I don't know if you've tried archery before, but it's pretty important to look at the target when you release the arrow. If you look away your arrow is likely to go AWOL. (side note: if you haven't tried archery, you should - it's fun).
Let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.
Paul talked about how important it is to look ahead when you're running a race. If you look behind you, you actually slow down and start veering out of your lane.
King David said, my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord (Psalm 141:8).
In Matthew chapter 14 Jesus sent the disciples on ahead of him in a boat one day and he walked on water to catch up with them later. Peter asked Jesus if he could walk on water too and Jesus said, 'come.' Peter started walking on the water toward Jesus! But then he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind and the waves. He became afraid and began to sink. Have you ever thrown yourself into something full of enthusiasm and expectation, only to get distracted by discouragement and doubt? Did you take your eyes off Jesus and start to sink? The good news is Peter didn’t drown - Jesus reached down and saved him. He reaches down to help pick you up too. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Don’t let fear and discouragement keep you from living your best life for him.
I have a confession. I am writing a book - it will be a girl’s guide to life, body, mind and spirit. There have been times when I have been distracted by the wind and the waves - they took the form of self-doubt, the sheer enormity of the task, tough questions that I didn’t know the answer to and other hurdles. I believe that if I keep looking to Jesus for wisdom, strength, patience and perseverance I can walk on water (or at least publish this book).
What is your walking on water challenge? You might have a sin you need to deal with, a relationship to repair, a difficult situation to endure, an illness to survive, a mental health challenge to overcome, a goal to achieve. Whatever it is, fix your eyes on Jesus!
Yahweh is the name God used for himself in the Bible. It was first used when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush which you can read about in Exodus 3. In Ancient Hebrew it was spelt YHWH and was combined with the vowels of the Hebrew word for ‘The Name,’ Ha-Shem. It is translated as LORD in all capitals in English Bibles. The Jews believed that Yahweh was too holy to say out loud so they used the Hebrew word Adonai, which means Lord. Yahweh means I am and refers to the fact that God has no beginning and no end. Everything comes from him and relies on him for it’s existence. He is holy, loving, forgiving, ever present, all-knowing, holy, unchanging, truth.
Sometimes we get a bit casual about God. He loves us like children and we need to respect him as the loving Heavenly Father that he is, remembering that he is also the creator of the universe who will judge all people for their thoughts and actions.
This was so satisfying to watch. You might not think you can write like this but with practise you can. Something to keep you busy during the summer break or isolation.
Binging is a word you hear a lot - we binge on chocolate, fast food, Netflix, social media, alcohol... I know a lot about binging, I used to have an eating disorder. I know for a fact that in most cases, neither binging or completely denying ourselves is good. God intended us to have balance in our lives. There is nothing wrong with chocolate, fast food, Netflix or alcohol as long as it is part of a balanced life (and you are over the legal drinking age).
Luke 9:23 says, Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. When we binge, we are thinking only of ourselves and how to gratify our selfish desires. So how do we stop?
Ephesians 5:18 talks about binge drinking. Paul said, Don’t be drunk with wine, which will ruin your life, but be filled with the Spirit. Here's my paraphrase for the 21st century, Don't binge on wine, chocolate, chips, Maccas, cake, Netflix, Instagram or Snapchat. Instead binge on the things of the Spirit - reading and studying your Bible, prayer, worship, giving thanks. You get drunk on wine by drinking too much of it, so it follows that you become filled with the spirit by feeding it - reading the Bible, praying, meditating on God's Word, singing songs of worship, giving thanks to God for all that he has done for you...
Often binging is triggered by certain emotions or feelings such as despair, hopelessness, depression, guilt, shame, pain... Ironically, binging usually increases these feelings, rather than relieve them. One of the most effective ways of getting our minds off of ourselves is to do something for someone else. Being kind to someone else can be a great release valve to those negative emotions. In Ephesians 4:32 Paul instructed us to Be kind and compassionate to one another. Next time you feel yourself spiralling towards another binge session, do something for someone else - ring or visit a friend (don't just text or message them), make someone a nice card and send it to them, help your mum with the chores, play a board game or computer game with your brother or sister, write positive, encouraging comments on people's social media posts, bake a cake and take it to your neighbour...
It's obviously a bit more complicated than what I've outlined above but next time you feel yourself spiralling out of control and tempted to binge on [insert your weakness here], fill up on the spirit instead of chocolate and be kind to someone. It might not solve all your problems, but it might help.
Worship is not a style of music or song. It doesn't just happen at church on a Sunday. According to Tim Lucas at https://worshipdeeper.com, worship is declaring the greatness of someone or something. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew at www.christianitytoday.com defines worship as the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. So basically, worshipping God is making him our number one priority. It starts with an attitude and flows to our actions. If we really love God with all our body, soul, strength and mind we will live a life devoted to him. How we spend our time and money, what occupies our thoughts and attention, what we consume will all reflect this. We will worship him with our songs, with our financial offerings, by spending time reading his word and talking to him in prayer, we will worship him by serving others.
If God isn't your number one priority, something else will be. Money, fame, success, self, music, entertainment, sport, looks, alcohol, drugs or another person will fill that spot. God said that we are to worship him only - and that shouldn't do that out of fear, but out of love.
CHALLENGE: What is your number one priority? Does how you spend your time or money reflect that?
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.