As we open the letters in the New Testament we are reading the mail of the early church. So much of what was written impacts pour walk as believers as the early church and the church today are dealing with very similar challenges.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
Romans 1:8-12 NKJV
As I was reading this morning I was debating on what to ask about. I thought about using the second half of Romans, But I didn’t feel that was needed today.
Today the question I feel I want to ask is this. What are you currently doing to spread the hope of Christ?
Paul had a desire to share the love of Christ to the world. He traveled and spread letters all over the known world. His words are now forever with us as part of the bible. He went to jail, eventually was killed, but through that all his sole desire was kingdom building, individually and the Church.
People around me know my faith, more from word of mouth then from me. I am open to talk about it to them if they ask, but am I too quiet in the faith. My actions speak louder then words, but eventually I do need to speak and share.
Are we building each other up on prayer? Are we encouraging one another enough? Are we asking or challenging our brothers and sisters in the faith about what they are doing to reach the lost? If not then we need to change our mindset. We joke together and talk about so much stuff and avoid what really matters. We can build each other up and share tools to reach the lost. This is what the family of God is all about.
Thank you, Jesus, for equipping us. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to guide us, help us to listen to his guidance. Help us to listen to each other and be willing to ask each other the tough questions. This world needs you now just as much as ever, and people won’t just come unless someone tells them. Help us be a people who are willing to share the love that you have given us. Don’t let us hoard your salvation. Amen
How we live our daily lives impact those around us. How we respond and how we treat others can greatly affect our witness. Not all Christians actions match their words but if we as believers want to make a change in those around us we need to show them how important it is to us.
“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT
Love never gives up. That is the motto of my marriage. Never give up, never lose faith, endure through every circumstance. I wish I could say this was true of all my friendships, coworkers or even the connections I have with some of my family. I want it to be but it seems easier to just give up, and let the “wind of fate” prevail.
But we are reminded here that if we love others as Jesus loves others, then we should never give up on those we love. They still matter to God no matter how we feel towards them. Our love we share with them no matter what the circumstance, stands as an example of who we are and what we believe in.
So today if you feel like someone you have been talking to or sharing your faith with is a lost cause, give your head a reset and remember love never gives up. God hasn’t given up on them so neither should you. Love them. Pour your life into them and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Jesus, help us to never give up loving our brothers and sisters. There are so many people in this world who need to know you Jesus. There are no lost causes. Holy Spirit I will do my part so to help you do your part. Give me opportunities to show the love of Jesus with those around me, even today. They matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen
Thoughts of Day 47: Many people will use the excuse of not trusting an all powerful God by saying “Why would a good God let bad things happen to good people”. I guess then we need to ask “Why do good things happen to bad people” and who determines who is good and who is bad? Are those relative terms when it comes to life? What it should come down to is the state of someones heart and relationship with God. Maybe the question should be “Why does God let bad things happen to those serving him?” I believe life happens to everyone and regardless if your good or bad, or even in a relationship with God, life happens, we live in a world corrupt with sin. The effects of sin can be seen everywhere and cause grief to everyone even those who are “good” and those in relationship with God.
And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. (Colossians 3:5-8 MSG)
God is a God of love, but in His love is also a righteous anger towards sin. Sin is an abomination to God. As you read above you see some examples of sin that can cause God to explode in anger. Don’t think a loving God would explode in anger? Well let’s look back.
The whole earth was wicked and in Gods righteous anger he was ready to destroy it all and start over. Luckily for us one man and his family caught Gods eye and favor and the world was saved.
Two cities Sodom and Gomorrah were doing things that would be something similar or maybe even worse then some of the things going on in society today. God saw this and was angered, Abraham tried to fight for their safety but in the end the disgusting nature of the cities caused Gods wrath to be unleashed saving only one family.
There are many more examples, but the good news is you know better. You don’t live your life like that anymore because you accepted the gift of Jesus. God doesn’t look at you with the same judgment as those who don’t have Jesus in their lives. Jesus washes our sins away making us pure in Gods eyes.
If you don’t have a relationship with God, you may be thinking if God is angry with sin then he must be angry with me and will never want anything to do with me. The truth is God loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to take on the sin that we could never get rid of, and make a way for us to have a relationship with God the Father. All we need to do is accept Jesus’s sacrifice and ask him to cleanse us of the sin that covers our lives. God loves you. John 3:16 tells us this specifically. “For God so loved the world” no exceptions.
So now that you know better, live it. Avoid evil and sinfully things. But don’t worry if you make mistakes, bring them to Jesus, repent and avoid making the same mistakes again. He won’t stop forgiving you.
But if you continually are making the same mistakes and continually asking for forgiveness such as, having sex before marriage (fornication), pornography, alcohol abuse, drugs, or other sins, and keep repenting but it is an endless cycle, maybe it us time to ask for help and counselling. Talk to your Pastor or someone you trust in Christ to help you break free of your addiction. They want to help you grow in Christ.
Dear Jesus, forgive me of my sins, if I am continually making the same mistakes please give me the strength and humility to ask for help from my pastor or someone I trust. Keep me from evil, and give me wisdom to overcome obstacles in my path. I want to live a life focused on You. We are waiting for the day you return and remove sin from this world. Amen
Thoughts on Day 45: We all have someone in our lives that we don’t particularly like and that in itself makes it hard for us to show them love. Loving someone and liking someone are different. Jesus didn’t like the ways the people were living and how they were acting, yet he loved them. He didn’t mix the two up, nor should we. We will always have people in our lives that we just don’t get along with, but we need to love them as Jesus loves them, even if we disagree with them. Attacking them and gossiping about them is not loving them. How can we love someone we just don’t like?
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Matthew 5:9 MSG)
Have you ever been in a church where everyone is getting along? Awesome isn’t it. You can feel the love of God moving among the people.
Now imagine a church where the people are fighting one another or the pastor. Maybe it doesn’t take much to get an image as you have seen it before. No growth, and the church seems okay on the outside but falling apart in the inside.
Jesus tells us that we need to cooperate. It’s not always easy when you put a large group of people together and expect them all to go along with the party line. Cooperating does not mean blindly following either.
Now cooperation doesn’t always mean agreeing with everything that is going on, but it is being able to put your opinions aside if needed to share the vision of the group. You have the right to present your opposition in love to the appropriate people, but when you stand up and start outright opposition is when the hard time and fighting would begin.
Are you a cooperative member of your family? Or are you a fighter?
Dear Jesus, I want to discover my place in my family. I want to be used by You and help further Your kingdom in my community and my home church. Show me how to cooperate with others in the global church family.
Thoughts on Day 42: We as a people are, for the most, part quick to jump all over someone when they do something wrong. We see this today especially with the media quick to run stories not always checking the facts. These stories, rumours, half truths or even full truths can break trust between the best of friends. We quickly lose trust and our opinion fades. But is this just one incident? If a limb on you tree dies or is sick you don’t chop down the whole tree? No, you prune the sick or dead part and encourage it to grow again and live. I say this because I feel that many people have seen faith as sick or dying due to one or two incidents or experiences, and instead of pruning the bad part they just chopped the whole tree down in their lives and moved away from it. I am here to tell you that they never got it all and the roots are still there waiting.
But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims, A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God! But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. (Romans 10:14-17 MSG)
Are you trusting that Gods word is for everyone? Do you care that there are lost people out side your door? Do you truly believe that Jesus wants to save the lost? Or do you think that some people are beyond saving?
Our actions truly speak louder than words, but it doesn’t mean we should be silent. When we walk the walk, we need to be able to talk the talk. Back it up.
One of the hardest things I am coming to realise is that people’s trust and respect for you can be lost in one action or deed. Someone may have high regard for you, and when you screw up, because we are still human, and do something opposed to our normal character, how quickly they are to judge and say something like “well that’s not very Christian of you”.
We should then apologize for our actions, and if we are sincere, then continue on, if they choose to keep that view of us from now on there is little we can do but keep on walking in Christ and pray they will see that one or two moments in time does not define who we are.
But pushing past that, are you a sight that takes others breath away? Meaning, when someone sees you, or talks to you, are you different than the world or do you conform? When around the water cooler and a dirty joke is told do you stay and laugh or do you excuse yourself from the situation? When you see a fault at work do you work to correct it or bring it to a superior’s attention, or do you just ignore it?
All these things and more are show people around you who you are. If they can trust you, then when you tell them about the God whom you trust in, they will be more willing to trust Him.
Dear Jesus, am I trustworthy to my peers and in my job? Do people see the trust I have in You? I want to be trustworthy in the life You have given me so that other will see the love and trust I have in You. Please share with me the trust I need to make my life a mirror of Yours. Amen
Thoughts of Day 34: Some faith groups have taken today’s verse out of context and concluded that to be saved you must confess your sins to a clergy who then can offer forgiveness for your misgivings. He or she then gives you something to do or say that will compensate for the sins you have committed. As we learn today this isn’t the point of what was written many years ago. Confessions of sins is something we can bring right to Jesus, and leave it at his feet and he will forgive us every time as he has paid it all on the cross.
17 March 15
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t-not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. (James 5:16-18 MSG)
So do you have someone or multiple people in your life that you can confess your sins with?
Well according to James 5:16 this should be common place in your life.
Why not? Why do we keep our confessions of sin only between us and God? Why would we need to confess our sins to fellow believers?
One reason I believe is that if we confess our sins to others we create a bond of accountability. It allows our close friends to hold us accountable for our actions in the future calling us out on sin. For example, if you confess to your friends that your looking at web sites that are inappropriate and ask for forgiveness from Jesus, then they should step in and hold you accountable, whether it’s giving them permission to search your browser history at random or just being there to help you out.
You can’t live the Christian life alone, you need a church family, you need a bible study group, you need accountability partners. Jesus had his group of friends he trusted, and they learned to trust each other.
Dear Jesus, show me who my close friends are, the ones who believe in You and I can trust to be accountable to. Help me to lay any sins before them in humility asking for their help in avoiding them in the future. If I am living a life full of sinful desires I pray that you will forgive me of my sin and help me to walk with you. Thank you that your word encourages accountability and not a solo life as a Christian. Amen