When Life Drags You Down


When Life Drags You Down

I hate it when life drags me down—don’t you?  The day can start off so very swimmingly, and then within minutes…

…a parent yells at you
…a friend texts with bad news
…you feel a cold coming on
…the car breaks down
…the weather stinks

And before you know it, what seemed like a day that would be a walk in the park turns into a sluggish journey through the muck.

Perhaps that’s what the lads from One Direction were thinking about when they wrote the song Drag Me Down. Check out these lyrics:

We all long for someone to pick us up when we’ve been dragged down.

All my life
You stood by me
When no one else was ever behind me
All these lights
They can’t blind me
With your love, nobody can drag me down

This song was released with zero pre-marketing, and yet it still hit #1 like a bullet. Although much of the song’s success is due to the power of the 1D fandom (as in they would all download a recording of the boys brushing their teeth—right?), there is a common connection that we all have with the need for someone to pick us up when we have been dragged down.

The problem, though, is the fact that everyone on the planet is often in a state of being dragged down themselves, therefore we are depending on the dragged down to drag us up, even though they are in a state of draggedness—what a drag!

So while the song is a very complimentary shout out to whoever is helping Harry, Liam, Louis and Niall out of the grind and strain and drudgery of their circumstances, perhaps there is another source of hope and strength to which we could turn when life drags us down?

My advice would be to ask the person in the Bible who was pretty much dragged as low as any human being could get.  His name is David—who you may know as King David. But did you know he was also pauper David, hunted David and heartbroken David? He hung out with disgusting and dirty sheep, and he reigned as the monarch of Israel.  He was a skilled warrior, but he knew defeat and despair.

And on top of all his life experiences, he was a songwriter who composed a range of poetic refrains that ranged from an overjoyed heart, to music that reflected a heart that had been dragged down into the pit.

You could say that David’s psalms were all pointed one direction!

But the common theme to all his songs was his constant and abiding faith in the God who would never leave Him or forsake him.

You could say that David’s psalms were all pointed one direction!

And here is one of the songs he wrote while under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that I turn to when life drags me down:

I look to the mountains;
where will my help come from?
My help will come from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let you fall;
your protector is always awake.
The protector of Israel
never dozes or sleeps.
The Lordwill guard you;
he is by your side to protect you.
The sun will not hurt you during the day,
nor the moon during the night.
The Lord will protect you from all danger;
he will keep you safe.
He will protect you as you come and go
now and forever
(Psalm 121:1-8, GNT).

What an amazing reminder of this truth from God’s word! Not even the strength of the mighty mountains compares with the power and might of God in our lives, so why would we trust in any single person when the Creator of the universe stands ready to help us?

When Life Drags You Down

I like One Direction’s contention that at the heart of giving them strength is the love of another person. Love is like an all powerful magnet that pulls us out of the yuck and muck of life’s ever changing circumstances, but there is no love on earth that matches the love from the God who made heaven and earth.

So the next time life drags you down, lift your eyes out of your circumstances and remember these encouraging instructions:

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor (Hebrews 12:2, The Voice).

With Your love, Jesus, nothing can drag us down!

Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action

When life drags you down this week, look up to Jesus, who loves us with an everlasting love!

Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause

Pray: Jesus, thank You even for the times when life drags us down, because it is then we are reminded of Your great love for us. Please give us opportunities to help others out of life’s pits as well.

Read: Jeremiah 31:3.
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself…”

Get:  Fearless…Unleashing God’s Fierce Love In Your World. Start you new school year off right with the Fearless student devotional. These 28 days of daily devos in the book of Ephesians are designed to help you grow in your understanding of God’s love, and help you unpack how you can unleash that love in your own world.

Parent Cue: For The Win


Winning is fun, isn’t it? No one ever starts a basketball game hoping to lose. We don’t go to band practice because we want to take last place in our competition. We don’t start a video game wanting our character to be elliminated first. No way. We play to win. Why? Because winning is awesome. It feels great. In fact, sports and video games probably aren’t the only place you want to be a winner.
Do you want to be successful when it comes to school? Sure! How about money? Your future? Friendships? You probably answered “all of the above”. Basically we all want to win at life. And while there’s no way to guarantee you will win in every area, there are some things you can do to help you get there.
In fact, there’s an entire book in the Bible, the book of Proverbs, dedicated to giving solid advice that can help us win at life. During this series, we’ll take a look at five verses from Proverbs that can set you up for the win in the areas you care about the most.

Think About This:

During this series, your student is learning five key principles from the Bible than can help them win in some of the areas of life that they care about the most: their friends, future, family, money, and love life. This series delves into the book of Proverbs—a book full of wisdom—and intends to set up your student with the most success when it comes to them making the best choices now and well into adulthood.
There’s a good chance that, while these are great principles for your teenager, you may find they’re helpful in your life as well. More importantly, when you student sees you putting these ideas into action, they’re more likely to follow suit. Take a look at what we’re talking about during this series and see if there’s an area you already model the principle described or if there’s one that may be worth working on in the future.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1 NIV). When it comes to your friendships, you can see the drama coming and steer around it or you can stir up with harsh words. The choice is yours.

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty (Proverbs 14:23 NIV). It’s easy to talk about all the things we want to do, but it’s a lot harder to turn those “want to’s” into a reality. Often, the only difference between a wish and a goal is creating a plan and working hard to make it happen.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23 NIV). We all have appetites. Whether it’s shopping, making money, looking good or getting people to notice you, we all have things that we want. But are those appetites healthy? If we want to guard our hearts, there are some appetites we simply should not feed.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25 NIV). In a world that always offers more, it’s easy to feel constantly dissatisfied with what you have, no matter how much or how little. But that’s a miserable way to live. Generosity, with your money, time and belongings, can offer something that selfishness never will—a quenching of the thirst for more.

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11 NIV). Even though all of us are taught patience when we’re little, nearly no one practices it all the time. It’s especially hard to be patient with the people you are around the most—your family. But when you choose to see beyond the moment and see the whole situation from someone else’s perspective, sometimes that will give you just what you need to overlook the little things with the ones you love.

Soul Fuel: We Live in a Rogue Nation


We Live in a Rogue Nation

Most (if not all of us) have things we love about summer…

Maybe going to the pool? Taking trips to the lake, beach or mountains?

Or just plain old having time off from school and sipping lemonade in your backyard?

But one of the things I love most about summer is the massive competition between movie companies for the best blockbuster! The end result is about a half-dozen films that provide two or more hours of “cure for the occasional summertime blahs.”

what do you love most about summer?And my vote—for what it’s worth—is the spectacular return of Ethan Hunt and his stellar crew in MI5—Rogue Nation. Adore him or abhor him for his personal life and other (ahem) affiliations, anyone who literally hangs on to the door of a jet while it’s taking off has got my respect!

And from that opening scene, the plot keeps ascending and Tom keeps cruising while the audience is strapped in for a cinematic ride with the disavowed IMF running for their lives and simultaneously trying to save others.

But wait a minute…if you’re a Christ follower, doesn’t that storyline sound a little familiar in real life? Not that you should try the jaw-dropping stunts that Ethan Hunt pulls off, but let’s look at a few of the fascinating parallels between the movie Mission: Impossible and the seemingly impossible mission of the believer:

First, are we—no matter what country on earth we inhabit—living in a “rogue nation”? Well, if the definition of rogue is “dishonest” and “evil,” then the Bible tells us we all very definitely citizens of just such a world!  Jesus tells us that the devil is “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30), and that his purpose is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). The villains in the MI series are often secretive and shadowy, but our archenemy is openly seeking to devastate and obliterate those who name Jesus as their Savior!

The Bible also warns that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Lions often use deception and misdirection, so we always need to be vigilant and wise about whom we trust and who might be out to get us!

Second, do we have a seemingly impossible mission and incredible weapons to use in our efforts to fulfill it? You betcha!

The Bible unveils our arsenal in this way:

It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, TLB).

Ethan Hunt and gang may have the latest and greatest techno-weapons that nobody sees coming, but as believers we have the very armor of God and the infinite power of prayer to Almighty God on our side!

we have a seemingly impossible mission...How do we use these spiritual armaments? We wake up each morning asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and Jesus to give us wisdom in our decisions. Then throughout the day we focus on how we can reach out to the lost and share the love of God and the truth of the gospel with everyone we can.

Though we are being hounded and harassed in this rogue nation, we must make use of the defenses He has provided for us, then get on our knees and fight relentlessly!

Fight for what? Well, that brings us to the Mission: Impossible…

He told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20, TLB).

Jesus gives every believer this mission, and at face value, it very much seems impossible. How are we to “make disciples” of every rogue nation? On our own, there is no way. But, He promises to be with us “always, even to the end of the world.” In other words, when the going gets tough and we’ve lost the will to keep fighting for THE Cause of Christ, it is then that we sense His power and presence working in our lives, and we find the strength to battle for the souls of our friends and families for another day.

So enjoy the pool, the lake, the beach and the mountains, but don’t sit all summer sipping lemonade and watching movies, because we have an impossible mission to accomplish, made possible by the very power and presence of Jesus Christ!

You may not be Ethan Hunt, but you are a follower of Jesus Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit on a Mission: Incredible! Make great use of your remaining summer and enjoy the adventure God has laid at your feet!

PRAY: Lord God, we are humbled by the task that You have given us to make disciples of all nations. Help us stay focused on what is truly important as we live each day by faith in You.
READ: Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
GET: Dare 2 Share: A Field Guide to Sharing Your Faith. Newly revised and updated! Pick up a copy of this essential faith sharing how-to manual. Learn how to intentionally engage others in real, give-and-take dialogue and invite them into the most life-changing relationship they’ll ever experience. Get ready for the conversation that matters most!

Live THE Cause

Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “Want a thrilling summer mission? Check out this week’s devo: http://hubs.ly/H011Bkz0

LEADERS: Be sure to check out the Discussion Guide for this week’s Soul Fuel – We Live in a Rogue Nation!

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