I'm running with the boating theme this week. We're like boats and life is like the ocean. When a boat is on the water it is at the mercy of the wind and the waves. Sometimes we take our boat out to one of the local islands and pull up on the beach. We put the anchor out so the boat doesn't drift off out to sea. Even when the wind blows, the currents pull and the waves toss it about, the anchor holds it in place. Hebrews 6:18-19 says, These two things cannot change. God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong.
The fact that God keeps his promises gives us hope, especially when the storms of life hit. We can be confident that:
Life is like a boat - it's not living out its purpose unless it's on the water. We have a boat and get to enjoy going fishing, watching whales and dolphins, knee-boarding, and exploring islands - the kind of things that boats were designed to do. According to Mark chapter twelve, as Christians our purpose is to love Jesus and love others.
Mark 12: 29-31 (ICB)
The most important command is this... Love the Lord your God. Love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second most important command is this: Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
Unless we love Jesus and love others, we're like a boat that hasn't made it off the boat trailer and into the water. To be fair, you don't get tossed about by the waves while you're on dry land, but you also don't get to watch Wales, catch fish, go skiing or knee-boarding or all the wonderful things you can do on a boat.
So, if your life is like a boat are you in the water living out your purpose, or are you still on dry land?
Almost every city in the world has a market that sells cheap imitations of designer handbags and clothes. That Gucci bag you bought in Bali for $10 probably isn't the real deal. If you look at if from a distance you might be fooled but a closer inspection will reveal the wonky stitching, ill-fitting lining and broken zip. If you do have a spare $5000 to buy an authentic Gucci bag (not that I condone spending that much on a handbag), you will be able to tell from the workmanship that it is the real deal.
Your Christian faith can be a bit like that. If you look at it from a distance it looks real. You go to church and youth group but if you take a closer look at your life it may reveal some flaws. It's impossible to be perfect but if your faith is legit you should be moving towards Christlikeness. Your faith should show in your words and actions.
Matthew 23:5 was referring to the teachers of the law or pharisees and said that they did the right thing to be seen by others. Are your actions motivated by your genuine love of God or are you just trying to look good for others?
You know when one of the apps on your computer or phone won't work properly because it needs updating? Sometimes life is like that, some of your ideas or views are unhealthy or unhelpful or just plain wrong and need updating. Consider the following verses:
Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.
Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God.
So, how do we update our stinkin thinkin and be more like Jesus?
1. Talk to God and ask him to show you things you need to change. Ask him to help you change.
2. Spend time reading and studying the Bible and test our ideas and values against what the Bible says. Write out relevant Bible verses and stick them around your room to remind you.
CHALLENGE: What stinkin thinkin do you need to change?
Fish are tempted to take the bait because it looks good (to them at least) but it has deadly consequences.
Here are some examples of things that look good but have negative consequences:
But here is the good news:
Christians are like lamps, God is the electricity that powers us and His love is the light. The only way that people can see the light is if we put his love into action, if we do good. Jesus says that when people see the good that we do they will praise Him. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to do good for others, I'm usually more interested in me. A lamp needs to be plugged in to work. That's why we need to be plugged into God. We do this by reading the Bible, praying, worshipping Him, meditating on Him, thanking Him etc.
Life is like gardening - if you plant a lot of seeds, you will grow a lot of plants. Paul was encouraging people to be generous when he wrote 2 Corinthians 9. The Cambridge dictionary defines generous as willing to give money, help, kindness, etc., especially more than is usual or expected. Money isn't the only thing you can be generous with - you can also be generous with your time, patience, love, kindness, compliments, smiles, hugs etc. If you are generous, then you will be rewarded - you my have to wait until heaven though. Matthew 16:27 says, For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
God's grace is like an umbrella. Imagine that troubles are rain. God doesn't stop it raining on Christians - we have troubles, just like everyone else. But the umbrella of God's grace helps us to stand in the midst of troubles and not get soaking wet. We may get a little damp but not completely drenched. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says, We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.