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It is a challenging world we live in, and one of the biggest challenges we face is balancing the many demands placed on us, or that we place on ourselves.
Western society is founded on capitalism, where every business is driven to increase productivity and profit. This can push people into jobs they do not love or believe in, but they work because it is the only way they can earn enough to meet their needs. The increasing rates of stress-related diseases such as strokes, heart attacks and cancer in so many countries tell us this model of work is unbalanced. So too does the widening gap between the richest and the poorest people.
In deciding whether you work to live or live to work, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I buy things because I need them or just to be part of a trend?
Do I have a prayer routine, with time set apart for this?
Do I stop to read the Bible or spiritual literature, or follow Christian YouTube clips or podcasts?
Do I use mealtimes to share deeply with family or friends, or do I eat while occupied on my devices?
Do I ever take time to look at and treasure nature?
Do I thank God for the gift of life and beauty and strive to share that sense of gratitude with others?
What the Bible says...
Jesus was a craftsman, a skilled carpenter, for most of his life. Yet, when Jesus felt his Father’s call, he did not hesitate to take to the road and call followers from their work to follow him (Luke 5:1-11). While on the road he took time to be alone and pray to his Father (Luke 11:1-13). Because the group walked everywhere there was plenty of time for teaching and discussion.
Jesus often spoke about the dangers of wealth – note his sadness when a rich young man was not equal to the sacrifice of leaving all that behind (Matthew 19:6-26). Many of Jesus’ healings and miracles took place at meals on his journeys. We see this especially in the gospel of Luke which some scholars have called “the gospel of the hospitality of God”. He feeds the hungry (Luke 9:12-17), and dines with tax collectors and sinful people (Luke 7:36-42).
Jesus also enjoyed deep and loving friendships, spending time in the homes of friends such as Mary, Martha and Lazarus. But he did not mince words when it came to the lack of balance.
“Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life” (Matthew 16:26).
By Your grace, become the priority and passion of my life.
When I lack – You sustain.
When I am alone – You are present.
When I am overwhelmed – You are my help.
When I am defeated – You are my hope.
You provide my needs.
Let me embrace simplicity and flexibility rather than complexity and rigidness.
Give me clear purposes in life. I want to love and be loved by You.
I am pulled in all directions. Pull me in Your direction.
Give me harmony and peace.
Give me grace and balance.
In the name of Jesus I pray,
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Identity:Identified contains 24 inserts and highlighting of key passages within the New Testament that are designed to help teenagers navigate life’s challenges with ways to identify why God created each one of us in the unique way He did.
This book also has a number of QR codes that link to a series of special videos that have numerous people sharing their stories and how they cope with life.
This is the perfect tool to help the younger generation in your life to follow Jesus as they navigate the challenges of life and trust him as a true friend and companion.