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
I happened to be listening to Joyce Myers cd the other day and she said something that hit the nail right on the head. She was telling about a conversation about lady who was complaining about her job. She was the only Christian that worked at the job and just couldn’t stand working there any longer. Joyce then asked the lady if she had not just had a conversation and prayer a few months earlier for opportunities to minister to people.
“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10 NLT
Whatever you do, do well. Do you work at restaurant as a cashier? Do it well. Stocking shelves for a living? Do it well. Adding numbers? Do it well. Managing people? Do it well. Working for a volunteer organization? Do it well. Whatever you do with your life, whatever aspect, your work, your family, volunteering, whatever it may be, when you are there give it your best.
Many people who are unhappy in life simply aren’t giving their all into what they are doing. They are more concerned about what others have and that they don’t. What a miserable life to live when we focus on what others have. If we stop looking outward and notice what’s around us, we are a bless people here. Work for the most part is there for those who are willing to work and work at it their very best. Sometimes we have to settle on a job before finding the job we really want but we must still give it all in the job we have while we wait for opportunities. Trust that God will motivate you in the job you have preparing you for more responsibilities.
We ask God for things to increase our ministry, our passion or to give us motivation and joy, yet when He does we don’t stop and realize it. We are focused on our own happiness and our situation. Its like a child asking for an allowance and then complaining about the amount they receive.
Are you happy in your job today? Is it the job or is it something else? Why not focus on doing the job you have well and trust that God will grow you in it. The bible says if we are faithful to God he will give us the desires of our heart, so be faithful in what you have now and see what happens. More then likely God has you where you are for a reason.
Jesus, if there are people reading this who are unsatisfied in their current job, I pray you give them a new perspective. Help them to work hard and start seeing their job as an opportunity to grow. Let new opportunities come there way as a result of this attitude change. Let their coworkers see a change and question them on it, becoming a fantastic in to share your love with them. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to us. Amen
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
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
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