TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY…

The Netflix show 13 Reasons Why has created quite a stir recently. It opens up important issues, both negative and positive, for us all. ‘Everything really does affect everything.’

13 Reasons Why explores the aftermath of a teenage girl’s suicide. She records 13 audiotapes, each about a person and their contribution to her suicide. It is compelling drama with many heart-wrenching scenes. Although we would definitely recommend caution in viewing it, it shows how people’s actions can really impact the lives around them. There are lessons for us about the pain of trauma and the murky depths.

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”

Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

These are our 13 Reasons Why NOT:

1. YOU ARE LOVED.

Maybe you don’t feel loved. Or you feel like everyone would be better off without you. There are always people who love you, often imperfectly. But let us assure you, that you are loved.
Ephesians 2:10NLT | We are God’s masterpiece

2. YOU HAVE INCREDIBLE VALUE

You are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. When you to compare yourself with others, you always come short. Comparing yourself is toxic. ‘The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.’ (Steve Furtick) Take a break from social media.
Romans 11:29NLT | God’s gift & His call can never be withdrawn

3. BULLIES FADE AWAY

Being bullied is so soul destroying. It can seem like there is no escape, and it will never end. But it does. Bullies fade away. Years from now, you will likely find it hard to remember who the bullies were, the grades you got, the names of those who treated you poorly. Seek help now and talk to someone, but recognise that a new day is just over the horizon.
Acts 9:3NLT | A light from Heaven shone down…

4. THERE IS LIFE BEYOND SCHOOL

When you’re at school it seems like it’s the whole world. If life there isn’t going well, it seems like all of life isn’t going well. Well, fact: there is a whole world out there so much richer than your life at school. And if life at school (or uni or your job) is so bad that you want to end your own life, don’t do it—ditch school (or uni or your job) instead. Get out and start fresh.
Mark 1:17–18NLT | Jesus called out…‘Come, follow Me…’ And they left… at once and followed Him.

5. THERE IS LOVE BEYOND SCHOOL

The angst in 13 Reasons Why is often about romantic relationships and this is true for schools everywhere. But for every pair of high school sweethearts who get married, there are hundreds of couples who meet after school. Chances are you will find a more fulfilling love later. And God has already designed that story.
Psalm 139:16NIV | …all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

6. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE TO TALK TO

In 13 Reasons Why  Hannah felt like she has no-one left to talk to. She thought all her friends had abandoned her. She didn’t feel heard, and she felt like there was no one left to talk to. But there is always someone. Even if you feel like you have no friends or family to talk through stuff with there are heaps of counselling & mental health options available. And if you don’t feel heard, or just don’t feel you click with one mentor, then go to another. Keep going until you find the right person who can help you navigate the challenges you face in your life. There is help. There is hope. Reach out.
2 Corinthians 1:4GWT | He comforts us whenever we suffer.

If you need help talk to your parents, youth leader, trusted friend or call;
24/7 Lifeline: 13 11 14
Vision Prayer: 1800 772 936

 

7. THE HURT DOES NOT END

Suicide is an unnatural ending to what could have been a longer, more beautiful story. There can be no possibility of redemption, no victory after adversity, no hope of a new day. Suicide isn’t revenge or retaliation. It just cuts short the story. It is irreversible.

It may seem like suicide is the only way to stop all the hurt, but all those people who actually do love you, will carry the hurt on and multiply it for the rest of their lives.

Job 30:7NIV | My gnawing pains never rest.

8. MISTAKES DO NOT DEFINE YOU

We all make mistakes. You do. Others do. And mistakes can really hurt. But your mistakes don’t define you. You may feel crushed under the weight of mistakes. Either your mistakes or the mistakes of others. But you are far more than these mistakes. And there is always hope for true redemption. And that starts with Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13:12NLT | Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.

9. THE WORLD IS BETTER WITH YOU IN IT.

You are meant to be here. You are not an accident. God designed and shaped you. You are a beloved part of His creation, not something to be cast away. So your life matters. Your value is not based on someone else’s inability to see your worth.
Psalms 139:14NIV | Fearfully and wonderfully made

10. LONELY IS NOT A LIFE SENTENCE

We all get lonely. God is relational, even when our prayers seem like they are stopping at the ceiling. He is always with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us, and He brings us out of loneliness by surrounding us with His people. Take this opportunity to find a youth group.
1 Peter 3:12NLT | The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to
their prayers.

11. YOU CAN RISE ABOVE YOUR REPUTATION

When your reputation is damaged it is very hard to overcome it. And it hurts even more when that reputation is not deserved. Many people have risen above their bad reputations and turned them around—because of Jesus. Jesus who gives people endless second chances.
Isaiah 26:3NIV | You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you…

12. THERE IS FREEDOM FROM SHAME

We all have stories of shame. Shame can be so destructive in our lives, and it feels like there is no escape. Even shame as deep as that of rape and abuse. But there is freedom from shame through the love of Jesus. Jesus sees you as you are, yet still loves you. And He died to take away your pain, and write a new story in your life.
1 Peter 2:24NLT | By His wounds you are healed…

13. YOU ARE LOVED

Even if you feel all the people around you show you no love, God will always love you. He has done the dying so you don’t have to. And He wants you to come home to a loving relationship with Him, to a relationship with His people.

God’s people are imperfect, and will stuff it up and let you down at some stage, but they will do their best to love you. All because they were loved first by a God who is love.

John 3:16ESV | For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Each of these reason why not to commit suicide show us there is hope. There is love. A love we can find imperfectly in those around us. But also a love we can find perfectly in Jesus. There is a loving God who made you, loves you, and died to bring you home to Him. That really affects everything like nothing else.

Misconceptions: 1

 

‘Give yourself wholly… so that everyone may see your progress.’ 1 Timothy 4:15 NIV

Here’s some faulty thinking about success:

(1) It’s impossible.

In our instant, high-tech, easy-access world we can easily assume anything difficult must be impossible. So when success does elude us we shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Who needs it anyway?’ And if someone we consider less deserving than ourselves actually is successful, we get upset and critical.

(2) It can be bought.

Seth Godin says: ‘We need to stop shopping for lightning bolts. You don’t win an Olympic medal with a few weeks of intensive training. There’s no such thing as an overnight opera sensation. Great companies [and great churches] don’t spring up overnight… every great thing has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.’ There are no shortcuts; you must be willing to pay the price.

(3) It comes by chance.

‘He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.’ So we hope and pray for the same. If you’re serious about succeeding, you’ll agree with the small-business owner who posted this sign in his store: ‘The 57 Rules of Success: Rule one: Deliver the goods. Rule two: The other 56 don’t matter!’ Or there’s the old saying that goes: ‘The harder I work, the luckier I get.’

So what does the Bible say? Paul shared his formula for success with Timothy, and it’s one that works in all areas of life: ‘Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.’

SoulFood: Dan 6:1–24, Acts 12:1–19

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2017

Today’s Readings

Daniel 6:1-24

6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

Acts 12:1-19

12:1 About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and to the brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there. (ESV)

Sun 10 September, 2017


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