Day 43: 50 Days of Change 

“We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Many people like to use the excuse that they won’t be a part of any church because there are to many rules. What they fail to remember is that we are a rule based society. We have grown up following rules, rules of government which we call laws, rules we followed that our parents placed before us, rules when we go to school and rules at work. There are even unspoken rules of the playground. 

Many of the rules that individual churches and organizations have put in place over the years were made to help separate us from sin. The bible in the Old Testament is full of laws that we can read and wonder how we could ever follow each and every one. I don’t believe it is possible, I think God gave us such a list to show us that we can’t do it alone. That it was a way for us to see that in ourselves we can’t do anything to be redeemed. We require some help from something or someone. Jesus is that help.

When Jesus was asked about the laws or rules and which one was the greatest he gave us two to follow which in essence summed up all the rules. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. If you love your neighbor and you love God, you won’t murder anyone, you won’t lie to them, you won’t steal from them, you won’t sleep with their wives and daughters. If we can work on these two commands then the rest will follow as you won’t want to do them. 

If you are overwhelmed by rules in your faith, either because you are imposing them on yourself or your church has you under their thumb, I pray that you ask God to guide you in his commands. Ask him to guide you in loving your neighbor, ask him to show you how you can be an example of his love to them. Continually love God, don’t give up on him in the good or bad, he hasn’t given up on you. 

Father, I love you so much, thank you for send your son Jesus to die on the cross and redeeming me of my sins. I ask that I can love my neighbor more, give me opertunities to show your love to them. I ask that anyone who may be feeling oppressed by rules that aren’t from you God, that they are shown a way out, a way to freedom in you.  Holy Spirit guide us in our mission of reaching the lost, let our lives be an example of Christ love for us and them. We pray that you will give us a hunger to share you salvation message with them, because they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 42: 50 Days of Change

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

How many of us grew up singing ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world’? A cute song with a catchy tune, something we can belt out from memory now that we are older. But is it true? Does God truly love all the children of the world? Jesus himself tells us that ‘for God so loved the world’.  Is not all mankind part of the world? And if so then does God love every man woman and child?

But what if those people are doing things contradictory to what it means to be a Christian? What if they are lock in a lifestyle riddles with sin? Does God love them? What if they are worshiping someone or something else? Does God love them? What if their sexual preference and lifestyle choice goes against what the bible teaches? Does God love them? What if they murder rape and do unspeakable things to children? Does God love them? 

Yes, he loves them all and desires to have a relationship with them. We know this as Jesus himself told us that the father is holding back the end so that others may come to know him. Judgement is coming, have no doubt on that, but God is waiting for more to turn to Jesus and embrace him. He loves them so much that he is patient and desires that those who call themselves children of God, those who have accepted Jesus sacrifice and hope, will go into the world and share his love. 

As children of God we need to love others and see them the way God does. We need to change our minds like it says in Romans 12:1-2, not conforming to the patterns of this world. It is so easy to judge someone on appearances, attitudes, lifestyles and religious choices. But we are called to look past those things and love them as children of God and introduce them to Jesus. Let him do the rest. Let’s change our mindset and start sharing the love of Jesus with the world.

Father, if we have not shared your love because of a judgement we have made in one of your children we ask for forgiveness. You reach many people and we shouldn’t be surprised who you are calling. Let us be prepared to reach out at any moment to anyone you ask us to. Calm our fears and open our hearts, Holy Spirit give us the words to speak and the love to embrace others. We want to see your children how you see them. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen 

Day 41: 50 Days of Change 

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You must have have heard the argument before that ” why would a good God let all the bad things happen in the world” they say this as an excuse to why they can’t accept God. This of course is just a generic blanket statement that they use that really if they took the time to think about what they’re saying they may decide to change their question. The bible clearly states that one day God wil, judge the world for the bad things that are happening, it is clear in the Old Testament that he does judge places and people at certain times, look at Noah’s age and Sodom and Gommorah, even his own people Isreal. 

Since Jesus has defeated sin on the cross, God it would appear is holding back until judgement day. He has provide an opportunity for humanity to find peace and his love through Jesus. Many who make the statement above do not realize what they are saying, if they knew that asking God to deal with all the bad things in the world would include them they would have a different outlook. For they don’t see themselves as bad, they are good people who have bad things happening to them. The enemy has blinded their eyes to the truth and they have a false sense of security. They don’t understand that the underling issue with the world is affecting them as well. 

We need to be better at sharing the love of Jesus with them. We need to start changing our attitudes towards reaching the lost. We sometimes discount people based on bias and not see them for who they are, loved by God, who desires that not one be discarded or written off. If it is fear holding us back, then we need to ask ourselves why? Is the love of God flowing through us, if so then there is no need to fear, he has overcome death, he has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us through this uncomfortable and undesirable times. But we must do something, apathy and non action are not what we are called to do. 

We are called to mission of reaching the lost. The question the world should be asking us is not “why would a good God let all the bad things happen in the world” but rather ” when will this good God end all the bad things in the world” we need to be ready to share the love of Jesus with them at any moment.

Father, we need to reach those who are away from you. It is so uncomfortable and strange for us is in our culture to share our beliefs with others. Not because we don’t want to but more because Christians are consider intolerant and not understanding, which of course is further from the truth. Show us ways to reaching those around us, we know they are longing for something more in their lives.  Let us be an example of your love in actions and words. Holy Spirit push us to be sharers and get out of our comfort zones. The people around us are loved by you God, so we need to love them as well, no excuses. Amen

Day 31: 50 Days of Change

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Only one man can ever claim the title of having no sin. We have been infected with this sin since the beginning of humanity in the garden. The moment Adam and Eve made the choice to eat what was forbidden they changed the way we live forever. Adam and Eve were patient zero. We no because of this are born into sin, in which there is no earthly cure. Most sin effects the heart, but we sometimes focus on the sin that affects others as more dangerous.

Some would say that sin is just a buzz word we created somewhere along the way to explain immorality. If we can put a name on it then it can be contained, fixed, studied. Others will ignore it completely say that there is no God, so sin is just some imaginary thing with no value to us. 

But for those who live with the truth that Jesus born sinless, lived a sinless life, then died and took in all past present and future sins this becomes life to us. We trust what Jesus did is enough to free us from the infection and bondage of sin. We are not immune to the effects and allure of sin, it still attracts us, calls to us. To live a life after accepting Jesus without sinning is not impossible but more improbable. We can go days, weeks or months, yet our earthly flesh will fail. It is in those moments where we decide to ignore the sin or deal with it head on and move on. 

For those who don’t know Jesus, and are living in a life of sin, they just don’t understand. Living in the darkness for so long they don’t know any better. They have a skewed interpretation of wrong and right, they could act just like you, they could be a member of your church. Sin envelops them and doesn’t want to let go, it has a home there and doesn’t want to give it up.

So how then can we reach those who don’t know Jesus? How then do we reveal to them that the life they are living is a cheap imitation and that there is light in the darkness? We need to be the light to them. We need to love them, pray for them, be Jesus to them. But how do we do that? Prayer, getting out of the church and being good neighbors, opening your lips and speaking to them. Genuinely love them. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. You who are free from the grasp of sin need to show others life with out sin.

Got a story about this? Would love to hear how your life was changed, or you were able to show someone else the light of Jesus.

Father, I pray for wisdom and strength to be the light you call me to be. I don’t want to make anymore excuses as to why I am not sharing your love with others. Guide my heart, let me push past all that is holding me back. Let my life be an example. I want to see those around me as you see them, alone and in need of a realtionship with the creator God.  They matter and are loved by you Jesus, so they matter and needed to be loved by me. 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 12: 50 Days of Change

““God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The definition of poor has come a long way in our society and around the world. In our western world we see being poor as an amount under a threshold of salary, if you make less then this number a year you are poor, or some call it working poor. Now if you were to look ar poor in the countries of Africa, South America and Asia it would mean something completely different. 

In this quote of Jesus, is he talking about someone’s possessions and wealth in life? No I think not, he is most likely referring to someone being poor in Spirit. We often see the people around us who don’t know Jesus as lost, alone and unsupported, poor. Jesus sees them as people who are in need of his salvation and has created a hope for them. Just like any government service that is created to help those in need, the program only works when those in need participate. But if the people don’t know the program exists how will they accept it?

We as believers need to let the poor in spirit know that there is hope in Jesus. He has created the ultimate social program that is their to meet their spiritual needs. Just like accepting money from others, they will struggle to push aside their pride to accept Jesus gift. But if we don’t let them know who will? Are you ready to be share the kingdom with others? You were once poor in Spirit, and you once accepted his gift, why wouldn’t you share this with those around you?

Jesus, thank you for your gift of salvation and that you offer it freely to anyone who will come and accept it. Give us the opportunities and motivation to do this. Reveal to us your heart and the way you see those around us so that we can be effective ambassadors. Remind us daily that they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 10: 50 Days of Change

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.”‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Anyone who has called on the name of Jesus has set themselves with him on his foundation. He set his foundation in unbreakable stone on the weekend he died and rose again. Jesus is the cornerstone, the first and most important part of any structure. What we do with his foundation and how we live our lives will surely display our relationship with him. 

Just like the old story of the three pigs building their homes. For the sake of the illustration all three have accept Jesus as their saviour. They all have been given a firm foundation to build their houses on. The first one takes straw and hay to build his house, flimsy material that doesn’t take much effort to make. Second, must at least gather the wood to build, taking the time to assemble it as not all wood is created equal, but these wouldn’t be refined wood we use, no sticks, unshaply logs and branches. Finally number three takes the time and effort to create bricks from clay. Carefully creating a house worthy of the foundation he has been give. When trouble arrived, and we all know it does come, the first two houses of straw and wood both didn’t last long, yet the house of brick survived and thrived.

So the house of straw could represent those who have accepted Jesus as their saviour yet have put little to no effort into shaping or creating a relationship with him. I think that these high evangelistic crusades that have hundreds if not thousands of people accepting Christ may be responsible for producing a lot of Christians with straw houses. No fault to the them or the organizers, it is not easy to connect with that many people. These folks just don’t know any better and work with what they know. 

The wood builders are those who attend Sunday’s regularly, making sure they are seen, bible studies and such. Yet they don’t go deeper or push to create a house that is more then sticks. Their life outside of church is the same as the worlds. They are easily blown around by their circumstances, calling on God when needed when the walls are falling in on them. 

But those who build their homes or lives with bricks, gold, silver, they are striving to have relationship with the saviour. They may still have a wall of two of wood but they are working to build it all up. They are doing this through their pray life, bible reading and fulfillment of the mission. When people see them they see that there is something different going on. 

If you continue reading 1 Corinthians a few more verses you will see that even if you are in a straw, or wood house and on the foundation of Christ Jesus your not forsaken. It does say that whatever is on your foundation will be tested in fire. What ever burns will become ash and blown away in the wind, what remains will be a testimony of your life. So what will remain for you?

Jesus, i pray that today we will examine our hearts and evaluate what we have built on your foundation. It sis not to late to work at upgrading our spiritual homes. Show us how to do this. Holy Spirit guide us in how to become solid in our faith and give us opertunities to reach others. We love you and want to be effective in the mission. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen