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The PASSION Blog
The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life and the Bible. These reflections grow out of my morning devotions. The most recent ones are at the top of the list.
James 2:1 tells us not to show favouritsm. It says, “Verse 1 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favour some people over others?”
It is a straight forward and clear reminder not to favour one person over another. In verses 2-4 it gives the example of favouring richer well-dressed people over poor people. It talks about giving richer people preferential seating, while the poor sit on the floor. It pretty much says “rich at front, poor on the floor”.
Recently I read a story I want to share that illustrates this point.
It is about a Pastor and what God asked him to do before he started at
his new church. It made such an impact in his community that it was
reported in newspapers and on TV at the time.
“On the morning of Sunday, June 23, 2013, the newly-appointed pastor of Sango United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, Willie Lyle, lay down at the foot of a tree on the church grounds with an overcoat for a blanket. Unkept and bearded after spending most of the previous week on the streets, he looked for all the world like a homeless man, which was precisely the effect he hoped to achieve.
“He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air-conditioned room, or just see how they could help,” wrote freelance reporter Tim Parrish in a June 28 story for the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle. “Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.”
When the time came to deliver his inaugural sermon he did so from that very spot, changing into a jacket and tie and shaving off his beard with the help of his daughter as he spoke. “Before the 200 people gathered that morning,” Parrish wrote, “he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.”
Appropriately, Lyle’s sermon was a call to emulate Christ, to not judge other people by appearances. “Our goal should be to improve and change the lives of people as we live like Jesus,” he said in closing. “You see, we look at the outside of others and make judgments. God looks inside at our heart and sees the truth.”
We need to remember that God sees everyone as special, as created in His image and made with a purpose. And there is not one person in this world that Jesus did not die for. As a result, we can’t discriminate and treat others differently.
Right with God
Romans 5:8-11 has some wonderful truths about our salvation because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It says…
 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Five things jump out at me as I read…
Cleansed and strengthened
1 John 1:8-10 NLT – 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.
Temptation and sin are sadly part of our lives here on earth. When we sin it has a way of spoiling our lives and the lives of the people around us. It also affects our relationship with God.
Today’s verses tell us that we all sin at times and if we say we don’t sin, we make God a liar. Thankfully God has made a way for us to be right with Him – confession. When we sin, we come to God in confession. We simply apologise and ask God to help us to live right.
In the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 it says…
Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.  May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us today the food we need,  and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
A key component of this prayer is confession. It asks God to forgive our sins and to help us not yield to temptation. By doing this we are cleansed and strengthened.
Dear God, please forgive my sin. I am sorry for the wrong things I have done and for the right things I did not do. I ask that You would strengthen me when temptation comes and help me to live my life for You. Amen.
All and all
Psalm 139:1-3 NLT – O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
God knows us inside out. He knows everything about us. These verses tell us He examines our hearts and knows our thoughts. In spite of knowing everything about us, He loves us deeply. So much so, that He moved heaven and earth to secure a place for us in heaven when Jesus died for us. It is reasurring that we don’t have to wear a mask with God like we do with people sometimes. He knows ALL and He loves ALL of us.
Dear God, thank You that You love me just as I am. It gives me comfort to know that You have examinded my heart and You know my thoughts, and You still love me. Thank You Jesus died for me and for preapring a place for me in heaven. Amen.
Jesus is our Advocate
1 John 2:1-2 – My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous. 2 He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins–and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
My heart as a Christian is to live in Christ and not sin, but sometimes I do fall short and I need to confess. At other times there are things I know I should do and I don’t do them. It helps me to know that I have an Advocate, a Defender, and a Supporter in heaven who pleads my case on my behalf.
It helps me to know that when I let myself down and ultimately let God down, that our Advocate is there for me. Over the years I have wondered what Jesus says in my defense. We can never know, but it might be something like this:
Father, Dave loves Me and I love Him. He knows Me and I know him. He tries really hard to live in Me and he does really well most of the time, but sometimes he falls short. Father, I died on the cross for Dave’s sin. I took it on Myself. I paid the price. Dave is forgiven because of My efforts on his behalf. Please restore Him and help him to live right.
We can never really know what is said, but it helps me to imagine something like the above. It helps me to know the One who is truly righteous is on my side and pleading my case before the Father in Heaven.
Here are some questions for personal reflection and application:
Do you find it hard to confess your sin when you fall short? Does it take some time to approach God?
Does it help you to know Jesus is your advocate, defender and supporter in heaven?
Rescue the poor and helpless
Psalm 82:3-4 NLT – “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.  Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.
God wants us to look after and protect the most vulnerable members of society. He wants us to look after the poor, the helpless, the orphans and widows. These are people that are easily taken advantage of by evil people.
What can you do to help the poor, the orphan, the helpless and the widow today?
Here are some organisations that my wife and I have supported over the years…
He has always been there
Psalm 71:5-6 NLT – O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.  Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you!
God has always been there. Even from before our birth. He has always cared for us, even though we may not have realised. I came to Christ in my early 20s. I have never really thought about God until then. But looking back I can see His fingerprints throughout my early life. He was there looking after me through the good times and the bad. He brought people into my life to help me and He gently nudged me in His direction. I am so thankful.
Dear God, thank You that You have always been there. Even before I was born You were there. Thank You for loving and caring for me right throughout my life. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:5-7 – You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.  We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
In the these verse the Apostle Paul made it clear what his message was when he preached – Jesus. He did not preach about himself, nor did he say he was a great man who performed miracles. Everything Paul did pointed to Jesus.
Paul also made it clear where the power to perform miracles came from. The power was from God. He stressed that as humans we are fragile and imperfect, but this is what God needs to make his power known. Fragile human vessels that are willing to be used.
God wants us as Christians to be available for His use. He wants to fill us with His love, His light and His power to spread it to those around us. He wants us to be witnesses to His great love and mercy. He wants us to tell people of what we are seen, heard and experienced of Jesus and His salvation.
It is my hope and prayer that today you will let your light shine for Jesus as it says in Matthew 5:16. If we spend time with God in prayer and His Word, our lights will shine brightly and impact the people around us for God’s Kingdom.
Lead by serving
Mark 10:43-45 – But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus wants us to be different in the way we lead. He doesn’t want us to lord our power over others. He wants us to be servant leaders. Verse 44 tells us that our servant leadership actually looks like being a slave. Over the years I have found the best leaders are humble in attitude and are willing to serve in any capacity to make sure things are done.
I remember in my first job in retail, one of our regional store managers would say we need some shopping trolleys from outside brought in, he would put on a raincoat and come out with us to bring them in. I have never forgotten it. He was were still in charge, but he did what was needed to make things work well. I have seen this same type of leadership in church circles. Highly trained Pastors of big churches sweeping the front steps of the church to make it look nice for people coming in.
Serving Jesus is about having a humble attitude and doing what needs to be done. There is only room for one Lord, and that title belongs to Jesus! The rest of us are His humble servants.
Be filled with Christ
Colossians 3:16-17 – Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
In these verses there are three simple but powerful thoughts.
1. Be filled with Christ – Verse 16 says to let the message of Christ fill your life. The message of Christ’s love, forgiveness, salvation, mission and Lordship is huge. Ponder it. Meditate on it. Surrender to it.
2. Encourage one another – The second part of verse 16 tells us to encourage your Christian brothers and sisters. We do this as we teach and counsel one another, and when we come together in fellowship.
3. Represent Christ – Verse 17 reminds us to be Christ’s representative in all we do and say. This is about living a life worthy of Christ and bringing honour to God. Matthew 5:16 reminds us to let our lights shine. Represent Christ and your faith well each day.
When we do these things it will show that we are filled with Christ. Then His light and His love with overflow and touch the people around us. And when we do this, it brings glory to God.
Formed and reformed
Isaiah 64:8 NLT – And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
The Bible tells us that God formed us in our mothers womb. He knit us together exactly how He wants us to be, so we can do all He needs us to do.
The Bible also talks about God reforming us to be more like Christ. When we come to Jesus and are born again, we are slowly transformed in to the image of Christ.
Here are some verses to reflect on for today.
Psalm 139:13 – You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Genesis 1:27 – So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Romans 5:12 – When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
John 3:3 – Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
John 1:12-13 NLT – But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn-not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 – But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord-who is the Spirit-makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
So we are initially formed by God in His image, but unfortunately the sin in this world effects us. Then after we are born again, we are reformed.
Serving God where you are
Over the years I have been asked if I enjoy serving God in full time paid ministry or working in secular work more. My answer surprises most Christians.
The reason is I follow Colossians 3:23-24. It says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
My heart is to work willingly at whatever I do. If am working at the hospital ordering medical equipment, working as the Pastor of the church, or doing some type of volunteer work, I treat them all the same. I think of myself as serving Jesus.
When I think of my work as serving Jesus it takes away the barrier between spiritual and secular. I am there serving Jesus, doing my work with a good attitude and trying to honour God in what I do.
So to answer the question – I enjoy/ed both. I enjoy working in “secular work” at the hospital and I enjoyed working in “spiritual work” as a Pastor.
The key for me, is to serve God where you are right now. And remember that ultimately He is the one who will reward you for your work for Him.
Trust in the Lord in 2019
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT – Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Today’s verses of the day in my Bible app were Proverbs 3:5-6. I can’t think of a better option than to trust in the Lord and seek His will for a new year. God knows our future and He knows us, so we can trust Him. These verses tell us that if we trust in the Lord and seek His will, He will show us the right path to take. This is in the small things and the big things. A great thought for 2019.
Dear God, help me to trust in You with all of my heart and seek Your will in all I do in 2019. I pray that as I follow Jesus and walk in Your ways, that You will show me the right paths to take. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A prayer of David
David was described by God as a man after His own heart. That is very high praise considering David did some pretty bad things in his life.
I think one of the keys to David’s life is prayer. He was always in communication with God. He praised God in the goods times and cried out for help in the bad.
In Psalm 86 we see an example of one of David’s prayers…
Psalm 86:1-7 NLT – Bend down, O LORD, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.  Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.  Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.  Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.  O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry.  I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.
In this prayer David poured out his heart to God. He asked for God to hear his prayer, and for protection, salvation, mercy, happiness and help. He also devoted himself to God and said that he served and trusted God.
David truly was a man after God’s own heart. One of the keys is his prayer life. What a great example for us today.
Effective Prayer: Keep on asking
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about effective prayer. In Matthew 7 Jesus shares one thing for our prayers to be effective.
In Matthew 7:7-11 NLT it says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  “You parents-if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
The key for effective prayer in this passage is to keep on asking. As Christians we need to keep our prayer requests before God. This might be one big issue we need help on or a number of smaller issues.
Over the years I have learned that ongoing prayer is vital for my relationship with God. I need to keep in contact with Him if I am to keep growing in my relationship with Him. I also need to realise that I depend on Him for everything. Prayer helps me to do this.
So today I would encourage you to keep on asking. Keep your small and your big requests before God. He says that everyone who asks receives and that He gives good gifts to His children.
Honesty before God
Lord of mercy and power
Confess and be restored
Daniel 9:4 NLT says, "I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O
Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant
and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey
Prayer, praise and healing
James 5:13-16 NLT says, "Are any of you suffering hardships? You
should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.  Are any
of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and
pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  Such
a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you
well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may
be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and
produces wonderful results."
Have faith in God
The Approval of God
As the Apostle Paul said in the above verse, "If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant".
Obedience to God is the key in all things to pleasing God.
Worry and Encouragement
The Bread that satisifies
Jesus is the author of life and when we come to know Him and trust
Him as our Lord and Saviour, it fills a
hole inside us like food fills an empty stomach and water quenches
Pay careful attention to your own work
For more blog posts going back to 2006, please visit www.davequinnonline.blog
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