Day 11: 50 Days All In

My last post stirred up a few people who thought my view on there being only one God was narrow-minded. One of these readers was quick to ensure I knew that they were a believer but didn’t think that Jesus was the only way to God. I have learned that those who must work hard and vigorously to defend what they believe must do so because they don’t truly believe what they are following but they are too stubborn to admit that they are wrong.
 
““Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.””
Matthew 7:21-27 NLT
There are many in our churches who claim to love Jesus but are lost. They have never really made the commitment to Christ, or maybe once in their lives many years ago but for the longest time just have been ‘playing’ church. Many understand what needs to be said to sound “Christianise” but fail to apply those same life principles to their hearts. All too often this talk without action approach will become stumbling blocks for new believers. Their lives may be mimicked as the ‘normal’ producing a new generation of Christians by name only missing out on the importance of an active relationship with Jesus.
 
We as followers of Christ need to have this active relationship with Jesus, which includes following his commands. We are commanded to love our neighbors. Jesus main mission to us was to go to all the world and make disciples. For many our neighbors may be as far into the world as we may get, yet we are to reach them with His love. We are told that we will be known by the world because of our love for those around us. Our actions must match the words we speak, and for this to become reality we must be all in in our faith.
 
My Pastor yesterday speaking from 1 Kings 18 made a statement that connects with this, ‘To have a current relationship with God we have to cut the bull.’ He was referring to the sacrifice Elijah was making to God when demonstrating God’s power over Baal. We need to stop playing around in our faith and start taking it seriously. Lives are at stake, and we can be the difference in the lives of those around us.
 
Where does your relationship with Jesus sit today? Are you taking it seriously, or are you playing games with God? Is there some bull that you need to cut out of your life? Something holding you back from loving your neighbors? What is your foundation built on? Do your actions match your words? I pray today that you live your life all in. If any of this hits home, don’t get defensive, be proactive, grab your bible. Confirm the words spoken by Jesus and the teachings of the apostles. Ask God to speak to you and work in your life so that you may give him your all. Don’t take my word for it, ask him yourself.
 
 
Father, today I pray for those struggling to go all in their relationship with you. Parts of themselves they are holding back, either in fear of what they may lose or because they enjoy that aspect of their lives. Reveal this to them so they may recognize that it is not beneficial to growth. Help us to love our neighbors in action not just words, let us be a light in our world. We want to be all in. Amen
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Day 2: 50 Days All In

One of the songs that has held strong for the last 20 years is by John Reuben “I Give You My Heart”. I remember when this was learned at my church it was played almost every service. I even remember one time at a young adult event this was the song for the altar call for at least an hour straight. But what does it really mean to give our hearts to God?

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.

Matthew 13:44

 

Most Canadians, Americans and many others don’t quite grasp the understanding of giving up anything to follow Jesus. We can choose to follow Jesus and our lives continue unchanged for the most part. I was reminded just recently that this isn’t the case in most parts of the world.

 

Many people in the world are caught up in restrictive religions that come down very hard on those who convert to Christianity. They will take you and throw you out of the house, disown you and even hurt you for your choice to give your heart to Jesus. Therefore, reaching people with the love of Jesus isn’t always easy as because they must be all in as they will face these types of persecution the moment they reveal their choice.

 

If these Christians are willing to give up their families, their customs and lives to give God their whole heart, how come we have a hard time doing the same when we have so much less to lose? Is it because it is so easy for us that we don’t take it as serious an importance?

 

When we sing this song do we truly desire to follow Christ? The man in the parable Jesus told was willing to sell EVERYTHING. Everything to gain the most valuable treasure and remain close to it. He wasn’t concerned what others would think. He wanted it and he would do anything to get it.

 

What are you willing to do to give your whole heart to God? Are you ready to go All in, in your relationship with God starting with all your heart?

Find this song, play it a few times, listen to the words, pray then as the cry of your heart. Go All In.

 

Father, our desire is to give you all our hearts. We want to continually worship you with all we are. I pray that you will connect with your children no matter their situation and as we give ourselves to you, all in, that you will give us the strength to overcome the situations that come our way. For those who lose everything to follow you we pray for wisdom and blessings, give them opportunities to reach their families and friends who have disowned them. Use us to be effective in reaching the lost so they may know you the same way we love you. 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 26: 50 Days of Passion

We tend to be passionate about all the wrong things. The newest movie or TV season of your favorite show. We get pumped about the latest new phone or exciting video game. Some are excited about food trends or fashion. And all too many are super excited for the weekend where they will drink themselves for fun or to forget.

As believers we need to be passionate not on these earthly things, though some of these aren’t necessary bad, we should be desiring a passion for the lost. If our passion is mainly for things that don’t glorify God, then we need to earnestly ask our self who we are serving; God or earthly desires.

 

 

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

Romans 13:14-15 NLT

 

When Paul was writing the Romans it was at the height of the Roman Empire. The people were involved in some very interesting lifestyles to say the least. Paul knew that this lifestyle that they were living was dangerous and only lead to hell. As these people he was writing to were the early church of the city he needed to impart wisdom on how to live for God. The people most likely had accepted Christ, but some were still living in their old ways.

 

Paul was not giving the Roman believers a set of rules to follow but a guideline of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. He knew that as believers we need to step up and out of the sin that we were forgiven for. To wallow in the dirt that we were cleansed by Jesus for, would not be much of an example to his mercy and grace.

 

If we have truly accepted Jesus as our saviour and desire to have a relationship with him, we need to learn about who he is and what he taught. We need to see how he loved and how he was the example for us to follow. He let his life and his words speak for themselves, his words matched his action every time. No exceptions. I know personally I cannot honestly say that is true of me. I am working to be a better man, boss, husband and father. But I stumble and fall, and I thank God everyday that he picks my up, dusts me off, and pushes me to be a better man. If we don’t learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them.

 

Jesus, thank you for cleansing me of my sin. Thank you for picking me up when I fall done. I know you love me and I love you. I ask that if any indulgence is in my heart for sin that you remove it. Help me to be free from the old ways and move to the new. Free me from any addictions that are holding me done. I want to reach others with my actions and my words, let them match up. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 21: 50 Days of Passion

We read about people petitioning for peace or hear of people striving for world peace, but I come to wonder what it is that they are actually looking for? Do they even really understand what they are striving for? Is it even possible?  With all the turmoil in the world today one could wonder if it is really an option.

 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

 

 

This verse gives us a taste and a formula on how to experience God’s peace in our lives. I take from here that peace is a confidence that you are walking with Jesus, that he has you no matter what life might throw your way and your okay with that. So here is my break down on how one might experience Gods peace.

  1. You must be living in Christ Jesus – a relationship with Jesus is essential, accepting his sacrifice on the cross. This is paramount, for with out this nothing else matters.
  2. Thanksgiving – be thankful for your life, and everything in it. The good times and the not so good times. God has already done so much for you, life itself.
  3. Pray – ask God for what you need, and pray for others. Nothing is to small or insignificant for you to ask him.
  4. Don’t worry- this can be the biggest challenge as we tend to be concerned all the time on how things will turn out. To let it go and trust God is key to receiving peace.

 

It is only when we as humanity find peace with God will we then be able to finally have world peace. I look at the bumper sticker and wonder how much truth is in those simple words.

‘No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.’

We can’t expect those reading a sticker to understand but as believers we need to be open and willing to share our faith and help people know who Jesus is. It isn’t just knowing about Jesus either, it is about surrendering and truly knowing who he is.

 

I pray that even today you will apply these to your life, and will experience God’s peace in your life. That will protect your heart and mind from the enemies’ attack, and that you will have confidence to boldly share the peace and love you have received in Jesus.

 

Jesus, thank you so much for everything you have given us, your blessings are more then we realize. As we apply this scripture to our lives we ask that you protect us from the attacks of worry and restlessness and provide us with peace. Let us walk boldly in your peace and work to share your love with those around us. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

 

 

Day 20: 50 Days of Passion

Have you ever had anyone call out your faith? They are looking for anything they can do to disprove that your faith is real. Are they doing this out of spite? Out of jealously? Or are they looking for an excuse not believe? We need to be strong in our faith as to be a witness to those around you.

 

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practising the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

 

When it comes to being Jesus to those around us let me tell you something that you might already know. If you are a Christian expect those around you to be watching you, they will be looking to see if your version of Christianity is as ‘hypocritical’ as they have thought all along.  We are being watched, judged on our actions, words and lifestyle.

 

That is actually a good thing, I know it is hard to believe but it is. We can become powerful witnesses of our faith if we work at showing the light that we follow. No, we don’t have to be perfect, and yes we will do things that contradict our faith, but it is in those moments the way we deal or handle it is how we will be seen.

 

In this section of 1 John, I read it saying your not perfect, but that’s okay, Jesus is there to help you get through it, to grow towards the life he has for us. I don’t think those around us watching us are expecting perfection. They want to see someone real, experience something real. We can be that with Jesus, we can show that we are just normal people saved by grace.

 

How we live our lives will reflect who we are in Christ as well. We need to be mindful of what we are doing, because our actions and words can help or hinder our witness. The bible has boundaries we should look at maintaining, and I am not going to go into them that is your responsibility to ask God through the bible. These boundaries are not to keep us from having a ‘good’ time or from experiencing life, God gave us these boundaries to keep the evil out of our lives. If we commit to staying inside the boundaries we will start to recognize sin more easily, and it makes it easier to avoid.

 

Today I challenge you to be a light for your faith, be real and don’t just put on a show that will eventually crumble at the first sign of trouble. Invite someone to church to experience what you believe. Share your faith.

 

Jesus, forgive give me for my sins, cleanse me anew today. Let me be a light to my coworkers, my friends, my family and to anyone I come in contact with either in person or online. Jesus let me be real in my faith, I want to reach others and share your love and mercy. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 19: 50 Days of Passion

To many people live their lives with the attitude of “only if”. Only if I had a better job, only if I had of married someone different, only if I had of not done that, only if I had more money, only if….. They are hoping that if things would only go their way things would be better. Peter a disciple of Jesus, knew what it meant to put his life in someone else’s hands. He left everything to follow Jesus, he saw the hope Jesus was providing to the people and then followed him. The bible reads that Peter followed Jesus with out asking any ‘only ifs’. We would expect him to have asked I will follow only if you tell me where we are going, only if you let me pack my bags up, only if you let me say goodbye, only if you let me find a replacement worker for my dad.

 

 

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

1 Peter 1:13 NLT

 

We place a lot of hope in many different things. Some of them may not be that bad, but God is looking for us to put our hope in salvation. He wants us to rely on him for our needs and the like, when we put out hope in the next lottery ticket or our hope in the next elected leader it shifts our eyes of God and salvation.

 

So to be able to put all your hope in God it requires us to prepare our minds. As children and teenagers we prepared our minds for life by attending school, communicating with adults and study/observations. As Christians we need no less, we must communicate and fellowship with other believers who can build us up. We need to study God’s word either personally or in group/educational settings. Observing the actions of other believers can be useful such as reading testimonials of faith or seeing Christians in action can be encouraging and push us to do the same.

 

We also read the word exercise in this verse, exercise self control. Exercise is a discipline that must be done purposeful to be effective, so to exercise self control is a purposeful practice, taking the time to correct ourselves when we make a mistake and getting stronger in spite of it. These two actions of preparing your mind and exercising your self control work side by side. If you watch any amount of TV you may need to cut back (self control) and spend more time with Jesus(preparing). Replace the word TV with whatever activity you do the most.

 

Let use to prepare our minds for action, and exercise self control, as to be effective in the mission of reaching the lost. Don’t use the only if excuse to keep you away from accepting gift of salvation.

 

Jesus, let us not be caught up in the daily activities of live, let our hearts and minds focus on who you are and the call to reach the lost. Let us not miss the moments but be sharp and ready to share your love to whomever needs to hear it. Let us not make excuses on why we can’t so love to others. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen