Day 48: 50 Days of Change

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So many times we have read this verse and many other just like it and expect that God will give us anything we ask for. We more often then not skim over the four words ‘anything that pleases him’, in favour of ‘anything that pleases us’. Where did the confidence that John was writing about here come from? If you were to read the previous part of this chapter you would read about what it means to have faith in the Son of God. It also tells us what it means to truly love God. 

Yet so many ask for things that are just not pleasing to God. He knows what the results will be if he was to give you every desire of your heart. If he had answered your teenage prayer to date that high school crush, or given you all the answers for the test you forgot to study for. Maybe you prayed for money or stuff, he understands we need money but asking him to be rich is not something that pleases him, money can corrupt. 

But as often the case, people walk away from God because he doesn’t give them everything they prayed for, the job, the perfect spouse, status. They become bitter and angry at God because he withheld something they really wanted like a spoiled child not getting what they asked for. As a parent I know that my kids won’t always agree with the decisions I make, they will ask for things and I will have to say no. This isn’t because I am trying to be mean, it is because I believe I know what’s best for their development. 

What I love about kids compared to adults is that they get over the NO. They may have a fit but it is only temporary, they in general will not try to walk away from you if you say no to them. The may stamp around, cause a scene, say somethings they may regret, but at day’s end they will be back for a hug, tell you they love you, moving past the NO. 

So today will you become like a child and move past the no? God is a good father and wants to give you good things, not everything we ask for is good for us. Trust that even though we may not agree with him he has our best in mind. Why would we not trust the God who created us? Loves us? Saved us from sin. Don’t stop asking, keep praying, trust he will give you the best answer.

Father, it is hard for us to understand why you would say no to things we ask for. Sometimes they are request that will harm us other times we don’t see how they wouldn’t be answe. Help us to continually trust that you know what’s best for us, as you created us, one might assume you have a good understanding what we need. I ask father you will guide us in reaching the lost. Holy Spirit give us wisdom and opportunities every day to share the love of Jesus with our friends, family, coworkers and anyone who will listen. They matter to you so the matter to me. Amen

Day 47: 50 Days of Change

“Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is hard to fathom why one who has a relationship with God would replace him with something else. But we hear of believers, elders and even leaders walking away from him all the time. One might make the assumption that these believers never truly believed, as some have the notion that salvation cannot be discarded. What has truly happened is these folks have given up their relationship. Somewhere along the line sin got a hold inside and slowly but surely took them down a path away from God. 

God didn’t abandon them, he didn’t leave them, but at some point they left him. They pushed aside the truth and the counsel of the Holy Spirit for an idea that what te wanted was right and for them. One of the startiling things that I see is leaders who drop out of leadership not only abandoning their church but in many case leaving their spouses. This is so heartbreaking as it can be a domino effect on those who admire and have been mentored by these leaders. They should know better but we don’t know what is going on in their lives and hearts.

This is where we as believers are failing each other. If we were more involved in each other’s lives personally we would become more intune to our brothers and sisters needs and troubles. Maybe we would be able to see things in the early stages and cut them off before they decide to walk away from God completely. It would be so much easier if we knew what was going to happen with a time machine, but we pray and hope that the issues we resolve early will allievate any big mistakes down the road. Ultimatly it is between the person and God, but he can and will use us to build each other up, like iron sharpening iron. 

This could be you, you maybe testing the waters of sin and not sure where the undertow is. But if your testing one day it will pull you under. I beg of you ask for help, cry out to God to pull you out now, send brothers and sisters of the faith to help you through this time of confusion. We need to ask for help, push past our pride, se that we are failing and need assistance. What we do with our lives as believers does not only affect us. It affect all around us, don’t be fooled that it’s my life and what I do doesn’t affect others.

Father, if anyone reading this is tempting their relationship with you by flirting with sin, I pray that right now you will show them the consiquences of their actions. Holy Spirit surround them with believers who will hold them accountable in love, building them up and loving them. It is not to late for them to cry out for forgiveness and change their behaviour, let them se that their actions affect others. God we ask that we will be used by you to reach others who may not know you at all or maybe did but have replaced you with something else. Give us the words to speak and wisdom to share with them your love. They matter you you God so they matter to us, amen. 

Day 46: 50 Days of Change

““And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭28:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have been listening to Andy Stanley’s series ‘Who Needs God’ on yourmove.is, in the last segment of the series he makes the quote ‘when we realize that our unbelief in God isn’t in his existence but our resistance.’ (Paraphrased) So many unbelievers and those who claim that there just isn’t a God, are living a life of unfufilment. We have a ingrained thought that there is more to life then just eating, sleeping and existing there has to be something more.

Our moral compass that we follow surely leads us to do the right things, but sin corrupts and causes us to go in directions we had never believed we would ever go as children. A child one would hope would never grow up with a life goal of murdering and raping people. These actions are the results of sin and sinful acts done towards that child or sinful opportunities the child has participated in. Sin then evolves and the moral compass is lost under mounds of sin. 

Those who cross the line into atheism have taken the  time to forsake the one who has created them by imagining that he doesn’t exist. Just like Christian tend to use the gap theory as an answer to questions that can’t be answered  ‘ it’s a God thing ‘ atheists tend to do the same using natural selection to fill in their gaps ‘it’s a natural selection thing’. To forsake the truth and make excuses to justify makes it harder to reconcile with God as their hearts are hardened, they are not completely lost, but much pray and humility is required to reach them with the love of Christ. They need to first reject the theory that there is no God and start to seek him.

Those who seek him will find him. This promise is used many times in the word of God. Why? Because it is truth, God doesn’t play games, this isn’t hide and seek . He promises if you seek he will reveal himself through Jesus. The Holy Spirit is working in those who are seeking putting them in the right place and right time to meet and talk to believers. We must be prepared at all times to share the love of the Father, let us not be asleep when he is calling us to reach someone. I wonder how many opeertunites I have missed due to my pride, fear of humiliation or laziness. 

We need to change our attitude in reaching the lost. The Holy Spirit uses us because we are called to reach the lost, trust he will give us opportunities to share Gods love daily. Are you ready to be used to reach the lost? 

Father, forgive me for missed opertunities. I pray that you will open my eyes to moment where I can reach those around me. I do not want to be the reason someone isn’t following you,  use me. Holy Spirit provide me wisdom and words to speak when talking to those around me, open the hearts so you can speak through me. Father you love this world and all the people in in, I should love them too so I pray you will put this love in my heart. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 45: 50 Days of Change

“You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.”Hebrews 3:13 NLT
There are some people in our lives that no matter what we do or what we say will convince them that Jesus is the answer for them. They have truly become deceived in their sin and hardened towards God. We may then feel that it is just best to give up on them and move in to someone who is ready. Why waste our time and energy if it is impossible for us to get through.
God is the God of the impossible, we must never forget that. When we experience a person so hardened by sin and God, there is only two things we can do. First we continue to love them showing them the .ove of Christ though who we are. Second we need to pray for them earnestly. If you have written someone off as unsalvageable then that is the person you need to be on your needs petitioning God for. Not we can only do two things but God can do much more.
God can work at breaking down the walls that was placed up. Or he can show us the cracks and how to show Christ love through those holes. He can also provide Saul moments where he reveals himself to the person in a real way. There is no limits on how God can work in the life of those who need to meet him. Pray certainly has been shown to increase probability of amazing things happening. I wonder how many of the early church were praying that Saul the persecutor would meet Jesus? And repent turning from his evil ways? 
Don’t give up on those who are hardened. Give it over to God and keep pleading for them. If you have someone like that we would love to join you in your pray. Add a comment with their first or last name and we will pray for them. United in prayer we can move mountains and release the ‘Paul’ inside those around us.
Jesus, in our strength we are lost, but we come to you in our weakness asking for strength to reach those who are hardened to your call on their lives. We know from your word that you are knocking on the hearts of all, waiting for them to open the door to the truth of salvation. We want to be used to help them get to at point. Let us not give up on anyone who is not a believer, let us instead fall to our knees and petition them before your throne for a miracle. Jesus the lost matter to you, they all matter to you, so they matter to us. Use me. Amen

Day 44: 50 Days of Change

“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Really when it all boils down the commandments are not something new to us. They are incorporated into our laws and sometimes feel like they are ingrained or programmed into us from childhood. One would assume that all mankind has a inherient view that killing someone is wrong. That being said, sin has become so intrenched in our lives that it stifles out any connection we may have to the Holy Spirit. Like a massive fog we lose touch and the things that are inherient wrong don’t look so bad. 

Why shouldn’t I just take what I want? It won’t hurt anyone, they won’t even notice it is gone. I deserve it. If I manipulate the story with a few choice words, sure they aren’t true but no one will ever know. We love each other, it doesn’t matter that I’m married, that relationship is over, she doesn’t fulfill my needs, I have fallen out of love. Did you see his new sports car, man I really need one of those. Excuse may make you feel like what your doing is justifiable but it isn’t right. 

Striving to follow the commandments by themselves is impossible. If there isn’t a relationship with God though the sacrifice Jesus made, then your obedience tho honorable will not get you anywhere. Without the relationship we are stuck in sin and will continually fall prey to its lure and deception. But if we have accepted Jesus as saviour and given him our lives we then are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and are in a relationship with God himself. In this relationship we can strive effectively to avoid sin, following the commands of Jesus which encases the commandments. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor, by doing these two commands the rest will, come naturally. For one does not steal from one he love, one does not murder one he loves, one does not hate one he love, nor jealous of what they have.

Have you accept Jesus as you lord and savoir? Are you struggling to follow the commandments with out him hoping being good will get you somewhere? I ask today that you seriously look into what Jesus himself said about this. He told us that ‘I am the way, the truth, and the light, no one comes to the Father(God) but through me’. So if you expecting to get to heaven by being ‘good’ don’t be surprise when you finally get there it isn’t what you expected. Look into who Jesus is and what he has done for you.

Father, thank you for sending your son to die and rise again so that we might have an opertunity to have a relationship with you.  I pray father that anyone reading this who doesn’t know you that even right now o stir up their hearts with a desire to know you. Reveal to them the truth in your word, send someone their way to tell them about your love and gift of life. I pray you will use me to reach people around me that need to know you, let me be a light in the darkness. The people in this world who don’t have a relationship matter to you so they matter to me, it is time to get busy sharing our faith. Amen

Day 42: 50 Days of Change

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How many of us grew up singing ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world’? A cute song with a catchy tune, something we can belt out from memory now that we are older. But is it true? Does God truly love all the children of the world? Jesus himself tells us that ‘for God so loved the world’.  Is not all mankind part of the world? And if so then does God love every man woman and child?

But what if those people are doing things contradictory to what it means to be a Christian? What if they are lock in a lifestyle riddles with sin? Does God love them? What if they are worshiping someone or something else? Does God love them? What if their sexual preference and lifestyle choice goes against what the bible teaches? Does God love them? What if they murder rape and do unspeakable things to children? Does God love them? 

Yes, he loves them all and desires to have a relationship with them. We know this as Jesus himself told us that the father is holding back the end so that others may come to know him. Judgement is coming, have no doubt on that, but God is waiting for more to turn to Jesus and embrace him. He loves them so much that he is patient and desires that those who call themselves children of God, those who have accepted Jesus sacrifice and hope, will go into the world and share his love. 

As children of God we need to love others and see them the way God does. We need to change our minds like it says in Romans 12:1-2, not conforming to the patterns of this world. It is so easy to judge someone on appearances, attitudes, lifestyles and religious choices. But we are called to look past those things and love them as children of God and introduce them to Jesus. Let him do the rest. Let’s change our mindset and start sharing the love of Jesus with the world.

Father, if we have not shared your love because of a judgement we have made in one of your children we ask for forgiveness. You reach many people and we shouldn’t be surprised who you are calling. Let us be prepared to reach out at any moment to anyone you ask us to. Calm our fears and open our hearts, Holy Spirit give us the words to speak and the love to embrace others. We want to see your children how you see them. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen 

Day 41: 50 Days of Change 

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You must have have heard the argument before that ” why would a good God let all the bad things happen in the world” they say this as an excuse to why they can’t accept God. This of course is just a generic blanket statement that they use that really if they took the time to think about what they’re saying they may decide to change their question. The bible clearly states that one day God wil, judge the world for the bad things that are happening, it is clear in the Old Testament that he does judge places and people at certain times, look at Noah’s age and Sodom and Gommorah, even his own people Isreal. 

Since Jesus has defeated sin on the cross, God it would appear is holding back until judgement day. He has provide an opportunity for humanity to find peace and his love through Jesus. Many who make the statement above do not realize what they are saying, if they knew that asking God to deal with all the bad things in the world would include them they would have a different outlook. For they don’t see themselves as bad, they are good people who have bad things happening to them. The enemy has blinded their eyes to the truth and they have a false sense of security. They don’t understand that the underling issue with the world is affecting them as well. 

We need to be better at sharing the love of Jesus with them. We need to start changing our attitudes towards reaching the lost. We sometimes discount people based on bias and not see them for who they are, loved by God, who desires that not one be discarded or written off. If it is fear holding us back, then we need to ask ourselves why? Is the love of God flowing through us, if so then there is no need to fear, he has overcome death, he has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us through this uncomfortable and undesirable times. But we must do something, apathy and non action are not what we are called to do. 

We are called to mission of reaching the lost. The question the world should be asking us is not “why would a good God let all the bad things happen in the world” but rather ” when will this good God end all the bad things in the world” we need to be ready to share the love of Jesus with them at any moment.

Father, we need to reach those who are away from you. It is so uncomfortable and strange for us is in our culture to share our beliefs with others. Not because we don’t want to but more because Christians are consider intolerant and not understanding, which of course is further from the truth. Show us ways to reaching those around us, we know they are longing for something more in their lives.  Let us be an example of your love in actions and words. Holy Spirit push us to be sharers and get out of our comfort zones. The people around us are loved by you God, so we need to love them as well, no excuses. Amen

Day 40: 50 Days of Change

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

With everything going on in the world right now it makes me wonder about how we can survive much longer. There are sections of our population that truly hate certain groups, ethnic, race or beliefs. We give them colourful names as to identify them, extremists, racists, terrorists and cults. Yet when you boil it down to the root of why they are acting in this manner it is that they are living in sin and don’t have a relationship with God. The scary part, and reality is, that their sins are no different then the sins of your neighbor.

We classify these people as monsters, just as we classify rapists, child monsters and murderers.  In the absence of God, sin is free to evolve in different ways to become a hinderance to anyone looking to find him. Sin takes many forms and actions that it has confused people into thinking that some people are worse off then them. They create a sense of ‘well I have never done that so I must be a good person.’. But we are told we are all sinners, and need to be redeemed. 

We all have heard someone make the comment that we need world peace, or they desire world peace. Well this verse tells us exactly how to achieve this desire. If we love one another, not a wish washy teenager puppy love, but a love that will not be afraid to stand up for what’s right and wrong. A love that will call a brother out for doing something wrong, a love that will stand in the place of someone even if they don’t deserve it. A love that will call a sin a sin, if we truly love one another then God lives in us and his love will overflow out of us.  

If you have accept Jesus redemption for you on the cross then this love starts with you. As a follower of Jesus we are called to love one another. Do not take this lightly as we don’t have a right to be choosy as to who we should talk to about Jesus. We need to see others as Jesus does lost and in need of forgiveness, and love them as he loves them. Are you ready to change it up and start loving others as god loves you?

Father, forgive us if we have selectively chosen who we love and who we discard as unimportant. You tell us to love one another, you didn’t break it done into categories of who to love more. Help me to be more available to share this love that you have poured into my life that others will see you in me. I want to reach others for you, as they matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 39: 50 Day of Change

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We have and still receive an abundance of love from God. We don’t always see the blesssing he bestows on us but they are there, it just may not always feel like it. God in his vast love for humanity sent his son Jesus to take our place on the cross that we deserve. His sacrifice put on display the completeness of his love for us. That love is not just for believers in Jesus, it is for all humanity, he took away all the sins for all humanity. Open to all who would humble themselves and come to Jesus asking for his forgiveness. This kickstarts the relationship with God that we were created for. This relationship is for all, there is no other way for humanity to have this close connection, no other god, no right living, no secret formula. Jesus prepared the way for humanity to return to the connection they had with God in the Garden as he intended. 

So do you know Jesus? Do you have a Relationship with God? What about those around you? Do they even know that Jesus died for them, maybe they do but they don’t see any point in ‘religion’. How are you showing them that God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them? Is your faith your best kept secret? It should be your worst kept secret, overflowing your life.

Father, today I ask that believers everywhere wil step up in sharing your love, telling other about the love you have for them. This world today is so full of alternative ideas on who you are and suggested pathways to eternity that confusion is rampant. Help us to create a clear picture of your love and salvation message. Holy Spirit give us words to speak and wisdom in every situation. Pour out your love through us so others can see Jesus in us. They matter to you God, so they matter to me and I am ready to push past my hesitations and do something. Amen

Day 38: 50 Days of Change

“Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So the question I have and I am sure many new believers have had is this: if I sin am I now separated from God? This thought pattern can be quite daugnthing especially fôr younger believers because they keep questioning their salvation. How many times have you run to altar to ‘secure’ your faith because you sinned the week before? 

As followers of Christ we strive to change our lives and live them without purposefully sinning. John here reminds us tha when we work to d what is right. But we can breath easy, our Heavenly Father is not waiting to cut us off the moment we screw up, no he is patient with us, Jesus has covered all your sin, past present and future. If we sin he is ready to forgive not to renew us as he did when we first accepted his sacrifice on the cross, but as someone who willingly washes our feet. Jesus told Peter, why would I need to wash your whole body when it is only your feet that are dirty? 

Now this is not a licence to go out a sin. Do not misunderstand what I am saying, for those who sin continually and seek sin do not really know the Fathers love. If they did they would not seek evil. We must a sbelievers be willing to guide new believers in the faith, showing them what the bible tells us about sin. Ignorance of sin is not an excuse.

What are some ways believers can avoid sin? Walking with him and connecting with God daily will help us immensely. Taking time to read the bible, prayer, listening to Godly ministries and worship music will connect you with him. Purposefully avoiding areas that will temp you to sin. If you think by drinking it will cause you to sin avoid the liquor stores or bars. If porn has or is a problem remove the availabity to see it, maybe the extreme of turning off your internet or installing a watchdog program like K9. Whatever temps you or causes you to sin, avoid those areas.

We may not always be able to avoid sinning but we need to be striving to. 

Father, thank you for your salvation through your son Jesus. Help us to avoid temptation to sin, show us ways out of situations. Show us how we can be mentors to young Christians and guide them in understanding your word. We want to do what is right so that those around us will see that the way we live our lives is different in repsonse to who you are. We want to reach others vécue they matter to you and they matter to us. Amen