Day 48: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 48: Who doesn’t want control of their own lives. As teenagers we fight for control of our futures, many rebel, runaway and hope to get away from the restrictive parents who we believe don’t have our best interests at heart. Then we get jobs where we want to be our own bosses, we get married and realize that it is a combined effort, not a ” I’m the boss” scenario.  So why then as a people would we want to let Jesus be the center and let him lead our lives? It sounds so opposite of how we live. Those things we run from are put in place to help us grow and become who we are meant to be. Our parents leadership is meant to mold us so when we get married we know how to work as a team. Running away leads to solitude and even homelessness. Jesus doesn’t want to lead your life to cause you grief, but to give you purpose and life. If you feel otherwise you have been feed a bunch of lies from the devil whose only goal in life is to keep you from experiencing this relationship with Jesus. he is jealous, Jesus is the choice, he is the default.

 

DAY FORTY-EIGHT

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Matthew 16:24-26 MSG)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 NIV)

Self help, the art of fixing yourself. Grapefruit, milkshake, starvation, subway are all diets that are self help motivated. Proper eating and exercise take self sacrifice when done right.

Our spirituality can be very similar. If we jump on every book, or teaching on Christianity, and just read the book, trying to apply it but not plugging into the source then it is just another book. We as Christians don’t need anything else but the Bible. Other resources are useful, but if the bible isn’t your daily go to book then it needs to be.

If you accepted Jesus into your heart then you must take up your cross daily, but what does that mean? I like the way the MSG puts it is that Jesus is the driver of your life. If you love your car, it isn’t easy to let someone else drive it. They could crash it. But Jesus says that He needs to be the driver of Your life. It is saying, I will love my enemies, I will help the poor and needy & I will share the love of Christ to the lost.

How many times have you seen men or woman of faith who “sell their soul”. The devil shows up with a contract and the person just signs away usually for something they could have done without. Money tends to be the main factor but sex has a way to a mans heart as well. If you are a believer in Christ, you already signed your soul over to Him. Why would you want to take it back only to throw it away for things that are going to fade away?

 

If you haven’t sold out to Jesus, let me make this clear. You may not be worshiping the devil on purpose, but the path you’re on belongs to him. Don’t be mistaken, to reject Jesus, or dismiss his sacrifice and salvation is to accept the other alternative. But there is hope. You can change course and do a 180. Turn your life over to the Son of God, who can bring you out of the grip of the enemy.

Dear Jesus, I am yours mind, body and soul. I want You in control of my life. Help me to carry the cross daily. Love my enemies, help the poor and powerless, and share the gospel to the lost. Thank you for who You are and what You have done for me. Forgive me of my sin and wash me clean. Take the driver seat of my life. Amen

 

Day 45: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 45: We all have someone in our lives that we don’t particularly like and that in itself makes it hard for us to show them love. Loving someone and liking someone are different. Jesus didn’t like the ways the people were living and how they were acting, yet he loved them. He didn’t mix the two up, nor should we. We will always have people in our lives that we just don’t get along with, but we need to love them as Jesus loves them, even if we disagree with them. Attacking them and gossiping about them is not loving them. How can we love someone we just don’t like?

 

DAY FORTY-FIVE

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Matthew 5:9 MSG)

Have you ever been in a church where everyone is getting along? Awesome isn’t it. You can feel the love of God moving among the people.

Now imagine a church where the people are fighting one another or the pastor. Maybe it doesn’t take much to get an image as you have seen it before. No growth, and the church seems okay on the outside but falling apart in the inside.

Jesus tells us that we need to cooperate. It’s not always easy when you put a large group of people together and expect them all to go along with the party line. Cooperating does not mean blindly following either.

Now cooperation doesn’t always mean agreeing with everything that is going on, but it is being able to put your opinions aside if needed to share the vision of the group. You have the right to present your opposition in love to the appropriate people, but when you stand up and start outright opposition is when the hard time and fighting would begin.

Are you a cooperative member of your family? Or are you a fighter?

Dear Jesus, I want to discover my place in my family. I want to be used by You and help further Your kingdom in my community and my home church. Show me how to cooperate with others in the global church family.
Amen

Day 44: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 44: The laws of the Old Testament were created to show the people the need for them to rely on God. Our Governments make laws to help us be better people and create a civil society. Sports give us rules so the game will run smooth and all is fair. Jesus narrowed all the laws down into two simple statements; 1) Love God, 2) Love your neighbor. Everything else can be seen in these, if you loved your neighbor would you lie, steal, hurt him?

Day 44

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18 NIV)

Wait a minute, laws are rules, rules are restrictive, how can I see wonderful things in your law, it makes no sense.

You probably hear lots if reasons people won’t go to church but one I hear a lot is the fact that there are so many rules to follow. They focus on the rule it self but don’t really look at the consequences in their lives if they don’t follow it. Now I am not promoting legalism but just follow me for a minute.

The church says you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. Keep the marriage bed pure. The non-believer will say “your trying to take my fun away” but the don’t see the negative side of sex before marriage, such as unplanned pregnancy, STDSs, higher rate of divorce once you do get married. To see the wonderful side if that “law” is that God will bless you for being faithful. Your connection with your spouse will be stronger. And outside desires for others will be weaker as you don’t know what you are missing out on.

This is only one example but I just want to say that we serve a loving God, who like our earthly father outs rules in place for our benefit. He wants us to be safe, and when we decide that His rules are not worth following and we want to go out on our own that even then His rules will follow us. I was reading today about the prodigal son and when he was in the pig pen, feeding them corn it read he wanted to eat the corn cobs but no one gave him any. Why didn’t he just take them? It read like he was left alone to do this job, but I believe his father taught him not to steal and his teachings as a child kicked in and he wouldn’t steal even from the pigs.

So in saying all this, Remember that God isn’t here to make your life miserable with rules. He knows what’s best for you and has given us guidelines to live by, and if followed will provide us with wonderful things if we only open our eyes.

Dear Jesus, open my eyes to the wonders of your law. I trust you have my best interests at heart and are protecting me from evil. Thank you for everything you do for me. Amen

 

Day 41: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

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.

DAY FORTY-ONE

“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

Day 40: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

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.

DAY FORTY

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

Day 37: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 37: How we carry ourselves says a lot about who we are. If I was going around telling people about the beautiful apples I had to offer yet never shared them or produced any, what would people think of me? Probably start calling me a sham or scam artist. If we as believers claim to love Jesus and truly love those around us then let’s start acting it as well. People believe what they see.
DAY THIRTY-SEVEN
“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree. (Matthew 12:33 MSG)
Jesus was telling this story, talking about believers as trees. Jesus used a lot of metaphors in His ministry. But in essence, this is saying if you just put junk and sin into your life you won’t do much for the kingdom of God. You actually cause people to reconsider what you believe as what you are offering isn’t very attractive. But if you cultivate your life, producing tasty fruit and the love of Christ exudes everything you do, then people love to try good looking fruit.
Ever notice in the grocery store how the fruit gets picked over and in most cases, the good fruit will be chosen and the damaged is left behind. We are looking for good fruit.
Have you ever bought or bitten into a beautiful piece of fruit to find out that it was rotten just under the surface? There are many people out there who offer things that look great and beautiful on the outside but the core of what they are giving is rotten. Sin corrupts the best of intentions if the heart is not focused on giving glory to God.
Are you producing good fruit? Examine your life, what are you fertilising your life with? It will tell you a lot about the fruit you produce.
Dear Jesus, I pray that You will help us examine our lives to see what kind of fruit we are producing. Help us to prune any dead limbs or non-producing areas away so that we can be a tree that produces awesome fruit. amen

Day 36: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 36: One of my favourite quotes that I like to use is ” You can’t soar with eagles when you’re hanging with turkeys.” Unknown. Eagles were made to soar high and be a majestic bird, powerful, something to be noticed. Turkeys, on the other hand, stay low to the ground, nothing special about them except how tasty they are.  You become a product of your environment, where you invest your time and efforts is what you will become. As a believer, if you spend all your time with non-believers don’t expect your spiritual life to flourish. I am not saying to cut yourself off from the world as a believer, that would be foolishness to recommend, what I do suggest is that how you spend your time is where you need to seriously look at. Who is influencing who?

DAY THIRTY-SIX

They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. (1 Peter 4:4 NIV)

After work, your co-workers invite you out for a drink, or the boys want you to come to the strip club, you respectfully decline but you know that they are surprised you won’t join them.

If you haven’t seen favouritism for the ones who join the boss for a sociable after work then you’re lucky. They work hard and play harder and if you don’t join in you’re a lame duck who doesn’t know how to unwind.

It frustrates me because I see the destruction that lifestyle is to them, I see the scars left behind. But unless they are ready to hear it, they won’t accept your views on the subject.

We are told to stand apart, not to be like the world, and in doing so we will be mocked by it. Persecution comes in many forms.

Today’s challenge is to flee from evil. Don’t get sucked into reckless things that lead to the path of destruction, praying for those who would really take you there as well.

Dear Jesus, we all know someone who always us asking us to do something contradictory to our faith. Give us the strength to stand apart and continually refuse the temptation to join our friend into sin. Help us to be a light to them and to be there for them so when they need a fall apart and all others turn their back on them, we will be there to help them pick up the pieces and lead them to the healer. Amen