Day 16: 50 Days of Passion

Sin is present here in the world, there is no doubt in its existence, as we see the effects it brings on the news daily. Yet we also see the effects of sin in our own lives and community. It may not be as rampant as what we see on the news but it is there. Sin came from disobedience, it doesn’t matter if it was Adam or Eve who sinned first. Who knows what may have happened if Adam and Eve had just admitted their sin right away instead of trying to hide their guilt. Instead they cowered in shame and we are now all paying the price for their united disobedience.

 

 

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”

Romans 5:12 NLT

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”

John 3:18 NLT

 

 

The word sin is not used very often outside the church if ever. I wonder why that is? It has been around since the beginning of time. Yet mankind has kept its use in the shadows of the church. The enemy knows that if it is exposed as the root of the worlds problems it will lead people to Jesus and he doesn’t want that. So, he does everything in his power to keep it as a word that just not be spoken. So now we attach other word to replace sin, mentally ill, sick, broken, things that sound medical but not spiritual.

 

We need to call a spade a spade. People are stuck in sin. Nothing we can do in earthly terms can cleanse us of this ingrained parasite that plagues us all from birth. We are condemned from birth to die and go to hell if we don’t find a way to treat this.

 

Fortunate for us, God the Father had a solution to this sin issue in his son Jesus. He sent his son to die, John 3:16 so beautifully shares this plan with us. I call it the Coles notes of Christianity. It is everything a person needs to see that Jesus is here to remove sin from our lives.  He wants to cleanse us from this disease. But until you realize your sick why would think you need the saviour?

 

We need to expose sin for what it is. I am striving to learn how to do that effectively with out coming of ‘ judgmental ‘, but when eternity is at stake does it matter? This conflict between serving Jesus and his mission and our comfort is hold many of us back. We only see the here and now and forget that this time in our lives is all we get to reach others. Let us punch out of our comfort zones to confront sin for what it is and reach the lost.

 

Until we get past the stigma of offending others we keep dancing around the truth. If we want to have a renewed passion in our lives for God and for reaching the lost, we need to ask God to show us how He truly sees people. Only when we see them as loved by God, and the desire He has that they be free from sin, will our passion be restored.

 

Jesus, sin for a long time has disguised itself. Help us to expose it for what it is. Show us how to reach those who need you be exposing the sin and providing them with how to be cleansed through you. We have no power ourselves but you have all the power to cleanse sin. Holy Spirit  ignite a fire so we may be effective in reaching others. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

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Day 4: 50 Days of Passion

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

Day 41: 50 Days of Impact

The global Church is made up of many groups of churches. All those who have accepted Jesus salvation call and are living for Him are part of this global Church. Jesus told his disciples and ultimately us that we are to go and share his story, making disciples of the entire world. I wonder what it would have been like if Jesus had added “and keep track of who you have reached, he who has the most disciples’ wins.” But he didn’t and nor should we live in our churches like that, we should be living like the disciples did working together to reach the lost.

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”

1 Corinthians 3:7-9 NLT

Sometimes believers who are part of a denomination become consumed with reaching people not just for Jesus, but only to grow their church. But the bible doesn’t really get into denominations, that is a man-made thing where along the way minor things have created different flavours of churches. But we as believers in Christ need to understand that we are all one body, no matter what label or church we attach ourselves to, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what label a new believer attaches or church they start attending, as long as they have a relationship with Jesus.  The reward is given for the hard work of reaching the lost.

We as believers need to break these lines that a lot of the time separate us. We need to start working together as not to ” reinvent the wheel”. Partnering with other churches or organizations that are working in our communities will help strengthen them and us.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

We are better together. Think about the impact we can make when we work together.

Jesus, help us as believers to work together no matter what denominational label we give ourselves. Let your command to reach the lost be our binding inspiration. Let us become a community of believers with one focus. We know they matter to you, so we will work together because they matter to us too. Amen

S

Day 34: 50 Days of Impact

We all love a good movie where the hero sacrifices himself for the greater good. There are tears for the ones we know will never come back alive, or there is twangs of hope that they may return unscathed from the point of death.

What is amazing is that we have that very story in our lives if we know it or not. Jesus sacrificed himself for the greater good of mankind. He died so that might be free from sin. He also returned not unscathed though, his scars remained as a remined of what he has done for you. Yet many hear this and think that can’t be true, or that’s not for me.

 

“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 and your enemy. 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. We need to be better at reaching the lost 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.

 

 

 

Day 31: 50 Days of Impact

One thing I have learned on my little time here on earth, it that people will easily lay blame instead of accepting what is happening to them. We get in a car accident and we are looking for who is to blame, hopefully we are checking to see that everyone is alright first.

Here on the cross we see Jesus, hanging, bleeding, thirsty, experiencing something that no man can endure. It was an execution. In this moment Jesus could have exploded in anger at God, asking him “Why me?  Why now?” I think that most of mankind in the same situation would ask those questions. Instead Jesus shouted, “I trust you”.

 

“Then Jesus shouted, ‘Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!’ And with those words he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46 NLT).

 

Here we see Jesus trust God’s plan to the very end. His words are reminisces of Psalms of old coming to life. “Into your hands I commit my spirit: You have redeemed me O LORD God of truth.” (Ps. 31:5 NKJV) As the people around the cross hear this finally cry from Jesus as he breathed his last breath alone, a Roman centurion, which all the Gospels account for, realizes the truth of whom they just crucified. R. Alan Cole suggests “The Lord demanded little knowledge and much faith as initial steps, in those who came to Him – witness His dealings with the dying thief – so that the centurion may have well become a true believer ultimately.”

Our actions and our deeds are on display for those around us to witness. Jesus was a prime example of a man whose actions spoke louder than words. His actions of surrender and humility changed the centurion’s life that day. Our daily actions will define who we are in Christ and we must be willing to commit our lives to God.

Today are you able to trust God? If Jesus in his last breath and his last minutes continued to trust God, what is stopping you? In his last moments, he continued to make an impact. We make an impact in how we respond to our situations. People are watching you. Will your words and actions draw them to a loving God, or will it help solidify the wall they have put up between?

 

Father, to see the plan of salvation unfold in the bible is a feat of wonder. How you used your Son to save the world is unlike any other truth out there.  Thank you for the impact Jesus made on the cross. Thank you for the impact He is making daily in my life and the life of others. Show me how I can touch the hearts of those around me. I want to bring people to you and help them experience life in a relationship with you. They matter to you God, so they matter to me. Let me make an impact. Amen

Day 28: 50 Days of Impact

Trouble, it is something we can expect in life. Anguish is something we can’t avoid. Pain is inevitable to those living in this world. How we respond to these things is something we have control over. Jesus was no stranger to pain, anguish and trouble. On the cross and leading up to it he had many opportunities to use his birthright to reign down judgement on his oppressors, yet he didn’t. He showed compassion, forgiveness and even quoted scripture to let us realize that there is a way to get past the hard times in our lives.

 

46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,[c] lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Matthew 27:46

 

Here in the final hour before his death Jesus cries out one of the most used words from the cross. Maybe you have heard preachers or others say that in this moment it was when the weight of all sin was set on Jesus and God himself couldn’t look at him any longer due to the sin.

If we look at Jesus upbringing we would know that he was taught the scriptures of old and would have been well versed in the Psalms. Psalm 22 starts with the phrase,

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?

 

Was Jesus in this moment reminded of this Psalm, maybe he didn’t have the strength to continue reciting all of it, but if you take the time to read the whole Psalm you will quickly realize that it was all about Jesus, his life, death and resurrection.

How then can these words impact our world and our lives? Well as believers of the living God, we believe that he is the trinity, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Spirit. To separate any from God is to go against what Jesus taught us and the bible explains. So, when Jesus was on the cross, God experienced the cross. So, God couldn’t have looked away as he was part of the experience and plan.

To tell others about this truth can be something that sounds out of this world and fantasy. But for them to understand that God never left Jesus on the cross, can help remind them that he loves them just as much and is not going to leave them in their times of anguish, troubles, and pain. We go through these experiences to either mold us into who we were meant to be or to draw us close to a relationship with God.

You can either run away from God during your times of trouble, get angry with him, or ask him to guide you through it, to give you direction and hope for what is to come. How will you respond to the trouble when it comes? Will you let your response impact those around you in a positive way?

Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I know you were there right with him during that hardship and were behind the plan of salvation from the beginning. I pray that we as believers will come to you in our trouble and ask you to mold us into who you desire us to be. Let our lives impact those around us. Let them see you in us. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

Day 23: 50 Days of Pray

The message of the cross and salvation has reached millions of people, yet there are untold numbers of those who have yet been reached. With today’s social media there really no excuse for the message not to be out there. Yet weeds have popped up and are infesting just as fast, giving true Christianity a bad reputation, as mankind tends to paint all Christians with the same brush. Many are following these false teachings and they too need to see the light. I watched a video today of people thanking a celebrity for his words that pushed them to keep going in life. I can only imagine the day where people will be thanking you for the message of hope you shared when you told they about Jesus, or when you were Jesus in their lives. We may not all have a hugh platform to share Jesus love but we all have opportunities, if only we will take them. You can make an impact in one life at a time or 100’s of people. Wherever God has put you do something.

 

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.””

Isaiah 40:8 NLT

 

The word of God stands forever. Amen. Our God didn’t give us a changing faith, one that changed as our desire do, or changed with the seasons. Gods word never changes. I am so thankful for this. Imagine not knowing if today God is adding something new to his word. We don’t have to worry; Gods word stands forever.

 

Here is where people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus fail to understand. They don’t see God as anything more then just a big finger in the sky playing puppet master with our lives. As followers of Christ we know better and need to show the world through are love, actions and words that God is a loving God who wants so much more for us. This meagre existence is only temporary and God made a way for us to live in eternity with him. Forever ever.  Awesome.

 

Dear Jesus, help us to share with the those around us that your word stands forever. It won’t change with the seasons, it is a rock which we can trust won’t crumble at the first sign of trouble. Give us the insight even today to be a witness to our friends, coworkers and families. Amen

 

How are you making an impact? I would love to hear about it. Comment Below!