There was a song I used to listen to all the time as a kid, written and sung by one of the greatest Christian singers of that day, Carmen. It wasn't one of his story telling songs, or one of his up beat songs. It was a slow song that illustrated what every Christian should be doing out in the world, and it was called "The Light of Jesus to the World". Now remember, this song was written in the 80's, but the words still ring true today. And since I listened to it all the time as a kid, it's one of the reasons I went into ministry, because it was imbedded in my mind to serve and love the broken hearted and the down and out. Below are the lyrics so you can see the words that sometimes are hard to hear, but needed to remind us of what God has called us to do.
The Light of Jesus to the World
"Who's gonna take the shield of faith out into the ghettos and witness to the street gangs of the night?
Who's gonna be the bold one to tell the pimps and the prostitutes the affection that they crave is found in Christ?
Who'll take the breastplate of righteousness into this country's schools and preach holiness to every boy and girl?
Well, it's you and it's me who'll witness for the Savior, and be the light of Jesus to the world
Tell me who'll walk strong and tall and gird their loins with truth and stand and say "abortion is a sin"?
Who will confront the politicians with all of their deception and say in heaven, God won't let liars in?
Who'll take the helmet of salvation out into Wall Street and teach wealth is more than cars, diamonds, and pearls?
Well, it's you and it's me who'll take the cross of Calvary and be the light of Jesus to the world
Because it's you and it's me, we are the world's examples, our government won't teach us how to pray. Tell me when was the last time you witnessed to your neighbor and told him that Jesus is the way?
Because they're dying out in Vegas, they think gambling's the answer
In Hollywood, they're lost in lust for fame
The homosexual in San Francisco's trapped in vile bondage, and in Miami, drugs still play their hellish game
Someone has to walk this gospel of peace throughout our nations. Our TV game shows won't clear out our jails
Because it's you and it's me who'll bear the lamp of God and be the light of Jesus to the world. I said it's you and it's me, we're still called his disciples, who'll be the bring the light of Jesus to the world?"
Isn't it amazing how times have changed, and then again, times haven't changed. Sin is still sin, people out in the world still need Jesus, and the only way they can know of His love is through YOU. They will know who you serve by your actions and words. Let us be the Light of Jesus to a world that so desperately needs the love of a Savior, no matter who they are, what they say to you, or what they've done.
The Time Is Now For You To Stand Up For The Savior And Be The Light Of Jesus To The World!
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” Proverbs 27:19
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:10
"There are two pains in life: the pain of discipline, or the pain of regret. You choose." ~Wayne Cordeiro~
“Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.” 2 Kings 13:18-19
Being Real Hurts! The reality of facing real pain, real hurt, real fear, real doubt, real addiction, your real self is a road few of us want to go down. By trying to avoid it we bring more of it upon ourselves. We let it go on to fester in the subconscious of our souls building up methodically until the boil of our sin and despair burst forth in an explosion that decimates us and the ones we love. The ones we love, the innocent others that didn't ask for this pain, but were there when the explosion turned our nightmare into reality. If we don't deal now with the sin, pain, fear, addition, strife, hatred, doubt, or whatever is killing us, it will eventually lead our life to a dead end.
But there is Hope! There is Hope because we serve a Real God! A Real God that wants to give us Real Love, Real Hope, Real Joy, Real Peace, Real Grace, and a Real Life in Him! The Reality of the Cross shows us that God would do anything for us so we can live eternally with Him. His Blood covers a multitude of sin, His Grace reaches to the highest mountain, and His Love goes deeper than the deepest ocean. That's the Love God has for you and me.
It's time to get Real with yourself if you want to see Complete Victory! Don't let your hesitations to break free be your hindrance to blessing. God wants to see you flourish in your freedom! The first step is to come clean and be Real. Unconfessed sin keeps us from the fullness of life and joy God desires for us. If the guilt of your sin is consuming you, remember, Jesus has already provided your Forgiveness!
"If you're going through hell, keep going" ~Winston Churchill~
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.” 1 John 5:4
“Then he said, “Take the arrows”; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times, and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.” II Kings 13:18-19
Are You A Child Of God?! It declares in 1 John that "every child of God defeats this evil world!" So, let me ask you again. Are you a Child of God?! The limits this world so freely and happily give us has drawn a line on the road and says, "this is where you Stop. No, No, you can't go any further, because your limits have been set, and if you go any further you won't be like everyone else." AND WE BELIEVE IT!
A few years ago the media made a big deal about women in politics and other professions breaking through the glass ceiling, which is great. My question though, is, why was there a ceiling in the first place? Let me answer my own question. Because the world put it there. If you are a Child Of God, Jesus broke the limits of the world when He first, died on the cross, and second, rose from the died. There are no limits to what God can do and what you can do through your Faith!
Some of us don't realize this anymore, but a while back, to make a picture on photo paper, the photo had to go through a process. You had to take the film out of the camera, put it in a dark room (do some more stuff I know nothing about), and wait before it could show the image. Now, thanks to technology, we have the IPhone process that instantly gives us whatever image we are looking for. But to get something in your hand, it had to go through the process of the dark room. Let me put it in spiritual terms. We no longer want to go through the process of the dark room and the waiting. Why would we, when we can get whatever image instantly. We don't realize that the process, even though it takes time, even though it's dark, lonely, takes faith and trust, gives us the image we so long for. The image of God. Did you know we where made in His image?
Many of us have been through the dark room process. Many of us are going through it right now. And some of us are still collecting images for the process. But whatever season you are in, know that God is Faithful to Complete the good work in you. Remember, don't Stop, keep going with Passion because Real Passion Defeats Completely!!
“Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on
me.” Psalms 69:9
“But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he
exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be
victorious only three times.” 2 Kings 13:19
A Great Leader’s Courage to fulfill his Vision comes from Passion, not position.
~John C. Maxwell
The lack of Passion in ones life limits how victorious we are over the conditions that plague the soul. I'm not saying Passion can ultimately take all the bad stuff away, but you have a better chance of shedding the baggage that sin and despair bring if you have it, than if you don't. Passion is a powerful and compelling emotion that can propel us to greater heights when used correctly. Passion can even propel us right into our Purpose, if we grab hold of this desire to have complete victory.
I've always said, "Enthusiasm is the fuel for the Holy Spirit"! I also believe "Passion is the fuel for Purpose"! God has given you Purpose in your despair, Power in you desperation! In Psalms 69, David wrote about his despair as everyone around, even his brothers, hated him, ignored him, wanted him humiliated, and treated him like a stranger. But he says, "Passion for your house has consumed me." The insults of others only fueled his Passion for more of God. It only fueled his trust in the one that created him. Have you received scorn and humiliation from people, even loved ones? Have you allowed despair, grief, the lies of the enemy, and sorrow to fill your heart? Complete Victory can only come from the one that can turn your sorrow into dancing, your grief into joy. His mercies are new every morning!
We have come to an impasse in our life, a road that dead ends. We thought we were going in the right direction only to find out we've made good time going the wrong way. We've prayed and asked God to take these insecurities and problems away only to find them creep back into our lives, sometimes without us knowing. We live day by day with this weight over us dragging the life He has for us away. And since we haven't dealt with the reality of our problem, we've piled it up under the rug, allowing it later to come out of its hiding place to dirty the depths of our souls once more. An unwillingness to change is a verdict for life without Passion.
Complete Victory is waiting for you! Turn your eyes upon the one that has your purpose in place and joy unspeakable. Passion is the key to your victory. Passion is the key to change in your life. Passion is the key to unlock the potential of all God has for you. Pray for Passion today and head toward your VICTORY!
My parents had a saying when I was little. If my sister and I would go on about something great we did and try to get praise or a response from them about what we did, they would say, "I guess you already have your reward." What they meant was since we were praising ourselves for what we did, and shouting it from the rooftops, that was our reward. They understood the Biblical principle of pleasing God instead of gaining praise from others. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 6 when He illustrates how we should pray. Instead of praying in a way that is hollow, pompous, flashy, and flamboyant, we should pray in private so we are focused on God and not ourselves. Jesus doesn't criticize public prayer, but does condemn our showiness as we pray. Our focused prayer acknowledges God's needed reign in every facet of life and society. Then Jesus lets us know that God sees everything, and when He sees you pray in private He will reward you. If we worship in private it will be exhibited in our public praise.
The Fast is over but our Prayer life isn't! One of the benefits of 21 days of Prayer and Fasting is the routine of your Prayer life. When you finished that last day of the fast and woke up the next day, did you ask yourself, "Now What?" What do I do now that I am finished fasting? Do I go to a buffet and stuff myself full of food, do I drink gallons of soda and coffee in one day, or do I take my new focus on God and the motives and values of being a Christian and continue them every day I wake up? Just in case you're really thinking about which answer it is, it's the last one. The spark has been lit inside of you, and now that your inside is decluttered and alive in Christ, your outside will show it. Your routine has changed and it is no longer about pleasing the world, but now everything is about pleasing God.
The real work starts the day after the fast is over. You are full of life, and now it's revealed and shows in how you live everyday. People will see the fruits of your commitment, the results of your labor. Your witness will display the greatness of God and His love for everyone. My prayer for you is that you continue the routine of Prayer in your life. Don't throw it out of your daily activity once you receive your breakthrough. God is still working and wants to continue working in your life. Allow Him to take you farther each day. Do what the above picture says. WAKE, PRAY, SLAY!
Praying for our world seems like a huge task to undertake. With over 7 billion people living in it, you might think it's just easier to pray for our nation or our cities and that's it. It's amazing that God is the El Shaddai, the God Almighty! He is all powerful and nothing is too hard for Him. Because God is Almighty, He is more than able to care for His children, and He is all-sufficient for our needs! He hears you and He is ready to act on your behalf. So, there is no excuse to not pray for our world and the people in it. Where I went to Bible College we had a class on Missions around the world, and the textbook for the class was a yearly prayer book that had us pray for a certain country every day. It told us some facts about the country and some of its specific needs. I don't know if you could ever find a book like that, but I challenge you to personally pray for the world every day. You can pray for certain countries, and also pray for those you might see on the news that are going through horrible atrocities. Trust that God hears your prayers for He is the Almighty.
Our verse for today might help us in our prayers for the world. This verse comes from Matthew 6 where Jesus was teaching about prayer and fasting at the Sermon on the Mount. Many of you might know it from the "Lord's Prayer". Here is where we are asking for the establishment of God's rule, not only in its fulfillment in the Age to Come, but also in lives and situations in the present. Be encouraged that God hears your prays, and is ready to act Today for whatever you ask!
There is only a few days left of the Fast, and even though the Fast will be over, continue to pray everyday. Stay devoted to your prayer life. Jesus presents devotion as a matter of the heart. Devotion is a matter of developing an intimate relationship with the living God. Devote yourself to God today. He is chasing after you.
Our nation is divided, and we are desperate for unity with peace and love for all people. We have learned that politics has divided us and nothing this world has to offer can remedy the conflict we are seeing all around. Some have even resorted to not watching the news so they don't have to watch the discord that is tearing through our nation. Facts don't matter anymore and feelings trump what is right. Evil is being called good and good is being called evil in our country, and it is grieving many of us to watch the horrific decisions some of our leaders are making. It may be hard to "Love" and "Pray" for one another during this time, but that is what Jesus has called us to do, especially in these times of discomfort.
I love the words of Jesus. As I read them I gain more knowledge of what is required of me to live with purpose in this life He has created me for. His words are recorded in the first four books of the New Testament and in the first chapter of Acts if you want to read them, and then they are reiterated and applied in the books that follow. If you want to learn them and apply them there is something important you must do first, READ THEM. I teach a Bible study to 3rd and 4th graders on Wednesday nights and we are studying the names of God. There are important facts we can find just by reading and studying the Bible. Even the adult leaders in my class are amazed at what they are finding out, some of them even realizing only if they read the Bible they would learn. I challenge you to open this book of books up and open a blessing that is waiting to be given. If we are to turn things around in our nation we need to know the heart of God. The Bible is the Heart of God. "Inspired by God and useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work," 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Today we are praying and fasting for our nation. It is through prayer and the love of God's people that we will see a turn around in our country. Our verse says, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their land," 2 Chronicles 7:14. This verse reveals a revival prayer that can be applied to God's people of any age. The context follows Solomon's dedication prayer for the Temple, which focuses the responsibility of any people to seek God for mercy after sin has brought devastation, disease, and judgements. This verse summarizes God's chosen way of restoration, which is through the prayers of His people. This is also a guide for prayer for revival in all places. A twofold condition, with a threefold result, is extended to God's people. Number one is to "Humble Ourselves" rather than God doing it to us. Number two we should "Seek His Face", praying for a fuller revelation of God's glory to His people. This brings true repentance because we are turning from everything that contradicts the spirit and direction of our prayers. Then the verse tells us God will "Hear", "Forgive", and "Restore". God will do this for the church, for the nation, and for the people. Pray for your nation today and everyday. Get on your knees in true repentance and seek His face for your nation and trust He will hear, He will forgive, and He will restore.
Today we are praying for Unity in the Church. Unity among believers is very important and Paul illustrates this in 1 Corinthians 12. Our verses for today are above, but I want you to read the whole passage he writes from verse 12 to verse 31. Paul compares the church to the human body showing how the wide diversity of gifts assures unity in the church. Each gift contributes something necessary to the common life and growth of the whole. To learn this in a practical since we need to learn a term that will help us.
Independence is a term we need to replace in the church with Interdependence. Independence says, I can do it myself. Interdependence says, I cannot do it alone, we need each other. The goal of Interdependence in the church, and among all churches, is to reflect the unity of the body of Christ in the center of its diversity. God has gifted different parts of the body, including different congregations with specific missions, to build up the whole. As the body (church) functions in the way God intends, He uses it to draw alienated people of different circumstances to the good news of Jesus Christ. Interdependence is difficult to develop in a culture that insists on doing things its own way and having its own rights, but to minister reconciliation we must learn it. If we want to live Interdependently, we must learn to appreciate the uniqueness of others, and learn to need what others bring to the relationship. Interdependence supplies different needs inside the church, which balances the whole.
This is kind of like Mutual Identity, where someone's great amount supplies what others lack, leading to a shared helping of each other which balances the whole. This means everyone needs to be involved, not just a group of people inside the church. It's a proven fact that 20% of church members do 80% of the volunteering, using their gifts to fulfill the great commission of the church. That means 80% of the people do little to nothing for the body (church). Imagine if we all contribute to the body (church) what we could accomplish. Individual relationships with Jesus will always be important, but we must also see ourselves as living members of Christ's body. We must move from individualism and lift up the gathering and function of the local church. Utilize your gifts for the good of the whole body, The Church!
As I said yesterday, there is a real enemy and we fight our battles in prayer. Fasting is an added incentive to push the battle in your favor. You are doing a great job so keep up the good work. Today we are praying and fasting for Protection in Our Homes. If you"re a parent you probably worry about the safety of your children, and if you're single or don't have kids yet you might worry about your spouse or other loved ones. Through this time of prayer allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and comfort you in times of extreme worry over your house. It is through the Holy Spirit's comfort that we can have peace through these trying times.
To allow the Holy Spirit to do this you have to learn to TRUST! Trust as we see it in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew word chasah, and it means to hope; to make someone a refuge. You can see in our verse that David is talking about those that take "Refuge" in God. "Trust" is a verb and it occurs in the Old Testament 36 times. David beautifully illustrates the verb in Psalms 57:1, "I look to you for protection", because it pictures David as nestling under God's wings of refuge, in the same way that a defenseless but trusting baby bird hides itself under its parent's feathers. The middle verse of the bible is found in Psalms 118:8, which says, "It is better to take refuge (chasah) in the Lord than to trust in people. I think this is a fitting center piece of the the Bible.
Pray that you begin to trust in God and take refuge in knowing He protects us and our homes. Live your life in ways that honor God and bring glory to His name. God is not passive or unaware of your circumstances. Set your heart to earnestly seek the Lord. Always remember, God is actively present in every moment of your life.
We are in the last week of our 21 days of Prayer and Fasting, and I know the cravings and some fatigue may be setting in, but I challenge you to press on and see what God has in store for you. Today we are praying and fasting for Miracles in our Families. It’s our desire to create a culture of strong biblical families, to see them blessed and flourish in the things that God has for them. The breakdown of the family is the single greatest cultural crisis that we face and probably the single greatest institutional breakdown because everything in society is counting on it. From the economy, to crime, to other societal elements, they are all impacted when the family breaks down and is redefined. Family is God's original way to further His Kingdom Generationally. God didn’t allow us to have children so we could brag about how much they look like us. He created the Family so the parents would teach and pass down the Kingdom of God from generation to generation, so your children would look like Him, and the world would see Him, not us.
That is why Ephesians 6:13 is our verse for today. We have to stand in spiritual warfare against a real enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy our families. Ephesians 6 advises us to put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against the forces of hell. It's clear that our warfare is not against physical forces, but against invisible powers who have clearly defined levels of authority in a real, though invisible realm of activity. Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God in order to maintain a battle stance against this unseen satanic structure. We need to remember that the armor is not just a passive protection in facing the enemy. It is used offensively against these satanic forces.
The reason I tell you this is to show you the importance of prayer over your family. Paul's final instructions in Ephesians are to "pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion" (v. 18). Prayer is not so much a weapon, it's not even part of the armor. Prayer is the means by which we engage in the battle itself and the purpose for which we are armed . To put on the armor of God is to prepare for battle. Prayer is the battle itself, with God's Word being our number one weapon working against Satan during our struggle.
Now Go And Fight Your Battle In Prayer!
Copyright 2018 © Philip Shelley. All rights reserved.