Day 10: 50 Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Eritrea

Today we pray for Eritrea. Unlike the counties in the last nine days Eritrea situation is different. Christians are being persecuted by modern day Pharisees. Government keeps a tight control of religious groups and is opposed to evangelical Christians.

For more information Open Doors USA has some details. They estimate 2.7 million Christians in the population of just over 5.4 million.

Please pray with me and add your prayers in the comments.

 

Father, we pray for Eritrea. We ask that the religious bondage that is holding that country back will be destroyed. We read of over the half of the country claiming to be Christian, yet persecution is still on the rise. We ask for boldness for our brothers and sisters in the faith, give them the opportunities to change their country. Give them foot holds in government, schools, colleges and many other places. Let your light shine all throughout Eritrea. Amen

 

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Day 45: 50 Days of Passion

Like many, we may have given up on people who have walked away from God. They either grew up in church or became a believer in their teens or as a young adult. Maybe  it is someone older who came to Jesus later on. No matter something happened they lost their way. We fervently prayed for them and talked with them but as the weeks, months and years passed by, we lost our passion for them and slowly forget to pray. It may not be that we have given up but as a society in general we are result based, wherein we want to see results for our efforts. If that is our mind set why then continue praying for a lost cause? Because Jesus hasn’t given up.

 

 

“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.”

Psalms 51:1-3 NLT

 

The one thing that baffles me is those who have either grown up in church or once knew Jesus and have walked away. They rebel against what they once held to be truth and choose to walk in darkness. Some even become so disillusioned that they feel that they can never be good enough to come back home. This causes me much sadness as we all know that this isn’t the case.

 

The temptation to walk away and “experience” life is a lie, set in motion by the enemy to draw our youth and new believers away. The life he offers is only a road to pain and suffering. He makes things look like rainbows and puppies only until he has you drawn away, then reality will begin to hit, addictions, abuse and other evil things will slowly but surly consume them. Or worse he draws you to a life of normalcy where you feel you just don’t need God.

 

The amazing news is that Jesus is always there with open arms to receive his children home. Like the father of the prodigal son, he hasn’t stopped expecting their return. He patiently waits with redeeming grace for all those who accept the relationship with him.

 

We as believer must not give up on those who have walked away from the faith. We must earnestly pray and make ever effort to show them that Jesus still loves them. That they don’t need to get their lives back in order first to meet the Father. Come as they are, dirty, smelly, broken. He will welcome them home no matter their condition. He loves them with everything in his being and desires to have relationship with them.

 

If you have family or friends who have walked away from Jesus, why not this weekend invite them to church and lunch after. Take them out for a coffee. Show them the love of Jesus through your actions and words. Pray for them, not in general passing breaths, but take the time to intercede for them. Let’s see a revival in our family and friends this upcoming Christmas season.

 

Jesus, we pray for our family and friends who don’t know you. Some never have and others know but have turned their backs. We pray earnestly for their return to you. We ask you to give us boldness, direction and the words to speak. Give us opportunities even this weekend to remind them that you love them. The matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 28: 50 Days of Passion

It saddens my heart to think of those who I have known over the years maybe from the youth group I attended, to the churches I have been in, to the youth that were in the group I was leading, have walked away from God. To have experienced the salvation of Jesus yet feel that it wasn’t enough. Some may say well maybe they weren’t saved to begin with. I don’t buy that, somewhere somehow and for some reason they believed a lie from the enemy whose goal was to separate them from God. Now they feel so far gone that nothing they could possibly do could make it right again.

 

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”

James 4:8 NLT

 

Have you ever wondered why people would willingly walk away from God? God doesn’t leave us, walk away from us, he is always there for us. We choose to separate ourselves from him.

 

From what I am seeing is 1) we get caught up in foolish things and get ourselves in messes we don’t believe God can forgive us for. And 2) we don’t stay connected to God through prayer, bible reading and worship with the family. If you unplug from the Father, you can’t expect to stay charged. The wall outlet never moved, you did.

 

They will make all sorts of excuses why they let the faith of their youth, or a commitment that they made recently. But it will boil down to one of the two above. We need to, as brothers and sisters in Christ, work to catch these things before they get to far. If we see a brother or sister being pulled away towards foolish teachings or distractions that are pulling them way from Christ, we need to disciple them.

 

The church for to long has worked at saving people then expecting them to know it all. Our young brothers and sister in Christ need godly examples and mentors who will guide, love and protect them. Without godly mentors they will walk any which way, and eventually from God. Let’s give them a fighting chance to have a firm foundation in Jesus.

 

Maybe today you are one of those people who once had a relationship with God, and experienced the salvation of Jesus. Your story and relationship with Him isn’t over, you can restore what was lost. God like a loving Father is patiently waiting with arms stretched out awaiting your return to Him. Ask Jesus to clean up your life. He will restore your broken heart. There is hope, there is forgiveness we only have to ask. Will you come to him today?

 

Jesus, help us to be better mentors so we can disciple the new believers. Lord we fail to do this and wonder why people walk away from you. Give us wisdom and guidance to be good leaders in our church’s that we see things that are happening and actively try to stem the issues that arise. We want to be loving our brothers and sisters. I pray we will make time to be mentors to them. They matter to you God, so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 27: 50 Days Of Passion

‘I remember it like it was yesterday, the minister had his altar call and before I knew it I was at the altar, crying and accepted Christ as my savior’, ‘Oh it was a the best day of my spiritual life, the day I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.’, If you grew up in church do you remember hearing testimonies like this, accounts of peoples lives? I know I did, but the fact was the same people would get up and recount the same story every couple of months. I feel like I should have gotten up and asked ‘but what has he been doing lately?’ Their lives were lit with only a pilot light just waiting to be ignited if only they would step out in faith.

 

“Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!””
1 Samuel 7:12 NLT

Samuel had just lead the army of Israel in the defeat of the Philistines. God had supernaturally confused the army to the point they were easily overcome. Samuel then took the time to set up a reminder to the people of Israel of what God had done for them.

 

We all need to put reminders in our lives of what God has done for us and in us. These reminders aren’t there to look back on and live in, but are there to remind us that what God has done in the past and that he is still doing amazing things today and tomorrow. To many people set up reminders and then base their whole lives on what happened in that moment in time. These believers become closed to the new things that God is doing around them, wishing that the good old days where things were happening.

 

The phrase Samuel stated was ” up to this point” which tells me that there is hope for more as the future for Samuel and the Israelite’s was just beginning and they had many more events to live through.

 

Now some people ignore the reminders as seen not one chapter later when the people of Israel cry out to Samuel for a king. They started believing that a human king would be better suited to watch out for them then the God who was protecting them and giving them victories in battles.

 

So today I pray you examine your heart and answer this question. What are you doing with your reminders? Living in the past, forgetting them, or looking back reminding yourself that what happened then is just a hint of what can happen today. Are we living in the experiences we had or are we seeking for new ones? The Holy Spirit will ignite your passion if only you will humble yourself and ask for renewal. Let your testimony be fresh and exciting so others will want to hear of what God is doing with you and through you.

 

Jesus, let us not get lost in the memories of what happened yesterday, we thank you for it, but we ask for more today. We want to see you move in awesome power in our communities. Let us be great witnesses to those around us. Give us vision to reach the lost, knowing that you love them, they matter to you and they matter to us. Amen

 

Day 18: 50 Days of Passion

Have you heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” In essence, it is saying if you want to life your life on the bottom floor of the office building then don’t care about what you wear. But if you want to succeed as a business man then don’t show up in ripped jeans. If you are to apply for a job you dress appropriately, first impressions make the difference.

As believers if we want to reach others we need to ‘dress’ ourselves for it. If we continue to ‘dress’ ourselves like the world does they won’t see any difference.  Lets change dress to how we act, how we present ourselves, our business practices, how we treat our family’s, friends and the poor.

 

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Colossians 3:12 NLT

 

 

God chose us, how awesome is that! But then I read “you must” which to me tells me that we have a part to play. We must clothe ourselves with good things.  If we want our lives to reflect Jesus, we don’t want to be walking around in filthy rags of bitterness, un-forgiveness, anger, judgment and pain. We wouldn’t be much of an example of the God who saves us, who chose us.

 

No, we are called to clothe ourselves to be like him. Kindness to those who don’t deserve our kindness. Tender hearted mercy to those who need it or don’t feel they need it. Removing our pride and being humble in what we do not working to build ourselves up but the kingdom. Gentleness, guarding our tongue as it can be used to cut, but we need to use it to heal and love. And patience as we in this day and age are rushing through life, pushing from one task to the next, sometimes we need to be patient with our surroundings and trust God knows what he is doing.

 

We will only see a new passion in our lives if we start living in the freedom and new life given to us by God.  When we throw off the dirty rags and put on the clothe God offers we can then share our faith. As we step out in this new life our passion will ignite a we share the love of Jesus with those around us, in whatever means God has called you to share. You are going to stand out, you will no longer look like those around you. You will be a light in the darkness.

 

So today when your coworkers and friends see you are you clothed in fifty rags or dressed in a garment God has called you to wear?

 

Dear Jesus, take my filthy rags, don’t just put them in the laundry to be used another day, burn them. I don’t want to be seen as that man anymore. I want to be like you, tender hearted, humble, patient, gentle and kind. Holy Spirit work these characteristics into my life and create something beautiful to showcase who God is in my life. Let those around me see Jesus in me daily. Amen

 

Day 11: 50 Days of Passion

If you talk to any avid sports fan they aren’t ashamed to tell you why their team is the best. They know the stats, what it takes for their team to go all the way. Talk to someone into TV Dramas, they can explain the complicated lives of their favorite shows, may even know lines word for word. Nerds and geeks have knowledge they are willing to talk to on any subject that they are passionate about. They will fight seemingly to the death in support of their favorite genre. So why are we afraid to talk about our faith?

 

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die. Philippians 1:20

 

We are living in a world where there are spiritual battles happening all around us and we are unaware. Blind or ignorant either way it is happening and most of the word just doesn’t care to acknowledge it. The enemy is bound and determined to keep people from following Jesus. He knows that every person who accepts the give of salvation is another possible spreader of his love.

 

He has devised a strategy that if he is able to make a Christian lazy and apathetic to his or her faith then at least they are not sharing their faith. He sends his minions to hold us down, whisper lies in our ears, we believe these lies giving him a sort of permission to hold us down. Satan is one being unlike God who can be everywhere, so to say Satan is attacking you most chances it is his followers.  This oppression will keep you from the passion you desire to share the word of God.

 

The enemy will continually whisper lies that will make us ashamed to share the truth. They won’t accept it. They think you are looking down on them, you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your friendship over this.

Jesus has power over demons. He showed us this in his word when he cast them out of people. We have the right as believers to ask Jesus to remove any demon who is hindering our lives. (I don’t believe we can be demon possessed as believers, but harassed and held down.) Two thoughts on this. First if you ask Jesus to banish the demon that is harassing you, you must fill that area of your life with the Holy Spirit, scripture and prayer. If you don’t the enemy will try to work his way back in. Second, the enemy will keep lying to you telling you that it didn’t work, Jesus didn’t remove anything and that you just weren’t good enough for it to work. This is another enemy trying to discourage you even more. Ask Jesus to remove it as well.

I know this is a deep thought today. If may be something you haven’t considered. Our passion and fire is directly linked to our relationship with Christ. If we become lazy in our reading of the bible, prayer and fulfilling the mission our fire will dwindle. That’s what the enemy wants from us. Ineffective Christians aren’t dangerous.

If you are feeling held down by the enemy, maybe he is telling you lies, lets pray that Jesus will banish them to never return, and reignite our passion.

 

Jesus, if anyone reading this today is being held down by a spirit of fear, apathy or lies I pray in Jesus name that they be banished. As we cry out you name, le the enemy leave our lives. Refill the void that this enemy leaves behind with the Holy Spirit, love, compassion, joy, hope and passion. Jesus, we thank you for freeing us from the grip of the enemy. As your servant Paul wrote, let us not be ashamed of ourselves but let us boldly proclaim your truth to those around us. Amen

 

 

Day 44: 50 Days of Impact

In his last hours of his life Jesus continued to make an impact on those around him. He didn’t make excuses or complain on what was happening to him. We see the same compassion for those who needed forgiveness right up to his last breath. Jesus embodied the mission, and he calls us to do the same.

 

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

Luke 23:42-43 NLT

 

“In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.”

Psalms 20:1 NLT

 

 

Picture this, Jesus, beaten by the Romans, mocked by the Jews, his friends had left him, and now he is hanging on the cross. Now to top it off as he is hanging their, the two criminals next to him start talking. One openly mocks Jesus. This criminal who is sharing the same penalty as Jesus, who deserved his fate, was mocking Jesus who was innocent. The other criminal goes to defend Jesus. He knows something is going on and eagerly and openly defends Jesus the innocent.

 

When he finishes rebuking the other criminal, he turns his attention to the one he was defending. This criminal may have had the importance of Jesus revealed to him either by the Holy Spirit, or maybe he had heard Jesus talking earlier in his life. We won’t know exactly what compelled him to ask the dying man next to him to remember him in heaven.

 

But an awesome reminder of Jesus forgiving power is displayed here on the cross. This criminal called out to Jesus, and Jesus didn’t ignore him, he didn’t make him say a prayer, he didn’t make an altar call, he answered his cry. This displays the awesome forgiveness of Jesus. King David wrote that the lord answers are cries in times of trouble. This criminal may have remembered this as he hung on his cross and knew of the psalm as a child, but for whatever reason he cried out to Jesus to remember him, the point to remember is that Jesus answered his cry.

 

So today those around us who are hurting, dying, depressed, out of work, angry, they all need Jesus. He is right there waiting for them to cry out to him. It is never to late for someone to come to Jesus.

 

Dear Jesus, I need to keep sharing your love with those around me. Help me this very day to invite friends, coworkers and family to experience the love of Jesus. Give me the boldness to invite people to church this Sunday. Let your messages all over this world from in the hearts of those who may only attend church once or twice a year. Break hearts and change lives this weekend. Amen