Cry out to God

‘In my distress I cried out to the LORD. Psalm 18:6 NLT Even when we reach a point where we’ve exhausted all of our options, we can’t figure things out, we’re tired and burnt out, we’re afraid, disappointed, discouraged, or close to giving up, there’s still hope. We can cry out to God, and He promises to hear us. The psalms are full of examples of people crying out to God when they were in overwhelming, distressing circumstances. Here are some examples: ‘In my distress I cried out to the Lord…[and] He heard me’; ‘I cried out to God for help; I cried out…

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Surrender to God (2)

‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16:24 NIV Surrender doesn’t mean being passive and just letting things happen to us. God’s will for our lives involves being creative, making choices, and taking initiative. It doesn’t mean that we stop using our mind, stop asking questions, or stop thinking critically. Surrender means that we acknowledge that God’s purposes and reasons are wiser and better than our desires. Jesus doesn’t come to rearrange the outside of our lives the way we want; He comes to rearrange the inside of our lives the way…

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Surrender to God (1)

Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ Mark 14:36 NIV The 14th century theologian, John Calvin, defined surrender in these words: ‘To have no other will, no other wisdom, and to follow the Lord wherever He leads.’ To give our whole life over to God means we have to surrender control to Him. But most of us like to feel like we’re in control, especially of our own lives. We like bringing Jesus along in the passenger seat in case we need Him, but we struggle to let Him drive. Our prayers often sound like: ‘Lord, I have a health problem,…

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Approach him

‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.’ Luke 4:16 NIV There’s a story in the Bible of children approaching Jesus. The disciples tried to keep them away, but Jesus said: ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’ (Mark 10:14 NIV). These children had no inhibitions, they just wanted to spend time with Jesus. As we get older, although we want to spend time with Him, we can come up with excuses and reasons why we shouldn’t. Maybe life gets too busy, or we make a…

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Boundaries

‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.’ Luke 5:16 NIV Having boundaries for different parts of our lives can help us reduce stress and avoid burn out. Boundaries help us to say ‘no’ to things that we can’t do, to focus more on the things we’re called to do, and to develop healthy relationships with others and with God. But the type of boundary is important. Rigid boundaries can cause us to shut other people out. Permeable boundaries leave us defenceless against those who feel entitled to manipulate us and who expect to be taken care of at our expense. But flexible…

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Dealing with sin

‘He appeared so that he might take away our sins.’ 1 John 3:5 NIV How often have we compared our sins with other people’s sins, and concluded that ours aren’t as bad? When we refuse to confront our sins and deal with them, we become a target for the enemy. And when we look at someone else and say, ‘I would never do that,’ we fail to build a safeguard against it. The Bible says: ‘If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall’ (1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT). The truth is that we will all sin. The Bible says, ‘All…

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New way

‘We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us.’ Hebrews 10:20 NCV In the Old Testament there were over six hundred religious laws. And every time someone failed to keep one, they had to offer an animal sacrifice as atonement. This resulted in people trying and failing; feeling guilty and trying harder; failing again and making more sacrifices. It was a never-ending cycle. Then Jesus came and opened up ‘a new and living way…for us’ to have a relationship with God. His way included forgiveness for sin, and the replacement of sacrifices with faith in Him. For many…

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Heaven

‘I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.’ Philippians 1:21-24 NIV Death is something that can be uncomfortable to talk about. As humans, we have an inbuilt survival instinct, and the idea of dying can feel scary. But, as Christians, we have the promise of eternal life with God. Our life on earth will end one day, but we know that we’ll live forever with our Father. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we’re able to have a relationship with God now, and forever.…

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You + God

‘We are God’s workers, working together.’ 1 Corinthians 3:9 NCV Sometimes we can wonder why we’re here. We wonder what our purpose is in life, and whether we can really make a difference in the world. But God says: ‘We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Before we were born, God already had ‘good works’ planned for us to do, and He created us with gifts and skills to help us do them. We can’t do these works in our own strength. We need to work with God…

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Dealing with discouragement

‘Lord, where do I put my hope?’ Psalms 39:7 NLT When we go through tough times, we can end up feeling discouraged. We may feel like giving up because the situation is too overwhelming or seems never-ending. Instead, we need to try and view our discouragement as an opportunity for growth. But how do we do that? Firstly, we need to admit how we feel. That doesn’t mean we have to sit around in self-pity or negativity; it means trusting God enough to acknowledge how we really feel. Pretending things are fine when they’re not, doesn’t help us in the long run. It’s…

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