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:
I love watching home shows and seeing the beautiful homes they create. If mere humans can create such gorgeous houses, imagine how good the place God is preparing for you is going to be. Even the most lavish mansions are nothing compared to the place that God is preparing for you. In Hebrews 11 it says that Abraham was waiting for "the eternal city that God had planned and built." The heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11 "were looking forward to a better home in heaven." That's why we can endure pain, suffering and uncertainty on earth because we know this is just part of the journey, not the final destination.
The Bible doesn't end with the cross. Jesus rose again and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:50-51 says, Then he led them out of the city as far as Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. As he was blessing them, he departed from them and was taken up into heaven. But that's not where the story ends - He promised that he will come back again. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
So, in a nutshell, after Jesus died and rose again he went to be with his Father in heaven. When he comes again he will raise the Christian who have died, then he will take the Christians who are still alive to be with him. The life that we live on earth is just part of our story - we get to live for eternity with God if we believe in him. It sounds pretty crazy but so awesome at the same time.
When the problems of life threaten to overwhelm you, remember this world and its problems won't last forever. There is eternity with Jesus to look forward to.
In Philippians 4:19 God was speaking specifically to the church at Philippi who had sent money to help Paul in his ministry. It's important to remember that he was speaking to a generous church. Proverbs 11:25 says, A generous person will prosper. He also said God would supply all their needs, not their wants. Sometimes in the first world we confuse needs and wants. These needs are both physical and spiritual. The promise also refers to when God will meet all our needs when we live with him in his kingdom and we won't need or want anything.
Even if you don't have much money you can be generous. List some ideas of how you can be generous.
You can download a free printable PDF of this week's verse below.
God doesn't just want us to survive here on earth, he wants us to thrive. Other translations of John 10:10 say a rich and satisfying or abundant life. God is generous and kind and wants to bless his children. You only have to look at all the good stuff he blessed us with on this earth to see that - delicious food, beautiful scenery, the sun for light and warmth, friends and family for company, the sea for swimming and music to enjoy. He gave us cocoa and coffee beans - he is definitely a good God.
This verse is not talking about financial blessing or a life without hardship. He is talking about having a purpose and hope and eternal life with him. A life lived for yourself is pretty shallow and unfulfilling but a life lived for God is full of love and purpose and a reward in heaven. You can enjoy this life to the full even in the middle of hardships because of the hope that you have.
This is a particularly relevant promise given that we're in the middle of a global pandemic at the moment. It's easy to feel a bit unhinged and crazy and afraid, but God did not give us a spirit of fear. When we are his we can be unshakeable in the storm because he gives us a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Paul wrote this to Timothy who was a young man in charge of the church in Ephesus.
Let's look at the three characteristics Paul mentions.
POWER: God gives us power for our weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
LOVE: Our natural instinct is to be selfish but God's spirit in us helps us to love others and put their needs before our own.
SOUND MIND: It's easy to get carried away with the paranoia, panic, stress, worry and anxiety around us, but God's spirit helps us to stand firm despite our circumstances. You can have peace, knowing that God loves you and is looking after you, even in the middle of a global pandemic.
This power, love and sound mind is not anything you can conjure up on your own - it's God's gift to you.
You can download a free printable of this week's verse below.
God is not an angry, vindictive God who sits on his throne wielding his trident and and smiting people with lightening bolts. He is loving, kind and compassionate. He wants good things for us. Matthew 7:11 says, Even though you are bad, you know how to give good gifts to your children. So surely your heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him. God loves us more than our earthly parents so he will surely bless us with good things. It doesn't mean that he will make everything perfect and life will be all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. We learn and grow through the difficult times.
I don't believe that God causes bad stuff to happen to us but I think he uses it. I know that he is with us and helps us when we are going through it. I also believe that God is able to redeem any situation. When bad stuff happens he can create a positive outcome from it. In Genesis 50 Joseph was talking to his brothers who had sold him as a slave, but he ended up being second in charge over all Egypt and was able to save thousands of people from famine because of a dream God gave him. So, even though bad stuff happened to him, good things came out of it. In verse 20 he said to his brothers, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
I think that God wants to bless us in this lifetime but ultimately he is preparing a place for us in eternity - that far outweighs any troubles we experience during our life. Romans 8:18 says, I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us.
Below is a printable PDF of this week's verse.
When you are a teenager you are have to make decisions that could impact the rest of your life:
CHALLENGE: Is there are area in your life that you need wisdom?
You can download the free printable PDF below.
Isaiah 40:31 says, But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. These verses were written about the Israelites when they were held captive in Babylon. Isaiah was encouraging them to put their trust, hope and confidence in God. They were in captivity for 70 years. Sometimes I am physically exhausted, sometimes I am mentally exhausted and sometimes I am spiritually exhausted. Right now you might be experiencing all three kinds of exhaustion. I am confident that God can renew us, refresh us and re-energise us in all these ways - physically, mentally and spiritually. We need to put our trust, hope and confidence in Him. We also need to ask for wisdom in case we need to make some lifestyle changes. For example, you might need to eat better and get more sleep to improve your physical and mental health. You may also need to spend more time in prayer and reading your Bible to strengthen your faith.
You can download the free PDF of this week's verse below.
This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible. You often see part of the verse quoted in isolation "Be strong and courageous." But the end of the verse is the reason that we can be strong and courageous, because God is with us. We are right in the middle of a crisis that will go down in history as one of the most significant world events since the Second World War. But despite this, we can be strong and courageous because God is with us.
You might be going stir crazy stuck in your house with your family but be strong and courageous because God is with you.
You might be stressing about how you're going to pass school exams or uni this year but be strong and courageous because God is with you.
You might be stressed about your grandparents catching Covid 19 but be strong and courageous because God is with you.
You might be stressed because one or both of your parents have lost their jobs but be strong and courageous because God is with you.
You might be feeling sad or lonely but be strong and courageous because God is with you.
Write this verse out or print out our free PDF version and stick it somewhere that will remind you during the day.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.