You have hope and a future

My teenage daughter has a picture on her wall about Jeremiah 29:11,which says

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord  thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope

backlit beach christian dawn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read too regularly about young people who feel they have no hope in this life – so much so that they take their own life. The other day I learnt on BBC News that dark, gloomy messages glorifying self-harm and suicide are easily available on Instagram and once a person has clicked on one it creates an algorithm so the person is bombarded with more of the same messages.

How about we bombard our friends and those on our social media feeds with the powerful Word of God?

You have a hope and a future. Jesus died on the cross and took all His sin upon Himself so you could have a hope and a future – in this life and in Eternity.

You are significant. If you were the only person on the Earth God would still have sent His Son, Jesus, to die for you.

You are created in the image of God and are dearly loved.

No amount of heartache, financial difficulty, loss of friendships, abusive relationships etc. can destroy you if you listen to the One who created you, who has a purpose for you and a plan only you can fulfill.

Jesus experienced rejection – He understands. But He wants to comfort you and help you.

Please, please don’t deprive the world of your presence, your life, your contribution.

You are worth more than that.

 

Be kind

Too many times I have watched grieving parents talking on TV about how their beloved children had been the targets of cyber bullying and had decided to commit suicide. This is heartbreaking. So today I want to remind all of you out there (and myself) to be kind.

In Proverbs 12:25 it says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up”

Proverbs 11:16-17 says, “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

The definition of kindness in the Oxford Living Dictionary is “The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” It can also be used as a noun to mean “a kind act”.

Synonyms for kindness are ” affection, consideration, cordiality, courtesy, decency, forbearance, gentleness, good will, goodness, grace, graciousness, heart, helpfulness, humanity, indulgence, mildness, sweetness, sympathy, tenderness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, understanding, unselfishness.”

Antonyms for “kindness” are ” cruelty, harshness, meanness.” (all from Thesaurus.com)

Words are vitally important. They have the power to kill or to bring life. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Words can really hurt someone, conversely they can encourage someone too.

When I speak about words, I am also speaking about the written word on social media. I watched a clip today from the “This Morning” programme where a grieving mother was saying that her daughter had been bombarded with cruel messages , even in the middle of the night. It seemed there was no let up and no way to escape this cruelty. The last message recorded on her phone was, “Why don’t you hang yourself.”. The next day this teenager committed suicide.

Dear friends and readers, can I just urge you today to be kind to others. It doesn’t cost anything to have a kind word to say about someone. If you know of someone who is a victim of cruelty, stand with them and encourage them. If you see someone being excluded try and include them in your group. Be careful what you are writing about others on social media. Would you say that to their face? If you couldn’t, maybe it’s not something you should be writing at all. The Bible says you will give account of every word that you speak.

There is no profit at all in being mean to another human being – it hurts them and it dirties your own soul.

Be kind always.

A New Name

Names are very important. In Old Testament times a name expressed the essence or identity of a person. Isaac’s name means “he laughs”, describing the response of his mother Sarah when God told her she would give birth in her old age; Moses’ name is from the Hebrew meaning “to draw out” after he was pulled out from the River Nile; Jesus (meaning saviour)  was so-named because He would save the people from their sins.

My name means “a song of joy”.

There are many instances in the Word of God where God changed a person’s name to reflect a new status. For example, Jacob became Israel; Saul became Paul; Abram became Abraham.

Revelation 2:17 says, ” To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it”

Isaiah 62:2 says ,”You will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”

We will all receive a new name in glory, a token of what the Lord sees in us.

To some of us, our present name might be horrendous or we may have had nicknames linked to our name which made us feel bad. You may have had a label put on you by other people or had things spoken over you. You might even have thought these things about yourself. For example:

“You’ll never make it”

“Too old”

“A foreigner”

“Stupid”

“Ugly”

“Swot”

“A failure”

“Rejected”

“Fat”

“No mates”

We cannot internalise these names.

The only label you have to live up to is the label that God has put on you:-

“Child of God!”

“Victor!”

“Redeemed!”

“Not forsaken”

“My delight is in you!”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

“Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”

“Beautiful”

“My child”

“Brave”

“Honourable”

“Noble”

I believe our new name in Heaven will be a constant delight to us and it will be a token of our acceptance with the Father. It will be known only between us and Him. Perhaps it will reflect some very personal and deep things that God has done in our life. It will reveal our character.

In Hannah Hurnard’s book, “Mountains of Spices” Pride and Superiority became Meekness and Lowliness-of-Heart; Much Afraid became Grace and Glory; Umbrage became Bearing-with-Love or Forgiveness; Tit-for-Tat became Acceptance with Joy; Spiteful became Compassionate and Craven Fear became Fearless Witness.

Often God takes our biggest weakness and makes that a glorious strength in our lives.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”