What a weekend! We had a baptism service on Saturday and a confirmation service today. We saw a total of 28 people professing publicly that they want to follow Jesus and let Him be king over their lives! We had 12 people from our youth group among those 28! Praise be to God Almighty!
My heart was filled with joy to see these teens taking a stand and recognizing they are sinful and need Jesus to wash them clean.
I was very excited and at the same time challenged by it! Excited because God is at work in their lives and some were already witnessing to non-Christian friends that accepted an invitation to the service! They are already sharing God with others. I was challenged because, as one of the people who works with the younger youth group, I need to be a better example of someone who wants to serve and follow Christ no matter what.
Today was a day of celebration and encouragement! The church was full and the smiles were found everywhere! Proud parents and friends sharing a significant moment in these lives. Praise be to God!
But as the Bible tells us that in this world we, as Christians, will face trouble. Jesus himself told the disciples:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Jesus had been preparing his disciples and now it was almost time. He knew what was coming and He wanted them to find peace in Him and in the fact that He was victorious and bigger than anything that would come their way.
What an amazing King Jesus is! He who knew what was to happen, who created the whole universe and knew the Father’s plan cared about his friends deeply.
I carried on reading John 17 and was very encouraged by Jesus’ prayer for his disciples:
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:13-19
Jesus asked God to protect his disciples, his friends, from the evil one. He prayed that God would sanctify them by the truth! God’s word is truth! What an amazing prayer! Jesus did not ask for them to be removed from the world where they would suffer and be hated because of Him, but He asked for protection and sanctification (in other words, make them holy).
As I think of the wonderful services we had and think of the young people fired up for Jesus, hearts full of desire to serve and follow Jesus, I pray for the leaders of our church and youth groups, that God may equip each one to faithfully preach and teach from His word so that our young people can continue to learn the truth about Jesus and how He expects us to live. I also pray for each one of those people there tonight, that Jesus would strengthen them each and every day and as they face the world they will not be discouraged but would want to live lives that are pleasing to God.
What a Spiritual banquet! To God be the glory!