Day 20: 50 Days of Passion

Have you ever had anyone call out your faith? They are looking for anything they can do to disprove that your faith is real. Are they doing this out of spite? Out of jealously? Or are they looking for an excuse not believe? We need to be strong in our faith as to be a witness to those around you.

 

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practising the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”

1 John 1:5-10 NLT

 

When it comes to being Jesus to those around us let me tell you something that you might already know. If you are a Christian expect those around you to be watching you, they will be looking to see if your version of Christianity is as ‘hypocritical’ as they have thought all along.  We are being watched, judged on our actions, words and lifestyle.

 

That is actually a good thing, I know it is hard to believe but it is. We can become powerful witnesses of our faith if we work at showing the light that we follow. No, we don’t have to be perfect, and yes we will do things that contradict our faith, but it is in those moments the way we deal or handle it is how we will be seen.

 

In this section of 1 John, I read it saying your not perfect, but that’s okay, Jesus is there to help you get through it, to grow towards the life he has for us. I don’t think those around us watching us are expecting perfection. They want to see someone real, experience something real. We can be that with Jesus, we can show that we are just normal people saved by grace.

 

How we live our lives will reflect who we are in Christ as well. We need to be mindful of what we are doing, because our actions and words can help or hinder our witness. The bible has boundaries we should look at maintaining, and I am not going to go into them that is your responsibility to ask God through the bible. These boundaries are not to keep us from having a ‘good’ time or from experiencing life, God gave us these boundaries to keep the evil out of our lives. If we commit to staying inside the boundaries we will start to recognize sin more easily, and it makes it easier to avoid.

 

Today I challenge you to be a light for your faith, be real and don’t just put on a show that will eventually crumble at the first sign of trouble. Invite someone to church to experience what you believe. Share your faith.

 

Jesus, forgive give me for my sins, cleanse me anew today. Let me be a light to my coworkers, my friends, my family and to anyone I come in contact with either in person or online. Jesus let me be real in my faith, I want to reach others and share your love and mercy. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

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Day 19: 50 Days of Passion

To many people live their lives with the attitude of “only if”. Only if I had a better job, only if I had of married someone different, only if I had of not done that, only if I had more money, only if….. They are hoping that if things would only go their way things would be better. Peter a disciple of Jesus, knew what it meant to put his life in someone else’s hands. He left everything to follow Jesus, he saw the hope Jesus was providing to the people and then followed him. The bible reads that Peter followed Jesus with out asking any ‘only ifs’. We would expect him to have asked I will follow only if you tell me where we are going, only if you let me pack my bags up, only if you let me say goodbye, only if you let me find a replacement worker for my dad.

 

 

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.”

1 Peter 1:13 NLT

 

We place a lot of hope in many different things. Some of them may not be that bad, but God is looking for us to put our hope in salvation. He wants us to rely on him for our needs and the like, when we put out hope in the next lottery ticket or our hope in the next elected leader it shifts our eyes of God and salvation.

 

So to be able to put all your hope in God it requires us to prepare our minds. As children and teenagers we prepared our minds for life by attending school, communicating with adults and study/observations. As Christians we need no less, we must communicate and fellowship with other believers who can build us up. We need to study God’s word either personally or in group/educational settings. Observing the actions of other believers can be useful such as reading testimonials of faith or seeing Christians in action can be encouraging and push us to do the same.

 

We also read the word exercise in this verse, exercise self control. Exercise is a discipline that must be done purposeful to be effective, so to exercise self control is a purposeful practice, taking the time to correct ourselves when we make a mistake and getting stronger in spite of it. These two actions of preparing your mind and exercising your self control work side by side. If you watch any amount of TV you may need to cut back (self control) and spend more time with Jesus(preparing). Replace the word TV with whatever activity you do the most.

 

Let use to prepare our minds for action, and exercise self control, as to be effective in the mission of reaching the lost. Don’t use the only if excuse to keep you away from accepting gift of salvation.

 

Jesus, let us not be caught up in the daily activities of live, let our hearts and minds focus on who you are and the call to reach the lost. Let us not miss the moments but be sharp and ready to share your love to whomever needs to hear it. Let us not make excuses on why we can’t so love to others. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 17: 50 Days of Passion

Think about batteries. When you go to the store and buy batteries do you buy the cheap brands or the name brands. If you want power you will choose the brands that are trusted and know will last a long time. The cheap ones have quick power but generally don’t last as long as the tried and true name branded battery. Now I am not comparing God to a battery but why do we keep choosing cheap imitations when we have access to the real deal?

 

“So be careful not to break the covenant the LORD your God has made with you. Do not make idols of any shape or form, for the LORD your God has forbidden this.”

Deuteronomy 4:23 NLT

 

In this day and age, we don’t generally make idols out of gold and precious medals to worship. Yet we quietly set up our secret idols that sometimes we don’t even know we are doing. Idols are not always physical object either, we can make an idol out of our ideology and religion.

 

The most familiar one I can think of is the phrase “my god wouldn’t” assigning God the word ‘my’ most times shows that the god they are speaking of is one they have created and adapted to fit their own personal needs. This becomes an idol and we as the people of God must start stepping up to the plate and addressing these issues.

 

We see many people passionate about their gods. They may look it on the outside but inside they are missing the truth. It won’t satisfy forever and they will begin longing for more. Some times believers start off worshiping God, but along the way they listen to those with strange ideas about who God is and they go from following God to my god. It isn’t easy to have passion for my god has he has no power to back himself up.

 

Study your bible, find out who God is and let him reign fully in your life. Be ready to question someone who has or makes weird ideas about who God is. Be able to show them the true God and not the image they are connected with.

 

Jesus, we need to be aware that there are people who have warped who you are. Help us to study your word and to know you, so we may reach those who are wandering around lost. Let us point them back to the true God and smash all idols that hold them back. They matter to you Jesus so they matter to me. Amen

Kurt Arnold

 

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 15: 50 Days of Passion

Ever have someone tell you that you are missing out because you are not participating in an activity or habit that they enjoy? As a military member I have heard so many times that I need to start drinking as I am missing out. Or the challenge that they will have me drinking soon enough. Time and time again I will just laugh and say sure that’s not going to happen and I thank God that I never went down that road. But unfortunately, there are many who have succumb to the lie that they are missing out on something.

 

 

 

But whatever happens to me, remember always to live as Christians should, so that whether I ever see you again or not, I will keep on hearing good reports that you are standing side by side with one strong purpose—to tell the Good News fearlessly, no matter what your enemies may do. They will see this as a sign of their downfall, but for you it will be a clear sign from God that he is with you, and that he has given you eternal life with him. Philippians 1:27-28

 

 

If only there was a book out there with simple and hard fast ways for a person to live as “a Christian should.”   Well fortunate for us there is, it is called the Bible. It doesn’t give us examples exactly how in our current era, but it gives us the basic principles of what it means to follow Jesus. To live a life as a Christian should is not boring, it is actually quite exciting. If you want a dangerous life look at Paul, he ended up in jail for sharing his faith, he was killed for loving Jesus.  You may not live in a place where your life is at stake for following Jesus, but God will use you for amazing things.

 

How then according to the bible should a Christian live? Jesus told his followers that they should ‘love one another’, he said to “go to the ends of the earth and tell others about him making disciples of all nations’ as well as “go and sin no more”. Paul tells us to “pray with out ceasing” and “to tell the good news”.

 

Not all believers live as Christians should, maybe that’s one reason their passion is low. These are not to be confused as rules that once broken God hammers down on them punishing them for their disobedience. Completely opposite, God in his fatherly love for us works to draw us back to him with love, promptings and grace. God never removes himself from us, it is us that move away from him. He is always there with arms wide open.

 

We can’t expect the non- believer to live as Christians should. This is one hinderance that those outside the church see as a turnoff to the faith. But they are watching us and seeing how we react to one another, what love we are showing those we call “family”. If we are not walking side by side with our they will see it and it will not be something that draws them in.

 

So are you ready to live as a Christina should, explore your bible, see what it says. Ask God to reveal areas that may be a hinderance to your faith. Ask for a renewed passion for sharing the good news to the lost. Let your life be an example of the love of Jesus.

 

Father, we come to you today asking for a renewed passion. We pray that if there is anything in our lives that is holding us back, show us so we can give it to you to remove. Forgive us for not being untied with our fellow believers. Let our words match our actions. Set a fire in our hearts to reach the lost. They matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

 

Day 14: 50 Days of Passion

I had a boss once who explained my experience as a military man like this. At the floor level we only see about 25% of the picture, we experience what is happening immediately around us but don’t have an understanding completely of why, yet we must complete the job. At the supervisor level we learn a bit more and might get us to 45% and then as a manager closer to 60%, as you continue up the levels to the top still no one knows 100% of the truth because the truth of any story has three sides, theirs, yours and what actually happened.

 

“All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12b NLT

 

 

I say all this because we don’t know the whole plan of God for our lives, we don’t know what he has in store for us, nor do we know why certain events or situations occur. God points us, with prompting from the Holy Spirit, in a direction he wants us to go and we as faithful workers should go. Yet many times we expect a full plan laid before us before we make the first step. This is never going to happen. If God gives you a direction take the step of faith and move towards it. One day when you meet face to face he will open your eyes to your life, let you see the whole plan as it unfolded what a highlight reel that will be.

 

Our passion is linked to our faith to step into the plan that God has for us. No matter what % of the plan you understand, if you prompted and confirmed that this is where God is sending you then you should take on that plan. It takes a lot of faith to submit to God’s plans. He tends to put people in areas they are not comfortable with, this is to help you grow as a person as well as spiritually. It is when we continually ignore the plans and callings that our passion or fire starts to fade. I don’t believe God calls us to just tread water and stay in one spot in our faith.

 

Do you want to look back and see that you avoided the plan your whole life? Or would you love to have the Father watch with you and see the proud look on his face when he says, ‘well done good and faithful servant’? Let focus our lives on following Gods plan for our lives and work to fulfill the mission we have been given.

 

 

 

Jesus, I want to walk your plan, even if I don’t know all the variables and details. Show me what I need to be doing to fulfill the mission. Give me the tools and resources required as I can’t do this on my own. Let me be an effective worker in sharing your love to those who need to know you. They matter to you so they matter to me. Amen

 

 

Day 11: 50 Days of Passion

If you talk to any avid sports fan they aren’t ashamed to tell you why their team is the best. They know the stats, what it takes for their team to go all the way. Talk to someone into TV Dramas, they can explain the complicated lives of their favorite shows, may even know lines word for word. Nerds and geeks have knowledge they are willing to talk to on any subject that they are passionate about. They will fight seemingly to the death in support of their favorite genre. So why are we afraid to talk about our faith?

 

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or whether I must die. Philippians 1:20

 

We are living in a world where there are spiritual battles happening all around us and we are unaware. Blind or ignorant either way it is happening and most of the word just doesn’t care to acknowledge it. The enemy is bound and determined to keep people from following Jesus. He knows that every person who accepts the give of salvation is another possible spreader of his love.

 

He has devised a strategy that if he is able to make a Christian lazy and apathetic to his or her faith then at least they are not sharing their faith. He sends his minions to hold us down, whisper lies in our ears, we believe these lies giving him a sort of permission to hold us down. Satan is one being unlike God who can be everywhere, so to say Satan is attacking you most chances it is his followers.  This oppression will keep you from the passion you desire to share the word of God.

 

The enemy will continually whisper lies that will make us ashamed to share the truth. They won’t accept it. They think you are looking down on them, you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your friendship over this.

Jesus has power over demons. He showed us this in his word when he cast them out of people. We have the right as believers to ask Jesus to remove any demon who is hindering our lives. (I don’t believe we can be demon possessed as believers, but harassed and held down.) Two thoughts on this. First if you ask Jesus to banish the demon that is harassing you, you must fill that area of your life with the Holy Spirit, scripture and prayer. If you don’t the enemy will try to work his way back in. Second, the enemy will keep lying to you telling you that it didn’t work, Jesus didn’t remove anything and that you just weren’t good enough for it to work. This is another enemy trying to discourage you even more. Ask Jesus to remove it as well.

I know this is a deep thought today. If may be something you haven’t considered. Our passion and fire is directly linked to our relationship with Christ. If we become lazy in our reading of the bible, prayer and fulfilling the mission our fire will dwindle. That’s what the enemy wants from us. Ineffective Christians aren’t dangerous.

If you are feeling held down by the enemy, maybe he is telling you lies, lets pray that Jesus will banish them to never return, and reignite our passion.

 

Jesus, if anyone reading this today is being held down by a spirit of fear, apathy or lies I pray in Jesus name that they be banished. As we cry out you name, le the enemy leave our lives. Refill the void that this enemy leaves behind with the Holy Spirit, love, compassion, joy, hope and passion. Jesus, we thank you for freeing us from the grip of the enemy. As your servant Paul wrote, let us not be ashamed of ourselves but let us boldly proclaim your truth to those around us. Amen