Day 42: 50 Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Comoros

 

We pray today for the believers in Comoros. Unlike Mexico yesterday Comoros has a small percentage of its population of believers. The government has made it illegal to be converted to any religion other than the state religion.

Of the population of under 800,000, there are an estimated 3,300 believers. For more information check out Open Doors USA.

Father, we pray for Comoros. We pray for a freedom for believers to have opportunities to openly and freely share their faith. Provide opportunities for them to meet together without fear and ability to distribute bibles to any and all who would want to read them. Move throughout the Island and change lives. Amen

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Day 49: 50 Days of Passion

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

 

Day 47: 50 Days of Passion

What are you working on right now for Jesus? Are you involved in a ministry at your church? Maybe you are helping out in the community? As believers we are called to action, action leads to passion. We are motivated by doing and the results that come with doing. Some get stuck in the weeds of preparation and never put their plan into action. Others jump in without a plan, or maybe someone else has already set the plan in motion and you are joining in. Whatever the case as believers we need to be doing something to love our community, family, neighbors, enemies and friends. You will not experience true passion for your faith locked in your bedroom.

 

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

 

Some people I know must have everything exactly right before they start something. They must have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. If they aren’t 100% prepared they won’t begin.

I don’t think our Christian life always works like that, we sometimes need to take a step of faith even when we’re not ready to allow God to show us that He has our back, he is our power in the weakness.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t take time to plan at all but the need to be a perfectionist isn’t always necessarily needed as there will always be more to do. There is a time to say okay God lets do this, ready or not I am moving forward with what you are calling me to do.

So, have you been planning on doing something for God? Have you been waiting till it is all planned out or is it time to get going on it and trust God to fill in the blanks. Let his power work in His plan. Let him use our weakness, to showcase his power.

Jesus, in our weakness you are strong. Show us your power in our daily walk, help us to rely on you in the plans you have for us. If I have been holding back give me momentum to push forward and trust you. Grow my passion for my faith as I serve you. Help us to witness to others showing your love and strength for today. Amen

 

Day 35: 50 Days of Passion

As we talk this week about prayer, the question today is where is your hope? Do we pray because it is the next thing we can think of to do after trying all else? Or do we pray because it is the hope we have that the one who we trust will answer them?

 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NLT

 

In reading this prayer from Paul I see two powerful words that must be taken into consideration to understanding the order in how his pray is laid out. I read this and see a formula for hope. First, I read “because”. This tells me that trust in him must be first in all we do. Trusting in God through Jesus salvation and daily trust him to meet your needs is the foundation by which every believer must rest. Building your spiritual home on anything else is folly and bound for failure.

 

So, with a foundation of trust in place we then can be prepared to be filled with the joy and peace that he offers. There will be a place for it to reside and live in us. Without the trust of God these gifts given will only seep out and never be long lasting. We will trade them in for whatever we put our hope and trust in. There is no joy and peace in trusting money. There is no joy and peace trusting our politicians. There is no joy and peace trusting man. We need to put our hope and trust in God.

 

The second word I read is ” then”. This tells me the previous statement must be help true for the second to become reality. If we want an overflowing confident hope in what we believe so we can reach others, we must trust God. We must live a life filled with joy and peace. The most important part of this verse is that we must believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, still works today and gives us this confident hope. The Holy Spirit, an equal part of the trinity is with us believers to shape us, empower us to go into the world and spread the love of Christ with confidence.

 

Joy and Peace = Confident Hope

TRUST                      HOLY SPIRIT

 

 

Are you trusting God? Have you asked him to fill you with joy and peace? Are you overflowing with confident hope? Are you plugged into the Holy Spirit? If you want to be effective in reaching this world you need to examine each question, if you can answer yes to one or all then you need to mediate on this scripture and ask God to fulfill it in your life.

 

Jesus, we need to trust you with everything. Thank you for providing us a way to connect with you through Jesus sacrifice and daily through the Holy Spirit. Give us peace and joy because of this trust in you. Then fill us with an overflowing confident hope through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit so we can be come effective in sharing your love to others. They matter to you Jesus, so the matter to me. Amen

 

 

 

 

Day 24: 50 Days of Passion

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.”
Isaiah 55:8-11

 

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.

Day 23: 50 Days of Passion

A story is told of an old couple going for a car ride. They had been together all their lives, Now at teenage romance married right out of high school. Now at 67 the wife looked over at her husband from the far side of the passenger seat and asked, “Honey, remember when we were young and in love? We used to snuggle while we were driving, now look at us you could almost fit two people between us.” The man looked down at the seat between then back to the road. Turned to his wife and replied, “well I never moved.”

We wonder where our passion for God has gone, be certain that God has never moved. He is right with you and wants to connect with you. Are you the one moving away because of something you have done and are trying to hide from him, worried that getting to close will expose your secret?

 

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”

Hebrews 4:13 NLT

 

If we go all the way back to Adam and Eve we see that hiding from God started when sin entered the world. Eve of course before she sinned she was tempted. She had the opportunity to resist the words of the enemy and the story may have ended differently. But we all know she gave into temptation and disobeyed Gods command. The promise fulfilled she became aware of good and evil and knew immediately what she had done was displeasing to God and felt shame alongside Adam. Naked and exposed they quickly tried to cover up and hid from God.

 

As believers we act in the same way as they did. We are tempted and many times we do avoid the temptation, yet in our weakness we sometimes accept it and dive in. When the moment is over, we start to think about what we have done, we begin to feel shame, naked and exposed. Many run and try to cover up or hide trying to keep it away from God.

 

God called for Adam and Eve in the garden, he purposefully went looking for them, he knew what had happened but still went anyways. Adam and Eve knowing they couldn’t hide, revealed what they had done and were punished accordingly in Gods mercy.

 

Today we called out on our sin as well. The Holy Spirit, sent to us is calling us out daily. Through the sacrifice of Jesus, we receive forgiveness for our sins when we bring them to him. He is calling us to live sinless lives, yet knowing our weakness promises to forgive us no matter how bad we fall. He is not condemning or judging our sins, yet he is reveling them to us so that we can ask Christ to forgive us.

 

Unlike Adam and Eve where sin separated us from our relationship with God, sin for believers becomes a stumbling block. It doesn’t separate us from forgiveness Jesus provides. The main difference is that Adam was separated from God, if we continue to sin without repentance, we separate ourselves from God.

 

Are you trying to hide something from God? Do you feel exposed and naked? Lay your sins and troubles at the feet of Jesus, let him wrap you in his arms and cover your sin.

 

Jesus, for to long we try to hide from you, even though we can never succeed. Let us run to you when we feel this way and not be ashamed. We will stumble and fall, we thank you that you will pick us up each and every time. Help us to reach others sharing your love with them because they matter to you and they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 20: 50 Days of Passion

Have you ever had anyone call out your faith? They are looking for anything they can do to disprove that your faith is real. Are they doing this out of spite? Out of jealously? Or are they looking for an excuse not believe? We need to be strong in our faith as to be a witness to those around you.

 

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practising the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

 

When it comes to being Jesus to those around us let me tell you something that you might already know. If you are a Christian expect those around you to be watching you, they will be looking to see if your version of Christianity is as ‘hypocritical’ as they have thought all along.  We are being watched, judged on our actions, words and lifestyle.

 

That is actually a good thing, I know it is hard to believe but it is. We can become powerful witnesses of our faith if we work at showing the light that we follow. No, we don’t have to be perfect, and yes we will do things that contradict our faith, but it is in those moments the way we deal or handle it is how we will be seen.

 

In this section of 1 John, I read it saying your not perfect, but that’s okay, Jesus is there to help you get through it, to grow towards the life he has for us. I don’t think those around us watching us are expecting perfection. They want to see someone real, experience something real. We can be that with Jesus, we can show that we are just normal people saved by grace.

 

How we live our lives will reflect who we are in Christ as well. We need to be mindful of what we are doing, because our actions and words can help or hinder our witness. The bible has boundaries we should look at maintaining, and I am not going to go into them that is your responsibility to ask God through the bible. These boundaries are not to keep us from having a ‘good’ time or from experiencing life, God gave us these boundaries to keep the evil out of our lives. If we commit to staying inside the boundaries we will start to recognize sin more easily, and it makes it easier to avoid.

 

Today I challenge you to be a light for your faith, be real and don’t just put on a show that will eventually crumble at the first sign of trouble. Invite someone to church to experience what you believe. Share your faith.

 

Jesus, forgive give me for my sins, cleanse me anew today. Let me be a light to my coworkers, my friends, my family and to anyone I come in contact with either in person or online. Jesus let me be real in my faith, I want to reach others and share your love and mercy. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen