The world now recognises what the Bible has been saying for two thousand years - gratitude is powerful. It plays an important part in a happy life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul said to give thanks in all circumstances - that means when you got a bad score on a test, when you had a fight with your mum, when you're best friend ditched you for someone else, when you feel depressed, when you feel anxious - in all circumstances. It's easy to be grateful when things are going great but you have to dig a bit deeper to be grateful when they're not. You don't have to be grateful for your terrible circumstances but there are things that you can be grateful for in the midst of them. If you're struggling to find things to be grateful for here are some suggestions:
What are three things that you're grateful for today?
Okay, so technically this is three words, not one but it is well worth exploring. Trying to define the Kingdom of God is like trying to hold water in a sieve (it's hard) but let's give it a go.
I will start with a disclaimer: I have not been to Bible College, I am just telling you what I understand the Kingdom of God to be based on my personal study of the Bible. The kingdom of God does not refer to a physical place like the Kingdom of Thailand or the Kingdom of Cambodia. It refers to the reign of God. It happens in two phases.
The first phase relates to when Jesus came, died and rose again. This signalled the end of the reign of sin and death over his believers.
If I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons, this shows that the kingdom of God has come to you.
God’s kingdom isn’t something you can see. There is no use saying, ‘Look! Here it is' or ‘Look! There it is.’ God’s kingdom is here with you.
The second phase refers to when Jesus comes again. This will be the end of sin and death forever.
We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.
The Kingdom of God was the good news that Jesus was preaching - that God had a plan to do away with sin and death forever and that He was that plan. Hope that makes sense.
I enjoy some amateur photography and snapped this wildflower recently. I like how the flowers are in focus and the background is blurry. If I tried to get everything in focus the wildflower would get lost in the rest of the landscape. Life is a bit like that. We need to make Jesus our focus and keep our eyes on him. Sometimes we're so focussed on ourselves and what's happening around us that we lose sight of Jesus and he kind of blends into the background.
Hebrews 12:2 says, We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. So how do we keep our eyes on Jesus?
According to Wikipedia, justification is God's righteous act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin. Romans 4:25 in the Easy to Read version says, Jesus was handed over to die for our sins, and he was raised from death to make us right with God. It's like you committed a crime and went to court but someone else pleaded guilty and went to prison in your place. Justification is being found not guilty by God because Jesus did the time for your crime.
Romans 5:18 (NIV)
Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
It's a bit easier to understand in the Easy Read Version.
Romans 5:18 (ERV)
One sin of Adam brought the punishment of death to all people. But in the same way, Christ did something so good that it makes all people right with God. And that brings them true life.
Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. And it was defeated when Jesus died and rose again. That's justification.
CHALLENGE: Spend some time reflecting on how awesome it is that you are free and forgiven when you deserved to be penalised and punished.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.