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

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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

 

 

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 50: 50 Days of Impact

If I had cancer, yet I didn’t know I had cancer I would not be very open to hear you tell me that I had it. If I wasn’t displaying any symptoms or feeling and effects I would call you misinformed. Especially if you were just my friend or co-worker, not even a professional. No one is looking for cancer in their own body. It is the same as sin, no one is looking or thinking they have sinned. For you to tell me I’m a sinner well that can’t be. I am a good person. Dr.’s know what to look for when it comes to cancer, they know the signs, symptoms and what to identify in blood. Jesus in conjunction with the Holy Spirit knows what sin is and wants to open your eyes to the life your living and the life that He has for you. Most people have a hard time accepting the diagnostic, but when you do and seek help that’s when truly healing can begin.

 

“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”

Romans 8:7 NLT

 

 

We need to remember that those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus are not looking for him. Those who haven’t been washed clean by the blood of the lamb, are still soaked in the sinful nature and remain hostile towards God. Why would a good God do such bad things to this world and it is people? They will ask questions like that. Because they don’t see the condition they are in.

 

If they could only look at themselves from Gods eyes, they would be down on their knees in seconds praying that God would save them from their evil ways.

 

But God, having a plan to offer redemption made a way for us to be free of sin. Jesus calls out to the people of this world to come to him. In our stubborn selfish ways we don’t hear him, and we ignore his call. I am sure you have friends or family who you have talked to many times about the love of Jesus and they keep shrugging it off and don’t seem interested.

 

Don’t give up, don’t stop sharing, don’t stop praying for them. The only lost cause is one who has been buried. So as long as they have a breath in their bodies keep loving them.

 

Dear Jesus, we need you to continue to call out to the ones we love. We want our friends and family to come to you. We open ourselves up to be used by you to witness to anyone you set in our path. Loosen our lips to share of what you have done for us and want to do for them. 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

 

 

Day 45: 50 Days of Impact

Don’t be fooled. There is a choice to make in this life. Don’t let anyone try to convince you that there are many roads to God. In fact, the truth is there are many roads to hell. But there is only on way to God. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the light. ANYONE who wants to come to the Father (God) MUST come through ME.” If we want to impact our world with the truth then we must be telling the truth, sharing the truth and confronting the lies. It may feel uncomfortable, it may put you into strange situations, you may get persecuted, but when you stand up for the truth of Jesus you will see lives changed.

 

 

““Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

 

You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.””

Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 20 NLT

 

Even back in the Old Testament God desire was for us to have a relationship with him. We always had a choice to make. Follow his commands and live a righteous life. In the New Testament Jesus provides a new way to have a relationship with God through him. He made the ultimate sacrifice creating the way for us to meet God.

 

But we must make the choice. We as believers keep making choices in our life. We choose to keep following or let go. We choose to be active in our faith or be lazy. We choose to share our faith or keep it to ourselves.

 

We are shown in the verse today that if we choose to walk in the ways of God we will prosper. I wonder how many of us are in the situations we are because we have chosen are ways over Gods ways?

 

I see so many hurting and lost people that are torn up inside, the ones I am thinking of are the mentally broken, they keep looking to man and medication to fix the brokenness inside, yet don’t realize that Jesus can change them from the inside. But the must make the choice to ask him. This is not always instant fix thought. I can’t explain why believers can choose Christ and not be freed from there anguish, or are hurting mentally and physically. Paul talked about an ailment he kept asking to be cured of, but it didn’t happen. Trials and testing are part of the Christian walk. Maybe we endure these so we can connect with people who are lost with similar situations. Only God knows his plan.

 

I ask you today to firmly commit yourself to Jesus, trust his ways what ever they many be. Wake up each morning with a desire to ask the Holy Spirit ‘What can we do together today.’

 

Jesus, we need to make a choice to follow you and to daily continue to follow you. Thank you for giving us the freedom to make the choice. Let us be a light to those around us who are making unwise choices. Help those who are hurting mentally, depressed and reliving memories of past hurt. Let us see the world through your eyes and remember they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

 

 

Day 44: 50 Days of Impact

In his last hours of his life Jesus continued to make an impact on those around him. He didn’t make excuses or complain on what was happening to him. We see the same compassion for those who needed forgiveness right up to his last breath. Jesus embodied the mission, and he calls us to do the same.

 

“Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

Luke 23:42-43 NLT

 

“In times of trouble, may the LORD answer your cry. May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.”

Psalms 20:1 NLT

 

 

Picture this, Jesus, beaten by the Romans, mocked by the Jews, his friends had left him, and now he is hanging on the cross. Now to top it off as he is hanging their, the two criminals next to him start talking. One openly mocks Jesus. This criminal who is sharing the same penalty as Jesus, who deserved his fate, was mocking Jesus who was innocent. The other criminal goes to defend Jesus. He knows something is going on and eagerly and openly defends Jesus the innocent.

 

When he finishes rebuking the other criminal, he turns his attention to the one he was defending. This criminal may have had the importance of Jesus revealed to him either by the Holy Spirit, or maybe he had heard Jesus talking earlier in his life. We won’t know exactly what compelled him to ask the dying man next to him to remember him in heaven.

 

But an awesome reminder of Jesus forgiving power is displayed here on the cross. This criminal called out to Jesus, and Jesus didn’t ignore him, he didn’t make him say a prayer, he didn’t make an altar call, he answered his cry. This displays the awesome forgiveness of Jesus. King David wrote that the lord answers are cries in times of trouble. This criminal may have remembered this as he hung on his cross and knew of the psalm as a child, but for whatever reason he cried out to Jesus to remember him, the point to remember is that Jesus answered his cry.

 

So today those around us who are hurting, dying, depressed, out of work, angry, they all need Jesus. He is right there waiting for them to cry out to him. It is never to late for someone to come to Jesus.

 

Dear Jesus, I need to keep sharing your love with those around me. Help me this very day to invite friends, coworkers and family to experience the love of Jesus. Give me the boldness to invite people to church this Sunday. Let your messages all over this world from in the hearts of those who may only attend church once or twice a year. Break hearts and change lives this weekend. Amen