Day 21: 50 Days of Change

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:14, 16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Have you ever tried to give someone directions over the phone? Maybe you had something you needed them to do, you did your best to explain it but in the end they did it wrong anyways. Where your directions not clear enough? Were you to blame? Or did they just listen to what they wanted to hear and only did what they heard? There has been times when I can call my kids on the way home from work and walk them through making supper and it works out fantastic, other times it has felt like I might as well have been speaking another language to them.

As we receive directions from someone are we willing to listen and ask clarifying questions fully understanding or do we just want to get it done so we say yes yes, but then miss out on the important details, not fully fulfilling the task? I wonder what it would have been like if Noah when asked to build an ark he stop  God and said okay got it, but didn’t wait for the details. He may have crafted a canoe, it is a boat. The details are important.

Jesus who was God still needed to take time and commune with God and get direction. He asked clarifying questions, we see this when he a was praying in the garden, he ultimatly said ‘why me’. He probably already new the reason, but he still needed reassurance. Gideon, David, Abraham and so many others asked the questions to clarify their mission.

Today if you are asking God for something, and he is showing you something don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. He may or may not give you all the details but he will provide what you need to know. Open your ears and eyes to what he has for you.

Jesus, far to often we hear something and rush to it without asking any questions. This leads to mistakes and problems, they say fools rush in. I pray you give us the wisdom to ask questions, not to question you but for clarification. Give us wisdom to move forward in the plans you have for us. We want to be effective in the mission of reaching those who do not have a relationship with you. They matter you, you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 20: 50 Days of Change

““God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Humanity has always been drawn to lies and untruths for the sake of a good story. We have come through life tearing others down to build ourselves up. This hasn’t changed much over the centuries, yet in today’s society and the introduction and use of the internet it has become more wide spread. At one point in history it would have been confined to your community or province, now you can spread lies and mockery all over the world. 

Personally I am not aware of any other time in our timelessness where Christians have been mocked in the name of comedy. It is like there is no limits to what can be said to offend, and a weird phenomenon is growing where we are openly working to mock ourselves. The ‘Christian comedians’ who continually make fun of our differences and uniqueness in our churches are not helping, I am guilt of this. They may be exposing hard truths though laughter but some of it is hurtful and crossing the line, let’s be honest a lot of it is.

Good Christian men, woman, leaders, Pastors are being torn apart by fake news and lies spread on social media. I believe as Christians we don’t help it much either. We don’t try to curb it, instead some of us feed off it, we share it and like it, not even sure if what being written is truth. We need to use these oportunities to find the truth and use it to share love and forgiveness.

Now as humans we will get upset with the lies and the mockery as it is prt of our nature. Jesus tells to be happy in it. What? How can I be happy when these things are going on? I should be glad? Why? If these things are happening in your life it is a good sign you are following the path Jesus has set for you. These forms of persecution are attacks from the devil and his minions to trip you up. He does not want you on the path moving forward, he would prefer you in the ditch playing in the mud. The devil would prefer apathetic Christians who do nothing, he will leave you alone in that state, you are no threat, you may be out of his kingdom but your not working to grow the one you are apart of. 

A great example of this is Elijah. He obeyed God, destroyed the priests of babel after their gods didn’t show up to accept the sacrifice when the true God did. Almost immediately  after this Elijah went in hiding fearing as if he was under attack. The enemy, satan will attack when you are on the path Jesus calls you on. Do not fear, be happy, be glad, for it is evidence you are on the path.

Jesus, forgive us if we have been putting people down in our faith. We can’t be living a life where we tear others down it’s untruths and mockery. Keep us on the path and help us to see that when we are attacked with lies and untruths that they are from the devil who wants to distract us from the truth. Encourage us to keep our eyes on you. Watch over us today and help us to know that the people around us matter to you. They Matter to me and we are ready to tell them that. Amen

Day 19: 50 Days ofChange

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I decided to watch the New Star Trek last night, and one conversation had me thinking. Kirk was chatting with the Admiral of the star base about taking the job as Admiral of the Star base, thinking that the life would be easier there then onboard his ship. After his mission he returned and in his second conversation he was offered the position. He asked the question ‘ does the position have a ship I can command’ in which the response was ‘no’. Kirk then replied ‘ well what’s the fun/ adventure of that?’ (Paraphrased of course) 

As believers in Christ are we content to sit in our church buildings, going on with the “church” business not really caring about things going on outside, hoping that people will stumble in? There are many believers right now in this world who are like that. The church building has become their safe haven, a place to go to hang out with their friends, sing, fellowship and pay their dues. They pay someone to lead, they pay someone to maintain, pay someone to teach thier children and they pay others to do the work of reaching others. If I give towards a missionaries work then that will cover my mission. If any of this resounds to you it is time to change.

Jesus calls us to a mission, not a 5 year mission as in Star Trek, but a mission for all believers that continues on in your life till you meet him face to face. We need to be excited about this mission, when others comment about the safety of the church building we need to cry out ‘but where is the fun/adventure in that?’ We need to throw off the stereotypes that telling others about Jesus love and sacrifice is boring. Every mission has success and failures. Each failure can be the moment you feel like giving up or it can be what propels you to push harder in the mission. How you respond will be the key factor. We learn from our failures, and most of the times what we consider a ultimate failure may not be one, it may be the enemy trying to discourage us. Sometimes those momements may be vital in preparing someone to relieve Jesus in a day, week, month or even years. You may never know what impact telling someone about Jesus may have.

You may be persecuted for being part of the mission of sharing the love of Jesus. If you are that means you are on the right path. It mean the enemy is upset that you are in his business, he desires to keep his followers. So of course he will retaliate when we come against him. Be prepared, out on the full armour of God, read his word, pray, build other believers up, encourage one another. If we are doing the mission as designated to us by Jesus himself then expect that not everyone will be open to it, do not let this discourage you, remember some will. 

Are you comfortable in you life mission? Are you comfortable where your at or are you ready for adventure? 

Jesus, we life a life that is comfortable, yet we strive for adventure. I pray that as believers in you we will accept the mission of reaching the lost. Help us realize that most of the time we need to go to the lost people, they don’t normally come to us. This is the adventure. Holy Spirit be our guide and give us wisdom to know who to talk to, words to speak, actions to showcase the love of Jesus. Let us see others the way you see them. They matter to you so they matter to me. Mission accepted. Amen
How is your adventure going? In you mission have you seen success in reaching others? I would love to hear about it. Sharing is a great way to encourage others to join the mission.

Day 18: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Do you know anyone who strives to create dissention? It seems to those on the outside that their main objective in life is to cause others grief. We have a name for these folks on the playground but it does carry over into the workplace, famalies and the church : Bullies. They most likely will not see themselves that way but their actions reflect that of someone who push people about to achieve their obectives. This personality type likes to get their way no matter what, it very well could be the root cause of many a church split. One person or two with opposing views on an issue not willing to work towards peace in the name of not feeling weak. 

What I love about this beatitude is it doesn’t say achieving peace, it say working for peace. It has more to do with understanding what peace in relative to our relationship with God, then peace that ensures everyone is happy with the situation. Peace to make everyone happy is unachievable. One lean in a direction for one group will be unfavourable for another. This type of peace making leads to bitterness from sides who feel another is getting a better deal. 

Peace described here, I believe, comes from the understanding of the commandment to love one another. Taking the time to connect with the body of believers and not just a select few can be a great way to show this love. When we get bonded to a rare few believers we start thinking the same line and when the party line gets challenged we jump to the cause, but we need to be towing Jesus line of loving one another, that is the main objective. Investing in your fellow believers will create a peace that will be a desire of those outside the church. It will show them that the church is a true family whose members love one another and have more then enough love for new brothers and sisters. 

Are you working for peace or are your actions agressive? If you don’t get what you want how do you responded? If your church makes changes how do you respond? Are you connected with just a few brothers and sisters or many? Work for peace, strive to love one another.

Jesus, I pray that we love one another more. To be a church who loves our neighbors as ourselves, to show them peace in a world that is full of discention. We need to embrace those who darken the doors of our buildings, or talk to us at work as loved by God. If they are all loved by God then we as believers need to love them too. To work towards peace I pray you will help us drop our preconviced notions and see them as you see them, people in need of a saviour. Amen

Day 17: 50 Days of Change

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

The news yesterday told of a man, a firefighter, risking his life to save a woman who had somehow climbed up a work crane 150 feet up and had managed to get on the hook dangling from the crane line. Robert being the most agile and experienced climber was selected for this daring rescue. Listening to an interview last night he spoke of how scary it was but he showed no indication that he was put out or angry with the woman for her act of stupidity. He honestly and truly was grateful to be helping her. His sincerity and passion for his job and explaining the rescue displayed to me his pure heart. When he was suspended 150 feet in the air next to her having a conversation, she had to make the choice to be helped, if she refused she would most likely have fallen.He even said he after rescuing her told her that if she was fined he would foot her fines. he wasn’t looking for a reward, nor a pat on the back, no he wanted to go even farther and show this woman even more grace.

Isn’t the Christian experience with Jesus very similar to that? Jesus was selected by God to be our rescuer. He made the daring and heroic effort to come to where we are. As he suspends himself next to us in our condition he asks us to trust him and his rescue, he wants us to jump into his arms and know his love. the amazing part is he isn’t done once we are rescued. he wants to give us so much more, life abundantly. he only asks for one thing in return, take the love you have experienced and share it with other revealing to them that they too can be rescued from their predicaments.

Would you risk your life to save another? Would you share your faith to save someone from an eternity without God? We are called to do both. When we love one another and Love our neighbours as ourselves we will start to do these things as second nature. Jesus didn’t hesitate to rescue you.

Jesus, give me a pure heart to be able to see others as you do. let me see their need of you and tell them about how you rescued me. I pray that we could all have the courage to save someone’s physical life as well as their spiritual condition. Give us opportunities to share your love each and ever day. let it not be a surprise to us that someone needs Jesus, but something we expect to encounter daily. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 16: 50 Days of Change

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

These days being merciful is sometimes viewed as weakness. Show no mercy is a slogan used by many athlete and sports team. It is not a concept taught to our children or seen often on the tv. So why does Jesus tell us to be merciful if it is something weak men and woman do? You can believe the lie that being merciful is for weak people or you can work to understand that it takes a lot of strength to be merciful to those, who most of the time, don’t deserve it.

Let’s look back to the first ever recorded display of mercy. Adam and Eve had just disobeyed Gods command to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the servant was most likely snickering away in the bushes, proud of what he convinced this weak willed people to do. God comes to have his evening walk with his creation, not finding them he cries out looking for his friends. Ashamed they approach God, they knew because of what they had done that he would not be pleased. In that moments God had a choice to make, would he destroy his creation then and there for their disobedience, or would he show mercy. God in his strength and wisdom choose to show mercy. He demonstrated his love and compassion towards his humanity in that moment by providing for their needs, he clothed them, this symbol was one of a father who may be disappointed by the choices made still cares for his children. He sent them off yet provided advice and a future plan for redemption of humanities situation.

Don’t forget now, there was also a serpant who played a part in this. God had every right to crush this creature for the role he played. I’ve believe this to be satan, if true then God had even more to destroy this evil that convinced humanity to sin. Yet God in his mercy let him God, cursing him, but sparing him for the time being. He didn’t pardon him but told him that his days were numbered and one would come to crush him. 

How are you showing mercy today? It doesn’t need to be something so grand, little things need mercy just as much. Your teenager arrives 30 min late for curfew, your spouse forgets an important anniversary, a friend does something to hurt you. What ever it is being merciful isn’t about being weak, it is more about forgiving others like Christ has forgiven us. 

Depending on the situation punishment may still take place. Mercy doesn’t always mean ignoring what happened.  Even though the servant waste the away relatively unscathed he knew that his time was limited befor he would be crushed. Someone who committed a crime and admits to it may receive mercy from the court but will most of the time still be required to some sort of retribution. 

So be merciful to those around you, not in weakness but strength. If we start changing the way we showm mercy and love we can change the world.

Jesus, you displayed the greatest act of mercy by taking on our sins on the crosss. Thank you for this merciless act. Without it we would still have no hope for a future and a relationship with the creator. Show us how to live a life displaying mercy and love to those around us.  Let us show them that god loves them and they matter, because they matter to you they matter to us. Amen