Check Your Heart

Jeremiah 17:9

Proverbs 27:19

 

Why do you want to ignite a flame for Christ? Is it because you have seen other people doing it? Are you doing it because you want a particular position in your Youth group? Do you want to ignite a flame for Christ because you care about others and want them to know God so that they can have eternal life? Or are you doing it as a way of getting right with God so that he can forgive you?

 

We need to check our hearts from time to time to know what is driving us to do certain things. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. Meaning that you may think that you are on the right path when doing certain things but later find out that your heart was not in the right place concerning that issue.

 

There are times we may want to do things, but the intention behind it may not align with God’s will for our lives and his kingdom. But I want to ignite a fire for Christ, isn’t that good enough, you may ask? Well, it is good, and God wants all his children to do that to advance his kingdom.

 

However, just because you want doesn’t mean that you should not check your heart. See, there may be things that will hinder you from igniting the fire of Jesus. You may have hidden issues in your heart like anger, fear, pride, and bitterness that may hinder you from accomplishing that.

 

Checking your heart first before taking this critical step will help you discover hidden things you need to deal with first. For example, if someone hurt you in the past and you’re still bitter towards them, you need to deal with that first. If you don’t, the enemy may use the bitterness in your heart against you to ensure that you fail in reigniting a flame of Christ not just in your life but also in the lives of others.

 

You may be working towards igniting a fire for God for yourself. You want others to glorify you just like they do a particular preacher that you admire. We need to be careful. Our fallen nature causes us to have misguided motivations when serving God. On a surface level, it may seem like we have a desire to advance the kingdom of God, but our hearts may be craving attention. Or maybe you really want to ignite a fire for Christ, but your heart is full of doubt and fear.

 

Check your heart and make sure that your desires and actions are motivated by your love for Jesus.

 

Action:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything in your heart that may be holding you back from igniting a flame of Christ.  If you’re already building intimacy with God, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you wrong things in your heart that may open up doors for the enemy to come and block you from moving forward with your relationship with God. Tell God to cleanse your heart from bitterness, anger, and pride so that you can serve Him faithfully.

The True Meaning of Worship

Exodus 23:25

John 4:24

 

What comes to your mind when the word worship is mentioned?

 

Music, lifting up holy hands, prayer, kneeling down, clapping, and dancing. Maybe, I missed out something that came into your mind. But those are some of the most common things that come to mind when we think about worshipping God.

 

There are so many different ways that we can worship our heavenly Father. Great worship music plus a great worship leader that knows how to coordinate everyone, and everything causes us to enjoy worship, right?

 

But did you know that there is more to worshipping God than singing, kneeling, and raising your hands up? Worshipping God starts from the heart. It is not really about what is going on outwardly but about what is going on in our hearts.

 

God had a problem with the children of Israel because they worshipped him with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. It is easy for us to get caught up with religious acts and start worshipping God with our lips and not our hearts. But God sees our hearts, and he knows us inside out.

 

See, it is one thing to clap or lift your hands because the worship leader has told you to do that. It is another altogether when you are doing it out of reverence for God. True worship causes us to stop focusing on ourselves and what is going on around us. It draws us to God alone.

 

Our worship should be out of reverence, not mechanical. As we go before God’s presence, we need to know the truth about him so that  our worship can be based on the truth found in God’s word and not guesswork or religious duty.

 

When we make it a point to incline our hearts to God and be fully submitted to Him, our intimacy with him deepens, and we are able to enjoy our relationship with him. This, in turn, ignites a flame for Christ in our hearts and lives.  Note that you do not have to be perfect for you to worship God in spirit and truth.  Go to God just the way you are and allow him to work through you and in you.

 

Action:

From today make worship part of their everyday life. It should not be something that you do on Sundays only.  Let your actions, thoughts, and words bring glory to God. When you go to church, do it because you want to go and spend time with God. Let it be an act of worship and not a way of keeping your parents from nagging you or seeing friends.  As you spend time with the Lord, be real with him about your thoughts towards him and allow him to refine you so that you can worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

In your free time, listen to worship music and sing along. This will stir your heart, and the messages in those songs will cause you to see Jesus in a different light.

Find Your Purpose

Jeremiah 1:4-8

Proverbs 19: 21

 

Every child of God committed to serving God desires God to use their ordinary life extraordinarily. But at times, we find ourselves second-guessing ourselves.

 

I’m still too young. No one will take me seriously.  I have all the time in the world to live life the way I want and then find my purpose. I don’t think God will use a young person like me to ignite a flame for Christ in the kingdom?

 

These are some of the things you hear young people say. Or maybe you have a zeal to serve God, but an older Christian has discouraged you. They have told you that you are too young. No one will take you seriously. Or you have a long way to go; you need to, first of all, face the challenges of life before you can start igniting a flame for Jesus.

 

But it is never too early or too late for you to find your purpose.  Jeremiah told God he was only a youth when God said to him that he has chosen him to be a prophet for the nations.

 

Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6(NIV)

What was God’s response?

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1: 7-8(NIV)

From God’s response, we learn that God is not a respecter of person. He does not look at your age or the things men look at. God already knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, and he has great plans for your life. He created you for a purpose, and the end result of that purpose is for the gospel of Jesus to spread in all nations.

 

God revealed to Jeremiah his purpose. He was to be a prophet to the nations. It is our purpose that enables us to do what God wants. Purpose will enable you to know where you are and where you’re going.  It will help you to avoid bad groups and cause you to move from being lukewarm to hot.

 

Do not follow the crowd. Don’t buy into the lie that you are too young or you have all the time in the world just because you’re young. Find out what God wants you to do, and then follow through. With the Holy Spirit’s help, you will be a great vessel that  God will use to flame up the message of the gospel across the nations.

 

Action:

Do you know your purpose? If yes, are you fulfilling it? If you don’t know your purpose, ask God to reveal it to you.  Ask Him to show you how to fulfill it and to guide you in your ways so that you don’t stray from it.

Focus on Eternity

John 5:24

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

There is a famous saying that goes begin with the end in mind.  We are often told that the best way to accomplish things in this world is to do them with an end in mind.   Some of us know exactly what we want to be when we grow up.  So we are going to school and taking subjects that will enable us to achieve what we want.

 

In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, God gives us options.  He has given us two choices: death and life.  When we live independent of him, we shall experience death, and when we depend on him, we shall experience life and prosperity. Meaning that all of us have a choice in life. We choose how to live our lives, but we should always remember that each option has repercussions.

 

You may be young and think that it is not really vital for you to think about the end right now but remember that none of us is promised tomorrow. Another thing to remember is that Jesus can come back anytime, so we need to be ready. Before you go to hang out with that click of friends who are engaging in drugs and immorality, take time to think about the end. What will be the consequences of your actions? Will they take you to heaven, or will they take you to hell?

 

When your friends want you to go against your faith and values, you should take a minute to reflect on that.  Think about the consequences.  Is what you are about to do good in the sight of God?  Will it bring glory to him and cause you to enjoy the crown of life at the end of time? If you went drunk driving with your friends and something happened to you, where will you spend your eternity?

 

We serve a merciful God, but we need to also understand that God is a righteous judge. He will judge us accordingly. We should not live recklessly, thinking that we have all the time in the world just because we are young.  Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 tells us to enjoy our youth, to be happy when we are still young. But it also tells us that God will judge us in whatever we do.

 

Focusing on eternity will help you to make the right decisions in your life. It will also ignite a flame of Christ in your heart, for you will have a deep desire to live a life that is pleasing unto God. Not just that, but you will have a longing to tell others about the kingdom of God, and this will, in turn, ignite a fire for God in the body of Christ and the world.

 

Action:

Before making any decision think about the repercussions of the choices, you’re about to make.  When you do anything, do it with the end in mind.  Ask yourself if what you’re about to do will draw you close to Christ.  Will you get the crown of life at the end of time if you take that road?  Or will the decision cause you to miss out on eternal life?

How to Make Joy a Daily Habit

How to Make Joy a Daily Habit

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

We are being encouraged to push on despite what is happening around us. We are told that it is in pushing on that we can create our next happy moment. But the truth is, the more we push, the more we become depressed. Chasing happiness is a recipe for disaster.

 

We need to learn how to make joy a daily habit. Why? God wants us to be joyful. Not that being happy is a bad thing, but when we have joy, we have internal satisfaction. It means that you can remain positive in the midst of a storm.

 

It is impossible for one to be happy when they are going through trials. External circumstances will not allow you to as they will keep changing. But it is possible to have joy.

 

So how do we combat stress with joy daily?

 

Choose What to Believe

Stress is readily available in today’s world. Watch television, read the news or turn on the radio and you will see or hear one bad report after another. It is easy to feel stressed.

 

That is why we need to be intentional about making joy our daily habit. And we can do that by choosing what to believe.

 

See, your circumstance doesn’t determine whether you will walk with joy or be stressed. It is your thoughts about the circumstance that will make your situation stressful. If you think being in a crowded place will stress you, you are going to be stressed. Being around many people isn’t bad, but the thought of it makes the whole experience stressful.

 

Paul rejoiced even though he was in jail (Philippians 4:4-8). He encouraged others to rejoice while he was in prison. I don’t think we would say the same thing if we were in his shoes. But Paul saw being in jail as an opportunity to live for Christ, so he wasn’t stressed about it but rejoiced.

 

Abide in Christ

Every single day, make it a habit to abide in Christ.

 

Abiding means to continue.

 

We should make it a point to continue being in close union with Jesus. Not only when it best suits us but even when we don’t feel like it. 

 

When we abide in Christ, he promises to make our joy complete. (John 15:10-11)

 

Serve Others

Serving others does not mean that you have to become a pastor evangelist or work in a church.  You can serve others through your social media platforms by just writing words of encouragement to your friends and followers.

 

When we serve others daily, we become joyful. Seeing others overcome the issues they are facing because we stood by them fills us with joy. A small act of kindness goes a long way.

 

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

 

It is not dependent on outside circumstances.

 

We can be joyful even when all odds are against us.  But for that to happen, we need to make joy a daily habit by serving others,  abiding in Christ, and most of all, choosing our thoughts carefully.

Finding Contentment in a Discontented World

Finding Contentment in a Discontented World

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

Money doesn’t buy contentment, but neither does poverty provide it.

 

Many of us believe that as long as we have enough, we will be content with life. But how many of us know that the human heart is never satisfied? The more we acquire stuff, the more we want. It is never enough.

 

So how is contentment attained? How do we find contentment?

 

By Knowing Christ

Earning a living and raising a beautiful family are great things to do. But they’ll never bring contentment in our hearts.

 

Jesus is our only source of contentment. Do you know why?

 

  • He loves us unconditionally

Although he knows our flaws, Jesus loves us unconditionally. He will never reject you, even when you mess up.

 

  • He is Our Source of Strength

Paul learned how to remain content in every situation. This came about when Paul realized that he could do all things through Christ, who strengthens him.

 

Like Paul, we can also find contentment through Christ, who strengthens us (Philippians 4:12-13).

 

  • Without Him, we can do Nothing

Jesus said that without him, we can do nothing.

 

It means that even though we work hard and try to achieve success according to the world standards, it is only through Jesus that we can be successful.

 

We may attain all the material wealth that we want, but without Jesus, we will always be discontented in our hearts. Everything we will be striving for will be outside God’s will.

 

By Obeying and Serving God

 

In Job 36:11, we are told that it is by obeying God that we will be contented and prosperous in life.

 

So let us make it a habit to obey God and serve him faithfully. It will not be easy, and God may ask you to do things that don’t seem to be ‘cool’ according to the world standard, but we will be content in our hearts.

 

By Trusting God with all your Heart

It is easy to be anxious about life, especially in a world where we are made to believe that being successful means having a posh car, a big house, rich friends, and many followers on social media.

 

Even believers are getting carried away by the world’s definition of success.

 

We don’t find contentment in the things of the world. We find it God. That is why we need to place our trust in God. Follow his lead and trust the process that he is taking you through.

 

Doing this will not only open doors of blessings in your life, but it will also cause you to find contentment in your life.

 

It could be that you have bought into the lie that contentment comes from having a lot of money, a big car, and a great family. Well, while all those things are good, they will never fill up the void in your heart.

 

People will disappoint you, material wealth will come and go, but only God will remain faithful to you.

 

If you want to be content in life, start with God. Focus on Jesus and allow him to take charge of your life.

Hungry? Feed on the Word of God.

Hungry? Feed on the Word of God.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Joshua 1:8

 

What do you do when you want to become strong physically?  You eat a balanced diet, take water, and do other things like exercise, right?  The same is true about your spiritual life.  If you want to be strong in your spiritual walk, you will have to feed your spirit with spiritual food, which is God’s word.

 

The Bible tells us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  This means that spiritual food, which is God’s word, is more important to us as humans than our daily bread.  It doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself. No God expects you to take good care of your body because it is his temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in it.

 

For a teacher to teach his students effectively, he needs to be trained as a teacher. In the same way, for you to be on fire for God and operate in the way he wants you to, you need to be strong in the spirit and well-trained in spiritual matters.  That is why you need to spend quality time in the word, to meditate on it day and night and not turn from it to the left or right.

 

Just so we’re clear, when you start feeding on the Word of God, it doesn’t mean that things will start working out automatically. Or that you will begin to see the changes immediately.  It will take time for you to move from a place of carnality to being spiritually-minded.  So when you do not see any evidence of change on the outside, you should not be quick to give up. Keep on feeding the word of God because it begins by transforming your mind and your heart.

 

Ignite a flame for Christ in your life by studying scripture that talks about Jesus and his love for you.  Understanding God’s unconditional love causes man to love him too and want to know him more. The more time you spend in the word, the more you get to know who God is and the deeper your desire will be to know him even more.

 

Action:

As you come up with your routine, set aside time during which you should spend reading the word of God.  You don’t have to copy someone else’s routine. You can start by reading a verse a day or follow a theme for a month before you go to the next theme. There are so many devotionals online that you can use as guidance to help you during your devotional time so that you can be able to know what to read and when to read.

 

Remember not to be too uptight but allow the Holy Spirit to help you read the right scripture and open your mind to understand the word of God on a deeper level.

 

7 Bible Verses on Prayer

7 Bible Verses on Prayer

There’s no stronger connection to God than prayer. Whether you want to celebrate something big that’s happening, have a problem in your life, are struggling with anxiety, or just want to thank God, you can pray! Communication with God is important, and we can strengthen our bond with Him through daily prayer. Here are some Bible verses on prayer that can remind you of that!

 

Jeremiah 29:12

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

 

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

 

Psalm 102:17

“He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.”

 

James 5:16

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

 

Matthew 26:41

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

Acts 2:21

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

Job 42:10

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Embracing Your True Identity

Embracing Your True Identity

 

John 1:11-13

Colossians 2:9-10

 

How can God love someone like me? I don’t deserve anything from God. I wish I was just like other Christians, they seem to have it all together, but the same cannot be said about me.

 

Have you ever made any of these statements or heard someone make them? At times we find ourselves struggling with our true identity despite what the Bible says about us. We look at what the word of God says and then look at ourselves and don’t see a connection. We are like the complete opposite of what the word of God says about us.

 

If you study the life of Jesus, you’ll notice that he was able to accomplish so much within a short time. But why was that? It is because he was confident of who he was. Jesus did not second guess himself, and it didn’t matter what people said or thought about him.  He believed he was the son of God, that his father loved him and that he was here on earth for a purpose. In short, Jesus knew and embraced his true identity.

 

Do you know who you’re? Do you love and accept yourself with all your flaws and all? When you read the word of God, do you believe everything it says about you? Or does what the Bible says about you sound too good to be true? 

 

It is easy to get caught up with what the world calls acceptable. When we are at school, we may try hard to fit in with other students because we want to belong. It is not wrong to desire that, but we should never allow people to define us. Our identity should be in Christ, not in the things of this world that are just passing away.

 

Honestly, it is hard to be on fire for God when we don’t love and accept ourselves. We will keep second-guessing our relationship with God, and that will hinder us from moving forward with our lives. To serve God in spirit and in truth, we need to first embrace our identity.

 

When you know your identity in Christ, you stop trying to find validity in other people or things and run to God.  When the enemy attacks you in different ways, you continue to stand firm in faith and hold onto God’s promises because you know that your identity is found in Christ and him alone.  In times of despair, when your faith is under attack, it becomes hard for the devil to convince you to quit because you know that you have been bought at a price and you are complete in him. 

 

You do not have to second-guess yourself, child of God.  Your heavenly Father wants to use you mightily.  But for him to do that, you need to embrace your identity in Christ and see yourself complete in him. When you do that, you become confident, just like Jesus was confident in his own identity. 

 

Action:

Get a sheet of paper or book and write down three things you love about yourself and three things you wish you could change. Go to the Bible and find out what the Bible says about you. Spend time meditating on Bible verses about your identity in Christ until they become alive in you.

 

3 Things to Do If You’re Feeling Down

3 Things to Do If You’re Feeling Down

 

 

1. Get Up and Move

One of the best ways to pick yourself up when you’ve been having a bad day or week is to get up and exercise! 

 

And it doesn’t have to be long. Even going on a 15 minute walk or following along with a 5 minute stretch routine in Youtube can help create a drastic difference in your mood and feelings! 

 

2. Talk or Text with Someone You Love (And Who Loves You)

Sometimes, when you have the blues, family or friends can be the best medicine to fix that or ease your symptoms. 

 

Call them on the phone or shoot them a text to get something off your chest or just remind yourself that you have people around you who care!

 

3. Laugh

Look up one of your favorite comedies online or scroll through a meme/joke page on social media. 

 

Sometimes, we just need a laugh to remind us not to take things too seriously or get tahat heavy feeling off of our chests!