6: 50 Days of 3:16

Here in the fifth book of the Bible, we see the armies of Israel on the border of the Jordan River ready to cross over and take the rest of the land God had promised them. Two tribes were given this side of the Jordan.

 

But to the Reubenites and the Gadites, I gave the territory extending from Gilead down to the Arnon Gorge (the middle of the gorge being the border) and out to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites

Deuteronomy 3:16

 

Forty years of wandering and they had made it this far. The people were tired but excited to finally have arrived. As they conquered the land on one side of the Jordan the two tribes of Israel who were to settle this land were probably feeling like their journey was over, they had arrived. If we continue reading God commands that all able-bodied men from these two tribes must continue on and help clear the remainder of the land. I would expect there may have been some grumbling from those men as they want to establish homes for their wives and livestock who would have to wait. They also had to trust God that the Ammonites on their new border would not take advantage of the situation and invade taking all their women, children and livestock.

 

God had brought them to the land as promised and asked for just a little more before they could settle down. He was showing them that all the family is important. Just as Jesus taught about the body of believers here all the tribes were important. They had to work together for all the land to be conquered. How can this then relate to us as believers? We are a family. Even if I receive what God is blessing me with I can expect that He is asking me to help others. We are not living this journey alone and we need to rely on each other. There may be risks involved, like leaving our family’s seemingly unprotected but trusting that God will protect them from adversity. The rewards for obeying God outweigh the consequences of disobedience. James 4:17 reads ‘Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it’. If the two tribes had turned to Joshua and said ‘sorry dude, you got enough men we will not follow you across the border’ I don’t think God would have been pleased with their choice.

 

Are you listening to what God is asking you to do today? Has God given you much and now asking you to do more? What is it that you are hesitating to give God or od for Him? If what He is asking you to do is uncomfortable and feels like if you do it everything will fall apart, you need to trust that He has a plan, he will protect. He doesn’t desire that you suffer but wants you to bless you for your obedience.

 

Father, today there are some reading this who are hesitating to follow the direction you are leading them. Maybe they have been given a word of where to go, the job to take or who not to have a relationship with. They are scared of what they may lose by choosing your direction. I pray that they will see that by choosing to follow you they will gain so much more. Give them the strength and wisdom to choose you. Help us as believers to work the mission of reaching others in our daily walk and keep strong in our faith no matter what the adversity. Amen

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Day 38: 50 Days of Passion

Yesterday was the international day of prayer for the persecuted church. Did your church talk about the plight of 200 million believers around the world that are persecuted for just trusting in Jesus? Will you take the next 50 days for focus on the countries that are focused on eliminating Christianity? Join me at 50 Days of Pray as we pray for the 50 most persecuted countries. Pray for the leaders, the law enforcement, government, the civic workers and the people as well as the believers. Lets pray that God will shake things up and that the persecution will change to revival.

 

 

“O LORD, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning.”

Psalms 5:1 NLT

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.”

Psalms 138:3 NLT

 

If you are not praying, you are missing out on the most important tool we have on earth to communicate with our Heavenly Father. We often hear people being called prayer warriors and assume that they are doing enough for the rest of us. This is not okay. We are called to “pray with out ceasing”. This means being in constant communication with God, not walking the streets praying aloud, but centring ourselves so our thoughts are continually on him.

 

We should all be as Christians considered to be ‘prayer warriors’ ready to fall on our knees when called to prayer. This burden to pray can come from others or from the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When you focus your life on serving Jesus, talking to him daily these things will overflow your life. You will become sensitive to the Holy Spirits calling. To be in a relationship with Jesus that is rich and satisfying comes from daily communication and consumption of his word.

 

Finally, warriors of pray don’t last long if they don’t come together with the rest of the army. We need to pray with other warriors. If your church gathers to pray, make a conscious effort to be there. Plan to be there, prioritize your life to have time. All great revivals start in the hearts of those who pray. If you expect God to move in your church or community then you need to pray alone and with others who have the same heart for the lost.

 

Jesus, I pray that your people will not forsake the communication freedom you have given us. We need to come together and pray not only on Sundays but meet during the week. Increase the burden to reach the lost on the hearts of your people, see their hearts ablaze with your love for the lost. They matter to you, so they matter to me. Amen

 

Day 36: 50 Days of Passion

We hear the scripture ask, seek and knock and expect that whatever we ask will be given to us. Doesn’t Jesus himself say God gives good gifts to his children? (Matthew 7:11) So why then do some of our prayers not get answered as we have ben praying or expect? Craig Groecschel in his devotional Daily Power on YouVersion made this observation “God’s will matters in the midst of our prayers. You don’t always get what you want when you want it. But you can always walk by faith and trust God’s will.) (Groeschel Day 4)

 

 

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

James 1:5-8 NLT

 

Ever pray to God asking for something, whilst giving God the answer on how you want him to do it? We put our faith in our method of an answer and not trusting the God can provide in many other ways. A very good example is in our finances, we ask God to help us out of our financial messes but then in the next breath say well if this was to happen, or if I won the lotto, or if I got a raise or the new job.

 

We can’t pigeon hole God. We need to be open and honest with ourselves and honestly look to God for the answer. Now if he has revealed what you need to do and your praying for how to do it, keep pushing in prayer, asking for direction and guidance. But telling God how to help you out of a situation is like listening to the sheep for advice on how to get out of the well. God knows how you got in the situation, he knows how to get you out, and he knows what lessons you will learn while in there.

 

So today trust God to answer your prayers. He will provide for his children what they need, when they need it, and how they need it. It may not always be answered in the way you expected, but know that it is part of the will of God and good will come from it.

 

Jesus, let us trust that you have a solution, and that we don’t need to provide one for you. We put our lives in your hands and love you so much for it. Please hear our prayers and answer them as quickly as needed. Help us to see you will in your answer even if it doesn’t make sense to us. You are the God who loves us. Let us share this love with those around us, let us live a life of example for you. The people around us need to know you, need to experience your love. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 33: 50 Days of Passion

There is a video out there of a man walking around his town just asking people how he can help them. From all appearances and his intro to the video, we can assume he is legit and really just wants to help people do anything for his “social experiment”. The people who he talked to on the most part were very hesitant to accept his help. He intentionally didn’t offer anything specific other then helping them with whatever they needed.

Now I have done something similar to this. The group of men I have a bible study with went door to door in our neighborhood asking if they needed help with anything on an upcoming Saturday as we were going to be loving our neighbors. People in most part were friendly to our visit, but no one wanted help, they were hesitant to receive.

 

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.”

Romans 12:9 NLT

 

Hate and anger have become staples in the lives of many believers and unbelievers alike. Some wrong that has been done against us or to someone we love that we have a hard time accepting or forgiving. These strong emotions can grip us to the point where our faith becomes ineffective when working to reach the lost. They see us working to love them yet the anger and hate festering on other issues cause them to wonder where your heart really is.

 

We are to live out our life like Christ. No, we are not prefect, that’s why daily we need to come to the foot of the cross and ask to be cleansed of our sins. Jesus was clear about this, especially when he was sharing the Lords supper, he reminded them that if they had any anger or unforgiveness towards a brother they need to go right away and make it right.

 

Again and again we are called to love others. Love is the most powerful thing in the world that can break those who are hardened, bitter and angry. We need to learn to love those in our communities that feel unloved. How can we do that? Get out into your community and find the needs. Then work to meet them. Ask them ‘ what can I do for you?’ Then work hard at meeting the need, whether it is physical, spiritual, or financial. Be Jesus to them.

 

Wait, doesn’t the last part of todays scripture tell us to hate what is wrong? I thought as a believer we were to not hate anything? Love is preached as the key, isn’t it? King James Version says abhor, amplified tells us to ‘detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness.” How does this then translate what our lives should be reflecting? I believe that we can’t be living a life where we are tolerating things that are wicked and promote sin. We should hate these ungodly practices are destroying the lives of our friends, family and coworkers. Yet we shouldn’t let that hate consume us. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we can do to reach the people lost in these things.

 

 

Jesus, if I have anger in my heart I ask that you forgive me. Let me be a man of God who loves those around me. Let your love exude my life. Let me be an example of you. I don’t want to tolerate wickedness, show me how to not accept it and work to reach those caught up in it. Show me how I can love those around me in my community and use me to help them. Give me wisdom and strength to be a light. They matter to you Jesus, so they matter to me. Amen

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 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 8: 50 Days of Passion

We have people in life that just don’t like us. They don’t like the look of us, the way we act or what we believe. They are either jealous or for some reason we have just never connected. This can happen in your church, this can happen with other believers, this can happen to us.

 

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, Philippians 1:15-18

 

Paul wasn’t in total isolation when he was in jail. From accounts he wasn’t a considered a dangerous criminal and most likely had visitors or at least letters telling him the churches and places he had been. How else would he have heard of those teaching out of envy and rivalry?

Human nature has become a lifestyle where you have to outdo the other person to get a head. This thought pattern creates that envy and rivalry that Paul is talking about here. If their church has 100 seats, mine will have 200. If they send money to missions will send more. There bringing in this special speaker, will bring this better one.

Paul here takes a different view on it, he almost shrugs it off and says ‘whatever’. He knows that at least at the end of the day Christ is being preached. What could Paul do to change the motives of man? That change is something the Holy Spirit can do but not us.

So, we see Paul here telling us to rejoice that Christ is being preached. Not to get caught up in trying to fix their issues. All to often we get caught up in trying to fix their issues, point out their problems, spend hours talking about it or joining them by ‘fighting’ back. Maybe instead of doing all this we need to take an approach like Paul. Rejoice.

We need to rejoice when other churches are reaching the lost, we need to rejoice an be encouraged that no matter the motives Christ is preached. Pray for those churches that God will keep working in them. He will show them the change they need, not our job to fix them.

Do you want to see your passion flourish? Start praying for the whole Church. We are the body of Christ; all parts are important. Let’s pray that God is preached in the whole body.

Father, we pray today for the Whole body of believers. God we have separated into different circles of believers but we all belong to your Church. Although we may have different viewpoints we pray that they be continuing to preach the love of Christ. Help us not to get caught up in pettiness and become more loving to all our family, rejoicing when Christ is preached and people saved. Ignite our passion help us to grow in you, Amen