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

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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.

 

Shattering the stony heart

In Church two weeks ago and today I felt that God said He was shattering the stony heart. I felt that some people’s hearts are so hard – because of previous hurts, disappointments etc. that there was a layer of concrete around their heart. But God has started chipping away and He is going to shatter it and replace it with a heart of flesh

Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Maybe you only have some residual hardness or to the other extreme maybe your heart feels like concrete right now – Jesus wants to transform your heart so it is soft and pliable and responsive to Him.

He will never let you down like people may do. Let Him do that work in your life – you will not regret it.

gray and beige heart shaped corral collection

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Cast all your cares on the One who cares for you

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

In 1985 I attended the Billy Graham crusade in Sheffield, England, with the youth group of my Church . There, I recommitted my life to Jesus. I was given a sheet with some important Bible verses to learn and this verse was one of them.

One definition of “to cast” is ” to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction.” eg. a fisherman casts his fishing line into the river or a boy casts stones into the water.

God cares about you and nothing that worries you is too insignificant to Him. God can handle any anxiety you have and here you are invited to give everything that is worrying you to Him – in fact, throw it on Him, He will catch it!  He already knows what you are going through but He’s waiting for you to talk to Him.

You were not created to shoulder all your burdens by yourself – give them to God. Let Him handle them.

I can’t count the amount of times that I have given my concerns to God in prayer and He has answered. But more than that, as soon as I have unburdened myself I feel peace. I am confident that God has heard me and He is undertaking on my behalf. People say, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” When you know that Almighty God has the problem in His hands you can relax. You are in safe hands. Turn your cares into prayers.

Philippians 4:6,7 says, ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Are you feeling anxious today? Are you worried about the future? Are you sick? Do you have financial problems or relationship problems? Are you feeling suicidal? Are you feeling upset? Cast your care upon Jesus. He loves you so much and wants to help you. Exchange your cares for His peace.

The Shade of God

Isaiah 25:4 says, “For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”

When the sun is overpowering, oppressive and beating down it’s nice to be in the shade – it’s cool, refreshing and protective. It’s the safest place to be in the heat of the day.

“I am shading you”, says the Lord. “You won’t be overwhelmed, I have caused my shade to spring up.”

Let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah had just finished reluctantly preaching to the great city of Ninevah. First he had run away from the calling of God, ended up being swallowed by a great fish (a whale) and then was spat out onto dry land. Eventually he decided to follow God’s command and the people of Ninevah, having never had a preacher like this at all before and no doubt astonished by someone probably bleached white in appearance by the gastric juices of the whale, all repented.

Amazing! Yet Jonah was not very happy. He knew this would happen! He was obviously the most reluctant preacher ever. Most preachers would be happy that the whole town repented – not Jonah! He went into a massive sulk! (Another example of how God uses even the weakest of us to accomplish His purposes) So Jonah went out of the city and he made himself a shelter so he could sit and wait and see what would become of the city.

God, in His mercy, provided Jonah with a plant that would provide a shade for Jonah. Jonah was very grateful for this plant.Even in his impetuousness and anger God was there to provide for His needs. How good God is! How kind of Him to look after us even on days when we are not all we should be. He is a faithful God. Jonah was a fallible human, very prone to change and very moody, but God still used him and took care of him.

In 1 Kings 19:4-18 Elijah had had a mighty victory , having executed all of the prophets of Baal. Now he was running for his life and was extremely depressed and discouraged. He wanted God to take his life. But God hadn’t finished with him yet! An angel provided some food for him. The angel said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you”. Then, in the strength of that food he was able to travel forty days and forty nights.

God knows what we need and when we need it.

Maybe you have got so fed up of the things that have happened to you that you have asked God to take your life. Yet God has not done that. Instead He has prepared a shelter for you, a little comfort and encouragement. It might be all you’ll get for another forty days, but in the strength of God’s Word take heart that He has not finished with you yet. If He was, He would take your life. We don’t get to tell God when our purpose on earth is finished. Maybe you feel you have really messed up (and maybe you have) but God is merciful. He can turn a mess into a message. He can turn a trial into a testimony.

God sees your trial and He has prepared a shade for you. You are not facing an onslaught by yourself – you are shaded from the heat by Almighty God. If God is on your side, who can be against you.