Last week I spent time with 20 high school youth on our annual mission trip. It was my last week really working with them because God has called me to a new place in ministry. It was a week of much joy, crying, and laughter. It was truly a great week of ministry. As the week progressed I spent a lot of time with guys and girls in one on one in conversations. I got many opportunities to talk with my youth group and with other students on my crew. Here is what I learned.
All girls need someone to tell them they are beautiful. They need it desperately. We live in a world that tells them they aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or special enough. Girls who are paper thin and the girls who are not don’t ever need encouragement to loose weight. They feel they are ugly. They feel no one thinks they are pretty. I spent the better part of two nights telling girls they were beautiful. That Jesus finds them beautiful inside and out. God looks upon them through the eyes of Jesus and sees beautiful women of God. Please if you are reading this go and find your daughter and tell her she is the most beautiful person in the world. If you have a friend who is a girl remind her she is beautiful in the eyes of Jesus. I know I just did.
Second lesson for the week is for all the men out there. Show your sons and other men that loving Jesus is manly. I talked to a lot of boys who struggled with this. I am so glad I had a number of male leaders this week who are some of the most manly men I know share with these boys how manly it can be to love Jesus. We as men can be manly and love Jesus. It is manly to worship Jesus. It is manly to be undignified to love Jesus. Jesus isn’t just for women.
So parents, adults, and youth, remember to care for each other, remember Jesus finds you beautiful, and remember to share Jesus’ love with everyone it is the beautiful and manly thing to do.
Recently in our high school ministry I asked the question “What battles are you fighting today? What thing in your life is your greatest battle?” Most of my students as said school but I have a feeling it is because most didn’t want to be honest. At least not in the small group setting. When we are thrust into a situation with people we may not know well, we certainly don’t like to talk with them about our battles. We are afraid people will judge us or worse share our battles with others. Battles are something however we all face on a daily basis.
We all have battles, some are very personal like, body issues, family issues, death, some are less so, a job task that is difficult, a future test or project. We all have battles and no matter how little or big it is we have a tendency to feel overwhelmed by them.
In my daily reading I came across a text of scripture I truly love. It comes from 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. The whole story come from 2 Chronicles 20. The story is about a king and the people of Judah who are being surrounded by a great army. They are afraid and they know they can’t win. So they pray. They pray and God answers. God defeats the enemies of Judah and tells them they will not have to fight the battle because He would be fighting it for them. God has the victory and the people of Judah carry off the spoils of the war for three days. I love the story not because it is a great battle narrative but because of 15-17 where God tells them it is his battle. He will have the victory for them.
2 Chronicles 20:15b-17 Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them… You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
This brings us to Jesus. It brings us to the victory we have in Jesus. We have all gone through many battles in this world. We are all probably in one way or another going through one right now. We can’t win on our own. When we look at our life and all that seems wrong we know we can’t win. But we know we have victory in Jesus.
No mater what you are battling today I pray you see Jesus. He has won the battle. He will fight it for you. Savory today’s victory. Today may seem like a lost battle but tomorrow is a new day with Jesus, a new day of victory. Tomorrow will be another battle but Jesus can win that one too.