Determination

(If you have not yet graduated....) You're close to the end of the school year if not already. You're anxious to be done and start your session of relaxation. And you know what? That's okay! But you're still in school.....

The last few weeks have probably got you feeling lazy and not wanting to do anything school related. At least, I (Ang) have been feeling this way. I have so many goals and things I want to accomplish this summer. Being determined and pressing on is sometimes just rough when you don't feel like it, but hang in there and finish out strong!! 

Joshua 1:9 - Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Be strong and of a good courage….what does that even mean? What does being strong have to do with determination? They actually go hand and hand. According to google determined means “having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.” You have to be strong as a Christian. Things are not always going to be easy and it’s not sunshine and rainbows. The world gives temptation and things that look pleasing but in reality they are only filled with consequences and heartache. When you think about all the things out there that you have to be strong against, it gets overwhelming and stressful but God isn’t saying we should depend on ourselves and our resources but to depend on Him to give us that strength. He was there in the beginning, the middle, the end, and He’s going to be there for you. A common mistake we have is depending on our own physical strength. But when you do that after a while you start to become weary and ready to throw in the towel. I’m not just talking emotionally and spiritually but also physically. 

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

When I read this,  the first thing I think of are track meets. I think of the athlete that has worked hard and they’re so close to the finish line. He can see it in his view and he’s pushing himself to press on and finish out strong. While that is true that doesn’t just apply in that area. School is like that. In August we are ready to start the year off strong. We make goals and friends and we determine some things we do or do not want to do throughout the year. Coming towards February or March we start to get lazy (maybe even before that) and maybe you slack in studying or finishing homework and you just want summer to come! I understand! You’re tired of coming to a place where you see these people everyday but that doesn’t give you an excuse to just drop everything. I know especially right now my school (Ang) just has one week of school and everyone is antsy and thinking about what they’re going to do over the summer but be strong and finish out the school year well!

Life is a picture of this. We all run a race-a race we should hope to finish well. In different stages of life are the different marks we pass-like elementary, middle school, high school, college, marriage, children, etc… You want to pace yourself and not hurry through the good things in life just because you are anxious. When you’re older you will wish you had appreciate those precious years more. 

So here's a question.....what do you want to do with your life? What are some goals you have or things you aspire to do? Comment below and let us know we want to encourage you in your goals! 😊

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Personal story alert! (Ang) I’m one of those people that like to have a plan for everything. I do not like walking into a class or into a project or anything without being prepared. I may still be young but I have a “plan” for my life. Now, I dedicated my life to Christ and whatever He wants I will do but there’s a healthy balance. You don’t want to be completely brainless by the time you’re a senior about to graduate but you don’t want to be the obsessed 5th grader who has every single little thing mapped out. If you’re a Christian, God has your future in His hands. He knows what you’re going to do, who you will meet, the places you'll go, etc…. I struggle with worrying. I think that’s my biggest problem if I’m honest with myself. I like quick answers and things done decently, precisely, correctly, and immediately. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing but sometimes God gives you the “wait” answer. I’ve been praying about something for a long while now-about 2 years but I didn’t know if God was saying yes or no. It turns out He was saying wait. At the time, I didn’t understand why He wanted me to wait until 7 months later. I’m glad I waited and I didn’t rush ahead. I know I would’ve regretted it later. Wait upon the Lord, whether it be with a request, or the plan for your life seek Him about it and your parents. 

Philippians 3:13-15 - Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing he be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 

Last week in school we talked about forgiveness and at the middle of verse 13 it says “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Being determined sometimes means you have to let go of things or people. In life we have those strongholds and pillars that are keeping us down and because of them we can’t get anywhere. They can be friends, entertainment, hobbies, sports, music, anything really! Anything can captivate our attention and hold us down so we are not focused on serving God. Let go of those things in your past. We all go through hard struggles, some deeper than others, that have an affect on us. It is your choice to let that situation control you or you control the situation. Giving things to God is so much more easier than facing a battle alone. If you continue on verse 13 going into 14 it says “and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God….” In other words…..stop looking at the gravel and start looking at the rainbow. Don’t be so engrossed with your problems that you forget God’s goodness around you.

Satan has many tools for how he gets his job done but he uses self pity a lot! More times than we know! When Christians start feeling bad and start saying “Whoa is me” they lose sight of the joy that they have and the hope that is in them. Don’t let your situation drag you down but instead be determined to keep going even in the rough spots. I feel like I’m tossing those words around a lot and I know it’s hard. It’s a real deal and especially for teenagers. Society tells us to do what we feel and to “follow our hearts.” Friend, that is a terrible decision. In Jeremiah it says that our heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it? (Jer.17:9) There are days where it doesn’t “feel good to be a Christian” or days where you don’t feel like getting up and working. Discipline yourself to do even the hard things. Remember, who you are now is who you will be. By the habits you make and keep, the people you hang around, that is what you will become. 

Galatians 6:9 - And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We’ve talked a lot on physical issues...but how about spiritual ones? (Ang) I like using the example of a girl/guy who has a lost friend that they are working on. (I can personally relate to this.) Let’s say your friend is throwing all kinds of ridiculous excuses of why you shouldn’t be a Christian and why they are not….you’re going to be frustrated, annoyed, hurt, and probably ready to give up on them. BUT I urge you this….never give up on a person! Never give up on someone because GOD never gave up on you! I can’t say I was in a tragic situation where God had to pull me through mud hills to bring me to Him but I’ve heard the testimonies of those who had a friend that never ceased to pray for them or witness. If you have a friend who’s not saved...be prepared for arguments, rolling of eyes, mockery, etc...Not all people are like that but some are. Remember: It is not your job to save the person or change their heart, but to witness to them and plant the seed. You never know, someone else can come along and water it and change can happen. Don’t get weary in serving God. A few weeks ago my pastor mentioned this in a sermon how we get so used to doing the work of God that we don’t pay attention how our own walks are going with Him. Don’t let that be just “routine” or don’t be so fixed on that. You don’t one day want to be burned out --but enjoy serving Him!! He is worthy!!

Remember: What you put in is what you will get out…..in other words you will reap what you sow. 

Romans 12:10-11 - Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Determine that you are going to be the best Christian you can possibly be. Why settle for something less than that? Don’t you think God is worthy? Make a choice that you are going to walk in the spirit from the beginning of the day to the very end. Choose to be kind and have a nice word for everyone, not just your friends, but also your foes. You never know how one word can change another’s day. 

“Not slothful in business.” Do WELL in your school work. You may not get straight perfect angel A’s but do your best! Put your best effort in and don’t give up so easily! Have some fight in you to do and be better. I feel like lately I’ve been hearing a lot of “Oh I don’t care about this class so I’m just going to not try.” Hey you never know you can grow to like something and it doesn’t really matter if you like it or not but it matters if you did it for God.

2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
1 Timothy 6:12 - Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Wouldn’t it be great if one day you could say that you did your best in everything you did? That would be quite an accomplishment but sadly that’s not really how most of us think. We think of the here and now instead of a decision that can affect 10 years from now. Fighting a good fight can be in everything not just one specific area. Fight for what you believe in! Don’t be ashamed to say you’re a Christian or a follower of Jesus Christ. He died for you in public so stop living for him in private! A lot of Christians nowadays are scared for what people think of them. They let their fears keep them hostage and they don’t care about breaking that! Would Christ be able to say “Well done thou good and faithful servant?” Could you be able to say that you served him diligently in your life? 

If Christ returned, I know we wouldn’t be ready. There is so much we could’ve done for Him and spent more time on instead of doing something else. There’s a song by this family called “Finish Well” and it talks about how we need to “finish well” until our time here on earth is done and over. It’s not about how much time you have but how you used it.  

Hebrews 12:1-2 - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us , and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sin, like many other strongholds, carries a weight on us. That feeling of guilt is nowhere close to pleasant company or anything we should want to enter into our lives. Maybe you’re struggling with something that seems almost impossible to defeat. Whatever it may be, don’t give up or lose hope. You CAN win this battle with the help of God’s! Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, he can be everywhere. If He isn’t mighty to save you from your sins, then is he really all powerful to save us? Ask Him for his help. Don’t be so dependant on yourself. You will let yourself down. Others such as family and friends and teachers will let you down, but God never will! Look to Him for answers, not the world. Unsaved individuals run to things like drugs and pleasure to fill that God-sized hole of emptiness. They feel guilt and pain and they just want to make it stop but every thing out there isn’t going to work for them instead He is the answer!

I have a quote on this notebook I carry around. It says "If you're dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough." There's nothing wrong with dreaming a big dream, but do you have a plan to accomplish it? Last summer, I had goals I wanted to accomplish but sadly most of them didn't happen. Don't let your excuses pull you down. If you have a spiritual goal you want to accomplish, don't let Satan discourage you. Keep going! Press on! And let us know what we can pray for you about! There's nothing like Christians encouraging each other to be more for Christ! 


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