5: 50 Days of Pray – Time for a Change

Do you remember when you first gave your heart to Jesus? You gave him it all even though you most likely did not know what that meant at the time. Maybe you followed him for a couple of years learning what He was all about, but one day it just felt like he left you, or something you heard made you question why you were even involved with him. You are not alone in this, almost all believers have this time in their lives. It was the same for the disciples.

 

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting their nets into the sea; for they were fisherman. Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ The immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Matt 4:18-20

 

We see here the moment Peter and Andrew left their lively hood. The reason the word their is italicized I believe is to emphasise the fact that these men owned the nets, they were not just some workers who left their job owned by someone else. They left everything they owned behind to follow this man who, like most new believers, didn’t know a lot about. Over the next three years they learned much about who Jesus was, they say incredible miracles and were personally taught by Him. Peter even confessed Jesus to be the Son of God; “He said to them ’But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” Matt 16:15-16. So here we see that Peter knew who Jesus was and loved Him, yet when things got tough Peter like all the other disciples ran away from God. When Jesus was arrested in the garden we read that they fled and we hear nothing more from them until after the resurrection. We, however, hear of Peter who denies Jesus three times when asked if he knew or was an associate of Jesus.

 

As we read about what happened to Peter we see that he like many believers went back to his old way of living. He returned back to what he thought he knew which was fishing, defeated and wonder why he had wasted his last three years. Jesus found Peter here in John 21, I encourage you to read the full story. In this second experience Peter became a different man then He was the first time he met Jesus. His confidence and knowledge of Jesus had changed. He was ready to become the man who God was calling Him to be, he was ready to change.

 

So today Jesus wants to invite you to see Him for who he truly is. The resurrected saviour who love you no matter if you decide that you no longer believe in Him. He is calling you back to do amazing things, you are important to God. If God can change a fisherman into a founder of the church what does He have in store for you? I can tell you from experience that God has called me from serving my country to serving as a Pastor, and it is scary the amount of work involved in this transition yet each step forward I fell confident in the calling. Not everyone is called to this path but you are called to something. Have you taken the time to ask him what it is? If not lets change that and ask him today.

 

Father, Peter is a beautiful example of your love and grace. He could have been easily dismissed for his actions yet you used him to build the early church. We cannot ignore that you use people to do amazing things if they would only submit to you and trust that your ways are much better then our ideas. I pray that if anyone reading this today asks for the direction that you will guide them to your plan for them. I know it may not be the full plan but get them started on a journey where they feel purpose and hope. Use your people to reach the lost, Holy Spirit provide us with the wisdom that only comes from you. We trust you, God, that you are in control so it is time for a change where your faithful step up to their callings. Use us. Amen

4: 50 Days of Pray – Time for a Change

“I was pretty angry towards God and pretty bitter towards his world. How could a loving God blind me? Why? Anyway, [he said] God’s plan is like a beautiful tapestry, and the tragedy of being human is that we only get to see it from the back, with all the ragged threads and the muddy colours. We only get a hint at the true beauty of what would be revealed if we could see the whole pattern on the other side as God does.” (Daredevil, S3E15, Matt Murdock)

 

How many would read this and understand the feeling? Maybe you’re not blind as the character in the show, but you lost a child, parent, or a host of other things that cannot be explained.

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

 

I have been looking into the problem of evil in this world for my schooling and it is startling how many people will run into this wall and easily walk away from God. I have this thought that in this day and age we have so much information that one might think that we would be able to answer life’s questions, yet we have so many people focusing on disproving God’s existence that the information is so muddled that it is hard to know the truth anymore. That’s the issue with lies, when you peel off a layer there is another right there that has to be disproven. What makes it even more difficult is we have been neglecting to teach and discipline our fellow believes on what truth is so that when the lies come, they can protect themselves from them. But they get distracted and many falls to them. This responsibility is not the Pastors, he or she has an hour each week to instil wisdom and truth. The adage goes it takes a community to raise a child, well it takes a church family to raise up strong believers. If we want to see the next generation avoiding the pitfalls that have plagued believers for years, then we need to teach them the truth.

 

Here is the problem, how can we teach what many of us just do not know? If we do not know how to defend our faith basics and just use ‘because the bible says so’ we will fall flat. It takes a motivated person to take some time studying what the Bible and solid Christian scholars use to defend the faith. We have a plethora of solid teachers who have been sharing their knowledge through books, talks online and teachings. C.S. Lewis, James Taylor, William Lane Craig and many others have worked to defend the faith against others who want to tear it down. We need foundations, Jesus reminded us of that himself when he told us to build our house on a foundation so when the winds and storms come, we will not fall.

 

Can you answer any of these three questions that might shake a believer’s faith?

  • Why would a God who is all loving let bad things happen to good people?
  • Wasn’t the bible written long after the events after years of storytelling? How do we know it wasn’t written in that Jesus was resurrected and it never really happened?
  • Why follow Christianity, don’t all religions end up in the same place?

 

Small groups of believers who meet weekly and work through these types of foundational truths, investing the time will become the leaders of tomorrow. The church needs to change from just one man or a small segment of the church doing all the work. If we follow Jesus example, he trained up a group of people and sent them out to do the work. It took a few years but when it was all said and done, they were ready to lead and became the first generation of Christian leaders.  In those preparation years, we see them making mistakes, misunderstanding what they were being taught, and more. Yet what the learned and the experience made them so much stronger.

 

It is time for a change.

 

Father, we need to build our foundations. Many have been swept away by little theories and questions when they couldn’t get the answers they needed. The church family needs to be ready to help answer the questions or even better prepare them to defend against them before they happen. Give us the fortitude to start preparing believers for this, Holy Spirit give us the wisdom to mentor our brothers and sisters in the faith. We pray for a revival in the hearts of believers to defend their faith, with knowledge and love. Use us God to reach the lost all around us. Amen