Day 11: 50 Days of Impact

Things are happening daily in this world that we would easily describe as tragedies. Others are not so much tragedies but purposeful acts of evil that no one can explain away. They will point the blame and blame a group of people but they never truly understand what is the cause behind it all. Sin, it is the backbone of the evil in this world, its goal is to confuse, constrict and keep people so distracted to who God is. How will our reactions as believers impact those watching?

 

“People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.”

Ecclesiastes 9:12 NLT

 

Tragedy comes to everyone. Cancer, death, strokes, car accidents, suicides, murder, job losses, unexpected expenses, theft, and many other things constitute tragedy. These things can hit the beloved and unbeliever alike.

 

We as believers take these life events no less hard. It is all in how we react to them that will determine how we survive them.

We grieve when we need to grieve. Fight when we need to fight. But the awesome reality is we don’t do it alone. We have a father who comforts us and a family we can come to lean on.

 

Let us be that comfort to those around us who don’t know Jesus. Show them the love in the tragedy. Be the friend they need. They need to see us as friends and not enemies.

Sin is here to keep people away from God, it is our nature to enjoy those pleasures, but our purpose is to connect with the creator. Until we do that we will never be satisfied with life.

If today you are wanting to surrender to Jesus, asking him to forgive you of sin and free you from its bondage, I encourage you to just talk to him. There is no magic prayer, no mantra you must repeat. It is your heart he is looking at when you talk to him. If you make this change I encourage you to find a church that is invested in God and plug into a family of believers.

 

Jesus, we all know people who are hurting, help us to share your love to them in their grief and despair. Let them know they are loved by you and your family. Jesus, I am sorry for the things I have done, forgive me of my sins, I surrender my life to you. Amen

 

Day 9: 50 Days of Impact

During our Christian walk we can feel like what we are doing is producing no results. Some have an apathy towards their faith, leading to a whatever style of faith. Some of the things we do can be mundane, boring, plain. But these daily grind things push your faith forward, what you do today will have an impact on someone’s life.

 

“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

 

“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.””

Romans 15:7, 20-21 NLT

 

My drive moving forward is not thinking of myself but about others. But sometimes it is hard to just get started. Forward momentum is difficult when you have been sitting so long and you have become seized up. No matter how much you want to move you can’t. You brain may say do it but your whole body doesn’t help you out. The Holy Spirit is the answer to this, he can and will give you that push you need to get started in forward momentum, and he will be there with you, ensuring that you keep moving. If you trust him.

 

You don’t need a big event or exciting church service to start you momentum. Finding something to do to help others either in church or outside. Could be folding the bulletins, dusting, making coffee or handing our flyers. Outside it could be doing random acts of kindness, putting change in parking meters, loving those who have no one who loves them. To move forward you must put your foot on the gas.

 

Dear Jesus, today is the day I get moving in sharing about you. I don’t want to be sitting seized up. I have the opportunities help me to take advantage of them. I need to stop being afraid and trust the Holy Spirit will lead me in what to say. I will trust you. Amen

 

Day 50: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 50: Well it was great revisiting this original series with you. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, prayer is a powerful weapon we can use to reach the lost, and talk to God.

DAY FIFTY

But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. (Matthew 27:50 MSG)

When I started the 50 Days of Pray I did not count ahead to see when if would be ending. I think it is fitting that it ended on Good Friday.

Jesus, beaten and bruised, hanging up on the cross, they didn’t stop mocking Him, they gave Him sour wine. But that is not why Jesus was crying out. I can’t imagine what He must have been going through as every imaginable sin from creation to completion was put on Him. It was so unbearable that he cried out loudly. It wasn’t the torture or the cross, that killed Him, I believe it was the overwhelming sin that was thrust upon Him that took His last breath.

But I am so glad that the story doesn’t end there. 3 days later He resurrected from the grave. Amazing. He defeated sin and death once and for all. So he knows what you are experiencing, he knows your pain.

Dear Jesus, thank You for taking sin on for us. Thank You for bearing it all on the cross. You are so amazing. Keep working in my life, I want to do anything You ask of me. Amen

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 47: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 47: Many people will use the excuse of not trusting an all powerful God by saying “Why would a good God let bad things happen to good people”. I guess then we need to ask “Why do good things happen to bad people” and who determines who is good and who is bad? Are those relative terms when it comes to life? What it should come down to is the state of someones heart and relationship with God. Maybe the question should be “Why does God let bad things happen to those serving him?”  I believe life happens to everyone and regardless if your good or bad, or even in a relationship with God, life happens, we live in a world corrupt with sin. The effects of sin can be seen everywhere and cause grief to everyone even those who are “good” and those in relationship with God.

DAY FORTY-SEVEN

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. (Colossians 3:5-8 MSG)

God is a God of love, but in His love is also a righteous anger towards sin. Sin is an abomination to God. As you read above you see some examples of sin that can cause God to explode in anger. Don’t think a loving God would explode in anger? Well let’s look back.

The whole earth was wicked and in Gods righteous anger he was ready to destroy it all and start over. Luckily for us one man and his family caught Gods eye and favor and the world was saved.

Two cities Sodom and Gomorrah were doing things that would be something similar or maybe even worse then some of the things going on in society today. God saw this and was angered, Abraham tried to fight for their safety but in the end the disgusting nature of the cities caused Gods wrath to be unleashed saving only one family.

There are many more examples, but the good news is you know better. You don’t live your life like that anymore because you accepted the gift of Jesus. God doesn’t look at you with the same judgment as those who don’t have Jesus in their lives. Jesus washes our sins away making us pure in Gods eyes.

If you don’t have a relationship with God, you may be thinking if God is angry with sin then he must be angry with me and will never want anything to do with me. The truth is God loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to take on the sin that we could never get rid of, and make a way for us to have a relationship with God the Father. All we need to do is accept Jesus’s sacrifice and ask him to cleanse us of the sin that covers our lives. God loves you. John 3:16 tells us this specifically. “For God so loved the world” no exceptions.

So now that you know better, live it. Avoid evil and sinfully things. But don’t worry if you make mistakes, bring them to Jesus, repent and avoid making the same mistakes again. He won’t stop forgiving you.

But if you continually are making the same mistakes and continually asking for forgiveness such as, having sex before marriage (fornication), pornography, alcohol abuse, drugs, or other sins, and keep repenting but it is an endless cycle, maybe it us time to ask for help and counselling. Talk to your Pastor or someone you trust in Christ to help you break free of your addiction. They want to help you grow in Christ.

Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins, if I am continually making the same mistakes please give me the strength and humility to ask for help from my pastor or someone I trust. Keep me from evil, and give me wisdom to overcome obstacles in my path. I want to live a life focused on You. We are waiting for the day you return and remove sin from this world. 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 43: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 43: Prayer is a powerful avenue we are given by God as a way to connect with Him. Like anything, it is on good if we use it. Many people will tell you that they will pray for you or a situation, but to take the time aside to actually pray is another story altogether. You generally know someone is praying for you when they gently bring it up in conversation. Not the bragging type, but someone who honestly cares and shows it in the way they communicate. You can tell they care and their actions match their words. 
 
Day Forty-Three
 
Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend travelling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’
 
“The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’ “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbours, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need. “Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open. (Luke 11:5-9 MSG)
 
Jesus gave this story after teaching His disciples how to pray. In it He shows us two principles of prayer.
 
Ever hear some teaching on claim your prayers? They will say your prayers weren’t answered because you prayed them too much and your faithlessness surrounding God answered it wasn’t there? This story teaches to be persistent in your prayers to the Father. If you need it, then keep asking for it. Don’t stop. Persisting in pray will let God know how important it is Your life. If my kids asked me for a swimming pool, but only asked once, would I think they really needed one? But if they kept at me, every day, drawing me pictures, and expressing their need over and over, day after day, I might just get them a pool. 
 
The other thing I see in this story is the man was only asking for what he needed. He asked for three loaves of bread go feed his friend a probably his family. The man could have started making a specific request for speciality items, meat, veggies or whatever else. But he went straight to the point and asked for just what he needed to get the job done. Are we asking for more than we need? Would we be satisfied with less but asking for way more than we need?
 
Dear Jesus, help us to learn to ask, seek and knock more. Help us to be persistent in prayer. Show us how to be satisfied with what we receive. Maybe sometimes we don’t see our prayers answered because You give us what we need and not exactly what we asked for. I ask Jesus that You provide me what I need. Amen
 

Day 42: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

 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.

DAY FORTY-TWO

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

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