8: 50 Days of 3:16

Israel was called into the land God had promised. After Joshua had been gone the people easily strayed away from God. They easily adopted the practices of those communities around them, being sponges instead of being salt and light to the world around them. This made it hard for God to bless them as they were ignoring Him for other things. So, God anointed Judges to turn the people back to Him. This worked for a time but eventually, the next generation would grow up and make the same mistakes of their parents. This cycle is prevalent all throughout the book of Judges.

 

Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit[d] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.

Judges 3:16

 

We meet Ehud in chapter 3 at a time, once again, where Israel has turned their backs on God once again. When this happens we almost always see oppression from the enemies that seduced Israel to their gods and ways. The very thing they longed for was no being their hardship. This happens to us even today. Many times, the things we seek after when we finally receive them they are not what we expected and now have control over us. Drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, fame, fortune to name a few.

 

Who was Ehud? Well, we know the first thing that it was important to tell us he was left-handed. Why is this important? Well, it would have set him apart from the people. It wasn’t normal then to be left-handed, it could have been a sign of sin or being set apart by God. We do not have a definitive answer but we do know that he was different.  We also know he was confident in what he was called to do. To strap a 18inch sword to your leg knowing full well you were intent of assassinating the oppressors king takes much courage and determination. Read on in the chapter to see how Ehud accomplished his mission.

 

We are called by God to do great things. No, I don’t believe He is calling people today to be assassins. The days of Judges are over, and we have been given a new mission. We are oppressed and put through hardships, but our weapon today is love. When we are told about the armour of God there are many pieces, but only one weapon. This weapon is the World of God. The Bible. We use the powerful words inside to reveal the hope that is Christ Jesus to the world. Are you ready to listen to what God is calling you to? You are a son or daughter of the King who is calling you to reach out to the hurting around you. You have giftings that only you can do that will help bring people to know Him. He promised strength through the Holy Spirit. Talk with Him, He knows all about you and wants to use you in this mission.

 

Father, we keep following the example of the Israelites and turning from you to chase after what the world has to offer. Forgive us for this, break this cycle in our hearts so that we can be effective in reaching those around us who need to know you. Let our example be that of one who loves you and is open to your voice. Holy Spirit guide us in where we need to go, who we need to talk to, provide us with wisdom and knowledge that we could never have obtained unless it is from You. We want to be effective Christians. Amen

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43: 50 Days Freed

We live in fear that if we are to share our faith bad things will happen. That may be understandable in a country where Christians are jailed for their faith, but in a free country what ‘bad’ could really happen to us. This fear we have is all about us and how people will think about us. Our reputations as the way others see us has become more important to us than our faith. This is a form of prison we are in that holds us back from experiencing the blessings of God.

 

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?  But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

 

1 Peter 3:12-17

 

At my church yesterday, our pastor spoke on ‘fake news’ and that it has been circulating for ages. It is not new, it was warned about in the bible. People are willing to accept many strange things they are taught about the Christian faith. There is an abundance of fake stories out there that have been told for so long they are now considered truth by some. When we dig into them we find out that they are based on lies and ultimately were created to separate us from God not draw us closer. A really good example is the quote attributed to St Francis Assisi; “ Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words”. Of course, this is a fake quote rewording the man of God. Francis was a man who spoke often about reaching the lost, but he used many words. Take a look above at the verse again. We are called to ‘always be ready to explain’. I can’t explain something without words.

 

Why then are we so casual about our mission in reaching the lost? What is it that holds us back from spreading the truth to others? Does it even matter as a believer if I share my faith or just sit back and let the Pastor do it for me? Isn’t that why we give to missions? Each and every individual believer is called to share the love of Jesus with the world. The world being where ever you are. We are not all to travel abroad to make a difference, some may be called but in reality, we can do the same work right where we are. Unless you live in some gated Christian community where you never interact with anyone else, we all have someone who needs to experience Jesus. Do the people around you know that there is hope to be found in Jesus? Does your life reflect it, words express it, body language impress it? We are ambassadors of Christ. Are you ready to break the bondage of fear and be freed to share the love of Christ with others?

 

Maybe today you don’t know Jesus and are reading this asking what does this mean? You know many people who claim to be Christians and their lives and actions are not very nice, they do not act any different than me. I am sorry for the version of Christianity they are portraying. Jesus came to give mankind life and life abundantly. He sacrificed himself so that you may live free of the bondage of sin. Sin separates us from God. Ask God to show Himself to you today, pick up a bible, or download the BibleApp. Check him out for yourself, don’t let someone else version of Christianity keep you away from the truth. Seek it out yourself.

 

Father, as we work towards reaching the lost and fulfilling the mission, give us the strength to overcome the fear that holds us back. Help us to see the freedom in sharing your love with others. It is empowering and brings much joy to heaven. If there is anyone reading this who does not yet have a relationship with you I pray that even now you are speaking to them and showing them the love you have for them. Let us become better ambassadors for you and bring us freedom from fear. Amen

42: 50 Days Freed

At my work, I have been teaching tools and ways to assist in Mental Health. How to recognize it in yourself and others, how to find ways to self-recover and when to ask for help. One tool that we talk about are SMART goals. Maybe one of the reasons we as believers tend to lack in the mission of sharing our faith is the fact we do not have any set goals. Just like a New Years resolution if we just tell ourselves what we are going to do but do not put it on paper and make it a priority it is bound to be pushed aside. We then become locked in a prison of laziness never accomplishing anything.

 

Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.

 

Proverbs 4:26

 

The saying goes ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. When you make choices on a whim of only verbalize them they are easily forgotten or adapted for ease. But when we take the time to formulate a plan or goal and write it down it makes it much easier to follow. The plan or goal can be amended but it takes more thought and direction when you have to amend something written. Let’s take the SMART goal idea and see how that could help us mark out a straight path when it comes to the mission we are called to do.

 

Specific – Being specific in what you want to do. I want to reach the lost is a great goal but there is no real definition of what or who you want to reach. If you can specify a person that would be amazing. I want to speak to Jim this week about Jesus. Or if you don’t have a particular person even, I will talk to one person this week about Jesus.

Measurable –  How can I measure what I am doing? In this scenario it is quite simple, have I done it. Other cases it may be something you have to consider.

Attainable – Is this something that I can actually do? I make this goal to talk to Jim fully knowing that Jim is away all week. Or my schedule is so jammed packed that it would be impossible to make time. What do you need to do to make this happen? We must never make a goal of something we cannot get the result ourselves. To make a goal that Jim accept Christ by the end of the week is not attainable as this is not a choice we have to make. That choice is between Jim and God.

Realistic – Speaking to one individual a week about Jesus is a realistic goal. If you are a shy person making a goal to reach a larger number of people a week might be too lofty of a goal and the thought of doing it will set you up for failure. Ensure the goal you set for yourself is realistic about what you can manage. As you move forward and complete goals your level of realistic, your confidence grows you can change it up.

Time Bound –  This one ensures that you give yourself an endpoint. I am going to invite three people to church by Friday. This pushes us to not push it off to a later date. We see the deadline and should work to meet it.

 

I do not think we can plan for every scenario and I would not expect to either. But if we start setting SMART goals every Sunday for our week I wonder how more effective we would be. Imagine a church where people shared their accomplished goals each Sunday, encouraging one another that they can do this. That the mission of saving the lost is possible, it is for them and they can do it. We need to remember to stay on the path God calls us to.  If we keep walking off we get stuck and need to be freed over and over again. But preparing ourselves to stay on the path and make wise choices will provide us with a freedom like we have never experienced before in Christ.

 

Father, help us to mark our paths. If we need to set goals to accomplish this I pray that you guide us in making these goals ones we can accomplish. Provide us opportunities to share our faith at home, work and in our communities. We want to see your people reaching the lost. I want to reach the lost more and more.  Use this message to encourage others to set goals and get out there sharing your love. Amen

41: 50 Days Freed

We often hear of people who do not believe they are good enough to be forgiven by God. Or they may be trying to get themselves to a place where they feel they are worthy of asking. They may read today’s scripture and feel that they have to work hard for if they do not God may not receive them. This verse read out of context can do just that, but today’s verse is for those who have already received God’s forgiveness. Those who have yet to accept God’s grace have nothing to do but come to him as they are where they are. Jesus is waiting for them as they are.

 

“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 NLT

 

As followers of Christ, we are called to the mission of sharing the good news of his love to the world. This included those around you, at your work, your neighbours, and anyone you may come in contact with, physically, or even on the internet. Are you being a good worker? Are you ashamed of your faith? When was the last time you shared your faith with those around you?

 

We are called to share our faith. We need to be working on it daily. As we live our lives we have become complacent in our faith, let it become all about meeting our needs and not about reaching the lost. If we sit in this type of faith it deprives us of the relationship God has for us. I have been here and the daily struggle to open up to others around me.

 

I keep asking daily for the Holy Spirit to show me moments in my day where I can love those around me, to make a conscious effort to do reach the lost. We need to prepare ourselves daily in prayer, without we will miss out on the opportunities as we go through the business of life. As we open up to others about what God has done for us it strengthens our relationship with God. If you brag up your friends to others it makes them feel good and you feel good too. Same goes when we brag up the importance of a relationship with God. God receives glory for your obedience and you grow stronger in your faith as you share. How do we free ourselves from the fear of sharing our faith? By doing it. Trusting that Jesus who gave you this mission would not have done it if he did not think you would succeed. He gave you help in the Holy Spirit who is with all believers and ready willing and able to help you in your daily walk and talking with people about salvation.

 

Let’s get to work!

 

Jesus, help us to work on reaching the lost. Show us that moments each day that we can show your love to those around us. As we take time each day to pray to you prepare us, open our eyes. I am tired of expecting others to do the work you called me to, it is my turn to step up. The lost matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

7: 50 Days Freed

Life outside the relationship of God may seem to be all fine and normal but those who are outside his grace are living for nothing. Those who are living for nothing can and will be caught up by anything that sounds like it gives hope and freedom. But anything other then a relationship with Jesus is false hope. In reality, it can actually add more chains to their bondage and solidify the hold the enemy has on them. There is a reason we must be bold and willing to share our faith with others because they are unaware of their condition, they have either convinced themselves or have been convinced that everything is okay.
 
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2: 1-2
 
The choice that every man has to make is not easily swallowed. Many will argue that it isn’t fair that once choice determines where we spend eternity. Some hold off and make the claim I will wait for another day to make my choice, let me live my life now. Unfortunately, any choice even a delay is a choice not to accept the gift God has given to us; grace in Jesus. Some will say well if they never heard about Jesus how can they be accountable, I ask you this if you don’t take the time to tell them who then is responsible? We have been called to reach all nations with the Good news about Jesus. If every follower of Jesus took the time each day to share the love of Jesus with one person imagine the impact it would have on this world.
 
There are those who have given in to the darkness, either by choice or by their actions. This is a scary thought that someone would choose this, but it happens. The spirit guide, the fortune tellers, those running seances and others dabble in the occult opening their hearts and souls up to be playgrounds for the enemy. Other through acts that alter their minds, with drugs illegal or not, alcohol, entertainments and all sorts of perversions. We don’t know for sure but one might assume that those people we see on the news who choose to do some heinous crimes against women, children and even genocides may be filled with the enemy. Demonic possession and infilling are biblical and still relevant today. The enemy is covert in his operation as not to make a scene but he is using people to do some pretty sick things. I say this not to scare you but remind you that Jesus died for them to, there is freedom for those who the enemy feels he has a solid grip on.
 
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) Ephesians 2: 4-5
 
All mankind is called to be in a relationship with God. It is ingrained in our very being. We work to fill this void with many things and none will truly satisfy expect him. That is why many are easily susceptible to the enemy because they accept anything in hopes of finding something. It is also why Jesus made it clear that if we free someone from being possessed that we need to show them Jesus love to fill up the hole left behind lest the demon return with his buddies find the hole open and jump back in making things much worse. You might be reading this and are like ‘I could never tell a demon to leave a man, that is so weird, or I don’t have that power’. But you do. If Christ lives in you then you have the authority he has given you. He told his disciples that with the Holy Spirit they could do the same things he did and more, they had to trust him. The disciples did cast out demons and we can too. Please don’t take this and run around town looking for people to exorcise. Not my intent for you. But be prepared that if it ever happens you are confident that Jesus has given you an authority in his name to do what must be done.
 
Freedom, you have it lets start sharing it. Like I said earlier if ever believer told one person a day the world would be changed. Will you accept the mission you are called to, reaching the lost at all cost? To sit idly by and expect some else to do the work doesn’t cut it anymore. We need all hands on deck, everyone who calls God their Father stepping up, young and old as there is not retirement in Christ. We who are free need to share the freedom with other.
 
Father, empower us to reach the lost. Prepare us for the unexpected and show us your glory. Let us not be overwhelmed by sin and despair, but encouraged that those we talk to really do desire a relationship with the creator. Motivate your people to stop helping the enemy by being lazy and start scaring him with our evangelism. When the people of God stand up and start working on the mission he will tremble and go into defensive mode. It is time for the children of God to go on the offensive and spread the kingdom to all nations, including our friends, family and coworkers. Use us to show freedom to others. Amen
 

Day 46: 50 Days All In

God desires to have an all in relationship with every human, that was the original purpose. When sin entered the lives of man, His mission did not change, He still desires to have the same relationship. For awhile He arranged that it must be through obedience and rules. Some of these rules were such that it felt impossible to follow. We believe He did this as to show us that without Him involved we cannot cleanse ourselves of the mess we are in. But when the rest of the plan fell in place we see that He made an easier way for us to have the relationship restored
 
For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. 1 Peter 2: 19-20a
 
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Jesus, coming in the form of a sinless baby, was raised by loving parents, taught the disciples of who he was and his purpose, was crucified whilst still sinless, and rose again to bridge the gap between God and man. This bridge is one that promises that we can experience the same relationship that Adam had in the garden where he communicated and walked with God. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the light, no one comes to the Father but through me” John 14:6.
 
To be in the will of God is to look at the mission. The mission has always been the same. Jesus commanded us to continue the mission in Mark 16:15-16. If we as believers are purposefully following the mission which we are commissioned to fulfil then God is pleased with what we do, and we can expect to be treated unjustly.
 
Does your life reflect the fact that you have an all in relationship with God? Do the people around you associate you with being a follower of Christ? How we carry ourselves and act around other people says so much about who we are. When we build up our church and the love of the family of God, it will draw people in. If our actions don’t match our words it will, of course, turn people off to our message and who wants to go to a place where no one is happy or there is no joy? We need to be involved in the health and life of our churches, sharing the exciting things that are happening with others.
 
Are you committed to the mission? Does your heart cry out for an all in relationship with him? The church you attend is not there to satisfy your needs but to be a lighthouse to those who are looking for the same relationship you have. There is freedom from sin for your family, friends, co-workers and people you meet walking down the street. But if we don’t tell them about Jesus or invite them out to meet our family, they will never know about it. They will continue to walk around oblivious to the fact they are separated from God. God desires to have an all in relationship with you just like he did with Adam and Eve. One where He can walk and talk with you bonding and working with us here on earth. I ask again; Are you committed to the mission?
 
Jesus, thank you for dying for our sins, creating the bridge that reconnects us with the Father. Thank you for washing away our sins. I pray Jesus that you will ignite the hearts of your people here in Canada to your mission that you have commissioned us to. Let us set aside the apathy and realize time is short, people are dying and going to hell and need to know that there is another way. They need to experience you, Jesus. Awaken your church family from the malaise that has crept into our families and shake us up. Help us set aside our pride and egos and start focusing on reaching others. Remind us that church isn’t about satisfying our needs but reaching others. Help us to show others your desire for an all in relationship with them. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

Day 33: 50 Days of Passion

There is a video out there of a man walking around his town just asking people how he can help them. From all appearances and his intro to the video, we can assume he is legit and really just wants to help people do anything for his “social experiment”. The people who he talked to on the most part were very hesitant to accept his help. He intentionally didn’t offer anything specific other then helping them with whatever they needed.

Now I have done something similar to this. The group of men I have a bible study with went door to door in our neighborhood asking if they needed help with anything on an upcoming Saturday as we were going to be loving our neighbors. People in most part were friendly to our visit, but no one wanted help, they were hesitant to receive.

 

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”

Romans 12:9 NLT

 

Hate and anger have become staples in the lives of many believers and unbelievers alike. Some wrong that has been done against us or to someone we love that we have a hard time accepting or forgiving. These strong emotions can grip us to the point where our faith becomes ineffective when working to reach the lost. They see us working to love them yet the anger and hate festering on other issues cause them to wonder where your heart really is.

 

We are to live out our life like Christ. No, we are not prefect, that’s why daily we need to come to the foot of the cross and ask to be cleansed of our sins. Jesus was clear about this, especially when he was sharing the Lords supper, he reminded them that if they had any anger or unforgiveness towards a brother they need to go right away and make it right.

 

Again and again we are called to love others. Love is the most powerful thing in the world that can break those who are hardened, bitter and angry. We need to learn to love those in our communities that feel unloved. How can we do that? Get out into your community and find the needs. Then work to meet them. Ask them ‘ what can I do for you?’ Then work hard at meeting the need, whether it is physical, spiritual, or financial. Be Jesus to them.

 

Wait, doesn’t the last part of todays scripture tell us to hate what is wrong? I thought as a believer we were to not hate anything? Love is preached as the key, isn’t it? King James Version says abhor, amplified tells us to ‘detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness.” How does this then translate what our lives should be reflecting? I believe that we can’t be living a life where we are tolerating things that are wicked and promote sin. We should hate these ungodly practices are destroying the lives of our friends, family and coworkers. Yet we shouldn’t let that hate consume us. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we can do to reach the people lost in these things.

 

 

Jesus, if I have anger in my heart I ask that you forgive me. Let me be a man of God who loves those around me. Let your love exude my life. Let me be an example of you. I don’t want to tolerate wickedness, show me how to not accept it and work to reach those caught up in it. Show me how I can love those around me in my community and use me to help them. Give me wisdom and strength to be a light. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me. Amen