Have you noticed how easy it is to be upset? Maybe something happened to someone you love. Perhaps you’re feeling the stress of school or sports. Before you know it, you’re upset and troubled.
The Bible provides us with a great tip when it comes to stress. It tells us to not let your hearts be troubled. That means you have a choice in every situation whether you’re going to respond in peace or if you’re going to let your heart be troubled.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. – John 14:1 (NLT)
Every day you have the opportunity to choose. You get to choose whether you’re going to really trust God in every area of your life. If you trust God, then you don’t have to let your heart be troubled. You know that no matter how bad things get around you, God will always see you through.
So today, if you’re faced with something big, don’t allow your heart to be troubled. Instead, look to Jesus. Trust Him to be your peace in the middle of the storm. You’ll be glad you did.
I want you to think for a moment about who your closest friends are. When you hang out, do you have trouble talking to them? Or is it easy? My guess is that you don’t really struggle that much to talk to your good friends. But if you’re honest, talking to God or praying can feel overwhelming at times. You may not feel like you know the right words to say or how to go about praying.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help get you unstuck when praying.
Anyone Can Pray – It’s good news to know that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar or have a ton of scriptures memorized. You can begin praying right now.
James 5:16 – “Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen” (ERV)
Prayer Is Just Connecting With God– You can connect with God just like you would with friends. Connect with God by telling him your thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams.
Pray The Word – This is freeing, when you realize that you don’t have to always come up with stuff to pray. Use your Bible to help you and pray scriptures out over your life and others.
Pray with Authority – You can know that God hears you when you pray and great things will happen when you pray.
Realize that prayer is a lot like talking to a friend. There is no right way to do it, just like there is no one right way to pray. Take the pressure off yourself to pray the “right way” and begin simply spending time with God.
I remember having to give my first speech in my Oral Communications class. I hated it. Let me say that again, I hated it. I dislike being the center of attention, and the idea of my whole class watching me speak sounded like the worst thing on earth. You might be like me and hate giving speeches. Or perhaps you’re amazing at that, but the idea of something else just makes you so afraid.
Today we’re going to talk about being brave. Because let’s face it, sometimes in life, we have to be brave. We have to face those things that scare us, and decide to push through them.
So how do we be brave when we don’t always want to, or when we don’t feel like it? Well, sometimes it helps to realize that Jesus can help you be brave. Especially when you’re doing something He is telling you to do.
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always – 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NIV)
Back to giving speeches, one time my youth leader asked me to share during youth group time. And I had to share in front of the whole youth group. Of course, I hated the idea of being in front of people and speaking to them. However, I felt like it was something that God wanted me to do, and I believed God had something for me to share with them. So I prepared a little Bible lesson for them, and did it. Yes, I did it, and I did it afraid.
When God has called us to do something, He gives us the ability to do it. He helps us, even if we’re afraid.
Today’s Truth: When God calls you to do something, He gives you the ability to do it.
So how about you? What is God asking you to do that seems too scary? It might not be giving a lesson to your youth group, but it might be talking to a friend about Jesus, or asking someone if you can pray for them. If God asks you to do something, He equips you to do it.
Decide today to press past your fear and step out and do the thing God is calling you to do.
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
Do you have things about yourself that you’d like to change? Maybe you don’t like your hair, your smile, or some other thing about yourself. Perhaps you don’t like a tendency you have or how introverted you are. And often, you can let those things cause you to start to feel bad about yourself. It can cause you to begin to dislike who God made you to be.
Here’s the truth: You are who God made you to be. You might want to be a different person, but you are who you are. God made you for a purpose. He has good plans for you, exactly how you are. You don’t need to change your identity, or anything else about you.
Today’s Truth: You are who God made you to be.
When you realize that it helps you. No longer do you have to look to friendships, relationships or anything else to define you. Instead, you find your peace and belonging in Jesus.
Today begin by saying good things about yourself. Think of the things that make you special and be glad about those things. Realize that you’re made by God to do great things. Don’t be afraid to walk out His plan and do what He’s calling you to do.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. – Philippians 3:12 (NLT)
Stop the anger. I keep telling myself. For some reason, I seem to get mad really easy. And as much as I tell myself that tomorrow I won’t get mad, I usually do. So what do I do?
Do you have an area that you struggle in? Maybe it’s not anger for you, perhaps you struggle with overeating, pornography, or some other area in your life. Sometimes, sin is a really hard thing to feel like you can overcome.
However, there is hope.
First of all, realize that becoming more Christlike is a process. You’re not there yet. So don’t have an idea of ideal in your head, and get mad at yourself if you aren’t there yet. Realize that you’re making progress. Maybe you lost your temper four times yesterday, but if a year ago, you would lose your temper ten times a day, you’re making progress. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not there yet. Celebrate the little wins along the way and know if you’re trying, you’re making progress.
Secondly, don’t base your worth on how good of a Christian or not you are. Yes, you should be trying to be more like Christ, but here’s the thing: you’re not Jesus. You’re not perfect. You will never be perfect. And God’s love for you is not based on your perfection (thank goodness!). God’s love for you is based on Jesus’ perfection. That’s good news.
Today’s Truth: God’s Love for you is based on Jesus’ perfection.
So today, if you’re struggling with sin, know this. God loves you. Even in your imperfection. Also, it’s ok to not be perfect. Making progress each day is a good thing. Don’t forget that you’re making progress and you’re doing better than you probably give yourself credit for.
When I was about 12, I felt like God was showing me to hang out with one of my friends. So I asked her if she’d want to hang out. We walked around the park near my house, and talked a lot. I shared with her a few things about Jesus. She confided in me that she was considering suicide that day. My calling her and talking to her was just the encouragement she needed to keep going.
Now, you might not think that hanging out with a friend that God puts on your heart is a big deal. It would have been really easy for me to have ignored that leading of God. I could have watched TV instead or done something I wanted to do. However, I just chose to obey the leading of God. It turns out that God wanted to encourage her so she didn’t end her life.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – Psalm 143:10 (NIV)
What is God calling you to do? There might be something that He keeps putting on your heart, but you never seem to move forward on it. I challenge you to step out and do it. It might be that you’re one of many that God has been speaking to, but be willing to do what God is asking of you. You don’t realize the difference it might make in the lives of those around you.
Today’s Truth: Are you willing to do what God is asking you to do?
Whether you know the impact you make for others or not, it’s always good to move forward in the things you feel that God is calling you to do. You might be the one who is able to help someone else.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – James 1:2 (NLT)
One of the hardest things to do is to have joy during times of trouble. Maybe you feel like things are against you, you’ve got finals coming up and the pressures of keeping your grades up just feels like too much. When things are tough and life is pressing against you harder and harder it becomes difficult to keep your joy.
Often we think that if we can just get the pressure to go away, we’ll have joy. Maybe once finals are over and life is easier we will be happy. Or once school is out and there’s nothing to do but hang out with your friends all summer, then you’ll be happy. However, if we keep waiting for events, circumstances or people to change for us to have joy, we might be waiting a long time.
Instead, we are challenged in the Bible to do what this verse says. When trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for joy. It’s not that you’re happy that the trouble is in your life, but rather you realize that regardless of what is going on around you, you can choose to be at peace within.
Today’s Truth: No matter what is going on around you, you can choose peace within.
Things might be difficult, the pressures of life might be coming at you hard, but if you find your joy in knowing who Jesus is and that He is the source of your peace and contentment, it will allow you to find joy in the midst of trouble.
Have you ever wanted to hear from God? Maybe you need direction on what to do for your future. Perhaps someone or something in your life is really bothering you, and you just need to know what to do. You wish that you just had an angel that would show up in your room and show you what to do.
I know I’ve wished that more times than I can count. It would be so much easier to know what God wants you to do if an angel showed up in your house. Most of the time, however, God doesn’t lead us through something spectacular like all those angels that showed up to the shepherds in the Christmas story. Instead, God will often lead us through His word, through peace, through a dream, or through prayer.
So how do you know for sure what to do?
Well, a lot of the time, it’s like learning anything else, it just takes some practice. Can you think back to when you learned how to ride a bike? More than likely you got on the bike, then fell off it. Then you got on it again, and after a few days of practice, you got good at balancing and riding the bike.
Today’s Truth: Hearing from God is easy – it just takes practice.
The same is true with hearing God’s voice. You’re not going to be perfect at it starting out. It takes some time and some practice to get good at it. The key is to start small. So try this: when you lose your phone this week, and I’m sure it will happen, ask God to help show you where it is. Get quiet and listen. You’ll probably get an idea of where to look. That’s God leading you. As you start to ask for God’s direction and help in the small things, like where you put your phone or your history homework, you’ll begin to see that you do hear God’s voice.
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. – Luke 16:10 (NLT)
So begin to trust that leading. As you begin in small areas, you’ll see that you can trust God to lead you in the bigger decisions too. Don’t wait. Begin to let God lead you today.
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. – Proverbs 29:25
It’s easy to let what people think about you stop you from doing the right thing. When you spend all your time worrying about what others think, you can become trapped. Instead of letting the fear of others keep you from saying or doing the right thing, decide to put your trust in God.
When you put your trust in God, it brings you safety. You can trust that God will always provide the friendships you need.
Today’s Truth: Don’t let the fear of others stop you from doing what’s right
Even when it’s hard, decide to not let the fear of others determine the choices you make. Instead, choose today to do what you know is right. Put your trust in God and see how God can come through for you.
Have you ever thought much about obeying God? If you’re honest, it’s probably not something you like to think a lot about. We like the idea of God being our friend, helping us through the tough times of life, but when it comes to obeying Him, we’re not as excited.
That’s totally normal. None of us like being told what to do. But here’s the thing, when you really get to know God, you know that He’s so good. And when He asks you to do something, it’s for your own good. It will make you better, or it will help you in the future.
LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. – Jeremiah 10:23 (NIV)
So the next time you sense the leading of God, instead of being afraid, or maybe ignoring what He is trying to tell you, consider doing things differently. Choose to lay aside your opinions of what you think might be best, and be open to being directed by God.
It won’t always be seamless or without trouble, but the plans God has for you are for your good. Following God and being open to Him will help you each day. Don’t be afraid to let God direct your steps. His plans are always good for you in the end!
Today’s Truth: God’s plans always turn out for your good!