Praying continually might seem like an impossible task, but when you think about it there are lots of opportunities to pray throughout the day.
The word Faith is used over 450 times in the Bible so it must be pretty important. We use it a lot, but do we really know what it means? I love this simple definition from Billy Graham - Faith simply means believing that something is true, and then committing our lives to it. He explains that there are two parts to faith:
Hebrews 11 lists the Champions of faith but here are some of my favourite heroes of faith:
All of these heroes battled the same fears, doubts and insecurities as the rest of us, but their faith in a faithful God helped them to do it afraid.
Faith takes us out of the boundaries of the natural and into the supernatural, out of the possible to the impossible.
Hebrews 11:33-34 says, Through their faith they defeated kingdoms. They did what was right and received what God promised. They shut the mouths of lions, stopped great fires and were saved from being killed with swords. They were weak, and yet were made strong.
In Matthew 17:20 Jesus tells his disciples, If your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And the mountain will move. All things will be possible for you. Go and look in the pantry or fridge and see if you can find some mustard seeds - they're pretty tiny. God takes our tiny faith and accomplishes amazing things. He takes what is weak and makes it strong.
What is God calling you to do that is outside your comfort zone and you need to step out in faith and do?
God is powerful - he made the universe. That power dwelt in Jesus and was so great that people were healed when they just touched him. Luke 6:19 says, All the people tried to touch him, for power was going out from him and healing them all. Did you know that same power lives in you?
I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world.
So, what does that mean? In my experience, when life gets hard, God gives me the power to keep going. He helps, encourages, comforts and strengthens me.
2 Corinthians 1:3
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes!
2 Corinthians 7:6
But God, who encourages the downhearted, encouraged us with the coming of Titus.
His love comforts you.
2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and keep you safe from the Evil One.
How do I plug into that power? Just like you need to plug the toaster in to the electrical socket to make it work, you need to plug into God to receive his power. You can do this through reading the Bible, prayer and worship. If you're feeling like you need more of his power plug into God.
According to Paul in Ephesians 4, Jesus called some people to be evangelists. The word actually means someone who brings good news. I think all of us are called to be evangelists because of what Jesus said in Mark 16:15, Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. You don't have to be a pastor or have your own tv show. You can talk to your friends and family. You don't have to know the Bible back to front or have studied at Bible College. You just need to be able to tell people what Jesus has done for you. So next time you get the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus - go for it. He will help you to know what to say.
Today is "R U OK Day" in Australia. I think that a lot of people assume that Christians are happy all of the time and that's just not true. Just because you're a Christian doesn't mean that life is all sunshine and rainbows. We live in a fallen world and are subject to the same mental health challenges, physical illnesses, hormonal mood swings, disappointments, hardships and tough times as the rest of the world. Many mental health disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain so it's not a matter of snapping out of it.
Mark 14:33 tells us that Jesus was "deeply distressed and troubled." Do you know what he did when that happened? He got on his knees and prayed. Here are three things to do if you are not okay:
I have a confession to make, I have been feeling down recently, lacking motivation and feeling overwhelmed. I talked to some friends and saw a psychologist who was able to offer some tools to get through this phase. There is no shame in asking for help - you would be surprised how many people who look like they have it together are actually falling to pieces or are getting help.
So, are you okay?
I like Billy Graham's definition of a disciple, someone who believes in Jesus and seeks to follow him in his or her daily life.* The word disciple also means student. There are plenty of fans and followers in the world but a student goes deeper and explores and investigates. Jesus isn't physically present on the earth any more but we have his Word, the Bible, which includes some of the actual words he said plus accounts from his first disciples. His Spirit lives in us and can help us as we read the Bible and pray. Being a follower of Jesus isn't like following someone on Instagram, it is studying his word and devoting yourself to living like him and for him. Jesus' final instructions to his disciples was, go and make disciples in all the nations (Matthew 28:19) so it must be pretty important.
* Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article77272832.html#storylink=cpy
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks to God for it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new agreement between God and you that has been established and set in motion by my blood. Do this in remembrance of me whenever you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you are retelling the message of the Lord’s death, that he has died for you. Do this until he comes again.
The bread (or wafer) and wine (or grape juice) represent the body and blood of Christ. They remind us that he died on the cross and rose again to forgive our sins and restore us to right relationship with God. There is nothing magical about the bread and wine, they are just a reminder - just like a wedding ring is a reminder of the two people's endless love for each other.
Communion is also known as the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Table, and the Eucharist. When Jesus shared the bread and wine with his disciples, they were celebrating the Passover (more about that in the future). It was actually the last meal Jesus ate with his disciples because Judas betrayed him and he was arrested later that night.
Some churches share communion each time they meet, some do it once a month. The Bible instructs us to keep doing it until Jesus comes again.
1 Corinthians 11:28-29
You should each examine yourself first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. For if you do not recognise the meaning of the Lord's body when you eat the bread and drink from the cup, you bring judgment on yourself as you eat and drink.
You should make sure you participate in communion with the right attitude, otherwise you are sinning. Communion is a time of reflection and repentance, a time to confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness.
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.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.