Why Jesus is More Than the Light at the End of the Tunnel

Life is hard.

I don’t have to tell you twice. You might feel the weight of that sentence every single day. You’ve likely felt the pain of a breakup, job loss, move, loss of a loved one, abuse, difficult friendship, betrayal, financial insecurity, injury or sickness, or difficult transition.

You’ve likely felt lonely, depressed, frustrated, angry, irritated, worried, and scared at some point in your life. Perhaps you feel those things every single day, and maybe you can’t recall the last time you were truly happy.

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// The Battle of the Everyday //

“I want you here.”

That’s what God told me right after I got back from my second trip to Haiti.  He wasn’t talking about that beautiful little island, though. He was talking about America.  Let me give you a little background.

Ever since I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to be a missionary.  I wanted to go to some remote village and love the people the world had forgotten.  I wanted to spend my whole life living every day on the edge, never certain of tomorrow.  That wasn’t God’s plan for me, though, at least not yet.

Though He may have that in mind for later, right now, He has called me here.  That frustrates me. For a person who loves to explore and visit the unknown, the mission field is even more comfortable than a “regular” life in the states.  Life here can be boring. It can be complex and irritating, and it can be hard.

So maybe you’re thinking,” Man, I’d love to have a normal life, what’s this guy talking about?”  Maybe your extraordinary life is tough, and you can’t imagine why I’d love to have that. Keep reading, this might just apply to you too.

You see, right now I’m in a place that I’d rather not be.  It’s tough, and I would much prefer to be somewhere else, doing something much more exciting.  However, God put me here for a reason.

“’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” // Jeremiah 29:11

We can sometimes come up with the notion that one day we will serve God in big ways.  “One day”, we tell ourselves. However, your God isn’t just the God of tomorrow, the God of what we’re gonna do.  No, our God is the God of the here and the now as well. He wants to use us now, even if we’re not at His final or largest destination for us.  Just as mission trips and summer camps aren’t the only places God works in our hearts, our passion and our purpose aren’t the only places and times He uses us.

God can use you in the hard times.  Those tough struggles that you wonder if they are even making a difference.  That friend that keeps on calling you. That sibling that won’t stop following you.  The person that won’t stop asking for just a little more help, “ Just this one last time.”  God can even use the dull times. Those times in your life when life just drones on, and you feel like you’ll never get to do anything extraordinary again.  You’ve just got back from a life-changing mission trip, ready to change the world, only to find that you’ve fallen into your same old routine. Not an opportunity to do anything challenging or out of the ordinary has passed you by for weeks.  “ Am I even making a difference?” “ God, you told me I was going to change the world, but I’m just doing the same old thing over and over again.”

I’ve felt like that.  I still feel like that some days.  However, God, in his infinite wisdom, reminds me that this is where He wants me.  I once read this quote from the famed C.S. Lewis, and it has stuck to me to this day:

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” // Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

Satan doesn’t want us to be used by God in great ways.  He doesn’t even want us to be used by God in small ways.  So, right after our great, mountaintop, crystal clear clarity moments, he likes to test us.  He blocks our ears and our eyes so that we can neither see nor hear what God is doing around us, and we begin to think.  We begin to think that maybe it wasn’t real. God really didn’t change us after all. After all, it’s only been a week and we’re back again, back to doing the same thing, making no difference at all.  

It’s a lie, every word.  God doesn’t just use us in the big and flashy times, or those times where we’re actually building a house, fixing a car, or holding a little baby.  He uses us in the tedious, day-to-day aspects of our lives, and it can be hard. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather the times where I’m up on stage, preaching to a community.  I would much rather the times where I’m in Haiti, serving the sick and feeding the hungry. But God wants us to follow Him even when all we’re doing is talking to a kid at school, smiling at the cashier, or doing your sibling’s chores.  And if we do that, there is nothing more dangerous.

Thanks to Darrel Current for writing this awesome post! You all should go check out his great blog, Nation Reversed, here.


About the author:

Darrel is a Christian homeschooler who loves to write and inspire others.  He enjoys anything to do with the outdoors, including cycling, camping, and hiking.  When he is older, he wants to be a missionary, but until then, he’ll continue ministering through his blog and various other methods of outreach.  You can check out his blog at http://nationreversed.com/

 

// 5 Ways to Use Social Media for the Glory of God //

I did a little experiment recently. I went and browsed a few of my Facebook friends profiles, not to stalk them, but to see if I could tell they were a Christians by what they posted on Facebook.

The results were sad, but they didn’t really surprise me. Most of my friends maybe posted about something church related, which would indicate to a non-believer that they were “religious”. They maybe posted about going to a Christian camp or had in their bio that they attended a Christian school. Other than those subtle things, there really were no solid indications that they were Christ followers.

Now, I know these people in person, so I know they’re dedicated followers of Christ. However, if you knew them only through their online presence it would be difficult if not impossible to tell that they were Christians.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of social media, mainly because people are playing charades with their online profile. They post about the good stuff, they post all the smiles, the laughs, the good times, the fun times. The thing is, they post about the good stuff even on their worst days. If you follow someone on Instagram only, you probably think that person has a perfect life.

The problem is this, the majority of people use social media as a Facade. They cover up their broken lives with selfies. They hide their bad days with cute pictures that make you laugh.

The problem with social media is that we oftentimes lead others to believe and deceive ourselves that we’re complete in ourselves and in no need of our savior Christ.

I’m not bashing social media, I’m not saying it’s all bad and that everyone who uses social media is like this. Social media can be used for good, it can be used to shine the light of Christ into the lives of your friends. Even if it means people think you’re weird for writing captions about Jesus.

Here are five ways you can use social media for God’s glory.

  • 1 // Be honest and real

We’re all broken, flawed, and imperfect people. None of us are perfect. Stop stressing over posting a perfect selfie, stop wasting your time trying to come up with a witty caption that will make people laugh.
Be real. Be honest. Tell people of your need for Jesus. Because you’re lying and not being honest when you lead others to believe that you have it all together. So tell people when you have a bad day but remind them of the hope you have in Christ. I’m not telling you to go write a dramatic post about how awful your day has been. Because, of course, being over dramatic is not honest, so be open, be real, but don’t be grasping at straws for attention or dumping all your feelings onto the internet.

  • 2 // Post Scripture and share your thoughts about it

As a follower of God, it’s great to post Scripture on your Social media, write your thoughts about a particular verse and post with whatever selfie or picture you would’ve normally posted.

I’m not saying you need to craft an amazing devotional, I’m just saying you should share a Bible verse and write how God has used that verse in your life. Remind people of the hope you have in Christ and most of all point others to the glory of God.

  • 3 // Write a post about Jesus and what He has done in your life

With social media, it can be way too easy at times to be swept away by all the selfies and posts of people having fun and doing crazy things. It can be easy to get distracted from the many things Christ has done for you.

He died on the cross to save you from your sins. He has given you eternal life. He’s a giver and He blesses us with so many great things, why not tell the whole world?

  • 4 // Don’t just like and comment on the “cool” kid’s pictures

One of the saddest things that happens on Social Media, is that many young people are left feeling alone, unwanted, and worthless. Nobody should feel that way. Do your part to reach out to those who maybe aren’t as popular. Send them an encouraging note, even if doing so pulls you out of your comfort zone. You would be surprised how much of an impact you can make in someone’s life, simply by telling them about Jesus, and pointing to the hope they can find in Him.

  • 5 // Ask your friends how you can pray for them

If you don’t have a habit of praying everyday, it’s really important that you start one. Before you start, you can just go online and ask your friends how you can pray for them.

Here’s a really practical idea, you could group up with a few of your friends and start a prayer messaging group online where you share prayer requests for each other and hold one another accountable to pray everyday.

Conclusion

I challenge those of you who are reading this to take one or two of my ideas and do them.

Write a post sharing the real you, flawed in so many ways but saved by God’s amazing grace.

Post a Bible verse and share your thoughts about it.

Write a whole post about Jesus and all the amazing things He has done for you.

Go out of your comfort zone and send an encouraging message about the hope Jesus offers to someone who may not be the most likeable, or who doesn’t have many friends.

Message a few of your friends and ask them if they want to start a prayer group. Start praying for each other everyday, pray for others you know who are hurting.

Social media can be used as an amazing tool to influence others for Christ, or it can be used by Satan to tempt and to deceive. It’s up to you how you choose to use it. //

Today’s post was by Zachary from zacharypierpont.com. Go check out his blog! It’s very encouraging and Bible based! We did a guest post swap & you can check out the post I did for him here!


About the author:

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Zachary is a 17 year old blogger with a passion for Christ. His blog is all about Christian living, mostly directed toward young people. His desire is to encourage and strengthen those who read his writing to chase with all their heart the mind-blowing wonder of Christ. He loves spending time with friends and family, playing drums and guitar, writing, and enjoying God’s beautiful creation in Northern Michigan where he lives. You can find him on his blog, http://zacharypierpont.com

// Complaining – How it Will Ruin You //

Complaining. It’s something we do a lot, but probably not something we want to talk about, or admit to. But, nevertheless, it’s an important topic- one that’s been on my heart lately, and something that consumed a lot of my thoughts last year.

As Christians, we’re supposed to have the joy of the Lord, right? We should literally be the happiest people on earth. But I think we can all agree that, sometimes, it’s really hard to live like that. After all, life is hard! It’s tough, we stumble, we get knocked to the ground, people let us down, and things don’t go the way we planned.

I, specifically, had a lot going on in my church last year (and it still hasn’t been completely resolved, but I’m trying to face it with a new attitude). It resulted in a lot of complaining.

It got to the point where it wasn’t just me complaining, but my family was on board, and so was another family in our church. And you know what thought struck me out of the blue one day? I caught myself thinking negatively- not unordinary, because sadly, I’d become accustomed to it- and this thought came to my mind: “Do you not have anything to be joyful about? It doesn’t seem like it. Are you really that discontent?”

Ouch. *clears throat* Conviction. That thought had to have come from God, you guys. And it just struck me. Was I so far down in the dumps that I couldn’t think of a single, good thing? I couldn’t think of one reason to be joyful?

Friends, here’s what you need to know about complaining:

  • Complaining robs us of our joy. When we complain, we’re letting our minds focus on the bad. We’re letting our thought patterns drift to everything that’s wrong with our lives. Allowing complaining to invade our lives replaces joy with thoughts of discontentment, hurt, and even anger.
  • Complaining hurts our witness. One of the best ways we can show our love and commitment to Christ is through the way we live. Our love for others, giving our best efforts, being joyful. People can see something is different when we’re living a life overflowing with joy because of Christ. But if all the complaining has smothered that joy, what kind of a witness do we have? What kind of an example are we setting for the lost?
  • Complaining affects those around us. Just as complaining can steal our own joy, it can just as easily rob others of their joy. Nobody wants to hang around someone who is constantly stating everything wrong with their life. In my case, I shared the same complaints with a close friend, and we were both sucked into the pit this way. You’re hurting other people by complaining.

Complaining is wrong. The Bible actually commands us not to complain, but rather, to rejoice. Here are a few passages from God’s word about complaining:

Philippians 2:14 // Do all things without complaining and disputing,

James 5:9a // Do not grumble against one another…

Ephesians 4:29 // Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Even in the midst of hardship and trouble, we have so much to be thankful for, so many reasons to have joy! Our Father, the God of this universe, sent His only Son as a lowly baby, to die on a cross, so that we wouldn’t have to be separated from God, and we could live with Him for all eternity. Jesus was literally separated from the Father for us. I was at a youth conference recently, and our speaker said something I thought was really cool. Jesus prayed to God “let this cup pass from me.” He cried out “Why have you forsaken me?” My speaker said this: God said no to Jesus so that He could say yes to us. That right there is reason enough for us to have joy! We can’t allow complaining to steal it from us.

Philippians 4:4 // Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

1 Thessalonians 5:16 // Rejoice always.

So, we’ve established that complaining ruins our lives and the lives of others. We understand that we’re commanded not to complain. But how exactly do we stop complaining? Well, here are a few practical ways:

  • Trust in the Lord. Ultimately, when we’re complaining, we’re not giving our problems to God. We’re not trusting Him to take care of them, but rather, we’re choosing to dwell on them. We have to lay our complaints down at His feet and say, “Lord, I’m trusting you with this. Do with it what you will.” Proverbs 16:20 says, “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.” Trust God with whatever that thing is that you’re complaining about. A family situation, a problem you’re facing, something you’re worried about- whatever it is! Trust Him.
  • Consider it joy. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” You know what, we weren’t promised an easy life! We weren’t even promised a safe life. But God’s word says to count it joy when we face trials. Rather than complain about them, look for ways to grow from them; search for what God is trying to teach you. Everything happens for a reason, and I don’t believe that God lets us go through trials without a reason behind them. Consider it joy!
  • Focus on God, and what He has done. “You have put joy in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.” Psalm 4:7 I’m sure everyone can agree with me when I say this: God has done so much for us. So much. Just like complaining forces you to focus on negative thoughts, taking a moment to count your blessing and remind yourself of all God has done for you can bring us joyful thoughts. He has put joy in our hearts! I don’t believe for one second that it glorifies God when we sit around and complain or grumble. Focus on what He has done for you! Your focus will determine your thought pattern, so what are you going to choose to focus on?
  • Choose an accountability partner. So, that same friend that I would complain about things with? Well, we decided that, anytime either of us started to complain, tell the other to zip their lips. This is just something I’ve found helps. Yes, we’re still human, and no, we don’t always succeed with this, but I think it’s a good idea to have someone to give you a reminder when you do start complaining.

I would encourage you to take some time today and really think about what’s caused complaining in your life. Ask yourself, what’s been stealing my joy & what course of action am I going to take to stop it?

Let’s Talk! What’s been stealing your joy? What are you going to do to stop it? Is there any way I can pray for you?

Today’s post was by Riley Rawls! Thank you so much Riley for writing this encouraging and challenging post! You all should go check out her awesome blog!


About the author:

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Riley Rawls is the author of Daisy: The Homeschool Kids, her debut novella. She has been writing for three years, and plans to release more in the series in upcoming years. The 16-year-old, Christian author’s main goal in her writing is to make an impact in people’s lives and glorify God through it. She has been homeschooled for most of her life, and juggles writing meaningful stories, playing her beloved instruments, keeping up with her studies, reading dystopian novels, and playing basketball. She’s a Star Wars fanatic, a fan of Casting Crowns, and a lover of all things blue.

Photo credit: Stock Snap (edit by me)

// Undone //

When you cried out from the garden, let Your will be done, not mine. When You took the weight of my mistakes, so I don’t have to fight ’em. Now I let the sun rise on every scar and every sign, of when You took this bruised and dying soul and breathed it back to life.”

⁃ Kim Walker-Smith, Undone

We were all someone before Christ came into our lives, and we have scars from that time. Let me tell you something, scars are beautiful. They prove the struggle you had to go through to get to where you are now. They may not be necessarily physical scars, but rather spiritual scars.

I was reading in Luke chapter eight where Jairus, a synagogue leader, fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to heal his dying daughter. I had read this story before, but it was always Jairus who stuck out to me. But, this time, God had other plans. This time, it was the daughter that stuck out to me.

You see, people were saying she was already dead and they were mourning for her. But Jesus told them to stop wailing and mourning because she was merely asleep. Of course, they all laughed at Him. But, Jesus went to her, took her by the hand and said: “My child, get up!” (Luke 8:54)

This reminds me so much of what Jesus does when we decide we need Him as our Savior. How cool is that?

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:4-5 that:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

This particular part of Kim’s song always gets me. Jesus, the most righteous, holy, and perfect person, died a sinners death for YOU and for ME. It’s so beautiful. And NOW, we can walk in freedom, in peace, in joy, in love, etc. ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS. One Man’s sacrifice can mean eternal salvation for you. It’s so, so beautiful. Choose Him today.

This post was by Gabby Oakley! Thanks so much Gabby for writing this inspiring post! We did a guest post swap, and you an check out the post I did for her blog here.


About the author:

Gabby Oakley is a teenager who seeks to equip and empower other young women with the Word of God. She currently lives at home with her family and adorable puppy, Hudson. She loves writing, speaking, music, and having fun with her family. Check her out on social media or contact her at girlsoffaith@hotmail.com

You can check out blog, Girls of Faith here!!!

{ The Beauty Secret }

Today’s post is by Boluwatife Adaja from Nigeria! I hope her words inspire you today! 🙂

As Christians, we should be able to know what beauty means. The word of God can direct us to what beauty means.
The Bible says in the book of psalms 139:14, ‘I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are your works; and that my souls knows right well. The key words used are fearfully and wonderfully. When the bible says that we are fearfully made, it doesn’t mean God was scared while creating us, it means we were made honourably, respectfully, with veneration. The bible says we are wonderful creatures, this means we are special, we are unique.

You might have been tagged as ‘ugly’ in school, among your friends, at home and even in church but remember what the bible says about you. If you have been called names like flat n0se, big head, shapeless, bad figure, e.t.c, just remember what the bible says in genesis 1:27, we are made in God’s image and likeness. Never compare yourself to anyone, and any time you feel less than beautiful, remember God’s words and feel like heavens’ beauty queen or king. You don’t need to decorate yourself with makeup or undergo a facial surgery to feel beautiful, you are amazingly and exceptionally beautiful.

The reason most people don’t always feel beautiful is because they wait for other people to tell them that they are beautiful. Your beauty should not depend on people’s opinion. You are a prince and you are a princess, royalty is in your blood. The bible even says that you are a royal priesthood. 

In 1 samuel 16:7, the Bible says, ‘do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have refused him: for the lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the lord looks on the heart. God expects us not to focus on outer beauty (because that is already settled) we are supposed to work on or inner beauty. God is not bothered about the size of your head or the colour of your lips because he knows he made them well. God is concerned with what you do with your mind, he wants to know how you’ve adorned your inner self, how you’ve made your inner self beautiful. So, it is high time you stopped over thinking of what to wear or crying over the colour of your eye or stressing over your body figure or spending time decorating your face just to meet up to the standards of the world(matthew6:28-33). Decorate your inner self by filling it with the word of God, read the bible daily. Get to a level where you’ll be able to say ‘I can’t go a day without reading my bible’. Beautify your inner self by thinking of things that are true, right, noble, pure, lovely, excellent and praiseworthy (philippians4:8). We should not be full of hypocrisy and wickedness on the inside(matthew23:23).

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight(1peter3:3-4).

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you (songs of solomon4:7) God made you perfectly, so be happy and thank him.

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My name is Boluwatife Adaja, I’m a Nigerian. I’m a teenager that has decided to live for Jesus. I love Christ and am ready to do anything he wants.