My God Will Provide!

Philippians 4:19 — And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

God is very good. So good, in fact, that we can’t even comprehend his goodness. He sees what we need, and what is coming at us. With this in mind God shapes our futures. A long time ago God gave me a promise. He said that I will be a missionary in Japan. Sometimes I doubt that, and sometimes it just seems so far away that I will never get there. That isn’t what God is saying. That is the devil whispering into your ear. one of my teachers was saying what he say me doing in the future. He said he saw a future where I didn’t make it to Japan, but instead ended up in Japan. The crazy thing about his picture of my future is that it made me doubt the promise that God gave to me. How crazy is that? I was putting the word of a high school teacher above that of the creator of the universe.

God wants us to trust Him, but the devil creeps in and whispers to us, “what if that doesn’t happen?” or “that’s not your future.” These are things that we must ignore. God knows what he has planned for us. When we are confronted with doubts like that we must ask God to remind us of His plan. God recently reminded me of His plan for me by showing me where I will go to college, and a great church right next door, both in Japan.

Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

God’s Magnificent Triumph Over the Flesh

1 Corinthians 15:57 — But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is the supreme force in the universe. No one is more powerful, or more awesome than Him. God has parted seas, raised the dead to life, and given us victory. God has immense stake in our lives because He loves us. He will always fight for us, and He will always win. He gives us victory, and has given us victory in two major ways.

God defeated sin. Ever since Adam and Eve fell from perfection the world has been tainted by sin. No one is sinless, and no one is by nature close to God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23) That is a fact of life in this world. God couldn’t stand this separation, and sent his son to make a way to Him. Now “all are justified freely through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24) God defeated Sin. He doesn’t defeat sin only when we accept him. He defeated it and created a way to heaven.

Romans 3:23-24 — for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God also Gives us victory every day. Victory over temptation, sin, and hard circumstances. That doesn’t mean that we wont be tempted, sin, or have hard times. God has the power to overcome these when it is best for us. Hard times may be a lesson, and temptation may be a way to strengthen ourselves.

God has the potential to defeat all things. He won the battle for our salvation, and is winning battles in our lives everyday. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Romans 8:28 — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 

Holy Ground

Exodus 3:5 — “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you stand is holy ground.

In the beginning of exodus 3 Moses comes across a burning bush while out shepherding his father-in-law’s sheep. When he gets closer God calls him forward and tells moses that he is standing on holy ground. What made this ground holy? Was it the miracle of a burning bush? Was it Moses’ presence? No, it was the presence of God that made the ground holy. God is the defining factor of what is holy, in fact, before God even told Moses that the ground was holy in exodus 3 tells us that “God called to him from within the bush.” God was there, thus the ground was holy. This is found in many other places as well. The holiest place in all of the old testament was the temple because it was where God lived before Jesus died.

After Jesus died the veil that kept the holy part of the temple separate form the rest of the world was torn. God was made accessible to everyone, and no longer only dwelt in a few places that were considered holy. Now God lives in us Christians, or as 1 Corinthians 6:19 puts it we are “temples of the Holy Spirit.” Think about that for a second: we are now the holiest places in all of the world.

1 Kings 8:10-11 — And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

What significance does this hold for us? Two things. The first is this: There are no places in this world that have more potential for holiness any more. Jerusalem is not more Holy than Merna, Nebraska, it is the people there that may, or may not be more Holy. The second thing is that wherever we go becomes holy ground. If we go to Merna, Nebraska with God in us that place where we are becomes holy ground, God is there, sickness becomes foreign, love abounds, and all of the things that come with holiness.

Revelation 21:22 — And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.

Lessons From a Waitress

Yesterday after church my family and I went out to eat at a local fast food restaurant. We ordered out food, and were soon carried away eating, and talking. After a while a waitress walked by and asked a simple question: “Can I take this for you?” We said that she could, and she walked away with the tray. I said to my mother “That’s exactly what Jesus asks.” This was a profound idea for me, but it was quickly swept away by regular conversation. The thing that this waitress asked is exactly what God asks us each and every day.

God loves us. That is one of the defining principles of Christianity. He loved us so much that he even sent His son to be executed for us. God is here to help even when we feel that we need more help than He can provide. That’s why He is always asking us if He can take something for us.

Philippians 4:19 — And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ.

Don ‘t let God be a Three Wish God

As Christians we often say we believe in a God who has immense stake in our lives, and helps us everyday. The trouble is we don’t always act that way. What I’m saying is that we sometimes treat God like a genie, we start thinking that God will only perform so many miracles, or healings, or forgivings, and then He’ll cut us off.

Psalm 103:8 — The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

God is very patient with us, and He doesn’t have rules saying things like “only three miracles per lifetime,” and “I only forgive 20 sins a year.” That kind of God wouldn’t be the same kind of God who sent His only son to die for our sins.

When we start to think that God sets limits on what He will do for us we stop involving Him so much in our lives. We only bring the big things to Him This is not the right way to think about God. He doesn’t only care about the big things like recurring sins, and family deaths, He also cares about you school grade, and you getting lunch.

Luke 12:7 — Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

That being said, we also need to remember that God has the power to solve all of our problems (if it is His will). sometimes we forget that, or we are scared that God won’t solve our problems so we bring only small things that we are already sure about. For instance you might pray for help on a test that your pretty sure you’re going to ace. While this doesn’t hurt, it shouldn’t be all you bring to God. God doesn’t only deal with big things, or small things. If God knows how many hairs are on your head surely He how many legs you have.

God isn’t a genie. He won’t stop loving you after three “wishes.” If that was what God was like what would be the point of following Him. God is an all powerful being who loves you and can help with everything from day-to-day issues to life changing events.

Stranger in a Strange Land

 Romans 12:2 — Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.

The fact is that being a Christian isn’t very cool. It includes things like not believing in evolution, believing in what many people consider to be a “magical fairy god”, and disagreeing with many popular ideas, and trends. The trouble is that as humans we want to be “cool”, and liked by our peers. Because of this we are quiet about our God, and His amazing love. We don’t voice our opinions about issues that maybe we should, and sometimes we get caught up in things we shouldn’t be caught up in.

We are called to “not conform” “to the pattern of this world.” When our friends are doing things that aren’t Godly we are called to not participate. If your best friend is talking about the cool pornography he found the best thing to do might be to leave the room. As Ephesians 5:11 puts it “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness.” We are told that we should instead “find out what pleases the Lord.”

That doesn’t mean that we can’t hang out with those people (maybe we shouldn’t) after all Jesus hung out with tax collectors, and prostitutes. The thing we should be doing is keeping our image pure. We shouldn’t be joining in and talking about what ever worldly things they are talking about. We should instead think, and talk about the things that glorify God.

Phillipians 4:8 — Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,  — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.

The Christian Teen Manifesto

Perhaps the best, and most overused verse of the Bible for teens is 1 Timothy 4:12. This verse is directed toward Timothy who wasn’t actually as young as we assume. The important thing to remember about this verse is that though it may no be aimed directly at teens, it is from the bible and applies to everyone.

1 Timothy 4:12 — Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

This verse starts out with an uplifting message: don’t let people look down on you. You should be aware of that. It means that you can be a big part of God’s work here and now. You don’t have to wait to be 20 to start talking to your friends about Jesus, or worship God fully, or even preach to crowds about the good news. This is huge, especially for teens. It means you are a crucial part of God’s kingdom right now.

This doesn’t mean that you can start preaching to your church right away. The second part of the verse tells us what we need to be like in order to get to the stage where we can do these awesome things. We need to have a God-like mind by acting right, and thinking right. Paul tells Timothy that his responsibility is to be an example to all believers, not just those believers in his age group, or among his friends, or to the world, but to all believers.

The first way we do this is through speech. Jesus said that it is “what comes out of the mouth” that “defiles a man.” This makes sense. If you are always talking about sex, and violence like it is a cool thing you are not encouraging Godly things, but worldly things. Also if you are insulting people left, and right you are not showing the love of God, but spreading hurt, fear, and lies.

Next Paul says that we must be an example in our conduct. This is also common sense. We shouldn’t be beating people up all the time, or stealing, or going out of our way to be annoying. This is contrary to the will of God. These two things are a huge way that we are different than everyone else. When you friends are picking on someone, you should not join in. When all of your friends are pirating the coolest show you shouldn’t, it isn’t the Godly way of life.

One of Jesus’ ultimate goals is to love everyone. Both of what Jesus calls the greatest commandments are about love:

Mark 12:30-31 — Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

This is the third responsibility that we have as Christians. We are called to love. This involves loving God, and loving others. Love the members of your church, your drunk uncle, your annoying classmate, your friends, and even your enemies. If we don’t understand how to love how can we understand a God who loves us so much that he would sacrifice his own son for us.

We must also show our faith. We have to be able to trust God with our problems. That is the only way that we can reach our potential as Christians. 1 John 5:5 says that the only one who can overcome the world (drugs, unbelief, hate) is “the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God. If you don’t have faith how can you take an active role in the kingdom of God. That would be like joining the army even though you don’t think there is anyone commanding that army.

The last, but definitely not least, trait that Paul mentions is purity. Your “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.” This is what your body is meant for. Not drugs, and swearing, and sexual immorality. God is in you, and you represent Him for others. There should not be any of these un-pure things dirtying that image.

Here is our manifesto as Christian teens:

We are Christian teens, and we can take an active role in God’s work because we are examples to others through our speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. 

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

The world we live in is a crazy place. Especially for teens. We struggle with, swearing, gossip, sexuality, rudeness, sex, drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, and so many other things. The great thing though is that God is always with us. Not just as an innocent bystander who judges everything you do, but also as a friend, and a protector. God can get us through our teenage years (look at how many adults there are), and He can protect us from all of the negative, and often dangerous influences out there. If our God beat the Devil imagine how easy it could be for him to protect you in every day problems. All we have to do is let God do what He wants, and live how he wants. If we do that we cannot go wrong.

Romans 8:28 — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.