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

 

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Day 17: 50 Days of Passion

Think about batteries. When you go to the store and buy batteries do you buy the cheap brands or the name brands. If you want power you will choose the brands that are trusted and know will last a long time. The cheap ones have quick power but generally don’t last as long as the tried and true name branded battery. Now I am not comparing God to a battery but why do we keep choosing cheap imitations when we have access to the real deal?

 

“So be careful not to break the covenant the LORD your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the LORD your God has forbidden this.”

Deuteronomy 4:23 NLT

 

In this day and age, we don’t generally make idols out of gold and precious medals to worship. Yet we quietly set up our secret idols that sometimes we don’t even know we are doing. Idols are not always physical object either, we can make an idol out of our ideology and religion.

 

The most familiar one I can think of is the phrase “my god wouldn’t” assigning God the word ‘my’ most times shows that the god they are speaking of is one they have created and adapted to fit their own personal needs. This becomes an idol and we as the people of God must start stepping up to the plate and addressing these issues.

 

We see many people passionate about their gods. They may look it on the outside but inside they are missing the truth. It won’t satisfy forever and they will begin longing for more. Some times believers start off worshiping God, but along the way they listen to those with strange ideas about who God is and they go from following God to my god. It isn’t easy to have passion for my god has he has no power to back himself up.

 

Study your bible, find out who God is and let him reign fully in your life. Be ready to question someone who has or makes weird ideas about who God is. Be able to show them the true God and not the image they are connected with.

 

Jesus, we need to be aware that there are people who have warped who you are. Help us to study your word and to know you, so we may reach those who are wandering around lost. Let us point them back to the true God and smash all idols that hold them back. They matter to you Jesus so they matter to me. Amen

Kurt Arnold

 

Day 14: 50 Days of Passion

I had a boss once who explained my experience as a military man like this. At the floor level we only see about 25% of the picture, we experience what is happening immediately around us but don’t have an understanding completely of why, yet we must complete the job. At the supervisor level we learn a bit more and might get us to 45% and then as a manager closer to 60%, as you continue up the levels to the top still no one knows 100% of the truth because the truth of any story has three sides, theirs, yours and what actually happened.

 

“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12b NLT

 

 

I say all this because we don’t know the whole plan of God for our lives, we don’t know what he has in store for us, nor do we know why certain events or situations occur. God points us, with prompting from the Holy Spirit, in a direction he wants us to go and we as faithful workers should go. Yet many times we expect a full plan laid before us before we make the first step. This is never going to happen. If God gives you a direction take the step of faith and move towards it. One day when you meet face to face he will open your eyes to your life, let you see the whole plan as it unfolded what a highlight reel that will be.

 

Our passion is linked to our faith to step into the plan that God has for us. No matter what % of the plan you understand, if you prompted and confirmed that this is where God is sending you then you should take on that plan. It takes a lot of faith to submit to God’s plans. He tends to put people in areas they are not comfortable with, this is to help you grow as a person as well as spiritually. It is when we continually ignore the plans and callings that our passion or fire starts to fade. I don’t believe God calls us to just tread water and stay in one spot in our faith.

 

Do you want to look back and see that you avoided the plan your whole life? Or would you love to have the Father watch with you and see the proud look on his face when he says, ‘well done good and faithful servant’? Let focus our lives on following Gods plan for our lives and work to fulfill the mission we have been given.

 

 

 

Jesus, I want to walk your plan, even if I don’t know all the variables and details. Show me what I need to be doing to fulfill the mission. Give me the tools and resources required as I can’t do this on my own. Let me be an effective worker in sharing your love to those who need to know you. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

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

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 6: 50 Days of Passion

Most items we have today need to be plugged in to work properly. They need to be left plugged in or they need to be recharged on a continual basis. Paul here is reminding the church they need to be plugged in and connected with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Knowledge and Wisdom are both gifts of the Holy Spirit Paul talks about to the Corinthians. He is encouraging them to be energized and full of passion so they can effective.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Have you ever gotten up in the morning to realize you had either forgotten to plug your cell phone in or maybe someone unplugged it to plug their own in? I have and you get that brief feeling of it isn’t going to last the day thoughts. I know it is trivial to compare our lives with a cell phone but let me just give you a few insights.

Connected – If our cell phone isn’t connected to a network how effective is it? it still can do things but it lacks the functionality of a cell phone and becomes just a paperweight. If it is a smart phone with out network or internet access it can still work and provide some applications but the effectiveness isn’t there. Well if we aren’t connected with our creator how effective are we? We connect through prayer and reading the word. Without those in our lives we can’t be effective in our Christian walk.

Power – Like the fact your cell phone won’t work if you don’t plug it in, our Christian life needs recharging too. I believe this is what church is all about. It is a time to come recharge and prepare yourselves for a busy week ministering to people around you. Missing that opportunity isn’t the only way to recharge, connecting as above will provide recharge as well.

Applications – Newer Smart phones are loaded with things that can fill up your phones limited space. We have to be careful that if we overload the space it will slow our phone down. In our Christian lives, it is very similar. What we apply ourselves to will fill up our lives. Paul was praying that the Phillipi believes would abound in love, knowledge and insights. These things are gifts given by the Holy Spirit for all who seek them. Filling our lives with these applications will improve our lives and help us become a passionate people.

We need as believers to be connected, recharged and seeking the applications (gifts) of the Holy Spirit. To be a passionate believer who is mission center we should be keeping these keys in mind. If your life is full of other things that aren’t glorifying God then maybe it is time to free up some space for him.

If you are reading this and don’t have a relationship with God let me tell you it is the most important choice you will ever make. You may say but there is no God, I say well if I am wrong and there is no God what am I losing out by trusting him anyways. If your wrong it is everything.

Father, I pray for my fellow believers. As Paul wrote I pray that they abound in love being filled with knowledge and insights. Hive them wisdom to reach those around them who need to know you. Ignite their passion for reaching the lost. Let all the glory and honor be to you Jesus for you free people from their bondage of sin and give them life. I pray for an explosion of people coming to know you. Use me and use those reading this to be a light in the darkness. Amen

Day 5: 50 Days of Passion

Now when we read about Paul in chains in a dank cold jail cell we put him up in a place of reverence because he endured this hardship but continued to serve God. I am sure if you were sitting right next to him your thoughts on the situation would drastically change. I would hope I would have the desire and passion Paul has to continue encouraging believers outside the walls of his cell.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.  God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:7-8

 

I think if Paul was experiencing his time in jail these days he may have used the term ‘if life you gives you lemons, ask Christ to give you strength to make lemonade.” I know that’s a little tongue in cheek, but Paul made the best of his situation.

He continually wrote encouragement to the Churches in hopes they would grow and learn from his suffering. He wanted them to understand that he must have known they were praying for him, that he was praying just as hard for them. He was locked up, they were many. He was in chains, they were free to spread the love and continue the mission.

If Paul decided that this jail cell wasn’t the right place for him and started throwing a pity party, that would have been the end of the letters. We wouldn’t have the encouragement and teachings that build foundations in our Christian lives.

Many believers hit opposition and jump right into a pity party, woe is ne, what can I do about this. How can I dig my way out?

We need to lay our issues out before God, then trust he is in control. ‘God I don’t know why this is happening to me but I leave it in your hands’ That can be your daily prayer, but it can’t be the only one. Then start praying for others. Let God work in your life through your prayers for others. If you journal, write down your prayers.

Your passion level will increase as your prayer life increases. As you give your time away praying for others you will be encouraged, as you will hear rumors and news of answered prayers. Trust God that he is working in your life.

 

Father, all to often we center on the problems in our lives, spending our majority of prayers focus on us. I pray we have a mind shift to praying for others. I ask that those who read this daily or for the first time are encouraged to grow faith. I pray for the one reading this that doesn’t have a relationship with you, I pray that they will experience your love and forgiveness even today as they read this. Jesus you love them, you died for them, you rose again that they can be free from sin and have a relationship with you. I pray for healing of bodies and minds, let your Holy Spirit work to build up your kingdom. Amen