Day 13: 50 Days of Passion

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

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Day 9: 50 Days of Passion

 

Charles Stanley this week made a clear distinction on the way we hear from the Holy Spirit and the Enemy. After we have accepted Christ into our lives we are still prone to sin, but we have Jesus promise to forgive when we ask. The enemy will condemn us for this and try to convince us to either ignore it or that God would never forgive us. The Holy Spirit works differently, he never condemns, he lets us know and reminds us that Jesus will forgive. If we can heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit then we will be able to push forward in our faith and our passion will show.

 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

 

Do you ever do things that afterword’s you feel real awful about. Maybe it is something you know is wrong but in the heat of the moment it feels so right? Sin is like that. Sin aims at hitting at all the right pleasure points, creating a sense of entitlement. But sin is like a cancer, it spreads and works its way to your heart.

 

The Holy Spirit calls you to repentance, he sees everything you do. As a believer we still sin, but we are called to repent and move away from what causes us to sin. The Proverb says, ” as a dog returns to his vomit” well if we keep doing the same thing over and over each time we are repenting of it, are we repentant or just looking to feel better about our sin?

 

Repentance of out sin is to do a U-turn from what caused the problem in the first place. Get out of the situation, put up safe guards, get accountability, tell someone, do something. But the key is you must want to change. Freedom from sin is a choice you must make daily. Jesus told Peter that we will be forgiven 70×7, not to say after 490 times he stops, but that we will always be forgiven if asked. But it would be so much easier if we changed after the first time.

Is your sin dragging you down, is it stifling your passion? It is hard to be passionate about your faith when sin has not been dealt with.

 

So, are you living your life as to glorify God? Or are you living it to pleasure yourself?

 

Jesus, I want to live my life glorifying you. I don’t want to be like a dog returning to my own vomit. Forgive me of my sins. Help me to u-turn away from them. Let this day be a new day. Let me be able to reach others with you love because they matter to me. Move in this city. Move at my work. Use me. Amen

 

 

Day 13: 50 Days of Impact

We look at other countries or even our own and wonder who put this person in charge. Are the even qualified to run this place? There are different ways to deal with this; 1) There are those who actively oppose them either with protesting and in some cases violence. 2) Those who just take it, they know it will pass and although they may not like it what can they do. 3) lastly there are those who flee for their live.

We need to flee into the arms of Jesus. Then and only then can we actively oppose the enemy that is destroying this world. We are not called to be passive, but to fight the enemy from within is hopeless. Only free people can free people.

 

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” Psalms 5:11 NLT

All over the world there are millions of displaced people’s, we call refugees. Driven out of their homes by wars or cruel dictators and their armies. They flee in hopes of a new life somewhere else where things can be ” normal”.

Non-believers are living a life full of internal wars, and living a life lead by a mad dictator whose only desire is to keep them from finding the truth that they are heading towards destruction. These people need to have their eyes opened to the sin that infects their lives. As believers, we need to share the love of Jesus who is offering them not just refugee status but citizen status for anyone who would cry out to him for help. He came to rescue them from the path to destruction.

This mad dictator who is running their lives has convinced them that they are good enough, so much so that even when presented with the truth of Jesus they dismiss it as something for the weak person and not for them. We need to work even harder to break this chain of complacency in the lives of those around us. We need to display a life of joy and peace that can only come from Jesus.

Jesus, soften the hearts of those who need you, give us words to displace the lies that the enemy has build into their lives. Give us wisdom to use the right words at the right time, things that we would never know without the discernment of the Holy Spirit. We want to bring people to know you and to be free from the path of destruction. They matter to you and they matter to us. Amen

 

Day 12: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 12: We all at some point need someone to meet us at our low points. Travelling those times alone lead us to depression and anxiety, points where we may feel like giving up on God, our families, friends and maybe even our lives. If we go through these times, then it is safe to assume others do as well. We as believers need to use our low point experiences to help others through their times. You experience may deep and hurts but it may be exactly what’s needed to free someone in need.

 

DAY TWELVE

Galatians 6:1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgiving restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Have you ever experienced someone admitting their sin, not from you observing their actions, but confessing something to the church as a whole. Something so big that you feel like you could pick up a stone and just start throwing it at them? Well that’s what they used to do in the Old Testament, Lucky for us we don’t do that anymore, but sometimes our words that follow an admittance of such sin is pretty much the same as throwing stones of condemnation

In Galatians 6:1 it says that we are to save our critical comments to ourselves. Critical comments lead to gossip, it is a slippery slope that will lead you down into sin yourself if you are not careful. Those times where a person publicly admits to adultery, fraud, lying, pornography and a multitude of other things, he or she is calling out for help. They realize they made a huge mistake, they may have tried to fix it on their own, have hit rock bottom and are asking Jesus and their family of believers for help. We as believers really have 3 choices here. The one part of the world says to pick up a stone and hit them while they are down. Another says that if you ignore them they will just go away, not my problem to deal with. But as written above God says to Stoop down, reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s Law, “Love one another as I have loved you.” If Christ can forgive and restore in love then why can’t we. Stoop down means getting off your pew, and going right up beside them, reaching out is to go to where they are, offering help wherever they need, sharing their burdens may mean listening to anything they have to share, not just talking but actually listening and praying.

If you don’t have anyone in your life who would Stoop Down, Reach Out, Share your Burdens or show the love of Christ in your life, I pray today that you take some time to ask God to put some Godly accountability partners into your life. We are all going to sin, we will all at some point in our lives need someone to put down the stone and kneel beside us, wrap their arms around us and just love us.

Dear Jesus, Do I have someone in my life that I trust to talk about anything with? If I don’t I ask Father that you will help me find a friend that can stand by my side in the good times and bad. A true friend who is a follower of You, who will never pick up a stone against me. Who will love me and will always be willing to ask me the tough questions. Help me to be the same for them. Jesus thank you for Your forgiveness and that you love me for who I am not who I need to be. AMEN

Day 50: 50 Days of Change

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”Romans 12:2 NLT

I would say this is the hardest thing for any believer to do, new or weathered. To fall into the patterns of thinking like those around us is so easy. Party, drink, sleep around, cheat on taxes, wanting what your neighbour has, revenge, and the like. 

We are called to be better then that. We are called to avoid copying the ways of our old life. It isn’t easy to stop the things you did before, but it can be done. If you want a meaningful relationship with Jesus it is something you need to strive for. 

When you work at breaking the old ways patterns then we become more like Jesus, we become more effective in our faith. Others will see us as changed and become interested in what has changed us. If we don’t change outwards but our words change what will people think of our witness. All talk, nothing else. Don’t be discouraged if you make mistakes, we all will stumble, pick yourself up wipe off the dirt ask for forgiveness and keep pushing forward. Even Peter, a faithful disciple, told Jesus he would never eject him nor leave him, ran away when he was arrested and denied knowing him three times. Yet he was forgiven and did amazing things for Jesus sharing the faith its thousands of people.

Let’s work at changing inside and out. Let’s love them because God loves them. Let us not be a reason they don’t accept Jesus, but be a reason they do .It is time to change.

Jesus, I pray we will be changed. Help us to walk away a from the things that will lead us away or lead others away from you. We must make this choice individually, but those who do I pray you will give strength, joy and wisdom. Thank you Father for loving us. Help us to remember that they matter to you so they should matter to us. 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.