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L, a girl from my church, and I have started meeting up once a week (unless she has exams) to read the Bible. We meet at a cafe in Eastgardens, read a passage, chew over the big ideas and any questions we might have, and try and work out how to apply it in our lives (otherwise known as the Swedish method of Bible study). Then we pray about what we’ve discussed and any other things each of us wants prayer for.

The first thing I want to note about it is how wonderful it is that we can meet in a crowded shopping mall and do this. We can sit in public and read the Bible (on our phones) and pray aloud, and we barely even get noticed, let alone harrassed. I am so grateful that we live in a place where we can take our religious freedom for granted, compared to other places in the world.

The second thing is I am amazed at the change in me and proud of the young woman L is becoming. When I was her age, I would barely read the Bible (even though I was going to church every week), and would have been mortified to do something like pray in public. I’m grateful for the excellent Bible teaching and pastoring that people of L’s age in our particular Christian circles have had. It’s certainly much more robust than anything I had when I was a teenager.

And third I am so, so grateful for the living word of God. We are reading Philippians, which is probably my favourite book of the Bible. And already it has shown so much to us about living upright, godly and unafraid lives for Christ. Today we read the end of chapter one, where Paul says “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” It reminded us that while we are on this earth, even if life seems pointless or frustrating or hard, it is because God still has “fruitful labor” for us to do.

We also talked about heaven, and what a great party it’s going to be, and why would you choose not to go there? And no matter what suffering we face here, it’ll be nothing compared to how awesome heaven will be (or how awful hell will be – but thank God we don’t have to go there!). We like talking about heaven. I mean that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To strive and work and persevere so we can get to heaven and be with Jesus. Why wouldn’t we like talking about it?!