48: 50 Days of 3:16

The church has come to a place where they need to decide where they stand in the world. Many have split and split again each time becoming something that suits the needs of the people. Inherently this leads to unbiblical foundations sneaking there way in and undermining the faith. The traditions and rules become the way of living and attendance almost feels more important than the relationship with God.

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Revelations 3:16

 

Our relationship with God needs to be the driving force in our lives. We see here in today’s verse one statement that has been used by many ministers to hopefully motivate the congregation to action. The sermon preached and the all to action accepted but the follow-up is lacking. If we want to see the church come alive we cannot expect it to happen without follow-up. Expecting Sunday services week after week to grow a church might happen but there are a few key things that need to happen;

  1. Believers must spend time in prayer and read their bibles,
  2. Connecting with fellow believers in fellowship, accountability, and study, and
  3. Putting faith into action and taking the love of Jesus to the world around them.

 

Lukewarm tends to be comfortable. We were never called to live comfortable lives. Jesus promised us a comforter, he sent a comforter because our life in Christ isn’t meant to be comfortable. If we are living a comfortable life it may be time to asking ourselves where we stand in our relationship with God. A fire engulfs and consumes things around it. It is unafraid to share itself with others. We sing many songs that ask God or the Holy Spirit to send the fire, why? Because we need to have a life that is willing to be shared with others. Our faith needs to consume us and positively influence those who need to experience the love of Jesus. We are called to be the light, light gives off heat. Cold is the absence of heat. There is heat in life, God is calling us to live a life full of the light.

 

Father, set me on fire, help me to move past an apathetic kind of faith. I want to be more then an attendee and experience what you have for me. Let me be willing to share my faith with those around me. Give me boldness to step up in my faith, not being comfortable in where I am now. Use me. Amen

Advertisements

47: 50 Days of 3:16

The world desperately is looking for love. People have an ingrained desire to connect and have a relationship that foundation is so much deeper. Not just the superficial love in which we fall in and out of, but a love that will stick around when times get tough. Hollywood has become a love-generating machine showcasing fantasies of how man and woman might fall in love. It rarely continues the story and focuses on the deep love that keeps us connected.

 

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16

 

Have you ever been in love? How many times would you say that this feeling of love has overwhelmed you to the point of telling the person? It is to bad that we have this one word overused to the point where in our conversations we throw it around cheapening the meaning. I love this hamburger. I loved that movie. I love this music artist. I love, I love, I love. We have truly lost the meaning of what it means to love. No wonder it is difficult for people to understand the love that Jesus has for us. If the acquaint love of Jesus with the love of superficial things it becomes non-important. Something we say when we enjoy something, yet it is really not going to become the centre of our lives. We may love the burger, but we do not embrace it in such a way we change our lives for it.

 

Here we see love explained in such a way that we must be willing to give up everything as Jesus did to showcase that love. This act of love asks us to change for the betterment of what we love. Jesus asks us to love him and follow him, giving up our old habits and burdens. His love for us is more than superficial love, so much that he was willing to die to show us how much he loved us. We often hear people say would you take a bullet for someone else, this is exactly what Jesus did for ever single person on earth, past, present and future. But we are called to do the same for our brother’s and sisters. Do we love them like that? Would you be willing to lay down your life so that someone else would live?

 

Hearing about these random shootings around my country, USA and the world, I often wonder why we don’t hear much about those standing up to take down the shooter. We are a people with a self-preservation instinct that gives us a flight or fight mentality and we tend more often than not to run. Love is stepping into the fight and preparing to lay down your life in love, not to be the hero, but so that others may experience the love of Christ. It has been said that love isn’t loving until you give it away. Laying down your life can also be sacrificing something that is important to you so that someone else can grow. It could be time, money, talents or many other things.

 

Father, thank you for sending Jesus and his sacrifice of love so that we could show love to others. We ask for boldness and faithfulness to show this love to others as Jesus did for us. Let our lives reflect a love that would be willing to be laid down for our brothers and sisters. Let our love be deeper than the word that is thrown around. Empower us to reach the lost. Amen

46: 50 Days of 3:16

Peter in writing his letters did not water down the faith and what each and every believer was responsible to do. This made it frustrating for those who wanted the express version of faith. They didn’t want to take the time to study his letters and see how they should apply it, they wanted the three easy steps. They would twist his words to satisfy their own version of Christianity.

 

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

2 Peter 3:16

 

The bible is clear about not twisting the words to satisfy our own version of Christianity. Yet even today there are people doing just that. It can be confusing to a new believer or someone exploring faith to run into two men telling them that they are Christians, yet their beliefs are not based on the teachings of Jesus. In truth, Jesus isn’t even close to the centre of their faith. I wish I could say all those who have done this are outside the Christian faith, but there are those inside who are teaching things that contradict the bible. The prosperity gospel is one message that is out there that many believers get caught up in. Yes, God will bless you and takes care of you, but we were never called to work towards being rich. If this was so would have not Judas been a more prominent disciple as his desire was riches? Jesus downplayed money and its importance in the life of a believer. He promoted character building over material wealth.

 

As followers of Christ, I encourage you to take hold of what you hear and read from others in the faith. Challenge what you are inputting into your life against the Holy Scriptures. Is what you are listening to following the truths that the Apostles wrote about, does it align with what Jesus taught? If we take the time to examine the sermon of the Sunday past during the week it will help cement the teaching and confirm what they were teaching is the truth. We tend to treat Sunday sermons like fast food, eat it and think nothing else of it. But if we think of it as fine dining, which we truly enjoy we would be talking about it for days about how good it was. How many of you can remember what was talked about last Sunday at your church?

Take some time and study scripture, it is okay if some things are hard to understand. Ask God to reveal what it means through the Holy Spirit. He is there to be the wisdom you need. Find someone in the faith who will guide you in your questions. We do not have to go through the Christian walk along, nor should we.

 

Father, thank you for the Scriptures. We thank you for the faithfulness of those who wrote them. Reveal to us the wisdom and knowledge we need to strengthen our lives and walk in faith. Give us boldness to go out into our world and share this with others. We want to be a light in the darkness. Amen

 

45: 50 Days of 3:16

We have an ingrained sense of what is right and wrong. Our upbringing will shape that to some extent allowing us to mould our moral compass. Our original programmed moral code is given to us by the creator. We tend to self-program ourselves to agree with some things because it makes sense to us. A little lie cannot hurt. Stealing from them shouldn’t matter, do you know what they have done and who they are stealing from, they have lots of money and no one will notice. God created the human form so why shouldn’t I be able to gaze at it in all its beauty whenever I want however I want in the privacy of my own home. Blurring the lines of what is right and wrong sets us up for all kinds of trouble.

 

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

1 Peter 3:16

 

We are living in a society where the moral compass of right and wrong might as well be broken. Some of the foundational facts are inherently followed, you ask anyone if murder is acceptable they will quickly correct you and tell you, of course, it is wrong. Then ask them their thoughts on abortion and you may hear them tell a different story. Or ask them their thoughts on those who prey on children or vulnerable woman. Some quickly change their tune and condone the destruction of these people.

 

As believers in Christ, we need to be better at following the moral compass that God has provided us. We do not need to be programmed robots, but we need to know right from wrong. How we live our lives outside of church needs to reflect our lives as a believer. We cannot be seen as one who speaks out of both sides of their mouth, saying they believe one thing but acting out another. What we do in secret will not always remain a secret. We will be tempted to do things, that is inevitable, we may even step into the temptation, but as a believer, we see our mistake, take a step back ask for forgiveness and walk away from it. When we choose to stay in the temptation that will lead us into all sorts of trouble.

 

Is your life focused on doing good things for God? Works do not get us to heaven and we do not need to do good works to be accepted into heaven. Jesus paid the cost for that and when we accept what he has done that is all the payment needed to be welcomed into heaven. We are to do good works because of what he has done for us. We have been called to share this faith with others. If we keep ourselves doing good work, other then being lazy, we will keep ourselves from doing things that lead us into sin. Idle hands tend to wander into places that tempt us to do things we shouldn’t. We see this in the children/teenage years, those kids who have activities to do tend, for the most part, keep busy and get into less mischief. Keep busy doing God’s work, not just to keep busy but to grow the kingdom of God.

 

Father, what in my life is keeping me distracted from doing the work you have called to do? Forgive me for the distractions I have allowed, the temptations I have dipped my hand in. I want to follow you with everything so forgive me for my weak ways. Strengthen me to withstand the temptations that are sent my way, Holy Spirit show me ways out and guard my heart from evil. Let those who wish to slander me realize that their words are not true and that the God I follow is the God who is calling out to them. Use me to reach the world around me. Give me boldness to be effective in all I do. Amen

44: 50 Days of 3:16

Bigger, better, faster, stronger, cooler, more exciting. These are just some of the things we see that other people have a desire to obtain. Many call it keeping up with the Jones. If your neighbour buys a new car well then we had better buy a new car, they upgrade something in their house, must be time for us to upgrade. Your friend buys the latest phone, you can’t have that and buy a better phone. All these things lead us into debt and jealousy. A place where we just want to be better, instead of just being happy for the person and their success we need to one-up them.

 

For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

James 3:16

 

Jealousy is not a New Testament concept. It first popped its ugly head up back with the first two recorded offspring of Adam and Eve. Cain and Able were both adept at what they did, one a hunter the other a gatherer. They offered some of their respective hunts to God and God was more pleased with Ables offering than Cain’s. Cain could not control his jealousy and recorded the first murder ever. If only Cain had been happy with his brothers offering, things might have been different. He could have learned from him, Able had given the best of the best. One might assume that Cain had not given of the best, maybe he had added a few pieces of fruit that had already fallen off the tree, being lazy he offered God bruised fruit in hopes that it would not get noticed. His selfish ambition to one-up his brother was his downfall. It might have also been a case of Able seeing his brother about to give a sacrifice, not to be left out decided to give one as well and gathered things in a hurry not to glorify God but to make himself look good.

 

How are you living your life? Are you content in what God has provided for you or are you always looking at what others have, desiring to upgrade your life so you are living like them? Is your self-ambition overpowering your desire to serve others? Working hard to be seen by others so they take notice of you and shower you with praise? Being recognized for things you do is not a problem, but when we work looking only for the praise it leads to cutting corners and stepping on others in our quest for this recognition. God honours those who work diligently in their jobs, the mission and church that push forward knowing what needs to be done, doing it and not boasting about it. I have heard it said that if all you desire is mans praise for the works you do here on earth then that will be the blessing you receive. God promises to give us crowns for our faithfulness here on earth, I would prefer those then mans praise. Let us not let our jealousy and self-ambition lead us to a road of disorder and evil.

 

Father, thank you for loving us. If we have been envious of others in our lives I pray for forgiveness. Help me to be satisfied with what I have. Let me take time to pray and be wise in the things I do buy so not to be keeping up with the trends. I want to work to glorify your name, if I have been working for man’s praise, forgive me, I want to work to show my faithfulness to you. Let us be a witness to those around us, working hard and consistently. Give us wisdom and boldness to be a light in the world around us sharing your love with others. Speak to us today. Amen

43: 50 Days of 3:16

In our Christian circles there are a group of believers who have the perception that once you have accepted Jesus, they are free to live life however they see fit. They give their life to God in a moment and in the next take it back trusting in themselves over what God has planned for them. Even when God removes them from a life that was full of pain and suffering they look back seeing the good in the bad, not looking forward to the hope that God has promised for those who wait just a little longer. Just like the people Moses freed from slavery and oppression, even at the first obstacle of the Red Seas they were prepared to go back and accept their old life.

 

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?

Hebrews 3:16

 

Those who accept Christ yet choose to focus on how they used to live are going to keep stumbling in their faith. The Israelites who kept looking back at Egypt with false fantasies never stopped. Even after God split the Red Sea, allowing them to walk through and wipe out their oppressors. Even then after walking for many years they asked to go back, food was lacking, yet God provided food. They kept dwelling on the old ways and their old life. God continued to provide for the stubborn people, bringing them to the promised land. Sending spies to scout it out the people refused to take the risk in their own strength to go into the promised land. This rebellion or refusal to go where God had called them kept that generation from experience God’s promise.

 

As believers in Christ, we need to keep our focus on what God has for us. When we run after our own desires without seeking God we tend to revert back to our sinful ways. Like a leaf in the wind, we go where ever the winds take us, which can lead us into trouble. If you have been in any church setting long enough you will have seen believers walk away from the faith, maybe you have as well. It doesn’t seem to take much for one who once lived a vibrant life to set aside the life God has given. They face some opposition or oppression and focus on the moment just like the Israelites, only seeing the problem not the plan of God. The moments in life that hurt us or take a loved one away from us, are moments where we need to grow in our faith, trust God is in control and move forward. Many see these as a judgemental God taking things away from us. No hero in history ever was able to become the hero they were called to be without adversity.  They have to choose to push through the pain and overcome it to become who they were destined to be. We are the same as believers when the hard times come who we overcome and trust God in those moments will define who were are, as we go forward.

 

Those who reject this and become bitter and hardened take it out on the very one who is offering to help them. Instead of embracing the help they push them away and for lack of a better term become enemies to the one who wants to bring them through it into a better life. This opposition does not need to be permeant. This is what makes God so much defend than any other god that the world has to offer. Other gods might forgive you, if you do all the right things and make all the right sacrifices, he may look at you in favour and forgive you, but you might never know if it was acceptable. The God we serve, the Alpha and Omega, is waiting like a Father to embrace you once again. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness, no need to do anything else. He accepts us as we are, where we are, whatever may be and welcomes us back. Together after restoration, He will work with you to bring you out of the life you were living into a life more abundantly. Come back to God, He loves you. He wants to have a restored relationship.

 

Father, many of your children have walked away. I pray that even today they will come back to you. It does not have to be a traumatic event to bring them back, but a revelation that you love them. Whatever the situation they are going through use your people to remind them that you love them. I ask that you will use us to reach the world around us, boldness to share our faith. Help us to continually trust in you, especially when things get tough and it doesn’t seem like you are there. Remind us that you are and that you have a plan, give us the strength to endure the storm knowing that what’s on the other side will be worth the rocky moments. We will trust your plan. Amen

41: 50 Days of 3:16

 

This week I was once again bombarded like many of you with pride images and posts. One headline I read stated something in the lines of ‘The reason we still need pride parades is because people keep asking why we need pride parades’. We are bringing our children up in a world where they will have a hard time understanding what it means to be men and woman. But despite this God is still in control and Jesus is still working to bring mankind into a relationship with him. He can still transform lives no matter what they have done to pervert it.

 

I feel that John 3:16 fits so perfectly before today’s verse and 1 John 3:16 right after;

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:

Christ was revealed in a human body
and vindicated by the Spirit.
He was seen by angels
and announced to the nations.
He was believed in throughout the world
and taken to heaven in glory.

1 Timothy 3:16

 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

1 John 3:16

 

Sin has had free reign in our world ever since the dawn of man. Adam and Eve only had one limitation in the garden, one rule to follow, yet human curiosity and the need to think only of ourselves lead to the breaking of that one command. Talk about a butterfly effect that changed the course of history. God at that moment could have wiped mankind from the earth and started over with some other form, he could have destroyed everything and just moved on. Yet God had made us in his image and was not done with us. God wanted to have a relationship with us, not that he needed us for anything. He is God, self-sufficient all powerful, needing nothing. For some reason, we can never fully understand He wants us to have a relationship with him.

 

We as humans have this desire for a relationship as well. We want people to love us to want us. The enemy knows this and has perfected a way to cause us much grief when it comes to relationships. What God has made for good, the enemy perverts and works hard to confuse and manipulate. God created man and woman to be in a relationship, so they could reproduce and fill the earth, love one another and glorify him in this. Yet the enemy has convinced many that they can be fulfilled by being in an unnatural relationship. People can decide to up and change who God made them to be based on feelings which change like the wind. Parents now have the power to set their children on a path of confusion by not officially calling a boy a boy or girl a girl from birth. Our laws do not allow a child under 16 to drive, under 21 to drink, under 18 to vote, under 12 to look after themselves yet we expect them to be able to choose if they are a boy or girl.

 

Believers we need to wake up, this world needs Jesus now more than ever. God sent His Son into this world to free people from the perversion sin causes. We can no longer sit back and let sin steamroll over society. I am not condoning bashing or hatred but invoking love, we need to work at loving people who need to meet Jesus. We cannot be afraid to call sin a sin. Jesus called a spade a spade and still loved people. He knew what they needed was a relationship with him. They keep filling their lives with other things when they are longing for a relationship with God. It is not going to be easy, they will resist because they are so entrenched in the life they are living, they will find it hard to let go. But they need to let go and let God transform them into the men and woman they are called to be. The church we need to pray, we need to love, we need to go into the world and be active.

 

Father, this is a hard message for me to write today. I expect some feedback, I pray that you give me the wisdom to say the right things in love. I pray that anyone brave or bold enough to share this post will have opportunities to share your love with others. Bless those who are seeking you and looking to love those entrenched in sin no matter what the cost. We need to be your light to this world, sharing your love with everyone. Use me and anyone reading this to change the world. Amen.

 

God loves you. God wants you. God created you with a purpose. God wants a relationship with you. What is holding you back? God isn’t waiting for you to clean up your life before accepting you. He accepts you as you are, he loves you as you are. Jesus died so that you can live in a relationship with God. I would love to chat and help you make a fresh beginning.