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

 

 

Advertisements

Day 15: 50 Days of Passion

Ever have someone tell you that you are missing out because you are not participating in an activity or habit that they enjoy? As a military member I have heard so many times that I need to start drinking as I am missing out. Or the challenge that they will have me drinking soon enough. Time and time again I will just laugh and say sure that’s not going to happen and I thank God that I never went down that road. But unfortunately, there are many who have succumb to the lie that they are missing out on something.

 

 

 

But whatever happens to me, remember always to live as Christians should, so that whether I ever see you again or not, I will keep on hearing good reports that you are standing side by side with one strong purpose—to tell the Good News fearlessly, no matter what your enemies may do. They will see this as a sign of their downfall, but for you it will be a clear sign from God that he is with you, and that he has given you eternal life with him. Philippians 1:27-28

 

 

If only there was a book out there with simple and hard fast ways for a person to live as “a Christian should.”   Well fortunate for us there is, it is called the Bible. It doesn’t give us examples exactly how in our current era, but it gives us the basic principles of what it means to follow Jesus. To live a life as a Christian should is not boring, it is actually quite exciting. If you want a dangerous life look at Paul, he ended up in jail for sharing his faith, he was killed for loving Jesus.  You may not live in a place where your life is at stake for following Jesus, but God will use you for amazing things.

 

How then according to the bible should a Christian live? Jesus told his followers that they should ‘love one another’, he said to “go to the ends of the earth and tell others about him making disciples of all nations’ as well as “go and sin no more”. Paul tells us to “pray with out ceasing” and “to tell the good news”.

 

Not all believers live as Christians should, maybe that’s one reason their passion is low. These are not to be confused as rules that once broken God hammers down on them punishing them for their disobedience. Completely opposite, God in his fatherly love for us works to draw us back to him with love, promptings and grace. God never removes himself from us, it is us that move away from him. He is always there with arms wide open.

 

We can’t expect the non- believer to live as Christians should. This is one hinderance that those outside the church see as a turnoff to the faith. But they are watching us and seeing how we react to one another, what love we are showing those we call “family”. If we are not walking side by side with our they will see it and it will not be something that draws them in.

 

So are you ready to live as a Christina should, explore your bible, see what it says. Ask God to reveal areas that may be a hinderance to your faith. Ask for a renewed passion for sharing the good news to the lost. Let your life be an example of the love of Jesus.

 

Father, we come to you today asking for a renewed passion. We pray that if there is anything in our lives that is holding us back, show us so we can give it to you to remove. Forgive us for not being untied with our fellow believers. Let our words match our actions. Set a fire in our hearts to reach the lost. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

 

Day 12: 50 Days of Passion

Choices are not always a bad versus a good. Sometimes we have two good choices and we just can’t have both or maybe can’t have both right now. It may be the job opportunity, the family vacation, Christmas plans or a plethora of other things. It is in these moments you need to carefully weight out the choices before, praying and ultimately deciding what is best for you and your family. We make hundreds of choices everyday, those seem to come to us quickly, it is the major life choices that can change everything.

 

For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying—well, that’s better yet!  But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don’t know which is better, to live or die! Sometimes I want to live, and at other times I don’t, for I long to go and be with Christ. How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Philippians 1:21-25

 

Paul here in prison is not a man contemplating suicide. He is verbally or in writing weighing out what it means to make his choice to either just give in to his situation and the result would mean death, or to live. As a follower of Christ, he knows that once life ceases here it does not just cease to exist anymore, he understood that to be absent from this body on earth was to be with the God he loves. So, in his circumstance to go from a stank prison cell to the presence of God was looking pretty good.

As we read we recognize the passion in Paul’s heart for other believers. Not just other believers but opportunities to reach the lost. He saw the big picture and how his life, even in prison, was impacting others to grow in their faith. In these few verses we see the though pattern of Paul as he weighed out his choices and quickly the obvious came clear to him.

If you like me you have seen many believers in much better circumstances then Paul who look in rough shape. They are free yet there is bondage that has them in a prison of their own making. Maybe it is doubt, a poor self worth or something holding them down. They have a choice to make, live in that prison and eventually die, or live a life of encouragement, passion and love.

Maybe you need to make a choice like I made, no matters what the circumstance I am going to praise God. The passion I desire may not be bubbling up inside like I desire but I know that things are shaking up and will explode soon. I need to keep pushing forward in my faith, keep praying, reading, seeking God and the Holy Spirits power. I know that if it never explodes, I am founded in the hope of Jesus, I have a relationship with the Creator God. No one can take that from me.  No one can take it from you once you have submitted your life to him and started a personal relationship.

Father, like Paul we have a choice to make, lay down and die or live with expectations. We want to be like Paul passionate about reaching others, being used to love our brothers and sisters in the faith. Let your love overflow our hearts, give us a fresh passion for reaching the lost. We want our lives to reflect you and be a light to the world around 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 4: 50 Days of Passion

If we ever wanted to look at a man who should have been missing passion for his faith it was Paul. Stuck in jail for who knows how many years just for sharing the gospel of Jesus. Yet from ever letter we read from Paul we don’t get a sense that his passion has faded at all. He is committed to his trust and love of Jesus and the mission.

 

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

 

To his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul takes the time to thank and encourage them in the way they are over coming adversity. The church would have been under attack from the local roman government, and many others who opposed the truth they were speaking.

Here in his letter we see Paul telling them that he is consistently praying for this church family. He has not stopped daily lifting them up to the Father with words of encouragement and hope. He sees that the work they are doing for the kingdom is the true mission work and understands his prayers will help fuel their passion. Even though Paul is not physically with them he is integral to the mission that is going on in Philippi.

Are you praying for the work being done by others? Are you encouraging other organizations in prayer, praying for strength, vision, and opportunities? Just like Paul we can be integral in the life of churches and missionaries who are in places we may never be. Praying for others doing the work of God will help ignite our passion. Our relationship with God is not just about us but our relationships with others in the family as well. Building them up and asking the Father to empower them and use them makes us part of the family.

So, who are you praying for today? Does your church have missionaries you could be praying for? Is you church associated with any parachurch organizations like Village of Hope or Samaritans Purse? Maybe there is some new church plants in your city, state or country you could be fortifying with your prayers. Praying for others will refuel your passion tank.

 

Father, all to often we focus our prayers on what we have in our circle of life. We miss praying for those who are off in other areas doing your mission. I pray that you will reignite us as we pray for others. Help is to be an encouragement to those who need it, to be the prayer in the perfect timing. I pray that your mission will expand and that many will come to know you personally. Let me be a witness to those around me, a light in the darkness. Let my passion overflow. Amen

Day 49: 50 Days of Impact

Ever put together something with instructions in hand. Do you read them or do you let your pride take over and try to go at it without? Or maybe you skim over and only take our what you feel is necessary to get the job done. Doing things out of sequence will never result in a properly assembled piece of furniture.

Many have done the same in their approach to faith in Jesus, and Christianity. The think they know what to do yet they are missing a vital step. Some believe that if they do enough good things then Jesus will accept them. Others, all I need to do is call out to Jesus, give him my life, then go on living however I want.

 

“Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”

James 2:26 NLT

 

Faith must come first. Good deeds come as a result of faith. Because of the gift of God, life, we want to share that with others. Like a plant who grows and gives off seeds can only do so if it is first alive. A dead plant can’t give off seed.

 

There are faith groups that believe if you do enough good you will cancel out the bad, which may or may not depending on the gods mood on the issue get you to the afterlife. There is no hope that doing good will actually get you where you need to go, but it couldn’t hurt were doing good right?

 

As believers in Jesus we don’t need to do good works to get to heaven. The reason we do good works is because we are going to heaven, it is an outpouring of gratitude for what we have been given. We desire to share the hope and joy that we have been given to all mankind.

 

What are we doing to express our faith to the world? I might also add good works without prayer is like trying to drive your car without any gasoline. You don’t get far, not very effective. Might look nice on the outside but no oomph to keep going the distance.

 

So, have you accepted Jesus as your saviour? Have faith in his everlasting promise of life? Then are you doing good works? If not then you need to find a church that will use you. Ask them how God can use you in the church. You are important and play a special role in reaching lost people. Be an effective Christian. Being a Christian isn’t only about accepting Christ, it is about changing your life and moving toward in a relationship with him. Repentance is about doing a 180 degree turn and leaving the areas that will bring you back into sin. And one sure fire way to keep on track is getting involved in kingdom work.

 

Jesus, if any readers aren’t active in kingdom work I pray today that you will put a burning passion on their heart to get involved. Show them an area where they can be used, however it may be. Bring them in to not only strengthen their faith but to provide them with the joy of doing good works. We know there is no retired or reserve Christians. We are all to be active in reaching the lost. Holy Spirit encourage us daily to be working towards this goal. Amen

 

Day 48: 50 Days of Impact

“I love it when a plan comes together” is a well know A-Team quote. I imagine that this is something God might be thinking sometimes. Think of Joseph, Ester or even Jesus. Many factors try to subvert the plan of God, the enemy wants nothing more then for it to succeed. But the plans of God are here for good and those types of plans will always prevail. God isn’t surprised when things happen, I believe he has all variables thought out and has a firm grasp on what outcomes will happen.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

 

This passage was written when Israel was being held captive by Babylon and God promised to free the from their oppression. Their sin had placed them in captivity, their disobedience and idolatry. When reading the bible, you get the imagery of the Israelites trust God only for a season at a time as they needed Him, but when the threat was over they were like “we got this” and started to do things in their own strength again forgetting who brought them there.

 

It was never the ultimate plan for the Israelite’s to be taken, yet they chose to sin and ignore God’s laws he had given them. This cycle kept leading them into trouble.

 

We were held captive by our sin. God made a plan that was for good. Jesus was the answer to the captivity of sin. There is a future and hope for all those who choose Jesus and follow God’s plan of salvation. We like the Israelites get into cycles of telling God “we got this”. It is in those times that we get sent back into times of trouble.

 

God has so much more for you. If only we could listen to Him when He tells us I have so much more for you if you would trust me, in the good times and the bad. I want to use your passions and your abilities to reach the world with my love.

 

People need to hear of this plan. Have you told anyone about it? Have you invited anyone to church to hear about it? Let’s start today and change the world one person at a time. You can be an instrument of change. You can impact your world.

 

Jesus, your plan is a good one. Your path to walk is the right one. This cycle of trusting you and trusting myself needs to stop, I will trust you in all that I do. Help me to follow you with excitement to share this truth with others. Holy Spirit create in me a clean heart and pour into me daily so I can reach others. They matter to you and they matter to me. Amen