Only God knows the future…

In July, our Brookdale youth attended a Pulse Revival Night outdoor worship at Minnehaha Falls Pavilion.  It was a beautiful night! Minnehaha Falls were flowing fast and fantastic praise songs flowed from the pavilion and pulled onlooker in. This worship gathering is student led, a Minnesota based outreach mission with purpose to connect today’s student generation and awaken culture to the reality of Jesus. The praise songs in the park were amazing!

Some of our wise and curious youth student’s captured notes on their smart phones during the event. These notes directed some great questions and allowed us to explore and dive deeper into important truths about who God is and how God wants to be in every moment of our lives.

Sharing a couple highlights with you from our youth. These takeaways are from the message shared in the park…

1. First fun Smart Phone Student Note we explored.

The evangelist speaker boldly asked us all this question. I think we all leaned in to hear with blank faces. So glad our students were curious.

Wise Question:

          “Do you know why the devil always brings up your past?”

           God’s Answer:  Because the devil doesn’t have a future.

Only God knows the future… this we can celebrate. The devil does not know what God has planned. God guides us in the present and into our future. This shows how powerful God is and how much He loves us and desires good for us all. God will not lead you toward an opportunity that contradicts what he clearly says in his word. God will give you strength and courage and the power to do good. (Joshua 1:9)

So, we must ignore the self-critical thoughts (from a sneaking devil speaking). The devil will always try to stop you from doing good or being joyful. Any unkind names or things people, coaches, teachers, adults or even strangers have said to us in the past, we must speak God’s truth and blessing into. The devil may want us to keep thinking about them or keep holding us back because of a mistake or sin we did or was done to us. But we as believers is Jesus must Stop! Pray, ask God for truth about who he created us to be. Stop thinking untruths that limit us or keep us from joy and doing good. And we must Believe the truth that each of us, we are good because God created us and God looked back and said, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Jesus has already forgiven us and Jesus forgives others so we need to find our best attitude, forgive ourselves and others and ask God about our futures and what he desires for us as we walk joyfully, humbly, love mercy, and do justice. We believers should remind each other to seek God to equip us, and knock for God to open new doors for us because as Christians we are sons and daughters of a mighty God who loves us, forgives us and makes a way (even when we can not see the way or we can not see all the amazing good God has created in each of us).

We decided that every time the devil brings up our past, makes us think less of ourselves, we will just speak firmly God’s promise over it:

“For I know the plans I have for you (speak your name),”
declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you (speak your name)

and not to harm you (speak your name),

plans to give you (speak your name) a hope and a future.”

(Jeremiah 29:11) 

Remember, how does God increase our faith?
Faith comes through hearing, hearing the word of God (hearing Jesus). (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:2) What happens when we hear our name in the Words God speaks? Spiritual transformation where God changes our thinking, creates new perfectness in our hearts and makes new things start happening!

Only God knows the future… Believe. How wonderful is this truth for you? I invite you to stop and pause, breath deep and know in your heart God hears the devil speaking about your past, God is with you, God is always speaking and the holy spirit is guiding because God has a wonderful word for your present moment and an amazing plan for your next step into your future.

Only God knows the future… (quite simply the devil does not know your future).
Thanks be to God.

 

2. Second fun Smart Phone student Note we explored.

What is Fasting? What did he mean fasting in today’s times?

The speaker was talking about how even in difficult times where his parent failed in leading the family and mentoring love, healthy guidance and faithfulness. He shared about having a dad who believed in God but made a cascading series of some poor choices leading to drug addiction and a separated broken family. He knew his dad loved him, but some things are too hard for us to understand in why people leave good people or fail in relationships. Deep, moments where I am sure everyone walked with God into some part of their own story paralleling with a deep need for God to come in and smother with love. So the speaker spoke of how he prayed with fasting.

Students read this smart phone note back to me and asked, “What is fasting?”

Fasting as a spiritual practice with God, the speaker explained is different from old testament days where fasting is what the people of God did in prayer when they need God to come down.

The speaker confidently claimed we live with Jesus here, our reality today is after Jesus has powerfully conquered death on the cross and for us as believers Jesus forgives all sins and blunders. So fasting today …. He said is that practice where we give up something we love and desire purposefully to direct us to seek God to focus on how powerful, almighty and loving God is and ask God for help every time our body or thoughts desire food or whatever we are fasting from. What we select to fast from, in honoring putting God first, can be a good thing like eating, or can be abstaining from a tempting not so good thing like swearing, drinking, complaining, murmuring… Maybe God loves to see what we choose to give up each time we fast to honor loving Him!

Smart phone interesting note with fasting…

Fasting is about “believing” and increasing our faith. The speaker spoke about how God so deeply desires for us to believe.

 

Did you know that the Bible Gospel Book of John is focused on the theme of believing in Jesus? The speaker said something jaw-dropping, he said the word “Believe” is mentioned 90 times in the book of John!” No kidding, we thought “What? 90 times!” so we googled it on the way home, we tested the evangelist and sure enough, he is right.

Activity you may like to do…
Challenge part one, if you choose to accept it, is to read the book of John in the bible and count occurrences of “Believe”.

Fun Faith building Facts:

  • John, Gospel book of John, used the verb believe at least 90 times which is more than all the uses in the Synoptic Gospels … through the reading of the Gospel of John than any other book in the Bible!
  • The main purposeful message in the book of John is so that,
    “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31, also John 19:35).
  • The Greek verb (pisteuo means believe) ‘believe’ is used about 90 times, the adjective pistoV ‘believing’ twice. But interesting is the noun pistiV ‘faith’ is not used at all in the Gospel book of John. Aside from the Bible books second and third John, the Gospel book of John is the only book in the New Testament not to use the noun form of believe “faith”, but by far the Gospel book of John has the greatest frequency of the verb “believe”. Faith as a verb implies faith is an action, something the holy spirit helps us do.
  • No wonder John boldly called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the book of John (John 13:23, John 19:26, John 20:2 and John 21:7, John 21:20)

Do you call yourself “the one whom Jesus loves?

Challenge part two, if you choose to accept it, Go a whole week and for a minimum of 3 times each day speak out loud, “I (speak your name) am the one whom Jesus loves”. Remember faith grows through hearing, hearing the word of God. Wonder what the Lord your God might speak to you.

Quick Summary, we learned that fasting for in today’s times is different than before Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. Today, we fast as a spiritual practice to help us put God first and believe in Jesus. When we believe in God the eyes of our hearts open up and we see more, we see God is faithful.

Believe. Remember praying and fasting for people who love God is cool and life-giving and faith muscle building!

We are all called into the mission of awakening culture to the reality of Jesus. We must remember we are all needed, and our youth and children are a key part in this mission.

The mission of awakening culture to the reality of Jesus, starts with self and believing!