enough


All of You is more than enough

For all of me, for every thirst and every need

You satisfy me with Your love and all I have in You

Is more than enough.

(Enough, Chris Tomlin)

 

Have you ever tried to survive by just drinking water?  You can have as much water as you want, but you can only have water.  Nothing else—no food or other drinks.  Just water.  Or have you tried to survive by living off of only one specific food?  Like only bread, or only rice?  Probably not, unless you’re doing a 30-hour famine.  We know that it’s nearly impossible to eat or drink only one thing and be healthy.  The human body needs a variety of nutrients in order to be healthy.

The same is true for our souls.  Have you been trying to live off of only one aspect of God?  Maybe you’ve only accepted the part of God that forgives.  Maybe you only accept God if you forget about the side of Him that says to honor Him in everything you do—not just Sundays and youth group.  Or maybe you are okay with God in everything except loving your enemies.

But the truth is that we need all of God to be spiritually healthy.  True, some things about God don’t look appealing at first glance; such as we need to actively serve Him otherwise we aren’t truly following Him.  Or that we need to have faith when everything is falling apart and God seems to be nowhere close because He is faithful even when we can’t see Him.  Or those who are “good people” but haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour won’t receive the eternal reward.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

(2 Corinthians 12:9a)

God says that His grace is sufficient for us.  It’s enough for us to live our spiritual lives off of.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

(Romans 3:23 – 24)

We are all justified by the grace of God.  We are made whole through Him.  If we accept all of God, He will accept all of us, just as we are.  It’s not enough to just accept a part of God.  It’s all or nothing:

 I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

(Revelation 3:15 – 16)

God requires the whole of us and He requires that we put our faith in all of Him, not just the areas that suit our needs.  He is enough for us.  Is that true in your life?

real missions


What is the point of missions? To help others as Christ commanded, yes. To bring others to Christ by showing his love to others, yes. But while we as teenagers go to school and part-time jobs knowing that we don’t have the power to end world poverty all at once, we forget something very important: our mission field.

Helping the impoverished living overseas is very important, and as teenagers we have many opportunities to do so — Operation Christmas Child, as an example. Countless foundations to contribute to, such as Compassion and Gospel for Asia. Youth missions trips all over the world. It’s important to be Christ’s light to the world and to go to “all nations” sharing God’s love for us.

But too often, we define “missions” solely as assisting the impoverished in second- and third-world countries, or even those on the streets of Toronto. And that is missions. But while offering financial assistance is important, it’s not as important as sharing the gospel of Christ. Unfortunately, not everyone will have the opportunity to travel overseas contributing to building or financial projects. But too often we stop there. We know we aren’t able to go abroad, so we give as much as we can from home, helping these foundations to further their causes.

And that’s great. We should all give to others selflessly. Christ, in fact, commands us to do so. But I’m talking about our mission field. The mission field that seems especially reserved for us as teenagers and that we encounter every day: school. Part-time jobs. Sports and other extra-curricular activities. There are so many different opportunities for us to witness to others.

I’m sure you’ve been told that before: “Witness to others!” But that’s an intimidating word to hear. Most of us mildly freak out when our youth pastor tells us to “witness” to all of our friends (or non-friends). Some of us just brush it off as a non-option. Or we do both:

Witness?! I’m not going to whip out a bible at lunch tomorrow and start telling my friends they’re going to hell unless they repent of sins they don’t even know that they have! No…I would definitely be bullied…and God wouldn’t want that, so…they’ll just see how nice I am, wonder why I’m so nice, and ask to come to youth group! That’s one problem solved.

It seems a little weird, but a lot of the time, that’s how we think whether we realized it or not. Witnessing is a scary thing, especially in a world that is so secularism-oriented. And with a lot of people not even remotely interested in a saving grace, it is incredibly difficult to witness to others.

As someone once said, “Preach the gospel always — and if necessary, use words.” This is a good reminder that “witnessing” doesn’t mean preaching to your friends at every turn. Actions really do speak louder than words. You may be the only Bible your friends ever see.

So how, exactly, do we go about this “silent witnessing”? I mean, be good, yes — but specifically, what should we do? Romans 12:9 – 21 gives a detailed list of “Marks of the True Christian”:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is a wonderful passage to turn to whenever we don’t know how to react to a situation. I have turned to it many times because it’s kind of like a Christian basic behavior 101.

My point is that most people see how you act or react to something first. And a lot of the time, people say one thing then do another. It seems that a person’s word isn’t of much worth any more; most people will be impressed by your actions way before they’ll be impressed by your words.

I want to challenge you to focus on being Christ to everyone you meet — not talking about Christ. If the opportunity arises for you to share your faith, by all means do so! But let your focus be on being a Christian, not persuading others to become a Christian. Trust me; people do notice.

abortion: how should Christians react?


Abortion is a huge issue in our Canadian society today. It’s easy to get an abortion. Of course, as Christians, we believe taking the life of an unborn child is wrong in God’s (and our) eyes. As Christians, how should we react?

Recently, MP Stephen Woodworth brought forth a motion before the House of Commons asking that Parliament take another look at when an unborn child is declared a human. An article was written referring to this and the issue of abortion and how Christians should respond to it.

Go here to read it. It’s written by a young Christian adult, and you should read it. 🙂

…and if you have time (33:03 minutes, to be exact), check out this video of people changing their minds about abortion in minutes! (please be aware of the fact that it may not be appropriate for younger viewers.)

because you are young [love]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

So far, we’ve talked about being examples to other believers in speech and life; now for the next one…love.

Why do we need love?

How do we love others?

How do we know we are loving others?

Why?

Why do we need to love others? What’s the point of loving others if you don’t really like them? Why put the effort into loving others?

 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

(John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:8)

We are commanded to love each other by God because love covers over sins. Love can overcome all kinds of evil. So why love each other? Well, most importantly, because God commands us to. If we are true disciples of Christ, we will want to obey Him. And second, because love covers most sins and therefore is the main way that we witness to others. Also, as Paul said:

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do nothavelove, I am nothing.

(1 Corinthians 13:2)

How?

The definition of love is found in the famous “love chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Love is sacrificing, unselfishness, patience, kindness. The qualities of love are pretty much listed in this passage.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

(Romans 12:9)

Love means nothing if it’s not sincere. Pretending to like someone or always agreeing with them is not love. To exhibit the love of Christ, we must be sincere in our love for others. You don’t need to like someone to love them with God’s love. Just because Jesus didn’t like the Pharisees doesn’t mean He didn’t die for them too. God’s love goes above man’s behavior.

How do we know?

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

(1 John 5:2)

So how do we know that we are loving others? The easiest (and perhaps most accurate) way of “checking” this is to compare ourselves to God’s love. Was Jesus hypocritical? Was He rude? Selfish? The answer to all of these is, of course, no. We need to be as close to Christ’s example as possible to be living examples of Him to the world. Another way of gauging our example of love is to check out 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 — the characteristics of love.

Of course, none of this is possible without God’s help. Lean on Him and trust Him to help you show His love to everyone.

Following God’s commands proves that you love God and others.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.””

(Matthew 22:37 – 40)

because you are young [life]


Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

We are called to live a life so as to be an example to other believers. But what does that mean, exactly? Actions, serving others and glorifying God in everything we do are all ways that we can show Christ in our lives.

A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.

(Proverbs 19:3)

Actions

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

(James 2:17)

 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

(Titus 1:16)

These two verses make it very clear that faith without works is not really faith at all. The second verse from Titus is speaking about unbelievers; if we do not act to show our faith in God, we are denying Christ and are not being God’s light to the world.

Serving

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

(Colossians 3:23 – 24)

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

(Luke 22:27)

Serving is an important aspect in the Christian lifestyle because it’s the ultimate showing of Christ’s love to others. God showed his love for us when he served us and, ultimately, when he sent his Son to die for us. We are called to witness to others by serving with humility.

Glorifying God

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Peter 4:11)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

(Ecclesiastes 9:10)

…so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Romans 15:6)

Finally, and most importantly, glorifying God in everything we do is key to living an exemplary life. Glorifying God includes giving God the glory in our accomplishments, making choices that will point to him in everything we do, and making him the center of our lives. Putting him at the center of our lives allows everything else to fall into place.

However, this isn’t easy — putting God first. It’s a constant battle, a fight to push other things aside and let God into the middle. Even though it’s difficult, God will give us strength to do his will: glorifying him and showing Christ’s love to everyone.

with one purpose


Well, I’m back. I last posted in May of this year, and I needed a break to finish the school year by getting through exams…and I also needed to get my focus back for blogging. I read a magazine article challenging why people blog, and I realized that I needed to fix a few things. The article I read “sorted” bloggers into different categories — bloggers who want to be someone they’re not, or who want to be “preachers” to others (when they may not have the wisdom, experience or ability to do so), etc. So I decided to take a break and maybe revisit blogging in a while — or maybe not.

So here I am. When I started my blog, it was to be a light for Christ in the blogging-and-cyberspace world. I started to get away from that and was posting about personal goings-on, such as school, good movies to see, books to read, etc. None of that is wrong! But that’s not why I originally started blogging, and I wanted to stick to my original focus: serving Christ.

That being said, I also started to post “devotionals” or “sermons” — whatever you want to call them — teaching people how to live their lives for God. And I really have no expertise in that area. Rather than teach, I want to challenge; make people think. I don’t want to choose an issue and pick it apart, because I have no authority to do so; nor should I pretend to have that authority.

I’ve come to realize that now, and I have decided to tentatively start blogging again, but for one reason only: to be a light for Christ, encourage, and challenge other youth in the world. I give all the glory to God right now, and in blogging, the focus will be kept on Him and Him alone.