Thankfulness.

Today is Black Friday. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I don’t particularly care for Black Friday because I have never participated in this day. But today, I wanted to talk about thankfulness. Yes, we all talked a lot about this yesterday but why do we need to stop when the holiday is over?

We all sat around the table or our living rooms and talked about what we were thankful for; our family, our friends, our jobs, our homes, our food, our financial state, our significant others, our abilities, and the list goes on. Yesterday, I was thinking about all the things that I was thanking God for and why I was thanking Him for all this stuff. He has given me a great family, a home, food, clothes to put on my back, water, and a solid church family. But I have so many other stuff that I was thankful for yesterday as well… Money, my phone, my heated blanket… the list goes on of ridiculous things.

The more I thought about it, I thought about how many things I take advantage of everyday. Then I thought about if those things were gone in an instant… Then what would I be thankful for? If I didn’t have food everyday, would I be thanking God? If I didn’t have clothes to keep me warm this winter, would I be praising Him? And would I be greatful to my Heavenly Father if I didn’t have my awesome family? Then I remembered something one of my small group leaders told me once,

“If God didn’t do anything else for us starting now, we would still have countless reasons to thank Him. He died for us. He loves us. He forgives us. His mercies are new everyday.”

I am so thankful for that because I mess up everyday.

What if instead of clinging to all the things we’re thankful for (too much food, clothes, games, music, heated blankets, shoes) we give it to others that need it. That truly shows we are thankful for it because it can bless someone else with them.

Some people don’t have blankets or ways to keep warm and I’m sure we all have more than enough blankets in our homes. Others don’t have food and we have plenty and we know that! Its even important to think of those without families out there, that don’t have anyone to share special moments with like we all did yesterday. What if we could adopt and give someone a family?

Instead of clinging to these things, lets give them away. If God has blessed you before, don’t worry, He will continue to keep blessing you. Clinging to these things doesn’t show that we are thankful but dependent on these things and God doesn’t call us to love these earthly things. They’re temporary. We need to depend on Him because He is more than enough.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your familes and friends and continue to be thankful everyday!

Colossians 3:15-17

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Corinthians 1:4

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.

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.

Its Not Me, Its Not Us.

Psalm 127:1 says,

Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.

Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.

This verse stood out to me today. It was a reminder to not put my faith in flesh (Philippians 3:3) or what I can do. We can all do something. God has given us all gifts and abilities. Its what we do with them that matters. He can use us for great things with the things that He has given us.

But there is also something so important in realizing that if we were not here and if we weren’t doing these things, God would continue to do great things. While its important to use your gifts and abilities to glorify Him and tell others about Jesus in many different ways, don’t ever get into the habit of thinking that you’re the reason people are coming to know Jesus or are turning their lives around because of your gifts.

If they’re turning their lives around for you, thats not a good thing. It kind of defeats the purpose. They’re aiming to please you.

It should all be about Jesus and what He is doing here with us.

Someone once told me, “If you’re going to build someone a house, great! But make sure you also build one for them in Heaven!”

Make sure the “houses” that you are building have God in the center. What you do with your life can be awesome and you can do great things. But like this verse says, without God being the focus of what you’re doing, its worthless. Give it all back to Him and know that He is what holds it all together!

This is just a simple little reminder I had today and its something that I need to be reminded of everyday. Its not about me! Its all about God and what He is doing here in people’s hearts. I am only a tool to help build the Kingdom. God is doing the real work!

We Need This Revelation.

I am 17 years old, a senior in high school, and have never read through the book of Revelation. It was always too scary for me. I didn’t want to think about it. So I never read through it. Not until this week.

Two weeks ago, I picked up my Bible and a verse in Matthew was staring at me. It was loud and clear that this verse was pertaining to me. My Bible was open to Matthew 26, where Jesus was praying in Gethsemane, and he found his disciples asleep outside of the garden. They were waiting for Him but became tired and dozed off.

Matthew 26 says this: 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This verse really challenged me that day to give more time to Jesus, even when I’m tired. I often brush aside the thought of digging into the Word when I get home from school because I can barely keep my eyes open. But His Word says, ‘The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’. It was right in front of me. And I needed to respond. I needed to give God an hour everyday. That is what I committed to do this weekend.

On Monday, I failed. My body’s weakness overcame that boldness to devote this hour to God. I went to bed early that night and had the mindset of, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. That is an awful thing to say. Especially about time with God.

I was being hypocritical that day because I’ve been flustered with how many of my peers say that in youth group every week. They say they need to get in the Word more, every week. And all I’ve wanted to say to them is if you need to, why don’t you?

And then there I was. Face to face with my warm, consuming, comfortable bed that begged for me to lay my head down and forget about the world for awhile. Yes, I failed. I am not proud to say that I made a commitment to God and didn’t keep it. The next day, I knew that this couldn’t wait any longer. This challenge, to pray and spend time with God for an hour everyday, is something I did two summers ago and it turned my life around. I felt like I got brand new eyes and ears after that experience.

That challenge was only 21 days and God showed me so much in those 21 hours. Honestly, though, the hour goes by so fast that I usually spend an hour and a half to two hours in the Word and in prayer. I wish more people my age would devote more time to God. We give our time to plenty of other things.

I wish people my age would read through Revelation. It is something that really scares a lot of my friends but it is so real. It is more real than the television shows we watch. It is more real than Instagram. It is more real than school and money and things… Because all of this stuff here will fade away. We forget that sometimes. Revelation is a book that has totally changed my perspective on life and how I view things. Do I have an eternal mindset? Do I worry too much about being comfortable? Because we are never promised that. Not now. And definitely not in the future.

In those detailed chapters, there is talk of fire and pain and regret for those who don’t know Jesus. I instantly thought a friend of mine that doesn’t know Jesus. We’ve been friends for a very long time and I know that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with God. These verses brought sorrow. I kept thinking, She doesn’t know what is going to happen someday. How do we tell people about Jesus in such an urgent way but with gentle love? The message that sits, waiting in the Bible needs to be spoken of. People need to hear about what Jesus did for them. We can’t say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

I want to see an awakening in my generation. Some people are in a deep sleep and they need someone else to tell them the day has begun, its time to get up. It is so important. I hope you feel that way as a Christian. I sincerely hope that you have hope in Jesus and that you want to share that with your friends who are lost in darkness. I don’t believe Revelation is a book that we need to scream from the streets to people that don’t believe. I believe that book is motivation for us believers. It gives us a picture of what we’re up against and a hope that as followers of Jesus, we have victory in the end. He won. But there is still a battle that rages on.

Revelation is our reminder to keep going and to trust in Jesus. And I really think it serves as a reminder that our friends are dying. Do you remember when you received new life? Do you remember where you were yesterday? Last month? Last year? Years ago? Jesus gave you new life. He wants to do the same for the people placed around you in your life.

Read Revelation. For people my age, I really encourage you to do so if you haven’t. Or read it again if you already have. This stuff is scary, but its so real. We can’t be scared anymore. Jesus won. He has defeated the grave. Read this book with that hope in mind. This scary stuff is real, but so is Jesus. And so is the blood that He shed to save us. Take a journey with Jesus today and go spend some time with your real Savior.

Revelation 3:20

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.

Revelation 21:8

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Revelation 1:5

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

Revelation 21:4

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 22:12

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what they have done.”