Day 40: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 40: We hear of people won’t allow themselves or their kids to attend church as it will fill their minds with things that are counter productive to the world today. What they fail to understand is that church plays a role of community. What they will learn from the bible is not something new but an augmentation or focusing on what we were originally intended to be. This is scary for someone who thinks they are living a “good” life. We send our kids to school to teach them how to survive in the world, we send our kids to church or Sunday school to teach them how to thrive in the world.

DAY FORTY

He said, “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.” (Matthew 13:52 MSG)

If you grew up in a church setting, like I did, you may have sang songs like ” read your bible pray every day and you’ll grow grow grow”. Maybe back then you understood what the song meant or like me it was was a catchy song that you enjoyed.

In today’s scripture, we see that being a student and learning about Christ, through the scriptures are very important. There was a reason our Sunday school teachers were helping us memorise verses, singing songs about Jesus, and tell and retelling us stories from the bible.

If we can get these things embedded in our hearts when we need them most like a store owner, we can pull them off the shelf as required. What we stock our hearts with is what is available for us to share with others. Ever have a song it scripture come to mind at a time when you felt down? Ever talk to someone and a verse pops into your head? The Holy Spirit will use what you know and placed into your heart to reach others.

What is on the shelves of your life?

Dear Jesus, it is not too late for us to stock our spiritual shelves with good things. Show us scriptures in Your word that we should hold tight and try to memorise so that they will be readily available for use. Holy Spirit, use what’s on my shelves already and feel free to knock the junk to the floor. Amen

DAY 38: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 38: To understand what a principled person looks like we should look no further than Job. A man who walked to the best of his abilities to follow God. This was no easy feat as this was life before the sacrifice of Jesus. He made the animal sacrifices, ensured he did everything he could to live a life that honoured God. Compared to Job we should have an easier time living a principled life.

DAY THIRTY-EIGHT

“But principled people hold tight, keep a firm grip on life, sure that their clean, pure hands will get stronger and stronger! (Job 17:9 MSG)

Job was a man who had everything and still loved God. He was a devote follower, he would even pray that if his kids had sinned at their parties that God would forgive them. He was a good father, a good steward and a good husband.

As you probably know Job lost everything, and not because of what Job had done, no, in this case, it was because of who Job was. Satan came before God and made a decree that if Job was to lose everything he would have no choice but to curse God. God knowing Job better then Satan agreed to allow this, knowing that Job was a righteous man and trusted he would persevere.

Job may not have cursed God, but he did in no certain terms become depressed, he was torn up over what he had done to deserve such punishment from God, in which he could find no reason. His three friends kept on him trying to convince him that there must be something that he had done.

Then in one of Jobs replies to his friends he states the scripture above.

Principled people, can you honestly look at your life and attach that to you? Do you know anyone whom that fits, I hope you can name a couple…would they say the same about you?

Jobs friends were either not that close or not that observant, if they had really seen how Job lived his life would they not have seen that he lived a life for God?

So strive to be a principled person, keep your hands on the work of God, striving to do good, keeping your hands pure, avoiding evil desires, so that you can be strengthened.

Dear Jesus, help us to be like Job. A principled man whose life’s desire was to honour You in all he did. Even when his life fell apart he didn’t dismiss or curse who You were, nor did he blame You. Help us to follow his example in this. Give us clean hands, keeping a firm grip on life so that we may grow stronger in You. Amen

Day 37: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 37: How we carry ourselves says a lot about who we are. If I was going around telling people about the beautiful apples I had to offer yet never shared them or produced any, what would people think of me? Probably start calling me a sham or scam artist. If we as believers claim to love Jesus and truly love those around us then let’s start acting it as well. People believe what they see.
DAY THIRTY-SEVEN
“If you grow a healthy tree, you’ll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you’ll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree. (Matthew 12:33 MSG)
Jesus was telling this story, talking about believers as trees. Jesus used a lot of metaphors in His ministry. But in essence, this is saying if you just put junk and sin into your life you won’t do much for the kingdom of God. You actually cause people to reconsider what you believe as what you are offering isn’t very attractive. But if you cultivate your life, producing tasty fruit and the love of Christ exudes everything you do, then people love to try good looking fruit.
Ever notice in the grocery store how the fruit gets picked over and in most cases, the good fruit will be chosen and the damaged is left behind. We are looking for good fruit.
Have you ever bought or bitten into a beautiful piece of fruit to find out that it was rotten just under the surface? There are many people out there who offer things that look great and beautiful on the outside but the core of what they are giving is rotten. Sin corrupts the best of intentions if the heart is not focused on giving glory to God.
Are you producing good fruit? Examine your life, what are you fertilising your life with? It will tell you a lot about the fruit you produce.
Dear Jesus, I pray that You will help us examine our lives to see what kind of fruit we are producing. Help us to prune any dead limbs or non-producing areas away so that we can be a tree that produces awesome fruit. amen

Day 36: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 36: One of my favourite quotes that I like to use is ” You can’t soar with eagles when you’re hanging with turkeys.” Unknown. Eagles were made to soar high and be a majestic bird, powerful, something to be noticed. Turkeys, on the other hand, stay low to the ground, nothing special about them except how tasty they are.  You become a product of your environment, where you invest your time and efforts is what you will become. As a believer, if you spend all your time with non-believers don’t expect your spiritual life to flourish. I am not saying to cut yourself off from the world as a believer, that would be foolishness to recommend, what I do suggest is that how you spend your time is where you need to seriously look at. Who is influencing who?

DAY THIRTY-SIX

They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. (1 Peter 4:4 NIV)

After work, your co-workers invite you out for a drink, or the boys want you to come to the strip club, you respectfully decline but you know that they are surprised you won’t join them.

If you haven’t seen favouritism for the ones who join the boss for a sociable after work then you’re lucky. They work hard and play harder and if you don’t join in you’re a lame duck who doesn’t know how to unwind.

It frustrates me because I see the destruction that lifestyle is to them, I see the scars left behind. But unless they are ready to hear it, they won’t accept your views on the subject.

We are told to stand apart, not to be like the world, and in doing so we will be mocked by it. Persecution comes in many forms.

Today’s challenge is to flee from evil. Don’t get sucked into reckless things that lead to the path of destruction, praying for those who would really take you there as well.

Dear Jesus, we all know someone who always us asking us to do something contradictory to our faith. Give us the strength to stand apart and continually refuse the temptation to join our friend into sin. Help us to be a light to them and to be there for them so when they need a fall apart and all others turn their back on them, we will be there to help them pick up the pieces and lead them to the healer. Amen

Day 35: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 35: Having a child or loved one walk away from their upbringing is heartbreaking. To invest your time and love into them and show them the truth and love only God can bring and see them turn it down can almost be a slap in the face to how you raised them. What did I do wrong? The answer is simply this, nothing. Every human must make a choice themselves what path they choose in life. As parents we are entrusted for a small about of time, maybe 1/5th of their life to introduce them to who we are, what we believe and our moral standards. But at one point they will have to make these choices on their own. What you invested into their lives we pray becomes the foundation of who they are.

DAY THIRTY-FIVE

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV)

I would think this scripture would be in the top ten for most parents. It is one that gives hope as a vast majority of children these days walk away from the church at the first opportunity. Why if the child really had an experience with his/her maker would they walk away? Why, why, why?

I have a couple theories,
1) the world is an easy tempter of pleasure,
2) a child leaves home and a circle of believers and moves to a place and doesn’t join another for either lack of trying or maybe a hard time joining a group,
3) influence of girl or boyfriend, and friends.

Don’t be discouraged if your child has walked away. God has not forgotten them even if they seem to have forgotten Him. Keep praying that God will reveal Himself to them daily, through His creation and by bringing people into their path showing the love of Christ. Don’t give up on you Child, God hasn’t, and the Holy Spirit is working on them daily.

Dear Jesus, if we have a child who has walk away from You and are living a life we would call sinful we ask You to bring them back. Holy Spirit send people into their lives to show them the love of Jesus, remind them of the creator. Give us a peace that You know what you’re doing in this situation and no matter how long it takes we won’t give up on our loved ones until they have come back to Jesus. Amen

Day 34: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts of Day 34: Some faith groups have taken today’s verse out of context and concluded that to be saved you must confess your sins to a clergy who then can offer forgiveness for your misgivings. He or she then gives you something to do or say that will compensate for the sins you have committed. As we learn today this isn’t the point of what was written many years ago. Confessions of sins is something we can bring right to Jesus, and leave it at his feet and he will forgive us every time as he has paid it all on the cross.

17 March 15

DAY THIRTY-FOUR

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t-not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. (James 5:16-18 MSG)

So do you have someone or multiple people in your life that you can confess your sins with?
Well according to James 5:16 this should be common place in your life.

Why not? Why do we keep our confessions of sin only between us and God? Why would we need to confess our sins to fellow believers?

One reason I believe is that if we confess our sins to others we create a bond of accountability. It allows our close friends to hold us accountable for our actions in the future calling us out on sin. For example, if you confess to your friends that your looking at web sites that are inappropriate and ask for forgiveness from Jesus, then they should step in and hold you accountable, whether it’s giving them permission to search your browser history at random or just being there to help you out.

You can’t live the Christian life alone, you need a church family, you need a bible study group, you need accountability partners. Jesus had his group of friends he trusted, and they learned to trust each other.

Dear Jesus, show me who my close friends are, the ones who believe in You and I can trust to be accountable to. Help me to lay any sins before them in humility asking for their help in avoiding them in the future. If I am living a life full of sinful desires I pray that you will forgive me of my sin and help me to walk with you. Thank you that your word encourages accountability and not a solo life as a Christian. Amen

Day 33: Original 50 Days of Pray Revisited

Thoughts on Day 33: Marketing our faith has seemingly become the standard these days. One must have a spin to convince people to attend your particular church or event. This may catch the odd few, but what is the heart behind your mission? Is your mission to reach the lost or have the latest and greatest ministry? I wonder if Jesus was around today what his slogan for his ministry would be? Would he even have one?

 

16 March 15

DAY THIRTY-THREE

“Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honour to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege. (Matthew 7:6 MSG)

WWJD, P.U.S.H., Jesus Freak, Jesus take the wheel, I could list many other slogans that have come around through the years, but the question I have is do people flock to these because they were cute or because they lead people to Christ. I mean if Nike hadn’t taken “Just Do It” would that not fit our desire for unbelievers to come to Christ?

Now I am not saying the slogans above were wrong, but at some point, they were all over merchandised because someone somewhere knew there was money in these statements. Now, these slogans are just catch phrases that don’t carry much weight and are used by unbelievers as much as believers but thrown around flippant in humour or distaste.

We as believers need to focus on what the bible says, what Jesus taught us and following His call for us to make disciples. I see us teaching someone WWJD, but failing to take the time to show them in the scripture what Jesus actually did, expecting a new believer to just know. Not what we were called to do, we are called to make disciples, we are not supposed to lead them to Christ and walk away. We can’t teach them Pray Until Something Happens but not take the time to show them what the Holy word says about prayer and the examples of God answering prayer. How can we expect them to be a Jesus freak when we don’t show them what it means to love Jesus so much that you would be willing to die for Him?

Slogans work great for a season, but the word of God lasts forever. I don’t expect to see slogan t-shirts in heaven. So, don’t get caught up in the latest Christian slogan, focus on what God wrote for us. Just do it.

Dear Jesus, help us to focus on Your teaching and calling for us. To make disciples is our desire. It is to easy to be caught up in the next Christian hype, but Jesus we want Your kingdom to grow and that none shall perish. Help us to get that embedded into our hearts. Thank You for giving us a guide on how to live. Amen