Archive

Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Matthew 24

October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 24

People are lazy. I don’t care who you are, you like to be lazy to a certain extent. We will try to find an easier way of doing something. It’s what separates us from the animals.

It’s not always a bad thing. Laziness has led to some wonderful inventions: the remote control, automobiles, microwaves, and LA-Z-BOY recliners. (Of course, someone had to work hard to invent these instruments of laziness.)

Unfortunately, our laziness can have negative consequences. More than just procrastinating, which leads to stress and missed deadlines, our laziness often makes us miss out on life. You don’t usually hear people at the end of their life say that they wish they would have watched more television or taken more naps. You also don’t hear people saying that they wished they would have spent more time getting drunk and doing drugs.

Instead, people generally regret wasting their lives. “I wish I would have taken that opportunity.” “Why did I spend so much of my time doing this, when I should have been doing that?” “I could have done so much more with my life if only…” That is the sound of a wasted life.

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us not to waste our lives. We don’t know how much time we have before our death or Christ returns. So don’t waste it! Use every minute to live for Jesus. I guarantee you won’t regret it. First, you will have a blast doing it. Your life will be filled with joy and peace. Second, at the end, you will be fulfilled, and you will have gained a priceless reward.

Don’t waste your life. Live it for Jesus.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, I don’t want to waste my life. I want to live like Jesus and live for Jesus. Open my eyes to the opportunities you give me to do something for you, and help me to take advantage of them. I want a life of joy, adventure, and excitement—the kind of life that only you can give. Then I won’t have to fear death or Christ’s coming because my life will be fulfilled. Amen.

 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1.21

Matthew 19

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 19

He seemed to have it all. He was successful and quite wealthy. He obeyed God’s commandments almost perfectly. He was a model citizen.

Yet, he realized something was missing.

He came to Jesus, seeking that missing puzzle piece. “What do I still lack?” he asked Jesus. With everything the rich young man had, none of it could earn him joy. Jesus knew the answer. Jesus knew what the man needed.

Jesus tells him that if he wants to be perfect (the Greek really means “complete”), then he needs to sell his possessions and give to the poor.” Doing so will give him something that is difficult to find: treasure in heaven.

The man’s life lacked meaning. He had everything he ever wanted, but still wasn’t joyful. He knew his wealth was only temporary and that he wouldn’t be able to take it with him when he died.

But a life devoted to helping others gives your life meaning and purpose. It fills your life with joy. It gives you something better than anything money could ever buy.

Below, you can find ways that you can help others, bringing joy to their lives, as well as your own.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, I want my life to be complete. I want to have a life of meaning and purpose. I want to have true joy. I want to have treasure in heaven. Open my eyes so that I can see ways to help others. Help me to discover some way to use what I have to help those who are in need. Father, please bless those who are in need. Amen.

 

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14.31

 

http://www.wvi.org World Vision helps children in poverty around the world and fights against AIDS. There are many ways to help. You can sponsor a child for $35 a month, or give one-time gifts for as little as $10. You can even buy things that families in poverty need, such as a goat or chicken. Just click here

http://www.compassion.com You can sponsor a child in need for only $38 a month.

http://www.freerice.com You can give rice to people in need just by playing a game. And it doesn’t even cost you anything!

http://www.freepoverty.com You can help people get access to clean water sources by playing a game online. And this doesn’t cost you anything either!

http://www.mojuproject.com Feed an orphan in Africa for an entire month by purchasing a T-shirt.

http://www.tomsshoes.com For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need.

Matthew 14

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

surfingMatthew 14

I love to surf. If you’ve never been, you have to go surfing before you die. It is one of the greatest feelings ever. I can’t explain the feeling when that wave catches you, and you pop up onto your board. Gliding across the water, you’re doing something you shouldn’t be able to do, because it’s not natural to walk on water. Yet it is very natural because it’s just you and that wave. It’s exciting, invigorating, and even somewhat spiritual.

And that is what a relationship with Jesus is like, except multiplied times a billion. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of truly walking with Jesus. The closest I can come is “walking on water.” And since surfing is the closest anyone can come to walking on water, and chances are you have never surfed, you can’t really understand it. That’s why I want you to go surfing. Then you will understand what it’s like to have a relationship with Christ.

Let’s just say it is completely awesome. I know it sounds cliché, but it is a rush. When you surf, you completely rely on the wave’s power to move you. Sure, you have to paddle to catch that wave, but when that wave catches you, it’s all about the wave. The wave is what moves you. There is no one pulling you behind a boat. There is no engine. It’s you relying on the power of that wave. It’s like you become one with the wave.

That is how it is with Jesus. Jesus is this huge wave of power and energy and excitement. He catches you, and the rush is on. You walk on water. You experience life at its fullest. You become part of something hugely powerful. When you put your trust in Jesus, you become one with him, and he leads you into a life of meaning, adventure, and pure joy. You walk on water.

But some of you are still in the boat. My high school English teacher would say I’m mixing metaphors, but I think you get it. You’re like the other disciples. You’re too afraid to get out of the boat because you don’t trust Jesus. And you miss out. Peter experienced something truly awesome, but the others were too afraid to walk on water.

Some of you are drowning. You were like Peter and decided to jump out of the boat. It was great trusting Jesus at first, but then it got a little scary. You took your focus off Jesus and started looking around at all the difficulties in your life. You think that walking on water is hard, and you begin to sink.

But that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Surfing is exciting because there’s a chance of wiping out. And believe me, sometimes you do! But if it were safe, it would be boring. Following Jesus is messy and scary and sometimes dangerous. But it is also the most exciting thing in life. And if you trust Jesus, he’s not going to let you drown. He is always right there to pick you back up.

Don’t miss out on the adventure. Put your trust in Jesus, allowing him to guide your life. Jump out of the boat and walk on water.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want out of this boat! I want to trust you. I want to experience the excitement and joy of a relationship with you. I admit it is scary, but you say you will be there for me, that you will never let me down. Help me to get over my fears so that I can walk on water with you! Amen.

 

“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2.6

Matthew 6

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 6

When reading through the Sermon on the Mount, it seems like Jesus just jumps from topic to topic, none of which really have any connection to each other. But look again at Matthew 6. The first four sections all mention “reward” or “treasure,” and the final section sums it all up by urging us to seek God first.

Hopefully, you have never had to worry whether or not you would have food to eat for the day. However, I would guess you have worried about clothes or other things. The word here that is translated “worry” can also mean “give thought to.” It means to think about or concern ourselves with something.

As a teenager, your mind starts to change, and you start being concerned with what people think about you. “Am I wearing the right clothes?” “How can I get that person to like me?” “Will my friends think I’m a loser because I like the Jonas Brothers?”

If you want people to look at you and think you’re a great person, Jesus says you can do that, and that will be your reward. But it is shallow and temporary. It’s like trying to grasp sand. When you grab hold of it, it just slips through your fingers. Chasing after the things of the world will only leave you frustrated and feeling empty.

But Jesus says in Matthew 6.33 to seek God first. That word “seek” can also mean “desire.” Jesus says that if you make God your primary desire, if you want him and seek him, then you will be fulfilled. God will take care of the details of your life, and you will experience a joy and a peace that nothing in this world could ever give.

Seek God first.

 

Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, I want to seek you. I want to know you better. God, show me just how awesome you are, and show me how insignificant everything else is. Help me to give my worries to you, and help me to trust you to take care of me. Amen.

 

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5.7

Matthew 5

September 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 5

Matthew 5-7 is called “The Sermon on the Mount” because it is a collection of teachings Jesus gave from the side of a hill. It is one of Jesus’ most famous teachings. In fact, many of the teachings here are taught around the world, even by non-Christians.

No doubt, Jesus’ listeners were shocked when they heard this. Look back through this chapter. There’s a phrase you see over and over: “You have heard that it was said…But I tell you…” This teaching was—and still is—revolutionary. Jesus came to turn our world upside-down.

It starts off right at the start. In the first section, called “The Beatitudes,” Jesus uses the word “blessed.” This word is often translated “happy.” So Jesus says happy are the poor in spirit, those that mourn, and those that are persecuted.

Excuse me, Jesus?

And you want me to love my enemies?

This is completely upside-down. How can I be happy in those circumstances? Jesus says that we will have a great reward in heaven (verse 12), but I think there might be something more.

The word “blessed” really means joyful. What is the difference between joy and happiness? Happiness is dependent upon my circumstances. In other words, I’m happy when things are going well, but when things go badly, I lose my happiness.

But joy comes from the inside, not from the outside. Jesus fills me with joy; it does not come from experiencing good times. And it doesn’t disappear when bad things happen.

In John 10.10, Jesus says that he came to give us “life, life to the full.” He came to give us the life we were meant to live. He came to fill us with joy so we could experience the reward of heaven here on earth. Jesus doesn’t promise bad things won’t happen. But a true relationship with Christ fills you with a joy that cannot be explained.

Are you filled with joy? Have you allowed Jesus to turn your life upside-down? The more time you spend with Jesus, the closer you draw to him, the more like him you become. When you do this, you will experience that joy. Pray to Jesus, and ask him to help you live your life upside-down.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want to be filled with your joy. Help me to live my life upside-down. Help me to love my enemies. Bless those who treat me badly. Help them to come to know you. May I live my life in such a way that others will see God and worship him. Thank you for your joy. Amen.

 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4.4-7