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.

 

 

 

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Day 30: 50 Days of Passion

We live in a society now that has gone completely insane when in comes to their thought pattern on offense. A shift has taken place where morality has become offensive. Outright sin has become acceptable, normalized and even prosecutable if it your opinion about the issue hurts someone’s feelings. Should we as believers submit to these changes and just accept them as the new normal? No, but we need to love the people. We can’t get caught up in the debate, we need to trust God can use us to deliver these people from their blindness. We should never categorize sin thinking some are more heinous then others. Sin separates us from God, it does matter what sin, sin is sin.

 

Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long. (Psalms 74:22 NLT)

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)

Sometimes we get so caught up in defending God that we forget that He can defend Himself. Our purpose on earth once we have accepted the gift of Jesus is to share that gift with others. So many believers are stuck in defence mode that they are spinning their wheels. There are many others out there working hard to defend the bible and God, let’s not waste our efforts of defence when we are called to reach others with the truth.

If you are caught up in defence, you need to rethink your strategy and work on your offence. Start loving the world, not what the people are doing, but love the people as those who need Jesus. We spend to much time focusing on the sin and not the person. We forget that we were just like them, lost separated from God, ignorant to the need for salvation. Some sin is so out there and right in your face that it so easier to condemn and make it a yelling point, but that isn’t the way forward in our cause. Gentleness, mercy, love and leading by example is the only way that we will reach this world today.

We are called to make disciples, not just bring someone to church, watch them accept Jesus then walk away from them. This isn’t catch and release Christianity. We went through a period in the last 30 years where discipleship was lacking in many of our church’s and we wondered why our young people were walking away from the faith. It wasn’t personal to them, they were missing something that we found but forgot to pass on, so when some other group or idea came along it grabbed their attention away from the Father.

If you are a believer in the faith are you mentoring anyone? Are you sharing your wisdom with the younger believer, believe it or not their age doesn’t matter. You may be an adult in your twenties mentoring someone in their 60’s in the faith. Spiritual maturity and age are two different things. God can use you at any age. Let God use you to mentor and disciple new believers. I wasn’t a fan if small groups until I started one and now I see that I had been missing out on an important aspect of discipleship.

If you are young in your faith join a small group for new believers, if none are around, ask someone at you church to start one. Don’t go to church, find one that preaches God’s love and has a heart for discipleship. Don’t think you can do this alone. Even Jesus had a group of men he kept close.

 

Dear Jesus, help us to let You defend Yourself. We worry so much that You will be defamed when that’s not our purpose. Strengthen our true purpose in our hearts to make disciples of all nations. Help us to become better at discipleship. Mentoring those who need to be mentored. If anyone is looking for a church home I pray that you will lead them to a place where they will get the discipleship they require. Thank you Jesus for everything you do for us. Amen

 

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

 

 

Day 13: 50 Days of Passion

When someone is released from jail, they normal are on parole. They are expected to go back into society and live productive lives under the law. If they go and live like they did before they will most likely be returned to the jail cell the once occupied. But if they grasp and hold onto their freedom they will become reformed members of society. As believers who have been freed from the bondage of sin that held us captive, why then do we go back to the sinful lifestyle, will it not once again bind us back in the bondage we were freed from?

 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13NLT

 

There are some groups of believers out there who believe that being forgiven is a license to sin. ‘Well Jesus will forgive me of it so I can do it’. This type of thinking is destructive and will lead down a path of irresponsibility and problems. We are called to throw off our sinful ways and work to live a life of freedom.

 

What does the sinful nature look like you may ask? Well Paul gives a clear picture a few verses down in Galatians 5:19-21.

19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.

 

God desires that we live a life free from the above list. Why would God give us such a list to avoid? Does he not want us to have any fun? No that’s not it at all. God provides us with boundaries because he knows the dangers outside of the boundaries. He created them to keep us safe from the path to hell.

Inside of Gods boundaries there is an abundance of good things. Paul describes them as well. In verse 22-23.

22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control.

 

These things create character, a person that others see and want to emulate. Passion flows from the hearts of believers with these traits. We don’t erase who we are, what are personality is or put aside what our talents and what makes us unique. We become what we were truly meant to be, God uses our uniqueness to become effective.

So do you want to build up for yourself a life in Christ that is full of evil or good? What kind of man or woman do you desire to become? Jesus calls us to follow him in the path of righteousness. Today choose life. Choose to avoid things that satisfy our sinful nature.

 

This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new follower of Jesus. Ask Jesus through the Holy Spirit to start working on you in areas he wants you to clean up. The relationship with Jesus you have started on isn’t boring, far from it. Try him and see.

 

Jesus, we want to walk with you daily. Our sinful nature tries to take over daily, we ask Holy Spirit to keep us strong to avoid those dangers. Let us be an example in our change and walk so others will see you in us. Burn in our hearts that they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

Day 9: 50 Days of Passion

 

Charles Stanley this week made a clear distinction on the way we hear from the Holy Spirit and the Enemy. After we have accepted Christ into our lives we are still prone to sin, but we have Jesus promise to forgive when we ask. The enemy will condemn us for this and try to convince us to either ignore it or that God would never forgive us. The Holy Spirit works differently, he never condemns, he lets us know and reminds us that Jesus will forgive. If we can heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit then we will be able to push forward in our faith and our passion will show.

 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

 

Do you ever do things that afterword’s you feel real awful about. Maybe it is something you know is wrong but in the heat of the moment it feels so right? Sin is like that. Sin aims at hitting at all the right pleasure points, creating a sense of entitlement. But sin is like a cancer, it spreads and works its way to your heart.

 

The Holy Spirit calls you to repentance, he sees everything you do. As a believer we still sin, but we are called to repent and move away from what causes us to sin. The Proverb says, ” as a dog returns to his vomit” well if we keep doing the same thing over and over each time we are repenting of it, are we repentant or just looking to feel better about our sin?

 

Repentance of out sin is to do a U-turn from what caused the problem in the first place. Get out of the situation, put up safe guards, get accountability, tell someone, do something. But the key is you must want to change. Freedom from sin is a choice you must make daily. Jesus told Peter that we will be forgiven 70×7, not to say after 490 times he stops, but that we will always be forgiven if asked. But it would be so much easier if we changed after the first time.

Is your sin dragging you down, is it stifling your passion? It is hard to be passionate about your faith when sin has not been dealt with.

 

So, are you living your life as to glorify God? Or are you living it to pleasure yourself?

 

Jesus, I want to live my life glorifying you. I don’t want to be like a dog returning to my own vomit. Forgive me of my sins. Help me to u-turn away from them. Let this day be a new day. Let me be able to reach others with you love because they matter to me. Move in this city. Move at my work. Use me. Amen

 

 

Day 7: 50 Days of Passion

Fear can hold back many people. How many are afraid of public speaking, addressing a crowd can be petrifying to some. The medical world has created a whole chapter on this issue of fear and even created words that the classify as phobias. Some have created the terms Evangephobia or Gospelphobia as one who is afraid to share their faith.

 

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:12-14

 

There is no medical reference to a phobia on sharing the gospel. These terms I mentioned above are coined from churches or ministries creating buzz words to point out that the fear of sharing the gospel is a real thing. There was a fear in Paul’s time for sharing the gospel. But their reasons are way different then ours, sharing the gospel for us makes us uncomfortable, sharing in Paul’s day could cost you your life.

Paul displayed in jail that no matter the circumstance, situation or his lot in life he was willing to share his faith. He didn’t care who knew he followed Christ but confidently shared it with everyone including the palace guards. This confidence is infections. You see it says, “most of the brothers and sister”, this tells me that not all dared to surpass their fears. Many did and their passion increased, their fears decreased and they were able to share their faith in confidence.

Can this life experience of Paul ignite a passion in your heart to overcome your fear to share the gospel?  Or do you know someone who is confident in sharing their faith? If you do hang out with them, let their confidence infect you, let their passion for reaching the lost rub off on you. Join them and be mentored by them, ensure that the purpose of your time together is on reaching the lost and not distracted by your needs.

Like any fear the first step is to admit your afraid. Once you do that you can work towards overcoming that fear. Trying to do something you are afraid to do is hard, but asking the Holy Spirit to remove that fear will change you from the inside out. Stepping out in faith and doing when he gives you that push will build your confidence.

If you want your passion to be the consistent in your life then fear of reaching the lost must go. There is a certain joy that can only be experienced by sharing your faith with another person who is lost. It explodes in your heart when that person commits their life to Jesus.

Are you ready to let go of your fear?

Father, so many of us are caught in this fear of sharing our faith, we think we will lose friends, family or social standing. We are confused by the way the world says that we must accept all and be open to everything. Forgive us for falling for this trap of the enemy, let us not give into this fear. Holy Spirit we ask for you to remove this fear that is holding us back, give us a confidence and to share the truth. Give us mentors who will disciple us and provide us direction in sharing our faith. We want to reaching others and share your love to this world. I pray encouragement and renewed passion for anyone reading this. Amen

 

 

Day 50: 50 Days of Impact

If I had cancer, yet I didn’t know I had cancer I would not be very open to hear you tell me that I had it. If I wasn’t displaying any symptoms or feeling and effects I would call you misinformed. Especially if you were just my friend or co-worker, not even a professional. No one is looking for cancer in their own body. It is the same as sin, no one is looking or thinking they have sinned. For you to tell me I’m a sinner well that can’t be. I am a good person. Dr.’s know what to look for when it comes to cancer, they know the signs, symptoms and what to identify in blood. Jesus in conjunction with the Holy Spirit knows what sin is and wants to open your eyes to the life your living and the life that He has for you. Most people have a hard time accepting the diagnostic, but when you do and seek help that’s when truly healing can begin.

 

“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.”

Romans 8:7 NLT

 

 

We need to remember that those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus are not looking for him. Those who haven’t been washed clean by the blood of the lamb, are still soaked in the sinful nature and remain hostile towards God. Why would a good God do such bad things to this world and it is people? They will ask questions like that. Because they don’t see the condition they are in.

 

If they could only look at themselves from Gods eyes, they would be down on their knees in seconds praying that God would save them from their evil ways.

 

But God, having a plan to offer redemption made a way for us to be free of sin. Jesus calls out to the people of this world to come to him. In our stubborn selfish ways we don’t hear him, and we ignore his call. I am sure you have friends or family who you have talked to many times about the love of Jesus and they keep shrugging it off and don’t seem interested.

 

Don’t give up, don’t stop sharing, don’t stop praying for them. The only lost cause is one who has been buried. So as long as they have a breath in their bodies keep loving them.

 

Dear Jesus, we need you to continue to call out to the ones we love. We want our friends and family to come to you. We open ourselves up to be used by you to witness to anyone you set in our path. Loosen our lips to share of what you have done for us and want to do for them. Amen