For the last 48 days we have been working to increase our passion in our faith. We have looked at many aspects such as prayer, church, relationships and our own personal relationships. When we boil it all down passion for Jesus needs to flow from our relation ship with God himself. How we see Him will ultimately generate the passion we have. A disconnected God doesn’t encourage passion. Our God is connected, interactive and loving, when we truly realize this and let the Holy Spirit, who is God, work in us, our passion will come naturally. There will be times where we find ourselves in a lull, but we can come back to God and ask him to reignite the passion, he promises He will give good gifts to his children. We get distracted from the mission, but he can give us focus.
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Ephesians 3:17 NLT
We are promised if we give our lives to Christ, wholly and freely, he will come make a home in our hearts. This relationship aspect of Christianity is one of the major things that sets it apart from any other religion or idea out there. Most other faith based groups provide a deity who is so far way that you must work hard to get its attention. But not Christianity.
The bible shows us that Jesus is at the door of every heart waiting to be heard. His message is clear, I have died for you, so you may live, invite me in, confess your sins and I will forgive you, then let’s work to live a life with me. No other group offers this relationship with the creator. They work hard to make you feel you aren’t good enough to be forgiven, that you must continue to do more and more to be free. I heard of one faith where if you sin and ask for forgiveness you may or may not be forgiven, but you can’t know for sure if your offering was acceptable.
We can be assured that if we stumble and sin and bring it to our saviour Jesus Christ he is just and will forgive us our sins. Just like he forgave when he was walking the earth he continues to tell us your sin is forgiven, go and sin no more. He doesn’t let us walk away back to sin, his desire is we walk away and change, so we don’t keep doing the same things that we just asked forgiveness for. But that doesn’t mean he will turn away from us if we do it again. But here is what we must remember, if we truly repent we must be ready to do a 180 from what brought us to our repentance. Stop hanging out in a mine field hoping that we won’t step on a mine, it will always lead to you getting hurt.
Our relationship with Jesus will be what leads other to follow. They will see how we live our lives, and it will be attractive. You will want to share your faith. You will want to do things not to be forgiven but because you are forgiven. Are you ready to grow your roots deeper? Trust him and see where he will take you.
Jesus, I pray that those reading this today have a relationship with you. If they don’t I pray right now that they will ask you to come into their lives and forgive them of their sin. As we move forward in our faith I pray Jesus, that we put our faith into action. Let our works be because of forgiveness not to earn it. Let us be an example to those round us. Let them see you in us. Give us moment where we can tell them about you and what your forgiveness is all about. They matter to you Jesus and they matter to me. Amen
Ever try to share about Jesus and the love he has shown you, only to have the other person just laugh it off? Of keep coming back with arguments against? We try not to be hurt when this happens, yet it isn’t easy to just shrug it off. Many times, it has to do with them just not understanding, because they have little to no interest. Other times it could be because they are afraid that you know the truth and they don’t want to accept that they have to surrender their life. Just like a person who refuses directions and walks around aimlessly, until he or she is willing to accept they need help it is hard to steer them in any other direction.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV
One day I shared a picture of a child writing a quick letter that read “Dear atheist, if you don’t believe in God why does it offend you that I pray to Him” or something very similar. I knew that it may bring a comment of two because on my friends list are, now don’t be shocked, those who don’t know Jesus.
I didn’t do it to start a debate, nor did I do I to feed off the need for controversy. When I saw the first response, it took me a long time to come up with a reply that I felt was fair and honest.
But it in case shows the truth to the above verse, those who are stuck in the mind set of ‘believe whatever you want, just don’t force it down my throat’ are really just being that way because they don’t have the Holy Spirit in their lives. No matter what response I come with, no matter how true it is, if the Holy Spirit isn’t in the other person he will only see it as more religious jargon. How do you reach a world where anything is acceptable except Christ?
We need to ask the Holy Spirit to work in these people’s hearts. If we want to see lives changed and people coming to Jesus, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to soften hearts, to remove the hurt that religion has done in their lives. Until we purposely focus our prayers on their salvation our work will always seem fruitless. Just another debate.
So, when someone says something on a post you put up on FB, your blog, tweet or post something you disagree with, I suggest one thing. Before you respond take some time to pray fully ask the Holy Spirit to work on the person(s) you are responding to. Ask Him to show you the right words or scripture that will not be foolishness to the person who you are writing the repose for. Trust that the Holy Spirit will use you to reach the lost.
Dear Jesus, help me to take the time to consult the Holy Spirit before responding to any “debate” or controversial religion comments. Help me to pray for the person I am responding to asking the Holy Spirit for the right words or verse to reach them. Give me wise words. I pray that I can reach others as that is the mission to spread hope. Amen
We hear the scripture ask, seek and knock and expect that whatever we ask will be given to us. Doesn’t Jesus himself say God gives good gifts to his children? (Matthew 7:11) So why then do some of our prayers not get answered as we have ben praying or expect? Craig Groecschel in his devotional Daily Power on YouVersion made this observation “God’s will matters in the midst of our prayers. You don’t always get what you want when you want it. But you can always walk by faith and trust God’s will.) (Groeschel Day 4)
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
James 1:5-8 NLT
Ever pray to God asking for something, whilst giving God the answer on how you want him to do it? We put our faith in our method of an answer and not trusting the God can provide in many other ways. A very good example is in our finances, we ask God to help us out of our financial messes but then in the next breath say well if this was to happen, or if I won the lotto, or if I got a raise or the new job.
We can’t pigeon hole God. We need to be open and honest with ourselves and honestly look to God for the answer. Now if he has revealed what you need to do and your praying for how to do it, keep pushing in prayer, asking for direction and guidance. But telling God how to help you out of a situation is like listening to the sheep for advice on how to get out of the well. God knows how you got in the situation, he knows how to get you out, and he knows what lessons you will learn while in there.
So today trust God to answer your prayers. He will provide for his children what they need, when they need it, and how they need it. It may not always be answered in the way you expected, but know that it is part of the will of God and good will come from it.
Jesus, let us trust that you have a solution, and that we don’t need to provide one for you. We put our lives in your hands and love you so much for it. Please hear our prayers and answer them as quickly as needed. Help us to see you will in your answer even if it doesn’t make sense to us. You are the God who loves us. Let us share this love with those around us, let us live a life of example for you. The people around us need to know you, need to experience your love. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen
I by no means am a sports fanatic. I understand sports, I can tell you who I cheer for but that’s about it. But this I do know, on any great team you have a high level of teamwork. You practice together, you eat together, you hang out together. You become a family, your families connect, a superstar who expects to be put be set apart quickly realizes with out his team he will fall. They win together, they lose together. In a great team if one team member is hurting they help pick them up and support them.
Why can’t we as believers, the family of God, be working for that same team mentality? If you look at the early church this is how they lived, Watchmen Nee recognized this when he was reaching people in China and worked to create “team” churches based on the church written about in Acts.
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” But if not, then take one or two others with you and go back to him again, proving everything you say by these witnesses. If he still refuses to listen, then take your case to the church, and if the church’s verdict favors you, but he won’t accept it, then the church should excommunicate him.[e] And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.
I also tell you this—if two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I will be right there among them.”
Matthew 18:15-20 NIV
As a team of believers, we need to watch out for one another. For far to long we have been focused on building our numbers up but neglecting the foundations of those joining our churches. We see or hear of people sinning and instead of following Jesus direction of dealing with it we use the cop out “not my problem”. We as believers need to make it our concern. It is not only the responsibility of the coach(Pastor) to deal with things that are happening. They are busy enough, we need to start mentoring, loving, connecting with new believers who require much training and direction. We cannot expect them to understand what following Jesus truly means. If I take a new job that I have never done before can it be expected that I know everything about it? No, they would assign someone to be my guide, mentor, showing me the ropes and how things are done. How we do this makes a hugh difference in how it is received.
In today’s world of shaming and everything being open to the public, these verse and teachings Jesus wrote are a tough example to follow. If a pastor/ person in leadership makes a mistake or falls into sin he may not even get a chance to be confronted by a brother and sister in Christ before being raked over the coals.
Accountability is so important. Now a days it would even be wise to have a friend monitor your posts online to ensure that you don’t write/ share/view something that would lead you down the wrong path.
Jesus is very clear in this verse that we need to watch one another back. This isn’t a judgment tone or a shaming attitude, this is ” I love you and notice that your doing this, and that is contradictory to what Jesus teaches, can we talk about it?”
This only works well if you yourself aren’t neck deep in sin, if you are, they may look at you and ask who do you think you are. That’s why Jesus says to make sure your life is right and get the plank out before confronting the brother with the splinter in their eye.
So how can we get our churches to become more We centered instead of Me?
– Get your life right with God, don’t expect others to listen to your advice if your neck deep in sin.
- Connect with the team, family. This isn’t going to church on Sunday. This is genuinely loving one another, investing yourself in their lives, becoming valuable to them.
– Don’t be afraid to confront another believer if they are sinning. This isn’t a judgemental thing, it is about love.
– Look out for each other. There are those in the church who will distract young believers from moving forward, they may even cause them to fall. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment in the motives of those who aim to distract.
Dear Jesus, forgive us for our Me attitudes. We need to be more of a team in our churches, show us where we need to grow in these areas. Help us to connect with one another on a whole new level. Let us become a family that is supportive of one another and pushes each other to grow in our walk with you. Lead us to mentor and disciple new believers so they will grow stronger in the faith and can discern the things that would distract them from knowing you. Let us work together to strengthen the family of believers and be a church welcoming to those new in the faith. Amen
Road trips can be a great way to see where you live or the country you live in. If you have ever taken a long road trip there can be two types. One where the trip is planned out to the minute and only stopping where scheduled or the see something and go their kind of trip. The first kind has its advantages for an organized person a routine and plan are needed. But the second kind are the ones who are free to experience what the country truly has to offer. I purpose in our road trip with Christ our we have a final destination, but we need to be open to stopping and experiencing whatever comes our way. Not sin but the opportunities and experience we may not think are where we need to be. The ‘why God am I here” times.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Our plans tend to be 2 dimensional when Gods plans are always 3 dimensional if even describable. He sees so much more then we do, from beginning to the end, what our choices will impact, to who we will interact with, and the consequences of inaction.
If Paul had thought that Gods only plan for him once he was arrested and appealed to Caesar, that his only mission was to convert Caesar, then he would have missed out on everything that God used him for on the journey there. Paul impacted untold numbers of people because he saw past his own plan, and kept looking bigger. He shared his experiences with the local churches never expecting that his words would change the lives of untold millions.
John a fisherman, working the nets all his life, was called by Jesus to follow him. He joined the road trip not even knowing what the destination was, barely knowing who he was going to be traveling with. Yet John took the step of faith and grew so close to Jesus that he is referred to as the one Jesus loved. He had a connection with Jesus that we can have to. If someone had told John that day that he put his nets aside that he would one day be isolated on an Island for his faith would he have reconsidered? John’s visions of the end times in Revelations are only given to him because he experienced Jesus in everything.
Do you know what God’s plan for you is? Has he told you to go, or do and your so focused on doing that, that you are missing opportunities to grow and share? I am not saying to not follow the plan, what I am saying is that becoming narrow focused may make you miss out on the whole plan. Maybe you don’t know the plan, well as John was told to be a fisher of men that is also a starting point for you, and Mark 16:15 is the basic plan for all believers. Will your life and what you do only impact those around you, or could it like Paul impact generations to come.
Jesus, open my eyes to see your plan for my life, expand my view so I can see the opportunities to share the love of you. If someone reading this is wondering what the plan for their life is I ask that they start fishing for men, sharing your love to those around them. Give them the courage and passion to share their faith. Let none be discouraged by their experience but use them to grow. If anyone reading this hasn’t made the choice to surrender their life I pray that even today, they will make the choice to follow you Jesus. Amen
How is God using you? I would love to hear about it.
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