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

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 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 13: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭NLT‬

We have all lost someone close. Sickness, old age, accidents and suicides are interwoven into our lives. Some of these are preventable with help, others just happen and there is nothing we can do about it. We grieve and question what and why such a thing would take place. Many Leaders are asked by those who mourn ‘why would God let this happen?’ A wise pastor I know told me that in his younger days he would try to have an answer, give some sort of comfort. But these days he has learned that he just doesn’t know, he can’t answer their question. Things happen, sin has corrupted this humanity leading to a situation where terrible things are allowed to take place.

Sure we here people use the verse all things work together or God has a plan for your life, these are both true but for someone in the stages of mourning theses buzz phrases provide no comfort. Especially to the non believer, they will then get angry with God who let this happen  to their loved one.

So how can we comfort someone who has lost someone and is in mourning? We need to be there for them, love them, comfort them just as Jesus promised that he would provide. He can use you to provide the promised comfort. How many times has he wanted to use you to comfort someone in need and you walked away from it? Are you open to being comfort for someone in mourning? If not then it is time to change that. Our openness to loving those in mourning will be an opportunity for us to show Jesus love to those who need him.  

Jesus, thank you for you comfort in times of need. We know that your with us but those who are not in a relationship with you don’t. Help us to be you ambassador in those times, helping them during their loss and being a friend just like you are. Let us be comfort in times of sorrow. We want them to know that they matter to us just as much as they matter to you. Amen