Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

2 Corinthians 10:12

Galatians 1:10

 

In the world of likes, followers, and comments, it is easy for us to get caught up in the trap of comparison. You may be comparing yourself to your friends. You spend time following their lives. You want to know how many people they have led to Christ, what their prayer life is like, and whether they are living in secret sin or not.

 

At school, you may find yourself in the web of comparing your performance with others. Competition is good. It helps you to put in the work so that you can get good grades. But as children of God, we need to understand that there is such a thing as bad competition.

 

If you are cheating, lying, and slandering people so that you can be loved by others and they can be hated, then know that you’re not only sinning against others, but you’re sinning against God. We are supposed to love one another, and our loved ones should be a source of encouragement.

 

The word of God says that those who compare themselves to others are foolish.  If you want to ignite a flame for Christ in your life and in the body of Christ, you should not make the mistake of comparing yourself to others.  Yes, other people might be spiritually mature than you.  Your friend might be at a higher level in spiritual matters than you.

 

Or maybe the Christians you hang around live double standard lives, but they seem to be doing okay. They are drawing more lives to Christ even though they’re living in known sin, and you keep wondering why you should be different.  Why should you be on fire for God when others are not even trying, and they seem to be so comfortable?

 

Well, remember that God will judge you alone.  Come judgment day, God will not ask you whether the group you belong to obeyed him.  You will stand before the throne of God alone and give an account for your own life.

 

The Bible uses silver, gold, and wood to show our differences and how God uses our uniqueness to accomplish his purposes in life.  That means that you don’t have to be like every other person for you to ignite the flame of Christ.  You do not have to pray for one hour just because someone else prays for one hour.  You do not have to spend three hours in the Bible like your youth leader.  You have to relate to God in a way that works for you.  Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and let him show you how to connect with God so that you can be able to ignite a flame that will never be put out with the things of this world.

 

Action:

Find out how God speaks to you and which way is he telling you to go? Does he talk to you audibly, through visions and dreams, or any other way? Ask God to show you how he wants you to ignite a flame for his Son Jesus and then follow the steps he tells you.

Surrender to the Leading of the Holy Spirit

John 14:26

Romans 8:26

 

For us to know a particular subject in school we need help from our teachers, right? If you want to know Math, you will have to attend Math classes, the same is true for every other subject. Similarly, if you need to understand spiritual matters, you need a teacher who understands spiritual matters. That is why Jesus said he would send us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.

 

The Christian walk is impossible without the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts our hearts of sin so that we can turn from our sinful ways and give our lives to Christ. But his role in our lives doesn’t stop there. We need the Holy Spirit to help us in our daily lives. That is why he is called the helper.

 

Okay, just like the Pharisees, some people appear to be zealous for God, but they’re not. They have some form of godliness but are not submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and cannot ignite the flame of Christ in their lives or the kingdom of God.

 

To be on fire for God, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit. He knows the deep things of God. He can also search our minds and reveal to us the things that may hinder us from experiencing the fullness of God. You will never understand scripture without the help of the Holy Spirit. Sure other people like pastors and spiritually mature Christians can help you understand it, but they don’t do it with their own strength. They also need the Holy Spirit to help them.

 

Another thing to note is that it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to pray. Yes, we can choose to pray without the Holy Spirit’s help, but if we really desire to ignite a flame for Christ, we need to pray according to God’s will. The only person who can help us to pray according to God’s will is the Holy Spirit.

 

If you desire to be like David, Paul, Elijah, Peter, Esther, Daniel, and our Lord Jesus, then you need to surrender to God and allow the Holy Spirit to take over. He will lead you in truth and tell you what Jesus tells him. Let the Holy Spirit be your counselor, teacher, and best friend. Doing so will enable him to control your mind, words, actions, and attitudes.

 

 

Allow him to transform your spiritual life so that you can become bold like Elijah and Elisha. When the Spirit of God is in control of your life, he will reveal your spiritual gift(s) so that you can use them to serve God and ignite a flame of Christ in God’s kingdom.

 

Action

Ask the Holy Spirit to take over your life and teach you all things. Surrender to his leading and quit trying to lead yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you things that are blocking you from serving God faithfully.

The Sacrifice of Praise

Psalm 150:6

Psalm 100:4-5

 

For us to be on fire for God, we need to be close to him. We need to have an intimate relationship with him. One of the ways that we can draw near to God is through praise.

 

The word of God tells us to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. This means that praise gives us access to the throne of God. It enables us to draw near to him, and the Bible says that when we draw near to God, he will also draw near us. A look into the Bible, and you will see that great things happened when people drew near to God. Enemies were defeated, lives were transformed, and the kingdom of God expanded.

 

When we praise God, our frustrations in life are neutralized, and we end up being productive in life. It could be that you are struggling to ignite a flame of Christ in your life because of the different challenges you are facing at school or at home. Maybe you are struggling with a particular subject. It could be that your family is on the verge of breaking up because your parents are considering divorce. Perhaps your guardian is not treating you well.

 

It is hard to focus on God and praise Him when bad things are happening around you. It is easy to complain and look for other options instead of praising God. But whining and looking for other options will not give you permanent solutions. Instead of getting depressed, how about shifting your focus to the one who will rescue you from that problem?

 

Stop focusing on what is happening and focus on the one who created you. When you draw close to God, your frustrations and fears will start to drop, and your faith in the Lord will become stronger in faith.

 

When God assured King Jehosaphat that he would fight on behalf of Israel in 2 Chronicles 20, the King told his people to sing praises to God, and when they did, their enemies were destroyed by the Lord. When Paul and Silas were sent to prison for spreading the gospel, Acts 16:16-40, they sang praises to God at midnight, and the prison doors were opened. Not just that, the lives of the jailer and his family were transformed as they gave their lives to Christ.

 

It is not just our situation that changes when we praise God. Unbelievers who monitor our Christian walk also become transformed. When some unbelieving students see you praising God when all odds are against you, they will want to know this God that you serve. Not just that but some of them will give their lives to Him. When this happens, the flame of Christ will not only be ignited in your life but in your community and the world.

 

Action:

There are so many different ways that we can praise God. Find what works for you, or better still, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. You can praise God with music, the Psalms of David, or with heavenly tongues. Make praise part of your prayer life.

Short Bible Verses to Memorize

Short Bible Verses to Memorize

Verse memory is an integral part of living the Christian life. Psalms 119:11 says, “I store your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” We have to know God’s word to follow it. At the same time, memorizing verses can be very intimidating, and you may not know where to start. Well, here are 7 verses you may try. Choose 4 of them, take one each week, and you’ll have 4 verses memorized in just a month!

 

“We love because he first loved us.” — 1 John 4:19

 

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” — Acts 16:31

 

“So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.” — Deuteronomy 29:9

 

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” — Colossians 3:2

 

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:32

5 Bible Verses about Joy

5 Bible Verses about Joy

There are many commands in the Bible: Don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery…

But have you ever read the one about joy?

In Deuteronomy, scripture commands us to REJOICE ALWAYS!

Over 30 verses commanding joy are in the Bible. Today, we’re going to show you 5 of them!

 

 “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.”

— Psalm 5:11

 

 “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.”

— Psalm 98:4

 

 “Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things!”

— Joel 2:21

 

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

— Matthew 5:12

 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

— Philippians 4:4

 

Here’s some homework after reading these:

  1. Sing a song of the Lord’s praises!
  2. Fill a blank sheet of paper with all the marvelous things God has done for you.
  3. Pray to God and thank Him for His goodness!

How to Give Your Anxiety to God

How to Give Your Anxiety to God

If you’re here, I’m sure you’ve heard all the anxiety verses. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” and Philippians 4:6-7 has told us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And while these verses sound good, it can sometimes be hard to put them into practice.

 

As an anxious person, you’ll often be told to give your anxiety to God, but it’s less often someone will tell you how. So it’s a good thing you’re here! This isn’t a one-size-fits all step-by-step sort of endeavor, but trying some of these things may help you ease your anxiety and cling to God’s comfort.

 

#1: Try Meditating

We often thing of meditating as sitting on a rubber yoga mat in front of our beds our outside and humming “om” or “namaste,” but you may be surprised to find that to meditate in the biblical sense really means to mutter or repeat words.

 

Try talking to God. Whenever you feel anxious or that your chest is a bit tighter, close your eyes and talk to Him. It doesn’t have to be fancy or descriptive. You may also find it useful to choose a phrase. Here are a few you may try:

 

“I’m giving it to you, God.”

“Here it is.”

“I’m stressed about…”

“Please help me.”

“I know You’re here right beside me.”

“God is with me.”

 

#2: Write It Down

Journaling can often be a daunting thought. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you don’t even need a journal, just a piece of paper or the notes app on your phone. Write down every single thing— and I mean every single thing— down that’s bothering you or stressing you out or has you worried. By writing it down, you are releasing any fears to God.

 

And if you can’t pinpoint it? Try this instead:

  1. Write down everything you have to do in the next day. Then do the next week. Next month. Next year.
  2. Write down anything happening in the same time ranges as above.
  3. Write down 7 past things God has handled for you.
  4. Tear off (or delete) 1 and 2, and start a prayer thanking God for 3
  5. Then, take your prayer from there.

 

#3: Have a Jam Session

Music is a medium of art that can speak to our souls more than television or movies. Those can be fine, but you may find yourself even more sensory overloaded than when you started. Go somewhere quiet and set a timer for 10 minutes. Then put on your favorite worship song.

 

Now, if you’re also feeling a little sad, you may not want to make it something slow like “Oceans.” A fast or upbeat song may leave you feeling energized or fulfilled. Find a song that can remind you of God’s constant grace and care.

 

Need help finding a list? Start here.

 

Anxiety is a normal part of life, but we don’t have to let it take over or keep up from receiving the joy we are promised as children of God. Always remember: God is in charge. God is in control. The Kingdom is near.

3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself While Social Distancing

3 Ways to Take Care of Yourself While Social Distancing

Even introverts who would normally relish an opportunity to spend a nice weekend in are finding that social distancing can be really tough. Self-isolation can be really isolating if we don’t take care of ourselves. While you won’t be able to book your hair appointment or make a fitness class, there are still plenty of things you can do while staying home and safe. Check out these tips for self-care while social distancing.

1. Try Journaling

 

Feelings are natural, and it’s important that we take time to work through all of our emotions. One way you can do that is by journaling. Putting pen to paper can be calming and give you a sense of peace. Center yourself by reserving 5 to 15 minutes a day to just sit and write.

 

 

2. Get Moving

Don’t underestimate the power of endorphins. It can be a short walk around the block if you’re allowed out or a bed exercise you find on Youtube. Get those feel-good hormones flowing and let a better mood wash in with them! Set a movement goal for yourself to meet each day and take care of your mental and physical well-being.

3. Treat Yourself!

Treat Yourself Moments happen even in isolation! Right now is arguably one of the most important times to be sweet to yourself. You can do an at-home spa night with a sheet mask and bubble bath or whip up a batch of your favorite dessert just because. Or maybe you want to go find a movie to curl up on the couch with. Anything!

3 Things That Will Help You Sleep Better This Winter

Life is busy, and it goes fast. Sleep is the one time we have a break from it all. Studies show that sleeping more sharpens your brain, improves your mood, promotes heart health, and so much more. It’s important, so we have to make each hour we get count! I’m going to give you 3 things that will guarantee you a better, more restorative rest each night.

 

 

  • Don’t Drink Caffeinated Beverages Late in the Day

 

Caffeine energizes our bodies, stimulating our nervous systems and making us buzz with energy. While this is great when we’re getting our start to the day, it makes it much harder for us to fall asleep and then rest well once we are asleep. Limit your caffeine intake 6 to 8 hours before you go to bed.

 

 

  • Try to Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time

 

Our bodies have circadian rhythms that function on a loop. If we stay consistent, we are much more likely to stay asleep longer and, therefore, wake up more refreshed.

 

 

  • Sleep on a Comfortable Mattress, Bed, and Comforter

 

Bed quality is such an important factor in our sleep that we often overlook. The right

mattress effects good quality sleep to make sure you wake up rejuvenated and ready to seize the day! You should change your mattress every 5 to 8 years. Some might think this is the hardest fix (mattresses are so expensive, after all), but there are so many cost efficient ways to buy mattresses and such online.

 

Change your habits to secure your sleep. Sweet Dreams, Reader!

Self Care: Being Your Own Caregiver

Self care isn’t just about pampering yourself with a day at the spa or nice relaxing evening after a stressful month. Sure, these things are wonderful, but self care should be planned and intentional, not something you fall back on once you have reached a stressful break-down. It is there to help you mitigate the accumulation of stress so that you never have to reach your wits’ end. It helps to think of self care as a beautiful garden that needs consistent tending to with water, light and proper nutrients. Waiting for the garden to dry up to a dire point and flooding it with water, albeit beneficial, isn’t nearly as effective. Self care can be implemented in any area of your life. Here are two of the most common areas people find it extremely helpful.

Physical Self Care

The physical body is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of self care. Physical self care is anything that supports or improves your physical body. This includes going to the gym, getting an adequate amount of sleep and taking care of your dietary needs. It also includes not ignoring medical issues, seeking the care of a nurse or physician when possible and taking any medications you are prescribed.

The goal of physical self care shouldn’t be to have a ‘perfect’ body or ‘perfect’ diet. The idea of perfection is likely to add to your stress which defeats the goal of self-care. Just aim to do the best you can, coming from a knowledge that your body is a temple and it glorifies God to take care of it (I Cor. 6:19).

Emotional Self Care

We are all emotional beings and emotional self care is all about allowing yourself to be and to accept your emotional self. With that being said, it is also about improving your emotional intelligence and learning to let go of the emotions that do not serve you and your well-being. This is no easy feat and takes a lot of practice so, like any other area of self care it is of utmost importance to approach it in a loving way. If you don’t know where to start, below are three actions you can take to support your emotional well-being.

Writing Down Your Feelings

Keeping a diary may seem silly to some, but it is an amazing tool when it comes to expressing and accepting your emotions. Without expression and acceptance emotions are difficult to get rid of. A journal helps you identify the negative emotions in your life as well as pinpoint the situations that trigger their appearance.

Finding What You Enjoy

Make time for what you enjoy. Find activities that you enjoy and find a way to do more of it. Whether this means reading a book in solitude or enjoying the company of friends, it’s important to do what brings you joy in life.

Practicing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is like a muscle. You have to work on it in order to strengthen it. We all have room to grow and improve our emotional intelligence, but if you find that you are frequently in any of the situations below, improving in this area will make a profound difference in your life and allow you to have a powerful tool when it comes to caring for yourself.

  • You have a hard time identifying what you are feeling
  • You shut down instead of expressing your feelings due to frustration or inability
  • You find it almost impossible to stick to your plans when you are under stress like in the case of emotional eating.

There are many ways to improve your emotional intelligence. One way is by practicing introspection. This involves thinking about what you are feeling and asking yourself questions about why you feel the way you do.  You can then try delaying your negative reactions even if for only a few minutes. If you find that after receiving bad news you have a tendency to eat or drink excessively, try delaying that response. By delaying this response a little longer each time you will find it becomes easier and you will become more confident in your ability to control yourself. The goal here is to learn that your emotions do not have to dictate what you do in life.

The Self Care Attitude

It’s important not to approach you self-care plans from a place of guilt or perceived selfishness. Self care is as important to the people around you as it is to yourself. After all, as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self care ensures that your well-being is taken care of, allowing you to show up and be committed to the important people and obligations in your life.

Remember self care does not end with your physical and emotional self. Virtually any are of your life can benefit from self care. This includes your spirituality, finances, relationships and professional life. Find the areas of your life that cause you the most stress and aim to truly care for yourself in those areas first.