Day 26: 50 Days of Change

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There is a subject of Christianity that believes that once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your saviour it doesn’t matter what you do after that because he has forgiven your past, present and future sins. They have been told the salvation message, they quickly accepted and went on with their lives. A vast majority of Christians are missing a vitally important part of their faith, discipleship.

The church is to blame for this, as for a few generations we have neglected this aspect and we were so focused on saves we forgot about foundation. Don’t get me wrong, leading people to Jesus is the mission, but only part one of the mission, part two is to disciple them so they can go and do the same. Now we are playing catch up, using Christians who have never been disciples to disciple, others. As a follower of Christ we must keep growing in our knowledge and understanding of the faith. This will strengthen us as mentors to the babes in the faith.

There are many teachers out there these days, radio, books, tv, internet even blogs like this one. If you take everything yo read at face value and as 100% truth then you are going to run into issues. Not all teaching is truth. It is mans opinions and interputation of what it means to follow Christ. So how then do we evaluate what we are taking in? First you must get it though scripture, is what being said match up with what Jesus taught. Second find a group of believers who you can bring these opinions to, discuss them and see what they think of the teachings. Third you can pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and discernment. The last thing you want to be doing is spreading untruth to those you are discipling.

Are you mentoring someone? Do you have a mentor of your own? Are you growing in knowledge in the faith or have you locked yourself into your beliefs? There are times where we have been taught untruths and kept them close to our hearts as truths. To rip these off is hard, but they if not corrected can damage future believers.

Father, I pray you love will overflow more and more. We want to share your love with those around us that are hurting and need to experience you. Holy Spirit give us wisdom and discernment when it comes to the media we input into our lives. Show us what is truth and what is untruth. If we have believed a lie reveal it to us and show us the truth. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross. We want to tell others about you cause they matter to you, so they matter to us. Amen

Day 22: 50 Days of Change

“You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.”‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As a father of four children I understand where this verse is going. ‘You never let us have any fun’ is a phrase that I hear on occasion.  I feel the connection because we as a society here have come through a generation where children were give almost absolute freedom to do whatever they wanted. Parents pushed hard to be the ‘cool’ non rule making parent and tried to be the friend. They didn’t want their kids resenting the rules and them like they did towards their parents. Somewhere along the line they got the notion that rules and limits didn’t make for good parenting.

A child will tell you that eating candy for breakfast is what they want to do, but a parent should know that it isn’t good nor beneficial for the child. Letting them watch endless hours of TV and electronic time on the internet are both things that require moderation. It goes the same for us as adults, we have things around us that are ‘allowed’ but it still doesn’t make them good and beneficial. 

Watching pornography is ‘allowed’ but there is no benefits or goodness as it demoralized someone’s daughter. Smoking is ‘allowed’ yet it destroys your body, and those around you. Just because something is allowed doesn’t always make it right, and participating in them doesn’t always make you a ‘bad’ person. It should make you question your motives and why you are participating in these things that harm the body and the mind, do they follow the teachings of Jesus. 

Are the things your doing good for you? Are they harming you physically? Mentally? Spiritually? What are you losing out on from doing them? Do they help you in sharing the love of Jesus with others? If it is something hidden would it cause others to lose respect for you if revealed? If anything has popped into your head as I am doing but maybe I shouldn’t be I pray today that you ask Jesus to help you stop these things. It may not be easy but with the Holy Spirit by your side everything is possible.

Jesus, thank you for revealing so much in your word. Thank you for daily showing us your love and guiding us. Today we pray tha if we are doing things that are not acceptable and are holding us back then show us and free us of these chains. We may truly enjoy these things, replace them with something good and pleasing, remove our desire or addiction for them. Let our lives reflect who you are to the world around us. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Help us to see the world the way you do and that the people matter to you, so they should matter to me. Amen

Day 21: 50 Days of Change

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:14, 16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Have you ever tried to give someone directions over the phone? Maybe you had something you needed them to do, you did your best to explain it but in the end they did it wrong anyways. Where your directions not clear enough? Were you to blame? Or did they just listen to what they wanted to hear and only did what they heard? There has been times when I can call my kids on the way home from work and walk them through making supper and it works out fantastic, other times it has felt like I might as well have been speaking another language to them.

As we receive directions from someone are we willing to listen and ask clarifying questions fully understanding or do we just want to get it done so we say yes yes, but then miss out on the important details, not fully fulfilling the task? I wonder what it would have been like if Noah when asked to build an ark he stop  God and said okay got it, but didn’t wait for the details. He may have crafted a canoe, it is a boat. The details are important.

Jesus who was God still needed to take time and commune with God and get direction. He asked clarifying questions, we see this when he a was praying in the garden, he ultimatly said ‘why me’. He probably already new the reason, but he still needed reassurance. Gideon, David, Abraham and so many others asked the questions to clarify their mission.

Today if you are asking God for something, and he is showing you something don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. He may or may not give you all the details but he will provide what you need to know. Open your ears and eyes to what he has for you.

Jesus, far to often we hear something and rush to it without asking any questions. This leads to mistakes and problems, they say fools rush in. I pray you give us the wisdom to ask questions, not to question you but for clarification. Give us wisdom to move forward in the plans you have for us. We want to be effective in the mission of reaching those who do not have a relationship with you. They matter you, you so they matter to me. Amen

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 8: 50 Days of Change

“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”‭‭John‬ ‭14:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We sometimes read in the bible about the Holy Spirit and write him off as a ‘lesser’ god. This ranking of God, is not scriptural and needs to be changed in the hearts of many. God is a trinune God. Three in one, complex beyond our earthy understanding, God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit, all the same God yet all different. We make a list and the Spirit always is third, but that doesn’t make him less important than the other two. Jesus used the word advocate to describe the Holy Spirit, an advocate is a person how represents as if the person was there. In place of, with the same power and authority. To think of the Holy Spirit as less then the Son or Father is to think less of the Son and the Father.

How would you descibe your experience with the Holy Spirit? I am not talking about the time you had a Holy Spirit experience at the alter where you for all goosebumpy and emotional. But your daily walk with him, how are you working with him to experience life? Are to trusting his guidance in what you do? Or is he in the back seat, trying to tell you where you need to go but you keep ignoring him, because you know better? 

If we want to use the car metaphor, I am envisioning the front set as the old school front three seater, Jesus driving, the Holy Spirit in the passenger seat and us uncomfortably in the middle seat, we want to be in control but we have given the keys and driving to Jesus. We want to guide our own ways yet we have given the guiding over to the Holy Spirit. This can put us in uncomfortable positions, yet it is always right where we need to be to grow and reach others. 

I believe what we call our conscious is the Holy Spirit speaking to us. Showing us the right ways to go. I am saying that even unbelievers are being spoken to by the Holy Spirit. God loves them too and to send the Holy Spirit to work in them so the can experience life through Jesus makes perfect sense. We know right and wrong because he is showing us right and wrong. I am hoping in eternity there is a PVR with my life on it where I can look back to see the influence the Holy Spirit had on me. 

Are you working with the Holy Spirit? Do you think he is a lesser of the trinity? It’s time to change our thought pattern and involve the advocate that Jesus told us about. He will guide you, give you strength and wisdom to reach the lost.

Jesus, thank you for sharing the Holy Spirit with us we ask Holy Spirit that you work in our lives, guiding and preparing us to reach the lost. Give us wisdom and strength for the days ahead. Let us see opportunities and moments that can only be attributed to your work. We want to take advantage of these and tell people about the salvation and freedom avait le t them so they may have a relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit. The people around me matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen