PRAY // Many people act like they know everything. Even when confronted with truth, lots of people will still stubbornly stick to what they have always believed to be right. But, at some point you have to ask yourself, “Would I rather be ‘right’ or know the truth?” God’s ways are perfect. And when we’re confronted with God’s truth—through the Bible, prayer, or even the people around us—we have a choice to make: lean on our own understanding or trust in Him. The keyword in this verse is “trust.” In what areas of your life are you being stubborn? In what areas of your life do you need to start trusting Him?
TALK // Do you truly love God? That’s a heavy question for sure, but it’s the question at the heart of this verse. If you do love God and try to get to know Him better, you’ll be in tune with His purposes. What’s God’s purpose for you? To love him, love others, and spread the good news about Jesus. We were created for this purpose and deviating from that purpose will always leave us empty in the long run. This is the “good” that God wants for us—not shallow and earthly comforts, but a meaningful and purposeful life.
LIVE // “Why? Why would God allow this?” I think everyone on earth has asked themselves this question at some point. In Isaiah, God reminds us that even when we don’t understand what He’s up to, He can be trusted. His plans have spanned the ages, and He alone can see the big picture. Imagine being a turtle and a human scoops you up. You are outraged to be diverted and scared that the human may harm you, so you fight back. In that situation the turtle doesn’t understand the big picture. The human has actually run onto a highway and saved you from certain death. God is wiser than us, and He is good. Today, trust God’s perfect plan.
TALK // You have so much potential, energy, and passion. But even with such great qualities, teenagers like you are at risk of falling hard and making big mistakes. And it’s not just teenagers! Sin can mess up and consume any person’s life, leaving behind devastation and regret. To make things even more difficult, sometimes it’s hard to see exactly how decisions you make now will affect you later. The truth is, all of us grow tired and weary and stumble and fall. Thankfully, God is willing to renew our strength in those moments. Today, ask God to help you avoid stumbling and falling into sin.
LIVE // Spiders, heights, clowns . . . What are you afraid of? Maybe you have more serious things on your list, like breakups, failing a class, parents divorcing, or even losing a close friend or family member. Let’s face it: In this world it’s easy to be fearful. And as we get older, we begin to realize just how much can go wrong in our lives. But in the middle of all we’re afraid might go wrong, God tells us over and over not to fear. That seems like an impossible command to follow, but thankfully, God tells us that He is willing to help us. He can give us the power and strength to overcome fear. What’s on your list of fears? Write them down and then ask God to help you move past the fears on your list.
LIVE // God promises to restore you. Restore means to “bring back.” Having that assurance can give you the motivation you need to push through the rough time you might be having. It’s like having a terrible week at school, but knowing that the weekend is coming. You continue to push through all the tests and practices because you know rest is coming soon. You know it won’t last forever. Are you feeling drained, tired, and mentally or emotionally run down this week? Then draw close to God. He will bring you back and make you strong—He will restore you.
LIVE // “Light and momentary” may not be the way you would describe your troubles. They may feel more “heavy and never-ending.” But with the right perspective, the way you view your problems can change. When you start to see your problems in light of your entire high school career, it can make your current troubles feel more momentary. And when you see your current problems in light of your entire life, it can make them feel even lighter and even less of a big deal. As you go about your day today, remember that your problems don’t have to be heavy and all you ever think about. With the right perspective, over time they’ll begin to feel a little lighter and more manageable.
LIVE // Me, myself, and I. Are your worries mainly about yourself, your well-being, and your comforts? If so, that’s normal. We all tend to get wrapped up in our own lives and forget about the people around us. And if we’re being honest, worrying about what we’re going eat or drink or wear when there are bigger issues going on in the world around us just seems a little silly when you really think about it. Today, instead of worrying about what’s happening in your life, look for ways to serve the people around you.
PRAY // Tomorrow is an unknown. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. It’s a tough thought, but it’s also our reality. We often worry about things that we either have no control over or things that may never happen. What does worry reveal? A distrust in God. In Matthew, Jesus actually commands us not to worry. Does worry seem like an uncontrollable force in your life? Through prayer, God promises us “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds” (Philippians 4:7 ESV). Today, ask God to give you that peace.
HEAR // What benefit comes from worrying? The energy we put into worrying can often trick us into thinking that—by worrying—we can somehow control people or situations. We think subconsciously, “If I worry enough about my test/friend/health, I can and WILL alter the outcome.” But, no amount of worrying can add even an hour to your life. It’s just wasted energy. Instead, we have to learn to trust in God, the One who can actually control whatever we’re facing. What worry is consuming your energy today? Identify it and ask God help you hand it over.
HEAR // A broken heart can feel like a physical pain. The grief can consume you. Unfortunately, over the course of our lives, our hearts will likely be broken many times. Maybe even today your heart is broken or feeling crushed. Take comfort in knowing that God promises to be nearby in those moments. He promises to save. And, He knows what we’re going through. Even Jesus suffered a broken heart and crushed spirit. God knows what you’re going through, and He understands the pain you might be feeling today. And through it all, He promises to be close. How can you remind yourself of His promise today?
LIVE // Sometimes it seems as if the whole world is against us. Friends at school are becoming enemies. Your coach is yelling at you every day in practice. Your boyfriend or girlfriend dumped you. You’re fairly certain your teachers hate you. You feel beaten down and destroyed. The good news is that, just as this verse reminds us, God is still for us. The God who created the universe is backing you. It’s like taking Superman with you to a fistfight—it’s not even going to be close. God’s backing should give us a quiet confidence to withstand any situation or any person we feel is against us. Today, live with a sly grin knowing God has your back no matter what you face.
PRAY // Anxiety. That feeling of frantic panic and out-of- control worry. Anxiety can steal all of our joy and taint all of our relationships and experiences. But God wants better things for you, so He says you can cast all your anxiety on Him. But how do you do that? By praying. We can give our anxiety to God by praying and then trusting that He is good and that He cares for us. The weight of anxiety can be crushing. That’s why God invites us to give all of our worries to Him. The keyword here is “all.” Don’t hold back. Give it all to Him. What worry can you give to God today?
PRAY // Who knows you best? Maybe it’s your mom, your grandparent, or your best friend. What’s interesting is that the people who know you the best are usually the people who love you the most. In Luke, we see that God knows the very number of hairs on our heads. That is some seriously detailed information! This depth of knowledge points to a personal and loving God who knows you and loves you. If He cares about your hair, then He definitely cares about your problems. What problem can you bring to God today?
LIVE // How do you find rest when you’re tired or burdened? Everyone has their own “fix.” Maybe for you it’s watching Netflix, running, texting a friend, going out for ice cream, or something else. Those things may help for a moment or a day, but if you are truly tired and burdened by life’s disappointments and difficult circumstances, Jesus is the only hope we have for true rest. But how do we get that rest? This verse tells us the answer. Jesus will give us rest when we “come to Him.” How can you come to Jesus today?
God promises He’ll always help us, and sometimes He helps us through other people. What’s an area you feel like you need help with? Talk to your Small Group Leader or someone you trust about it.
God is with us even when our hearts are broken. Try memorizing this verse and repeating it in the times when He feels distant.
Through the good times and the bad, God is the anchor you can hold on to. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “anchor”?
Is there someone you know who’s feeling down right now? What’s something you can do to encourage them?
Listeners ask really good questions. Today, think of a really good question to ask those at your lunch table.
Send a text to a friend who’s going through a dark time right now and let them know you’ve got their back.