17: 50 Days of Change

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

The news yesterday told of a man, a firefighter, risking his life to save a woman who had somehow climbed up a work crane 150 feet up and had managed to get on the hook dangling from the crane line. Robert being the most agile and experienced climber was selected for this daring rescue. Listening to an interview last night he spoke of how scary it was but he showed no indication that he was put out or angry with the woman for her act of stupidity. He honestly and truly was grateful to be helping her. His sincerity and passion for his job and explaining the rescue displayed to me his pure heart. When he was suspended 150 feet in the air next to her having a conversation, she had to make the choice to be helped, if she refused she would most likely have fallen.He even said he after rescuing her told her that if she was fined he would foot her fines. he wasn’t looking for a reward, nor a pat on the back, no he wanted to go even farther and show this woman even more grace.

Isn’t the Christian experience with Jesus very similar to that? Jesus was selected by God to be our rescuer. He made the daring and heroic effort to come to where we are. As he suspends himself next to us in our condition he asks us to trust him and his rescue, he wants us to jump into his arms and know his love. the amazing part is he isn’t done once we are rescued. he wants to give us so much more, life abundantly. he only asks for one thing in return, take the love you have experienced and share it with other revealing to them that they too can be rescued from their predicaments.

Would you risk your life to save another? Would you share your faith to save someone from an eternity without God? We are called to do both. When we love one another and Love our neighbours as ourselves we will start to do these things as second nature. Jesus didn’t hesitate to rescue you.

Jesus, give me a pure heart to be able to see others as you do. let me see their need of you and tell them about how you rescued me. I pray that we could all have the courage to save someone’s physical life as well as their spiritual condition. Give us opportunities to share your love each and ever day. let it not be a surprise to us that someone needs Jesus, but something we expect to encounter daily. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 16: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

These days being merciful is sometimes viewed as weakness. Show no mercy is a slogan used by many athlete and sports team. It is not a concept taught to our children or seen often on the tv. So why does Jesus tell us to be merciful if it is something weak men and woman do? You can believe the lie that being merciful is for weak people or you can work to understand that it takes a lot of strength to be merciful to those, who most of the time, don’t deserve it.

Let’s look back to the first ever recorded display of mercy. Adam and Eve had just disobeyed Gods command to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the servant was most likely snickering away in the bushes, proud of what he convinced this weak willed people to do. God comes to have his evening walk with his creation, not finding them he cries out looking for his friends. Ashamed they approach God, they knew because of what they had done that he would not be pleased. In that moments God had a choice to make, would he destroy his creation then and there for their disobedience, or would he show mercy. God in his strength and wisdom choose to show mercy. He demonstrated his love and compassion towards his humanity in that moment by providing for their needs, he clothed them, this symbol was one of a father who may be disappointed by the choices made still cares for his children. He sent them off yet provided advice and a future plan for redemption of humanities situation.

Don’t forget now, there was also a serpant who played a part in this. God had every right to crush this creature for the role he played. I’ve believe this to be satan, if true then God had even more to destroy this evil that convinced humanity to sin. Yet God in his mercy let him God, cursing him, but sparing him for the time being. He didn’t pardon him but told him that his days were numbered and one would come to crush him. 

How are you showing mercy today? It doesn’t need to be something so grand, little things need mercy just as much. Your teenager arrives 30 min late for curfew, your spouse forgets an important anniversary, a friend does something to hurt you. What ever it is being merciful isn’t about being weak, it is more about forgiving others like Christ has forgiven us. 

Depending on the situation punishment may still take place. Mercy doesn’t always mean ignoring what happened.  Even though the servant waste the away relatively unscathed he knew that his time was limited befor he would be crushed. Someone who committed a crime and admits to it may receive mercy from the court but will most of the time still be required to some sort of retribution. 

So be merciful to those around you, not in weakness but strength. If we start changing the way we showm mercy and love we can change the world.

Jesus, you displayed the greatest act of mercy by taking on our sins on the crosss. Thank you for this merciless act. Without it we would still have no hope for a future and a relationship with the creator. Show us how to live a life displaying mercy and love to those around us.  Let us show them that god loves them and they matter, because they matter to you they matter to us. Amen

Day 15: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Recently a man in a neighbouring province was upset with the injustice happening toward those working in the fishery business. His province is one whose livelyhood is based on the ocean. Seeing the changes in quotas would not only effect this man but the lives of all families who live off the ocean to support their families. So this man decide that the best action to take, as the government wasn’t listening, was a hunger strike. He lasted Eleven days before being taken away in an ambulance. But his hunger for justice wasn’t over, he was back out the next day fighting for those who needed it.

We need to have a hunger for justice like this man. This cause isn’t a selfish one, he is out there for the people of his province and their lively hood. I know I wouldn’t stand a chance going eleven days without food. I would mostly likely crave in day two. 

I think that  as believers we tend to just accept all that is going on in the world and around us. Will will join others in their cry for justice but if we personally see it would you stand against it? Where is your line in the sand? Or ar you like an ortrich with yo head in the sand oblivious to the issues around you? 

There are people right now being killed for their faith. There are kids right now be forced into prostitution. There are people starving not just around the world but in our own neighborhoods. Babies are being killed everyday. Drugs are being sold to kids and people are losing their lives to addiction and suicide. Marriages are falling apart, families destroyed by alcohol and adultery. Pornography is polluting the minds creating a perverted generation. Do you care?

I know it can be overwhelming. I wouldn’t expect one to jump on every cause, it would cripple the strongest person. But what tears at your heart, where can you help. One of these causes or similar resonates in your heart. Hunger and thirst for justice in that area, find out how you can help to fight. Change the way you live and don’t be apathetic to the injustice. 

Jesus, with so much injustice in the world it is easy to sit back and just let it happen. But we know that we are not meant to just sit back while sin runs rampent in this world. We are called to be a light in the darkness, we can shine a light on injustice. One person can make a difference, show us how we can be the difference. Even if our actions only help one person, we will thank you for it. We know God that you love this world and it matters to you, so we love it too and it matters to us. Amen

Day 14: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus was understood what it meant to be humble. He came with the power to harness if he desires to become someone of great mportance in his world. Yet he focused more on the hearts and souls of the people knowing that is what they(we) truly need. He demonstrated to us in his life what it meant to be humble. Taking the time to wash the disciples feet, explaining to them many times that to be lifted up we must first be willing to serve others. Even on the cross he cried out forgiveness to those who crucified him.

With this great teaching, why is it then that humanity still strives to be so important to conquer the earth. Leader upon leader pushes and strives to become the best and better then the others, starting wars, demoralizing their own people even killing them in droves. These leaders become power hungry, their ego and pride are their driving factor, blinding them to morality. Leaders who follow Jesus teaching show wisdom and strength, yet their lives are mortal and eventually they die someone replaces them who doesn’t continue the legacy of the previous leader. They may try to flow on the success but not realizing humility as the driving factor.

We see this in our churches. If mega or small, leaders, pastors, who start putting faith in their own name and brand of teachings will start to believe that they are the reason for their success. This leads to claims of God wanting his people to do so weird things like give Hugh amounts of money for some projects that are suspicious. 

Our leaders need to display humility, they aren’t leading to become famous, they should be leading because their desire to see people come into or grow their relationship with God. God can build a leader up in such a way that they become famous, but in their fame they must continually work even harder to keep God as the center of their ministry. I can only imagine how difficult that must be for some of these leaders. To be in the public eye and having people examining your life looking for the moment you don’t practice what you preach. I think that maybe why some Hollywood actors keep their faith low key as they have so many people watching them. 

So how can we be practice being humble in a world that shouts look at me. Treating  and thinking of others better then yourself is a great way to start. If we can get this practice ingrained in our lives then mostly all other stuff will fall into place. We also must stop putting other Christians of pedestals and loving them as brothers and sisters, understanding they may fail just like us. If we have them on pedestals then it hurts when they fall and we intentionally or not look down on them in their failings. If they fall as a brother of sister we are more likely to help pick them up encouraging them to move forward. 

Jesus, I pray today for my brothers and sister in Christ. I pray that you will give them a renewed understanding of humility. If anyone reading this thinks themselves better then their fellow believers I pray they will ask forgiveness and work towards become united with them. If we have elevated anyone to a super Christian status I pray that we realize that is a lot of pressure on them and maybe we need to rethink our labels. Let us be ready to help any brother and sister in need in forgiveness and love. Our lives need to be an example to those around us because we love them just as you love them. Amen