Fri, 27 Apr 2012 - 4:48 PM CST
"To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, and yet to be unconscious of it is indeed a narrow way. To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, his enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way. To believe the promise of Jesus that his followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenseless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way. To see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message without casting pearls before swine, is indeed a narrow way. The way is unutterably hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it. If we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way. But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, we shall not go astray." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
How to Prayer Journal
In Ephesians, Paul instructs readers to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." You're encouraged to pray daily, morning, noon and night, but have you ever wondered if your prayers are really being heard? Here's a challenge: make a prayer journal and watch the answers come to life in the pages.
Grab a journal or a notebook and begin writing your requests and praises to God. Write to Him as if you are having a face-to-face conversation. Write down even the words that you feel you can't speak. Tell Him everything: your desires, fears, requests and praises.
Fill the pages with everything that crosses your mind and heart. Establish a stronger relationship with your Savior. When the pages are filled, read the journal and see how God has answered your prayers.
Why Do We Lift Our Hands?
Raised hands acknowledge whose side we are on. Genesis 14 gives the first account of raised hands when Abraham identified himself as a follower of God. He surrendered to the Lord.
Raising hands can bring victory in spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6, Paul tells us that we wrestle against principalities and powers. Calling to God for the things we need brings value and peace. Lifting hands may bring about the breakthrough you need.
Raised hands symbolize worshipping God no matter what the trial. David is fleeing from Saul in Psalm 63. He doesn't feel God's presence, but he lifts his hands to God anyway to acknowledge that he knows God will deliver him.
Raised hands bless the Lord and ask that He bless the work of our hands. As we bless Him, we prepare for His working in our lives. Lamentations 3 tells us to lifts our hearts and hands to heaven. --jamesriver.org
For almost two years, Amy Melton, 17, has taught third and fourth grade Sunday School at her church, Trinity Fellowship Church in Sharpsburg, Georgia.
Growing up in a family with lots of teachers, Amy has been instilled with the importance of education and positive influence.
During her middle school years, Amy began to see a need for Sunday School teachers in her church and decided not to let her age be an inhibition. Since the church had a different Sunday School teacher every week, Amy felt like the church didn't truly care to invest in the lives of the youth.
"Even though I had a bunch of really awesome teachers before, I was sad because elementary age is a prime time in your life to be poured into. How you are ministered to during that period of your life will determine how you make decisions later on," she says. "I know a lot of really godly adults, but I will hear them say things about how teenagers are making these bad decisions. However, those adults never took the time to invest in a young life in the first place."
Knowing her love for kids and having experience as a counselor, Amy volunteered for an open position. "I decided that I didn't want the parents of these kids to have to rotate because the kids need something constant that they can fall back on." The Sunday School supervisor voiced concern in her being the only teacher under 18 and did not want to hinder her walk. After discussing it with other pastors though, they agreed she could teach.
Amy says teaching the class has taught her a lot, including an appreciation for the innocence of third graders. She takes the time to teach them everyday skills such as vocabulary on top of the curriculum. However, she has also benefited as she is gaining knowledge herself.
"I've even found gaps from when I was in Sunday School and there were certain Bible stories and concepts that people didn't teach me. Sometimes people underestimate the faith of a child," she says, pushing students not to be ashamed of their youth. Amy even uses her own young age as a ministry tool to encourage students to follow God's call despite their ages, and she finds comfort in knowing that she is doing what God wants.
"If I can minister to these kids at [my young age], I know that as I grow older that God will provide opportunities for me to speak to other people as well."
Amy is setting an example to her students and peers as she serves and shows the love of Christ. "I still want to be a part of their lives. I'm not going to take on this individualistic attitude in which I push everybody but myself. The minute that I do that, I'm not allowing God to work through me. I'd be working through myself, and that never works when God is trying to minister to other people."
She encourages other students to teach but knows it's not a task that every teen could do alone. However, she does think that the church as a whole needs to interact and teach each other. "I think it's really important for everybody, from infants to elders, to be interacting with each other," Amy says. "The older people can learn from the innocence of the younger people and the younger people can learn from the experience of the older."