A story is told of an old couple going for a car ride. They had been together all their lives, Now at teenage romance married right out of high school. Now at 67 the wife looked over at her husband from the far side of the passenger seat and asked, “Honey, remember when we were young and in love? We used to snuggle while we were driving, now look at us you could almost fit two people between us.” The man looked down at the seat between then back to the road. Turned to his wife and replied, “well I never moved.”
We wonder where our passion for God has gone, be certain that God has never moved. He is right with you and wants to connect with you. Are you the one moving away because of something you have done and are trying to hide from him, worried that getting to close will expose your secret?
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”
Hebrews 4:13 NLT
If we go all the way back to Adam and Eve we see that hiding from God started when sin entered the world. Eve of course before she sinned she was tempted. She had the opportunity to resist the words of the enemy and the story may have ended differently. But we all know she gave into temptation and disobeyed Gods command. The promise fulfilled she became aware of good and evil and knew immediately what she had done was displeasing to God and felt shame alongside Adam. Naked and exposed they quickly tried to cover up and hid from God.
As believers we act in the same way as they did. We are tempted and many times we do avoid the temptation, yet in our weakness we sometimes accept it and dive in. When the moment is over, we start to think about what we have done, we begin to feel shame, naked and exposed. Many run and try to cover up or hide trying to keep it away from God.
God called for Adam and Eve in the garden, he purposefully went looking for them, he knew what had happened but still went anyways. Adam and Eve knowing they couldn’t hide, revealed what they had done and were punished accordingly in Gods mercy.
Today we called out on our sin as well. The Holy Spirit, sent to us is calling us out daily. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we receive forgiveness for our sins when we bring them to him. He is calling us to live sinless lives, yet knowing our weakness promises to forgive us no matter how bad we fall. He is not condemning or judging our sins, yet he is reveling them to us so that we can ask Christ to forgive us.
Unlike Adam and Eve where sin separated us from our relationship with God, sin for believers becomes a stumbling block. It doesn’t separate us from forgiveness Jesus provides. The main difference is that Adam was separated from God, if we continue to sin without repentance, we separate ourselves from God.
Are you trying to hide something from God? Do you feel exposed and naked? Lay your sins and troubles at the feet of Jesus, let him wrap you in his arms and cover your sin.
Jesus, for to long we try to hide from you, even though we can never succeed. Let us run to you when we feel this way and not be ashamed. We will stumble and fall, we thank you that you will pick us up each and every time. Help us to reach others sharing your love with them because they matter to you and they matter to me. Amen
We read about people petitioning for peace or hear of people striving for world peace, but I come to wonder what it is that they are actually looking for? Do they even really understand what they are striving for? Is it even possible? With all the turmoil in the world today one could wonder if it is really an option.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
This verse gives us a taste and a formula on how to experience God’s peace in our lives. I take from here that peace is a confidence that you are walking with Jesus, that he has you no matter what life might throw your way and your okay with that. So here is my break down on how one might experience Gods peace.
- You must be living in Christ Jesus – a relationship with Jesus is essential, accepting his sacrifice on the cross. This is paramount, for with out this nothing else matters.
- Thanksgiving – be thankful for your life, and everything in it. The good times and the not so good times. God has already done so much for you, life itself.
- Pray – ask God for what you need, and pray for others. Nothing is to small or insignificant for you to ask him.
- Don’t worry- this can be the biggest challenge as we tend to be concerned all the time on how things will turn out. To let it go and trust God is key to receiving peace.
It is only when we as humanity find peace with God will we then be able to finally have world peace. I look at the bumper sticker and wonder how much truth is in those simple words.
‘No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.’
We can’t expect those reading a sticker to understand but as believers we need to be open and willing to share our faith and help people know who Jesus is. It isn’t just knowing about Jesus either, it is about surrendering and truly knowing who he is.
I pray that even today you will apply these to your life, and will experience God’s peace in your life. That will protect your heart and mind from the enemies’ attack, and that you will have confidence to boldly share the peace and love you have received in Jesus.
Jesus, thank you so much for everything you have given us, your blessings are more then we realize. As we apply this scripture to our lives we ask that you protect us from the attacks of worry and restlessness and provide us with peace. Let us walk boldly in your peace and work to share your love with those around us. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen
Ever have someone tell you that you are missing out because you are not participating in an activity or habit that they enjoy? As a military member I have heard so many times that I need to start drinking as I am missing out. Or the challenge that they will have me drinking soon enough. Time and time again I will just laugh and say sure that’s not going to happen and I thank God that I never went down that road. But unfortunately, there are many who have succumb to the lie that they are missing out on something.
But whatever happens to me, remember always to live as Christians should, so that whether I ever see you again or not, I will keep on hearing good reports that you are standing side by side with one strong purpose—to tell the Good News fearlessly, no matter what your enemies may do. They will see this as a sign of their downfall, but for you it will be a clear sign from God that he is with you, and that he has given you eternal life with him. Philippians 1:27-28
If only there was a book out there with simple and hard fast ways for a person to live as “a Christian should.” Well fortunate for us there is, it is called the Bible. It doesn’t give us examples exactly how in our current era, but it gives us the basic principles of what it means to follow Jesus. To live a life as a Christian should is not boring, it is actually quite exciting. If you want a dangerous life look at Paul, he ended up in jail for sharing his faith, he was killed for loving Jesus. You may not live in a place where your life is at stake for following Jesus, but God will use you for amazing things.
How then according to the bible should a Christian live? Jesus told his followers that they should ‘love one another’, he said to “go to the ends of the earth and tell others about him making disciples of all nations’ as well as “go and sin no more”. Paul tells us to “pray with out ceasing” and “to tell the good news”.
Not all believers live as Christians should, maybe that’s one reason their passion is low. These are not to be confused as rules that once broken God hammers down on them punishing them for their disobedience. Completely opposite, God in his fatherly love for us works to draw us back to him with love, promptings and grace. God never removes himself from us, it is us that move away from him. He is always there with arms wide open.
We can’t expect the non- believer to live as Christians should. This is one hinderance that those outside the church see as a turnoff to the faith. But they are watching us and seeing how we react to one another, what love we are showing those we call “family”. If we are not walking side by side with our they will see it and it will not be something that draws them in.
So are you ready to live as a Christina should, explore your bible, see what it says. Ask God to reveal areas that may be a hinderance to your faith. Ask for a renewed passion for sharing the good news to the lost. Let your life be an example of the love of Jesus.
Father, we come to you today asking for a renewed passion. We pray that if there is anything in our lives that is holding us back, show us so we can give it to you to remove. Forgive us for not being untied with our fellow believers. Let our words match our actions. Set a fire in our hearts to reach the lost. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen
When someone is released from jail, they normal are on parole. They are expected to go back into society and live productive lives under the law. If they go and live like they did before they will most likely be returned to the jail cell the once occupied. But if they grasp and hold onto their freedom they will become reformed members of society. As believers who have been freed from the bondage of sin that held us captive, why then do we go back to the sinful lifestyle, will it not once again bind us back in the bondage we were freed from?
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13NLT
There are some groups of believers out there who believe that being forgiven is a license to sin. ‘Well Jesus will forgive me of it so I can do it’. This type of thinking is destructive and will lead down a path of irresponsibility and problems. We are called to throw off our sinful ways and work to live a life of freedom.
What does the sinful nature look like you may ask? Well Paul gives a clear picture a few verses down in Galatians 5:19-21.
19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
God desires that we live a life free from the above list. Why would God give us such a list to avoid? Does he not want us to have any fun? No that’s not it at all. God provides us with boundaries because he knows the dangers outside of the boundaries. He created them to keep us safe from the path to hell.
Inside of Gods boundaries there is an abundance of good things. Paul describes them as well. In verse 22-23.
22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.
These things create character, a person that others see and want to emulate. Passion flows from the hearts of believers with these traits. We don’t erase who we are, what are personality is or put aside what our talents and what makes us unique. We become what we were truly meant to be, God uses our uniqueness to become effective.
So do you want to build up for yourself a life in Christ that is full of evil or good? What kind of man or woman do you desire to become? Jesus calls us to follow him in the path of righteousness. Today choose life. Choose to avoid things that satisfy our sinful nature.
This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new follower of Jesus. Ask Jesus through the Holy Spirit to start working on you in areas he wants you to clean up. The relationship with Jesus you have started on isn’t boring, far from it. Try him and see.
Jesus, we want to walk with you daily. Our sinful nature tries to take over daily, we ask Holy Spirit to keep us strong to avoid those dangers. Let us be an example in our change and walk so others will see you in us. Burn in our hearts that they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen
Choices are not always a bad versus a good. Sometimes we have two good choices and we just can’t have both or maybe can’t have both right now. It may be the job opportunity, the family vacation, Christmas plans or a plethora of other things. It is in these moments you need to carefully weight out the choices before, praying and ultimately deciding what is best for you and your family. We make hundreds of choices everyday, those seem to come to us quickly, it is the major life choices that can change everything.
For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet! But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Philippians 1:21-25
Paul here in prison is not a man contemplating suicide. He is verbally or in writing weighing out what it means to make his choice to either just give in to his situation and the result would mean death, or to live. As a follower of Christ, he knows that once life ceases here it does not just cease to exist anymore, he understood that to be absent from this body on earth was to be with the God he loves. So, in his circumstance to go from a stank prison cell to the presence of God was looking pretty good.
As we read we recognize the passion in Paul’s heart for other believers. Not just other believers but opportunities to reach the lost. He saw the big picture and how his life, even in prison, was impacting others to grow in their faith. In these few verses we see the though pattern of Paul as he weighed out his choices and quickly the obvious came clear to him.
If you like me you have seen many believers in much better circumstances then Paul who look in rough shape. They are free yet there is bondage that has them in a prison of their own making. Maybe it is doubt, a poor self worth or something holding them down. They have a choice to make, live in that prison and eventually die, or live a life of encouragement, passion and love.
Maybe you need to make a choice like I made, no matters what the circumstance I am going to praise God. The passion I desire may not be bubbling up inside like I desire but I know that things are shaking up and will explode soon. I need to keep pushing forward in my faith, keep praying, reading, seeking God and the Holy Spirits power. I know that if it never explodes, I am founded in the hope of Jesus, I have a relationship with the Creator God. No one can take that from me. No one can take it from you once you have submitted your life to him and started a personal relationship.
Father, like Paul we have a choice to make, lay down and die or live with expectations. We want to be like Paul passionate about reaching others, being used to love our brothers and sisters in the faith. Let your love overflow our hearts, give us a fresh passion for reaching the lost. We want our lives to reflect you and be a light to the world around us. Amen
Fear can hold back many people. How many are afraid of public speaking, addressing a crowd can be petrifying to some. The medical world has created a whole chapter on this issue of fear and even created words that the classify as phobias. Some have created the terms Evangephobia or Gospelphobia as one who is afraid to share their faith.
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:12-14
There is no medical reference to a phobia on sharing the gospel. These terms I mentioned above are coined from churches or ministries creating buzz words to point out that the fear of sharing the gospel is a real thing. There was a fear in Paul’s time for sharing the gospel. But their reasons are way different then ours, sharing the gospel for us makes us uncomfortable, sharing in Paul’s day could cost you your life.
Paul displayed in jail that no matter the circumstance, situation or his lot in life he was willing to share his faith. He didn’t care who knew he followed Christ but confidently shared it with everyone including the palace guards. This confidence is infections. You see it says, “most of the brothers and sister”, this tells me that not all dared to surpass their fears. Many did and their passion increased, their fears decreased and they were able to share their faith in confidence.
Can this life experience of Paul ignite a passion in your heart to overcome your fear to share the gospel? Or do you know someone who is confident in sharing their faith? If you do hang out with them, let their confidence infect you, let their passion for reaching the lost rub off on you. Join them and be mentored by them, ensure that the purpose of your time together is on reaching the lost and not distracted by your needs.
Like any fear the first step is to admit your afraid. Once you do that you can work towards overcoming that fear. Trying to do something you are afraid to do is hard, but asking the Holy Spirit to remove that fear will change you from the inside out. Stepping out in faith and doing when he gives you that push will build your confidence.
If you want your passion to be the consistent in your life then fear of reaching the lost must go. There is a certain joy that can only be experienced by sharing your faith with another person who is lost. It explodes in your heart when that person commits their life to Jesus.
Are you ready to let go of your fear?
Father, so many of us are caught in this fear of sharing our faith, we think we will lose friends, family or social standing. We are confused by the way the world says that we must accept all and be open to everything. Forgive us for falling for this trap of the enemy, let us not give into this fear. Holy Spirit we ask for you to remove this fear that is holding us back, give us a confidence and to share the truth. Give us mentors who will disciple us and provide us direction in sharing our faith. We want to reaching others and share your love to this world. I pray encouragement and renewed passion for anyone reading this. Amen
If I had cancer, yet I didn’t know I had cancer I would not be very open to hear you tell me that I had it. If I wasn’t displaying any symptoms or feeling and effects I would call you misinformed. Especially if you were just my friend or co-worker, not even a professional. No one is looking for cancer in their own body. It is the same as sin, no one is looking or thinking they have sinned. For you to tell me I’m a sinner well that can’t be. I am a good person. Dr.’s know what to look for when it comes to cancer, they know the signs, symptoms and what to identify in blood. Jesus in conjunction with the Holy Spirit knows what sin is and wants to open your eyes to the life your living and the life that He has for you. Most people have a hard time accepting the diagnostic, but when you do and seek help that’s when truly healing can begin.
“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”
Romans 8:7 NLT
We need to remember that those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus are not looking for him. Those who haven’t been washed clean by the blood of the lamb, are still soaked in the sinful nature and remain hostile towards God. Why would a good God do such bad things to this world and it is people? They will ask questions like that. Because they don’t see the condition they are in.
If they could only look at themselves from Gods eyes, they would be down on their knees in seconds praying that God would save them from their evil ways.
But God, having a plan to offer redemption made a way for us to be free of sin. Jesus calls out to the people of this world to come to him. In our stubborn selfish ways we don’t hear him, and we ignore his call. I am sure you have friends or family who you have talked to many times about the love of Jesus and they keep shrugging it off and don’t seem interested.
Don’t give up, don’t stop sharing, don’t stop praying for them. The only lost cause is one who has been buried. So as long as they have a breath in their bodies keep loving them.
Dear Jesus, we need you to continue to call out to the ones we love. We want our friends and family to come to you. We open ourselves up to be used by you to witness to anyone you set in our path. Loosen our lips to share of what you have done for us and want to do for them. Amen
“I love it when a plan comes together” is a well know A-Team quote. I imagine that this is something God might be thinking sometimes. Think of Joseph, Ester or even Jesus. Many factors try to subvert the plan of God, the enemy wants nothing more then for it to succeed. But the plans of God are here for good and those types of plans will always prevail. God isn’t surprised when things happen, I believe he has all variables thought out and has a firm grasp on what outcomes will happen.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
This passage was written when Israel was being held captive by Babylon and God promised to free the from their oppression. Their sin had placed them in captivity, their disobedience and idolatry. When reading the bible, you get the imagery of the Israelites trust God only for a season at a time as they needed Him, but when the threat was over they were like “we got this” and started to do things in their own strength again forgetting who brought them there.
It was never the ultimate plan for the Israelite’s to be taken, yet they chose to sin and ignore God’s laws he had given them. This cycle kept leading them into trouble.
We were held captive by our sin. God made a plan that was for good. Jesus was the answer to the captivity of sin. There is a future and hope for all those who choose Jesus and follow God’s plan of salvation. We like the Israelites get into cycles of telling God “we got this”. It is in those times that we get sent back into times of trouble.
God has so much more for you. If only we could listen to Him when He tells us I have so much more for you if you would trust me, in the good times and the bad. I want to use your passions and your abilities to reach the world with my love.
People need to hear of this plan. Have you told anyone about it? Have you invited anyone to church to hear about it? Let’s start today and change the world one person at a time. You can be an instrument of change. You can impact your world.
Jesus, your plan is a good one. Your path to walk is the right one. This cycle of trusting you and trusting myself needs to stop, I will trust you in all that I do. Help me to follow you with excitement to share this truth with others. Holy Spirit create in me a clean heart and pour into me daily so I can reach others. They matter to you and they matter to me. Amen
How many movies have we seen where the heroes run into a room and barricade the door in hopes to stop whatever is on the outside from getting in. After a while and things settle down someone gently knocks on the door and they then have to move all the items they put in the way to verify who is waiting on the other side. We have put up a barricade in our lives, but Jesus is on the other side asking you to open the door to the truth and life he brings.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Revelation 3:20 NLT
I believe Jesus is knocking on the hearts of every human being on earth. His desire is that none shall perish. So why is it that so many people ignore the knocking? I think that 1) they just honestly don’t know who is on the other side. Or 2) they have placed so much junk in front of the door that they just can’t hear the knock anymore.
Some people just are living in such isolation that they never have heard the message of Jesus. Others have grown up in a home where God was not spoken of so although they aren’t isolated from other people, they were separated from the truth intentionally or unintentionally. Many have been grown up with other beliefs that don’t point towards Jesus and have bought into something that doesn’t lead to God the Father. Yet others just plain refuse to accept that God even exists. They will fight to tell you but will not take the time to even investigate for themselves.
We can’t just kick down their door and let Jesus into their lives. We need to build relationships to let these people know that it is Jesus on the other side calmly and patiently waiting for them to open their lives to him. We can work with them to help move aside the junk they have put in front of the door to block or defend what is on the other side, as they have been misinformed by the enemy that Jesus just wants to take their fun away.
We know that isn’t the case. Jesus wants to bring life. Who doesn’t want life? They matter to Jesus, that’s why he is knocking, they matter to us so we should be letting them know whose there.
Jesus, help me to show others who is on the other side of the door. Keep my eyes open for opportunities to build relationships to share your love. Let me be strategic in my witnessing and be an encouragement to those around me. They matter to me. Amen