I love these three verses - they are some of my favourites. Even though they are small they say so much. In the Easy to Read Version verse 16 says, always be full of joy. The Greek word in the original text means to be cheerful. I received a note in my pigeon hole at work this week that said thank "for always being so happy and friendly." The truth is that I haven't felt very happy recently - I have felt emotional and down. That doesn't mean I have to act that way though. I'm not suggesting you ignore your emotions - that's not healthy. You can sit with them for a while and acknowledge them, maybe even journal about them. But you don't have to be led by them. I know some really cheerful people at the moment who are going through some incredibly difficult things.
When I feel down, I try to think of all the things that I'm grateful for, I try to get outside in the fresh air, I put some worship music on and sing along loudly. I know that God has great plans for me and even if this life is difficult, Revelation promises that there will be no tears or sadness in the new heaven and earth - that's something to be cheerful about!
Baptise (or baptize if you're in the US) means to dip, plunge or immerse in water. The gospels tell us how John baptised believers - that's why he is called John the Baptist. He said, I baptise you with water to show that your hearts and lives have changed (Matthew 3:11). You don't have to be baptised to be a Christian. Baptism is symbolic of God washing away your sins, just like water washes away dirt. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If Jesus said it, then it's a good idea to do it.
I became a Christian and was baptised when I was 10 years old. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and God's presence when I was submerged in the water. I'm so glad I did it as an act of obedience to God's word. You don't have to be baptised in a church - you can do it in a swimming pool, river, lake or at the beach.
2020 has been a difficult year. Let's face it - it sucks! You might be struggling mentally and emotionally due to Covid-19. You might be in isolation, your family might be struggling financially or tensions at home might be high, you might miss seeing grandparents or family or friends, you might have missed out celebrating a birthday or a family holiday. You might just feel down because of all the bad news in the world at the moment. You are not alone.
If you're a Christian you might be tempted to think that you shouldn't feel this way because of your faith. Until Jesus comes again we are all part of this broken world. We experience hardships, pain, sadness, grief and disappointment just like everyone else. 2 Peter 2:9 says, the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials.
If you are struggling, talk to someone about it - your parents, an aunt, teacher, youth pastor, chaplain or other trusted adult. You may also need to see a counsellor or psychologist. There are people out there who can help you through this difficult season.
If you're in Australia, here are the national crisis numbers:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or suicidecallbackservice.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
Headspace: 1800 650 890 Free online and telephone service for 12-25 year olds
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 A free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
An apostle is someone who is a messenger or has been sent on a mission. This word is only found in the New Testament. Jesus, was a disciple, sent by his Father to earth. Hebrews 3:1 says, think about Jesus, the one we call our apostle and high priest!
Jesus sent out twelve disciples or messengers during his ministry on earth. Matthew 10:1-7 tells us about them:
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Patriot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. 5 These twelve men were sent out by Jesus with the following instructions: “Do not go to any Gentile territory or any Samaritan towns. 6 Instead, you are to go to the lost sheep of the people of Israel. 7 Go and preach, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near!’ 8 Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons.
Jesus sent the Apostles out to tell the Israelites the good news that he was going to save them. When Judas betrayed Jesus, Matthias was chosen to replace him. You can read all about the twelve disciples in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and the book of Acts.
After Jesus returned to his father in heaven, God called Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles (non-Israelites). Romans 1:1 says, God chose me to be an apostle and gave me the work of telling his Good News.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.