Day 40: 50 Days of Passion

To believe that the chair you are sitting on will hold you up is a act of faith. You have faith in the one who made the chair that they were competent in their word working skills. You have faith that depending on how old the chair is that it isn’t broken and defective ready to fall out from underneath you. If you didn’t you most likely would have chosen a different seat. We would live a quite a life if we questioned the validity of everything we did even the daily activities. No we quickly learn that we must have faith in things that they will work as expected. So why then can’t we have faith that the promises God has given us can and will be done? Why are we not seeing miracles as frequently as Jesus or the Apostles did? Or when we do see a miracle do we pass it off as coincidence.

 

 

“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!””

Mark 9:24 NLT

 

This father had brought his son to Jesus to be freed from demonic possession. Likely he had tried everything possible to get some help and his faith in his son ever getting better was at an all time low. Then this man Jesus was in his village, stories were going around that he was doing incredible things.

 

But the track record of other men’s failure in freeing his son had the man down trodden and discouraged. He believed Jesus could do what he claimed yet deep in his heart he doubted that anything really would change.

 

A lot of people in life today are just like this man. We want the miracle and the amazing to happen, yet we can’t push past that deep feeling that if it doesn’t happen well it was worth the shot.

 

Jesus wants us to fully put our faith in him, he promised if we have faith the size of a small seed we can move mountains. Do you really believe that? What mountain is in your way that you need moved? Do you really believe that Jesus can move it for you? Help our unbelief.

 

If you are having a hard time putting your faith in Jesus in the big things let me ask you this: Have you put your faith in him for the small things? Or are you doing them in your own strength. I believe that if we start giving Jesus everything and if needed, start with the small things then when it comes time that we need faith in the big things the foundation is there. We have prepared ourselves.

 

Dear Jesus, we trust and follow you, yet our unbelief in miracles and wonders happening needs to be worked on. We believe that you have amazing things in store for us to reach the lost and I pray that your people will fall to their knees and believing you will do them. Help us on our unbelief. Help us to trust you in the small things and the big things. Amen

 

Day 39: 50 Days of Passion

Do you think God cares about what you say to Him? Does he actually want to have a relationship with you? Why would God in heaven be interested in me?

We wonder these things and many others, but the truth is God desires to have a relationship with you. One that has a two-way conversation. It may seem that God doesn’t speak but if we read the bible we will see that he is talking to us through the written word, and that the more we converse with him in prayer the more he will speak to us.

“I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!”

Psalms 116:1-2 NLT

 

So, who feels like praying? I mean the Psalmist here writes that he will pray as long as he has breath. I pray and my mind wanders at times to things that don’t matter. Maybe if I didn’t fill my head with tv and movies it would help. Do I really want God to listen to my prayers? Yes, I do, and I am sure you do too.

 

How many acronyms do you know for ways to pray.

PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens

PRAY – Praise, Repent, Anything for others, Yourself

TIP – Thanksgiving, Intercession, Praise

 

I am sure there are more (love to hear them in comments) but it doesn’t matter how you pray, it is your heart behind it. Praying out with selfishness or greed will produce empty results. Love and humility, an earnest desire to do the work of Christ will see prayers answered.

 

Jesus during his time on earth talked about an advocate he would send, to help us. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” John 14:16.  Maybe we in our prayer life need to spend a few minutes inviting the Holy Spirit to join us in our prayers. If the Holy Spirit is in us, as promised by Jesus himself, then wouldn’t it make sense for us to ask him to stand with us in our prayers?

 

Holy Spirit, we welcome you today to stand with us in our prayers. All to often we come to our knees and petition and pray without you. Sure, we know you’re there, but we want to invite you personally to join us. We love you, and welcome you to move in and through our lives and prayers. Amen.

Will you join me as we pray for the Persecuted Church? Visit me at 50 Days of Pray

Day 38: 50 Days of Passion

Yesterday was the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Did your church talk about the plight of 200 million believers around the world that are persecuted for just trusting in Jesus? Will you take the next 50 days for focus on the countries that are focused on eliminating Christianity? Join me at 50 Days of Pray as we pray for the 50 most persecuted countries. Pray for the leaders, the law enforcement, government, the civic workers and the people as well as the believers. Lets pray that God will shake things up and that the persecution will change to revival.

 

 

“O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.”

Psalms 5:1 NLT

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”

Psalms 138:3 NLT

 

If you are not praying, you are missing out on the most important tool we have on earth to communicate with our Heavenly Father. We often hear people being called prayer warriors and assume that they are doing enough for the rest of us. This is not okay. We are called to “pray with out ceasing”. This means being in constant communication with God, not walking the streets praying aloud, but centring ourselves so our thoughts are continually on him.

 

We should all be as Christians considered to be ‘prayer warriors’ ready to fall on our knees when called to prayer. This burden to pray can come from others or from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When you focus your life on serving Jesus, talking to him daily these things will overflow your life. You will become sensitive to the Holy Spirits calling. To be in a relationship with Jesus that is rich and satisfying comes from daily communication and consumption of his word.

 

Finally, warriors of pray don’t last long if they don’t come together with the rest of the army. We need to pray with other warriors. If your church gathers to pray, make a conscious effort to be there. Plan to be there, prioritize your life to have time. All great revivals start in the hearts of those who pray. If you expect God to move in your church or community then you need to pray alone and with others who have the same heart for the lost.

 

Jesus, I pray that your people will not forsake the communication freedom you have given us. We need to come together and pray not only on Sundays but meet during the week. Increase the burden to reach the lost on the hearts of your people, see their hearts ablaze with your love for the lost. They matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

Day 37: 50 Days of Passion

When our prayers move away from me to we, and we focus on the mission of reaching he lost, then we will see passion reignited in our hearts and our churches. Church families can be caught up with ensuring they are getting fed they forget that the church is a soup kitchen where we are the workers whose aim is to feed those who are hungry. We do need to be united as a family and open to creating a bond that is attractive to those who see it. They want what we have, Jesus living in our everyday lives.

 

 

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

 

I wonder how a Sunday morning would go over if the Pastor opened the service by instead of asking the congregation to shake hands, he asked them to turn to one another, confess their sins from the week and pray with one another. I think there would be a few shocked faces and maybe even an uproar from some. But imagine with me if this became common practice in the church.

 

If every Sunday before church the saints met and confessed with one another, prayed before the Sunday service, healing would begin to take place. Then true worship would arise from the followers in attendance producing wonderful results. All to often we wait until the end of a service to confess our sins, maybe after the Pastor has preached a sermon that cut us right to the heart. But if we have already laid our sins at the Fathers feet, we could be prepared to receive so much more.

 

This is one reason I believe in pre-service prayer. Now understand I said believe, not practice, I confess I sometimes barely get to church on time, no excuses. But If I truly and honestly want to see God move in the service among his people and to see the lost who may be attendance changed then I need to start changing my habits. You may say “well I pray at home in the morning before church” that’s great. But there is power in the gathering of the saints with one unity purposefully praying for the move of God. Awesome things will start to happen, people WILL be healed, people WILL be saved, prayers WILL be answered, hardships WILL be overcome, needs WILL be met. Will you gather with others, openly confess your failures and sins, and pray that God will work in your Church, community and city?

 

Jesus, we ask you to forgive our sins. Give us an openness to declare and confess our sins to others, not to create stories to gossip about but so others can pray for us and help us overcome the weakness that we struggle with. Use them to build us up. Jesus we want to see your power move through our communities, city and churches. Motivate your people to take time not only in private prayer but in pray as a family. The people of this world matter to you, so they matter to us. Amen

Day 36: 50 Days of Passion

We hear the scripture ask, seek and knock and expect that whatever we ask will be given to us. Doesn’t Jesus himself say God gives good gifts to his children? (Matthew 7:11) So why then do some of our prayers not get answered as we have ben praying or expect? Craig Groecschel in his devotional Daily Power on YouVersion made this observation “God’s will matters in the midst of our prayers. You don’t always get what you want when you want it. But you can always walk by faith and trust God’s will.) (Groeschel Day 4)

 

 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

James 1:5-8 NLT

 

Ever pray to God asking for something, whilst giving God the answer on how you want him to do it? We put our faith in our method of an answer and not trusting the God can provide in many other ways. A very good example is in our finances, we ask God to help us out of our financial messes but then in the next breath say well if this was to happen, or if I won the lotto, or if I got a raise or the new job.

 

We can’t pigeon hole God. We need to be open and honest with ourselves and honestly look to God for the answer. Now if he has revealed what you need to do and your praying for how to do it, keep pushing in prayer, asking for direction and guidance. But telling God how to help you out of a situation is like listening to the sheep for advice on how to get out of the well. God knows how you got in the situation, he knows how to get you out, and he knows what lessons you will learn while in there.

 

So today trust God to answer your prayers. He will provide for his children what they need, when they need it, and how they need it. It may not always be answered in the way you expected, but know that it is part of the will of God and good will come from it.

 

Jesus, let us trust that you have a solution, and that we don’t need to provide one for you. We put our lives in your hands and love you so much for it. Please hear our prayers and answer them as quickly as needed. Help us to see you will in your answer even if it doesn’t make sense to us. You are the God who loves us. Let us share this love with those around us, let us live a life of example for you. The people around us need to know you, need to experience your love. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 35: 50 Days of Passion

As we talk this week about prayer, the question today is where is your hope? Do we pray because it is the next thing we can think of to do after trying all else? Or do we pray because it is the hope we have that the one who we trust will answer them?

 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 NLT

 

In reading this prayer from Paul I see two powerful words that must be taken into consideration to understanding the order in how his pray is laid out. I read this and see a formula for hope. First, I read “because”. This tells me that trust in him must be first in all we do. Trusting in God through Jesus salvation and daily trust him to meet your needs is the foundation by which every believer must rest. Building your spiritual home on anything else is folly and bound for failure.

 

So, with a foundation of trust in place we then can be prepared to be filled with the joy and peace that he offers. There will be a place for it to reside and live in us. Without the trust of God these gifts given will only seep out and never be long lasting. We will trade them in for whatever we put our hope and trust in. There is no joy and peace in trusting money. There is no joy and peace trusting our politicians. There is no joy and peace trusting man. We need to put our hope and trust in God.

 

The second word I read is ” then”. This tells me the previous statement must be help true for the second to become reality. If we want an overflowing confident hope in what we believe so we can reach others, we must trust God. We must live a life filled with joy and peace. The most important part of this verse is that we must believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, still works today and gives us this confident hope. The Holy Spirit, an equal part of the trinity is with us believers to shape us, empower us to go into the world and spread the love of Christ with confidence.

 

Joy and Peace = Confident Hope

TRUST                      HOLY SPIRIT

 

 

Are you trusting God? Have you asked him to fill you with joy and peace? Are you overflowing with confident hope? Are you plugged into the Holy Spirit? If you want to be effective in reaching this world you need to examine each question, if you can answer yes to one or all then you need to mediate on this scripture and ask God to fulfill it in your life.

 

Jesus, we need to trust you with everything. Thank you for providing us a way to connect with you through Jesus sacrifice and daily through the Holy Spirit. Give us peace and joy because of this trust in you. Then fill us with an overflowing confident hope through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit so we can be come effective in sharing your love to others. They matter to you Jesus, so the matter to me. Amen

 

 

 

 

Day 34: 50 Days of Passion

Our passion for God can fade when we don’t seem to have our prayers answered. We may have a loved one who isn’t following Jesus and we have been praying for what feels like forever that they will experience his forgiveness. Perhaps you have prayed for someone who is sick, and they just aren’t getting better. The bible teaches us a lot about prayer so lets take a few days and explore some thoughts on prayer.

 

“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

Daniel 10:12-13 NLT

 

Here we find a conversation between an angel of God and Daniel, Daniel had asked prayed and God had sent an answer with his angel, as we read we see that even though God had sent the answer it took twenty-one days to get to Daniel. The angel had been blocked by one of the enemy’s minions.

 

So how many prayers that you have sent up to God are now being blocked by the enemy? We get so upset at times or maybe frustrated and feel like God isn’t listening. I want to encourage you not to give up. Keep praying, keep pushing through, don’t just pray for your request but thank God for answering it, it may be answered just not arrived yet. It could be being blocked by the enemy and your prayers of thanksgiving and worship might be what is needed to break though.

 

A good example of this is from missionary Arnold Bowler who working in Africa had a week-long meeting where hearings were happening. Each day an older lady was coming to receive her sight. Each day he would pray but each day she would return the same. The last day of meetings he moved down the prayer line and when he came to the lady she was excited praying God as when she woke up that morning she could see. The enemy tried to block the healing as he knew it would discourage Arnold, but God wouldn’t allow it to happen and the healing happened.

 

The bible reminds us to pray without ceasing, to continually bring our request to Him. Don’t be discouraged by unanswered prayers but focus on praising Him for what He is doing and the prayers He is answering.

 

Jesus, we pray that the answers to prayers will be unblocked from the enemy. Let the saints who are praying not get discouraged because prayers are taking awhile to be answered. Help us to push through the discouragement and thank you for our not yet known answered prayers. Thank you, Jesus for hearings, forgiveness and lost family and friends being saved. 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

Day 32: 50 Days of Passion

How do you choose who your friends are? Do they build you up causing you to grow in your faith? Are they there when your hurting, an ear to listen to your feelings? Or are they the kind of people who drag you down the wrong kind of roads? Inviting you to parties that will cause you to sin, taking you places that you don’t need to be? Maybe they talk about other people tearing them apart, gossiping and telling lies, these ‘friends’ will slowly but surly drag you down and get you in trouble.

 

 

“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”

Proverbs 13:20 NLT

 

Jesus didn’t surround Himself with people of religious stature. He found twelve men who showed faith to leave everything and follow Him. He was steadfast in His mission so that even when they tried innocently or with other intentions to distract him, he was able to bring them back to the mission.

 

How does one know if a friend is building or distracting your walk with Jesus? Some things to look for;

  1. How do you feel after an outing with them? Do you feel built up and encouraged or dirty about what you did or talked about?
  2. How does you friend respond when you bring up your relationship with Jesus? Do you have meaningful conversations, or do they change the subject quickly or become argumentative?
  3. Think about what you did with your friend. Would it be cool if Jesus was actually physically there hanging out? Would he be shocked or smiling? Don’t kid yourself he is there maybe not physically, but he is there.

 

We need to have unbelieving friends, don’t get me wrong. But they can’t be bringing us down, we need to be light to them, connecting as to share the love of Jesus with them. Many have unbelieving friends for years with out sharing your faith. They may know about it but you have never taken the time to truly tell them why it is important to you and should be important to them. This is what Jesus talked about when he said we shouldn’t put our light under a basket.

 

Jesus, we all have friends who need you. Give us the moments to finally take the time to share your love with them. Maybe they know or don’t know about our faith by now is the time for us to open our hearts to them. Let us be an example of your love to them. They matter to you, they matter to us, so let’s start doing something about it. Amen

 

Day 31: 50 Days of Passion

The command to love one another is one that many today don’t quite understand. We have watered down the word love to the point where to tell someone you love them can sometimes put people on the defensive. How can we love the person who commits murder or the one who has done unspeakable things to men, woman and children alike?

It comes back to the way Jesus loves us, he loves the person, he desires for the person to be freed from the sin, no matter the variation of sin. His heart breaks for each one to come to him to be freed from the bondage of sin. Do we look at those around us and base our love on the sin or the person? Jesus laid down his life for you, his friend.

 

“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:12-13 NLT

 

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:9 NLT

 

 

Would you be willing to lay down your life for a friend? Jesus did for you. And he did it for your friends and family, the strangers you meet everyday, your coworkers. He died so that we might live amazing lives sharing to other what he came to earth to do. The even more amazing part is he rose from the dead and invites us into a relationship with him. No other religion leader is alive, so they can’t have a relationship with their followers. That is what makes Christianity so real, it is also what makes it so offensive because it is the truth, and the truth can be scary.

 

If we could see ourselves the way God sees us in our sin we would crumble and hide in shame. I think that is what a lot of people do when they start thinking about God and Jesus. They run from their true selves and try to mask what they really are. For all the good things they do, the feel if they just continue in their good ways that they will earn heaven. No they may not say it out loud, but how many times have you heard ” but I’m a good person.”

 

If you haven’t noticed yet I have been focusing for awhile now on the mission.  Our passion has a direct connection to our mission work. We need to be better at reaching the list people for Jesus, or for bare minimum inviting them to church. At the men’s ministry I lead, I made a board that reads ” if they matter to God they should matter to us” and on it I asked the men to start writing names of people they want to see come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. This visual list of names not only puts them out in the open it shows us that we know many many people that need Jesus and we have a huge impact on their lives. I told the men that I want us to start taking names off the wall as we reach them, and they make commitments to follow Christ. As we add names we need to be removing some too. I am excited to see God work though about prayers and these men.

 

So today I ask you, do you value those around you to lay down your life for them. Is their fate and eternity priority for you, or do you care that one day they will be burning in hell? If it does then you need to do something, the benefits of reaching them outweigh the cost it may take. Stop storing up treasures on earth, let’s start storing up treasures in heaven. I would rather someone thanking me in heaven for telling them about Jesus then someone in hell wishing I had.

 

Jesus, we are called to share your love. I am not sure exactly how we come to this point where it has become taboo to us your name. People are offended and almost angry when the name of Jesus comes up on social media. But when you get them one on one, away from the veil of a computer, and open up to them sharing your love, something starts to happen. I ask Holy Spirit you will give us opportunities today to do just that, sharing the love of Christ. Encourage us, rekindle our fire and excitement in sharing our faith. We are free because of your love and free people can free people. Let them matter to us as we know they matter to you. Amen.