Are You Confident?

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Sorry about missing last Friday’s post! I will say that this time it wasn’t my own laziness or procrastinator-ness (That’s a word, right?). It was because power went out on the WHOLE island of Puerto Rico. There was an explosion at the power plant and then everyone’s power went out. That happened Wednesday afternoon. We didn’t get power until Friday morning. Then it cut out for like four hours in the afternoon until it finally came on for good. Though because of what’s happened, I’ve heard reports that Puerto Rico will have random blackouts for the next THREE months. So, yeah, I didn’t skip a post purposely.

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To Christian Teens: Having a Positive Attitude 

To Christian Teens_Sometimes I get frustrated (well, maybe more than sometimes). I get mad (quite easily, by the way). I get moody. Sometimes it feels like nothing can ever go right, especially after one thing after another goes wrong. I break down and cry. I give up. Sometimes it is over the simplest of things that I just lose it. Things like schoolwork, baking something that turns out wrong, or maybe just life. Those are the times I just want to stomp around, slam doors or cabinets, and say nothing at all.

Then I’ll remember stories about missionaries who went through torture with joy. Men and women and even children who were fed to lions while praying. People who never gave up. People who were burned at the stake singing. I mean, can you even imagine? Many of these people would have only had to say, “I don’t believe in Jesus.” and they would have been given relief. They would have been free from the punishment of Man, but not the judgement of God.

Then there are the stories from the Bible.

Acts 7:59-60‬

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

Stephen asked God to forgive the people who were killing him.

Acts 16:25

Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.

These men were singing while in jail. They didn’t know when they were going to die. It could’ve been the next day. They didn’t know if God was going to save them, but they trusted Him anyways.

All these people went through so much. And here I am freaking out over schoolwork or whatever.

Am I the only one who does this? I think not. I know at sometimes it does feel like I’m the only one or you’re the only one and everyone else has their life all tidy and put together.

But that is not true.

All of us have problems. We can never really have a perfect life. No one can. I know we like to think that we can, but it’s truly impossible in a sinful world.

“So are you suggesting tha I should give up?” You might be asking. Well, I’m not. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t strive for the impossible when we already have all that could fulfill us.

Jesus is all we’ll ever need.

How do we get this fulfillment, this peace, this joy from Christ? I think one of the ways we get this fulfillment is by putting a positive spin on things. If we have a positive attitude, don’t you we can have a more enjoyable life?

Well this is exactly what the book Philippians discusses and it all can be encompassed in this one verse:

Philippians 1:21

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.

Isn’t that a positive way at looking at things? To live is Christ. To die is better. With an attitude like that, it wouldn’t really matter what happens to you. We could have joy whether we’re suffering or living in luxury.

Philippians 1:29-30

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.

It would be a honor to suffer for Him.

So let’s try to mimic that kind of attitude. Let’s look for the good in life (because there is good in life) even when it seems like all we are surrounded by is failures, frustrations, and shortcomings. There is hope.

There is a purpose for everything we go through. Even when we can’t see it.

I hope that I made it clear that I’m not trying to belittle your struggles and burdens. God allows each of us a fair share of hardships, but He will never give you more than you can bear with Christ in you. He knows your limits (it’s not like we’re all going to get the chance to be stoned or burned at the stake).

Jesus gave his life for us. Let’s live for him.

-G. Paige
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What Does It Mean to Follow Christ?

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Yesterday I was just thinking about different stuff I could discuss in my blog post for today when a question popped into my mind (I know, it just does that sometimes). What does it mean to follow Christ? The more I thought about it, the more I thought of how deep a question it is. I mean, how can we be Christians if we’re not totally sure what being a Christian actually means? It is a needed discussion for many people and can definitely help all of us reassert our beliefs and make sure we’re pointed in the right direction.

I can’t say that I’ll do this question justice, but I’ll do my best to show what following Christ means.

Matthew‬ ‭16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

So what does it mean to take up his cross and follow him? It means a lot of things. But I think all of it fits under placing God first in your life and getting rid of all the idols that were in His place. I’m not talking about the wood or stone or gold statues that people worshiped thousands of years ago (Though there are still people who worship those, so it’s included.), but I’m talking of the more popular idols of today which can mean money, fame, alcohol, TV, movies, and even books. It could be anything. Just whatever makes you push away time you should be spending on God.

I don’t think that you necessarily have to get rid of your idols. You need money for food and clothing and all the other necessities. Also, we’re meant to enjoy this life God gave us. But you can’t let any of these material things take the place of God. That’s when it becomes an idol.

Then it follows that you believe (Or maybe a better word would be trust.) Him. If you trust in Him, you’ll want to follow His will. Notice how I said you’ll want to follow Him. I didn’t say that you’ll be forced into it. You’ll want to, out of your love and trust in Him. It will fill you with joy to please Him.

What coincides with following His will? Let’s start with this.
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Mark 12:29-31

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

These are vital commandments to our faith. If we don’t love God, why would we want to follow Him?

Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

When we love our neighbors as ourselves, how could it not produce this kind of “fruit” in our lives?

Following Christ includes all of this…and more. When we accept Christ and follow Him, we should expect to suffer. Maybe not physically, but there are many other ways besides that. Why?

1 Peter 2:21

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

‭This world is a fallen world. Our human nature doesn’t want to accept that there is a God who rules over us and orchestrates all things. We want to be our own god. Isn’t that why Adam and Eve sinned, to be like God?

So, as Christians, we are called to stand up for our beliefs no matter what. We are called to spread the Gospel. This will be carried out in different ways depending on the circumstances, but we’re all called to do it.

This is what is means to follow Christ.

-G. Paige
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