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Theology => Bible Study => Topic started by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 09:14:09 AM



Title: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 09:14:09 AM
 He Came, He Sought, He Saved


 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost,” (Luke 19:10).

When I was in High School back in the day, I loved to play sports. One of my favorite lines after we won a game was, “We came, we saw, and we conquered!” What a feeling that would run through our veins when we won! We would get crazy!

You know what? Jesus did the same, but in a slightly different manner.  He came, He sought, and He saved!  Just think, Jesus, the Son of God, which spoke and galaxies came into existence, stars burned into place, and the heavens and the earth unleashed in power and glory, came to this earth to seek us out, and to save us!

The more and more that I look at my salvation the more and more that I adore the Savior who sought me out, and saved me. Then, I ask myself, what kind of response does that deserve?  The answer is my everything!  Everything that I am is because of Christ, and therefore, everything that I am belongs to Him! Praise the Lord for seeking me, and giving me salvation!  May God’s Grace Abound in You!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 09:17:16 AM
 The Greatest


 “And whoever would be greatest among you, let him be the servant of all.” (Matthew 20:27)

I used to think this was a command of Jesus intended for those who were great among Christians, telling them how they should behave towards others. Leaders should act as servants. Those especially gifted should use that gift for those less gifted. Those with the most faith should impart to those with less faith. While all these definitions are true in some sense, the verse is more accurately an instruction from the Savior to anyone who wishes to become great among believers.

Jesus is giving us divine advice on how to make ourselves great Christians. He is saying that the one who serves all, is greatest. And he is greatest, not just because he serves all, but because in serving all, he grows in himself all the beautiful attributes of God, who lowered himself to human form and came to serve, not to be served.

Many people have aspired to be better Christians by memorizing scripture, earning theological degrees, starting ministries, fasting, and praying without ceasing. But the weightier matters of the faith - mercy, grace, love, etc., are made full in a believer the most when that believer is giving of his own strength, and especially of his own time, in order to benefit somebody else. This means the hard stuff—things we don’t particularly look forward to. Jesus epitomized this practice when He stooped down and washed the dirty feet of His own disciples, when they should’ve been washing His.

So, while God gives us a form of service to Him that is also a gift to us, and pleasing. God says we are doing the greater work when we step out and serve our fellow man. And by Jesus’ example, obviously that form of service will not always be the most appealing. But if we would become great Christians, it is most necessary for the character it instills in us is basic Godliness. 



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 01:28:25 PM
 Independence is Impossible


“Yes, I [Jesus] am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15: 5)

Have you ever visited a vineyard?  Have you ever studied the structure of a grapevine itself?  If you haven’t maybe you or your parents have a house plant or two, and if you aren’t the best of green thumbs, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen plants in nature, in your front yard perhaps.  If you have seen any of these instances of nature then you surely know that, if you separate part of a plant from its roots (life source) it will surely die within a short amount of time.  That branch/vine is dependant upon the root for its food and energy to survive, much like us Christians who are dependent upon Jesus for our spiritual and physical survival.

Often many of us have struggled with the notion of independence. Maybe stubborn thoughts like, “God, I want to believe in you, but I don’t want to give up my freedoms of what I have here on earth,” “I want to do your works Lord, but I don’t have any time,” or, “I’m going to be a Christian my way!” have crossed your mind.  With thoughts like these it’s hard for us to fully give our lives to God like He asks us to, and therefore as Christians, we find great struggle within ourselves.  We become stubborn and form brick walls that don’t allow anyone or anything to help us to be better Christians. We cut ourselves off from our life source. 

Humankind declared its independence from God in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve believed the lie that they could live apart from God. Since then, we humans have been constantly struggling to do it our way.  When reading John 15: 5, one thing that we have to realize about independence is that true independence from God is impossible.  There’s no way we can function effectively if we are cut off from any outside help just like the vine cannot grow when it has been cut from the root.  We are like branches in the vineyard and God is our life source; without Him we cannot grow and flourish to produce more fruit of His vine.  Jesus is the true vine, and we are all connected to Him, we’ll never truly be productive. 

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I encourage you to give everything to God and realize that He is your life source.  Remember that Jesus is the true vine, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me,” (John 15: 4).   We cannot function being totally independent from Him.  Pray and ask Jesus to be your Life Source.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 01:29:27 PM
 Prayer is the Remedy

By: Jeff Lappano

”Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” (James 5:16).

Let’s look at the final two phrases of James 5:16, one by one. "Pray for one another that you may be healed." How many of you are ill right now? Maybe you have the flu, or a cold, or some of you maybe suffering with something worse, such as cancer or tumors. And just maybe, those of you who are sick just mope around the house all day, "I'm sick." If that's you I challenge you to stop that right now! Many of you who are sick probably know someone who is ill as well or has something else going on in his or her life. Did you know you could get well just by praying for others?  

I believe this has a sowing/reaping principle. Galatians 6:7, tells us what this principle is, "You will always reap (harvest, get back) what you sow (to scatter or draw out). Pray for others, or scatter the seed, that you may be healed (or harvest that which you given). I testify unto you that this works!  When I don't feel well, yes I take some time to rest, but then I get up and pray for people, and I receive that which I have sown! "The effectual fervent (active zeal, powerful) prayer of a righteous man avails much (exercises much force abundantly).  

I encourage you to stay hooked up in prayer. There is power in prayer! The other night I was asked to pray for a girl with a rash by e-mail, so I decided to see if she was on-line. She was, and so I asked her if I could pray for her by Instant Message. She gave me the permission to do so, and she was healed. As I finish this teaching, I encourage you to stay in prayer that you  may be effective in this powerful weapon against the enemy, in Jesus' name.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 01:30:39 PM
 Light in Darkness

By: Ariel D. Gant

You are the light of the world - like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all to see.  Matthew 5:14-15

Have you ever driven through the mountains in the middle of the night? There are usually a few houses that are barely visible, hidden among the trees and bushes, high atop the hill. I remember when I was little, my parents and I went on vacation to Florida from Indiana. We drove all the way there and back, and a lot of the driving was done at night. I woke up one night while we were driving back home through Tennessee and looked up to the top of a mountain to see one little light glowing. But, in the midst of darkness - no streetlights, no other buildings - this one little house, besides the moon and the stars, was the only thing that lit up the night sky. And wow, was it beautiful and amazing. In fact, I think it was one of the things that made me fall in love with Tennessee.

When I read this verse, I thought of that mountain and that one little light. It seemed so small and insignificant. I'll bet most of the people around there didn't even notice it. But, it shone so brightly that it attracted one little girl's attention in the middle of the night. And from the back seat of the car, she watched until it was out of sight.

Somehow, that light seemed so special then. And now I realize how inspiring it is. We are to be as that city on the mountain - as small, seemingly insignificant, and unnoticeable as it is, it attracts the attention of those who need it and shows a testimony of who God is. More people than you realize see your faith and are intrigued, inspired, and encouraged. But, more importantly, God sees it and is glorified. Be a light to your city, community, and school. You might be amazed at those who are touched by it.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 14, 2005, 01:31:37 PM
 Real Friendships

By: Beth Hays

And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. (1 Samuel 18:3-4)  NIV

I’ve heard it said several times that all friendships should have the beauty and depth of David and Jonathan’s. And I’ve prayed countless times for God to give me someone like that. I guess I didn’t realize I had to be ready to be that kind of friend before I could have that kind of friend.

I went most of my life without knowing the preciousness of a best friend. And the loneliness seemed unbearable at times. I had acquaintances and even a few surface friendships, but very few heartfelt, deep ones. God has since taught me that I didn’t yet know how to love, as a friend should. Friends should love the other as themselves. Well, I could love people like I loved me. The problem was that I didn’t love me.

I realized that I wouldn’t sacrifice things for me, let alone another human being. And I started to see that all those years searching for a friend were worthless until I knew how to be one. Over the past few years I have worked endlessly on trying to find worth in my heart and see God’s reflection in me.

Once I gained glimpses of this, I was able to see Him in others too. It wasn’t until I started to love myself that I could love anyone else. And just about the time I thought I cared enough about myself to sacrifice and care for me, I was given an amazing gift by someone who was also willing to sacrifice and care for me. I do have a best friend now and I love her dearly. And our friendship is as deep and precious as I imagine Jonathan and David’s must have been. But, I couldn’t have had or understood it without first seeing the beauty in me.

So many of you have shown me your intense loneliness and it breaks my heart. You deserve a friend so close that the relationship is as comfortable as a family should be. But, sometimes God waits to give us what we want until we can appreciate it. I hope and pray that you can begin to see the beauty in you and the reflections of our creator in His creations. And may that knowledge lead to beautiful friendships rooted in the God of love.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 15, 2005, 03:09:10 PM
 Making Your Resloution a Reality

By: Tony B. Rhoda

And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. (Hebrews 12:1-2) NLT

Every year we sit down and write out what we would like to change about ourselves. What aspect we could improve upon or start doing for the first time. Whether it is working out, working on better grades, or becoming a stronger Christian, we all tend to spend time thinking about the one thing we would like to do differently.

The concept of a resolution is a great one. Who doesn't have something they would like to do differently each year. Each January 1st we are a little older and wiser. We look back over the past year and can name a number of things we would like to do over again.

Whether it is be a litte nicer to people, go to church more, or spend more time with God and the Bible. It starts out as a great idea, but why is it more often then not we fail at keeping them. It becomes just another nice thought and empty plan that fades away.

This year let's make our resolution a reality. Let us focus on Jesus and find someone to keep us accountable. Whether it is a friend, neighbor, or pastor, make sure they call you up and keep you focused on the race. Sure you might get tired, you might want to give up, but the reward of completeing a goal you set out for will definitly outway the pain it took to get there. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 15, 2005, 03:10:16 PM
 Being A Heartbreaker

By: Brittany Waller

"I will give them a new heart and a new mind. I will take away their stubborn heart of stone and will give them an obedient heart." (Ezekiel 11:19)

Don't you wish some days you could change the hearts and minds of non-believers? Well I do every day! You want them to share in God's Word and see His light. I have many friends who are non-believers, and I can't even mention God around them without offending them. It hurts because they have built stonewalls around their hearts and minds.

Sometimes I think there is no hope. But, what we have to remember is that even if everything else is gone we must have hope. So, I turn to God and ask Him for help. Just being able to talk to God makes my soul soar with renewed persistence to carry on.

With the help of God we can change hearts, so let's get to work! I got my tool belt! You ask what is in this tool belt? Well let's take a look. A hammer to break the stone away, and do not run after your friends with this hammer, I meant it figuratively not literally. Safety comes first! Three nails to remember Jesus died on the cross to save us. A flashlight, because Jesus is the light of the world and of course you cannot forget the batteries. God's love is like the energizer bunny, it keeps going, and going, and going.

Not to disappoint you, but you are not going to break the stone away from every heart. Many people are stubborn and set in their ways. But, just being the Christian you are will reflect God's Word and change the hearts and minds of some and eventually break that stone away.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 20, 2005, 07:41:04 PM
  The Journey

By: Steve Self
Steve@tddm.org

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Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way robbers attacked him. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luke 10:30 (The Message)

Too many people are in the same condition as the guy in this story.  They are naked, beaten, bloody, bruised and left half-dead.  But this assault isn’t something that’s happened physically, it is emotional and spiritual and all of it is hidden under a façade of happiness, it’s hidden under a mask of being ‘ok’.  The church should be a place where that mask can be taken off so that some trustworthy people can see this pain.  When that happens they can clean and bandage these wounds and nurse you back to health.

When people get hurt like this, emotionally and spiritually, they can become afraid, embarrassed, and scared.  Satan somehow takes this situation and places blame on the victim.  Unfortunately too many victims begin to believe him.  They believe they somehow caused this to happen to themselves.  These circumstances can be anything from neglect, abandonment, physical or emotional abuse, even rape.  That is not the whole list, but hopefully you get the idea.

I want to point out a couple of things in this passage you might not have seen before.  Notice is says the guy is going on a journey; this journey is the same as a person’s life. Life is a journey as you grow.  Then it says “on the way”, too many people who have been hurt believe they were born with these issues and the associated pain that goes along with them (another lie from Satan).  He was attacked.  He didn’t ask for it, he couldn’t have seen it coming; it happened and was over with before his brain could process it.  Don’t look back and say, “If I had just (insert phrase here) then it wouldn’t have happened or I could have stopped it.”  You couldn’t have stopped it any more than the guy in this story.

I said the church should be the place where we can show our wounds and get help and healing.  Too often we try to pretend everything is ok, but let me leave you with one last thought.  The church is not a place for perfect people; if you are perfect then you don’t belong in church.  The church is a hospital for sinners.  The cool thing about the church is that we are not only patients, but we can be part of the medical staff as well.  Don’t go to church and hide this pain, find someone who can help you work through it, there are people available.  After all, not getting help in church is like getting a broken arm and going to the hospital hoping to get help, but all the while you’re wearing a thick coat and acting like everything is fine.  It’s time to let the doctors do their job.  You can quit hurting, you can be fixed and you can be whole.  God promises us that, all you have to do is accept His help.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on October 20, 2005, 07:41:57 PM
  How To Shine

By: Matt Crawford
Matt@tddm.org

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"If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as noonday."
(Isaiah 58:10)

So often we forget the things, which should be the fruit of our salvation. Things that go beyond our prayer time, our Bible study, our "ministry" as we know it  --things that work repentance and humility in our hearts for God in a way that no other "religious" practice could come close to. We forget the basic concepts of easing the yoke for others, helping the poor, and going out of our way -- sacrificing -- to comfort the afflicted.

Even before Christ began his public ministry, John the Baptist preached repentance to the people to prepare their hearts for the Lord that was to come. When they asked him what they should do, his first reply was "let him who has two coats give to he who has none." And the Bible makes it clear that John's only purpose was to fill in the valleys, to level the hills, and to make straight the path of the Lord. The hearts of the people needed to be set in repentance, producing fruit accordingly, so that they would be ready to accept Christ's words in their heart when he arrived.

So often is a "life-enhancing" gospel of personal fulfillment, joy, and love preached, we set aside and forget the righteous and pleasing deeds God requires. "Share your bread with the hungry," "bring to your house the poor who are cast out," "when you see the naked, cover him" (Isaiah 58). Yet, if John the Baptist, who was full of the Spirit from birth, was supposed to ready the people's hearts for Christ by calling them to such deeds, do we who profess Christ is supposed to ignore the heart of God while claiming to be His children?

Like all God's pleas or requirements, the call to "extend your soul to the hungry" is meant to bring us goodness, not to deprive us of it. For the scripture goes on to say that our light shall dawn in the darkness, and even our darkness shall be as the noonday. The work that such action will wrought in our heart is so profound that even in our bad moments, at our darkest times, we will shine like the sun at it's brightest of the day.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 02, 2005, 12:43:24 PM
  Push

By: Mandie Ross
Mandie@tddm.org



“Therefore…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”              
1 Corinthians 15:58

I am reminded of a story of a man and a rock. God asked this man to push against this very large, and heavy rock. Everyday the man went out and pushed against it but no matter how hard he tried the rock wouldn’t move. Finally he cried out “Lord, I’ve done what You’ve told me to do. But Lord, this rock won’t move.” I suppose God chuckled as He confirmed, “I asked you to push against the rock, not move it. But with your perseverance to do what I have asked you’ve developed much strength.”

I would guess that most of us are like this man. Sometimes we get anxious because we want something that we’re not getting fast enough. And other times we feel so burdened and stressed out by everything going on in our lives. I’m sure so many of us have overscheduled ourselves, trying to make ourselves feel productive. And at the same time we succumb ourselves to the anxiety of our own future plans…as if the stress from our already busy lives isn’t enough. But it comes to a point where we feel Mary on one shoulder, and Martha on the other. One is begging us to do, do, do. And the other is pleading for us to just sit at the feet of Jesus.

There are so many things, whether they are the stress of overdoing ourselves, anxiety about the future, or tantalizing worldly temptations, that can get us sidetracked from our purpose. We let fear, worry, doubt, and temptation get into our hearts. But God only asks us to do what He asks us to do, and nothing more. He asks us to push up against our adversities, not to be moved because of them. So pretend that big rock contains all the things that take our focus off of what God wants us to do with our lives. Turn your back to it with your arms folded and feel the sun on your face. Turn to it and push to get your strength. Show it that you’re not troubled by it being there, but that you’ll work around it. Let God be the one to take care of that rock. Let Him be the one who moves you.  




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 05, 2005, 09:11:03 PM
  The Promises of God

By: Jeff Lappano
Jeff@tddm.org



“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to
me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the
thing for
which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

I heard a preacher say something so interesting one time that it stuck with
me and I want to share it with you. What we consider to be promise of God,
He considers a prophecy. What does that mean and how does it work? Whatever
God says has to come to pass; as it is written that God is not a man that He
should lie. Whether He speaks a prediction type of prophecy or he speaks
just a simple word, it can only come to pass.

Has the Lord ever made a promise to you? If you’re His child, chances are
that yes He has promised made a promise to you! That’s point A, and point B
being of course, getting a hold of that promise. It can be a long road from
Point A to B; just remember Israel from their flight from Egypt to the
Promise Land! However, we have the benefits of the instructions of the Word!
First of all we should write down the promise. Secondly, we need to wait on
the Lord for Him to bring that promise to pass.

As time progresses on you can surely bet that the devil will come to you and
tell you that God is liar and will not fulfill His promises. We must always
remember that the promise is for an appointed time. God already has perfect
timing, and knows the exact day when it will come to pass, we are commanded
to wait on it because God is not a liar! God’s word will always come to pass
when He want it to.

So, check it out, I want you to think about what God has spoken to you. It
sure has been a while since He spoke about it, hasn’t it? It will come to
pass, I promise you! How do I know?  Because the Bible tells us so!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 05, 2005, 09:12:18 PM
  Scared?

By: Steve Self
Steve@tddm.org


“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’"   Matthew 26:38-39(NIV)

"If you are a Christian, life will be perfectly easy and all your problems will magically dissolve away." That is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard, but that lie doesn't normally come from other people, it comes from Satan who can be a loud voice inside us.  He tells us we aren't really Christians when things mess up or if we struggle with problems, because he tells us you shouldn't be afraid of anything if you are a Christian.  By following Satan's advice, we totally leave the example that Jesus taught us right before He died.

I've heard people say that if you are a Christian, you shouldn't fear death.  I don't fear death but I'm a little concerned with the journey from here to there.  Being anxious, hurt and even being scared is normal.  God gave us emotions, while fear does not come from Him; it comes from the sin and death in the world.

As we look at the actions of Jesus in this passage, Jesus is overwhelmed terribly by what is going to happen.  He is worried and He tells the disciples He took with Him about His feelings.  Not only was Jesus real, He was honest.  He didn't pretend that everything was going to be OK, He didn't act like "a good Christian would" because true good Christians are real.  I have actually heard preachers tell people with terminal illnesses that, "A true Christian would not be afraid".  That is a lie.  Sometimes life is scary!  When you follow God it can get even scarier.  If you don't believe that, e-mail me and I will be glad to tell you about the first time I preached a sermon!

As Christians, we are to be real, not perfect.  Following God can be scary and we can get into situations where it may mean our life is at stake.  But I want to be sure to point out one last thing here.  Look at what Jesus prays to God, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."  Sometimes God may ask us to do things that terrify us, but He will never give you a job without the right tools.  You may even lose your life for it, and you have every right to be scared or worried, but remember that God is in control and truly the safest place is to be in the middle of God's will.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 06, 2005, 10:39:41 AM
  He Knows The Feeling

By: Beth Hays


“In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”
s(Isaiah 63:9) NLT

God and I have been discussing suffering a lot lately. Maybe that’s because my life seems to be full of it. I’ll bet some of you can relate. Every time I pick up my head, there is another reason to drop it again. But, friend, I have some amazing encouragement straight from the heart of God.

He knows the feeling. Wow! Just take a minute and fathom that. Jesus felt what we feel. He knows hurt, abuse, abandonment, rejection, loneliness, and so much more in greater portions than we do. He was here on this earth and went through so much more than we face. (But including everything we face!) His eyes were wet with tears and his throat dry from screaming. But, more than all of that, He feels every hurt your heart has. Your body holds God Himself and everything you feel, He feels. He knows.

But, He didn’t stop there. He knows the hurt, but He also has a way out. He has come in the midst of the mess in your life, and He is holding your hand, and He is offering a way out. He personally is offering to rescue you. He’ll walk you out of the storm, simply because He adores you. It’s love that calls Him to reach into your world and gently pull you up to His.

And that love never goes away! It will last, “through all the years.” That means NOTHING that has happened, is happening, or will happen can affect the fact that Christ has redeemed you and will show you the way out if you let Him. My precious friend let Jesus, “lift you up and carry you,” through the suffering,” in your world. He knows the suffering and He has the strength and power to turn it into something beautiful.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 06, 2005, 10:40:58 AM
  Wail For The Nations

By: Adam R. Rinehart


"Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty." Isaiah 13:6 (New International Version)

This past week here in Indiana, I had the wonderful opportunity of enjoying some of this Indiana weather.  You see, Indiana weather can change in a heartbeat.  One minute it can be raining and the next minute turn to ice.  That was last week.  I spent most of the week working, cleaning up water that decided its only way out was through my basement. The whole time that I was working on these things, the Holy Spirit reminded me, "This could be worse.  You could be one of those victims over on the other side of the world having to deal with an even bigger flood."

The tsunami, the mudslides, and even here in Indiana with floods occurring all over the place, reminded me more and more that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is at hand.   Then, the Lord led me to this Scripture,  "Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;"  Isaiah was prophesying this upon Israel, and for sure the wrath of the Lord was near and at hand.  My question is, "Lord, why wail? Why do you want us to protest loudly with bitter lament over your coming return?"  Friends, Isaiah wanted the people to wail because some of them would not be spared from the destruction.  You see, those of us who know Jesus as our personal Savior know that our ticket to heaven is already in hand.  The problem is there are people that do not have a ticket!

Are you willing to tear your ticket in half so that someone else may have the opportunity to go as well?  When was the last time that your heart grieved and wailed because you knew that someone close to you was going to die and go to Hell?  When was the last time that you shared about your ticket to heaven so that someone else could be spared?  The time is now!  If you do not know Christ as your personal Savior, the time is now in order for you to be spared as well.  Please feel free to contact a member of our staff and we would love to share with you the salvation from the wrath of God.  May God's Grace Abound in you!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 06, 2005, 10:42:20 AM
  Every One Unique

By: Jenna Joyner

“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way.  This all happened on the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31) NLT

I came across an AWESOME epiphany this morning.  

I have always been different from "the norm" mentally and physically. Being 5'11," 165lbs, and obviously a horse of a different color left me feeling a little too creative, a little too funny for a girl, a little too deep thinking, a little too chubby, a little too tall, a little too smart, and a little too artistic. I've always been honored with who God created me as and have always been happy to show my true colors, but I have always longed to be a little more normal.

As I opened my day with a prayer to God, he told me something stupendous and I got so humbled and blessed from it that I can't believe that I have been so ungrateful.  I have heard plenty of times that God created me to be who I am, but He focused my thoughts on that same truth from a different perspective: He CHOSE me to be unique.  He showed me I couldn’t be unique and "normal" at the same time.  He showed me that everyone's meaning of "normal" is different, and what is truly normal is to be who God created you to be.  He wanted to bless me with the opportunity to add some spice to everyone's life.  He honored me as an originalwork of his hands.  I had never fully realized this.

It has changed me a lot in only a matter of minutes.  No longer will I be envious of the "beautiful people" or anyone who has talents different from mine. Now, I am truly able to see others in a loving eye, not a critical one.  I don't have to try to love my neighbor, I see that God chose them to be who they are and I am who I am through the Almighty's plan.  I feel so content with myself and that, at least, is one person who you cannot get away from.  You can't love everyone else properly until you love yourself.  We all serve a different process in God's body.  I am God's Only chosen Jenna.  The King of all wanted me this way and loves me unconditionally for it.  That is a miracle.  God is wonderful!!!  

Maybe He wants to bless you with the same truth.  You were chosen by the One who spun the universe and keeps our galaxy in rotation to be who you are. Listen, you hear that? It's God.




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 08, 2005, 06:18:21 PM
  A Fisher of Men

By: Adam R. Rinehart
Adam@tddm.org


"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)

I am sitting here in my office, thinking about all of the snow coming our way, and all of the work that I have to do before it gets here.  In times like these my daydreaming mind always wanders to something pleasant. Like, a quiet lake with just me and the elements, and seeing how many worms I can drown. There are times that I just wish that I could put a sign out on the church entrance that says, "Gone Fishing!  If you need me, call my cell."

Do you enjoy fishing? Have you ever caught a fish? Fishing is a great sport, and if you have ever been fishing, you know that there is such a wonderful excitement when you actually catch a fish. One of the things that makes fishing such a great sport is that it doesn't matter if you are young or old, or if you are a girl or a boy –you can still catch a fish. What does it take to be good at catching fish?

First of all, you need to be properly equipped. You can't just get piece of string, put a hook on it, and tie it on the end of a stick and expect to catch very many fish, can you? No! If you are serious about fishing, you will make sure that you have all the right equipment. You will want a nice rod and reel.  The next thing you need to know is that you can't sit around talking with your friends about fishing or reading fishing magazines and expect to catch any fish. You have to go where the fish are to catch them! You want to be where the fish are.  Finally, if you want to be good at fishing, you must learn patience. Sometimes the fish just aren't biting. I guess that is the main reason I was never very good at fishing. I thought that you should catch a fish the minute your hook hit the water.

One day, Jesus was walking along the seashore when he saw two brothers named Peter and Andrew. Jesus knew that they made their living by fishing, so he called out to them, "Follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" Do you know what they did? They laid down their fishing nets and followed Jesus.

Jesus wants you and me to fish for people too. That means that he wants us to tell others about what he has done for, us and what he wants to do for them. When is the last time that you "went fishing”? Maybe you need to be like me, and put everything else aside and literally go fishing.  Maybe you could fish at the mall, or the pizza parlor.  Wherever you know that there are some fish, go, find them!  Now is the time!  May God's Grace Abound in You



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 08, 2005, 06:19:25 PM
  How To Shine

By: Matt Crawford
Matt@tddm.org


"If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as noonday." (Isaiah 58:10)

So often we forget the things which should be the fruit of our salvation. Things that go beyond our prayer time, our Bible study, our "ministry" as we know it –things that work repentance and humility in our hearts for God in a way that no other "religious" practice could come close to. We forget the basic concepts of easing the yoke for others, helping the poor, and going out of our way–sacrificing–to comfort the afflicted.

Even before Christ began his public ministry, John the Baptist preached repentance to the people to prepare their hearts for the Lord who was to come. When they asked him what they should do, his first reply was "let him who has two coats give to he who has none." And the Bible makes it clear that John's only purpose was to fill in the valleys, to level the hills, and to make straight the path of the Lord. The hearts of the people needed to be set in repentance, producing fruit accordingly, so that they would be ready to accept Christ's words in their hearts when He arrived.

So often is a "life-enhancing" gospel of personal fulfillment, joy, and love preached, we set aside and forget the righteous and pleasing deeds God requires. "Share your bread with the hungry," "bring to your house the poor who are cast out," "when you see the naked, cover him." (Isaiah 58).  Yet if John the Baptist, who was full of the Spirit from birth, was suppose to ready the people's hearts for Christ by calling them to such deeds, do we who profess Christ ignore the heart of God while claiming to be His children?

Like all God's pleas or requirements, the call to "extend your soul to the hungry" is meant to bring us goodness, not to deprive us of it. For the scripture goes on to say that our light shall dawn in the darkness, and even our darkness shall be as the noonday. The work that such actions will wrought in our heart is so profound that even in our bad moments, at our dark times, we will shine like the sun at it's brightest of the day.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 08, 2005, 06:20:50 PM
  Silence

By: Beth Hays
Beth@tddm.org


And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. Matthew 12:36

I have learned many valuable lessons this past summer as a Christian camp counselor. There is just something about being surrounded by God’s creation and in an unconditionally loving environment that breaks down defensive walls. When those walls are down we open ourselves up more…or at least I do. So, amidst the stress of having many kids in my care 23 hours a day, 6 days a week, I was taught incredible things.

One of the things I have come to cherish is silence. This shocks even me because I love to talk and be sociable. I love to be in conversation and silence used to scare me. My mom has always joked that I came out of the womb talking because I started so early. But, I have learned the value of being quiet.

It was not until I learned this lesson that this verse became real to me. God isn’t just talking about keeping your talk clean (though I know he wants that too), but He wants you to only talk when necessary so you can enjoy the beauty in silence. When you talk unnecessarily, you are ruining someone else’s (and your own) chance at a beautiful moment of silence.

God doesn’t mess around with this stuff either. He is serious. Each of us are going to have to account for all the times we spoke when we didn’t need to or to just to talk. We will have to fess up to all of our meaningless conversations. I know I will have a lot of fessing up to do. But, now that I have experienced how precious quietness can be, I have decided to be more aware and in control of when I speak, and when I chose not to. I suggest you consider doing the same. You may find your life becoming more beautiful with each added moment of stillness.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 09, 2005, 03:18:01 PM
  Revelations in a Nutshell

By: Jeff Lappano

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51 (NKJV)

To start off my time teaching the Sunday Special Request series, I figured why not start with a tricky question. The question has to do with the rapture.

The rapture is when all the saints, living and dead will be joined together and be brought to Heaven. Verse 52 of 1 Corinthians 15 says that a trumpet shall sound and we shall be changed. At this time, Jesus will appear in the sky, but will not set foot on the earth. If you have watched the Left Behind movies, particularly the first one, it shows those who weren’t taken in the rapture look for those who were. In Matthew 24, Jesus is teaching on the rapture. Paraphrasing verses 40 and 41 He says that two people will be together, all of a sudden one will be left. I believe Jesus gives us the picture here that those who aren’t going to be taken in the rapture won‘t even know what happened.

For the second time in history, an interesting phenomenon will occur. Matthew 27:52, 53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." After the resurrection, many people saw dead people just rise up from their graves. When the rapture occurs, the same thing shall occur in the fact that graves will be opened, however this time those coming out of the graves shall just start ascending into the air rather than walking around on the earth.  

Going to back to 1 Corinthians 15, we find the dead in Christ shall rise first. This means those we just learned about should happen first and then those still alive shall be caught up in the air with them. This will go on for seven years that we will be in Heaven, and yes there shall be some major activity on the earth as well. It will be useless for me to teach on the rapture without ending this devotion by giving you an invitation to join those who will be apart of the rapture. Those who are Christians will be the elect group to be taken in the rapture. Being a Christian means confessing that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ, the Son of God died on a cross 2,000 years ago to be your Savior, so that you may be called one of His own. Accept Him today into your heart, meaning it totally with all of your heart, and I promise you that you shall be a part of the rapture.
   


Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 09, 2005, 03:18:54 PM
  Piecing Me Back Together

By: Beth Hays


Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 51:18 (NLT)

A couple years ago I went to a friend when I was very broken and desperate. I told her I needed some encouragement to keep going. She showed me passages about the wall of Jerusalem and talked about it had to be broken before it could be built up again. This was great comfort to me…knowing that being rebuilt could make me more beautiful inside.

As I have gone on the past couple years I have forgotten about the comparison of the wall to my life. My life has had rocky moments but I have not yet been totally broken. At least, I have not been broken like I was a couple of years ago.

Tonight I was spending my quiet time with God and He spoke to me about being broken and that I needed to be broken to be useable because I so stubbornly refused him for so long. I was too busy fooling myself and others to acknowledge my inner issues. I really broke down tonight and told Him that I knew He was right...I needed to break down those masks.

After this intense time, He brought me to this verse: Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 51:18 (NLT) Wow. He will help to rebuild me. I remembered the analogy. Imagine that one conversation two years ago could have such an impact today. I have been broken…but for His purposes…and that is an amazing thing.

Now He is going to take those shattered pieces and put me back together. Maybe you are in the same boat. Are you shattered? Let Him gently piece you back together again. He loves you, my dear ones.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 13, 2005, 08:57:03 PM
  Speed of Light

By: Tony B. Rhoda

"You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14)

As Christians we are called to be the light of the world. We're supposed to be examples to the people around us who are not saved. It is our job to show this dying place a love from a Savior that will erase their deepest, darkest secrets and give them hope for a future. The only way to show the love of Christ is to act like He would.

The other day I was cruising down the highway in the city when a van past me by. I glanced down at my speedometer and I was going around 65 miles an hour. So this guy was hauling. After he passed me, a speed limit sign showed 45 miles an hour. "Wow, he's just asking for a ticket." I snickered as he continued to pass.

After he passed through, I was amazed to see that it was a van for the handicapped, and on the back it said, "We take pride in driving safe, see you at the next stop light." I couldn't believe what I just saw. Here was a guy already breaking the law and then to be speeding displaying that type of sign on the rear of his van, was just beyond my comprehension. Now, I don't know about you, but I started to think differently of how this person was. Sure he says one thing about driving safe, but then the next second he's speeding down the highway.

Of course it didn't take me long to realize that if I knew he was going faster than 65 there was a problem, because not only was he speeding, but so was I. Now I don't have a "drive safe" sticker on the back of my truck, but what I do have is a bumper billboard for the tailgate of my truck. I have two Christian bumper stickers and a sexy little gold plastic fish attached. So, when people see my truck, they know that a Christian is inside it, but, when they see me flying down the highway drag racing a handicapped van, people will start to wonder what kind of Christian I am.

When you claim Jesus as your Savior you also claim His name. You become a walking billboard for Christ. Everyone that passes by you knows there is something about you that sets you apart from the crowd. Knowing this, we have to strive to be as good a Christian as possible, because through our actions, we give people reasons to believe in us or to think that it's all a phony. I mean if you can't tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian then what's the use? Use this week to set yourself apart from the rest of the world and let your little light shine. You would be amazed at how fast light can travel. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 13, 2005, 08:57:56 PM
  A Thankful Heart

By: Jennilyn E. Mauler


So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Have you ever been overflowing with thankfulness?  It's an interesting concept.  But, we are to be that way, overflowing with thankfulness. Now, you may be asking, ok Jen, why should I be thankful?  I mean, look at my life, what have I to be thankful for?  

I have a very good answer to that.

When you were dead in your sins and in the un-circumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave ALL our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

Makes you pretty thankful, huh?  Think about it.  We use to be dead, ugly, and disgusting before God.  But, God, in His mercy, sends His Son.  And then, He dies for us!  So we can be seen as pure and holy in God's sight.  

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle!  Do not taste!  Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. (Colossians 2:20-22)

As I was reading this, it hit me.  Why is it so hard to be thankful sometimes?  Maybe it's hard to be thankful, because we weigh things on the world's scale, and not God's.  How can we be thankful to God, when our lives are full of worldly things?  Now, I am not saying we cannot be thankful.  It is just harder when we are using what the world sees as right.  

I will leave you today with this verse.  Think about it.  Pray about it.  Ask that God will reveal areas in your life that are not focused on him. Ask him to set your eyes on things above.  He will show you, trust me.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 14, 2005, 04:07:19 PM
  Loving Yourself

By: Steve Self


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

I’ve heard many sermons and Sunday school lessons on the love listed above; as a matter of fact I’ve preached some of the sermons and taught some of the Sunday school classes on these verses. The love Paul describes here is called agape love. It’s an unconditional, covenantal, unchangeable, decisive love, it is an action we are commanded to do. This love is not emotional nor does it change with circumstances, it’s always the same. Most of the time this passage is talked about, it’s in the context of how to love others. But as I was counseling a person who was depressed and down, God showed me a new angle of this verse. He showed me that we are supposed to love ourselves with this type of love too.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He talked about the commandment to love the Lord with all you have, but then He went on to talk about the 2nd one being just like it. He tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we are taught that we are to love our neighbors with agape love, then we need to also need to read this passage in reverse and love ourselves as we love our neighbors.

We are our own worst critics, sometimes we are too critical. We make a mistake or sin, we repent, and then we still feel guilty. The guilt is not coming from God, it comes from our accuser and we need to realize that. One huge step in attaining a biblical view of self-worth is to apply this scripture to your own view of yourself. People always tell me “Steve, I can love others like I am supposed to, but I just can’t love myself like that.” They are right, it is much harder to accept what God has said about you and truly believe it. Much less carry out an action plan to live in to God’s will for our view of our self.  

No matter what is in your past, no matter what you have done, no matter what you are struggling with right now, you can practice regarding your self-worth by following the scripture above. I’m not saying you can use this scripture and go about your life and freely sin and not care about it. That is a flagrant misuse of God’s grace. But what I am saying, is that Satan can attack you and tell you that you are worthless or that you are not smart enough or not good looking enough, but now you know how to protect yourself from believing the lie. Arm yourself with God’s word which is sharper than any double-edged sword, put this weapon into your arsenal and watch God do wonders in your life. You are a precious child of God, one He loves very much. Would God lie to you? Of course not! So don’t think He would start lying to you with this teaching. He loves you and He wants you to love yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make this change in your views and in your life.  With this love, God accepted Jesus as our sacrifice so we could be with Him.  With this same love, Jesus came to earth and lived through terrible suffering to be our sacrifice.  Even if you were the only person ever to be born, Jesus would have still died for you.  Remember, when you hate yourself, you are hating God’s creation. A creation He formed lovingly with His own hands. God loves you, so love yourself.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 14, 2005, 04:08:13 PM
  Piercing the Darkness

By: Beth Hays


“When I fall, I will rise. Even though I am in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” (Micah 7:8) NLV

I have spent the last few days in a real low point in my relationship with God and I haven’t been able to find the strength to climb out of it. I have tried all the simple answers, like praying, singing, and reading, but I need something that’s REAL. It seems no matter how hard I claw, the deeper I slip. And it is starting to get hopeless.

But it never quite gets there. I was putting up my calendar for 2005 and on the picture for January was this verse. It blew me away. I have fallen so deeply I wonder if I will ever get out. I am surrounded by vertical walls full of thorns and cackling demons with no where to go. But, when I stood by and thought about it, I know I will rise. It will get better, as it always does. There is always joy after the pain and a stream of misty light after a storm. I was infused with hope.

But, ironically, that hope fulfilled the rest of the verse. God pierced my darkness with his light and truth. He showed me hope in the midst of despair. He showed me HIM in a place where everything was blurry and unidentifiable. And what could be better than the beauty of our God overtaking the blackness of my soul? Even when I was in darkness, the Lord broke through and became my light.

Maybe you feel like you’ve fallen and will never find a way to the top again. I know it’s desperately hard to imagine, but sometimes we have to hang out in the valley before we’re taught to soar with the eagles. Take hope my friend, it WILL get better. And when it seems you are trapped in the depths of darkness and you can’t see a thing, look around, the light is there, the Lord is with you. I know He’s reaching in your darkness to show you just how much He adores you. Keep going, my sibling in Christ, I promise every moment is worth the trial.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 14, 2005, 04:09:08 PM
  Knock at the Door

By: Brittany Waller


"And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9)

Some days I feel like praying is a waste of my time. I feel like I am talking to a brick wall. If that wall bursts out and starts to talk to me before God does, I am going to blink a few times, scream, and then run away very fast.

However, God does listen. He listens to every plea of help, every angry word towards him, and every word of praise that slips off our lips. The question is do we mean what we say?

If you are taking a test and are stumped on a question, don't expect God to magically send you brain waves to make you smarter, if it does happen call me. But, God doesn't work that way. He knows best. He knows what you need and when you need it. If you long to find God, search harder because he isn't far. He is close enough to hold your hand or wipe away your tears.

God wants you to talk to Him. He will listen to you when everyone else walks away. All you have to do is open up your heart to Him. Will you open up that door? He is knocking. Don't take the time to fix your hair or look in the mirror to see how you look. In God's eyes you are beautiful, and he loves you no matter what!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 16, 2005, 11:31:02 AM
  Eye of the Beholder

By: Brittany Waller

"You love him although you have not seen him, and you believe in him, although you do not now see him." (1 Peter 1:8)

Faith seems like such a small word for such a big meaning. We as Christians have faith that God exists. We cannot see him, but yet we pray to him. This is because we see him working through others, and feel his presence even in a kind word said to a stranger.

It is so easy to falter from that faith in God. Yet, we hold tight to what we believe in. The question is why. Why do we have faith in God? Well let me give you my insight. The Bible is a piece of literature that sheds light on the past. It opens doors to the life of Jesus and his work.

Even as a teen, Jesus grew up different from any of us. I mean he did get into trouble with his parents. Yes, I have also been in trouble with my parents. It's a shock I know. Anyway, remember the time Jesus wandered off to the temple courts after the Passover feast when he was twelve years old? Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem unaware Jesus was not with them. As in Luke's Gospel upon returning they found him among teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

Jesus is a rock on which to stand. Even though we cannot see God, we share his word and tell all of the sacrifice God gave, his son. Not every parent could do that. Seeing, is not believing though, but we have heard and read of the wonderful miracles Jesus did. So open your eyes and see God all around you. If you really want to be close to God just pray and believe in him even though you cannot see him.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 16, 2005, 11:33:41 AM
  Persecuted

By: Brittany Waller


"Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers." (Matthew 5:11)

Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? I have had experiences with that, especially around my friends. I wear a cross necklace in front of them, they look at it, shake their head while glaring, and then walk away. I have got into arguments over religion with my friends, and I have to admit some harsh things have been said. It definitely hurts!

All you want is for people to love you for who you are and what you believe in. Things aren't that easy though. Jesus said we will be persecuted for believing in Him. But, why do we take it so hard then? Probably because we feel like they are not only attacking us, but they are attacking God too. The devil is talking through them and tempting you to have doubts. Fight for what you believe in, even if people discriminate against you.
Why do we discriminate against other people though? They could be black, Jewish, homosexual, overweight, Mormon, handicapped, or any other way of discriminating a person you can think of, and it doesn't matter, they are still looked down upon for it. Why can't we all just get along? Now I feel like breaking out into song, I can't help it, "Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!" That was so off key I am glad you weren't here to hear that!

Just think of all the people in the world who are persecuted. I bet every day someone is persecuted for the way they act, look, or for what they believe in. Jesus never said this road was going to be easy. God is always there to give you that one extra push. So don't give up, you just have to take one more step. You have to realize even though people will put you down, you have to smile and walk away. Say a prayer for that person. That someday they will see God's light, read His word, and think twice next time they look down on someone for just being whom they are.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 16, 2005, 11:36:38 AM
  Unto The Least Of These

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

Boy, do we have it good.  Roofs over our heads, food in our stomachs, clothes on our backs, cars to drive, beds to sleep in, and many more things that we all tend to take for granted, boy do we have it good.  We believe in a Savior that died on the cross for our sins and rose again so that we may have eternal life.  Boy, do we have it good. Salvation that takes us from our rotted sinful human nature that was given to us, not by the things that we have done, but given to us as a free gift. Boy, do we have it good.  I never realized how much I take that all for granted and how much I really have it good until last week while I was in Atlanta for a conference.

I had driven from where I was staying to the conference, and after I had parked about a block from the venue, I began to walk and get ready for the conference.  While on my way, I began to be followed by a homeless man, who wanted to ask me for money.  “Do I talk to him?”  “Do I just ignore him?”  “What if he gets violent?”  All of those questions began to run through my head.  I knew that he was following me and going to ask me for money, but I had none.  I was down there on a budget, and had to make every penny count.

Here he came.  Knew I was a tourist.  I stopped and asked him, “Why are you following me?”  He replied, “I need some money for a sandwich.”  OK God, What are you going to do here?  The Holy Spirit then came into my mind, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.”  I said, “Man, I do not have any money, but what I do have, I will be glad to give you.  Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?”  He did not like that answer much, but wanted money, and then walked off.

My cousin says that most of them are looking for money for booze.  Others are looking for money for drugs, and most of them are homeless, and really need some serious help.  Is there an answer?  Is there a way to help them?  I know that there are many homeless shelters across the area, and it is my prayer that they will find them.

But, what does that have for us?  Friends, we really have it good.  When was the last time that you stopped and thanked God for what He has given to you, so that you do not have to suffer?  When was the last time that you helped someone that you knew was in need?  You see, you don’t have to give them money.  You have the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart and that would be the greatest gift that any one could give.  The message of salvation.  Won’t you take the challenge today, to really be thankful for what you have as well as find the time and the place in your heart to give that wonderful gift, the message of salvation?  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 21, 2005, 09:28:22 AM
 Greatest Calling of All

  By: Andy Ketterer

The Apostle Paul, the Prophet Isaiah, King David, Moses and Noah are some people that come to mind when I think of people that had "great" callings in the Lord. Their lives were full of action and victory. The accomplished so much for God. They were awesome instruments of God!!

The crossing of the Red Sea, the Flood, slaying a giant with a sling and professing of the coming Messiah are indeed great events. But these events are not what made these men great. Although the Lord called these men to take part in these events, they had a greater calling than this. This calling was much more difficult to achieve.

If you were to preach to 10,000 people per week, it would not be the greatest accomplishment you could do as a Christian. If you were to become a multibillionaire and dedicated your life helping the poor and needy, it would not be the greatest accomplishment you could do. To live your life as Christ would, no matter your rank in the church or financial status, is by far the greatest thing you can accomplish!! And it is the most difficult.

The greatest tool you have to witness to others of Christ is your life. You are a witness of Christ to your teachers and peers by the way you conduct yourself in school. You are a witness of Christ to your boss and coworkers by the way you perform at work. You are a witness to your family by the way you conduct yourself in everyday life. Handing out tracts and giving Bible studies is meaningless and pointless if you do not live your life as a Christian, a Christlike person. People make note of the things you say, but they are studying the life you live.

Take a few minutes, prayerfully consider what kind of witness you are to those around you. Prayerfully consider the relationship you have with Christ. The greatest glory God can receive is if you live a Godly life. This is the greatest calling of all. May God bless you richly!!




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 21, 2005, 09:29:47 AM
  Exhorting One Another

By: Jeff Lappano

”But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Hey Jeff-
Could you write on exhortation, I have hard time doing that... ~Iz

As brothers and Sisters in the Lord. it is our duty to exhort one another. But what does it mean to exhort one another? Of course when we think of exhortation, we think of encouragement. Yes, of course we’re to encourage one another. As we all run our different races, we need those on the side cheering us on. However, there is more to this thing called exhortation. In dealing with the gifts of the spirit, Paul tells us that not only is exhortation a gift of the spirit in Romans 12, but also prophecy is for the edification or exhortation of the church. In his call to Jeremiah, God details what prophecy is, both of the Old Testament, and New Testament. “To root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah1:10).

Exhortation isn’t always fun and games. Exhortation is used to build us up to be better. Have you ever seen demolition crews use dynamite to take out old casinos in Las Vegas? Why are they taking down the old casinos? Most likely to build way better ones. Those built in the beginning of “Sin City” aren’t as great as the ones that developers are building today. They tear down the old to build bigger and better. Now, don’t go gambling but understand that this is an example of what exhortation is.  

Yes, sometimes exhortation is fun and a great encouragement; but sometimes exhorting someone may include dealing with them about something in their life that they need to get rid of. As in everything in the actions of a Believer, this to must be done out of love. If you are going to confront someone about something in order to tear it down to build a better them, you must make sure your doing it with love. Again, as a child of God, you must exhort one another. This isn’t just for the pastors and other leaders of the church but for every Believer, both old and young.

Finally I just want to remind you if you have a Sunday Special request you would like me to write about, let me know. Unfortunately, I can’t read minds, but I can read the message board as well as my email.  Be blessed always in Jesus name.




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on November 29, 2005, 01:26:37 PM
  Close For Comfort

By: Mandie Ross


“…there’s one who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

There are the fights in the morning over who gets the bathroom first and for how long. And that starts arguments with parents about how it is so imperative to add more bathrooms to the house. Then there are the arguments over why the last person to drive the car didn’t fill up the gas tank. And to add insult to injury, the one who complains is the one who didn’t get to use the car last even though they’d already made plans. Then there are the complaints about how one sibling absolutely does not like the other’s friends. There’s name calling, and in some cases, hair pulling and fist fights. Some brother’s and sisters stop talking into adulthood for reasons they’ve forgotten. Good old sibling rivalry.

My brother and I have pretty much always gotten along well. We used to get into trouble together, pouring whatever liquid we could find in the garage, into the sandbox. And the first time we got grounded, we were grounded together for playing with matches in our bedroom. We were 5 and 6 at the time. We both hung out at the neighbor boy’s house together when most brothers would tell their sisters to bug off when it comes to hangin’ out with the boys. Not my brother. He even took off his jacket and handed it to me once when I felt car sick…just in case. But then…we got to junior high.

My parents told my brother to walk me home from school because some of the girls were ruthless to me. They kicked me in the shins, knocked things out of my hands and threw whatever it was across the floor, and followed me into the bathroom once to have a 3 to 1 fight. My brother’s response to walking me home…”walk 10 feet in front of or behind me. I don’t want anyone to think you’re my girlfriend.” What happened to my partner in crime? Even I change within myself from one moment to the next and I lose my bond with me. But there’s one who sticks closer—even closer than I stick to me.

He’s there to comfort us when we’re down. He knows what it’s like. He never thinks more of Himself than He does His brothers or sisters. There’s no one like Him. He never changes. He’s the only one who can give us strength during times of weakness, and boldness when there’s no one to stick up for someone-- or when we just need to say or do the right thing. He teaches us compassion, forgiveness, self-control, integrity…He’s the jack-of-all-trades. But most of all He’s the one who shows us real love. He’s closer than you can imagine…and He promises never to leave.




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 04, 2006, 12:30:24 PM
Can I Have Your Attention?

By: Mandie Ross

For everything in the world—the cravings of a sinful man, the lust of his eyes …—does not come from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:16,17

Recently I attended my sister’s marching band competition. I really get into all that takes place in the competition. The bands as they march across the field, playing the music that’s been selected to hopefully be a winning piece. The color guards as they tell the secret of the music and display the meaning of the song with their creative routines. The bands leading up to my sister’s were so creative. One of the color guards even stopped in the middle of the typical routine and started dancing to the techno mix that the band was playing. All of it kept me so involved. Then, as my sister’s band started to play I noticed that the music was so loud and clear. The color guard was perfectly in tune with one another. Finally I spotted my sister who was dressed exactly as all the other members. It was hard to pick her out at first but I found her. I tried to keep my eyes focused on her. But there was so much going on to keep me enticed that it became hard to keep my eyes on only her…the one I came to see.

At that competition I realized just how easy it is for everything to take my focus off the One I want to see. All that goes on around me is enough to keep me captured for a little while. It all seems so exciting at times. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the right path, and I stop and notice a fragrant flower and I stall for some time to smell it and wander off to see what else is out there.

How easy it is to wander off to something that entices our desires instead of keeping the focus on God and what He delights in. But God has plans we sometimes don’t even realize are more awesome than whatever is going on around us. So keep your focus on the One you love. There’s no doubt that if you do, in the end, He will have kept you satisfied with His performance.  




Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 05, 2006, 02:42:19 PM
  He Came, He Sought, He Saved

By: Adam R. Rinehart


“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost,” (Luke 19:10).

When I was in High School back in the day, I loved to play sports. One of my favorite lines after we won a game was, “We came, we saw, and we conquered!” What a feeling that would run through our veins when we won! We would get crazy!

You know what? Jesus did the same, but in a slightly different manner.  He came, He sought, and He saved!  Just think, Jesus Christ which spoke and galaxies came into existence, stars burned into place, and the heavens and the earth unleashed in power and glory, came to this earth to seek us out, and to save us!

The more and more that I look at my salvation the more and more that I adore the Savior who sought me out, and saved me. Then, I ask myself, what kind of response does that deserve?  The answer is my everything!  Everything that I am is because of Christ, and therefore, everything that I am belongs to Him! Praise the Lord for seeking me, and giving me salvation!  May God’s Grace Abound in You!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 06, 2006, 12:41:39 PM
  Continue In The Faith

By: Adam R. Rinehart


“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecc 3:1

When you look at the definition of patience, you will find that a synonym for the word is "long-suffering". As you dig a little further, you will see that "long-suffering" brings in the word endurance-staying in for the long haul. As you look at life, that long haul brings many things with it. There is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven. Whether it is life, or whether it is death, the principle of endurance has to continue with all of us. ??I know that it seems difficult for us in the shadow of recent events over the last few years. Not only since 9/11, the Tsunami, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, but also in light of the events of our own lives, and others having things in life happen. I know that it may seem like that the things that we want are just "inching" closer and closer, instead of getting here fast, but we have to remember that is what endurance is all about.

We are to continue to have faith, and know that the return of the Lord IS near. "Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The more and more that I study faith, the more and more that I am seeing that faith takes patience, and patience takes endurance. All of the people mentioned in the 11th chapter of Hebrews had to endure a wait of some type and have patience before they ever saw their faith succeed. They also worked toward the faith that they gave their lives for.

Friends, it is not over yet. Oh yes, it may seem like it has been an eternity waiting to see what is going to happen out of our lives, but we have just started eternity and that God's time is not our time. When we have faith, our time goes out the window, and His time becomes our reality. He has made everything beautiful in His time; also He has set eternity in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.  So, let us continue to have faith. God is going to do something here. We have to continue to work to see things happen as well. If we have faith, and yet do not work toward seeing it happen, our faith becomes useless. May God's Grace Abound In You and the endurance of your faith let you see a reward that words cannot describe.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 07, 2006, 09:21:06 AM
  The Storm of the Child

By: Tiffani Johnstone


When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matt 8:23-27 (NASB)

Storms come and storms go. Sometimes weathermen can predict them and sometimes they cannot. When they attempt to predict and they are wrong, they tend to get the brunt of it. But who can truly predict a natural phenomenon that by the amazing works of God, has it’s own way of doing things?

Sometimes I wonder if we are the same way when it comes to spiritual storms. Of course we know that they are going to happen, but when they hit do we question ourselves as to whether we should have seen it coming? The disciples did not even know the storm was approaching when they were in their boats. If they did, I am sure they would not have been out on the sea. However, they were trapped in the middle of it. Being experienced fishermen, they had dealt with several storms. So what made this one different? Was it larger? The Bible does not say but one can speculate that the larger explanation was the case. It had to have been a storm that was so big the disciples feared for their life. Do we ever have storms in our life that look like that?

One thing that we can learn from the disciples is that even though Jesus was on the boat with them, the storm still came and they still feared. No matter how spiritual we are or even think we are, the storms of life are still going to come. It is how we handle them that matters. Another thing that can be learned is that Jesus’ reaction was not to them waking him up but to their fear. The disciples never once asked Jesus to calm the storm. They, instead, focused on themselves and asked him whether he cared about them. This is a sure sign of fear. When the storms of life come, we need to take refuge in the fact that God does care and He knows exactly what is going on. Just because Jesus was asleep does not in any way mean he did not know that the storm was going on. I have a suspicion that He was simply waiting for them to come and wake him up. Do we wake God up when our storm happens?

The larger lesson of this story is that Jesus dealt with the disciples before he began dealing with the storm. There is a famous song that says ‘Sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calls his child.’ How true this is. Sometimes God does not calm the storms in our life. Rather He allows them to continue but calms us and teaches us how to trust Him when even the most difficult of situations arise.



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 08, 2006, 10:11:11 AM
  Maze of Life

By: Amber Alonso


"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Have you ever been in one of those human mazes?  I have and it’s difficult to see the way out, and once I turn my first corner, I can’t find my way back to the beginning.  I seem to run into a dead end at every turn.  Sometimes I feel like I will never find my way out of the mess I got myself into.

Sometimes life can be a great big maze. At every turn we are tempted to explore a new avenue.  Sometimes that avenue leads can lead us to addiction; sometimes it leads us to adultery; sometimes it leads us to defiance of God Himself.  We feel hopeless and without a guide out of the great maze.  Some people just decided to stop trying, and they fold their arms and with a frown on their face squat down and star at the leaves on the bushes and the blue sky above wishing they only had a ladder to lift them out of the maze.  

According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, there is no need for us to quit the maze.  There is no need to stand still and lose hope.  The first thing that we need to understand is that we are not tempted by anything that comes from God. God will not tempt us, He has made this promise in James 1: 13-14.  Therefore we know that if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts then we are not tempted by God, but of our own evil desires that are ours when we did not surrender ourselves to God. Instead in the verse above it says, “ God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” How encouraging! This means that if you are like me and don’t like pursuing things that you know you are not going to succeed at, then overcoming temptation should not be a concern.  God says that He can overcome that and won’t let you perish because you were tempted.  Something else that is just as encouraging is the next promise God makes.  “When you are tempted, I will also provide a way out.”  So, when you are struggling and fighting through the hard times that you have brought on by being tempted, like drug addiction, anger problems, depression, there is no need to lose hope of feel like God has abandoned you and left you to find your own way.  There is a light at the end of the maze and God is your guide in getting there.

There are so many times that we will feel lost in the world.  We will feel lost in our own decisions, but keep your faith and know that you always have a way out no matter how deep within the maze you are.  God is faithful and will not let you be tempted more than you can bear.  Think about those words and thank God for his grace and mercy.  He truly loves you no matter what temptation has brought upon you.  Keep seeking Him and He will guide through this complicated maze of life. Amen!



Title: Re:Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 09, 2006, 11:33:55 AM
  New Year or New You

By: Tiffani Johnstone

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:12-14

As I started the New Year off, I began reflecting upon the previous year. It was pretty emotional for me as I had gone through a lot of pain at the beginning of 2005 due to a serious relationship ending. As I began feeling the pain again, God really convicted me that I cannot live in the past. I wonder how many times we live in the past. I wonder how many times that we pass up a current opportunity to have an encounter with God or even minister to another person because of living in the past.

In Philippians, Paul talks about how he continues to press on toward the goal. He runs as if nothing is in his way. He sets an example for us that we need to put what is in the past in the past and leave it there. We can no longer allow the pain and problems from the past to stop us from living in the present. We have to put everything we have into finishing this race. As runners run races, they do not look to the side but yet look straight forward. This is how we need to run our faith race.

2006 is a new year and a time to make goals. What are some of your goals? What are some goals that you did not get accomplished last year? I challenge you this year to not make extraordinary goals that you may not accomplish, but rather make some small ones that you will accomplish. Make a goal that you will leave the past behind you and will live in the present and strain towards the future. Make this New Year a year that produces a new you.  




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 10, 2006, 10:52:51 AM
God Provides

By: Mandie Ross


“Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself...” Matthew 6:33,34

In this passage Matthew is making an appeal to us to understand that God has every intention of providing for us so we don’t have to worry about what we’ll eat, drink, or wear. Look at the birds. They don’t sow, or reap, or store things away, yet God feeds them. If we’re more valuable than they are, then what are the chances that God will do the same for us? And what about the lilies in the fields? They don’t run around looking for a flower to go with their stem, yet the stem of a lily is clothed with beautiful petals. I was recently challenged in this area of my life---letting God be my Jehovah-jireh.

When I moved out on my own over the summer I was happy to have a float device called a “savings account”. The savings has helped but I was naive to think that it was my lifesaver. I have used some of my savings towards various things and I thought I had it all under control until I was in a car accident, which left my car unrepairable. I was left with a ticket, towing fees, and without a car. I felt so defeated and almost in acceptance of “what’s done is done” that I hardly took the time to wonder how I would ever get an affordable car with my flotation device almost deflated. I was completely overcome, left with nothing. I didn’t ask for the things that followed, but God provided.

After the accident I went in to work and was informed by another employee that her brother was about to put his car up for sale---his nice and very affordable car. He even lowered the price for me after his sister told him about my situation. The day after that I was surprised to find that the back seat of the car I was borrowing was filled with groceries. Days later I received a call from someone at the church who, totally unaware of my accident, informed me that I would be receiving a gift basket of food and a gift card due to hearing that I was living off of ramen noodles since being on my own. And as if that’s not enough, I also had an offer for my heating bill to be paid for the winter.

Sometimes God allows us to go through unpleasant things so He can remind us that we can trust Him to provide for us. God’s got my back. Can He have yours too?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 11, 2006, 10:16:39 AM
  Roadblock to our destiny: Pride

By: Tiffani Johnstone


Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more….When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him…
Gen 37: 5,10

Most all of us have dreams that God has given us either a long time ago or recently. However, there are times when the dream does not come true right away. As a microwave society, we have a hard time waiting for something. Sometimes, even our microwaves are not fast enough. God does not work in our time schedule though.

Joseph was given his dream at age 17. It did not come to pass until he was 30. There were several reasons for this but the first reason that we see is because God needed to work out the pride in him. If you read all of Genesis 37:1-11 you find that Joseph tells his brothers and his dad both dreams he had and basically is boasting about them. It is one thing to share the dream God has given you, but to brag about it is another. God knew that it would take time to work the pride out in Joseph’s heart before his dream could become his destiny.

How long has it been since God gave you your dream? Have you given up on it or do you still pursue God about it? Take a look, pray about it, and see if the reason God hasn’t allowed that dream to come true yet is due to pride. Pride is innate in humans. We all have to deal with it in some area of our life. Even if we have passed a pride test in the past, God tends to go just a little deeper or into another area just to show us that we continually have to rely on Him to purify us. He keeps turning up the heat. If we can’t handle the dream, we can’t handle the destiny. When we continue to pass God’s tests and prove to him we are ready, it is at that point, He will give us our destiny. Next week’s roadblock: Difficult times and how we handle them.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 12, 2006, 11:02:35 AM
  His Plans Make Miracles

By: Mandie Ross


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sometimes things just don’t seem to be going the way we’d like. Experiences happen that we think is just going to absolutely break us. Circumstances happen that make our stress level go through the roof. People that we give our trust to break our hearts through their carelessness. Does this sound like anything that might be going on in your life? I’m sure you can add much more to the list. Things sometimes have a way of twist, turning our life upside down. When you sit and think about it though, you have no idea what’s going to come out of these experiences. Through our trials we have no idea that God is in the making of a miracle.

Quite a few years ago my heart was broken by someone who told me they’d be there forever. Talk about heartache-- I was supposed to get married. To make matters even worse, my brother had decided to have a friendship with this person. I felt completely betrayed. Here my world had been turned upside down and instead of my brother being at my side, he was at the side of the person who I felt had devastated my life. For so long I felt a hatred for this person. I felt it would have been easier to get over the whole thing if he was completely out of my life. But my brother’s relationship with him made that impossible. After a while, even though I still had this hurt looming over my head, I accepted that maybe God had a reason for allowing my brother the opportunity to have this friendship.

Through these years of seeming heartache and betrayal God has been giving me grace and working little miracles in my life to renew the faith in Him that I sometimes lose. Even though I sometimes lack faith He gives me reasons to believe again that I can count on Him to work out my life. So I came to the conclusion that God would use my misery to His glory somehow. And He showed me in an unlikely way that I never expected. After years of not having communication, this guy who promised marriage contacted me. Can you picture the joy in my heart as he asked me to forgive him? Or after he told me he had accepted God into his life? I had felt betrayed by my brother but God had plans that gave glory to my misery. God knew what I didn’t know. He had a desire to give me a hope and a future despite the past. 

The passage goes on to say that when we pray He will listen. When we seek Him with all our heart He will be found. When we find Him, despite the things that seem stand between our happiness, and us He’ll bring us back from the captivity of our misery. He has plans of His own. Plans better than ours. Our plans can’t work miracles…but His will.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 13, 2006, 09:57:01 AM
  Roadblock to our destiny: Pride

By: Tiffani Johnstone


Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more….When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him…
Gen 37: 5,10

Most all of us have dreams that God has given us either a long time ago or recently. However, there are times when the dream does not come true right away. As a microwave society, we have a hard time waiting for something. Sometimes, even our microwaves are not fast enough. God does not work in our time schedule though.

Joseph was given his dream at age 17. It did not come to pass until he was 30. There were several reasons for this but the first reason that we see is because God needed to work out the pride in him. If you read all of Genesis 37:1-11 you find that Joseph tells his brothers and his dad both dreams he had and basically is boasting about them. It is one thing to share the dream God has given you, but to brag about it is another. God knew that it would take time to work the pride out in Joseph’s heart before his dream could become his destiny.

How long has it been since God gave you your dream? Have you given up on it or do you still pursue God about it? Take a look, pray about it, and see if the reason God hasn’t allowed that dream to come true yet is due to pride. Pride is innate in humans. We all have to deal with it in some area of our life. Even if we have passed a pride test in the past, God tends to go just a little deeper or into another area just to show us that we continually have to rely on Him to purify us. He keeps turning up the heat. If we can’t handle the dream, we can’t handle the destiny. When we continue to pass God’s tests and prove to him we are ready, it is at that point, He will give us our destiny. Next week’s roadblock: Difficult times and how we handle them.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 14, 2006, 10:28:48 AM
  Feelings Fail

By: Matt Crawford


"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

Your feelings may fail you. The psalmist is speaking from the perspective of a believer when he says "my heart may fail." He is not speaking about the actual heart. He already covered physical organs when he mentioned the "flesh." Rather, he is speaking of feelings. Mood. Confidence. Our sense of mental stability. If he were speaking of the actual heart, there would be no need for the verse, because when the heart stops we stand before God and our struggle is over.
For the Christian, our confidence and mood are not certain and we should not place our trust in how we feel. Ask anyone who has bipolar disorder how quickly their confidence can go from soaring to utterly destroyed. When our heart fails us, when our confidence fails us, when our mood, even our very thoughts fail us, we do not have an excuse to give up. Whether our heart fails us because of circumstance or because of chemical or mood disorder, we must let that mustard-seed faith become all that we have and all that we cling to. We must determine to trust God, because the bible says He is our true strength, not how good we happen to feel at the time. He is our strength and our portion forever; he never fails or changes. He is the only constant.

One key to clinging to our faith when our heart fails us is to speak to ourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Get out a pad and pen and write a praise, or even write about your struggles and your faith in God to deliver you. Expressing and verbalizing our belief is very important. Sing out loud to God, talk to yourself about the amazing stories of deliverance from the bible, or meditate on scripture. Remember to never stray from God, even if you should sin, or if your feelings and thoughts are not consistent with what you believe is acceptable to God. Tell him how you feel, and hide nothing from Him. The word says that we should not be anxious at all, but rather bring all our requests to God through prayer, with thanksgiving, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

The word says that those who know God’s name will trust in Him, because he has NEVER forsaken anyone who seeks Him (Psalm 9:10), and I have found this to be true in all my years as a Christian. If we cling to God, even in the midst of our worst, most unfathomable struggles, our faith becomes real, and God will reward us with times of peace. Remember that all our struggles are for our own good, and for the testing and refining of our faith. Do not be discouraged or without hope when everything, including your heart, fails you. As the saying goes, you know it is faith when it is all you have.
   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 15, 2006, 11:21:45 AM
  Close For Comfort

By: Mandie Ross


“…there’s one who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

There are the fights in the morning over who gets the bathroom first and for how long. And that starts arguments with parents about how it is so imperative to add more bathrooms to the house. Then there are the arguments over why the last person to drive the car didn’t fill up the gas tank. And to add insult to injury, the one who complains is the one who didn’t get to use the car last even though they’d already made plans. Then there are the complaints about how one sibling absolutely does not like the other’s friends. There’s name calling, and in some cases, hair pulling and fist fights. Some brother’s and sisters stop talking into adulthood for reasons they’ve forgotten. Good old sibling rivalry.

My brother and I have pretty much always gotten along well. We used to get into trouble together, pouring whatever liquid we could find in the garage, into the sandbox. And the first time we got grounded, we were grounded together for playing with matches in our bedroom. We were 5 and 6 at the time. We both hung out at the neighbor boy’s house together when most brothers would tell their sisters to bug off when it comes to hangin’ out with the boys. Not my brother. He even took off his jacket and handed it to me once when I felt car sick…just in case. But then…we got to junior high.

My parents told my brother to walk me home from school because some of the girls were ruthless to me. They kicked me in the shins, knocked things out of my hands and threw whatever it was across the floor, and followed me into the bathroom once to have a 3 to 1 fight. My brother’s response to walking me home…”walk 10 feet in front of or behind me. I don’t want anyone to think you’re my girlfriend.” What happened to my partner in crime? Even I change within myself from one moment to the next and I lose my bond with me. But there’s one who sticks closer—even closer than I stick to me.

He’s there to comfort us when we’re down. He knows what it’s like. He never thinks more of Himself than He does His brothers or sisters. There’s no one like Him. He never changes. He’s the only one who can give us strength during times of weakness, and boldness when there’s no one to stick up for someone-- or when we just need to say or do the right thing. He teaches us compassion, forgiveness, self-control, integrity…He’s the jack-of-all-trades. But most of all He’s the one who shows us real love. He’s closer than you can imagine…and He promises never to leave.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 16, 2006, 11:36:24 AM
The Perfect Guy

By: Sarah


“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27)

Take a moment to reflect on your latest crush.  Oh what a feeling it is to think that we’re “in love” or as I often call it, “in like.” As soon as his comes into sight, there are “butterflies” in your stomach.  His name on your caller ID makes your heart skip a beat. Every song you hear on the radio, you relate back to him.  A fifty-minute lecture goes by amazingly quickly as you daydream about the infinite possibilities.  His name surrounded by hearts makes a unique border for your notes in class that day.  Should you obtain a picture of him, you cherish it like it’s your highest prize.  As a matter of fact, you probably know every last detail about this person.  Somehow, he’s always on your mind, he’s got you on cloud nine.  And should he smile back once, you can hardly breathe cause you know that’s the green signal.  You can feel the adrenaline rush through your veins and your heart is pumping joy.

But the thought that that person doesn’t love or notice you, that crushes your heart.  Now imagine Jesus feeling that kind of crush. He breathed life into you, counted the hairs on your head and planned the days of your life.  He brought you into this world and basically provided you with more than you ever deserve or understand.  His is a love that is unfathomable, one that is too great for human understanding.  And yet, He stands there every moment, knocking at the doors to our hearts.  He knows every last detail about us, watches our every move and cherishes us beyond belief.  Many a time, we’re too busy to call to see what He’s up to or even to return a missed call.  The song that’s stuck in our head does not remind us of our Savior and our biology notes do not remind us of God’s great miracles.  We breathe just fine forgetting about Him, forgetting whose air we’re taking for granted!

We’ve all heard that being in love is a most amazing feeling.  Surely God will eventually lead each of us to the love of our life, if that’s what He has in store for us.  But the most fulfilling relationship must resemble the unconditional love that Jesus has for each us.  Only when we truly fall in love with Him will we learn to love others the way He wants us to.  In their song “You and Me,” Lifehouse describes perfectly how each of us should feel about our relationship with the perfect One: “It's you and me and all of the people, and I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you.”

So you just met the perfect guy.  Now all you got to do is give Him the green signal.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 17, 2006, 09:02:28 PM
  Taking Off The Blindfold

By: Janet Adams


Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psa. 16:11) KJV

A few years ago when my youngest son was a little boy we threw him a birthday party outside and his older brothers made up some games and obstacle courses they thought would be fun.  One of the funniest but most difficult was a short race where they had to wear a blind fold and run to a specific goal.  They were allowed to look under the blindfold at their feet but that was all.  Each time a group would get up to the line they were determined they could go that short distance without seeing. They would take off stumbling, twisting and turning trying to stay on their course.  It was so funny to watch them bump into each other, trip over their own feet or even fall down.  Some ended up on the sidelines or got turned around all together and ended back on the starting line. 

Once they were finished and took off the blindfold they couldn't believe where they ended up.  This same thing happens to many of us through life.  We reach a certain point and look back and we can't believe what we have done or been through.  Many of the difficulties that make us struggle or even fall are our own faults.  We were looking at our own little steps in life instead of looking to a goal. The cross of Jesus Christ should be our goal in life.  When we take off our blindfolds and look to God throughout our life we are assured to be going the right way.  Oh we will stumble or even fall at times but focusing on Him will bring us to the right mark, not the sidelines or the wrong way all together. 

How funny we must look to God, like those kids at the birthday party.  Running around with no direction in sight.  Take off your blindfolds, look directly to Jesus, focus on Him with every step you take and you will be in His will and go directly to your mark.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 18, 2006, 11:49:13 AM
Push

By: Mandie Ross


“Therefore…stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”             
1 Corinthians 15:58

I am reminded of a story of a man and a rock. God asked this man to push against this very large, and heavy rock. Everyday the man went out and pushed against it but no matter how hard he tried the rock wouldn’t move. Finally he cried out “Lord, I’ve done what You’ve told me to do. But Lord, this rock won’t move.” I suppose God chuckled as He confirmed, “I asked you to push against the rock, not move it. But with your perseverance to do what I have asked you’ve developed much strength.”

I would guess that most of us are like this man. Sometimes we get anxious because we want something that we’re not getting fast enough. And other times we feel so burdened and stressed out by everything going on in our lives. I’m sure so many of us have overscheduled ourselves, trying to make ourselves feel productive. And at the same time we succumb ourselves to the anxiety of our own future plans…as if the stress from our already busy lives isn’t enough. But it comes to a point where we feel Mary on one shoulder, and Martha on the other. One is begging us to do, do, do. And the other is pleading for us to just sit at the feet of Jesus.

There are so many things, whether they are the stress of overdoing ourselves, anxiety about the future, or tantalizing worldly temptations, that can get us sidetracked from our purpose. We let fear, worry, doubt, and temptation get into our hearts. But God only asks us to do what He asks us to do, and nothing more. He asks us to push up against our adversities, not to be moved because of them. So pretend that big rock contains all the things that take our focus off of what God wants us to do with our lives. Turn your back to it with your arms folded and feel the sun on your face. Turn to it and push to get your strength. Show it that you’re not troubled by it being there, but that you’ll work around it. Let God be the one to take care of that rock. Let Him be the one who moves you. 

I’ll leave you with excerpts of this song by Susan Ashton. Maybe some of you who recognize it will hear it playing as you read it.

“…But He moved me
You give me courage I didn’t know I had
You move me
I can’t go with You and stay where I am
So You move me…

…And it scared me so much
That I just wouldn’t budge
I mighta stayed there forever
If not for Your touch…

…Oh but You move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Burning with love and with hope and desire
And how You move me

You go whistling in the dark
Makin light of it, makin light of it
And I follow with my heart
Laughin all the way

Oh but You move me
You get me dancing and You make me sing
You move me
Now I’m takin delight in every little thing
And how You move me…”



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 19, 2006, 01:20:34 PM
  A Father's Love

By: Tony Alonso

And others are the ones sown among thorns; they are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 RSV

A little girl walks down the sidewalk with her daddy. I can’t see her but I can hear her cries and her dads assuring words. She decided run ahead of him and got into some sort of losing fight with a bush and thorns. Her dad calls out to her to see if she is OK, and to help her get the stickers out of her clothes. However, instead of running to her father for help, comfort, and protection, she chooses to yell, scream, and demand that he stay away.

If it was anyone else, I’m sure the guy would have agreed and left. But not a Father, especially when his little girl is in trouble. He sat on the sidewalk and continued to call out encouraging words and waited. Finally after about 30 seconds of fighting it off, she ran over and her daddy embraced her with a kiss and a hug, and began to help her get cleaned up.

Isn’t it funny when we get into tough situations and a thorn drives itself deeper and deeper into our side, we continue to try to run from those who can help us. Maybe it is because we are scared, ashamed, or maybe we do not fully trust Him enough to fix and heal the situation. It possibly could have something to do with our past or that others have failed you so why not add this Father to the list. These are all understandable reasons and thoughts, but they still leave you helpless and in pain.

I encourage you to let go of your pride and anything that is keeping you in a place of hurt and pain. Instead of fighting off the scab and opening up the wound, allow Jesus to heal your scar and embrace you the way you long for. Next time you think you’re in to deep and down to low, remember that Jesus took pain, dehydration, and nails, just so he can take the little thorn out of your shirt. God Bless and Keep the Faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 20, 2006, 11:44:39 AM
The Mountain of Patience

By: Adam R. Rinehart

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…Galatatians 5:22 

After the joy of my senior year, my dad and step-Mom wonderfully took the three of us children for a trip out west to ultimately end up at Grandma's house in Solvang, CA.  While on the way out there, we stopped at many places to see the joy of God’s beauty and to spend time together looking at different things.  One of the stops we made was in Colorado to see all of the mountains. 

We could see them off in the distance as we drove towards them, and it was a site that I will never forget. Those mountains have been standing as long as creation, and possibly could have been formed even more through the flood. They have withstood the weather, been through earthquakes, and even have been through man and his venture for technology.

I have heard people say, “Never pray for patience, because God will definitely give it to you.” That bothers me a bit when people say that, because we are not asked to pray for patience, but are called to live in patience. We as Christians are called to seek out the glory of God in all that we do, and that takes more patience then we can ever imagine. Moses is just one example in the Bible that was a man with a mountain of patience.  He endured through many things to lead the people out of Egypt, and was a man that when given a vision of God was not devoted to himself, but devoted to the Glory of God. That, my friends takes a lot of patience. ?
Many of us have withstood the earthquakes, weather, and man to see our Christian lives flourish. We are called to keep it up.  To be mountains in our patience and keep on enduring through our Christian lives, and to have the fruit of patience throughout all of the things that we face in our lives so that the endurance of the patience may teach us to glorify God more. 

Take on a new mindset and ambition today. Seek the calling that we as Christians are called to do through patience, and may we be those mountains of patience throughout all of our lives. Be patient and glorify God in everything. May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 21, 2006, 04:47:37 PM
The Maze of Life

By: Amber Alonso

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Have you ever been in one of those human mazes?  I have and it’s difficult to see the way out, and once I turn my first corner, I can’t find my way back to the beginning.  I seem to run into a dead end at every turn.  Sometimes I feel like I will never find my way out of the mess I got myself into.

Sometimes life can be a great big maze. At every turn we are tempted to explore a new avenue.  Sometimes that avenue leads can lead us to addiction; sometimes it leads us to adultery; sometimes it leads us to defiance of God Himself.  We feel hopeless and without a guide out of the great maze.  Some people just decided to stop trying, and they fold their arms and with a frown on their face squat down and star at the leaves on the bushes and the blue sky above wishing they only had a ladder to lift them out of the maze. 

According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, there is no need for us to quit the maze.  There is no need to stand still and lose hope.  The first thing that we need to understand is that we are not tempted by anything that comes from God. God will not tempt us, He has made this promise in James 1: 13-14.  Therefore we know that if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts then we are not tempted by God, but of our own evil desires that are ours when we did not surrender ourselves to God. Instead in the verse above it says, “ God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” How encouraging! This means that if you are like me and don’t like pursuing things that you know you are not going to succeed at, then overcoming temptation should not be a concern.  God says that He can overcome that and won’t let you perish because you were tempted.  Something else that is just as encouraging is the next promise God makes.  “When you are tempted, I will also provide a way out.”  So, when you are struggling and fighting through the hard times that you have brought on by being tempted, like drug addiction, anger problems, depression, there is no need to lose hope of feel like God has abandoned you and left you to find your own way.  There is a light at the end of the maze and God is your guide in getting there.

There are so many times that we will feel lost in the world.  We will feel lost in our own decisions, but keep your faith and know that you always have a way out no matter how deep within the maze you are.  God is faithful and will not let you be tempted more than you can bear.  Think about those words and thank God for his grace and mercy.  He truly loves you no matter what temptation has brought upon you.  Keep seeking Him and He will guide through this complicated maze of life. Amen!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 22, 2006, 11:28:01 AM
  Close For Comfort

By: Mandie Ross

“…there’s one who sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

There are the fights in the morning over who gets the bathroom first and for how long. And that starts arguments with parents about how it is so imperative to add more bathrooms to the house. Then there are the arguments over why the last person to drive the car didn’t fill up the gas tank. And to add insult to injury, the one who complains is the one who didn’t get to use the car last even though they’d already made plans. Then there are the complaints about how one sibling absolutely does not like the other’s friends. There’s name calling, and in some cases, hair pulling and fist fights. Some brother’s and sisters stop talking into adulthood for reasons they’ve forgotten. Good old sibling rivalry.

My brother and I have pretty much always gotten along well. We used to get into trouble together, pouring whatever liquid we could find in the garage, into the sandbox. And the first time we got grounded, we were grounded together for playing with matches in our bedroom. We were 5 and 6 at the time. We both hung out at the neighbor boy’s house together when most brothers would tell their sisters to bug off when it comes to hangin’ out with the boys. Not my brother. He even took off his jacket and handed it to me once when I felt car sick…just in case. But then…we got to junior high.

My parents told my brother to walk me home from school because some of the girls were ruthless to me. They kicked me in the shins, knocked things out of my hands and threw whatever it was across the floor, and followed me into the bathroom once to have a 3 to 1 fight. My brother’s response to walking me home…”walk 10 feet in front of or behind me. I don’t want anyone to think you’re my girlfriend.” What happened to my partner in crime? Even I change within myself from one moment to the next and I lose my bond with me. But there’s one who sticks closer—even closer than I stick to me.

He’s there to comfort us when we’re down. He knows what it’s like. He never thinks more of Himself than He does His brothers or sisters. There’s no one like Him. He never changes. He’s the only one who can give us strength during times of weakness, and boldness when there’s no one to stick up for someone-- or when we just need to say or do the right thing. He teaches us compassion, forgiveness, self-control, integrity…He’s the jack of all trades. But most of all He’s the one who shows us real love. He’s closer than you can imagine…and He promises never to leave.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 23, 2006, 06:51:32 PM
Difficult Times

By: Tiffani Johnstone

“Rueben further said to them, ‘Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but do not lay hands on him’ – that he might rescue him out of their hands to restore him to his father….and they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty, without any water in it.” Gen 37: 22, 24

Sometimes, there are times in our lives when things seem to be going well and out of nowhere we end up in a pit. Living as a part of this world, we cannot escape the difficult times. We must learn to deal with them. I am sure we can all think back or even think currently about a pit we have been or are in. It is not always just a single pit we might be in. We might be in several different pits at once. It could be our relationship with parents, finances, or friends. During these times, we must learn how to have the proper attitude in order to get out of them.

Joseph did nothing to prompt his brothers into throwing him into the pit, other than his attitude of pride. Joseph received many gifts from his father but became proud and began boasting about them. As this took place, his gifts began to get stripped. Realize this, it was not Joseph’s dad who took the gifts away, but it was through Joseph’s own actions that the gifts were stripped. However, if you look ahead to the end of the story, once Joseph realized the lesson God was trying to teach him, he received something more important than any of the gifts his earthly father gave him. He received the throne.

As you go through the difficult times, the pits in life, you are sure to hear some of the lies Satan tells you. He will often throw out that you are evidently not good enough or else you would not be in this pit. He will also start creating false evidence to support the lies. Recognize this as part of his scheme! God would never tell you that you are not good enough and that it is too late. It is never too late. Sometimes our prayer is too much complaining rather than crying out to God in humility. We need to be asking God to do a work in our heart. When Joseph did this, his situation began to change. He was sold to some slaves. It may not seem that our way of getting out of the pit is the best but it’s better than death as in Joseph’s case. When we humble ourselves and cry out to God, He will deliver us out of every pit. He will promote us beyond the pit and will exalt us so that we might walk in the destiny He has planned.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 24, 2006, 12:12:29 PM
The Storm or the Child?

By: By: Tiffani Johnstone

When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matt 8:23-27 (NASB)

Storms come and storms go. Sometimes weathermen can predict them and sometimes they cannot. When they attempt to predict and they are wrong, they tend to get the brunt of it. But who can truly predict a natural phenomenon that by the amazing works of God, has it’s own way of doing things?

Sometimes I wonder if we are the same way when it comes to spiritual storms. Of course we know that they are going to happen, but when they hit do we question ourselves as to whether we should have seen it coming? The disciples did not even know the storm was approaching when they were in their boats. If they did, I am sure they would not have been out on the sea. However, they were trapped in the middle of it. Being experienced fishermen, they had dealt with several storms. So what made this one different? Was it larger? The Bible does not say but one can speculate that the larger explanation was the case. It had to have been a storm that was so big the disciples feared for their life. Do we ever have storms in our life that look like that?

One thing that we can learn from the disciples is that even though Jesus was on the boat with them, the storm still came and they still feared. No matter how spiritual we are or even think we are, the storms of life are still going to come. It is how we handle them that matters. Another thing that can be learned is that Jesus’ reaction was not to them waking him up but to their fear. The disciples never once asked Jesus to calm the storm. They, instead, focused on themselves and asked him whether he cared about them. This is a sure sign of fear. When the storms of life come, we need to take refuge in the fact that God does care and He knows exactly what is going on. Just because Jesus was asleep does not in any way mean he did not know that the storm was going on. I have a suspicion that He was simply waiting for them to come and wake him up. Do we wake God up when our storm happens?

The larger lesson of this story is that Jesus dealt with the disciples before he began dealing with the storm. There is a famous song that says ‘Sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calls his child.’ How true this is. Sometimes God does not calm the storms in our life. Rather He allows them to continue but calms us and teaches us how to trust Him when even the most difficult of situations arise.

What storm is happening in your life right now that you need to know God cares about? Could it be a divorce in the family? A death? A job? Whatever it is, God wants us to know that those who take cover in Him will be able to ride out the storms.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 25, 2006, 01:14:19 PM
  Seeking Loneliness

By: Beth Hays

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16) NIV

Jesus ran away. That is, in essence, what this verse is saying. When the crowd overwhelmed Him, when He had a decision so unfathomable it crushed Him, when He was about to face the greatest challenge of history, Jesus ran away. It makes Him sound like a pretty ridiculous guy when I put it that way. But, really, it was the most ingenious thing I can think of.

Instead of answering these challenges out of human wisdom or instant human emotion, he ran away to escape the human and connect with the divine. When life was too much, Jesus ran away to a place where he was ALONE. Alone—we don’t like that word or that concept today. Being alone translated into being unprotected and unsafe and overwhelmed by loneliness. But, Jesus didn’t see those lonely, empty places the way we do. He saw them as connecting points to the One who is always there.

He used that complete loneliness to reach up to the One who designed human companionship. He ran away to be humanly alone. But, the whole point of running away was to run into the arms of the One who made Him. When Jesus was alone, He was never really alone.

I’ve battled loneliness a lot lately. I struggle daily with feeling as though I am the only soul on this planet who feels unloved and uncared for. But I’m not. Jesus felt that way…that is precisely when He ran into the greatest arms of acceptance ever in existence. He sought out what I am running from because He knew the secret of loneliness—a secret I need learn.

Loneliness is the most beautiful catalyst to an intimate relationship with our Creator. When we are stuck in loneliness we need to find a way to see past the intensity of our emotions and reach up to our daddy in Heaven, let Him pick us up, hold us close, and share with us what He wants us to do with each day. Yes, I am deeply lonely. But, if I let it, that will carry me to closeness with the Father that will far surpass any human relationship. I challenge you, my friend, to seek out loneliness, to run away from the chaos, and to jump into the safety of the presence of God.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 27, 2006, 12:22:04 PM
  From The Grandstands

By: Ben Dell

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." (Ephesians 1:3-4)

I remember like it was yesterday.  My father would sit in the stands, when I played baseball as a kid, and he would yell for me and my team.  He would scream, "Whadda say big red, whadda say?"  My teams' colors were red.  Some of the guys on my team would laugh, but I was proud because I knew that my father was supporting me.  I didn't care how ridiculous he looked.  I had someone who was backing me up no matter if I struck out or hit a home run (which did not happen too often). 

Here we have a letter to a church that needs some encouragement.  They are in a culture that is rampant sin and godlessness.  They are getting discouraged. However, they received a letter that is just like my father screaming in the stands. Paul has written a letter saying that God was supporting them.  Verses 3-11, in the greek, are one sentence.  For the sake of time, only 3-4 will be emphasized.  God has given them a blessing already because of what Christ had done for them. 

Already they have been blessed.  That is what God had thought of them.  He thought so much of them that he chose to bless them.  Before they were ever born, God was in love with them.  He had already placed them to a high point, in heaven, with Jesus.  It is like they were already there.  He had already given them every spiritual blessing.  The blessing was already their's.  It was not waiting for them.  It was already there.  The same is true for us. 

God is waiting in heaven for us.  He has been in love with us since before the creation of the world.  That is how much God loves us.  We should not let the theology of this passage blind us from seeing that has so much love for us that set us at this high place. 

The next time you feel that things are not going well for you.  Just remember that God is there cheering you on.  He has loved you before he even created the world. Let that be the father in stands that is cheering you on.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 27, 2006, 12:22:56 PM
  Why is it so Hard?

By: Heather

"The vision of the evenings and mornings that have been given to you are true, but seal up the vision for it concerns the distant future." (Daniel 8:26)

This past weekend something happened and it has really got me to thinking. I will be the first one to admit that when things go wrong I doubt in things that God has told me. And on numerous occasions, I have asked God to confirm them over and over again. Sometimes God would tell me, "Heather, have I not told you once? How many times do I have to repeat myself for you to believe? Once is all it should take." Those are the times I feel like I have let God down.

I am at a state in my life where I really need God to change my heart. God has told me something; He told me it almost a year and a half ago. For whatever reason, I have relied on that one thing that God has told me about my future, I have let it consume all my thoughts and prayers. Of course, I know it’s good to pray about it, but I think I have let it become something that it shouldn’t be. I let it become my security. I'm not letting God be my security. I let my desires over take me. I soon realized that I was missing everything that praise and worship should be about, cause I was worried about one thing. I just wasn't grasping everything like I use to, or should have been. There’s this praise and worship song called "Heart of Worship" and Chorus goes... "I'm coming back to the Heart of Worship when it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus. I'm sorry Lord for the thing I made it, when its all about you Jesus." That last sentence has really hit me hard. I was openly saying to God that I am sorry for what I have made my life into when it SHOULD always be about him.

I need to learn how to seal up in my heart the things God has told me, and not lose focus on him. What have one, two, ore more things are going on in your life that you have not given completely over to God? What is holding you back from the blessings that are just around the corner? You see, God has brought it to my attention and will give me the strength to make it out of this rut. What has God brought to your attention? Now, what are you going to do about it? God Bless and have a wonderful day, no week, no year... no LIFE !



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 28, 2006, 11:25:18 AM
Test All Things

By: Janet Adams

Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thes. 5:21-22) NIV

Test all things.  Look at each activity or thought you might have.  You ask yourself the question, is this of the Lord?  Is this truth? Is this good?  It becomes quit easy to do when you practice it as a way of life.  In this world we are shot at every angle with all kinds of things that are evil.  Most of the time we are so caught up in our lives we don't even see what is coming. 

God tells us to abstain from evil.  This sounds simple enough but is it?  The truth is that it is hard to distinguish between good and evil sometimes.  That is where God comes in.  Open and intimate relationship with God assures us that we will be able to tell what is good and what is not. Satan is the relentless enemy of good.  When you search for good Satan is right behind you trying to temp you and destroy your relationship with God.  Never take the goodness in your life for granted, cherish it and hold it close to your heart.

People may challenge your goodness and that can cause severe peer pressure.  You may be criticized for your moral stand.  Hold fast to God no matter what you face, hold on to the good.  Evil robs you of what God intends for you.  Prayer is a gift from God and even that can be strained if you don't abstain from evil.  Don't let Satan take what is your gift from God, goodness. Holding on to truth, righteousness and good in life frees you to experience God's best.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 28, 2006, 11:31:05 AM
Elementary Teachings

By: Heather

"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of the hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so" (Hebrews 6:1-3)

We all have ups and downs and big bumps and small bumps in our walk with God. As we go to church, and pray, we start to learn what they call the "Elementary Teachings." It's the basic information that you are taught about God and His Word. Trust me, it’s a lot of information, but their comes a time where we need to learn more. We need to learn about God in a deeper intimate way.

I have found myself knowing that I needed to take a step forward with my walk in God and that can be a scary experience because you never know what he has in store for you. I would read up in my Bible on things that I already knew. Stuff that I already experienced. I thought that if I just knew the stuff I already knew but better that I would grow. Or sometimes we all feel like once we know the basics what else is left?

Once you break away from your early teachings, doors will open for you, you won’t have to open them. You will see God working in every area of your life. The change will happen immediately. You may think that nothing is happening, but God is just changing and preparing your heart for what he has in store for you.

We need to take that step forward and step away from the "Elementary Teachings" and learn more about who God is. What type of personality does he have? How does he speak to you? What is God’s will in your life? Many can be facing the choice of what college God wants you to attended. I know I am. This is a very big choice for me, its mapping out the rest of my life. And I have found out in my own life the more I stepped out, the more time I spent with God, the more I got to know him. But most importantly, the more he got to know me.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 29, 2006, 12:42:46 PM
Back To The Basics

By: Johnnie Moore Jr.

"My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you."  Pr. 3:1,2
     
It is not a very widely spoken of truth but many theologians believe that the books of proverbs (the wisdom book) is actually a whole book of wisdom written from a father to a son.  Therefore, the contents are a glimpse into our Heavenly Father's mind, a glimpse into the depth of his wisdom, written exclusively for those who are now heirs to His throne by the blood of Jesus Christ.       
     
In the latter passage God reiterates the one main truth that encompassed all the law of the old testament and the central theme to the old covenant.  God says to us, "Do not forget my law."  It's not the law that redeems us but it is the law that makes us more like our Father.  Notice that it's not just a knowledge of the law that's important, it's not just the obedience to his law because of guilt or responsibility, but it is an obedience grounded in the heart of the believer.  See so often in our life we mimic the life of a Christian on the outside because it's our responsibility or reputation, but the truth is that you're not living for Christ if it's not grounded deep within your heart.
     
Why should we keep God's commandments?  Well for one thing it's the least we can do in the light of what he did for us!  The Bible tells us that if we love God we should keep his commandments!  The outward demonstration of our love for our Savior is the obedience to His word that we live. 
     
Secondly, notice also that this is a command with promise.  If we keep God's law and obey His commandments (In the right motives) then He promises he will add length to our life and peace will be added onto us.  This doesn't mean our lives will be easy, but it does mean that God will never leave us during the tough times, and we many times will be able to see His purpose in them!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 29, 2006, 12:43:38 PM
  What Does He Want?

By: Mandie Ross

“…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’…”  Matthew 5:37

     How many times have we been caught saying that we’d do something that we naver get around to? If we say “I promise”, does it make our word to be more valuable? And what if we don’t even stick to what we “promise”?—A broken promise…what an oxy moron. And what about when we insist, “I’d never do that!” and then we catch ourselves doing it?

     I’ve made so many non-comitted comittments in my life, and others towards me. I’ve had boyfriends who I pledged my love to, and them to me. Some have told me they wanted to marry me. Others I actually became engaged to. They didn’t last. When the tough got going, someone left. That did a number on the version of love that I learned. And I can’t even begin to tell you what it did to my heart. Yes’ became no’s, and no’s became yes’. I had made my plans my own. And another’s words of endearment to me became a fleeting butterfly…beautiful, but out of reach.

     I decided to do something a little out of the ordinary. I wanted to give the pen of my love life over to God. I asked Him if He would send me the one that He created for me in His time. In that time I would do no searching of my own. I didn’t want to make anymore promises of myself, nor did I want a promise to me to be of a man. I didn’t want my plans to be my own, I wanted them to be God breathed. I didn’t want a life of non-comitted, comittments. I wanted to live according to God’s will. I soon found out that since I hadn’t been living according to God’s will in this area of my life, fully surrendering to Him with a man was going to be harder than I thought. But knowing what God wants first leaves no room for confusion or the innevidable question of “Do I stay or do I leave?” that most people face in the hardships of a relationship. I won’t let my ‘Yes’ to that person become a ‘No’ later. Instead I will say ‘Yes’ to God’s will in my life. My ‘Yes’ to my Father has taken center stage so mine and my future husbands feelings and plans can take a back seat. No matter what I do or say or how fickle my feelings can be, God’s will doesn’t change. 

     Do not say what you’ll one day take back. Don’t confuse people like that. Don’t tell God your plans, let Him tell you  His. Don’t tell others “I’m going to do this”, or “I’m going to do that” because innevidably  people will feel they can’t trust your word. Make sure that before you sign, say, a marriage liscense that God is the mastermine behind that comittment before the law even recognizes it as so…otherwise, who is the head of that union, God or the government? And before you start making plans to go to Cedar Point next summer,  make sure it’s on God’s agenda  first.

     Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Above all, let your ‘yes’ be to God’s will and not your own. When you say ‘yes’, don’t hesitate or give it a second thought. Instead do like Nike and ‘just do it’.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 29, 2006, 12:49:17 PM
Living In Anticipation

By: Adam R. Rinehart

”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2)

When I look forward to my first glance of what Heaven will be like, I have to go back and remember the many times that I saw a full rainbow with billowing clouds spreading over the sky. The thunderstorm rolled in that morning, and I remember seeing the dark clouds as they rolled over the earth. I enjoy sitting out on my front porch watching them roll in, then darting inside to not get wet, hear the tornado warning, taking cover, and then with the finish of the storm going back on the front porch seeing the sun peer though the clouds. With much anticipation, I peer to the east to see a rainbow as bright as any color I have ever seen in my life!

When I anticipate what I will feel like when I get to Heaven, you know that I love to get excited about small things. But, when the BIG things come I get ecstatic! I kind of would liken it to the day that my daughter was born. The anticipation was so strong the night before she came that I barely could sleep. I was thinking about so many things about getting ready to be a Dad, it was probably good that I did not sleep. I will never forget the moment she was born. They did all of the normal tests on her, and the next thing I know, they have her wrapped up like a little papoose. The nurses handed her to me in which at the very moment I held her above my wife’s face so that she could see her. The nurse said, “Come on!” I then got to take her to the nursery right in my arms.

Jesus did not say that there was a place for us in Heaven. He said that there are many mansions in Heaven and that He is going to prepare a place for us. Which means that it is being prepared for us, and He is going to come and get us for a wonderful homecoming. He will be there! Our friends and family will be there! There will be no more pain and no more tears. It will be the most beautiful place that you will have ever seen. Words will never be able to describe it.

There is one problem. Not everyone will be able to be there. You say, “Not everyone?” Nope. You must have a ticket? Do you have yours? If not, I want you to know that it already has been paid for, all that you have to do is believe and accept it. You see, later on in the chapter, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” You see, He has already paid the price for you and I with His death, burial, and resurrection. All that we have to do is believe and accept our ticket for eternal life. If you have not accepted, I would encourage you to pick up your ticket today! You too could be a part of that great family reunion, and you too can experience the sights and feelings that won’t last for a little while, but that will last for eternity! May God’s Grace Abound In You



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 30, 2006, 10:11:55 AM
Every Moment

By: Tiffani Johnstone

Be Wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. Col 4:5 (NCV) 

Exiting the store, Leslie hears her name. As she looks up, she realizes that it’s one of her good friends that she has not seen in a while. They meet up with each other and ask how each is doing, but then her friend asks her why she is looking so sad. Catching Leslie off guard, she responds that she didn’t realize she was looking sad. Leslie knew that this would hinder her trying to share Christ with this friend because her friend had always talked about why would she want to be a Christian when it seems Christians are not any happier than she was. As they went their separate ways, Leslie had some thinking and changing to do.

Ever had a similar experience? As I look around me, I constantly see people who are looking down, have a frown on their face and just do not look happy. As Christians, we are to be different. When you go through a line at the grocery store and the cashier doesn’t say hi to you, do you say hi first? You never know what kind of day they might be having and just a little bit of kindness can go along way. We are told to make the most of every opportunity. This does not mean when we just feel like it but also when we do not feel like it. Sometimes it is just a smile or a simple hello. Sometimes it is going out of our way to make someone feel cared about and accepted. Whatever it is, we need to do it.

A challenge for all of us is to become conscience about how our demeanor appears to others. Do we look down? Do we look up and smile at others? Sometimes we have to be the one to take the initiative. As I used to walk in the mornings, the people I would pass usually looked down. I made it a priority of mine to say good morning to them. This was at 6 o’clock in the morning and therefore maybe, just maybe, it could get their day started off in a cheerful manner. How are you affecting someone’s day? Affect it for the good of Christ!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 31, 2006, 11:11:49 AM
Where's Your Seed

By: Ben Lippens

Matthew 13:20-21,23 - The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. (v.23) But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil, is the man who hears the word and understands it.

All Christians have been given a seed which was received with salvation. From that point, we choose to either grow up in our faith, or become dead and useless. We position ourselves and our seeds, so begin to think of where your seed is right now.
Is your seed sown in good soil, or are you one who has fallen onto rocky places and has no root?

So many times I see people around me get a "spiritual high" off of a service or some sort of bible study, but when the sun rises again, they allow sin to engulf their lives. Why? Because their positioning is away from the source of Life. How do we get our spiritual food if we never show up at the dinner table? Therefore, Position yourselves before God in prayer and study. Allow God to develop your seed as He pleases, and consider yourselves useless so that God will use you in a way like He may have never done before.

Christ has come so that you can have life, and have it more abundantly, and the word of God is alive, so why are Christians living like it's dead? Where are you at when you read this? When a hardship hits your life are you brought away from the word? Or even more so, when your life is going well, do you forget God exists? When the winds blow, don't get knocked over. Grow out your seed, and root yourselves.

Stop living as a baby Christian. God is not a game. It's time to mature and stop warming up a church seat. Your not in Church merely to receive a word. Your in Church to receive the Word, and to apply it to your life. Don't let the application part get you lost. Take your word and be bold. Stand Firm in your faith. Stay encouraged.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on January 31, 2006, 11:12:49 AM
Reactions

By: Tiffani Johnstone

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Mat 25:37-40

Do you remember where you were when 9-11 happened? Do you remember how you felt? What about the most recent, hurricane Katrina? What was your first reaction when you found out the destruction that it caused to not only one state but three? It is amazing to me how we can remember the little details when a tragedy occurs. When 9-11 happened, I was about to head to class. It did not really affect my emotions all that much other than in my head thinking ‘oh my goodness’. Hurricane Katrina, on the other hand, still has my emotions in high gear every time I hear anything about it.

Living here in the south, in the Bible belt, I am constantly hearing ‘Well New Orleans deserved it. It was just a city of sin anyway.’ Or another one that I hear is ‘Well God finally decided to judge New Orleans.” Yes I agree that it was a city of sin and that it was our modern day Sodom and Gomorrah but at a time like this, we are not the ones who need to be throwing the judgment at the residents of that city. Rather, we need to be showing love and helping them in any way we can. It was not only New Orleans that was demolished but it was other cities as well so I’m not quite sure how one can pass judgment and say that it was God’s wrath when it was not localized strictly to New Orleans.

These residents are homeless, jobless, some familyless, and others hopeless. It is our job as Christians to instill hope into the hopeless. How else are we to do that than simply help them out where they need help? When people are in crisis, you have to meet them where they are. I realize that there are some of us that live so far away from the affected area that it is hard to see how we can help. Others do not have the financial means to help. That is okay. If the most you can do is pray, then pray. Pray and seek the face of God for these people. They need to have someone interceding on their behalf. Pray for their souls. Do whatever it takes to do whatever you can.

What is your next step of faith? Are you going to continue sitting there saying that these residents deserved it or are you going to reach out and help those in need?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 01, 2006, 08:27:26 AM
Gone Before You Know It

By: Matt Crawford

"See then that ye walk circumspectly [diligently], not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV

When I moved into my apartment in February of 03, one of the things I was most excited about was the pool. I'd never had my own pool that I could use any time I wanted. My swimming was always done at friends' or family's or at public pools. So of course, I couldn't wait for summer to arrive.
I had big dreams of going for a swim every day after work, inviting friends and family over for swimming and food, and just being able to lounge around in the water whenever I wanted. As soon as the pool was open, I was out there. I remember the first day. The water was still freezing, and I kept going out every day after that waiting for the temperature to be tolerable. When it finally was, I was in paradise!

At first I swam every day, invited people over like I had planned, and enjoyed it to the full. But soon I found myself taking it for granted, knowing I had the whole summer to swim whenever I wanted. Before I knew it, it was the end of August, and very suddenly, rain came and the temperature dropped way down. The last day the pool was open in the beginning of September, I decided to go for one last swim. Again, the water was freezing! On that day, I missed the heat of summer, and wished I had enjoyed it more while I could. But now it was over. The next day, the apartment manager came and locked up the pool until next year.

The moral of this story, and the warning Paul gives in Ephesians 5:15-16, is that we have time now, every day, to live for God and produce fruit for His kingdom. Before we know it, though, that time will be up. Our "manager" will come and call us in and lock the doors behind us, and any work we will have done will be final, all we get. The word "redeem" in the above verse means to ransom, buy up, or take opportunity. The word "evil" can also mean calamitous, or ill. That says to me that while I am able now, the days may come when I don't have my full health, or the freedom I once did. Stress, responsibilities, illness, or even (according to the bible) persecution may hinder my abilities.

We need to stop spending our time as if we have it in unlimited quantity. The time will come when our opportunity to work for God is finished. We will either be raptured, called home to be with God, or even become weighed down by the illness and calamity this life can cause. Let us buy up, and ransom our time, and use every opportunity and all our health to serve God. Let us put in our work while we still can, so when "summer" is over, we don't look back and realize that we didn't use the time to it's full potential.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 01, 2006, 08:28:17 AM
Gone Before You Know It Part 2

By: Matt Crawford

"See then that you walk circumspectly [diligently], not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5: 15-16 KJV

Ever treated a friend as if you knew they'd always be around no matter what? Ever taken a possession for granted under the assumption that you'd never lose it? How many of us have come to the point where we see something going away from us, and we realize how much we want it now that it's gone.

Today's devotional is fitting at this time because Labor Day weekend is over and many of you are back to school. Alot of you just this weekend experienced your last boat ride, your last swim, your last trip of the summer, your last family barbecue, and maybe you're even regretting all those days you spent inside playing video games or watching TV instead of enjoying mother nature. Although you hated that summer job that kept you from playing every day of vacation, you now relish the memory of having that to do instead of school.

Some of you spent your summer vacation with family out of town, and now that it's back to your own place, you're regretting the small stuff like the couple of hours you spent not talking to your cousin because of an argument. Now that you won't be seeing them for a long time, you wish you'd have taken advantage of every second.

The point of this devotional is just to make use of these little examples while they are fresh in your mind, so you will remember how it feels when something is no longer available to you. The bible says the days are evil, which means they don't always promise fun and fortune. For the Christian, goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, but things do change. Jobs change, residences change, people pass away, friends move on to other towns, you change schools, and these are just a few examples of the uncertainties of life. For the greatest example, look to New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina has changed life there forever, and while people must move on, I doubt there is one person who doesn't wish they enjoyed their home more, that family member they lost, or even the small things like running water and refrigeration. Today, remember to love those around you, enjoy your friendships, and appreciate to the full the things you have.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 02, 2006, 10:11:09 AM
Are You Livin’?

By: Tiffani Johnstone

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11)

Grace? What is this mysterious word? Webster’s defines it as, “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. Unmerited divine assistance…hmmm. That evidently means that no matter what, as a Christian, we have access to this grace. It is by grace that we are able to say “no” to worldly things, not by our own strength. Ever tried to be good enough on your own only to realize it does not work? Maybe it is time you give God’s strength a try and allow Him to be the one that gives you the strength to carry out the life He wants for us.

Titus refers to what a godly life looks like. It is self-controlled and upright. Our society these days definitely does not know what the word ‘self- controlled’ means or even looks like. Are we Christians being different? Are we showing them what it looks like? How about when your friends want to go sneak into a movie? What do you tell them? Do you risk being made fun of or do you go ahead and go along with them? What would it look like to be self-controlled in this situation? Possibly telling them “No, I would rather not.”

The biggest part of this verse that hits home with me is that Titus isn’t saying that the grace was just for them back in the Bible days, but it is real for us today, this present age.

1 Thessalonians 4:7 states “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live holy lives.” Ever wonder what kind of calling God had on your life? This is it. Beyond our school work, beyond whatever careers we might be looking into, beyond relationships, our call is to live a holy life, a godly life. Are you livin’ it?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 02, 2006, 10:12:17 AM
Arguing with God

By: Beth Hays

"Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" (Job 40:1-2) NLT

Shamefully, I must admit, I am the queen of arguing with God. When my mom first became ill I got angry...I told Him that He needed to heal her now. Well, he didn't and that infuriated me even more. When he called my nanny home to Him in heaven...I screamed at Him for hours. When he took away my best friend, I turned away from Him.

He lovingly accepted me back when I was willing. But, I didn't stop. He called me into ministry...I said no. I would not speak in front of people. I wanted a quiet, stable job. I didn't want to be a youth minister! Eventually, He got me to agree. Now, he's changing my heart so that not only am I doing it for Him...but I WANT to do it.

Today I was talking with my best friend Lauren. She is moving to France for a year to further her education there. I became so angry with God. Why would He put such an amazing person in my life and then let her walk away? I sobbed as I told her I was happy for her (which I was...but oh so sad for me). Then I sat down and opened my Bible.

Then the LORD said to Job, "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" (Job 40:1-2) NLT

OK...you win AGAIN God. Why do I ask such questions? Why do I doubt the judgment of the creator of this beautiful world? I will never understand why... But, I gave it to God. I handed Him my broken, lonely heart. I know His plan is so much bigger...and who am I to argue? If you are wrestling with God about a situation in your life...let this verse stop you in your tracks...just as it did for me. God knows what he is doing. Trust Him...and don't argue!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 03, 2006, 10:39:14 AM
  My Friend

By: Janet Adams


John 14:17 from The Message
This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

“I am lonely, I have no friends.  No one likes me.  I have no one to talk to.”  Have you ever felt this way?  Some of us at one time or another will feel alone.  Sometimes we just don't feel we have a friend in the world. 

The Bible says that we believers in Jesus do have a friend, one who is always with us and in us.  The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth is our friend.  It is with us and lives in us.  The world without Jesus can't see it or feel it; it is hard to explain to an unbeliever what a friend we have in Jesus, you have to experience it for yourself to know.  When Jesus comes into your life, you are never alone; you have a friend for life and beyond. 

I urge you that are believers to introduce someone to a Friend who will always be with them and will live in them.  What a gift to give someone who feels alone, to introduce them to a loving God who will live in them.  What comfort for those who feel like they are not loved, what companionship for those who feel they have no one to talk to.  Everyone will feel that way sometime in their life but not everyone will have a personal Spirit to dwell in them unless they meet the source, the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Introduce your Friend to someone today.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 03, 2006, 10:40:07 AM
  He's Got The Power

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Jeremiah 32:17-18 “17 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers' sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty,”

When my wife and I lived in Chicago, we had the unfortunate joy of living with roaches.  We would spray and spray, but to no avail, there was no success getting rid of them.  The maintenance man would spray, we would bomb the apartment, and still a week or two later, the roaches would come back.   It was not us it was the people that lived around us! 

My usual routine is to get up at least one time a night for a drink of water, and no sooner would I open the refrigerator door would one of those “mean looking” roaches be right there on the counter, and they were unlike any roaches you have ever seen.  You see, most of the time a roach will run at the site of light, but these guys were fierce.   Generally, they would just stand there, and look up at me as if to say, “This is my apartment!”  They would never run!  Needless to say, I put the “smack down” on those roaches, and they ended up in File 13!

You know, we do the same thing with God.  We think that we are someone and get full of pride, thinking that we can control the universe.  We forget that it is impossible to take on God because God is the ultimate power!  All that it takes Him is one word and something can come to be. All that God has to say is,“Universe be!” and  BOOM!  There it is!  See the power of God!  If God wanted to, He could squash us, and especially could throw the “smack down” on any attitude that we may take up.

You know, roaches are not hard to deal with we have the power in the sole of our shoe to take care of them.  What about your life?  Is there something in your life that is too big for you to deal with? We think that we are “big” enough to deal with it, but in reality we are not.  We have to be willing to give it over to God to deal with.  Nothing is too hard for Him!  Won’t you take that problem and let Him handle it today?  You know, God can and will put the “smack down” on them if you only let Him.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 04, 2006, 03:54:26 PM
Facts or Truth?

By: Courtney Huff


“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4, Message)

Have you ever had to walk through a time and a place where your faith is tested to the point that you can hardly believe you still believe?  God has had me in that place for the past several months as I’ve dealt with a situation that is so unjust and so hurtful that it often seems beyond words.  I have prayed and pleaded with God more times than I can count to step in and change things, to stand up for the defenseless, to bind up the brokenhearted and save the afflicted.  I mean, that’s what He’s supposed to excel in doing, right?  Well, so far, for some reason beyond me (I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m not!), He’s chosen not to do that – at least, not yet.

But what’s so amazing is that God has increased my faith in Him even though the circumstances haven’t changed.  Something my pastor said once has stuck with me through this whole experience.  In every situation, our faith is affected by whether we look at the facts or at the truth.  All of us have facts that surround us.  For me, my fact is I am being treated unjustly and have a weighty sorrow I can’t escape.  Maybe your fact is that you’re stuck in an abusive family, or your best friend is hurting himself and you can’t stop him, or every person you thought you could trust has turned on you, or something else equally as difficult.  So often, we only base how we feel and our faith on these facts of our lives.

But listen – there’s more to life than just the facts!  There’s also the truth – God’s truth.  Listen to what He says…
The Lord is your strength and your shield. (Ps. 28:6)
You are more than a conqueror.  (Rom. 8:37)
You are an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your
testimony. (Rev. 12:11)
You are God’s workmanship and handiwork. (Eph. 2:10)
You are God’s chosen, holy and beloved (1 Thes. 1:4)

And of course, the list goes on.  All of this remains truth, regardless of our circumstances.  What happens around us does not negate what God has said!  For me, because God has said He is my defender and refuge in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1-3), I can rest confidently in that truth, regardless of what the facts of my life are right now.

So today I pray that your faith would be “forced out into the open” in the midst of the circumstances you’re facing as you look to God’s word for the truth that never fails.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 04, 2006, 03:55:39 PM
Salvation Earth

By: Amber Alonso


“We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.”  (Hebrews 6:9)

There are so many wonderful things in life that God has created for us to enjoy.  There are relationships, adventures, food, fun, love, laughter, peace, children, pets, nature, churches, etc. But have you noticed that although these things surround you and you have accepted Jesus into your heart, you still feel down or incomplete at times?  You would think, that well I’ve accepted Jesus into my heart, so I’m all set.  I have my ticket in the door so I’m good. 

Well, there is more to the life the God wants you to live than just standing in line with a ticket in your hand.  God has a purpose for all of us, but if we do not look past the gates of salvation, we do not see what He really has in store for us.  I’m not necessarily talking about the eternal heaven that we all will see one day, but I’m referring to the salvation that He grants us on this earth. 

Have you ever been completely selfless and helped someone out in his or her most earnest time of need?  Do you remember how that felt?  Do you remember the feeling of complete satisfaction and appreciation for being blessed for doing such a thing?  Have ever stood in awe of a rumbling thunderstorm in the distance or the beauty found in the soul of your closest friend?  What kinds of deeper meaning did you find in all of this? Have you ever felt what it feels like to really do the right thing when faced with all opposition? 

This is the salvation that I’m talking about.  There is a joy that God wants to share with us here on earth.  In Hebrews the Jewish-Christians were encouraged to see go beyond the fact that they had repented of their sins and asked Jesus into their heart to receive their ticket into heaven.  “Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, to ensure that what you desire will come true.”

We all have the ticket, but are we missing the grander show and the joy of the ride? I encourage all of you today to take your ticket and run with it.  Don’t just stand around waiting in line for your time to be up.  Grow in the Lord.  Read the Bible, seek His counsel at every turn, and praise Him for every blessing and joyous feeling He gives you along the way!  Don’t miss out on the salvation that He has here for you on Earth.  May God bless you and keep you!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 05, 2006, 12:59:13 PM
  He Is Risen

By: Adam R. Rinehart


TDDM is looking for new writers to join the team. If you have the talent and the commitment to write a devotional each week, please write an E-mail to Adam@tddm.org for an application.

The hush whips across the mountainside as the crowd leaves the place called Golgotha.  Not very much conversation will be happening on the road home today.  Tears are being shed, feelings have been hurt, Jesus was just crucified on the cross this morning.

Lifeless, the corpse of Christ lay in the tomb.  Broken and crushed were the twelve, who deserted Him.  Not to mention the number of different lives that He touched.  Will He rise from the dead as He promised?  Would this be the end?  Friday night came and went.  Saturday too.  Sunday morning came and the earth began to rumble.

Two women came to the tomb with the intent of bringing spices to the body of the one that called Himself the Messiah.  To their surprise, the stone was rolled away, and they could not find His body.  The angels proclaimed, "He is Risen! He is alive! He is truly the Messiah!  He is Alive!"

Jesus died and rose so that you and I may have eternal life!  The same is true for us today!  Jesus is risen, and He is alive and wants a relationship with you and I! He wants to fulfill His promises and touch your life.  Won't you accept Him today?  May God Be With You




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 05, 2006, 01:00:16 PM
Preach Christ Crucified

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehart


"And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again." (Luke 18: 33)

"…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks”
(I Cor. 1:23)

This afternoon, I was sitting in my office doing what I do best, using my imagination.  While I was using my imagination, images of the cross came to my mind and I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to think deeper than I have ever thought.  Imagine with if you will as you read along that I am a missionary and am proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to you.  I am going to tell you that a 33 year old man was electrocuted in the electric chair for your sins. 

There are many hymns that have been written about it. When I Survey The Wondrous Electric Chair and The Electricity Will Never Lose It's Power or The Old Rugged Electric Chair—remember we are imagining.

Now imagine that if people caught onto the religion, and wore electric chairs around their neck, on their t-shirts, and as decals on their car windows.  Imagine if you had an electric chair hanging in the church or on your wall at home. You drive down the road and come to the next church and what do you see but three electric chairs on a hill representing the one who died for you and me.

What would your response be?  "Well that is the dumbest religion anyone would have ever invented!"   Would you be offended?  The imagery would be totally different than what people see in the cross. Or would it?

The problem with that is that the electric chair is so much better of a punishment than what our Jesus took upon that tree.  Yet, when we look at what people are saying nowadays, I wonder if they really realize that.  "Don't preach the cross any more, it doesn't work."  "A crucified Messiah is stupid, preach prosperity, give them emotional experiences, provide them with self-esteem then you will fill the pews." The proof: look at your church, does the pastor preach the cross?  When was the last time that you heard a message on the cross?   If not, I wonder how many people are going to Heaven?

Friends, we are called and mandated to preach Christ crucified, buried, and risen again on the third day.  Are you doing that?  Are you sharing that with your friends?  I pray that you are.  May God's Grace Abound In You!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 06, 2006, 10:40:26 AM
Pretty High and Tempting

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Turn and flee from sin." (James 4:7) NKJV

Everyday we come in contact with some pretty tough situations. Times when there isn't anyone to turn to and nobody to stand by your side. Sin stares you right in the face and haunts your every move. It stalks you around every turn and is determined to pin you to a corner so you can't escape. Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. The other day I came in contact with one of those situations.

My dad came up from Miami to spend the week at Disney which is only about an hour from my house. Sunday was the only day I had off, so I packed my swimming trunks and drove to Mickey's house. I arrived there just in time to stuff myself with some breakfast and jump on a bus to Disney's Blizzard Beach. But, little did I know what lurked behind those snowy gates.

The day went by pretty fast and so did my skin as it turned 4 different shades of red before turning to its purple state that it's in now. Life was great, kids where laughing, parents relaxing, and my dad just staring in awe towards the main attraction. I walked over to where he was standing to gaze with wonder. Off in the distanced gleamed the tall, shadowy, silhouette of the largest, fastest, steepest, water slide in the world. My dad smiled, took me by the arm, and the march to my death began.

The closer we edged to the slide, the more fearful I became. Sweat started rolling down my face as I was gripped with the agony of my fate. As we stepped through the entrance to this suicidal slide, I felt my life come to an end. Then it hit me, the only chance I had was to make a mad dash through the line. There was an opening where I could slip through to the kiddy pool, It just might work. I took a deep breath, said a short prayer and made my last effort to dive through the line to safety. After nearly tripping over every chain and bumping into a really tall hairy man who was having a bad hair day, I was able to make it out.....alive.

Even though the fear of a slide could never compare to some of the things we face every day in our lives, it symbolizes what we as Christians need to do. As Paul tells us, we need to literally turn and run from sin. When we are tempted, or when sin comes to grab our arm, we need to turn the other direction. In God's word it shows us that we will never be tempted more than we can handle. He also tells us that there will never be a situation that we cannot escape. Even though the slide probably wouldn't have killed me, sin can. Not only can it kill you now, it can keep you from eternal life. If you haven't already, ask Jesus into your heart. If you have, realize that there is nothing that you can't do through Jesus Christ, who we all know strengthens us. The next time you get tempted or threatened with sin, remember Jesus died on the cross so we can stare at even the biggest sins in the world and simply....walk away. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 06, 2006, 10:41:42 AM
The River

By: Scott Michael Ringo


The river was clear and gentle and a welcomed contrast to the harsh dry sands the Spanish had just spent weeks in before finding it.  Surely this was a place that would be good...ahhh, but what is the small settlement just up ahead?  Sure enough, other people had already found the river and had also thought it to be a good area to settle down in.  That day in 1691, the area formerly known as Yanaguana to the Payaya Indians, which means The Clear Water, would be renamed San Antonio.  In later years it would be Mission San Antonio de Valero or better known as The Alamo.  In 1836, The Alamo hosted the battle that would give Texans their freedom.

It was necessary, especially in the early years of a country, for settlements to establish themselves around a good water source.  Water was the first concern for lasting survival.  Today, water is just as necessary and villages, cities or any occupied area must have a good water source for those living in or around it.

Just as water is important to us as humans it is also necessary to have an established spiritual water source.  Without a spiritual water source, continuing survival on a spiritual plane is impossible.  Unlike the treacherous undertaking it was in the early years of civilizations to find water to establish settlements by, finding the spiritual water which every human thirsts for is readily available.

On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says." John 7:37-38

After thirsting for thousands of years in a spiritual life that seemed like the largest desert, humanity had right before their eyes the source of living water.  Once they drank the water that Jesus gave them they would never thirst again.  Like the physical river the Spanish found, there are already people who have found this spiritual river and settled. However, there is always room for more to live there. Also like the name of the river the Spanish found, this river is the cleanest and purest spiritual water.  There will be no battle fought to gain the inhabitants of this settlement their freedom, because Jesus died and rose again to gain their freedom.

Throughout the ages many have tried to counterfeit this spiritual river that God has given them and instead create their own.  "Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see! Throw up your hands in disbelief--this can't be!" God’s Decree. "My people have committed a compound sin: they've walked out on me, the fountain of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns-- cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.” Jeremiah 2:12-14

The river that God has provided, Jesus, is the perfect spiritual river for each of us.  In an attempt to make our own water or find substitute water from a different river than Him will only give us frustration and eventually death instead of freedom. 

My Challenge To Us

Inside each of us there is a small voice telling us there is more to life than we already have.  We know the voice, we hear it in the mornings when we are getting ready for work, and we hear it in the evenings as we are falling asleep.  We know the voice and many times decide it is something that we must overachieve to fulfill.  However, that voice is God calling to us to settle ourselves by the only river that we will ever need.  Many of us cannot believe it can be so simple and so we spend many years searching the "desert" only to find ourselves parched and desperate for the cool, clean river.  Others tell themselves that they want the river but need to get through just one more week.  Without the spiritual water in our lives, which comes from a daily relationship with Jesus, we will all certainly die.  Take a minute and ask yourself if you have a daily relationship with Jesus or have been trying to quench your spiritual thirst with church attendance, religious activity, or something else.  Jesus, the living water, is not found through others (though they can help you find him); instead the river is something only you can decide to settle next to.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 06, 2006, 10:42:39 AM
Joyful Worship

By: Beth Hays

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.  (Psalm 89:15) NLT

Worship. I used to struggle with the real meaning of that word. I went to church on Sunday and sung a few songs, and even thought about them a little bit. I figured that was my “worship” quota for the day. I did sing praise-and-worship songs…isn’t that enough?

Then I experienced REAL worship. I stood in the very presence of God. That was mind-blowing. I stood in front of His throne and I told Him just how much I adored him. It was a place of intense love and gentle peace. It was incredible. And what followed that experience was a new depth of God. I desired to go back to that place. I longed for more reasons for worship, so I started to read the Word more. All of my pain left my focus because it was stayed on Him alone. And most of all, I was filled with overflowing joy.

Joy, my friends, is something much greater than happiness. You can only be happy when everything is going right. But, when your life is in shambles and you can still smile and praise God…that is joy at work. True joy is so much more beautiful than happiness and is all-consuming. You can’t lose it because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. It’s yours for as long as you continue to worship.

Dear ones, hear God calling you gently into His presence and follow. Turn up some great music or sit in silence and tell Him how much you adore Him. He longs to hear from you. Know that when you do, your heart will know a new depth. Then, keep worshipping and experience the most amazing thing on this earth—pure worship.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 06, 2006, 10:43:43 AM
Extravagant Worship

By: Ivy


A few weeks ago, I bought a book written by Hillsong's Darlene Zschech entitled "Extravagant Worship". The title alone caught my eye, because the dictionary defines the word EXTRAVAGANT as 2a. exceeding the limits of reason; b. lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint; c. extremely or excessively elaborate; 3a. spending much more than necessary; b. profuse, lavish.

I used to think that worship, in order to be holy, had to be quiet, and solemn. But in her book, Darlene says that God has given us his permission to "let all that is within me [us] bless His holy name" [Psalm 103:1]. And I thought, "everything that is inside of me is full of energy, shouldn't I offer something like that to God?".

I used to be ashamed to lift my hands, dance, or jump up and down during worship. I used to think that I would be making a fool of myself. But you know what? I realized, I shouldn't care at all! Because music is not the only form of worship! The lifting of my hands, my dancing, my jumping up and down, those are all forms of worship as well! And worship pleases the Lord!

So, when you go to worship, don't be afraid to lift up your hands in worship of the Lord. If the song makes you want to jump around and dance (try: One Way by Hillsong United) do it! And do it in a way that pleases the Lord. Don't put your focus on anybody else, block them out. Think of worship as a vertical line that connects you to the Lord. Don't let anyone else get in between your special time with your Creator. I challenge everyone to let everything that is inside of you worship the Lord. Are you guys up for it?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 07, 2006, 10:31:40 AM
Our Whipping Boy

By: Ariel D. Gant


“Christ carried the burden of our sins.  He was nailed to the cross, so that we would stop sinning and start living right. By his cuts and bruises you are healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 CEV)

Late the other night, I was talking to a friend and she mentioned the book The Whipping Boy.  I had heard of it, but never read it.  As she proceeded to tell me the story line, it reminded me so much of what Christ did for us.

As the story goes, a poor boy living on the streets was taken for a place to live and food to eat in the palace.  The hook?  Every time the prince, who wasn’t allowed to be hurt in any way, did something wrong, Jemmy, the whipping boy, was required to take his punishment.  They beat him until Prince Brat “understood” why what he did was wrong.  And for quite a while, it didn’t affect him.  But after being kidnapped together and having to rely on one another, they learned to trust and befriend each other.  Developing a relationship with Jemmy made the prince realize the consequences of his actions. It got harder and harder  for him to watch the whipping boy take the punishment that he deserved.  After a while, he decided to get rid of his whipping boy, and take Jemmy as a “brother” to live as an equal in the palace.

It suddenly clicked as she explained the basis of the story how intolerable it’d be for me to watch her suffer for my actions.  It’d be even more intolerable for her, because I’m so much closer to her than anyone else. But, I can’t stand to see anyone hurt, especially not for my poor choices.  It was then I realized that that’s exactly what I do to God, over and over.  I make the decision to sin, forgetting the severity of such an action.  I so easily fall into the trap of believing that God doesn’t care, so it doesn’t hurt him when I sin.  Deep in my heart, I know he loves me to a depth I can’t even begin to fathom.  But on the surface, it’s hard to remember that with the day-to-day trials of life.  And so Christ becomes my whipping boy, as I merciless give into temptation after temptation, crucifying my Lord all over again. 

This verse has long since been a favorite.  It’s had multiple meanings of depth and importance in my life, but now it’s taken on a new one.  It serves as a reminder that my sin – whether I choose to believe it or not – deeply hurts my God.  And when I refuse to recognize how much I’m hurting him, I’ve fallen into the same callous, heartless boy who prolonged the whipping boy’s punishment.  Watching The Passion, I remember continuously thinking, “That’s enough!  That’s enough!!!  Just let him hold me…he doesn’t deserve that; it was my fault…just stop hurting him…” I refuse to use him as my whipping boy any longer.  I’m choosing to stop the sins that have taken control over my life.  And I challenge you, too, as you begin to grasp the concept, to make the same decision.  Stop letting Satan continue to beat up on our Jesus because of our poor, selfish decisions, and realize the punishment he takes for you also becomes your healing and your freedom.  And to think he did it so willingly...



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 07, 2006, 10:32:24 AM
Facts or Truth?

By: Courtney Huff


“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4, Message).

Have you ever had to walk through a time and a place where your faith is tested to the point that you can hardly believe you still believe? God has had me in that place for the past several months as I’ve dealt with a situation that is so unjust and so hurtful that it often seems beyond words. I have prayed and pleaded with God more times than I can count to step in and change things, to stand up for the defenseless, to bind up the brokenhearted and save the afflicted. I mean, that’s what He’s supposed to excel in doing, right? Well, so far, for some reason beyond me (I guess that’s why He’s God and I’m not!), He’s chosen not to do that – at least, not yet.

But what’s so amazing is that God has increased my faith in Him even though the circumstances haven’t changed. Something my pastor said once has stuck with me through this whole experience. In every situation, our faith is affected by whether we look at the facts or at the truth. All of us have facts that surround us. For me, my fact is I am being treated unjustly and have a weighty sorrow I can’t escape. Maybe your fact is that you’re stuck in an abusive family, or your best friend is hurting himself and you can’t stop him, or every person you thought you could trust has turned on you, or something else equally as difficult. So often, we only base how we feel and our faith on these facts of our lives.

But listen – there’s more to life than just the facts! There’s also the truth – God’s truth. Listen to what He says…The Lord is your strength and your shield. (Ps. 28:6) You are more than a conqueror. (Rom. 8:37) You are an over comer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. (Rev. 12:11) You are God’s workmanship and handiwork. (Eph. 2:10) You are God’s chosen, holy and beloved (1 Thes. 1:4).

And of course, the list goes on. All of this remains truth, regardless of our circumstances. What happens around us does not negate what God has said! For me, because God has said He is my defender and refuge in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1-3), I can rest confidently in that truth, regardless of what the facts of my life are right now.

So today I pray that your faith would be “forced out into the open” in the midst of the circumstances you’re facing as you look to God’s word for the truth that never fails.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 08, 2006, 01:44:25 PM
Everything

By: Matt Crawford


“His divine power has given us everything that has to do with life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue:" (2nd Peter 1:3)

Recently I had a serious life issue come up. I came to a point where I had to have a confirmation one way or another regarding a matter, and I needed it right away. It was a situation where, if I was wrong, I would be walking on thin ice and have to kill the idea immediately. So that night I prayed to God, that He would settle the matter once and for all, so I could simply follow His plan for me. The very next day I got a devotional writing, via e-mail, from a brother in Christ (who had no way at all of knowing what I prayed,) which particular piece had biblical counseling on the exact issue I was praying about. I had an immediate need, and God gave an immediate response.

The verse above says God has given us everything that pertains to life and Godliness. That means that from the smallest to the greatest details of your life, He has a plan for, and is willing to give you what you need to follow that plan. Whether it be an issue in your walk with Christ, or just details in your personal life - it may not always be immediate, as was the case for me, but He always gives what is needed for His will to be done. I can testify to that being true, because even what happened the other day with a devotional that answered prayers, has happened to me enough times that I am not surprised anymore.

It stinks that we get into the habit of watering down our faith to being a set of principles or virtues, or just theology, as opposed to relationship. Praying to God and expecting a literal answer, in whatever form, is not the norm in too many believers. Or if people believe He can answer, they don’t pray about certain things, because they are careless, or they think they are expected to use their own judgment in every event. I am guilty of both, and the result is always bad.

Words can’t describe how much more peace you have from knowing God will give you the right answer. Today’s bible verse sets us straight, telling us that He has given us everything. Life and Godliness are words that encompass every detail for the Christian. Whether it be school, church, ministry, relationships, home, spending, career, or even what kind of party to go to (or not go to.) You have a God who has given everything for you. All you have to do is have the faith to accept that, and to trust him for answers and guidance for everything. To not do so is actually un-biblical.  We have a God who literally answers prayers. Try Him, and see!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 08, 2006, 01:45:44 PM
Deadly Decisions

By: Ariel Gant


“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Blair was a senior in our youth group.  Sometimes, I think that just the fact that he was standing in the room made people laugh.  He was funny, outgoing, unique, and daring.  He was charismatic, enjoyable, and seemingly confident.  And Blair knew God.  Like all of us, he struggled with his faith.  He struggled with issues in his own life, his past addictions, trusting God, and letting Him be the center of his life.  But Blair knew God in a pretty cool way.

January 20, 2005 was the last time I saw Blair.  He hadn’t been at Crosspoint, our youth program, in several months.  He’d been really struggling and slightly ashamed of coming back – to us and to God.  The message that night was crafted by God for him, I’m sure of it.  He sat in our small group, with this look of unspeakable uncertainty, fear, and begging for gentle acceptance and love.  He knew we’d accept him, but Satan had quite a hold on him. 

The next even, Monday, I got a call from my group leader while walking through Wal-mart that made me struggle to understand what God was doing.  Blair had been in an accident Sunday night/Monday morning at 3:26.  He’d been driving down a relatively straight road when he lost control and hit a telephone pole, after taking out a mailbox.  A transformer was knocked off, igniting the car, and a live wire left where he stepped when getting out of the car.  The friend who was with him tried to extinguish the fire, but got scared when a nearby neighbor, blasting out of his front door asked if everyone was okay.  Blair was taken to the hospital and after a week of ups and downs, hopes and let downs, they made the decision to take him off life support.  The only activity in his brain was his brain stem, and he’d be a vegetable forever.  After removing him from life support Thursday evening, it took him until nearly 4 am Friday morning to finally take his last breath. 

Though Blair knew God, he struggled with drugs and alcohol.  That night – his mom’s birthday – he was supposed to be spending the night with a friend.  Instead, he’d gotten pretty drunk (nearly twice our legal blood alcohol content) and gone driving after 3 am.  I questioned to understand how God could take his life.  I was hurt and confused and trying to find the answers.  And then I realized how many people came to church – for Blair – that otherwise had never stepped foot in a church (over 200).  Several accepted Christ.  Several more returned to their devotion to him. 

The consequences of Blair’s actions finally took him home.  But I know he no longer suffers.  I know he’s hanging out with God, free of pain and struggle.  And I realize that had God not taken him now, he most likely would have fallen away from faith altogether.  In a way, that was God's gift to him.  And even in his death, he’s made more of an impact on people’s lives for Christ than I believe he ever could have done in life.  This is in no means my approval to sin – but a reminder of the seriousness of sin and the affect your life can have on the lives of those around you.  I know quite a few people who I’ll be partying with in Heaven because of Blair’s life.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 09, 2006, 10:39:27 AM
Be a Witness

By: Breanna Stubblefield


"Therefore said he unto them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2)

You have something inside of you that can prevent someone from going to hell. As Christians, we are continuously growing in the Lord. Once we reach the mature level of being in a serious relationship with Christ, that's when He can use us. Our task and service to the Lord is to go out and be a witness. We need to live our lives according to God's word and know the word. He wants to use us, but He can only use a willing and clean vessel. It's your choice today and everyday to say, "Yes Lord, I'll do whatever you say; to live in complete surrender to the you, Lord.

To live in His perfect love and share the love and gospel of Christ. God will use someone with the desire and heart to be used for His glory, rather than someone without it. God will give you boldness, if you just ask. Depend on God and He will guide you. If you kneel before God, You can stand up to anyone. What can man do to us?

I encourage you to go out and be a witness to those around you. Listen to God's voice, He'll show you who to go to and what to say. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”(Prov 3:5,6) Remember that God goes before you. God Bless You!!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 10, 2006, 02:56:00 PM
  Exhorting One Another

By: Jeff Lappano


”But exhort one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Hey Jeff-
Could you write on exhortation, I have hard time doing that... ~Iz

As brothers and Sisters in the Lord. it is our duty to exhort one another. But what does it mean to exhort one another? Of course when we think of exhortation, we think of encouragement. Yes, of course we’re to encourage one another. As we all run our different races, we need those on the side cheering us on. However, there is more to this thing called exhortation. In dealing with the gifts of the spirit, Paul tells us that not only is exhortation a gift of the spirit in Romans 12, but also prophecy is for the edification or exhortation of the church. In his call to Jeremiah, God details what prophecy is, both of the Old Testament, and New Testament. “To root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah1:10).

Exhortation isn’t always fun and games. Exhortation is used to build us up to be better. Have you ever seen demolition crews use dynamite to take out old casinos in Las Vegas? Why are they taking down the old casinos? Most likely to build way better ones. Those built in the beginning of “Sin City” aren’t as great as the ones that developers are building today. They tear down the old to build bigger and better. Now, don’t go gambling but understand that this is an example of what exhortation is. 

Yes, sometimes exhortation is fun and a great encouragement; but sometimes exhorting someone may include dealing with them about something in their life that they need to get rid of. As in everything in the actions of a Believer, this to must be done out of love. If you are going to confront someone about something in order to tear it down to build a better them, you must make sure your doing it with love. Again, as a child of God, you must exhort one another. This isn’t just for the pastors and other leaders of the church but for every Believer, both old and young.

Finally I just want to remind you if you have a Sunday Special request you would like me to write about, let me know. Unfortunately, I can’t read minds, but I can read the message board as well as my email. Again my email address is Jeff@tddm.org. Be blessed always in Jesus, name.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 10, 2006, 02:56:41 PM
  Greatest Calling of All

By: Andy Ketterer


The Apostle Paul, the Prophet Isaiah, King David, Moses and Noah are some people that come to mind when I think of people that had "great" callings in the Lord. Their lives were full of action and victory. The accomplished so much for God. They were awesome instruments of God!!

The crossing of the Red Sea, the Flood, slaying a giant with a sling and professing of the coming Messiah are indeed great events. But these events are not what made these men great. Although the Lord called these men to take part in these events, they had a greater calling than this. This calling was much more difficult to achieve.

If you were to preach to 10,000 people per week, it would not be the greatest accomplishment you could do as a Christian. If you were to become a multibillionaire and dedicated your life helping the poor and needy, it would not be the greatest accomplishment you could do. To live your life as Christ would, no matter your rank in the church or financial status, is by far the greatest thing you can accomplish!! And it is the most difficult.

The greatest tool you have to witness to others of Christ is your life. You are a witness of Christ to your teachers and peers by the way you conduct yourself in school. You are a witness of Christ to your boss and coworkers by the way you perform at work. You are a witness to your family by the way you conduct yourself in everyday life. Handing out tracts and giving Bible studies is meaningless and pointless if you do not live your life as a Christian, a Christlike person. People make note of the things you say, but they are studying the life you live.

Take a few minutes, prayerfully consider what kind of witness you are to those around you. Prayerfully consider the relationship you have with Christ. The greatest glory God can receive is if you live a Godly life. This is the greatest calling of all. May God bless you richly!!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 10, 2006, 02:57:37 PM
  Unto The Least Of These

By: Adam R. Rinehart


TDDM Update: TDDM's Message Board will be done for the next week while security updates are made to improve the board. In the mean time please visit our chat board at www.tddm.org/chat.shtml. Tony (founder of TDDM) and Amber (devotional writer) have just returned from their honeymoon and devotionals will resume normal schedule.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”

Boy, do we have it good.  Roofs over our heads, food in our stomachs, clothes on our backs, cars to drive, beds to sleep in, and many more things that we all tend to take for granted, boy do we have it good.  We believe in a Savior that died on the cross for our sins and rose again so that we may have eternal life.  Boy, do we have it good. Salvation that takes us from our rotted sinful human nature that was given to us, not by the things that we have done, but given to us as a free gift. Boy, do we have it good.  I never realized how much I take that all for granted and how much I really have it good until last week while I was in Atlanta for a conference.

I had driven from where I was staying to the conference, and after I had parked about a block from the venue, I began to walk and get ready for the conference.  While on my way, I began to be followed by a homeless man, who wanted to ask me for money.  “Do I talk to him?”  “Do I just ignore him?”  “What if he gets violent?”  All of those questions began to run through my head.  I knew that he was following me and going to ask me for money, but I had none.  I was down there on a budget, and had to make every penny count.

Here he came.  Knew I was a tourist.  I stopped and asked him, “Why are you following me?”  He replied, “I need some money for a sandwich.”  OK God, What are you going to do here?  The Holy Spirit then came into my mind, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.”  I said, “Man, I do not have any money, but what I do have, I will be glad to give you.  Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?”  He did not like that answer much, but wanted money, and then walked off.

My cousin says that most of them are looking for money for booze.  Others are looking for money for drugs, and most of them are homeless, and really need some serious help.  Is there an answer?  Is there a way to help them?  I know that there are many homeless shelters across the area, and it is my prayer that they will find them.

But, what does that have for us?  Friends, we really have it good.  When was the last time that you stopped and thanked God for what He has given to you, so that you do not have to suffer?  When was the last time that you helped someone that you knew was in need?  You see, you don’t have to give them money.  You have the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart and that would be the greatest gift that any one could give.  The message of salvation.  Won’t you take the challenge today, to really be thankful for what you have as well as find the time and the place in your heart to give that wonderful gift, the message of salvation?  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 11, 2006, 11:42:14 AM
Persecuted

By: Brittany Waller


"Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers." (Matthew 5:11)

Have you ever been persecuted for your faith? I have had experiences with that, especially around my friends. I wear a cross necklace in front of them, they look at it, shake their head while glaring, and then walk away. I have got into arguments over religion with my friends, and I have to admit some harsh things have been said. It definitely hurts!

All you want is for people to love you for who you are and what you believe in. Things aren't that easy though. Jesus said we will be persecuted for believing in Him. But, why do we take it so hard then? Probably because we feel like they are not only attacking us, but they are attacking God too. The devil is talking through them and tempting you to have doubts. Fight for what you believe in, even if people discriminate against you.
Why do we discriminate against other people though? They could be black, Jewish, homosexual, overweight, Mormon, handicapped, or any other way of discriminating a person you can think of, and it doesn't matter, they are still looked down upon for it. Why can't we all just get along? Now I feel like breaking out into song, I can't help it, "Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!" That was so off key I am glad you weren't here to hear that!

Just think of all the people in the world who are persecuted. I bet every day someone is persecuted for the way they act, look, or for what they believe in. Jesus never said this road was going to be easy. God is always there to give you that one extra push. So don't give up, you just have to take one more step. You have to realize even though people will put you down, you have to smile and walk away. Say a prayer for that person. That someday they will see God's light, read His word, and think twice next time they look down on someone for just being whom they are.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 11, 2006, 11:43:53 AM
  Hello Again!

By: Adam R. Rinehart


John 11: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

A few years ago, Tony, (Founder of TDDM) came to Ohio to meet me, and attend a Detroit Tigers game.  I wrote a great devotional about that day, and I prayed that we would get the chance to see each other again.   (July 29, 2001) 

Guess what?  I am like a kid at Christmas!  I have not even packed yet!  Tomorrow is going to rock!  Yeah, tomorrow is going to be great!  Tomorrow afternoon, about twenty-four hours from now, my family and I are going to board a plane and fly to Florida!  Yes!  From the frigid 34 degrees of Florida to nice, sunny Florida! 

You see, about a year ago, I got a call from Tony, and he said, “Hey Adam, I am going to be getting married here in March of 2005, would you come down and perform our wedding?”  With much excitement, I said, “That would be great!” 

There are many festivities planned for this weekend and coming week: a wedding rehearsal, a wedding, a spring-training ball game, possible trip to Disney as well as joining my Father-In-Law for a wonderful week of relaxation and rest.  What is cool about all of this is that I have never had the chance to meet Amber face to face.  Oh, we have talked over the internet, as well as on the phone, but have never had the chance to meet in person.  It is going to be an absolute joy and honor.

For our Scripture today, Jonathan and David had a really cool relationship.  Even though they were not real brothers, they had a relationship that was closer than a brother.  When they had to part from each other, they wept because they were not sure that they would get to see each other again.  I think that when I leave on Sunday and all of the festivities are over, I wonder if I will have the same emotions. 

Jesus when hearing that Lazarus had passed away, wept.  We are not sure why Jesus wept.  There are a lot of views on that.  I wonder if He wept because He too was mourning the loss of a friend and not getting to see Him again. 

Friends, praise God that my prayer is going to be answered.  We are going to get to meet again on this earth, but you know what?  My prayer would have been answered even if we did not get to meet here on this earth.  You may be reading this saying, “What?” 
You see, even if we never see each other on this earth, one day we will again be able to say, “Hello,” because we will all be rejoined again in Heaven to be together forever!  FOREVER!  Even though I will probably “tear up” when we part on Sunday, I have confidence in knowing that since we all know Jesus as our personal Savior, we too will see each other again.  I hope that is the same with you.  May God’s Grace Abound In You




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 11, 2006, 11:44:48 AM
Learning to Trust Again

By: Beth Hays


Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety. (Proverbs 29:25) NLT
   
Sometimes when I look back at my life I get so angry. I look at the people who I should have been able to trust in my life and I realize that none of them were there for me. I tried the “fearing (trusting) people” thing and it definitely didn’t work for me. Everywhere I turned people proved to me that human beings are not trustworthy.

But, according to this verse (and the proof in my heart and life) God isn’t like the people who have hurt us. Even though people will fail and break our souls, and even though humans can shatter our spirits, God is still good and “to trust in the Lord means safety.”

Maybe for you, like me, this is an unimaginable thing. It is hard to see God as a place of safety when people have hurt us so deeply. But, my precious brothers and sisters, God is so unlike them. He will tenderly and lovingly hold us close. He will take our vulnerability and accept us with open arms. He will soothe our hurts instead of wound us.

Take some time today and evaluate how you see God. Are you afraid of what He will do if we trust Him? Yes, it is a dangerous thing to trust people sometimes. But, with God, it is opening ourselves up to a place of refuge. Seek out the loving arms of our Daddy today. He will never let you go.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 12, 2006, 10:44:38 AM
  The Beauty Within You

By: Beth Hays


“Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD . "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18a) NIV

I’ve always thought this a wonderful verse. But, it took on a whole, beautiful, new meaning to me today. I was trekking across campus, coming back from my car while snow was pouring from the sky and the wind carrying it in whirlwinds in front of me. I looked out at the hill beside my dorm and it was covered in a smooth, glistening blanket of snow. It was so beautiful.

I thought to myself: how pure—white snow settled on the cold ground. And I could almost hear God laughing. “What?” I questioned sincerely. Then, I remembered: snow is the farthest thing from pure. It is actually the IMPURITIES in the clouds that has to be purged and falls down to earth. But, these particles…the rejects of the clouds…form something so beautiful!

Then I thought of a verse I love: “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” (Isaiah 61:3) NLT. Aren’t we so similar? We are the rejects. We are sinners and screw-ups. We are dirty and stained. We are unwanted and useless. Well, we WERE. Then, God decided to change the rules. Just as He uses the impurities in the clouds to cover our world with beauty, He uses the impure among us to add beauty to our world.

My friend, you are, like me, a sinner who fails and screws up and dirties the clean heart God gave us. But, He doesn’t see you that way. He looks at you the way we look at glistening snow—a sign of awe and beauty. He doesn’t see the impurity. He sees your beauty.

So, the next time you feel you have screwed up beyond the limit of forgiveness, you have failed beyond the limit of humanity, and you have stained your heart far too much to ever be clean, remember the snow. My sibling in Christ, remember that God sees only your beauty. Just as the snow took my breath away and made me glow with joy, so you steal our father’s heart. He’s in love with your overwhelming beauty. Let that thought become reality to you today.

 



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 12, 2006, 10:45:25 AM
  Jesus: Then and Now

By: Jeff Lappano


“So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in a manger.” Luke 2:14 (NASB)

How easily I could take this verse and minister a Christmas message. However, that’s not where I’m going with this. Luke is giving us a visual of what the three wise men walked into as they found the manger. I’m sure as all new parents are; Mary and Joseph were amazed at the little baby in the manger. The three wise men found Jesus being totally dependant on his parents as all babies are.

The great revelator, John, gives us another look at the same man. Revelation 19:11-15 says, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

The two pictures we see in the texts are so amazing, yet so contradictory. Luke shows us a baby, and john shows us a warrior; a man of authority and power. Jeremiah had the privilege of declaring that God knows the plans he has for us. As He saw his son laying in that manger totally dependant upon his parents, God knew the role Jesus would play as the savior of the world, and who would take the authority from the devil.

How does apply to us? We’re going to feel like babies at times, and God knows that, and that’s why we have spiritual parents in our life. But He also knows where our lives are going. Keep reading the verses in Revelation 19, and you’ll see that we’re in that battle with Christ. The bible records that the armies of God rise up in victory in the war. As Christ reigns in victory, so do we, for it is in Him we live, move and have our being.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 13, 2006, 11:04:16 AM
  Seek Joy

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Luke 15:3-6  And He spoke this parable to them, saying,  4  What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost until he finds it? 5  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost."

Back when I was a youth pastor, our youth had two favorite games, and since they are both played in the dark, we would play them on the same night.   Playing "Sardines" is a great time.  One person goes to hide somewhere in the church while the others try to find them.  Upon finding them, you must stay with that person until the last person found them and thus became "it".   I always loved that game because knowing the layout of the church like the back of my hand, it made it fun to hide and see who would find me. The other game that was so awesome was "Murder In The Dark".  One person was "it" and another the investigator.  While the rest of the people were the victims.  The "it" was to try to find all of the people and pick them off before the investigator found out who "it" was.   I used both games for some pretty good illustrations.   

How great it feels to be able to find the person that is hiding!  You soul just illuminates with joy all over because you have found the person, or the person is found out.  That is the same way that Jesus feels when a lost soul comes to know Him, and the same joy that we feel when we see someone come to know the Lord as well.   We are called to be the planters and the harvesters.  Why is it that we are not doing our job and out harvesting lost souls?  We need to see that joy come within our hearts, and want to have a passion for that joy.  What would happen if you went and told that friend of yours about Christ today?  Even if they did not come to know the Lord today, there is still that joy that floods the soul.  Today, be challenged to go and find that joy of seeing a lost soul come to know the Lord, and seek it whole heartedly!  May God's Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 13, 2006, 11:06:08 AM
They Need To Know

By: Steve Self


John 5:29 (The Message)

Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment.

There is a movement in America that has gotten a firm hold on us.  This movement has blurred the lines between what is right and what is wrong.  This movement says that good is evil and evil is good.  This movement is called political correctness.  It takes the evil desires of people and labels them under new and nice-sounding titles.  It takes child pornography and calls it "art".  It says pre-marital sex is ok as long as it's "safe".  It says people can cuss and be lewd and bash Christianity, because that's "freedom of speech."

We live in a time when people refuse to take responsibility for their own actions.  We love to blame it on someone else.  "Well, I do this because my parents" .. or what is worse they say, "there is nothing wrong with this".  People have hardened their hearts in the name of "freedom", true freedom doesn't come from following sin.  Sin traps us and makes us victims of it. 

As Christians, it's more important than ever for us to know what is right and know what is wrong.  We like to accept Jesus as our saviour, but we don't like the whole "Lord" part of our salvation.  We need to dig into God's word and find out how He wants us to live, so we can be examples to others.  This world is hurting more than ever.  Political correctness has given people a good sounding reason to be what sinful desires want them to be, but political correctness doesn't offer the freedom that it promised.  It has only trapped us more.

It's wrong to be gay, it's wrong to cheat on your spouse, it's wrong to divorce, it's wrong to cuss, it's wrong to worship other gods, such as Allah and Buddha.  It's wrong to blend in with the world's way of doing things.  Subconsciously, people know this and that's why they are trapped because they don't know the truth.  The truth is that it's wrong, but the bigger truth is that God loves the people who are doing this and wants them to come to Him.  He molded each one of us together in His own hands, making us in His image.  God loves the doctors who perform abortions, He loves the people who get abortions.  He loves everyone, no matter what sins they are committing.  God offers these people freedom, but they have to know the truth.  They have to know.  We have to tell them.  We have the right to proclaim the truth of the gospel, after all, we do have "Freedom of speech", Satan is using it, we should too.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 13, 2006, 11:07:20 AM
Crawling Back to God

By: Beth Hays


Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. (Hosea 14:1) NLT

Have you ever felt like you were drowning in sin? It wasn’t long ago I found myself back in a lifestyle of sin. I was so full of guilt I was afraid to even tell those I was accountable to. I didn’t look anyone in the eye and I even stepped back from ministry. I was overwhelmed, brought down, with sin.

I had been told that God would take me back, but why would I believe that? I knew the greed and shame in my heart and I knew the righteousness of God. I didn’t deserve to even breathe the same air he does, let alone talk to Him. How could I go back to God when I couldn’t even face Him.

But, I started to realize that my way wasn’t working either. I was sinking fast. I had drown in a world of sin. I was too deep to pull myself out anymore. So, I crawled back to God….I didn’t run back, I groveled. I came into the presence of God weeping and ashamed. He led me to Hosea 12:6--”So now, come back to your God! Act on the principles of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God.”(NLT)

He reminded me that it was the right choice to come back. He didn’t remind me of my sin. He didn’t turn me away. He told me what to do from here. He showed me that I did have a ministry (we ALL have a ministry) and reminded me to act with love.

But, above all he reminded me why I fell in the first place and how to prevent it in the future. I stopped living in “confident dependence.” I realized that when I was living in totally dependence on Him and acting in confidence because of that dependence, I was joyful and free. I could have that back. All I had to do was completely and fully rely on Him once again.

My friends, are you drowning in sin and afraid to go to the Father? Are ou afraid he will turn you away like the world does, that He will reject you like people have in the past? I can speak as one who understands when I assure you he won’t turn you away. He won’t throw your mistakes in your face. He won’t hurt you more than you already hurt. He will pick you up, set you back on track, and remind you of your purpose. My precious siblings in Jesus, you are worth far too much to lose to the battle of sin. Talk to your God today—let Him pull you out of the mire of sin.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 14, 2006, 01:55:16 PM
  Close

By: Scott Ringo


Have you ever gotten to the point in your life where everything within you is crying out for grace?  I have been there more times than I have wished for and just at the point of breaking, grace is ushered in like a gentle wind.  You maybe there today, you may be there tomorrow, or your friend might be crying out for that grace right now.

A mother held a baby not to long ago in less than comfortable surroundings.  As the cold bit at her face and she wondered how she would ever get through the night, she looked down and saw the face of the grace that would save the world.  There lying in her arms was the ultimate act of grace, God come to earth to save us.  Imagine the creator of the universe coming to live with us, to know us, and to die for us.  Imagine the grace that Mary would need as she lived through the rest of her life because she had become pregnant before she was married.

"Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning God with us)."  Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

It was at that exact moment in history, that God came the closest to you and me.  The great news is, He stayed with us from that point on.  Many times, I feel like God is very far away, however, the bible tells me that it is not God who is far away but instead, it was us who had strayed away from God.  Because of that little baby who was cradled in Mary's arms no longer am I one inch away from God.

In Ephesians 2 Paul tells us "But now you belong to Christ Jesus.  Though you were once far away from God, now you have been brought near to Him because of the blood of Christ."  Ephesians 2:23 (NLT)



Perhaps one of the biggest questions in the minds of all humanity is "Where is God, and why can I not hear Him?”  By studying His words to us, we will find that He is closer to us than even our own thoughts.  These two verses explain to us that Mary's child, Jesus, was God who came to us.  Because Of Him, we have been brought close to Him and nothing can separate us.  If you are in need of grace, God gave it to us once and for always through His son Jesus.

My Challenge for Us
Take a moment and realize that God is right there with you.  God is no further away from you than the breath inside you.  If you need grace today in your life as I have so many other days, take a minute and know that you can have all the grace you need.  God's grace is sufficient because that grace is Jesus.

Do you need to extend grace to someone today?  Take a minute and ask yourself if you might need to be Jesus (grace) to someone today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 14, 2006, 01:56:38 PM
  To Do or Not To Do

By: Matt Crawford


"And whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by Him." Colossians 3:17

If being a Christian is an all-encompassing, life-changing, priority-shifting commitment (and it is), that means how we do things, how we view things, and how we live, should all change, right? And the bible says that if we are saved, we should be in this world, but not be of it. Right? Most definitely!

Well, that leaves this question: "If the world is so sinful, and I am to live in it but not live as the rest of the world does, where do I draw the line? What can I or can I not do? Movies, parties, drinking, smoking, flirting, kissing, etc.? What things are sinful, and are there any neutral areas? There is moral and immoral, but is there anything that is neither?"

I dealt with this for a long time, and found myself confused. Here I was, trying to live holy, yet at the same time I wanted to have fun, to have recreation, to hang out with old friends, and just let go. Suddenly I was questioning the jokes I told, the movies I watched, the music I listened to, etc. So much of what we have grown used to in the world suddenly doesn’t seem so innocent when you put it in context of your faith. But what things are okay to do, and what things aren’t?

Well, to be certain, God calls us to a higher standard of living. We have liberty in Christ, so we aren’t called upon to set a huge list of dos and don’ts. But at the same time, we are to be careful how we act, talk, live, work, etc., because we are representatives for Christ, and that means how we act may reflect on someone else’s view of what a Christian is. If we are the only Jesus people will ever see, and we are doing questionable things, how will people around us perceive our faith and our Lord?

Rather than condemn or condone anything at all, I will refer you to the verse above, which pretty much ties up every loose end of this question. "Do ALL things in the name of Jesus." If we live for Jesus, we do everything in his name. If you hang out with friends, see a movie, read a book, work for your job, do it in His name. Once you put things in that perspective, things change. "Would Jesus do this? Is it appropriate to put his name on this?" If there are things in your life that you really can’t or wouldn’t dare put Jesus’ name on, then it is probably those things that need to go.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 14, 2006, 01:57:40 PM
  The Sparkle in God’s Eye

By: Beth Hays


The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great DELIGHT in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17, NIV, emphasis mine)

What do you do when you delight in someone? When someone walks through the door that you haven’t seen in ages but you absolutely adore…what do you do? You may get up and hug them, maybe squeal :), maybe you stand in awe. But, what I guarantee every one of you do is that you light up. Your eyes sparkle. You are DELIGHTED.

I was walking back to my dorm this past week when God spoke something amazing to me. I looked down at the freshly fallen snow and was overcome with awe at its beauty. It sparkled like nothing I had ever seen before. The glistening glitter that seemed to lie in the snow made me smile brightly. But, my joy didn’t end there. God quietly spoke to my heart and said “Just as your eyes sparkle with delight, so mine sparkle more brightly than this snow when I think of you.”

I needed a concrete way to see that God delighted in me. But, I’m me…and I didn’t respond with the childlike trust I should have. I questioned (have you noticed I question everything?). I couldn’t understand how the God of the universe, with billions of other kids, would take that much delight in me, the wretch and sinner I am. When I whined my excuses for why He shouldn’t love me, He simply replied “I can’t help it.”

That was enough for me. My friend, let it be enough for you. No matter how you feel about yourself, know that God sparkles when He delights in you. He adores you, precious one. He wants desperately to catch a glimpse of you, it makes His eyes sparkle brighter than freshly fallen snow. Will you give Him that pleasure to day and in the process be reminded of just how special you are to Him?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 14, 2006, 01:59:07 PM
  A Lesson From Coffee

By: Jeff Lappano


“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life

John 3:16 (NASB)

Having dinner at my grandparents is always a blast. It’s even so much better when my aunt comes. The best part of course is the desert time. Coffee with whatever deserts my grandparents happens to have. Me, being the youngest and all, I love coffee with cream and a lot of sugar. My aunt and grandmother likes just cream. Grandpa, on the other hand likes his “cup of Joe” totally black. Of course there are little comments between us of the different ways we drink the coffee, but never have we gotten into a huge brawl.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 1:11, 12“For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each of you is saying, “I am of Paul”, and “I am of Appollos”, and “I am of Cephas”, and “I am of Christ.” The people were fighting about the different teachings by the different men of God. All of these men were teaching accurately the life changing Gospel. Yet the church was arguing about who was teaching right, and who was teaching wrong.

What in the world does this have to do with us living at the end of 2003? The word I’m thinking of is denominations. We have so many denominations in the world today. From personal experience, I know that we have an attitude such as the church at Corinth. If we want to life as brothers and sisters in the Lord, we so just got to get over the denomination beliefs.

How does the scriptures and illustration fit together? It doesn’t matter if you put cream and/or sugar in it, or the amount thereof, its still coffee. Hebrews 9 tells us that Christ took His own blood into the holy place, and put it on the mercy seat. God gave his begotten son for the shedding of His blood. That is salvation. There is no other way to the Father but by the Blood of the Lamb. Lets get over our denominational doctrines and come together in the unity of the blood. Lets get over the fighting and remember that the only way to the Father is accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 15, 2006, 12:12:33 PM
  Comfort in Grief

By: Beth Hays


God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) NLT

Have you ever lost someone who meant the world to you? Have you ever been left on this earth without the one who meant the most to you? Have you ever felt as though someone took a piece of your heart, ripped it out of your chest, and put it through a shredder while you watched? If your answer is yes, then I want you to know that I understand.

When I was eleven years old the one person I adored most was taken out of this world. She was my nanny and I adored her so much. She was everything I needed and wanted in a caretaker. She loved me. But, a brain tumor and the will of God stole her from my world. It crushed me to pieces.

But, I was never allowed to grieve. I was never allowed to cry and express the sadness I had inside. I bottled it up and pretended that it didn’t matter. I was told she was just a “babysitter.” I refused to see that it could possibly affect me. I never mourned.

I have since been able to see that the more I hold it inside, the more it eats away at my very soul. By letting it out I was finally able to set my heart free. It was during the rough ride of grief that I realized the blessing in it. I found that mourning is truly a blessing. The ability to feel the loss that took place was a gift. Without the grief, I could never know how amazing comfort is.

Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted and that they are blessed. It is so true, my friend. I know the road of grief is so unbearably difficult it rarely seems worth it. But, I also know that it is a gift to be able to feel the grief, and even more so to feel the comfort that God will provide. There are far too many who are still tightly bottling it inside, devoid of emotion. If you, like me, are battling through the grief, let us hold hands and consider ourselves blessed because as deeply as we feel the pain, so will we feel the comfort.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 15, 2006, 12:13:51 PM
  Employee's Only

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Every promise from God shall surely come true" (Luke 1:37) TLB.

Life can certainly get rough from time to time. I know it has in my life. We all go through struggles and spend countless hours trying to figure them all out. I often wonder why it happens and how can we get through it. Every time I turn to the Bible and behold He shows me a way! 

A couple of years ago I was walking into my new job selling pagers and cell phones. My counter was located in the back of a noisy and cluttered game room. As I approached the door I read a sign that hung from the latch. It read, "Employee's Only." I smiled as I opened the door and thought, "hey, that's me!"

I always remember going to different places and stores and always seeing that sign. I've always wondered what life beyond those doors held. It's almost like the forbidden area that we only wish we could only take a peek at, or to have the satisfaction of being somewhere that others could never be.

Then it dawned on me shortly after wiping the counters down that our whole life is like that. As Christians we strive every day to make it behind the doors of heaven. To be able to get a sneak peek of what might to come. I remember before I accepted Jesus into my life, I was always curious about what this place in the sky would be like. I now imagine myself walking up to heaven, looking to the pearly gates and seeing a sign that reads: Employee's Only. If you accept your job title as a Christian than you can enter, if not you will be cast out of the store.

If you have never accepted Jesus into your life then the application is on the table. There is always a "Now Hiring" sign outside. Every promise that God tells us in His Word the Bible will come true, and one of those is the gift of eternal life. If you haven't received this, I encourage you to fill out the application. There are only two questions on there. It's not a trick question! Do you believe in Jesus and willing to dedicate your life to Him.....check yes or no. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 15, 2006, 12:14:41 PM
  Perfect Choice

By: Scott M. Ringo


Most of us that are single are concerned about when and who we will marry.  We get eager, and it there is few stories left where a person patiently waited out God's choice for their mate.  Especially around Valentine's Day careful thought to whom or why someone is dating is abandoned and the motivation connected to not being lonely than finding God's choice for our mate.  Most singles go through several unsuccessful dating experiences of which a little thought would have prevented, after which God presents His choice and they lived happily ever after. 

In olden days of the bible the fathers arranged the marriages and in some countries and cultures still do.  The fathers were respected for their wisdom in knowing to whom and when their child was ready for marriage.  One such example was Abraham.  Abraham sent his servant to find God's choice for marriage to his son Isaac.

Abraham said to his servant, "He [God] will send His angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a woman there to be my son's wife." Genesis 24:6

Abraham did not even trust his own judgment for a wife for His son Isaac but instead deferred the choice to God.  God's choice for a lifelong mate is worth waiting for.  In modern times rarely are parents counted on to arrange marriages for their children.  However, we have a Father in heaven who is very interested and active in choosing our mates for us. 

The questions come when we think about how we will know if a person that comes into our life is the "right one" or not.  Since the "right one" has never shown up in each of our lives before we meet them, what shows a "green light" in a particular person over another?  Good question.  However, when God chooses a mate there will be no denying whom the person is.  God is God and He makes His will known in marvelous ways.

God wants very much to be involved in the decision making of whom we get involved with and lastly who we give our lives to.  We can trust that God will help us know His will when that special person is presented to us by Him.  We can also trust that God will confirm our choices by people that has surrounded our lives with as we move into a relationship with that special person.  God's choice for that special love-mate in our life is worth waiting for and we can trust Him that He has made someone just right for each of us.  To settle for anything less is, well, to settle for less.

Some Questions to Think About:
Is there a difference between a good choice and the ultimate right choice?

God is always faithful, so why do we have such a hard time trusting Him with this decision?

My Challenge to Us:
God wants to be involved with every aspect of our life.  Many times, we substitute love relationships with others in place of the intimate love relationship that we will only find in God Himself.  In doing so, we impatiently sacrifice being involved in less perfect relationships instead of waiting out God's for our mate.  Allow God to have complete control over the love relationships in your live and your choice for a mate and He will bring you the person that He has created just for you.  Then when God presents you with the person He has created for you, listen to your heart, and those around you and you will have no doubt He has given you the love of your life.  When you choose God's choice, you will not end up with anyone less than who God made for you.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 16, 2006, 12:15:07 PM
  Being Connected

By: Adam R. Rinehart


James 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will drawnigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to get DSL for my web access.  It seems that every time here lately that I go to log on whether here at the church, or at home something always happens that causes me to get disconnected.  Either it is my daughter, someone calls, or I just plain get logged off. Maybe when they lower the price of DSL I can have it both here at the church and at home. 

When we want to pursue intimacy with God and have a relationship with Him, we have to be careful that we are not finding ourselves like Internet access and being disconnected from Him because of sin that is goes un-confessed. When we want to connect with God, God always draws near to us, but catch what also James says here at the end of the verse, “Cleanse your hand sinners, and purify your hearts.” We are so busy wanting to come to God in prayer, but yet we forget to confess our sins and ask the Lord for forgiveness.   

God wants a close relationship with us, if He didn’t He would have never sent His Son to pay the price for that total access with Him. He wants us to come to Him with our sin, and ask for the forgiveness that only He can give. Let us draw near to God, and watch what God does in our lives by drawing near to us!   May God’s Grace Abound In You!

 



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 16, 2006, 12:16:04 PM
  God Is...

By: Beth Hays


True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they broke their promises, does that mean God will break his promises?  Of course not! Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is true. (Romans 3:3-4a) NLT

Out of anything that anyone could ever ask me to do, the hardest by far is to trust. It's a very scary thing for me. Once you have had that cord of trust broken multiple times, it's hard to extend your hand on good faith. To be truthful: trusting pastor's scares me the most. Any minister I have ever had has deeply hurt me. But, Paul reminds us that even when they are unfaithful, God is still trustworthy.

It used to be really hard for me to separate God from ministers of God. When a minister hurt me, I almost saw it is as Jesus sitting right there doing and saying those things. To me, they were almost, if not as holy as God. But, after changing churches several times because of scars left from ministers of God, I learned that they are only human. And I have been blessed with two pastors at my church who are so very patiently, gently loving me. But, I am gently reminded n Romans that even when the pastors/priests fail, God will remain good.

Even if everyone you've ever come in contact with shatters your spirit, God is still gentle.  Even if all humanity is ruthless and cruel, God is still good. And even when your own family deserts you, God is still your perfect father. God isn't limited to our standards. Even when people are completely untrustworthy, I assure you, God isn't. God is God; God is good. Let that truth overflow your heart today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 16, 2006, 12:16:57 PM
  Pencil It In

By: Jeff Lappano


“Love keeps no records of wrongs” 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

I am so fascinated by the words that the apostle Paul penned. Every time I get to read anything that the author wrote I am totally blessed. However, there are times when I read a verse here and there, I wonder if Paul is contradicting other author’s writings, even his own at times. Its not until I study the entire passage that I find the harmony in what the two say.

A while back the Lord dealt with me in the area of anger, and out of that came a devotion out of Ephesians 4, where Paul deals with anger. If you would like a copy of that, please let me know. Verse 26 in the KJV says, “Be ye angry, and do not sin: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Paul began this verse by quoting something David wrote, and went a different direction with it, I want to show you what David wrote and tie everything together. The direction David takes is found in chapter 4, and verse 4. “Think about it overnight and remain silent.” Paul and David both tell us that it’s alright to be angry, as long as you deal with it in the proper way.

OK, by now ya’ll are scratching your heads trying to figure out how this ties in together. When that person who you lover ticks you off, you have to deal with it or else strife and a bunch of other junk will destroy the relationship. Yet the timing of dealing with the situation has a lot to do with this as well. Therefore if the timing isn’t immediately there to deal with the situation, it’s a good thing to remember the situation so at the proper time it can be dealt with. Don’t ink into your heart, but that’s permanent, but I challenge you to pencil it, because at the right time, you can deal with it and erase it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 17, 2006, 10:01:56 AM
  Obscurity

By: Scott Ringo


We are all searching for significance in our lives, sometimes so much so we ignore the significant items that we have already found.  Where was it that we were taught a "magic" formula that once we happen upon it everything will suddenly be bright in our lives?

Many times, we treat the bible as a soothsayer and believe that if we just hold tight to certain verses they will eventually wield a secret power.  God's word, the bible is true in every word, and every word that God spoke to those authors is His and do hold His incredible power.  We tend to forget is that those words in the bible are conditional, conditional on our obedience.

There was a boy named David born to a man named Jesse.  David was the youngest of eight brothers.  Being the youngest, David spent countless days in the fields watching his father's sheep.  He must have had constant thoughts of what a worthless life God had planned for him.  Regardless, David knew God in such an incredible way that eventually God used David to write a large portion of the bible. 

One day while David was watching the sheep a brother called him to the house, and David returned to find all his brothers, his father, and a prophet of God named Samuel waiting for his return.

"And the Lord said, 'This is the one; anoint him.'  So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured in on David's head.  And the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him from that day forward." 1 Samuel 16:13 (NLT)

One minute David was just being obedient watching his father's sheep in the field.  The next minute, David was anointed by God as the next King of Israel.

Obscurity in the pastures was David's training ground and God chose that place so He would have David's undivided attention.  God has planned great significance for each of our lives, the challenge is allowing God to bring about that significance in His time. 

It is a challenge to live today for everything it is worth while making a note of the significance and wonder in which God has already surrounded our life.  Today will never come again, and you cannot go back and make today up. God will bring the rest of the significance to your life in His timing.  Until then live today for today, you will never get it again.

My Challenge to Us
The significance that God has made your life for will be more incredible than you can imagine.  However, many of us are too impatient to wait on God's timing and instead make our own significance.  When we short-circuit God's plan for our life we will never know how wonderful it could have been.  For David, he would have sacrificed being the King of Israel if he had put his own plan in place.  Instead, take a moment and look at all the significance your life has and all the special things in which God has surrounded you.  Live today for today as if you will never get it again and God will take care of all the other days.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 17, 2006, 10:03:24 AM
  Releasing The Pain (Cutting)

By: Steven Self


Question: I can't seem to stop cutting myself. It is the only way I have to release the pain I am going through. Please help!

This is a devotional I have written specifically for cutters who are being tempted to cut.  This will give you a picture of what goes on in the spiritual world when a cutter is cutting themselves.

Right now, Satan the cause of all your pain, is laughing at you.  Marveling in the pain your going through.  While Jesus is standing right beside you, hurting more than you are because of the pain your in, it hurts Him to see a dear loved one of His in this pain.  Jesus is crying wanting to help you, He cares about you so much that He's ordained you to read this in a time when you most need it, a time when your life is spinning in circles.

The Bible says that God doesn't give us a spirit of being timid, but a spirit of power and self-control.  Although you may not feel like that right now, it is true.  Even if you feel like a hypocrite, even if you feel like you've let Him down, pray.  God says "pray and I'll come."  God is standing right beside you and He will take care of the demon who is pressing your buttons and making you remember the hurtful things, and making them echo in your mind.

Satan is there trying to make you fall.  He hates you, He loathes the fact that your even reading this. He loves taking control of you, he loves making you lose all control of yourself.  Your mind knows it's not right to cut, but you can't keep that blade out of your hand or your skin.  As it rips your body apart, Satan just yells with excitement.  Jumping up and down for joy.  As Jesus falls to the ground, in pain.  Your pain is His pain. Your suffering is His suffering. Another cut rips your skin apart and the blood flows.  While you do that, what you don't see is that your part of the body of Christ.  When your skin rips, so does His.  You cut your savior to pieces over an idea that Satan has given you.

Your world is spinning out of control because the more you let Satan in, the more he makes you dizzy.  Jesus struggles to hold you steady, but He won't force himself on you.  By letting Satan in this far, your telling Jesus that there is no room for Him.  Your forcing Him out of your life.  Even though this doesn't feel right, ask Him back in.

Stand up dear child.  Proclaim that Jesus is your Lord and it is He who will control you.  Pray for God's protection, pray for Him to chase these demons away from you. 

Through the tears, the pain and the blood, Jesus will walk through.  He will overcome, He IS LORD and HE IS ALIVE.  He is stronger.  Grab a hold of Him, breathe Him in.  Jesus is your life-blood, stop Him from flowing out of your life.  Stop the blood, remember Jesus has already bled for you.  The bleeding is done for your soul.  Don't keep subjecting Jesus to pain over and over again.  He loves you.  He is here for you. 

Take a deep breath, look at yourself in the mirror.  Face the reality that Jesus loves you, no matter how badly you've hurt Him or yourself.  Jesus saves and He has saved you.  Hold on to your Bible tightly, He loves you and His word is just inside.  Breathe it in, let the Spirit remind you who you are in Him.  Jesus says that you are loved by Him and He is with you.  No matter how hard that is to believe, accept it and let it come in.

Your only choices are Jesus or Satan in your life and in your body.  If you are in pain, ask Jesus to come in a take it away.  You've suffered to much on the whim of the spiritual bully.  Kick him to the curb, get rid of him. How?  Just ask Jesus to do it powerfully now.  He will. 

When your at peace, you will make the right decisions, until then follow God's instructions.  His instructions are what I've just written for you.  Follow them and help Jesus to stop crying His crimson tears.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 17, 2006, 10:04:08 AM
  The Miracle in Darkness

By: Beth Hays


Can the darkness speak of your miracles? (Psalm 88:12) NLT

I read this verse and the obvious answer is no. Darkness cannot speak of your miracles. Darkness is simply…dark. At the time I read it my mom was going in for life-threatening surgery. The one whom I have taken care of for years (she has been sick most of my life) was leaving me and I was 6 hours away, powerless to do anything. I think darkness was an understatement.

Then, I looked back on the course of my life. It has been a life of darkness. I have been in countless situations that have broken me. I have traveled a long, dark, lonely road. But, then I stopped in awe. Amidst the intense darkness, I saw light. I saw the light of Jesus. I saw the healing power of the One who saved me. I saw a miracle…in darkness.

There is no real reason why I should be a Christian today. If we took inventory of the supportive people in my life who were Christians, I could easily count them on one hand. So, why am I here? It is the very darkness of pain and agony in my life that caused me to see Jesus. I am a miracle of darkness. Can darkness speak miracles? Yes…the proof is within my soul.

God decided to work yet another miracle through the darkness of that day. My mom made it through her surgery…amazed her doctors. I was left in awe. But, because of that darkness I turned to a close friend for comfort and we ended up spending the entire night encouraging each other and we had one of the most beautiful and amazing talks I have ever had with another human being.

Does the darkness speak of the miracles of God? You tell me. But, I say “YES!” My friend, are you in that darkness now? Are you living in intense pain and not sure if it will ever be worth it? Not only WILL it be worth it, but it IS worth it. Look around you, precious one, the darkness is whispering the miracles of God.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 17, 2006, 10:06:46 AM
  Maybe I'm A Psychopath

By: Amber Owen


Well, here I am, sitting in my car in the Bank of America parking lot in Apopka, Florida.  Now this may sound ordinary and dull, but you are mistaken.  If you think that sitting in a bank parking lot, typing on your laptop, in the middle of Podunk, USA, is boring you are misinformed.  See I’m not just sitting here, in my car; oh, no, I’m not.  What do you think I’m doing?  I’m just curious to see what kind of thoughts might run through your mind?  Get a feel for my audience I guess you could say.  So, according to you what am I doing here? 

There are many things that I could be doing here.  I guess you could say, “Well, duh, stupid, you’re typing this devotional that is what you are doing.” And in a sense yes you are correct in your logic, but what am I doing besides that?  Now, some of you could say that I’m doing the normal bank thing; cashing a check, stopping at the ATM, making a deposit, but you would be wrong.  I don’t have money; none to cash, withdraw, or deposit.  See what you have to look forward to as a college student?  So what are your thoughts? Well, let’s just say it has to do with a car that will not start. Why you ask?  Well, there are a numerous reasons that I can think of.  We can go realistic, denial, spiritual, psycho…you choose.

Psycho you say? Sure, psychotically, I can’t get home, because I’m doomed to live like this.  Nothing can be easy.  No matter what good goes on, I can’t see it because my freaking car can’t even stay running.  I spend money, money, money, and no fixy!  I don’t get it.  Why?  Why must this be this way? Why can’t you work?  Why can’t you have problems before I leave the driveway so I’m at least at home where help, phone, security, and sanity are?  Why?!

For those of you who are interested in denial. I’m supposed to get the hint that this car is not what I need.  Actually, this life is not what I need.  I don’t need this constant frustration, this constant headache, and this constant fear for my safety.  Why are you still in this car?  Just start walking home and give up on this choice in life whatsoever.  You can go be a hippy with your hip-hip-hippy clothes.  Go, be what you want.  Just run away from your problem. 

Okay, try the realistic. Realistically, the car has a little over 164, 000 miles on it.  It’s well driven and it’s been owned before.  Really, this is what you asked for when you bought a used car. Realistically, you don’t know a thing when it comes to cars, and then you don’t have any money on top of that.

Here’s the spiritual fun. God is giving you something to learn from.  You can get upset and act psychotic; deny everything and give up; think realistically and blame yourself; or you can learn something from it.  Maybe it’s a test.  A test in patience, humbleness, being creative, or being resourceful—what is He trying to say to me?  Amber, it’s all in the way you handle things.  Remember that you have gifts and you have the ability to choose.  Have faith that He is with you and that things will turn out fine.  Now, in a moment of dire need you may need comfort from those that you love.  Call them, but know that you, yourself are the only one that chooses the actions that you take.  The next time you are stuck in the parking lot of a Bank of America with nothing to do and nowhere to go, there just might be a lesson to make you sit back and smile. Sure you may not go anywhere, but when you do, you’ll be a better person.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 18, 2006, 03:26:57 PM
  Being Connected

By: Adam R. Rinehart


James 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever have the opportunity to get DSL for my web access.  It seems that every time here lately that I go to log on whether here at the church, or at home something always happens that causes me to get disconnected.  Either it is my daughter, someone calls, or I just plain get logged off. Maybe when they lower the price of DSL I can have it both here at the church and at home. 

You know, when we want to pursue intimacy with God and have a relationship with Him, we have to be careful that we are not finding ourselves like Internet access and being disconnected from Him because of sin that is goes un-confessed.    When we want to connect with God, God always draws near to us, but catch what also James says here at the end of the verse, “Cleanse your hand sinners, and purify your hearts.”    We are so busy wanting to come to God in prayer, but yet we forget to confess our sins and ask the Lord for forgiveness. 

God wants a close relationship with us, if He didn’t He would have never sent His Son to pay the price for that total access with Him.   He wants us to come to Him with our sin, and ask for the forgiveness that only He can give.  Let us draw near to God, and watch what God does in our lives by drawing near tous!  May God’s Grace Abound In You!





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 18, 2006, 03:27:44 PM
  Witnessing To Parents

By: Steven Self


"How do I witness to my parents"?

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 1 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV)

There are a lot of teens who are strong believers and followers of God who ask me how to handle their non-believing parents.  Although Peter is talking to wives here, this is the same principle that applies to teens and their parents.  The more you press into God and live your life for Him, the more appealing your life is going to be to them and eventually they may start trying to figure out how your life is different from theirs.

Prayer is a critical key here too.  The job of convicting people to live a Godly life is not our job as Christians; it’s the job of the Holy Spirit.  So make sure you ask Him to do it.  Give Him room to work.  Make sure you are lifting your parents up to God daily, ask that God will give you favor in the eyes of your parents and help you to live a life that will be appealing to them and make them question where your happiness and joy come from.  Learn as much about God as you can by reading the Bible daily.  The more you know, the more ammo you have in this fight.  After all, you are joining the fight to save their souls.

I had the pleasure of meeting a 16-year-old guy named Mike.  Mike had a hard childhood and started coming to church with a friend of his.  I watched God work on Mike for months until he made the decision that he wanted to accept Christ into his life.  Both of Mike’s parents were present when he got baptized, and after the baptism Mike’s mom told him “I don’t know why you did that, there isn’t any reason to.” But in the following months I watched God really begin to change Mike’s life and grow in him.  Neither one of Mike’s parents were believers, but he prayed for them constantly.  After a while, Mike’s mom started attending church weekly.  And after about 7 months, I got to witness Mike’s mom make the decision of her own to accept Jesus into her life.  Not only did she accept Jesus into her life, it was Mike that baptized her.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the church, including me.  God can do amazing things.  Live your life for God, submit to and pray for your parents, and let God do what only God can do.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 18, 2006, 03:28:29 PM
  Life is Tough

By: Beth Hays


And I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including all the soldiers in the palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ. (Philippians 1:12-14) NLT

Life is tough. Sometimes it is beyond tough. I know that some of you reading this e-mail have been hurt beyond belief—broken, neglected, betrayed, abused, violated. I know that some of you have done some things you majorly regret—drugs, alcohol, sex, abortions, cruelty. And I know some of you have hurt yourself because you ran out of options—cutting, burning, smoking, stopping eating, purging. If so, this is from my heart to yours.

I understand pain. If there is anything in this world I know fully, it is pain. Every time I turned around as a child and young adult someone else was hurting me deeply. Every time I acted in love, I was faced with cruelty and another blow to my fragile, tattered heart. So many times I came close to giving up. I had tried everything else, even hurting myself, and always ended up back where I started—desperate.

I’m not going to tell you that life at some point magically got better. Life doesn’t work that way. I’m not going to pretend for a moment that I didn’t HURT unbelievably…or that you don’t as well. But, I’m not going to leave you in that place of darkness either. I want to offer you a truth that consistently blows me away.

You see, as much as I know depth of pain, I also know depth of love. I have spent countless hours working through my past and searching for healing. God is working it in me. But, that isn’t the point. It’s just a bonus. What all of this has shown me is that GOD IS GOOD. I know…threw you for a curve didn’t I? But, just look. Really look. All those hours you spent in tears, God cried with you. And had I known about your hurt, I would have been honored to sit and hold you through it. Our God is good.

“He didn’t stop it,” we scream. You’re right. He didn’t. And I am forever grateful. Yes, it hurt unimaginably. But, look at the good it has produced. What? You don’t see it? Look harder. Look at your strength, your wisdom, your love. Look at those around you who can see in you a light that glows with the glory of God in your heart. YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE OF GOD. And it took those heartaches to get you here. So, as you sit tattered, torn, and tired, don’t lose sight of hope…for these very moments are making you even more beautiful. Truly, my friend, our God is good. I see His goodness within your precious soul.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 18, 2006, 03:29:20 PM
  You Don't Own It

By: Jeff Lappano


“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:11 (NKJV)

I want to continue in our study on the gifts and the call of God. As I continue to minister on this subject, I pray that you are learning and growing from what the bible has to say on the subject.

Even though “gift” is not mentioned, I will imply, through the context of the scripture, that “gift” is the subject matter. The word gift can be transliterated many different ways when it comes to being derived from its original language. We find “gift” in this passage meaning “spiritual endowment”. The gift (s) that you have are just given to you while you’re on earth. Your gift is not your gift. The Holy Spirit administrates the gifts.

Because He is the administrator of the gifts, he certainly has the right to tell you to use them when He wants to.  Lets look at Jonah 1:1-3. “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. The people of Nineveh were ruthless warriors in the manner of which they conquered territories in a very heartless way, and the Lord wanted to use the prophet to prophesy against them to bring them to repentance. However Jonah, maybe in the midst of a “brain freeze”, forgot that as a prophet he was go to go whomever the Lord sent him to go to. Jonah, by fleeing to Tarshish, disobeyed the Lord, and got in some major “hot water”.

I am no way implying that should you misuse the gift of God that you’ll end up in the belly of the great fish. The point of this lesson is to realize that the gifts inside of you aren’t your own, therefore treat them with the understanding that the Holy Spirit has the right to tell you when and how to use them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 19, 2006, 11:32:58 AM
  Praise the Lord All the Time

By: Adam R. Rinehart


“Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.  Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore.   From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” Psalm 113:1-4 (KJV)

My wife and I were watching the newest rendition of “Freaky Friday” a few weeks ago, and needless to say, I laughed my head off.   It also amused me to see the teenaged girl not wanting to get out of bed. (Incase you did not see the movie, the mother and daughter magically switched bodies)  It was also amusing to see the mother come into the bedroom and forcibly grab her feet and drag her out of the bed to get ready for school.

I would guess that I am no better.  I am not a morning person.  I would rather be nocturnal than I would get out of bed in the morning.  Some of you are saying, but “Adam, sometimes I do not feel that there is a reason to get out of bed?”   I know how you feel, but the more and more that I study Scripture, the more and more that I find that there is more reason to get out of bed then just to begin the day, and go about our business.   

When we really look at what God has made us for, and what God commands us to do in the day, I find that we are called to praise the Lord all day long.   We have got to understand that all of creation is giving glory to God.  All of the earth rejoices!  The cat meow, the dog bark, the cow moo, the lion roar, the tree shaking in the wind, the sea roaring, and we getting out of bed in the morning all praise the Lord!

“Well, I have nothing to praise Him for.”  Excuse me? You have breathe.  You woke up that morning. You have a school to go to. You got there safely.  You got home, and are able to do your homework. You are able to see your family, and talk to your friends.  Those are just little things to praise God for.  We are to praise Him from the time that we get up to eat our breakfast to the time that we laid our head to rest for the evening. So, let’s get busy praising!  Praise The Lord!  May God’s Grace Abound In You.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 19, 2006, 11:33:39 AM
  A Clean Cut

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17 NKJV

All it took was a flick of the wrist. One clean swipe and it was done. The interesting part was that it didn't even hurt. Nope, not one bit. Didn't even notice it at first to be honest. However, when the blood started pouring down my chin, I knew there was a problem. I cut myself shaving.

Now, this may come to you as a shock but, I have never been taught the art of shaving. How sad, I know. 23 years old and still no clue how to use a razor. From the time I started shaving I always used an electrical shaver. But, today I didn't have it and I was forced to shave the old fashion way. Needless to say, I failed miserably.

So what does slicing my face up with a sharp blade have to do with God? Simple, God gives us the tools we need live a clean and smooth life. We were given gifts and talents to be used for His glory. When we use those for God, we are rewarded. But, just like our gifts can be used to bring people to Christ, they can also be used against Christ. The razor is not meant to draw blood but to smooth and cut the hairs off you face. Your gifts are not meant to be used for your self gain but for the gain of souls. Whatever God has blessed you with, use that gift for His glory not to glorify yourself. When you use your gift for the wrong reasons you not only can hurt yourself, but leave a cut that will scar your walk with Christ, and that is a razor burn you don't want to mess with. God Bless and Keep the Faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 19, 2006, 11:34:27 AM
  Watching Satan Suffer

By: Beth Hays


The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:20) NLT

I experienced one of the grossest experiences of my life this past Sunday. I was walking out from church and evidently it had rained because there were worms EVERYWHERE. Now, I’m not talking of a few earthworms scattered around the sidewalk. I could not take a single step without crushing one.

Crushing is a euphemism. Have you ever stepped on a worm? It literally squishes underneath your feet. If you have felt that odd, incredibly disgusting feeling, then you understand my pain. If you have not, consider yourself very lucky.

So, after I walked all the way to my car, feeling the grossly squishy bodies crumble under my feet, I realized the biblical lesson involved. Those slimy little creatures are nothing compared to the grossness that lies in our enemy. Think of all satan is, my friends. He is the personification of hatred and cruelty—so much worse than worms. (Though, worms are a parent species of snakes, and Satan played a snake in the Garden of Eden.)

Just as I crushed the slimy worms, God promises us that he will crush Satan. Think of Satan, the schemer of so many of our problems, writhing under the foot of God, crying out for relief from the torture. Imagine God squishing him to death.

Are you feeling like satan has way too much power of your life? Are you struggling in temptation? Are you surrounded by pain and agony? I have a great mental picture for you: Satan being crushed by our God. And the next time you feel overwhelmed by his power, let the truth of his demise remind you that you serve a God who is so much bigger than anything or anyone who could ever come against you.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 20, 2006, 01:05:36 PM
  Where Is Your Affection

By: Jeff Lappano


”Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NASB)

In any way that you look at it, this place is not your home. If you’re saved, your citizenship card in Heaven. If you’re not saved, hell is where your spend eternity. That’s the simple truth that the gospel brings us, amen?

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When one gets saved, they read the Word so they can better understand the decision they made, and the benefits thereof. 1 Peter 2:9 reveals that we’re royal a priesthood. Lets look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:20. “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” The apostles, Peter and Paul, though using different titles, tell us the same thing. we work on behalf of the Kingdom of God.

“The number one priority of the Kingdom of God is the salvation of souls.” As long as I live, this statement by my pastor will never depart my mind. How truthful this is, and we need to get the revelation of this statement. Our opening text is Colossians 3:2, which says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” I want to take a moment and study the first phrase. In the Greek it says, “to be mentally disposed-more or less earnestly in a certain direction.” As believers our mind has to be one tracked. Lets fill Heaven with souls. Every believer, from the youngest to the oldest has a part to play in this. As a believer you have to realize that you must stay transformed by the renewing of your mind. I beseech you in Jesus name never forget that we’re called to be witness to all the world because we’re the ambassadors of the Kingdom.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 20, 2006, 01:06:15 PM
  Never in Vain

By: Matt Crawford


"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because you know that your work is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58

Just when I thought my life was having no effect for the Kingdom of God, I received a call at 3am last Saturday, from a friend I hadn’t talked to in over a year. He was having a rough time with a relationship, with stress, anxiety, and was just at a point in his life where something had to give. "What should I do?" he asked.

A little background on this friend. He is somebody who I shared Jesus with over a year ago, took to church, and who went to the altar to receive Christ. But he quickly fell away, blaming God for all his problems, and became bitter. At that point I thought I had wasted my breath with all the testimony I had shared with him. Not wanting his negative attitudes to rub off on my faith, he stopped talking to me completely. At some point I wrote him off as someone who I shouldn’t hold out hope for.

But to my surprise, God had his eye on this person, and early Saturday morning I lead him in prayer over the phone to give his life back to Christ. Since then we have gone to church twice, taken communion, prayed together, and he seems very serious about his new commitment. But, had I not been faithful to witness to him and share what God has done for me back a year ago, he would’ve never known to call me Saturday for help to get back in touch with God. But since I have been walking in the Lord, being faithful to witness, and since I put in the effort of sowing the seed with this friend, when his life came to the breaking point, and he knew God was the only way, I was the first person he called to help him get back to that point.
Don’t get discouraged! Keep witnessing to family and friends, keep walking with God, keep integrity, and keep praying. Our work for Jesus is not in vain, and when you least expect it you may see the fruit of the seed you sow.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 20, 2006, 02:58:13 PM
  Breakdown Express

By: Amber Owen


"Since you are precious in My sight, {Since} you are honored and I love you, I will give {other} men in your place and {other} peoples in exchange for your life." Isaiah 43:4 (New American Standard)

Guess what? Here I am once again in my car.  Am I at a bank in the middle of nowhere?  No, of course not, I’m on an expressway in the middle of nowhere, half way between school and home.  Once again my car is being unruly and not getting me where I need to be.  Looks like the clutch just gave out.

You would think, “Geeze, Amber, invest in a new car; something that actually works.”

I think that too from time to time, but every time, I think to myself how life would be without this vehicle.  See, my first car was a 1986 Honda CRX, affectionately named Pantera.  I loved that car!  But it didn’t have air conditioning (which is a must for Florida weather) and every time I hit 65 miles per hour it felt like it was going to vibrate itself apart and leave me sitting on the road with just a steering wheel in my hand.  Hence, I bought the 1992 Honda Prelude, affectionately named Carmella: an air conditioned, stereo blaring, solid bodied, 5 speed, sports car.  It was awesome, and I got it for a really good deal non-the-less.  However, that good deal seems to be costing me more and more and more. I won’t get another car, because there is too much value in this one no matter if the clutch slips, the alternator gives out, or the brakes have a leak in the line. It just needs a little fixing and we’ll be on our way.

Sitting here gets me thinking, “I wonder if God thinks the same thing about us”?  We are just like my Carmella, a soul that breaks down from time to time.  We aren’t perfect and sometimes we are unruly too, we slip here and run out of gas there.  But, do you think God is going to give up on us?  Trade us in for a newer and better model? No, we are too valuable to Him. He’s going to put us in situations to fix us and get us going on our way again. The next time you feel like giving up and pulling over on the freeway of life, remember that God is the one behind the wheel. Give him complete control and he will steer you straight.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 20, 2006, 03:01:49 PM
  Relinquishing Control

By: Beth Hays


You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21) NLT

I’m a big fan of schedules. I like to have my life neatly planned out so that I know exactly when I will be awake, asleep, moving, still, eating, working, etc. It gives me a sense of control and security when everything flows just as I had planned. And for a long time this is how my life worked. I would plan it out and then follow through with my plans. To some it may be boring, but to me it was safe.

At some point in the past few months, though, God has decided that my plans needed thrown out the window. So, he took care of them. I would sculpt every moment of my day, and all of a sudden there would be countless things out of my control that threw my schedule off. I, who am always early or on time, starting being at least five minutes late to everything. It was a countless stream of unexpected obstacles.

So, I rebelled. I worked harder to get up earlier and do things quicker. I was determined to make my life go exactly the way I wanted it to go. This went well for a while. But, eventually, I just wore myself out and didn’t complete any task to the best of my ability. I was rushing around and losing the heart of the very reason I made the plans in the first place.

So, I gave up. I relented. After telling God that I was willing to let Him mold my plans, my life started to have meaning again. I did things out of love and from my heart instead of out of obligation. And, amazingly, I found that it was much better this way. I have ministry like I never have before because I stop and take the time to love people the way God loves me. I am happier and less worried because I know what needs to be done will fit somehow. In retrospect, half the stuff I planned was unnecessary anyway.

I realized the lesson. I learned to relinquish control. I let God control my life, my plans, my actions instead of me. I learned that it is far more important to sit and hold a friend while she cries than to take a nap. And that if I had hurried back from class to take that nap like I usually do I wouldn’t have seen the tear forming in her eye to start the conversation. And I learned that watching a sunset instead of organizing my bedroom will fill me with a peace and AWE that no amount of control ever can. I let God take control….and the freedom I have found is amazing. So, that’s my challenge to you today. Let God throw your plans out the window so that he can use you in greater ways for His purpose. May you be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:26:05 PM
  The Father's Love

By: Adam R. Rinehart


In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:7-8 NRSV)

Two year-olds are great!   Especially my daughter, yeah, I am biased. She has an imagination that is as big as the sky, and a heart to match it.  She is like a sponge and is learning more and more every day.  She knows how to identify animals and colors as quick as a whip, and can sing "I am in the Lord's Army" and never miss a beat. We are now beginning and hopefully mastering the art of potty training.

The more and more that I watch her grow up, the more and more that I see God in her, and in myself as a father.    The other day, I was cleaning house, and she looks at me and says,  "Daddy, I potty on the floor, and I am wet."   Knowing full well that she expected me to be furious and to pour out my wrath because I had to clean-up her potty on the floor, with tears in her eyes, she looked up at me and said, "Daddy, I'm sorry."   With the big ol' heart that I have, I looked at her and said, "Honey, you are learning, and you will foul up once in a while.  It is ok! Come here and give me a hug.  I love you!"  I could just feel the relief in her body and in her demeanor as I hugged her and told her that.

Isn't God the same way toward us.  He totally understands and lavishes upon us the riches of His grace and mercy towards us.  He loves us so much that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for us, so that we can look up at Him and say "Daddy,  I fouled up, I am sorry."  Then He hugs us and tells us that He loves us!  What a God!  What a redemption! May God's Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:28:17 PM
  Deep Thoughts Bible Study

By: Jeff Lappano


”No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Isaiah 54:17 (KJV)

After passing the two-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks, we all know what terrorists, terror attacks, and weapons of mass destruction are. For the past 30 months that’s what we’ve heard a lot about. However, the good thing is that none of us have ever come into contact with any of these things. Yet I do know that some of you may have been affected by the 9/11 attacks because someone you knew people who have died as a result.

Just as we’re to be on alert in the natural for Al Quada attacks, in the spirit we’re to be on the alert for a terrorist. For the word of God declares in John 10:10, “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” If this is true, then we need to realize that the thief, or the devil, has weapons of mass destruction created to use against us. Of course, since this is the Word of God, we know this is the truth, for we know who is God that He should lie? God does not lie; He always speaks the truth.

What are some weapons formed against the believer? A few that I think that are important to list are: sickness and disease, poverty, and the tongue. The second part of Isaiah 54:17 says, “And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn.” I feel impressed to stay on this for a moment. I’ll never forget when a dear sister in the Lord told me that she was pregnant. As I began to pray for her and the different areas of the situation, the word of the Lord came to me very strongly. He told me that those in the church who spoke against her and her boyfriend, He would deal with. Believer, if you give a foothold to the devil, he will use you and the foothold against other believers!

If your not already there, turn to Isaiah 54:17. Lets look at the first part of the verse. ”No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” The Hebrew tells us that to be formed means, “to be molded into form or purposed.” In the same way, “to prosper” means “to push forward”. Therefore, we can say that, “No weapon created or formed with the purpose of destroying you shall push forward.” When something or someone is pressing forward, it means they are succeeding in the thing that they are doing. However the Word of the Lord to us is that no weapon formed against us shall secede. We need to realize that the devil is out to destroy us because Jesus said it, but that is plans shall not prosper against us.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:29:39 PM
  An Easter Challenge

By: Melissa


Do you remember when you were three or four years old, after Christmas, after Valentines day, there it was - Easter. You ran around in your good church clothes, maybe your new Easter dress and hat, or a new bow tie grabbing those pastel eggs filled with jelly beans, pennies, and small trinkets.
Sometimes it seems like just yesterday, other times it seems like we would do whatever we could to get back to those days when life was so simple, so easy.

Easter this year will have just as many pastel eggs, Easter bunnies, candy, and big family dinners. Something though will be different. Its not something that will be black and white, it may not even be gray, but one thing is for sure, it will be there.

Sitting next to you in church, maybe across the dinner table, riding next to you on the buss, giving you change back for you purchases at the store, or on the other end of the phone of a wrong number. Or maybe its someone that you have known for years, the aunt or uncle that never joins the celebration until after church, your neighbor across the street who you just haven't made it over to see, or the nice young lady who serves up your morning mocha at Starbucks. No matter where you find them, no matter how you know them, there they will be. People who will not be in church this Easter Sunday. People who haven't ever been to church, who wouldn't know where to begin looking, or why they should take time out on Sunday April the 11th to try something they have never done before, to experience a love they have never felt before.

These are the people we see and interact with each and every day. Funny though how we haven't taken the time to tell them the one thing that could literally mean life or death to them. Eternal life that is - or on the other hand eternal death.

Philemon wrote in verse six, "I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." Amazing - how such of small book - only one chapter - could make such a profound statement. One which not only applies to everyday life, but one that this Easter we can really take to heart.

My prayer for you is that in this year, the year of the war on Iraq, terrorism, sickness, violence, and "The Passion of the Christ" that through all of this you can take a minute and examine yourself, are you active in sharing your faith? Or is it a Sunday morning occasion? Look into the every day people, the every day experiences and share your faith. Extend a hand, an invitation, open arms to someone who does not know the good things of our Lord Jesus Christ. Invite them to Easter morning celebration at your church. Invite them to a worship service, to your bible study, a devotion group, or even just to the local soup kitchen when your church is serving. Brothers and sisters I pray that you truly take some time this Easter season and share your faith in any way you can and you with know, with a full understanding, all the good things we share in Christ.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:31:15 PM
  Joyfully Depending

By: Beth Hays


When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. (James 4:10) NLT

I came to a Christian college this year and for the first time in my life am in a Christian environment. I have people all around me building me up and praying for me. How amazing! Yet, I found that my faith was lacking more than it ever had been. I was happy, yes. But, my joy was gone. I no longer had to cling to our God for my support—I had people all around me to keep me going.

But, then my world started to crash. Several of my friends were having deep emotional issues. My family was struggling. My mom became extremely ill. I was devastated that the ones I love so much were 5 hours away and I was powerless to ease their pain. Instead of reacting as usually do, with strength and faith, I crumbled. Instead of clinging to my faith, I tried to cling to my friends. I couldn’t handle it. They weren’t enough.

I definitely realized my extreme weakness all of a sudden. How had I lost my very hope? My joy had disappeared. I had quit depending on God and I was left broken. The situations in my life caused me to seek the Father again. It was only in curling up in His arms and letting Him carry me that I was able to make it through. The trials have not diminished. In fact, they have worsened. But, I have my hope again. My joy overwhelms me. 

Why? I turned back to my dependence on God. I relied on the one who could carry me. Then, He lifted me up. He brought me back into a place of joy that is beyond description. I have remembered why I need to be totally dependent on God. It is only on full reliance on Him that I am whole and joyful. I am so much “happier” with the joy in my heart than with the happiness I had.

My friends, joy is so much better than any happiness you can ever find, and it’s only found in our Savior. No matter is going on in your life and heart, be assured that His joy is waiting for you, to carry you through this time. We serve an amazing God—don’t ever underestimate the power of His joy!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:32:53 PM
  The Party

By: Jeff Lappano


“Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Mark 16:15 (NASB)

I guess that to some people, this verse can be such a scary verse. To those of you who don’t think so, the reason why this verse may be scary to some is because of the word PREACH. In the minds of many people, this gives them the picture of getting behind the pulpit and preaching a long sermon. For those who aren’t anointed in that capacity, of course “PREACH” is a scary word, therefore making our verse a scary verse. In the original language it means to proclaim, or in our language just talking about it.

I believe that I do have an assignment today from the Lord. The assignment is to give you an illustration in order to lessen your fear of preaching the gospel. Do you like parties? Do you like being invited to parties? How did you get invited to the party? Of course by some sort of communication informing you of the upcoming party. Some of the communication could be a phone call, email, word of mouth, snail mail, etc… From the information that you have gathered, you come to the conclusion that the party is going to be the happening place, and of course you want your friends to be there. If it were possible for them to be there, would you do anything it would take for them to be there? I think its safe to say of course you would!

I believe that assignment from the Lord I have today is to proclaim to you that you are a party promoter! How can God and parties go hand in hand? Well God knows how to throw parties! In Matthew 22, Jesus speaks in parable form concerning a wedding feast. A wedding feast could defiantly be described as a party! His servants are instructed to invite anyone and everyone to attend the party. The only thing they needed was the proper attire verse 12 shares with us. Party promoters, what is the proper attire? The attire one needs for the heavenly party is a personal relationship with Jesus. After all, that is what makes us suitable for our job. The assignment of a this promoter dude is not necessarily to see how many people comes to the party, but to invite as many people as they possibly can, and whoever comes, well then they come.

1 Corinthians 3:6 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” What is the point of this message? If you share the Gospel as commanded of the Lord, it’s not your fault if those people don’t get saved. Your responsibility is not to save people, but to share the Gospel, so that God can do His thing.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:34:33 PM
  Changes

By: Janet Adams


Things change, seasons change, people change, jobs change.  Life progresses and things change for that we know is sure.  Years ago doctors said you had to lay a baby on their belly to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, now doctors say on their backs.  Eggs were good for you then bad because of high cholesterol and now they are good again.  Remember you would hurt your eyes if you were too close to the TV and now they say its not true. 

No one knows for sure why things are always changing but we do know that they do, even the experts change their opinions.  Not to mention politicians, they change their minds with the wind.  One day you can count on your best friend and the next day they aren't there for you.  You can put all of your money in the stock market and the next day you might be broke.  Some changes can be good and positive.  Good or bad they can scare us.  The unknown can bring fear, uncertainty and insecurity. 

One thing that we don't have to worry about changing is God, He was, is and will always be the same, a loving, forgiving and wonderful God.  You can always trust Him and His promises in the Bible.  When everything around you is changing at a rapid speed just rest assure that God never changes and He loves you and will always be right there with you, all you need to do is call His name.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 21, 2006, 05:36:05 PM
  Yes Be Yes

By: Steven Self


Reader Question:

Well, my friend keeps saying I did all this stuff I didn't do and everybody
believes her instead of me


Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this
comes from the evil one.
It's not an easy thing to deal with when your reputation is on the line.
School is hard enough as it is, without having rumors going around about
you.  As a Christian, it's even more important because we are supposed to
live our lives as an example to the world.  How many people do you know who
claim to be a Christian but they are at all the parties, and do all the
things that Christians aren't supposed to do?  Most of us can think of a
couple of names instantly.  How sad is this?  Very.  Jesus calls us to live
a better life than this, He calls us to not be like everyone else, He calls
us to go into the world and show it His love.  Part of this means living
your life in such a way that when a rumor starts about you, no one can
believe it.
As a youth minister I often took kids home from church.  Anyone that I would
take home knew that they had to have at least two more people to ride with
us.  The reason for that is that I never put myself in a position where
someone could accuse me of doing something I didn't do.  I was never alone
with any of my kids.  The reason that I needed two people to ride with us is
because when I dropped the person off, I wouldn't be alone with someone else
on the way back to the church.  This was a rule I had and all of my kids and
their parents knew it.  If someone had tried to say I did something wrong,
there were always witnesses to what happened.
When you go out of your way to live your life like your supposed to, rumors
can start about you but no one will believe them.  Even if people do believe
the rumors, you will still know that your innocent and so will God.  It's
much easier to just say "whatever" and then walk away.  Who can argue with
someone who doesn't argue back?  Your actions always speak louder than your
words.  Just like the hypocrites who claim to be Christians, but don't live
like it.
When you do your best to live your life the way Jesus called you to do,
people will know it.  It may be hard to not go to parties or not do drugs or
whatever, but when everyone sees and knows that you don't do that stuff it
means you are showing others the right way to live.  If a rumor were to get
started that you did, most people wouldn't believe it.  People may make fun
of you for not joining in with them in these things, but they will know you
are different.  They will know you are real.  This makes your witness about
Jesus real to them.  If you make a habit of never lying, when someone asks
you a question, they will automatically believe what you tell them.  You
won't have to worry about trying to justify your answer or make yourself
sound more correct, you can just simply let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your
'no' be 'no', nothing more needs to be said.  Can you do that?  If not, you
can start today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 11:55:24 AM
  Exposing the Darkness

By: Beth Hays


Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19) KJV

If you are like 38% of the female population and 16% of the male population, you have been sexually abused. And my heart is shattered for the pain you know. You did not deserve, could never deserve, to have anyone hurt you in the manner in which they did. I am so desperately sorry for your precious soul that was shattered, How I would love to reach out to the hurting child within you and offer him or her safety.

But, I wasn't able to be there to do that. And I am so sorry if no one was. You should have been kept safe. But, I realize that doesn't always happen. I wish I could offer you a  magic wand to fix it all, but that isn't how life works. I can, instead, offer something you never had; power.

God has given you power over this situation now. You were powerless to stop the abuse. I know that. You need to know that too. The ones who hurt you were wrong. You couldn't have stopped it. But, now, you have the power. You have the power to heal. You are given the strength to be able to walk through the process to wholeness.

Luke says you have the power to trample the enemy and not be hurt. That means you can tackle the enemy that seems to live in your heart. This means we have to face the horrific memories hiding there. I know it hurts, dear ones, but I promise it is worth it. Freedom is waiting. A freedom you have never dreamed of is around the bend. We just have to trample on the darkness first.

This usually comes in exposing it to the light. I know it's unbelievably difficult to open up about your past. But, in sharing the things that are piercing your heart, they have less power over you. And as you heal you will come to see that YOU have the power. And most wonderfully, God promises that He will keep you safe through the journey. It won't be too much for you. So, my precious sibling in Christ, let's take the first step. Will you reach out TODAY and tell someone of your anguish so that you can take over the control of you very precious soul?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 11:56:24 AM
  Discerning Which Way To Go

By: Jeff Lappano


Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"  He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:9-12 (NASB)

I want to know the will of God, and I want to know it now! We’re all guilty of saying that. Let me draw you to a few passages of scripture. John 15:7, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” As a child of God, we have the right to ask the Father concerning His will.

Lets move down two books to Romans 8:14. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” One of the coolest things I think of being a Christian still living on earth is I got the leading of the spirit on my side. How does the leading of the spirit happen? There are so many ways! Hearing the voice of God through the leading of the spirit is one of the ways. But then how do we know that we’re actually hearing the voice of the Lord? Lets look back at the opening text. If you continue on with the text you’ll see God giving his servant the direction in which he was to go. The man of God heard the voice of God in the quiet place. Yes of course God can speak through fires and earthquakes etc. but even in the quiet place the Father loves speaking. Living in 2004, we’re people who like to “crank up the volume”. But in the secret quiet place, that’s where God likes to speak. When you get that peace and joy when you hear the voice of the Lord in the quiet place, then you know you’re on your way!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 11:57:10 AM
  Fear Not The Gods

By: Matt Crawford


"And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but you have not obeyed my voice." Judges 6:10

Every day people in the world bow to these gods: Public Opinion, Peer Pressure, Popular Culture, Wealth, Admiration, Pride. People that don’t have Jesus, and many that do, fear these gods. They fear losing them or incurring their wrath. They appear very strong, and those who bow to them - at first glance - appear to have a good grip on their environments.

Since being a Christian is a journey, but first off a battle, we are forced to go head to head with these false gods and combat them every day. Because a lot of us were raised in the world, we were once slaves to them, and are still tempted to fear and bow down to them today.

Those who don’t have Jesus basically worship these gods, and when they see that we have found a different god than theirs, they call down the power of their gods against us, to test us. But as Elijah proved, if you put the false gods of the world head to head with the God of the bible, and Jesus Christ, He will prove the victor every time!

Fear not these false gods! In trying to live a Godly life, the world will try to intimidate you by calling these gods against you. "If I serve God in this way, what will it cost me?" "What will people say?" "What if all my old friends lose respect for me?" "I will look like a fool!" All of these things may even happen, but since we bow to Christ, we no longer owe these gods our allegiance. We ultimately gain nothing of worth from them, and in the end they will all be brought low. "…the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." Live for God, and fear not the "gods that are no gods at all." They are nothing!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 11:58:40 AM
  False Shame

By: Beth Hays


If I am guilty, too bad for me. And even if I'm innocent, I am filled with shame and misery so that I can't hold my head high. (Job 10:15) NLT

It thoroughly amazes me how the things we believe about ourselves have such a greater impact on us than the truth. I think it’s the whole “mind over matter” concept. But, you have to admit, we get lost in falsehood sometimes. Job did too. Even though He was innocent, he was filled with shame…a debilitating shame. Maybe you have felt that way too.

I know I have. I have struggled with shame for quite a bit of my life. Not guilt—that is saying what you did is bad, but shame—saying WHO you ARE is bad. I have lived with the “knowledge” that the very essence of my being was wrong. Thoughts revolving around worthlessness, stupidity, self-hatred ran rampant in my head. And every time I looked in the mirror I was disgusted by my own reflection. I was bad.

Or so I thought. Through a long process of healing from my past and facing the horrors in my soul, I have come to see that this is FALSE. I am not bad, I am not wrong. At times, what I did was bad. But, that say nothing of who I am. We are not made up of our actions or even emotions. We are made up, knit together, by a God who perfects us.

My friend, this is true for you too. I am so desperately sorry for the hurt you have known. I am sorry that satan has lied to you about who you are. I am so sorry that you didn’t know what to do besides believe him. But, I’m here with a better option. I’m here with the TRUTH. YOU ARE GOOD. The very heart of you, the spirit within you, is good. Yes we are sinners. But, God made you, looked at you, and said “It is good.” You can’t walk around with your head down in shame any longer. You don’t have to. Please soak up this truth: your shame is false; it is a lie. There is nothing wrong with who you are—and everything right.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 11:59:33 AM
  Birthed With A Purpose

By: Jeff Lappano


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

I love the book of Jeremiah for hidden within it are glimpses of who we are to be in Christ. How important it is that we should know who we are in Christ. The prophetic word that we’re studying today is so important to get a hold of. Though we’re studying one part of the verse, the entire verse reveals that our God is god who cares for us so much, and knows everything about us.

Even though in the language we see this verse, it says a lot, in the Hebrew it says so much more. Lets see what Jeremiah’s prophetic word was originally. “For I comprehend and understand the purpose that I consider and value you with.” My best guess is that our parents have told everyone one of us that we were an accident. Often times, the statement is expressed out of anger, therefore holding no value. In God’s eyes, we’re not accidents, even if we are to our parents.

Jeremiah 1:5 say, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.” Before the beginning of time, God knew each and every one of us. Not only did God know us, but also he designed us with a purpose and calling. Romans 11:29 say, “For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.”

How should we find out what our purpose is in life? Lets continue with the theme of our opening text. Do you remember what was? The theme of the word of the Lord is God having a relationship with us. Now it is time for the coin to be flipped, meaning its not just a one sided relationship. We to must have a relationship with God. Lets continue with yet another prophetic word that Jeremiah received from the Lord. 33:3 in our next text. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knows not.” Jesus said that doesn’t look at us as servants but as friends. In the Hebrew, the prophetic word begins with “Address me by my name.” In the orginal language, the word goes on by saying that if we do the first part, that God would begin to reveal the hidden things to us. Do you know what your purpose in life is? If you have a relationship with God, you have every right to know what your purpose in life is! Yes you can ask God what it is, and He will tell you!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 22, 2006, 12:00:23 PM
  Changes

By: Mary


No matter how hard you try, your always going to let someone
down. You are not perfect, you will fail. I used to think certain people I knew
were perfect; my friends, my family, my teachers.
Their life seemed so easy, so simple and carefree. I trusted
them.

But then they'd make mistakes; they'd let me down. Then my heart would
get broken. I would cry and cry and wonder why they let me down. They we're
supposed to be perfect. I slowly began realizing that I couldn't put my trust in
people. So who was I going to trust?

Then, finally I opened my eyes and hit myself over the head and said, "Duh,
Mary!" There was, and still is hope. There is one who will always be there for
me. His name is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:8 says," Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
forever."

You see, Jesus never changes. But people do change. Friends move away, people we
are close to die, our friends get mad, they break our trust, and WILL fail us at
times. But if your hope is in Christ, someone will always be there for you.

Isaiah 33:6 says,
"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and
wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure."

So, if God is our foundation and everything around us falls, then we
will be left standing. God placed within us the need to trust someone, and he is
the only one who can meet that need. Put your hope and trust in God... and not
people!




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:03:01 AM
  Yes Be Yes

By: Steven Self


Reader Question:

Well, my friend keeps saying I did all this stuff I didn't do and everybody
believes her instead of me


Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this
comes from the evil one.
It's not an easy thing to deal with when your reputation is on the line.
School is hard enough as it is, without having rumors going around about
you.  As a Christian, it's even more important because we are supposed to
live our lives as an example to the world.  How many people do you know who
claim to be a Christian but they are at all the parties, and do all the
things that Christians aren't supposed to do?  Most of us can think of a
couple of names instantly.  How sad is this?  Very.  Jesus calls us to live
a better life than this, He calls us to not be like everyone else, He calls
us to go into the world and show it His love.  Part of this means living
your life in such a way that when a rumor starts about you, no one can
believe it.
As a youth minister I often took kids home from church.  Anyone that I would
take home knew that they had to have at least two more people to ride with
us.  The reason for that is that I never put myself in a position where
someone could accuse me of doing something I didn't do.  I was never alone
with any of my kids.  The reason that I needed two people to ride with us is
because when I dropped the person off, I wouldn't be alone with someone else
on the way back to the church.  This was a rule I had and all of my kids and
their parents knew it.  If someone had tried to say I did something wrong,
there were always witnesses to what happened.
When you go out of your way to live your life like your supposed to, rumors
can start about you but no one will believe them.  Even if people do believe
the rumors, you will still know that your innocent and so will God.  It's
much easier to just say "whatever" and then walk away.  Who can argue with
someone who doesn't argue back?  Your actions always speak louder than your
words.  Just like the hypocrites who claim to be Christians, but don't live
like it.
When you do your best to live your life the way Jesus called you to do,
people will know it.  It may be hard to not go to parties or not do drugs or
whatever, but when everyone sees and knows that you don't do that stuff it
means you are showing others the right way to live.  If a rumor were to get
started that you did, most people wouldn't believe it.  People may make fun
of you for not joining in with them in these things, but they will know you
are different.  They will know you are real.  This makes your witness about
Jesus real to them.  If you make a habit of never lying, when someone asks
you a question, they will automatically believe what you tell them.  You
won't have to worry about trying to justify your answer or make yourself
sound more correct, you can just simply let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your
'no' be 'no', nothing more needs to be said.  Can you do that?  If not, you
can start today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:03:53 AM
  Exposing the Darkness

By: Beth Hays


Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19) KJV

If you are like 38% of the female population and 16% of the male population, you have been sexually abused. And my heart is shattered for the pain you know. You did not deserve, could never deserve, to have anyone hurt you in the manner in which they did. I am so desperately sorry for your precious soul that was shattered, How I would love to reach out to the hurting child within you and offer him or her safety.

But, I wasn't able to be there to do that. And I am so sorry if no one was. You should have been kept safe. But, I realize that doesn't always happen. I wish I could offer you a  magic wand to fix it all, but that isn't how life works. I can, instead, offer something you never had; power.

God has given you power over this situation now. You were powerless to stop the abuse. I know that. You need to know that too. The ones who hurt you were wrong. You couldn't have stopped it. But, now, you have the power. You have the power to heal. You are given the strength to be able to walk through the process to wholeness.

Luke says you have the power to trample the enemy and not be hurt. That means you can tackle the enemy that seems to live in your heart. This means we have to face the horrific memories hiding there. I know it hurts, dear ones, but I promise it is worth it. Freedom is waiting. A freedom you have never dreamed of is around the bend. We just have to trample on the darkness first.

This usually comes in exposing it to the light. I know it's unbelievably difficult to open up about your past. But, in sharing the things that are piercing your heart, they have less power over you. And as you heal you will come to see that YOU have the power. And most wonderfully, God promises that He will keep you safe through the journey. It won't be too much for you. So, my precious sibling in Christ, let's take the first step. Will you reach out TODAY and tell someone of your anguish so that you can take over the control of you very precious soul?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:04:46 AM
  Discerning Which Way To Go

By: Jeff Lappano


Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"  He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 1 Kings 19:9-12 (NASB)

I want to know the will of God, and I want to know it now! We’re all guilty of saying that. Let me draw you to a few passages of scripture. John 15:7, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” As a child of God, we have the right to ask the Father concerning His will.

Lets move down two books to Romans 8:14. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” One of the coolest things I think of being a Christian still living on earth is I got the leading of the spirit on my side. How does the leading of the spirit happen? There are so many ways! Hearing the voice of God through the leading of the spirit is one of the ways. But then how do we know that we’re actually hearing the voice of the Lord? Lets look back at the opening text. If you continue on with the text you’ll see God giving his servant the direction in which he was to go. The man of God heard the voice of God in the quiet place. Yes of course God can speak through fires and earthquakes etc. but even in the quiet place the Father loves speaking. Living in 2004, we’re people who like to “crank up the volume”. But in the secret quiet place, that’s where God likes to speak. When you get that peace and joy when you hear the voice of the Lord in the quiet place, then you know you’re on your way!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:05:56 AM
  Fear Not The gods

By: Matt Crawford


"And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but you have not obeyed my voice." Judges 6:10

Every day people in the world bow to these gods: Public Opinion, Peer Pressure, Popular Culture, Wealth, Admiration, Pride. People that don’t have Jesus, and many that do, fear these gods. They fear losing them or incurring their wrath. They appear very strong, and those who bow to them - at first glance - appear to have a good grip on their environments.

Since being a Christian is a journey, but first off a battle, we are forced to go head to head with these false gods and combat them every day. Because a lot of us were raised in the world, we were once slaves to them, and are still tempted to fear and bow down to them today.

Those who don’t have Jesus basically worship these gods, and when they see that we have found a different god than theirs, they call down the power of their gods against us, to test us. But as Elijah proved, if you put the false gods of the world head to head with the God of the bible, and Jesus Christ, He will prove the victor every time!

Fear not these false gods! In trying to live a Godly life, the world will try to intimidate you by calling these gods against you. "If I serve God in this way, what will it cost me?" "What will people say?" "What if all my old friends lose respect for me?" "I will look like a fool!" All of these things may even happen, but since we bow to Christ, we no longer owe these gods our allegiance. We ultimately gain nothing of worth from them, and in the end they will all be brought low. "…the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." Live for God, and fear not the "gods that are no gods at all." They are nothing!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:06:42 AM
  False Shame

By: Beth Hays


If I am guilty, too bad for me. And even if I'm innocent, I am filled with shame and misery so that I can't hold my head high. (Job 10:15) NLT

It thoroughly amazes me how the things we believe about ourselves have such a greater impact on us than the truth. I think it’s the whole “mind over matter” concept. But, you have to admit, we get lost in falsehood sometimes. Job did too. Even though He was innocent, he was filled with shame…a debilitating shame. Maybe you have felt that way too.

I know I have. I have struggled with shame for quite a bit of my life. Not guilt—that is saying what you did is bad, but shame—saying WHO you ARE is bad. I have lived with the “knowledge” that the very essence of my being was wrong. Thoughts revolving around worthlessness, stupidity, self-hatred ran rampant in my head. And every time I looked in the mirror I was disgusted by my own reflection. I was bad.

Or so I thought. Through a long process of healing from my past and facing the horrors in my soul, I have come to see that this is FALSE. I am not bad, I am not wrong. At times, what I did was bad. But, that say nothing of who I am. We are not made up of our actions or even emotions. We are made up, knit together, by a God who perfects us.

My friend, this is true for you too. I am so desperately sorry for the hurt you have known. I am sorry that satan has lied to you about who you are. I am so sorry that you didn’t know what to do besides believe him. But, I’m here with a better option. I’m here with the TRUTH. YOU ARE GOOD. The very heart of you, the spirit within you, is good. Yes we are sinners. But, God made you, looked at you, and said “It is good.” You can’t walk around with your head down in shame any longer. You don’t have to. Please soak up this truth: your shame is false; it is a lie. There is nothing wrong with who you are—and everything right.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:07:54 AM
  Birthed With A Purpose

By: Jeff Lappano


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)

I love the book of Jeremiah for hidden within it are glimpses of who we are to be in Christ. How important it is that we should know who we are in Christ. The prophetic word that we’re studying today is so important to get a hold of. Though we’re studying one part of the verse, the entire verse reveals that our God is god who cares for us so much, and knows everything about us.

Even though in the language we see this verse, it says a lot, in the Hebrew it says so much more. Lets see what Jeremiah’s prophetic word was originally. “For I comprehend and understand the purpose that I consider and value you with.” My best guess is that our parents have told everyone one of us that we were an accident. Often times, the statement is expressed out of anger, therefore holding no value. In God’s eyes, we’re not accidents, even if we are to our parents.

Jeremiah 1:5 say, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee.” Before the beginning of time, God knew each and every one of us. Not only did God know us, but also he designed us with a purpose and calling. Romans 11:29 say, “For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.”

How should we find out what our purpose is in life? Lets continue with the theme of our opening text. Do you remember what was? The theme of the word of the Lord is God having a relationship with us. Now it is time for the coin to be flipped, meaning its not just a one sided relationship. We to must have a relationship with God. Lets continue with yet another prophetic word that Jeremiah received from the Lord. 33:3 in our next text. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knows not.” Jesus said that doesn’t look at us as servants but as friends. In the Hebrew, the prophetic word begins with “Address me by my name.” In the orginal language, the word goes on by saying that if we do the first part, that God would begin to reveal the hidden things to us. Do you know what your purpose in life is? If you have a relationship with God, you have every right to know what your purpose in life is! Yes you can ask God what it is, and He will tell you!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:08:55 AM
  What's My Purpose

By: Janet Adams


What is my purpose?  How many times have we thought about that.  Why am I here?  The older you get the more you will ask yourself that question.  You may think you know why, you are a Christian and want to serve God but how? 

I want to tell you about a book, I am sure some of you have heard of it or even read it.  Some churches have done sermons and studies with it.  It is called "The Purpose Driven Life."  It is awesome.  It will change your life, I promise.  It should be a manual for any new Christian.  The day you except Christ as your savior someone should hand you that book along with a Bible.  It puts so many things into perspective about God and your own life and where you fit in. 

It is a 40 day devotion type book, just a few pages a night.  It is more important than homework (don't tell your teachers I said that), sports or anything you can do with your extra time.  It is easy to read and the man that wrote it was inspired by the Holy Spirit because it has changed many lives and churches. 

Wonder what you are all about and why you were born, read the book.  And after you do email me and let me know what it did for you and I will give testimony on a devotion from some of your emails.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:09:49 AM
  Helpless

By: Matt Crawford


"Then He answered, and spoke unto me, saying, ‘This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel,’ saying, ‘Not by might, or by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.’" Zechariah 4:6

Guess what? The things you are dealing with, trying to overcome in your own strength, are never going to leave you. You are helpless against them. There are just things in life that you cannot ever beat. Addictions, habits, character traits, flaws. Things you hate about yourself, but even as a believer, you will never put a stop to. I am 26 years old, have been a believer 7 years, and still my flaws are at the forefront. I’ve tried everything, and I have had all these years to work at it. No change at all. Very encouraging, isn’t it?

God is trying to show us that we need to start over. Remember when we first got saved? All those things we had done years ago, but no amount of good deeds or self-control, or whatever, could take away from our souls, until we believed in Jesus? Then suddenly, things we didn’t have the ability to erase, were erased, and forgotten, by the grace of God. That was nice, wasn’t it?

Wouldn’t it be nice if by the same grace, we could become the type of people we want and need to be, outside of our own strength and efforts? Aren’t you sick of repenting of the same old mistakes, trying even harder, only to fall into them again? I know I am.

The reason God allows these things to linger, is so we can start over and realize, that if we needed grace to be cleaned of our old sins, we also need that grace to live right today. If it was possible for our efforts, or psychology, or positive thinking, or methodology, to change us, wouldn’t that take away the need for God’s grace? And wouldn’t those things have worked already?

There is a way for those flaws to go away. Not by any power or our own might, or any methods known to man. Only by God’s Spirit, as the above verse states. Grace, and the Spirit, signify the ability to do something that we could never do, through God’s power. That was always the mode of operation for God’s battles to be fought in the Old Testament. It was always the mode of operation for the early church, which is responsible for Jesus being spread all over the world, and miracles being done. How could those frail believers, Peter and the disciples, have preached a sermon, the very first ever, which took in 3000 converts all at once, without being equipped with God’s power? They never could. It is the same with us.

If we are ever to be what God designed, as the church, as believers, we need to pray fervently for God’s Spirit to fill us up and equip us. Be aggressive, ask in prayer and accept nothing less than the Spirit in full. God set it up this way so that for all time He would get the glory, and by doing through us what we could never do on our own, nobody could deny a miracle has occurred. Call God out, challenge Him for His promises. Is He a chicken? Is He scared of our prayers? Never. Keep asking for His Spirit, and you’ll get it. Seek it like never before, and things will change.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 23, 2006, 11:11:02 AM
  Christ: The Passover Lamb

By: Jeff Lappano


“Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)

Do we really know what Christ did on the cross for us? Of course if you have seen “The Passion of the Christ”, you know the scene of the cross wasn’t as beautiful to the natural eye as many other pictures have depicted it. Jesus didn’t one day decide to just die on the cross for us all. Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar verse in the bible which basically tells us that God knows our lives from beginning to end, there is nothing in our lives that surprises God. Jeremiah 1 teaches us that every one of us has been born with a purpose! Even so, Christ became a man and temporarily lived among us according to John 1:14.

The will of God for His Son was established way back in Genesis 3:15 when God prophesied that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the snake. The will of God was never for the sacrificial system. Hebrews 10:5-7, “Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, behold I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do your will of God.” The will of God as we see in our opening text is to be the Passover Lamb for us. In the instructions for the Passover, in Exodus12:5, God says that the lamb shall be unblemished. The final part of Hebrews 9:14 in the NLT says, “For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice of our sins.

I want to continue with one thought. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God slain for the foundation of the world. I have heard that phrase over and over again, but once I stopped and thought about it, it blew my mind away. Revelation tells us more about the Lamb of God. Revelation 5:9, “You were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

My mind is baffled. Why would Christ, the Eternal Son of God leave the splendor of Heaven and die for a sinner such as me? Christ didn’t really care about all the criticism he got, which was a lot. He totally understood that His life’s purpose was to be beaten and die a humiliating death for you and for me. God fulfilled the sacrificial system that he instated by sending his Son and His sacrificial lamb. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 24, 2006, 08:24:28 AM
  Are you Weary?

By: Janet Adams


Come all who are weary and I will give you rest.  It is a Bible verse and part of a lyric of a song.  We walk around so weary with our heavy burdens of life.  No one can escape it.  Life makes us weary. 

We try our own ways to make things work and end up working twice as hard.  We can't sleep because we are so weary even though we are exhausted.  We promise ourselves that tomorrow will be better but does it ever get better?  Tomorrow brings it's own problems on top of yesterday's. 

Now get the hint here?  All who are weary come to ME (God) and I will give you rest.  REST from the worry, exhaustion and problems life brings. You don't have to do this alone, God wants to take the weariness from you, He asks you to give it to Him. It is so simple, go to God in prayer and give Him what is making you weary and He will give you rest.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 24, 2006, 08:25:06 AM
  She Said Yes

By: Mary


A few weeks ago, I was reading the biography of Cassie Bernall,
you know, the book called "She Said Yes". It made me think about what it
would be like to die for my faith and for the cause of Christ. And as I
thought about it more and more, I realized that if I were in the same
situation, I might have taken the cowardly way out. The
picture of me and some guy holding a gun up to my head kept flashing
through my mind. It freaked me out! I began reading some verses in the
Bible, here's one of my favorites:

Matthew 16:24-27 says,
Then Jesus said to his followers, "If people want to follow me, they must give
up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their own lives to
follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, and those
who give up their lives for me will have true life. It is worth nothing for them
to have the whole world if they lose their own souls. They could never pay
enough to buy back their own souls. The Son of Man will come again with his
Father's glory and with his angels. At that time, he will reward them for what
they have done."

Would you be willing to give up YOUR life for God? Is your faith
strong enough to withstand such a trial? What would you say if someone
held a gun up to your head and asked you that question? Just go
somewhere by yourself and get alone with God, and ask yourself these
simple questions.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 24, 2006, 08:30:18 AM
  Jesus: the prison guard

By: Jeff Lappano


“And behold, I am alive forevermore, I have the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:18 (NASB)

Our days on earth will never be numerous enough to allow us the full revelation of who Christ is. On a consistent basis I find more and more about my wonderful savior. Being a teacher of the Word, it is my responsibility to share these truths with those who will listen, and to whom I am sent to minister. As we study this subject, please know how important it truly is for you.

Jesus is a man with great authority, amen? The bible is clear that it is only by Him can a man see the kingdom of Heaven. Before we fully touch that subject, I want to share something else that he has access to. In Luke 4, Jesus gives the mission statement of His ministry. Verses 18 and 19 read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the Poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the Captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” He was sent to release those who were dealing with bondage to anything.

Lazarus was dead for four days when Christ finally made it into Bethany. After he comforted the dead man’s sisters, He did something totally amazing and shocking. John 11:39, “Jesus said, remove the stone.” I am sure He was aware of the terrible odder that was about to be released from the grave but yet because He was up to something, He had them do it. Verses 43 and 44, “Lazarus come forth…the man who had died came forth bound hand and foot.” Jesus reveals the two-step process he takes to set the prisoner free. He has the door opened and then speaks and the prisoner is freed. Lazarus was totally dead yet Christ, with this process released him.

Jesus came first of all to seek and save the lost. What does that mean. If you don’t have a relationship with Christ, He came to have one with you. He is seeking you! All you have to do is ask him to come into your life and be your savior. But to those who are saved, you may feel like you are in prison over something in your life. Jesus came also to set you free from that! He is the prison guard and has the authority to free you from whatever your bound in and again the same invitation is extended to you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 25, 2006, 12:23:22 PM
  Are You Weary

By: Janet Adams


Come all who are weary and I will give you rest.  It is a Bible verse and part of a lyric of a song.  We walk around so weary with our heavy burdens of life.  No one can escape it.  Life makes us weary. 

We try our own ways to make things work and end up working twice as hard.  We can't sleep because we are so weary even though we are exhausted.  We promise ourselves that tomorrow will be better but does it ever get better?  Tomorrow brings it's own problems on top of yesterday's. 

Now get the hint here?  All who are weary come to ME (God) and I will give you rest.  REST from the worry, exhaustion and problems life brings. You don't have to do this alone, God wants to take the weariness from you, He asks you to give it to Him. It is so simple, go to God in prayer and give Him what is making you weary and He will give you rest.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 25, 2006, 12:24:06 PM
  Aggravating Insanity

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:11)

Why? Seriously, can somebody tell me, why? It is not rocket science, no it isn't. It is not calculus or physics. It is something that I am sure most kindergarten students can even figure out. But, does this matter? Not at all! It still happens and I don't think it will ever stop. What am I talking about? What am I about to go completely insane over? People not knowing how to clap to the Adam's Family Theme song at baseball games.

Sure, this may sound trivial, it may sound stupid even. But it is one of the most annoying things I have ever had to deal with. I will be sitting there, enjoying a nice sunny day, listening to the music and watching my favorite past time. Then a participation song comes on to get the crowd having a good time. You hear the music, and clap twice, a couple more measures, clap twice again. Then instead of waiting for the final clap, people insert a clap right in the middle! No! Why! Stop! They just ruined everything.

What does this have to do with God or Christianity? Simple. There are often times when we learn something as we are growing up. We hear it all of the time and after a while it doesn't have the same impact any more. We often get lazy and just turn our brains off. It is during these times that we mess up and often kick ourselves for wondering why the mental lapse happened. I have noticed that most of the times that I have stumbled has been over things that I know better. Sins that are not tricky and difficult, but are simple and easy. For one reason or another I just choose not to pay attention, I chose to not care enough to try.

Does God get irate and aggravated like I do at baseball games? I don't think so, but I know that He gets hurt and is saddened by it. He knows that you can do it, that you are better than that, He knows you have the ability to kick sin and to keep the devil under your feet. He knows that all it takes is just being aware and staying focused on the goal. I challenge you to think of all of the little things that you let get in the way of an amazing relationship with God. All it takes is just a little effort and staying focused on God, to keep something as small as sin away from all that God wants to do for you. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 26, 2006, 12:12:22 PM
  A Fatherless Generation

By: Beth Hays


Hosea says: For in you the fatherless find compassion.
God says: I will love them freely. (taken from Hosea 14:3b-4a) NIV

Someone told me the other day that we are living in a “fatherless generation.” I have no question that they are correct. I have spoken with countless precious ones who have spent their life without a father figure. Their fathers had run out or given up on them early in life. And they had functioned for so long with that void in their spirits.

What a nagging void it is to know that someone SHOULD be there and voluntarily isn’t. It is an ache so deeply imbedded nothing could ever fill it. Or at least, nothing can fill it that is willing to. And the emptiness never goes away. In fact, it haunts in the moments you least expect it. And the loneliness—oh how overpowering!

Oh, precious ones, even with fathers, to many of us know that void. And it breaks my heart that so many fathers are missing out on the amazing opportunity to be in the lives of their children. But, the incredible problem is not hopeless. Hosea promises us that in God alone we can find compassion. My friend, God knows your hurt. He sees that void and has compassion on you.

Remember me saying nothing could fill that void? I lied. God can. He is bigger than that hole and He will become your Daddy if you let Him. I know it’s not the same. It’s better. God promises to love you freely. He will be so much better than an earthly father. Precious one, he may not have given you a dad. But, He was only saving you from heartache because He wanted you to have the BEST—Himself. Let your Daddy know He can fill that void in your heart. I promise He is eagerly waiting to “love you freely!”



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 26, 2006, 12:13:06 PM
  Entertaining Sin

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11) NASB.

When lights go out one night do you ever wonder if you will see them come back on in the morning? Does it ever cross your mind that today might be your last day on this earth? Have you? If you were to die right now do you think that you would be satisfied with the life that you have lived? Would Jesus?

It's been ages since I sat down to my old trusty dusty gray box. The one that I spent most of my childhood with. It's the one, the only, regular Nintendo. I grabbed the Super Mario Brothers cartridge and sat down for a quick game. Ten minutes later and countless times slamming, blowing, and rubbing the game, I finally got it to work. My childhood has come back to life.

As I continued to trudge my way through the never ending levels, I start to realize that I have totally forgotten how to play. Every time I would find a mushroom that would make me bigger, I would run smack into one of the deformed creatures and BAM! Right back to a little midget I started from. I made it a little further before I finally died and then turned off the power. Hmmm, interesting.

Some of us continue to entertain our sins everyday. Soon as we start to grow stronger we get slammed back down again in our walk. We try so hard to be the type of Christian God wants us to be. But, we lack the drive to do what it takes to become that Christian. Luke 8:13 says, "And those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall way." Ouch! Is that you today? Are you striving to be a Christian but every where you turn you fail.

The only, way you are going to become a strong Christian is to be grounded in the Word. Read the Bible daily. Start a routine in your life. Don't be afraid to pray and pray without ceasing. Also, get plugged in with some friends who instead of dragging you down will pick you back up. Because in Luke 8:15 it says, "And the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word and in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." What kind of Christian are you? More importantly, what kind of Christian do you want to be? The question is there. Now it's up to you to come up with the answer. God Bless and Keep the Faith!





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 26, 2006, 12:13:43 PM
  The Garden Scene

By: Jeff Lappano


“So Jesus said to peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11 NASB

Today we’re going to conclude looking at the final moments of Christ’s freedom before being arrested. We found out last time that when those assigned to arrest Christ came to carry out the mission, one of the men almost left minus one ear, yet Christ showed compassion and healed him. How did this man, named Malchus, almost leave earless? One of Jesus’ friends decided to settle score and take vengeance on those arresting Jesus. The friend who carried out this slicing mission was of course the slow to thinking, quick to acting Peter.

Ok fine Christ healed the dude. What did Peter get out of the whole situation? A dinner paid at the local steak house by Christ, or even a hand shake would have probably been good. Unfortunately for Peter, the reward of his slow to thinking action was a reprimand by Christ.

Proverbs is full of ways to live a godly and ungodly life. Friendship is one of the topics that some of the proverbs deal with. Proverbs 27:6-7 says, “better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are wounds of a friend…” the word declares that yes, indeed, it's ok for there to be rebuke in friendship. Yeah, I know that is challenging to our way of thinking.

Christ didn’t rebuke Peter because of hatred, but because of love. Peter didn’t have the full comprehension of the mission Christ was sent to earth to fulfill, as Christ totally understood it. For this reason, Peter most likely pulled the stunt that he did. Yet, for the same reason Christ could correct his friend in love.

Ok, I’m sure you thought Christ totally handled the situation wrong. He healed his persecutor, and rebuked his friend. I think that Christ is wanting to show us that yes it's not only OK to rebuke friends when needed, but also (hold on to your seats) its OK to receive an open rebuke from a friend.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 26, 2006, 12:14:25 PM
  The Trouble Treadmill

By: Steven Self


Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Life may be like a box of chocolates, but the troubles we walk through are like a treadmill.  It doesn't matter how much we try to walk, we still end up in the same place.  The exercise may be doing our bodies good, but part of getting in shape means we also have to get the right amount of rest too. 

My parents used to have a treadmill right beside their bed in their bedroom.  I would have to force myself to get on the treadmill and start working out (I'm not big into cardio, so this is a tough thing for me).  After I had been exercising for a while and started to get tired, the bed would start to look really inviting.  The bed was big, soft, and comfortable and all I would want to do is just fall on it and go to sleep.  But before I could lay on the bed, I would have to get off of the treadmill and it's not very comfortable to step off the treadmill or stop it because there is an immediate change of pace.  You have to be very careful or you can fall or hurt yourself.  But once I finally would step off the treadmill and jump on their bed (without them knowing, of course), I got to relax and let my body calm down and start allowing the exercise to make a difference in my muscles.

As we walk through our troubles in life, it's just like we are walking on that treadmill.  We may be growing stronger out of them, but we are afraid to stop and get the rest we need.  The reason we are afraid is because our pace would have to change and there is a possibility we would actually get hurt.  Jesus tells us to cast our concerns on Him and let Him take care of them.  What this means is that we need to stop walking in the treadmill of our problems and lay on the bed spiritually so we can get some rest.

Sometimes the holiest thing we can do is take a nap.  We need our rest in order for the exercise to make any kind of a difference.  Today, take a step off the treadmill and give the problems to Jesus.  Let Him comfort you and support you softly.  Rest in Him.  You'll be amazed at how much Jesus can do when you let Him take control of your problems.  It's so awesome what a nap can do. 

Editor's Note: The first E-mail was sent by accident with out the author's name or title of the devotional, those responcible have been sacked. This new devotional, after great expense, has been brought to you in the correct format.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 26, 2006, 12:17:22 PM
  Falling From Grace

By: Beth Hays


You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:4) NIV

So many times this verse is twisted and used for people to accomplish their own purpose. But, I’m not going to use it to shove anything down your throat. I’m not going to explain why or why not you can or cannot lose your salvation. In fact, my message is so far from that. I think you will find it rather refreshing. I know I did.

Let’s break it down for a minute. “You who are trying to be justified by law.” In Beth’s language: those of you doing things to make God love you. Hmmm…ouch. I don’t know about you, but this one hit me hard. How many times have I done things, and then beamed at God saying, “see…don’t you love me now?” Maybe it’s my humanity, or maybe it’s my selfishness, but I have always thought that maybe if I could reach perfection, I could be lovable. Maybe you understand. If so, this is for you as well.

“Have been alienated from Christ.” Wow…talk about a blow to the self-esteem. I did things to make you love me…to make you proud enough of me to call me your own, and what do I have to show for it? You cut me off, God! At first, this irritated me greatly. Think maybe I was a little disillusioned? I agree. I needed to clarify my spiritual vision. And it’s the last sentence that did it for me.

“You have fallen away from grace.” That’s it! The whole reason I get no where trying to make God love me. I lose grace. Grace—the concept that gives me the opposite of what I deserve. Grace—the emotion so strong it caused the Father to give His Son. When I try to make God love me, I cheapen His death. Because if I earn His love, it’s not grace anymore.

Ever confused about why we can’t make God love us? Frustrated, like I am sometimes, that we can never be good enough to reach His standards? Then, take a deep breathe and relax. You won’t ever earn His love. You already have it. It came in the form of grace. And every time you take matters in your own hands, you fall away from that grace. May you be encouraged to know that this grace (which, by the way, is not dependent on YOU at all) is already poured out upon you. No work required.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 27, 2006, 09:55:50 AM
  God Has Mercy

By: Matt Crawford


"Give thanks to the Lord; for he is good: His mercy endures forever." (Psalm 136:1)

"The Lord will perfect what concerns me: your mercy, oh Lord, endures forever..." (Psalm 138:8)

"The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." (Psalm 145:8)

In Psalm 136, the phrase "His mercy endures forever" is written 26 times! The pattern of thought that implies subconsciously that God is always disappointed with me, always critical of me, and ready to fly into judgment for even the smallest failure, is one that is NOT biblical and far from the truth!

How can I desire to serve God unless I love Him? And how can I love God unless I know Him? And how can I know God if I have an incorrect view of Him?

The beautiful, naked truth, is that I don't have to tense up when I pray. I don't have to approach God as a pathetic soul who He is disgusted to even encounter, but simply tolerates because of His promises. No. I approach God as one who has been forgiven, one who God was so eager to bring into fellowship with Himself, He withheld nothing to make it happen. I approach God as a beloved child, and have the confidence in His grace, to ask and believe that He will teach me His love. Then I trust He will make me full in every area I lack, but be tender, and love me now as if I was already to that point.

God's love does not depend on my performance. If I have a recurring sin, if I confess it, ask for the Holy Spirit's power to conquer that sin, and repent of it, He will honor it. God loves me, even as I struggle, as if the sin was already cleaned away! Surely if He gave His son as a ransom, He will also not withhold from me the supernatural strength to be what He wants! Constant prayer is the key to knowing God more, and being conformed into His image. Perfect love casts out all fear!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 27, 2006, 09:56:52 AM
  A Legend In My Own Mind

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Today was the day that a legend would arise. A hero in the making was about to emerge onto the scene and triumph over all of the evil that has swept the land. A lone warrior who can conquer anything and everything with out a blink of the eye and death was not even a conceivable thought. That legend, hero, warrior, was me.

I took a quick peek over the edge. The bottom was no where in sight. The steepest black diamond ski slope in the east stood before me. Now, I have always been pretty descent at every sport I tackled. Sure, I was not an all-star at any one sport, but I could hold my own with what ever was thrown at me. This however, was a little different. Florida boys are not used to snow. Let alone steep and jagged mountains.

I straightened my skis and jumped.  Thrusting my weight forward, I started to descend the slope of death. I was doing good, I was conquering my fears and I was going to be remembered for years to come for this movie worthy effort. However, I made it about 10 feet down the slope when the unthinkable happened; I lost my balance.

Isn’t it funny during the points of no return we tend to remember we are a Christian. Right before the big test we always remember God is there. We know that He can help us. I figured that I still had a good 400 feet left before I hit the big rock at the bottom and maybe another 200 feet before I slide face first into the trees that would knock me unconscious. So, I did what any great and noble man of God would do, I screamed like a girl: “FORGIVE ME FATHER! FOR TODAY I WILL SEE YOU IN PARADISE”!

I am still here today thanks to whoever came up with the idea of putting thick layers of padding on the ski lifts for people like me to run into. Did I learn my lesson? Yes, next time instead of going face first, try going feet first. But, the other lesson I learned was that God is there for us every step of the day, not just in our time of need, or when we mess up. Sometimes, we get into the habit of using God for forgiveness of our sins and dire emergency. Sure, God is there for those times, but He is also there for the good times and the times you just want to chat. I encourage you today to look over your prayer life. Do you just use God when you need Him? Or do you have a 911 relationship? God can do more than just heal the sick and save the lost, He can be your best friend too. God Bless and Keep the Faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 27, 2006, 09:57:53 AM
  The Trouble Treadmill

By: Steve Self


Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls.

Life may be like a box of chocolates, but the troubles we walk through are like
a treadmill.  It doesn't matter how much we try to walk, we still end up in the
same place.  The exercise may be doing our bodies good, but part of getting in
shape means we also have to get the right amount of rest too. 

My parents used to have a treadmill right beside their bed in their bedroom.  I
would have to force myself to get on the treadmill and start working out (I'm
not big into cardio, so this is a tough thing for me).  After I had been
exercising for a while and started to get tired, the bed would start to look
really inviting.  The bed was big, soft, and comfortable and all I would want to
do is just fall on it and go to sleep.  But before I could lay on the bed, I
would have to get off of the treadmill and it's not very comfortable to step off
the treadmill or stop it because there is an immediate change of pace.  You have
to be very careful or you can fall or hurt yourself.  But once I finally would
step off the treadmill and jump on their bed (without them knowing, of course),
I got to relax and let my body calm down and start allowing the exercise to make
a difference in my muscles.

As we walk through our troubles in life, it's just like we are walking on that
treadmill.  We may be growing stronger out of them, but we are afraid to stop
and get the rest we need.  The reason we are afraid is because our pace would
have to change and there is a possibility we would actually get hurt.  Jesus
tells us to cast our concerns on Him and let Him take care of them.  What this
means is that we need to stop walking in the treadmill of our problems and lay
on the bed spiritually so we can get some rest.

Sometimes the holiest thing we can do is take a nap.  We need our rest in order
for the exercise to make any kind of a difference.  Today, take a step off the
treadmill and give the problems to Jesus.  Let Him comfort you and support you
softly.  Rest in Him.  You'll be amazed at how much Jesus can do when you let
Him take control of your problems.  It's so awesome what a nap can do.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 27, 2006, 09:59:45 AM
  Inside the Storm

By: Steven Self


2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life is sometimes unexpectedly hard, sometimes completely overwhelming and it seems like all thats happening to us is that we are wasting away.  But we don't realize that even though we may be hurting and suffering and facing times of extreme trials, God is renewing us inwardly.  God is holding and blessing us while we're down.

On Joan of Arcadia last night, Joan was in a hosptial bed and very sick.  In this TV show, God shows up in several different bodies to talk to Joan.  While she was sick and laying in the hospital bed without her family being around, God showed up.  Not in just one of the bodies, but in a lot of them.  She was surrounded by them.  One was even sitting on her bed with her.  Joan got mad and told Him (them) to leave, as they were leaving, Joan's parents walked in and apologized for leaving her alone for so long.  That scene really drove home the point that God is with us in our times of lonlieness and need.

God wasn't just hanging out with her, He surrounded her.  He surrounds us when we are at our most desperate times.  God's there even when we don't want Him to be.  God's love doesn't depend on us having a good day or us being healthy.  God's love is unconditional and it's more than enough for us.

I've seen several posts lately where many of you are really hurting and stuck in a situation that's pretty tough.  I want you to know that God is with you, He's not just hanging out with you, He's surrounding you.  He loves you.  The harder of a time your going through means the more seriously you need to study your bible and be in constant prayer.  God will listen and God will speak.  He will bless and protect you even when you feel beaten, broken and lying in an emotional hospital bed.  The suffering your walking through right now, will never match the blessings to come.  God bless you.     



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:42:37 AM
  Testing Calm Waters

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Trust in the Lord with all heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Proverbs 3:5-6) NKJV

Do you ever test the waters of a swimming pool before you jump in, or are you a rebel who jumps in face first? I don’t know, but it could be a hot day and read, “heated pool” on the side, and I’m still going to check to see if it’s cold or not. One thing this Florida boy can’t stand is jumping into cold water.

Let’s say that it happens to be a slightly warmer day than usual, maybe a 110 degrees. A nice cold dip sounds good right? Sure, but its going to have to be really hot, then and only then, will I think about going in if it’s cold. Even when I do get brave, I’ll take the ‘ease-in-method.’ I’ll stick my foot on the step and wait till it becomes numb before I begin to slowly ease the rest of my body in.

When we become Christians, we often test the waters to see if it’s cold or not, even when the Lord puts a ‘heated pool sign’ up in front of our faces. Sometimes you may get the urge to witness to someone but you’re hesitant. The circumstances may have been set up perfectly by the Lord, but we still pass it up trying to convince ourselves that it might not be a good idea.

When we ask the Lord into our hearts, we also ask Him to guide, protect, and watch over us. In return, we are to trust in Him with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. All though sometimes we think we know better, in the long run He’s always right. The next time you feel the call to do something or when your down and looking for a way out, ‘In all ways acknowledge Him, and He will bring it to pass.’



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:43:30 AM
  Jury Duty

By: Amber Owen


“No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you to belong to Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

Have you ever heard that song “Jury Duty,” by the O.C. Supertones?  Well, if you haven’t, it’s about the lead singer, Mojo, and his story about being thankful for all things—even Jury Duty.  Jury duty? From the stories I’ve heard about jury duty, it isn’t fun. It’s inconvenient, boring, and just unpleasant all the around.  I haven’t been called to do my time yet and I’m thankful for that, but when I get that phone call and the notice in the mail, am I going to be thankful?  Maybe not at first, but refer back the verse.  Paul said, “No matter what happens…”

My message for today is to be thankful, “No matter what happens…”  There is a reason why you are going through things that push you out of your comfort zone.  God is teaching you something.  I’ve have been blessed with great parents, who push me to do my best in every circumstance.  God does the same for you. You must remember that God never wants you to go through things that you can’t handle, and he never wants you to suffer—just like your loving parents never want you to either.  God, the Father, is teaching you things through certain obstacles in your life.

Are you having trials and tribulations in your life?  Be thankful for them!  Be thankful for your car breaking down on the side of the road, be thankful that you have that disagreement with your boyfriend/girlfriend, be thankful that you didn’t make a 100% on that test! Turn to God to help you see what it is that He is instilling in you to be a better person.  God is great, and He knows all!  Have faith and trust in him, and it won’t be a challenge to be thankful for things like jury duty!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:44:28 AM
  A Baby is Never a Mistake

By: Steve Self


Topic Request:
I would really appreciate on on unplanned pregnancy such as from a rape. just something i could do with rite now.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

Satan loves to do things to us to hurt us and bring us down.  He loves to torment us and bring us to situations that makes life look so messed up and crazy.  He is the author of confusion and he works very hard at his job.  But even in the midst of a crisis or time when the world seems out of control, God is present.  Always remember that God is bigger than any storm that Satan can throw our way.  Even when it's hard to see Him there.

Rape could be a whole devotional in itself and it may be soon.  Rape is violent, it is uncalled for, and it's not your fault if it's happened to you.  Someone getting pregnant after being raped would tend to ask God "Where are you?" or "Why didn't you stop this?" or even "Why don't you care?"  The truth is that God is always working and always watching our backs.  Let me tell you, He DOES care and He IS there.  While you may not be able to see the work He's doing, God is always faithfull.

The world likes perfection, did you know that?  They say "well, if it's not perfect, then lets change it."  The world judges by it's own standard.  It's got so many "perfection" devices in place, like plastic surgery, liposucktion, reconstructive surgery, and abortion.  If things don't seem right by the world's standards, then you have the option to change it.  But these options aren't always right in the eyes of God, especially abortion. 

Right now, the entire situation can look so messed up that it may look like there is no end in sight.  But God has a plan for this baby.  God is working so amazingly that one day you'll be able to see the results of His job.  It may be hard to trust Him and have faith in Him, but I can promise you that God is working a miracle.  God will take what Satan meant for evil and completely turn it around on him.  You may have a hard time believing what I've said, but I want you to consider something.  I was an unplanned pregnancy that occured from a one-night stand.  My mom didn't even know the guy's name.  God has worked in my life and has blessed the lives of many people through me.  He has a plan.  Trust in Him, hold on to Him, and rely on Him to do what He says He will do.  God is good, always.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:46:45 AM
  "Hi!"

By: Amber Owen


“This should be your ambition [Paul speaking to the Thessalonians]: to live a quite life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we recommended you before.  As a result, people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 (NLT)

Have you ever thought about how much of an impression you leave on people?  I have.  It’s amazing that in every action I take, those observing react to it no matter if it’s good or bad.  You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact make.   Have you ever heard the story about how a person who was on the verge of committing suicide, decided not to when a Christian at her school just said a simple, “Hi!” to her?  That really puts into perspective how much your actions and words speak to others.

In this verse, Paul is teaching the Christians in Greece about how to live as a Christian. By following what he has said, the Christians will gain respect from those that are not Christians.  We are all disciples of Christ, and thus, we strive to be like Him.  Because we are not perfect like Him, we falter.  We say things that we don’t mean, we let emotion direct our actions, and we choose to do things that are less than perfect. Others see what we do, and doubt who we are. 

Do you want someone doubting whether or not you are living your life for God?  I hope not!  God is nothing to be ashamed of, thus, because we love all our brothers and sisters in Christ we should strive to be conscious of our actions.  We are here to lead by example, and you never know you come save someone’s life one day. Are you living up to the standards that are mentioned in Paul’s sermon?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:47:52 AM
  God Will Go to Any Length

By: Beth Hays


I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.  (Hosea 14:4) NLT
   
A couple weeks ago I was in a horrible spiritual rut. I was walking that narrow road, and I slipped in a ditch. In trying to get out of the ditch, I ended up on a whole other path. I fell into a pattern of habitual sin…again. In fact, I was the most out of control I have been since really committing my life to Christ. Backslidden is an understatement. My close friends were so concerned for me, they seriously considered getting me psychological help. It was serious.

So, why am I telling this? Why do you need to know my failures? Because that’s not the end of the story. The past couple weeks have been terrible. I had a kidney stone that left me in agony and I ended up having surgery to get rid of it. There were complications with the surgery and I ended up with pneumonia and a blot clot in my lung. To say that I am miserable is a cruel understatement.

But, as horrible as I feel, I fully believe that this sickness is God’s way of showing me He loves me. Crazy, isn’t it? But, when I get sick, I have to be vulnerable. And all the things I had turned to in rebellion quickly weren’t options anymore. And there I was alone in a hospital room in blinding pain and feeling more broken than I have in a very, very long time. I ran out of options. I had to turn to God. I was so desperate I cried out for Him, full of sorrow, but more than anything, needing my Daddy.

And ya know what? He came to me, wrapped me up in His arms, and kept me close. I let go of the things I had turned to, and found myself back on the path I was supposed to travel. These past two weeks have been amazing ones, two of the best of my life. I found the horrendous pain to be a gift from the heart of God because it brought me back to Him. He kept His promise in this verse. He was willing to let me hurt so that I would find what my soul truly longed for. That is the kind of God we serve—one who would go THAT far to get my attention just so He could hold me. Wow. Look at your life…how is He showing you that love? It may come in the most unexpected things, even kidney stones.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on February 28, 2006, 11:48:47 AM
  Go!

By: Jeff Lappano


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Acts 1:8 (NASB)

            Today I feel impressed of the Lord to bring a word of encouragement. For some of you it is summer vacation. It’s a time to chill out and relax. Days will be spent in the pool, playing sports, and hanging out with all of your friends. Coming out of the long school year, you sure deserve it!

            Lets focus for a moment on what the Lord said here in our text. Jerusalem is representative of your home and/or neighborhood. Judea would be your city, followed by Samaria as your state.

            Today we’re going to focus on Jerusalem, which of course would be your immediate sphere of influence.  During the summer you have the opportunity to rekindle friendships with people you haven’t seen in several months because of the winter and of course you hang with different crowds at school. The bible says in 2 Corinthians that you are an ambassador of Christ. That’s right, wherever you go you represent Christ! As your chillin’ with your “Hommies” this summer will you be a witness Christ? You don’t need a 3-point sermon to win people to Christ. All you need is yourself. The cripple dude in Acts 3 got healed…he sure had something to talk about. Stop and think about it for a moment; what has God done for you that you can share with your friends? Some of you may have scored a summer job; God provided for you, amen?

            I want to finish this devotion by sharing a thought with you: “Don’t be a selfish Christian.” What does that mean? For whatever reason your not sharing Christ with those around you. Christ didn’t die just for you…but for your friends and family as well.

            May you truly have a great and blessed summer in Jesus’ name. May you remember who you are in Christ ready to share what He has done with everyone and anyone you come into contact with.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:08:54 PM
  Party!

By: Amber Owen


Who doesn’t like a party?  I love getting together with loved ones and celebrating at any occasion.  Last night was my twenty-first birthday celebration.  I had so much fun; my family and some of my friends gathered at an Irish pub to celebrate.  I’m telling you, we had a good time. 

After the blessing of the food, there was a point in the night that dawned on me how blessed I was.  I was surrounded by friends and family! Those that could not be there, made a phone call to wish me good wishes for another happy, healthy year to come. It was nice being the center of attention, and seeing everyone having a great time in each others’ presence.   

Thinking back on the night, I thought this must be how God feels when we, His family, gathers together in fellowship, praise and worship, and gift giving to His ministry. He must feel the same joy in His heart, like I did last night, when His loved ones gather together to celebrate Him. “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.” (1 Chronicles 16:29).  In this verse, David was encouraging Christians in his day and age to gather together and give thanks to God.  He is encouraging us to do just the same! 

Fellowship with someone today in the name of God and give praise!  God is the great and He deserves our thanks and praise!  Amen!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:09:37 PM
  Highly Coveted

By: Matt Crawford


"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew of the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore." (Psalm 133)


According to this Psalm, for brothers and sisters in the faith to have unity and fellowship is a VERY important and precious aspect of our faith. In fact, the Psalmist lists it as being a very pleasant thing, equally pleasant to the anointing oil that fell on Aaron, the father of the Old Testament priests. To the Old Testament believers, the priesthood of Aaron was a highly coveted thing, because Aaron was ordained to give the sacrifices, to make offering for the people’s sins, and provide them with forgiveness before God. This allowed them God’s blessing and favor. Without the priesthood they considered they didn’t have access to Him. So accordingly, anything listed as being pleasant like the fragrant oil that was poured over Aaron to ordain him, would be something highly esteemed by the Israelites, and made a highly coveted part of their religion. 

In our time, we have the priesthood of Jesus Christ, which is even better than the priesthood of Aaron, to provide salvation for us. Jesus was ordained once to provide a sacrifice for all time, and then sat down at the right hand of God. Jesus being our high priest and sacrifice for sins is an irremovable part of Christianity. If the psalmist lists the fellowship and unity of brethren hand-in-hand in importance with the priesthood of Aaron, then we who follow Christ should put even more importance on that unity. Like Jesus himself, it should be a highly coveted part of our religion.

In Aaron’s priesthood, the oil poured over his head anointed him; in other words, it was the proof that he was being appointed priest. As Christians, we are called a royal priesthood before God, and a holy nation. If unity was compared to the oil over Aaron’s head, we should consider unity the proof that we are that royal priesthood. After all, Jesus said this: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples: that you love each other." If we claim to have Jesus, we should also make a point to have unity and love with believers. It should be a highly coveted part of our religion.

The psalmist went on to compare the unity of saints with the dew of the mountains of Zion. Zion usually refers to Jerusalem, but always refers to the dwelling place of God, or the presence of God with his people, and the blessing he puts on them. The psalm is going as far as to list unity of believers in the same importance with God’s presence and blessing. He is saying that if a person holds God’s presence and his blessing as important things (which no Christian would deny), they would also love the unity of the believers, and strive for it. It should be a highly coveted part of their religion.

Too many of us are "solo flyers" when it comes to our faith. We have no excuse, because the bible clearly shows us what our preference should be as people who claim to love the Lord. Its time to seek fellowship in church, and more, in smaller groups, where real fellowship can happen. Fellowship takes work. It doesn’t just mean once a week on Sunday. Real relationships take time and effort. That is the kind of unity God wants. It should be a highly coveted part of our religion.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:10:25 PM
  Fighting Surrender

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it, and He will. (Psalm 37:4-5) TLB.

It's a battle in which we all want to come out as winners. A war, which will take us from the boundaries of life to the void of the soul, is fought. While our minds conduct a symphony of worries and trials, our heart embraces every beat of the timpani that seems to be off key. What does it all mean? How can we escape the depths of a world of unknown? Is the answer out there?

Search the outer regions of a sky filled with stars and what do you see? Scan the depths of an ocean and what will you find? We struggle daily to find the answers to all of life's problems. We are trapped by the cares of this world to such an extent, that we can't seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Inside each of us is a space that longs to be filled. Deep inside our bodies we embrace the idea of being whole. The emptiness of this disease has only one cure and that's the antidote of Christ. Through Jesus our worries and cares are violently flooded away by the crimson blood of the cross. The nails that were so brutally thrust through His hands still thrust through our problems.

The cross has more power in one splinter than the government has over the whole nation. If there is something in your life that is hindering your walk and depressing your life, then I urge you to go into your room. And when the door is shut go to prayer with your Father. If you think the stars in the sky is was a masterpiece, just wait till God gets done with you. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:11:41 PM
  Will I Ever Belong?

By: Beth Hays


Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household. (Eph. 2:19) NIV

I have a close friend who often tells me that he doesn’t feel as if he fits anywhere. When I step back to think about it, we all feel that way sometimes, don’t we? At least I do. It seems like everyone else’s jagged sides form a puzzle, and we’re left over.

I never had a crowd in high school. The preps were too rich, the druggies too tough, and the smart kids were too…well…smart. Then there was me. If you look at my family, my parents fit well together, my aunts fit, and my grandparents are off in their own world. But, then there is me, who has always stood out. The more I look at it, the more I see I don’t fit anywhere. Feel the same?

I have great news! We’re not supposed to fit. Well, in this world that is. We’re not supposed to be accepted, admired, and clicked with. We’re not supposed to fit in this world. If you do, you may want to re-evaluate things. God’s called us to stand out. We have no place in this world.

Tempted to be sad about that aren’t you? Look around one more time: drugs, murder, rape, divorce, yeah that’s something I’m sad about not fitting with. Look in Ephesians for a minute. Don’t you see? We’re called to belong in a better place. We’re called to fill our place in God’s plan. Can you imagine that, my friend? You’re asked to forfeit your citizenship to this world and handed a passport into heaven.

You want the truth? You DO fit. You DO belong. God chose you specifically to fulfill a certain purpose on this earth. Let it be in THAT place you find your value. Listen one more time to this verse, try the message paraphrase, and let it sink it, my friend, you’re a beautiful piece of the glorious puzzle.

“That's plain enough, isn't it? You're no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You're no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He's using us all--irrespective of how we got here--in what he is building.” (Eph. 2:19)MSG



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:12:43 PM
  Going The Distance

By: Adam R. Rinehart


“So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel around his waist. Then he poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.” John 13:4-5 (GNB)

What is the most disgusting thing that you have ever had to clean up? Perhaps it was that thing that moves on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, or maybe your brother’s dirty gym socks? We have all been in that situation where we had to clean up something that we really did not want to touch—even with a ten foot pole! However, a ten foot pole wouldn't have been nearly the length needed for what happened to me the other day.

About a month ago, I got a visit from a stranger at my church. He asked, “Pastor, could I use the restroom?” Without hesitation, I directed him downstairs.  “Pastor, I have a problem,” I heard as the man stood at the threshold of my office.  Looking up from my sermon, I wondered if we were out of toilet paper again. “What seems to be the problem?” I asked. He replied, “It is all over the floor, and I need help cleaning it up.”  A minute later, scared of what I might discover in the shadows of the church basement, I proceeded down the stairwell cautiously—the old “shirt over the nose” routine in play.  Much to my disgust, I found that the stranger had messed all over the basement floor!  I didn't know if I should laugh, cry, make fun of, or run for my life. As I handed the man a paper towel, I noticed that he was mentally challenged and had an extremely hard time cleaning it up.

“You finish getting the majority of it, and I will call my wife to let her know that I am going to be home late to help you clean up.” On my trudge to the janitor’s closet in a quest for the disinfectant spray, I thought “God, there are better things to do!” While mopping, all I could think of was, “Am I willing to go the distance?”

Refer back to the verse in John 13; washing a man’s foot was the lowest of low that anyone could do, but He did it. Why? Jesus was willing to go the distance, and the disciples were able to see that we are to do just that, serve one another no matter what the price—even if that price is cleaning up some stranger’s mess.  Are you willing to go the distance my friend? I encourage you to do whatever it takes to go the distance for your fellow brother and sisters in Christ.  Amen!  May God’s Grace abound in you!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:13:27 PM
  The Visiting Team

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1) NKJV."

A couple of years ago I traveled to Winter Haven, the home of the Cleveland Indians spring training stadium. They were to take on the Detroit Tigers at 1:05. When noon finally rolled around, I didn't think I was going to be able to wait another minute. I jumped in my truck and headed to the game. Decked out in my authentic Alan Trammell Tigers jersey, I was ready.

Surrounded by Indians fans, I walked into the stadium. Never had I felt more unwelcome glares in my life. I just smiled back and kept walking. As I started up the steps, I found a few Tigers fans and after exchanging a high five or two, I proceeded to my seat.

At the time they were the reigning American League Champs. The outlook wasn't good. But, by the grace of God, we hung in there and when the last pitch was hurled across the plate we won! After I was done with my victory dance, I strutted myself down to my truck. What a day!

As I climbed into my truck, I couldn't help but think of how we are every day. Each morning we walk into a stadium that is home to the reigning champ, Satan. Everyone around us seems to look down and even boo at your faith in Jesus. People even try to make you question why you're even a Christian. Nobody likes to be on a losing team. We are heading into the final innings. We already know the outcome of this game. Stay strong and faithful. Because, in the end we can do a victory dance all the way to heaven. This is one game I can't wait to see the end of. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:14:09 PM
  Are You A Skeptic?

By: Amber Owen


“From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made.  They can clearly see His invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.”  Romans 1:20 (NLT)

Have you ever had that moment when you look up into the sky and are just in awe of the beautiful sunset or the thunder cloud glowing with lightening?  Maybe you’ve been amazed at how a caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly.  Perhaps you have been dumbfounded when you look into the eyes of someone you care about and see the true meaning of God’s existence. 

It’s always difficult to talk to a skeptic about God.  They always have some excuse or another to not believe that God really does exist.  After witnessing to them, by sharing my testimonials, blessings, and miracles that Jesus has given me, they refuse to just have faith and believe.  There is always an excuse, “Why believe the Bible that was written by men, of which have the ability to sin?” 

What happened back when there were no books?  Did people still believe in God?  Yes! God reveals Himself to us in all kinds of obvious ways.  Just like the verse in Romans says, “They can clearly see His invisible qualities...they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.”  You cannot tell me that you can honestly look into the stars or admire a butterfly without thinking about a deeper, spiritual meaning of life and existence of Divinity.

My message for you today is to think about what it says in Romans 1:20.  Take time out to look at those beautiful, awe-inspiring displays of nature and life that attest to God’s existence and praise Him!   Be sure of your faith and encourage those whom you may be witnessing to honestly look into the skies and really seek what is behind it.  God Bless You!




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 01, 2006, 03:15:09 PM
  Freedom To Be Free

By: Jim Mazzulla


Today's devotional is brought to you by my good friend Jim from BibleFood Ministries. If you are looking for a great weekly devotional that is really deep and challenging, please E-mail him at Biblefood@aol.com. Being today is the 4th of July and a special holiday for those that live in the United States, I wanted to bring you this devotional. Enjoy! - Tony

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty [freedom] wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". Galatians 5:1

In this passage, Paul is making a passionate appeal to the Christians of Galatia to recognize the freedom they have by God's grace and to encourage the Galatians to reject the false teaching of the *Judaizers. This was the heresy Paul came against in his letter to the Galatians.  So many today fall into a similar problem. 

*NOTE: The Judaizers taught that Gentile believers could not be true Christians unless they were circumcised and followed the Mosaic law.

Interesting that we, as Christians, have liberty (KJV) or freedom (Greek eleutheria) to be free (Greek eleeutheroo). Both of these words come from the same Greek word "eleutheros". This freedom happens at salvation. You don't need to get FREE after you are saved, you need to learn how NOT to put yourself under bondage of the law. Why would such a statement even need to be said? It was said to the Galatian Christians as they were having problems by thinking of putting themselves under the law AFTER becoming Christians. They were saved by GRACE ALONE, through FAITH ALONE, and NOW they're trying to please God by keeping "the law" of the Old Testament.

Fellow Christian, this freedom is already yours.  Please, do not allow legalism to come or stay. When we put ourselves under the law, we are acting as a child who has no freedom of action.  A child must follow a set of rules as prescribed by his parents or guardian.  Why? Because he is not old enough to act alone. When we get saved we are no longer under the guardianship of the law. When we put ourselves under the law, we are like adults putting ourselves under rules that were made for children. 

Spiritually, as Christians, we are to be living in dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit. We should obey the LORD and His word; not because the law forbids us to do wrong and commands us to do right, but because we're LED by the Holy Spirit; it PLEASES the Lord Jesus; and because of our LOVE for the LORD. You are still under your parents in the natural, but the Holy Spirit wants to direct your spiritual life, if you'll ALLOW Him.)

What Christ did for us on the cross CANNOT be coupled with performance to earn salvation. All righteousness came through Jesus Christ ALONE.  Any addition implies that Christ's sacrifice is inadequate, insufficient, incomplete and unfinished. Someone who has been made free in Christ can still live in bondage; but it is because they are allowing themselves to be deceived and they and/or others are putting them into bondage. When we try to follow the law to feel that we are acceptably walking with God, we are attempting to earn at least "part" of our salvation ourselves. When we do so, we are declaring that Jesus is no longer our righteousness alone, but Jesus and law makes us righteous which is wrong.

The law and grace for salvation are incompatible!!! We're saved by Grace ALONE, through FAITH alone! Not by any laws or of our own doing. We are FREE!  Don't buy into the lie that you must earn God's favor.  Don't come under bondage to legalism, Jesus made you to be FREE. I would encourage all of you to take the time to read Galatians as it is only six chapters long and will prove to be an epistle that will bring freedom to your life.

PRAYER:
Thank you LORD for your precious Word that says I'm free.  I will not allow myself to come under the bondage of legalism in any form. Thank you for complete freedom in my Christian walk.
In Jesus' Name! Amen!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:08:27 AM
  Really Living

By: Beth Hays


But Jesus told him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.' " (Matthew 4:4) NLT

How many times have you heard this verse? 5.000? Yeah, I agree. And if you're anything like me, it doesn’t mean too much anymore, does it? I hadn’t paid much serious attention to it, until I saw its truth become a reality in my life.

My mom and I sponsor two children overseas. Though they live in different cultures and have different families, they are very similar in age and character. One of them, Sandra, who resides in Equador, is sponsored through a non-Christian organization. The other, Linda, who resides in Indonesia, is sponsored through a Christian organization. As I said, they are very much alike, with one dramatic difference.

They are both given the food and water they need. They have clothing and even a toy or two (Sandra talks often of her soccer ball, and Linda her doll). I write them equal amounts of letters with similar content, always affirming their worth and telling them I love them. But, the difference is obvious. Linda’s letters are full of hope and love. She tells me of how happy she is when she talks to Jesus and that He loves her. She calls me her sister. Sandra’s letters are close to hopeless, thanking me for the stuff, but often telling me she feels alone.

There’s nothing wrong with non-Christian organizations--please don’t think that—they both help to keep alive the children I love. But, I can’t even tell Sandra God loves her (I tried, and they sent back the letter).  I am watching her soul slowly suffocate in loneliness and hopelessness. While Linda, in just as much poverty, is full of hope and joy. They both have food. Only one has the words of God. And it has made all the difference.

Food and water may keep our bodies functioning, but it takes the words and love of God to really help us LIVE. Think of where you would be without His love. And then look around you at the people who are starving--physically and spiritually. Will you help nourish them? Hungry people won’t listen to what you say about God until they see Him feed them. So, start there. But, make sure it doesn’t end there. Go spread the secret to real and abundant life.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:09:12 AM
  Crying Wolf

By: Ariel Gant


Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first.  If you do not repent, I will remove your lamp stand from its place. (Revelation 2:4-6) NIV

Sometimes, like a young child who is so easily distracted, I let the world catch my attention.  And once I've taken my eyes off our Lord, no matter how briefly, it becomes quite a struggle to return.  But unfortunately, by the time God brings me to my knees and I realize how empty this world is, I forget how tender and forgiving our loving heavenly Father is.  I develop a fear that He'll be angry with me for continually promising to love and serve Him with all my heart, then allowing Satan to so easily pull me away.

It reminds me a lot of the little boy who cried wolf.  Intending to fool the shepherds, he'd run and tell them wolves were after the sheep.  After running to the rescue, the shepherds would discover the boy had lied, again, and left them looking foolish. 

I often feel like God thinks I'm crying wolf. That I say I'm returning whole-heartedly to receive His love and protection, only to turn around and run off again.  Thankfully God knows our hearts.  He realizes how easily Satan can trip us up when we're not on our guards.  And each time we return, like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), God welcomes you back with open arms, overwhelmed with joy at the thought of being able to hold you in His arms once again.  He has no doubts of your sincerity; He doesn't hold back His trust as we often would.  He's simply overjoyed to have you back, because you're all He truly wants. Not your works, your service, or your sacrifice, just YOU.   




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:10:01 AM
  Rekindle The Flame Of Your First Love

By: Jeff Lappano


"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. Rev 2:1-7 (NASB)

Back in the day, Ephesus was a happening city. The New Testament records much about the city of Ephesus. One of the major things recorded is that Paul founded the church and left Priscilla and Aquila to pastor it. He also wrote to the Ephesians a long letter from which it is clear that they were a mature church.

The church had a lot of good things going on for them. These people knew how to work and endure hardships, coming out strong on the other side. The church was not blown away by every wind of doctrine that came to them, but they judged it carefully and did not adhere to the teachings that were contrary to the Word of God. They also hated the practices of the Nicolaitans, which we’ll cover down the road.

Even though the church rocking for God, they had one thing that Christ points out that they’re lacking. Verse 4 says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” In everything they were doing they forgot about their first love the Lord Jesus Christ. With this powerful rebuke came 3 steps to turn this thing around. Remember the heights from which they have fallen, repent, and do the deeds they did at first. Repentance is not just turning from wrong but also doing what is right. When you repent, you understand that what you are doing is wrong, and you desire to get away from there. The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 16 has the emphasis of repentance. The son, in the midst of the pig’s pen realized where he was and decided that this wasn’t the place for him, so he got up and went back to his father’s house. He made a total 180-degree turn from he was and was restored to his father’s household.

Continuing in Revelation 2, should they not repent, Christ would come quickly and remove their lampstand. The KJV has 'come unto thee quickly' which emphasizes the suddenness of his judgment and that therefore they should repent quickly. Interesting enough, today there is no church in the city.

What does a letter written 2000 years ago to a church on the other side of the world have to do with us? The emphasis of the letter is to return to your first love. How is your relationship with your first love, the Lord Jesus Christ? Maybe you have fallen away for whatever reason. Look at where you are and repent and come back to the loving arms of a merciful God. He desires that your relationship with Him be totally reestablished.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:10:58 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 1

By: Janet Adams


"Cindy Thinks She is Pregnant"

Rob, my son, and his girlfriend, Cindy, come into the room where I am sitting and reading the paper. They look upset and confused. I immediately put the paper down and ask what the matter is. They sit down and look at each other, neither of them speaking. I know what is going to happen here.

Rob is an honor student, a junior in high school; he has always been a great kid. He is a great athlete, and his father and I are very proud of him. He is very active in his youth group at church, where he met Cindy. She is a year younger and is a very beautiful, bright girl. Our families have become close friends since they started dating a little over a year ago.

Flashes of the past of when they first met cross my mind. I remember him telling me he wanted to ask her out, when he was afraid she would say no. Memories of him in his first tux flashed through my mind when he escorted Cindy to their first school dance in her long, flowing gown. I was so tickled when I helped him purchase his first, of what I hoped, would be many flowers to be given to his girl. Rob and Cindy’s relationship has not been completely perfect; there have been some arguments and phone hang ups, but never anything serious. They are always very quick to say, "I’m sorry," and make up. I truly believe they love each other.

My husband and I, had a long talk with him after a few months of them dating, because they were growing very close in their relationship. We explained the responsibility of the relationship, discussing mutual respect. I was able to give him some tips of how to treat a lady. We also discussed sex. We are a strong Christian family and do our best to obey God's Word, and our beliefs of sex outside of marriage come from the Bible.

"The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. All other sins a man commits are outside of his body, but he who sins sexually, sins against his own body" 1 Corinthians 6:13-18

I look at Rob, my heart pounding, "What is wrong? Please, tell me." Cindy's head is hanging down; she is looking at her hands she is wringing in her lap. Rob looks at me and says, “Cindy thinks she is pregnant.” My heart drops. Wow, these words hit hard! All at once, in my initial reaction,  I see such total destruction of two lives—two families that will feel the ripple effects of their decision to have sex, not to mention a precious baby. I really don't remember the expression on my face, but I am sure it wasn't pleasant. I see my little boy sitting in front of me, the boy I loved and cherished, scared and worried. My motherly instinct kicks in and I put my arms around him. I hug him as he starts to cry on my shoulder. Cindy is crying as I reach out to her as well. Now, we face the question, “What we are to do here?” Our hearts are heavy and we are all so scared of the unsure future. Through her sobbing, Cindy expresses her concern that she is too scared to tell her parents, and wants to know if I will tell them. All I can say is, "Oh, God, please help us."

The three of us are crying, Cindy says they never meant for this to happen.

”God condemns immorality, but He offers deliverance. "And that is what some of you were (sexually immoral). But you were washed, you were sanctified (cleansed), you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" 1 Corinthians 6:11,12

To Be Continued......




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:11:48 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 2

By: Janet Adams


Part 2
"Is Cindy Pregnant?"

After composing ourselves and getting our thoughts together, I decide to call my husband at work and ask him to come home early.  “Sure, Honey. What is wrong?” I told him it was serious but it wasn't a life or death situation. All the while thinking, “Or was it?” I didn't want my husband to think someone died, but I am suddenly faced with the burning question of what Rob and Cindy are going to do if she is pregnant.

For a brief second, I visualize a cute little baby who looks like my Rob. I get sort of a kick out of thinking of this baby that I would love as if it were my own heart, born from my son and his girlfriend. My own grandbaby!

Then wham! Reality hits again. He is only seventeen, making her 16, both of them still are babies themselves! Very nervously, we sit down and discuss what to say to Cindy's parents. I told them they should approach the conversation as they did here with me. She says in a panicked voice, "NO! I can't do that!" She is scared to death. So, I suggested we wait until Rob's dad gets home and the four of us will talk.

After hearing the car door close to our family sedan, I met my husband at the door.  After entering the threshold to our home, I told him what happened. I see the saddest face he has ever shown as buries his face in his hands and says "Oh, Lord, no." He goes into the bedroom to change clothes before coming out to the others. I go back to the living room to report to the expecting faces of my son and his girlfriend of my husband’s reaction.  “He’s sad for the booth of you, but he’ll be okay, and we are here for both of you,” I answer.  As my husband emerges from our bedroom, he comes out with red, swollen eyes—he had been crying.

My husband makes a call to Cindy's parents to ask them to come over right away. He explained we all needed to talk, that it was serious, but not life or death. “Or is it?” I thought again as a heard him hang up the phone. Cindy’s parents arrived soon after that and the six of us sit down to discuss the matter at hand.  I was the one to tell them what Rob and Cindy told me. Upon hearing the news, Cindy's father stands up and walks in the other room. You could tell he was taking it pretty hard. Her mother just closes her eyes. By this time, I am crying again, and so is Rob and Cindy. In the quiet of the room I can sense such heartache and fear. What to do?

First of all, we have to know for sure if she is pregnant. Cindy said she took one of those home pregnancy tests and it was positive. “Sometimes those aren’t accurate,” her mother says. We all decide she should see a doctor to know for sure before making any plans. Cindy's mom quickly gets up and goes into the kitchen to call their family doctor. She demands an appointment right away, insisting that it is an emergency. As she returns to the room, she grabs her purse and urges her daughter and husband, “Let’s go.” So, in a moments notice they disappeared. Rob stands to go with the, but Cindy's dad places his hand on Rob’s shoulder and says, “You better stay here,” with solemn look in his eye. 

An hour or so goes by, and the phone rings.  It’s for Rob.  He makes out, “I am pregnant,” through Cindy’s uncontrollable sobbing.  “It’s okay,” he says trying to console her. Looking over his shoulder he says, "Right Mom?" I said, “Yes,” because he loves her, will marry her, and they will have their baby. More thoughts ran through my mind, “Wow married? With a baby? Living here I suppose.”

All of a sudden my husband and I hear Rob yell, "What? No way!" He then bangs the phone down on the counter. We are practically on top of him anticipating what Cindy had said. He looks at us with bewilderment, evidenced by the blank stare on his face and says, "Cindy's parents are making her have an abortion." He grabs his jacket and with a swift gait runs out the door to go to her house. This situation IS life or death!!

God forbids irresponsible sexual behavior, in order to spare us the disastrous consequences. "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe." Psalm139:16. God created man in his own image, human life is sacred and no one can put a value on it because God who created it. "You made all the delicate, inner pares of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex." Psalm 139:13 "Thou shall not kill" Deut. 5:17 BUT… “Confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness…”1 John 1:9.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:12:34 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 3

By: Janet Adams


"Decisions Made for Cindy and Rob"
Part 3

Cindy's father answered the door and asked Rob to come in.  Rob was relieved that her father was more accommodating to his visit; he would have insisted on seeing Cindy no matter what—that was his baby inside of her, and he didn’t want to cause a scene. Not knowing what to expect when he arrived, Rob entered taking his chances. Cindy’s father summoned Cindy from her room. Her face was red and puffy; tears stained her checks. Rob and Cindy embraced each other tightly, not wanting to ever let go. 

As they walked into the family room, Cindy told Rob that her parents informed her that she was too young to have a baby. “Having a baby will be a disgrace to the family, and it will ruin your life!” She also informed him that they refused to be responsible for the baby, because they had already raised their children and didn’t want any more. Marriage was out of the question for them.  “We won’t let you and Rob become a ‘fairytale couple,’ under the illusion that everything will turn out fine.” They said there was no way Rob could support a wife and baby, and in a few years, they would grow to hate each other and resent the baby.

Rob's head started to spin! He knew he could support them—he would do anything it took. He loved Cindy and really wanted this child. The thought of Cindy having an abortion cut him like a knife.  Cindy was so scared. She was only sixteen and had to honor her parents' wishes. Rob understood that she felt she had no choice. Her parents loved her and said this was the best.

“The best for whom? For her? For the baby?” Rob thought to himself Decisions needed to be made. Decisions that would cause ripple effects for a lifetime to everyone. Hadn't the family always voiced their opinion about abortion being against the will of God?  Cindy’s family had always stood for Pro-life. “God created man in his own image, human life is sacred and of inestimable worth to God who created it.  You made all the delicate, inner pares of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex," (Psalm 139:13).  So what has changed? Why was it different because it happened to them? Did the commandment, "Thou shall not kill," (Deut. 5:17) not apply to this family anymore?

Cindy’s doctor had given Cindy a brochure about the procedures and details of abortion. So they took the paper out and read about what happens during an abortion.  It was a horror story to both of them. "We have to pray and ask God for another way." Both Cindy and Rob promised each other that they would not kill this baby. They were to face the world together; a sixteen and seventeen year old with no where to turn but to God. So they prayed for God to give them an answer. "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe." (Psalm 139:16).

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5 and 6)

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11)




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:13:31 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 4

By: Janet Adams


"Rob and Cindy Fear"

As Rob and Cindy sit reading the information on abortion tears run down their cheeks and drop onto the brochure they are holding in their hands. "We can't do this," they both agree. "So what do we do?" After praying, they both decide that they don't want anyone to know about the pregnancy. They decided that the best thing to do was to go talk to their youth pastor, Brad.  He is a great man and is married with a baby, he will understand. He will keep their secret and help them find a way to deal with this while they are deciding what to do. Rob goes to the phone and calls Brad. He makes an appointment to go see him.

So now what? They are still expected to go to school, work, play basketball, do homework, and do household chores. Life has to keep going on, even though they feel life has just abruptly stopped. Cindy started to ask herself questions, “Should I stop playing basketball for school? Should a pregnant person play basketball?” Concerns about work start to consume her thoughts. She works part time at a nursing home where she occasionally lifts heavy things. She wondered if it would be best to quit. These things seem so simple, but yet were so complicated now. Their thoughts were filled with fear—fear of the future, fear of the unknown.

Rob and Cindy decide to look for comfort in the scripture, they discover, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus?” (Philippians 4:6 and 7) Knowing this verse Rob and Cindy could not understand how to not be anxious about Cindy and the pregnancy? How could they give thanksgiving about this? “How can God give us peace about all of this? There is no peace in any answer here,” they thought, “Can He give us peace, which transcends all understanding?” Rob says to Cindy, “We only know we must trust in the Lord with all of this, there is no other way.”  She knows that he’s right, but looking at him through teary eyes says, “I’m so scared.”

“The Lord will show us the way here, and we must, no matter how difficult it is trust Him and wait on His strength and guidance,” Rob says to reassure both of them. “So we pray to God to take away the fear and show us what to do. At least we both know we have a Lord who loves us, and He will give us comfort and strength while going through all of this. He will show us a way other than abortion, we pray. Remember the verse, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned,’ (Isaiah 43:1 and 2)? He will not let us burn.”

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:14:20 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 5

By: Janet Adams


"Rob and Cindy turn it over to God"

The room is quiet. Rob and Cindy were lead into an office by the church secretary, “He will be back in a few moments,” she said as they took a seat.  They sit facing a wooden desk. There are books, files, papers, and pictures on the desk. One picture is of a baby, she is in a cute little dress and hat. Their youth pastor, Brad, and his wife have been married for four years and their daughter is only four months old. “She is so cute,” they both comment. Brad is a great guy, very easy to talk to and he is always there for the kids.

It is funny how moments seem so long at times. As they sat and waited for Brad to return to the office, they reflected on the events that have unfolded in the past few weeks. Life has been a total mess. Cindy has been feeling sick to her stomach. She gets sick at school and work. She quit the basketball team. Everyone was so upset and wondering why, and they weren’t satisfied with the loose excuse she gave. When she sleeps, she has nightmares.  When she wakes up, "Wham!" it hits her like a ton of bricks, "I am pregnant." Her parents are sad and quiet. They don't talk much. They did decide that they wouldn't make any plans until Rob and Cindy went to talk to Brad. So here they are.

Brad comes in and sits down on a chair across from them; this is more personal than sitting at his desk. He greets them with a smile and jokes with them a little. Then, he looks at them seriously, “So, what can I do for you two today?” he asks. The tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Rob takes a deep breath and tells him that Cindy is pregnant. Brad's facial expressions don't change, but inside he feels so sorry for them and what they are facing. He has heard it time and time again. Young couples who are in love, cross the line and have intercourse.

He assures them that he is there to listen and help, but he cannot make any decisions for them. “The decisions are up to you and you can find the answers by looking to God's will,” he says. He takes their hands and offers a prayer.

“In order to know the will of God for our lives, we must first know God, Himself,” he says while fingering through his big, black Bible which sat in his lap. “We can never know who we are without first knowing whose we are. We learn to know Him as we submit more and more to His authority (Lordship), and are obedient to His Word, and are led by the Holy Spirit. In direct proportion to our knowledge of Him and our submission to Him, we experience the joy of walking in His will. ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.’(Proverbs 3:5 and 6).”

“I urge both of you to pray for God's will to be revealed, and pray that we may be spiritually perceptive enough to discern His will.” He flips through his Bible again, “‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers,’ (Phil. 4:6). ‘Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass,’ (Psalm 37:5).”

Rob and Cindy repent of their actions, and ask God to guide them into a decision that is His will. They pray that whatever the decision, that they will honor and obey God.

To Be Continued......



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:15:06 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 6

By: Janet Adams


"Rob and Cindy listen to what others have gone through."

Rob and Cindy walked out of their Youth Pastor’s office feeling somewhat comforted in what the verses and advice Brad shared with them. Both of them felt that God was with them. They sit in the car and talk.  Every scenario they could think of zooms through their head. “What do we do? How can we do it?” Cindy and Rob would both like to get married and have their baby. But they both know it is not going to be that easy.

Brad suggested they meet with a group across town that deals with family issues. It is a circle discussion of Christian parents and teens working for Godly solutions to problems. He gave them an address and phone number for the group. “They meet tomorrow night, and I it would be best if your parents attend with you,” Brad said handing them the card as they exited his office. 

The next night, everyone was in agreement to attend the group. Rob, his father, and I got there first and found some seats; they saved three seats for Cindy and her parents as well. Looking around the room, Rob observes many people, young and old, standing around chatting with each other. A man comes to the center of the circle of chairs to address the group, “Before the meeting gets started, I just wanted to inform everyone that there are sodas and coffee in the back. Thank you,” he says with a melancholy tone. Cindy and her parents haven’t arrived yet, and Rob stares at the door in anticipation for her arrival, while I go get us some soda.

The meeting begins and members start sharing their personal stories.  We sit and listen, without saying a word.  All kinds of thoughts and feelings are rushing through us at a million miles per hour. A father of a teen girl tells how his daughter is pregnant and they are having a hard time trying to decide what to do about it.

One-member shares that she had an abortion when she was eighteen and still to this day she still regrets it and thinks of that baby everyday. She says that not only is it wrong to have aborted it but that the baby did not ask to be brought into the world. The parents should stand behind her and guide her along the way not work against her, and do what GOD would want. Another member shares she got pregnant at twenty years old. She had to determine whether she should have an abortion or not. God spoke to her and said no. She had her son and he is a wonderful kid. The father ran away. She is a single mom, but is very blessed each time she looks at her son.

Another member shares that there is no easy way out of this. Someone will definitely be hurt no matter what! He was a father at seventeen without God and now at forty-seven has no idea where his son is. A day never goes by that he doesn't think of him and pray for him. He feels that someday the Lord will bring them together. A woman stood up crying. She said she was given up for adoption thirty-six years ago and has never regretted that she was. She said God had a plan for her while she was in her mother's womb. He gave her to the most awesome parents she could have had. She ended up leading her parents to Christ. She did search for her biological parents. She found her biological mother and father. Her mother wanted nothing to do with her. She was able to witness to her father about Christ right before he died of lung cancer. She considers the parents who raised her, the ones God gave her to and she thanks God for them daily.

An eighteen year old girl stood up and shared that she was conceived when her mom was seventeen. Her mom and dad got married about two and half months before she was born. They are still married to this day. She feels that God had a plan, now eighteen years later, she and her three other siblings are with their parents as a family. She says they aren't the richest people in the world. Her mom dropped out of school. Her dad barely finished high school. But, her parents work hard to love and care for them. She hopes one day she can marry a great man of God and have wonderful kids that will bond her to her husband in a very special way.

Another older woman got up crying also; she shared at the age of fifteen she, too, found herself in the same situation. Her parents were Christians, never missed a Sunday or Wednesday service. They were youth ministers, so when they found out her "secret," they were devastated! At first her mother told her it would be ungodly to abort it. She was relieved. She didn't want to kill her unborn baby. She wanted to find a way to have and raise her baby.
Unfortunately, when her dad heard the news, he had a different plan in mind. Her mother
went along with him. In December of 1973, she went in for a Therapeutic abortion, the "nasty" one, as she was beyond the five-month period. They injected her with very large needles and fed her baby saline. The "procedure" as they called it, was unsuccessful. She prayed that her parents would change their minds, but 10 days later, she was put through the same ordeal. She spent the entire time in tears. The abortion was one of the MOST painful experiences she has ever gone through. She delivered a beautiful baby boy, DEAD. He was green from the saline they ran through his little body. She says she will never forget it! After that she suffered major depression and wanted to end her life. She said it has been almost twenty-six years since that awful day. She truly believes that God has forgiven her of her sin. But she still thinks about that baby. She still has a hard time believing that her parents felt that this was the best they all could do in that situation.

[The stories above are real stories from TDDM members used for this devotion.]

Everyone in the room is crying, Rob looks up and sees Cindy and her parents sitting behind them. They were in shock, with tears running down their faces. Cindy stands up and shares her story of how she and Rob had sex and she is pregnant and they are here to discuss what they should do. She sits down and Cindy's mom holds her hand. Rob knows now that things will be better and they will be able to work it all out without an abortion. He feels a total sense of peace and comfort. He thanks God.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:2,3 and 12)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

To Be Continued….




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:15:52 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 7

By: Janet Adams


"Cindy Asks Why Me?"

Everyone has agreed that Cindy will have the baby, and things have settled down a bit since. She was so relieved that the decision was made that she will not have to have an abortion. She didn't want to leave her home and go against her parents’ wishes, but that is what she would have done if they insisted on an abortion.

She has visited the doctor’s office for a check up. This check up was really hard on her. The doctor gave her an internal exam, to make sure everything was going well for her and the baby. Being in his office was very uncomfortable and she was scared. Because Cindy is a very modest person, having to undress and lay there on the examination table made her very uneasy. The doctor gave her vitamins to take and gave her instruction on caring for the unborn baby. “You need to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest.” She has been feeling so tired lately, and she keeps getting headaches. Her body seems to be making changes even though she doesn’t look pregnant yet. Her chest and abdomen are swollen—tender and sore. Off and on she feels nauseated, and at times, even thrown up a few mornings.

Everyday, after school, she comes home and takes a nap. She had to quit her job at the nursing home because she just hasn’t had the energy for it. She loved her job; and was disappointed that she had to give that up, as well as playing basketball.  The more and more Cindy thinks about it, the more and more it seems she is loosing out on things in life, and it hurts. Emotionally and physically she is worn out, but spiritually she feels good. She feels that she is following the will of God in her life and this is good.

Her friends have noticed a big difference in her, and have demanded to know what’s going on. She declines when they ask her to go out with them and hang out. “She just says she is tired and very busy at home,” they complain. And on top of that, there has been talk behind her back that maybe she is sick, or even pregnant. Cindy and Rob promised not to tell any of their friends about the whole situation. Since she wouldn't be showing till the end of the school year, they could pull that off.  They wanted to go as long as they could with no one knowing. It would be easier on them, due to the looks and the rumors and attention they would get.

Although, there were times Cindy wanted to share the secret with her closest friends. She could have really used some love and encouragement from them. When she refused to go to sleepovers and parties she wanted them to know. It wasn't because she didn't care for them.

As far as her relationship with Rob was concerned, things were going well. Rob decided not to play baseball for the school this year because he wanted additional hours at work so he could save the money for whatever was to come. His father and I told him that his priorities would have to change now. With Rob working every night after school and on weekends, there wasn't much time to see each other. It was alright though; they would do what they had to do now, for the baby.

But when tickets went on sale for the Spring Dance, she was shocked when her mother told her she really shouldn't go. “You can't go around like everything is normal, because it isn't,” her mother said to end the discussion.  Cindy was angry and upset. “Why? Why me?” She sobbed as she sat in her room and cried. She thought that going through the one emotional crisis, about whether to have the baby or not was enough, especially with it being settled that she would have the baby. And now her whole life has to change? Her mother didn't want her to get all dressed up and go to her dance and have fun just because she is pregnant? Doesn't she deserve to go to dances and have fun like everyone else?

Sometimes we bring suffering upon ourselves. Lack of discipline and obedience can bring unhappy consequences. Some consequences can be long term. But always remember He is a Lord of love and forgiveness.

Suffering and adversity are familiar to Christians. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that Christians are exempt for the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. But, God does teach that we can face crisis and personal suffering with the supernatural power of Jesus Christ. The person who suffers will be blessed if in the midst of the suffering he can
look into the face of his Heavenly Father and be grateful. We need to look beyond the pain and look to God and see what He wants to teach us in all of this.

"My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Cindy has a long road to travel and the hardest part is yet to come. Now decisions need to be made what she is going to do with her baby, keep it and get married, keep it and not get married or give it up for adoption.

To be continued…



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:16:41 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 8

By: Janet Adams


"Cindy's Love"

A few months have gone by now since Cindy found out she is pregnant. Things have gotten much better with her parents. They are still hurt and upset over it all, but they are giving her love and support. Rob has been working everyday after school and on the weekends, putting all his money away for the baby expenses. Although they don’t have much time to see each other, Rob does make time for Cindy everyday. Rob’s father and I have been very supportive of Rob, Cindy, and Cindy’s parents. We have gotten together a few times to talk over what they should do about the baby. Rob's father and I have offered Cindy and Rob to live in our house, get married and have the baby.  I said that I would help out with the baby while Cindy goes to school. Cindy's mom is a writer for a local newsmagazine and works from home. So she has also found a way to adapt to the baby’s arrival. It seems that everyone is adjusting and ready to do whatever needs to be done for the baby.

There are still some major hurdles we have all had to overcome. Cindy still isn't showing, and none of her friends know about the baby. She’s disappointed that she can’t share this with them. She could really use their love and support right now. She and Rob didn't go to the Spring Dance and all their friends have been wondering why? They have had to continue to make up petty excuses for not hanging out with their friends like they used to. Things have changed drastically, but they are adjusting. Rob and Cindy have not been out together on a date since she found out she was pregnant and they both long to be together and spend some time with each other. They miss the days when they were happy, carefree teens. Seems like all at once, they had to skip the rest of their teenage years and become adults.

They have visited Brad, their Youth Pastor, several times for counsel. Cindy and her parents have gone to talk about adoption. Her parents think the best thing for everyone would be for them to give the baby up for adoption to a good Christian family. Cindy is just so thankful she didn't have an abortion that she really hasn’t thought much about what will happen after she has the baby. She is consumed with the actual pregnancy and what is happening to her body and to her emotions, and insecurities about her relationship with Rob start to develop. “Will he still love me when I’m big and pregnant? Will he get bored because I can't go out like we used to? Will he get tired of me and all of this? Will he resent the fact that he has greater responsibility now?” she asks herself full of doubt. But she decides that she can't be worried about all of that right now, she must concern herself with the baby.

Although she is going through an emotional rollercoaster right now, Cindy begins to feel an emotion different from all the others.  She has begun to really love this baby. She has begun to know real love. She loves God, her parents, Rob and her friends, but this is different. She feels the love of God in her baby. This love for her baby says, "I respect you. I care for you. I am responsible for you. God gave you to me."

Real Love says:

I Respect You: I see you, as you are, a unique individual. I accept you as you are and will permit you to develop as God purposes for you. I Care For You: It matters to me what happens to you. I am concerned for your life and growth. My desire is to promote your interests, even if it means sacrificing my own. I Am Responsible For You: I will respond to you, not out of a sense of duty, which obligates me, but voluntarily. Your needs will motivate me to pray for you. I will protect you.

"A new commandment I give unto you. As I have loved you, that ye also love one another" (John 13:34)

"God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us?” (1John 8:8-10) NIV

The Conclusion, Part 9, Next…



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:17:27 AM
  Rob & Cindy Mini-Series Part 9

By: Janet Adams


"Marriage?"

Rob feels that he truly loves Cindy, not just as a girlfriend but also as a Christian soul mate. His relationship with Cindy and dependency upon God has grown rapidly since she became pregnant. Now, Rob has to face what they are going to do. Rob wants to marry Cindy but he knows he is very young. He wants Cindy to keep the baby and for them to be a family. He is working so hard after school and putting every cent away. He was using his money to fix up the truck he bought last summer. He only makes minimum wage and can only get in 20 hours a week or so. That doesn't mean a lot of money. He has his college fund that his parents set up for him when he was born. He has a good bit of money in there. Every birthday and Christmas whenever he got cash for gifts he would put half of it in his account. He knows that he will have to use this money for Cindy and the baby and not worry about college for right now. He has decided that he will go to his parents and talk to them seriously about marring Cindy. But first he decides to go to his friend and youth pastor, Brad to discuss the marriage.

Marriage is the most serious long-term commitment a couple can make in their lifetime, but many enter into it with a lack of maturity and knowledge. The growing number of divorces shows how imperative it is that young people be adequately prepared for marriage. A good marriage is based on the dependence the couple has on God. The Cinderella syndrome where everything turns out to be happily ever after is not reality. Many have unrealistically high expectations of marriage and spend years suffering and adjusting, if they can stay together at all. Marriage is not intended to be a "fix all". Getting married to correct a problem is not the answer.

When getting married or thinking of marriage, be sure it is "in the Lord". Search for God's blessings and control over your own life and that of your partner asking for guidance in prayer.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established: through knowledge its rooms are filled with great and beautiful treasures." (Prov 24:3 and 4)

After much praying and counseling, Rob and Cindy decide to get married. The ring wasn’t much, but it was enough to show the world the commitment they made to each other, not just through the pregnancy, but also through a life long commitment. The road ahead would be tough, but they will do it together, with their faith and trust in God leading the way.

The End…



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 02, 2006, 10:18:20 AM
  Rob & Cindy Encore

By: Tony B. Rhoda


It was 3:30 in the morning. The lights were completely off in the house and everyone was sound asleep. Rob was curled up in his blanket and holding tight to his body pillow. If only he were married and Cindy would be beside him instead of feathers hidden behind a sewn cloth. Rob was dreaming of her when on the fourth ring, the phone finally awoke him. "Hello?" Rob managed to say in a half groggy voice longing to be back in his dream of Cindy.

"Say what?" Rob yelled. Before the phone could drop to the floor from Rob's hands, he was out of bed dashing for the door. The side railing of the stairs dug into his hip as he turned the corner sharply. He slammed against the wall waking his parents in the next room. Still in a daze he lunges for the keys with his left hand and the doorknob with his right. His father yells down to him from the top of the stairs in his robe,” What is going on down there?"

"Cindy's having the b...." the door was slammed shut and Rob running at mach speeds for his car before he could get out the last word. Tires squeal and the Indy 500 came to the small town that they both lived in, if only for the five-minute drive to the hospital.

He turns into the first open spot he sees; now is not the time to spend a half hour trying to find the closest spot to the door. He opens the truck door and starts sprinting for the hospital. It took about twenty steps for Rob to realize he left the vehicle running with the lights on. A quick turn around and a flip of the wrist fixed that problem. The door slammed behind him again and he took a quick pause to make sure he was all there. It was then he noticed he was still in his Spider Man pajamas that Cindy bought him as a joke two weeks ago.

"Oh well," Rob thought as he started for the hospital door again. There were other things on his mind right now, mainly the thought of him being a father. As he jogged through the front door, he got the answers that he needed and instead of waiting for the elevator he started up the three flights of stairs to the delivery room. Once inside, there lay his wife to be and her parents. Cindy looked out of it when her eyes perked up as Rob walked through the door. "This is it Rob, we are about to be parents," her voice barely above a whisper. It looked like she had a fairly rough night already. Rob didn't even want to try to comprehend what she might be going through. He wanted to just focus on being there for support and doing anything he could to help her. A small laugh escaped her lips when she saw the spider man outfit.

"I'm glad to see you came dressed up for the occasion," Cindy said. Just then her eyes shut and hands gripped the side of the bed. A painful grunt left her mouth and a doctor and nurse came in. Everything started happening so fast. It was time to deliver the baby. Rob was ushered to her side and Cindy's hand released the death grip of the side railing and her nails found the soft and tender skin of Rob's forearm. Rob winced in pain but never let the smile leave his face and the encouraging words stop flowing off his tongue. They had been through so much together and this was not going to be any different. They were a team. Rob started praying. Not just praying to himself but praying out loud, over the machines, over the doctors orders, over Cindy's pushing breaths. Moments later when he said "Amen," the doctor stood up holding a baby in his hands. It was a beautiful baby boy. The baby was laid in Cindy's arm and tears began to stream down both Rob and Cindy's face. Rob glanced up to see his parents standing at the door, holding a change of clothes.

"You really want your son to see you standing in Spider Man pajamas when he gets his first look at you?" Rob's dad joked.

"I think it will be fine, Grandpa," he said back with a sly twist of his voice and a wink of his eye.

Later that year Rob & Cindy were married and began the long road to adulthood and parenting. Sure it will be rough, and often Rob and Cindy wished they could have waited and found another way. But, this was the decision they made, the choice they have to accept and the consequences that followed their actions. Now they have a son to raise and a family to care for. Rob would give anything and everything to make sure the boy was safe and well. Never could he fathom the type of love and emotion that would follow a child. It only made his thoughts of Jesus all the stronger.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that who should ever believe in Him, should not parish, but have ever lasting life." (John 3:16)

The End.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:20:42 AM
  Held By God

By: Beth Hays


”Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10) NLT
   
There are two parts to this verse I want you to press into. We’re going take them one by one…and I promise there’s a treasure in each clause…if you look!

“The Lord will hold me close.” Grammatically speaking, it’s the independent clause. In Beth’s language, it’s the point of the sentence. The Lord will hold me close. Let that sink in for a minute. The Lord, the One who spun this world into existence, and the one who had tummy aches like the rest of us, wants to hold you. Hold you. Do you see the tenderness? He doesn’t just want to hug you…he wants to wrap his arms around you in your weakest moment and shelter you, swaddled in his love.

Wow! That’s enough to blow my mind completely! But, he doesn’t stop there. “Even if my father and mother abandon me…” Parents are simply supposed to love their children. It’s supposed to be a requirement when you have a child. Although it breaks my heart, I know that isn’t true in our world. It is so hard to imagine a mother abandoning her precious child. It would be the worst betrayal imaginable. Yet, we’re promised that God will still hold us, even if our parents won’t. Even if everyone else leaves, my friend, even if you are betrayed by all you’ve ever known, even if you have been violated and crushed by everyone you’ve ever trusted, God still wants to hold you.

Can you believe it? Does it blow you away? No matter what happens, no matter what anyone says, no matter who hurts or leaves you, God, our all-knowing, all-powerful God, wants to tenderly hold you. It’s true, my friend, really true. He’s waiting with open arms. There is nothing you can do to make Him stop wanting to hold you. So, will you let him? Run into His open arms…He’s waiting just for you.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:21:29 AM
  Robbing God

By: Jeff Lappano

“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8)

Here is a scenario for you. You go into the store and as your walking around, you pick up something and put it in your pocket, basket, or purse, of course with the intent of paying for it, but somehow you got though the checkout line without paying for it. Is that theft? Well of course it is because you didn’t pay for the item!

Do you realize God asks of you some of your income? It’s called a tithe. A tithe is simply a tenth. It could be a tenth of anything. If you read through the Old Testament, you would see that the people even bring their livestock, and it would be acceptable to God. Proverbs 3:9 takes it a step farther and says, “first fruits,” which is the first tenth. This is to say before any other bills are paid, God gets the first tenth. If you do not give this to God, yes, my friend, you are robbing God. I am not saying this as a word of condemnation, but a word of encouragement, because I understand that there are churches out there that may not teach this biblical principle.

What is the point of giving God your money? First of all, so His house, the church you worship the Lord in has it’s needs met in the financial department and of course they can continue to be a blessing to the community. Secondly, your needs will be met. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, “Give, and it shall be given to you.” I love tithing because I know that every one of my needs will be met. The word of the Lord concerning tithing is, “test me!” I have tested God on this matter and every time my needs have been met. Those who don’t tithe, who rob God, the bible records, they are cursed with a curse. I don’t want to be cursed, and I don’t want any of you to be cursed.

In just a couple days the opportunity will present itself once again to tithe. What are you going to do? “To give? Or not to give?” is the question. For every dollar you make, all God is asking for is ten cents. When you think about it, that isn’t a lot of money especially when God says that He will give back to you multiple times over!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:22:21 AM
  The Big Picture

By: Ariel Gant


”We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, and love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (MSG)

As you sit here reading this devotional, you may be so overwhelmed with something that you've considered giving up. You may be to the point that you think it's the only way out.

Have you ever thought back to a time in your life where you know you would have made a different decision had you been able to see the big picture, or known a little more about the situation? I know I have.

This verse above reminds us that we can only see what's here and now -- we can't see that the friend who hurt us is terribly sorry and longs to reconcile with you; the loved one who's sickness seems to be consuming every aspect of your life is one step away from healing; or the problems you're facing will get better and aren't worth ending your life over.

God is the only one who can see the "big picture." As He sits in Heaven, He knows the past that haunts you, the turmoil you now face, and the freedom that awaits you. And though He allows you free will to make your own choices, He's asking for you to open your eyes and realize that there is something far bigger. He's asking you to simply trust in Him, and allow Him to pull you through. He can't wait for the beauty He's producing in you to bloom, and for His glory to radiate from your life. He wants you ... to hold on ... hoping, loving, and trusting in Him.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:23:08 AM
  Wanna Be A Superhero?

By: Amber Owen


“Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Have faith in God. I assure you that you can say to this mountain, ‘May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,’ and your command will be obeyed.  All that’s required is that you really believe and do not doubt in your heart. Listen to me!  You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.”(Mark 11:22-24) NLT

Are you a Spiderman fan?  I am, and, naturally, I went to see the Spiderman 2 sequel the other day.  I remember growing up watching the Spiderman cartoon when it came on Saturday mornings.  He was so cool! Now, Spiderman, may not be able to fly around the world like Superman, and probably couldn’t use is web to get him very far in the middle of the desert, but if I could be any superhero, I would be Spiderman.  It would be awesome to swing from building to building, rescuing people, and fulfilling my mission of fighting evil. 

While I was sitting in the theater watching my comic book favorite on the big screen, I noticed the theme of the movie.  I won’t spoil it for those of you that haven’t seen it, but Spiderman/Peter Parker, was struggling with living the life of a superhero.  Not only did he suffer for what he was working for, but he doubted his mission and who he was supposed to be.  As soon as he started to doubt, he lost his powers and found himself a small web short of a skyscraper a few times.  I believe this is what happens with us sometimes.  We doubt our walk with God, and stumble. We get caught up in doubt and worries about the impossibilities that we don’t remember that we can do anything with God working through us! 

Looking at the verse in Mark 11, Jesus is saying that we are to believe in the power of God, and what He can do through us.  He tells us that if we believe and have faith, we could move mountains!  I don’t know about you, but that’s some trick!  God has a plan for us.  There are a lot of challenges that we will be faced with as Christians.  We could be expected to do things we don’t want to do, like praying for our enemies or even the sacrificing our time to those we don’t think will even care.  We could be expected to do what seems to be the impossible, like moving a mountain, or healing the sick through lying of hands.  But because God is great, He has made these things happen.  He has the awesome power to overcome anything!  God is the ultimate superhero here, and we are all his little side kicks, but we have to believe in Him and have Faith that we can do anything! Once Spiderman regained his faith in his fate of being a superhero, he was able to fight stronger and better than ever before. 

Do you want to be a superhero?  Do you think you could move a mountain?  Would you say that you could?  Jesus said, “You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.” I encourage you to pray today for what it is you need, and then believe that you will get it.  Have faith in God and He will do wonderful things through you.  God Bless!   




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:24:05 AM
  Be Prepared!

By: Jeff Lappano


"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching, she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So, I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children
dead. Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now, I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): only hold on to what you have until I come.
(Revelation 2:18-25, KJV)

I would like to begin by looking at a general flow that verse 19 dictates to us. Notice, with me that their love produced service and their faith produced perseverance, they were doing more than they did at first, theirs was not a dead faith, but it was a growing faith. This verse can be cross—referenced with 1 Thessalonians 1:3 which says, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Just because they had these great things in their favor does not mean they had it all together. The church allowed the spirit of Jezebel to run rapid among the congregation. They had not guarded the truth entrusted to them; the church leaders had not guarded their flock, as they should have. This false prophetess encouraged those who would listen to worship idols, eat
food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. Of course, all of these things are against the will of God. This woman had a time to repent but did not do so, and of course there were consequences for her actions, and all those who follow her.

How does a prophetess in the Old Testament apply to us living in the year 2004? Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24, that in the Last Days’ false prophets would arise to deceive the church. Scripture also says that false teachers would arise in the Last Days. This day has come. False teachers and prophets are arising and trying to deceive those who love the Lord. I
encourage you not to listen to the doctrine of false teachers, as it will only lead you into sinning.

How can we not be lead astray by the doctrine of false teachers? 2 Timothy 2:15, in the KJV says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We need to have a handle on the Word of God so we know what doctrine is the truth, and what isn’t. My question to you, when false teaching is presented to you will you know the truth of the Word in a way that you will be able to resist the inaccurate teaching and hold fast to the Word of Truth? Will you be prepared?   




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:25:02 AM
  Got Hope?

By: Ariel Gant


”But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you
have.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Do you know anyone who is so optimistic and enthusiastic about everything
that it nearly makes you sick? They simply have this seemingly unwarranted
peace that everything will always be okay.

That's something that non-believers especially can't understand. Even a lot
of believers may seem a little pessimistic. One big difference between
believers and non-believers is believers have hope. You may not always get
what you want. You may not always have everything happen just the way you'd
like; but, as Paul reminds us, we can always have that assurance that
everything will work out for the best because in Christ, you have hope.

”May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans
15:13)



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 03, 2006, 10:25:50 AM
  Sleeping in Safety

By: Beth Hays


”The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” (Psalm 121:5) NLT

I was created to be a mommy. There are few things I can tell you with absolute certainty about who I am. That is one of them. I have had the opportunity to put this into practice countless times. I have practically raised a precious little boy named Eli. He’s three and a half, and yesterday I had the wonderful privilege of taking him for a couple days and caring for him. He’s my baby boy. 

When it was time for him to go to bed, he started to worry. He was away from home and didn’t want to go to sleep (at three and half sleep must be the worst punishment in the world, which means you miss eight hours of action!). He was starting to get fussy and irritable and my dad was getting frustrated with him. So, I took him into the room in which he would be sleeping, sat down beside him, rubbed his back, and sung to him. Within ten minutes, he was fast asleep.

How did he fall asleep so fast? He felt safe. He knew that I would be there and wouldn’t let anyone harm him. Sometimes, I miss that—falling to sleep knowing someone was sitting by my bed to protect me. Then, today, I stumbled across this verse, literally stumbled. I was walking in my room and my Bible was on the floor. I tripped over it and it opened to a page with this verse inscribed in a picture. My heart smiled when I read it.

Do you realize we have a God who will do for us exactly what I did for my Eli? He will watch over us. A few verses earlier in this Psalm, it says that our God never sleeps. Even while we are asleep, our God watches over us. He will be our protective shade! Wow! What a picture. He will be the shield between us and the things we are afraid of. He will keep us safe.

So, as you lie down tonight, it is my prayer that you will be able to feel the presence of God sitting beside you on your bed, watching over you, as you drift off to sleep knowing you are eternally safe in His hands.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 04, 2006, 10:52:10 AM
  He Lifts Up Your Head

By: Beth Hays


“But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3) NLT

I was sitting in a cabin at camp with a friend as she stared down at the ground telling me of a world full of hurt in her heart. The tears dripped slowly, bearing the weight of the burdens that tore at her soul. And no matter my responses, her eyes never left the ground. I hadn’t seen her eyes the whole conversation. This bothered me, because the thought of her feeling so much hurt and shame she couldn’t look at me broke my heart into pieces.

So, I sat down on the floor (she was on a bed) and cheated. I sat in her eyesight. I caught her eyes for a moment and then she quickly looked away, as though I would condemn her. I gently lifted her chin, looked into her eyes, and told her I still loved her. Her head didn’t fall back down the entire conversation. From that moment on, she was free to look at me, as if she knew that no matter what she told me, I would still think the world of her.

I don’t know about you, but there have been countless times I have gone to God and looked at the ground instead of into His eyes. I am ashamed of what I have done, or worse, who I am. I am ashamed of the things people have done to me, or the events I have seen. And so I look away. But, it never fails, my friends. His reaction is always the same. I can gently feel Him lifting up my head so that my eyes look into His, and He gently looks deep into my eyes and reminds me that He still loves me.

You see, precious one, He is the one who lifts up your head. When your hurts has weighed it further down than you can bear, when your shame has driven it away from locking eyes with the Savior, He gently picks up your head, and I know He reminds you of how much He loves you. Every page of the Bible has whispers of it, you know, whispers of how much He loves you. He desperately wants you to know. The God of the Universe will get on the floor and kindly glance into your eyes, just to prove that even amidst your pain and shame, He loves you that much.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 04, 2006, 10:52:57 AM
  Just Say No

By: Dominic Mayweather


“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it,” (1 Cor. 10:13 NKJV).

If I gave you a million dollars, would you accept it? What if I told you that I would hire a maid to clean up your messy room? Would you accept it? How about it I told you that you can go down to any car dealership and pick out the car of your choice and I would pay for it? Would you accept it? Most, if not all of you would answer, “Yes!” to these questions. I realize that many of us do not have a problem saying “yes,” but sometimes we do have a problem saying “No.”

In the verse above, Paul is providing the Corinthians with some words of comfort, which serve as words of comfort for us today. Have you been tempted lately? Maybe you have found yourself in a situation where you have been tempted to lie, cheat, or steal. No matter what temptation you have experienced, there have been others that have experienced the same temptation.

Maybe, you have been tempted to participate in sex before marriage, or date an unbeliever. Maybe, you have been tempted to watch pornography on television or the Internet. Maybe, you have been tempted to smoke, drink, or do other drugs with your friends and acquaintances. Maybe, you have been tempted to cheat on tests in school or lie on a job application. Maybe, you have been tempted to steal or murder.

Just remember that God is faithful! The moment that you are tempted, God provides a way out. He will not let you experience anything that He has not prepared you to experience. We all have the yes covered, now let's work on the no.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 04, 2006, 10:53:50 AM
  The World's Hatred

By: Amber Owen


“When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you.  The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t.  I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’  Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.  And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you! The people of the world will hate you because you belong to me, for they don’t know God who sent me.” (John 15:18-21)

Have you ever taken a religion class?  Maybe you’ve watched the History Channel when they ran a special feature about the history of martyrs. A martyr is a person who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle. Did you know that all the disciples of Jesus died a martyr’s death?  I know Peter was hung upside down on a cross by his ankles, and was left to die.  Jesus died a martyr’s death. Maybe you’ve heard of Joan of Arc?  She died by burning at the stake, because she would not denounce her God. 

What courage!  What faith these people must have had! If you look throughout history, Christians have always been persecuted by the people of the world.  Look back in the Roman times, before Emperor Constantine and his issue of the Edit of Milan, which stopped the persecution of Christians in the coliseum.  The Roman people, who were of this world, found sport and entertainment in watching the Christians be eaten by lions—they paid money for this stuff!  Why does it look like Christians never get a break?

In the verse, Jesus says, “The people of the world will hate you because you belong to me, for they don’t know God who sent me.”  Did Jesus mean that because we believe we must suffer, and be persecuted?  No, but he is warning us of the struggles we will face.  We are fighting a war with the world, because, as Jesus is saying, “…they don’t know God who sent me.” God is all powerful, all loving, all knowing, who wouldn’t want an Entity like that on their side?

Could you be a martyr if it were God’s will? Are you feeling like everyone who does not believe has life so much better than you?  Look around and tell me what could be better than having God as your Father? Examine your life, and tell me where He has abandoned and forsaken you?  You won’t find anything.  He never will abandon or forsake those that believe.  God loves you and He’s the ultimate warrior, who is looking out for your best interests. If you feel like you are being persecuted by the ways of the world in your walk with God, keep the faith, and trust that He is the ALMIGHTY!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 04, 2006, 10:54:42 AM
  Hurricane Faith

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds from blowing upon the earth. Not a leaf rustled in the trees, and the sea became as smooth as glass.  And I saw another angel coming fromt he east, carrying thee seal of the living God.  And he shouted out to those four angels who had been given power to injure land and sea, 'Wait! Don't hurt the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on teh foreheads of hi servants." (Revelation 7:1-3)

I have to admit, I was getting excited. The commotion was stirring and the radio was on. The Channel 6 News had been interrupting the regular scheduled programs with emergency updates. All I could think of was what store could I get to before the inevitable happened and everyone decided to board up for Hurricane Charley. There wasn't much time left and plus if I waited too long, it could be sold out--if there was ever a time in the history of Florida to make my move, now was the time. I had to get to the grocery store....I had to buy a kite.

Sure, you might think that there are more important things during this time than a kite, however when was the last time you could see a kite fly from 0 to 300 feet in 2.7 seconds? My thoughts exactly. Life is all about priorities.

Unfortunately, all the stores were closed and my cell phone kept ringing with friends, family and my fiancé giving me the latest. A tornado touched down here, a storm front there, lighting striking around the corner, and a cat stuck in a tree. The tornado being reported five miles away didn't bother me as much as the cat in the tree, poor thing had to be getting soaked and we all know how much cats love water.

I still have a few hours till the hurricane hits, and with the change of direction reported, it looks like I might have a target on my house. Luckily, with modern technology I have time to prepare and I have time to make sure I am ready for this force of nature.

However, there will be a point in the not so distant future that we will be taken by surprise. There will be no warning, and no Super Duper Doppler in the world will be able to detect it. With a force so strong, the tombs will be pushed aside, and in a blink of an eye, we will be on our way to Heaven. For Christians, this is something we look forward to even more so than an Extreme-kite flight. For those who are not prepared, it will be the worse experience to date. I encourage you today to pray for those who are not saved and do your part to warn them of the upcoming storm--not one that progresses through the alphabet, but one that will have eternal consequences. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 04, 2006, 10:55:39 AM
  My Story Of Faith

By: Beth Hays


“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) KJV
   
By my calculations, this is my 100th devotional. So, I thought I would set it apart and use it to answer a question many of you ask me. I thought I’d use it to share my journey of faith, in hopes that through it, you can see that God can take even the ugliest creation and transform it into something beautiful.

I relate my journey to that of a butterfly. That means I started as an ugly caterpillar. I was a terror of a child. I don’t say that lightly. I have never met a child as cruel and heartless as I was. I spent my days trying to make everyone else’s life miserable. And my entire goal in life was to hurt everyone I met, because I had been hurt and that was only fair. My mom has been terminally ill since I was two and my dad worked an awful lot, so, he wasn’t really around. I became the caretaker of the family, and the scapegoat for every problem.

By the time I was in fifth grade, I had built my cocoon. I decided that I would trust no one, they weren’t safe, and that I would never let anyone see the hurt inside. I tried things like stealing and cutting to mask my hurt, but nothing ever reached deep enough anyway. I wouldn’t let it. I hid emotionally.

And then life got even worse. I started to struggle like I never had before. My mom was in the hospital and supposedly dying. Even if she lived, she would be wheelchair bound for life. I lived alone with my father, and we had a horrible relationship. My best friend committed suicide and in his goodbye letter he blamed me for it. Talk about never-ending guilt! A few other things happened and I wanted to die, literally. I had a plan set in place for my own death. It was interrupted by an unwelcome reminder that I had to go to camp.

Seeing a perfect opportunity, I took my razor blades with me and planned to end it there. But, all the struggling had happened for a reason and through the love or some amazing people showing me the love of God, He broke through my cocoon. I realized that God loved me and was big enough to handle my pain. Even greater, I realized He gave me a reason to live.

Butterflies can’t fly the moment they come out of their cocoon. All of the blood in their body has to be flushed to their wings before they can fly. This is done by perpetual stretching. The years after I found Christ, were marred with trial after trial. Many of which I had caused in my pre-God days and spent most of my life apologizing for. But, I kept going because I knew that if God worked that hard to choose me as His child, I could work that hard to please Him. And this stretching led to strength.

That strength led to flight. Because of it, I am now where I am. I still have a long way to go. But, he has taken so much ugliness in me, without any attempt of my own, He has made them more like Him. My hands are used for gentle hugs, instead of stealing. My thoughts of suicide have been replaced by a genuine love of life and of people. But more than anything, my closed off, heart of stone has been melted and sculpted into one which has been taught to love.

I know that was long, but there are nineteen years in those words, and much was still left out. But, I hope, that seeing the journey through which I have come to see the beauty of our God and His transformation in His people, will serve as an expression of hope. My friend, if He did it for me, He can do it for you. There is not one too far out of reach for Him, or one to ugly to make beautiful. Transformation and Redemption are His specialties. I pray you’ll let Him change you today!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 05, 2006, 12:05:06 PM
  Be Faithful Even To The End

By: Jeff Lappano


"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:8-10 (KJV)

Have you ever felt like everything and everyone was against you? The church at Smyrna felt the same way. They were a physically poor church, but they we’re rich in spirit. Physically, the church in Smyrna suffered from persecution from the Jews. As we read in Ephesians 1:3, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.

Unfortunately, this letter grows a little gloomier before the light at end of the tunnel. In John 16:33, Jesus tells his disciples that in the world they will have tribulation, but to take courage; He has overcome the world. Through the penmanship of John, the Lord tells his church that even persecution is on its way. The devil was about to put some of them through a big test.

The encouragement of the Lord for this situation is, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” What does this mean? How are we going to withstand persecution? Believing in Christ isn’t a joke; it does cost people their lives pretty much every day all through the world. Even living in the United States of America, you can face persecution for your faith in Christ!

The only positive thing about this church, other than being rich in Christ, is their faithfulness to Christ. Are you willing to die for the sake of the cross? I know that I ask that question many times, but I feel I have to because it’s important. It brings us all to a reality check. Christ died for you. Would you die for Him? Maybe, just maybe, the situation wouldn’t be like what He went through. Persecution can happen on many levels. Maybe you live in household that you’re the only one saved, and those around you laugh at you make fun of you because you wake up so early on Sunday to be in the presence of the Lord. That too can be persecution. My question is, are you faithful to Him? I encourage you not grow weary. Take courage my friend, for your redemption is near. Faithfulness to the King of kings will not go un-rewarded.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 05, 2006, 12:05:46 PM
  Guilty, or Not Guilty?

By: Amber Owen


“For God can use sorrow in our lives to turn away from our sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

I know that every one of us have been caught with our hand in the cookie jar a few times in our life.  Or maybe you’ve done something that you would think is worse than that.  I remember that I have a video tape of myself lying to my parents about how many gummy bears I took out of the candy dish when I was only allowed to have one (okay it’s not quite a cookie jar, but you get my meaning).  I watch that to this day and feel ashamed sometimes that I did it.  Why didn’t I do the right thing?  Was it because I didn’t know any better?  If that’s the answer, then why do I find myself still doing it to this day?  I start to let myself go down a road of self-bashing.  Why can’t I do anything right?

Do you ask yourself those questions?  Do you ever feel guilty about what you have done wrong in the past?  No matter what I do sometimes, I can’t seem to forgive myself of my sins and learn from what I’ve done wrong.  My mind gets so clouded with thoughts of self-doubt, pity, and indignation.  I get so caught up in these behaviors that I become self centered and insensitive.  I have even gotten to the point where I am paranoid of the effects of my decisions.  I have a great fear that I’m going to do something wrong again, and I can never trust myself to make the decisions that I need to in life.

In the verse above, Paul was proud of how the Corinthians took their sorrow and changed their behavior, when he wrote a previous letter pointing out their faults as Christians for they were not living Godly lives.  They did the complete opposite of what I would have done. When we do something wrong, God wants us to be sorry for what we have done and repent.  Part of that process is feeling the sorrow, or recognizing what we have done wrong and then asking for forgiveness. There is a fine line between sorrow and guilt.  God does not want us to feel guilty, because it causes those feelings of doubt and behaviors of selfishness, which are all works of Satan.  When we feel guilty, or have “sorrow without repentance,” we are ignoring the very reason why Jesus died for us: forgiveness.

Guilty, or not guilty?  Are you going to ignore the most valuable and precious gift that our Father in Heaven has given us?  When you do something wrong, learn from it. The next time you regret what you have done, thank God for it!  Recognize that the sorrow that you are feeling is a sign that Jesus is alive in your life!  Use that sorrow as a turning point to focus your life on God’s will.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 06, 2006, 10:13:53 AM
  Safe Sleeping

By: Beth Hays


”The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” (Psalm 121:5) NLT

I was created to be a mommy. There are few things I can tell you with absolute certainty about who I am. That is one of them. I have had the opportunity to put this into practice countless times. I have practically raised a precious little boy named Eli. He’s three and a half, and yesterday I had the wonderful privilege of taking him for a couple days and caring for him. He’s my baby boy. 

When it was time for him to go to bed, he started to worry. He was away from home and didn’t want to go to sleep (at three and half sleep must be the worst punishment in the world, which means you miss eight hours of action!). He was starting to get fussy and irritable and my dad was getting frustrated with him. So, I took him into the room in which he would be sleeping, sat down beside him, rubbed his back, and sung to him. Within ten minutes, he was fast asleep.

How did he fall asleep so fast? He felt safe. He knew that I would be there and wouldn’t let anyone harm him. Sometimes, I miss that—falling to sleep knowing someone was sitting by my bed to protect me. Then, today, I stumbled across this verse, literally stumbled. I was walking in my room and my Bible was on the floor. I tripped over it and it opened to a page with this verse inscribed in a picture. My heart smiled when I read it.

Do you realize we have a God who will do for us exactly what I did for my Eli? He will watch over us. A few verses earlier in this Psalm, it says that our God never sleeps. Even while we are asleep, our God watches over us. He will be our protective shade! Wow! What a picture. He will be the shield between us and the things we are afraid of. He will keep us safe.

So, as you lie down tonight, it is my prayer that you will be able to feel the presence of God sitting beside you on your bed, watching over you, as you drift off to sleep knowing you are eternally safe in His hands.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 06, 2006, 10:15:45 AM
  The Open Door

By: Jeff Lappano


“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia writes: These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:7-11)

I would like to begin by studying the city of Philadelphia. Philadelphia is where Alafiehir is located. Its name is derived from Attalus II (159-138 BC), whose truth and loyalty to his brother, Eumenes, won him the epithet, or nickname, Philadelphus (Brotherly Love). Being on a major trade route between the east and west, it had an open door for evangelism. The synagogue of Satan refers to the fact that the Jews follow Satan, whose name means slanderer. In slandering God's people, clearly, the Jews in particular were troubling these early churches as Acts demonstrates. Isaiah prophesied concerning Christ in chapter 22 and verse 22, “The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder. So he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.” This verse means that Jesus holds absolute power and authority over who enters his kingdom, see Revelations 1:18 which says, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Eliakim, the palace administrator, was to be robed with authority and given the key to the house of David (Isa 22:20-22, 36:3), he is the one who decides who will see the king.

Although they were a tiny group with little strength, theirs was a door that God had provided and therefore no one could shut. They had kept his word and did not deny Jesus therefore He will acknowledge them before their enemies.

What is the open door? To answer that, let me ask you, what should be the heartbeat of the church? Of course it should be winning the lost world for the sake of Christ. Paul, who made three missionary journeys himself, uses the open door through his letters. Let’s look at one of those instances. 1 Corinthians 16:9, “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” There was a door opened by Christ for the apostle to boldly preach the gospel. I am sure that Paul understood the concept of if a door is opened for you, its good to go though it. The Philadelphian church was commended of the Lord for the same concept as well.

The final thought I want to touch on comes from verse 11 where Christ says, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” What was it that the church had? I believe that they trusted immensely on Christ. Though it was a small church. Being in the place where they were, they took the opportunity to win people for Christ. Christ says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."

And what does the word, “crown” mean? The Greek translation really doesn’t have to do with a physical crown, but rather what allows one to get a crown, which is victory. Translated, this means that the church needed to continue to hold on to what they had so no one could take their victory.

Believer, may I challenge you with one more word from Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Hold on to your victory by holding to your faith in Christ Jesus.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 06, 2006, 10:17:22 AM
  Creating a Craving

By: Beth Hays


“Taste, and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!” (Psalm 34:8) NLT

How did you come to know who God is? In fact, do you remember your first encounter with Him? Not the first time you heard about Him, though it might have been, but think back to the first time you EXPERIENCED Him. Close your eyes for a moment and remember what that felt like.  Now, come back to reality. How do you feel? What are you thinking?

You know what comes to my mind? Hunger. I remember the peace, the joy, the embrace of that moment, and the many that have followed. I remember the closeness and love memories which still blow through my mind. And, I’m hungry, I guess, we can call it a craving. I want more. I want that depth, and to go even deeper. One taste of God and all I want is more. Maybe that is what David was talking about when he penned this well-known verse.  One taste of God and I have spent every moment since loving and worshipping Him. One taste—that’s all it took.

I could stop here, with a nice little reminder to satisfy your craving for more, but I’m not going to!  You see, there are so many people we see every day who have yet to taste and develop that craving. All it will take is for them to taste and EXPERIENCE our God and they will forever want more. But, how do we get them to taste? Simple! We create a craving. You and I, by living lives of love and grace will create a desire in them to know what makes us different. Every kind word, gesture of acceptance, deed of service, and act of love can show this world what they are missing.

Will you work to create a craving for our God in your family members, friends, neighbors, and strangers? Will you do it for your enemies? Show this world what it is missing as you lead them to taste the goodness of the Lord as you have experienced Him. You make more of a difference than you know.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: BLAD on March 06, 2006, 09:00:20 PM
Pastor Roger I have a request if possible.  Can I copy a devotion?  My plan is to email it to the youth, I am ministering to.  One every week, i send e-mails to our youth. My e-mails are sometime devotions, bible verses or things to ponder about.  for them to grow in there Christian lives, so i read some of your teens devotion and they are good.  So if you allow me to copy a devotion, i would appreciate it.  It is a great help.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 06, 2006, 09:06:38 PM
Please feel free to do so.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: BLAD on March 06, 2006, 10:35:36 PM
Please feel free to do so.


Thanks.  God bless

Blad


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 07, 2006, 10:49:11 AM
  Who Are You Serving?

By: Jeff Lappano


"To the angel of the church in Pergamum writes: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” Revelation 2:12- 16 (KJV)

This capital city is where Satan has his throne, the serpent, the symbol of healing of the pagan god, Asclepiads, was everywhere in the city. It was also a center of Caesar worship, it had a temple dedicated to Rome and it also had many heathen temples. The awesome thing about this situation is that Jesus knows that they are living where Satan seemingly reigns, which must bring comfort to the church.

The Greek translation reveals to us that “witness,” literally, is being a martyr. Pergamum didn’t have the privilege or freedom of religion as we so enjoy in the United States, and therefore, was martyred for his openness concerning his faith in Christ. Even though there is a great Commended, Christ also dealt with some sin in the church. What was it? They were introduced to, and began practicing the teachings of Balaam. They involve compromise with the world. They were taught that it was okay to eat foods offered to idols as well as engage in
sexual immorality, which of course were both false teachings.

From other teachings in the New Testament we should know that the church is to be holy and separate from the world; in the world but not of it. Christ first commands them to repent, that is the whole church for allowing this sin within and in particular those actually committing the sin. If they do not repent, He will fight against them, who hold to the teachings of the Nicolations, not against the church as a whole. Christ teaches that we cannot serve two masters. You can either serve Christ or the devil. You either live for one or the other.

If you are “walking the fence”, or trying to serve both of them, that’s a terrible situation. You can be happy church going Christians on the outside, but not at all living for God in your heart. I want to challenge you to make a decision for which you will live for. The choices are either the Kingdom of Light or the Kingdom of Darkness. If you choose to live for God, I’m asking you to do one thing which we find in the words of our Lord Jesus—please repent and make the that 180 degree turn away from that sin your involved in. For it’s my desire that you don’t feel the wrath reserved for those who do not repent of trying to live for the things of the world and things of Christ at the same time.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 07, 2006, 10:50:41 AM
  Because He Loved Me First

By: Beth Hays


”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) NIV

I was driving home from work today and learned an amazing lesson. There was some heavy construction on one of the roads and the two lanes merged into one. I didn’t realize this for quite some time and the other drivers thought I was cutting in line when I wanted back in and  they wouldn’t let me in. Just about the time I hit desperation, someone let me in. I was so grateful that when someone else needed to join our lane, I let her. And when yet another car was unable to get into the lane, she let him in. Notice only the ones who had been let in were willing to let someone else in.

I had to smile; it was like a chain reaction. And it dawned on me how upset we all could have been. It was late and everyone was barely moving and frustrated. No one wanted to be there, let alone be further back in line because of a car that didn’t know what he was doing. Yet, because someone showed me kindness, I showed someone else that same kindness. And because of my kindness, yet another was shown mercy. Do you see the connection yet?

I always used to wonder how in the world people became so loving so gentle and selfless. I was a cruel and heartless child, truly, and just didn’t understand it. I have come to realize it is in experiencing the great and unending love of God in a very real way that we are able to pass that along. No one can show selfless love without knowing what it feels like. And just as I let a car in because I knew what it was like to be let in, so people love because they know how amazing it is to be loved.

Have you felt the real and overwhelming love that pours from our Daddy’s heart? Has it left you in awe with its completeness and gentleness? Can you imagine how many around you need to feel that same love? Pass along the greatest gift you have ever been given and see if it doesn’t completely change both of you in the process.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 07, 2006, 10:51:48 AM
  Toughest of Times

By: Tony B. Rhoda


“But you, oh Lord, are a shield to me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head. (Psalm 3:3) NKJV”

Let's face it we all have bad days. Times when nothing seems to go your way and nights when it would be in your best interest to just to fall asleep and pray that tomorrow brings forth a better day.
 
I woke up the other morning with a pounding headache, and a stuffed nose that made it awfully difficult to breathe. I rolled out of bed and headed for school. After weaving through what seemed like an endless traffic jam, I dashed through the door into first period as the bell rang. I remembered I had a test in that period and my notes were laying on my desk, along with my lunch money for the day. All this before 7:30 a.m. "Wow, this was going to be a fun day," I thought to myself.

As the morning turned into afternoon, I opened my Bible and read a few passages on the crucifixion of Jesus. Now, there was someone who was having a bad day. Not only was he hung on a cross, but he was beaten, whipped, spat on, and even tortured. Why? Because He loved us so much that He would go through every bit of pain just to insure that you could spend eternity with Him.

After reading over the scripture, I started to relate it to my situation. "I thought I was having a bad day." But, what if Jesus would have woke up on the wrong side of the bed on the morning He was supposed to die for our sins. What if He would have felt bad, and decided He wasn't willing to go through the pain of being nailed to a cross. What if when He saw that it was going to be a bad day, and He decided to not die for us. We are so grateful for the fact that Jesus did die for our sins. We are so thankful that even on our worst days, we would never have to go through what He did. Just let us not forget that when everything seems to be crashing down, Jesus died so that we could be built back up.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:45:39 AM
  Here's Your Sign

By: Steve Self


“Now, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

You know what? God listens. I want you to know that every time you pray, God hears you. God calls us to step out on faith and to trust in Him. Jesus tells us that as we are going into the world and telling people about Him that He will be with us always. Too many times we want to see signs rather than see God. We need to quit focusing on trying to find a heavenly prompting and start focusing on the One who created heaven in the first place. 

My drive to work is about forty minutes long each way, which means I spend about an hour and twenty minutes in the car each day. It gives me plenty of time to pray, worship, reflect, think or even cool down. As I was driving home today, I noticed that not everything on my route was a sign. I get to see a lot of chemical plants, trees, grass, roads, malls, businesses, bridges, other cars, pedestrians and stop-lights too. I wondered what it would be like if I only looked at the signs on the way and you know what I realized? I would be missing a lot of things that God and man created for me to enjoy along the way. Actually, if I was only focused on the signs I would drive off of the road and lose my way or I would hit another car. If you've ever driven down a country road you would know that sometimes you have to drive for miles before you see a sign.

I realized that faith works the same way too. Jesus gives us a road to follow, He asks us to follow Him. As we follow Him He gives us signs on our walk to point us in the right direction, but He never expects us to follow them alone. As a matter of fact, if we attempt to follow the signs alone, we quit trusting Jesus and start trusting in signs. Driving down the road is like reading the Bible and praying daily, it's solid and it will help us get to where we need to go (I'm not talking about salvation, I'm talking about seeing and following God). Signs only come up to act as part of our “God-given On-Star system”; they are a means to an end. Signs are not an end in themselves.

Faith is the trust that God is actually working, even when we don't see Him. Quit asking God for signs and respond to Him by doing what He wants you to do—and that is to follow Him. As you go about your daily life praying and reading your bible, signs will come up. You will never have to ask for a sign when you are looking for God. As you follow Him, you will see them automatically. Don't make the mistake of looking only for signs; if you do you will lose track of what God wants you to do. God wants you to follow Him. If you spend all your time looking for signs to follow, you will soon notice that you are not following Christ at all; you are just simply standing in the middle of the road looking around for a pretty sign. Too often when we are busy looking for a sign, we don't notice other traffic headed our way that usually ends up hitting us.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:46:20 AM
  Everything

By: Matt Crawford


"His divine power has given us everything that has to do with life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue:" (2nd Peter 1:3)

Recently I had a serious life issue come up. I came to a point where I had to have a confirmation one way or another regarding this matter, and I needed it right away. It was a situation where, if I was wrong, I would be walking on thin ice and would have to kill the idea immediately. So that night, I prayed to God that He would settle the matter once and for all, so I could simply follow His plan for me. The very next day, I got a devotional writing, via e-mail, from a brother in Christ, who had no way at all of knowing what I had prayed the night before.  His devotional had biblical counseling on the exact issue I was seeking help with. I had an immediate need, and God gave an immediate response.

The verse above says that God has given us everything that pertains to life and Godliness. That means that from the smallest to the greatest details of your life, He has a plan for them; and He is willing to give you what you need to follow that plan. Whether it be an issue in your ministry, your walk with Christ, or just details in your personal life—it may not always be immediate, as was the case for me—but He always gives what is needed for His will to be done. I can testify to that being true, because even what happened the other day with the devotional that answered  my prayers, has happened to me enough times that I am not surprised anymore.

It’s unfortunate that we sometimes water down our faith to a set of principles or virtues, or just theology, as opposed to relationship. Praying to God and expecting a literal answer, in whatever form, is not the norm in too many believers. Or if people believe He can answer, they don’t pray about certain things, because they are careless, or they think they are expected to use their own judgment in every event. I am guilty of both, and the result is always bad.

Words can’t describe how much more peace you have from knowing God will give you the right answer. Today’s Bible verse sets us straight, by telling us that He has given us everything. Life and Godliness are words that encompass every detail for the Christian. Whether it be school, church, ministry, relationships, home, finances, career, or even what kind of party to go to.

You have a God who has given everything for you. All you have to do is have the faith to accept that, and to trust him for answers and guidance in everything. To not do so is actually un-Biblical.  We have a God who literally answers prayers. Try Him, and see! 





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:47:14 AM
  Open Doors

By: Matt Crawford


"They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. ‘Go, stand in the temple courts,’ he said, ‘and tell the people the full message of this new life.’" (Acts 2:18-20 NIV)

The Lord calls each one of us to a certain purpose, and gives us certain goals to accomplish in our lifetime. After we find out what these purposes and goals are, we usually embrace them, because the thing God gives us to do, He wires us to do when He created us. So, in most cases, we are eager to get rolling and do what it is God has planned for us. We start getting all these big ideas, and we formulate strategies to accomplish our mission using our own abilities. It is all a lot of fun and excitement, until reality hits us.

In most cases, when it comes to doing God's will in this world, there are huge obstacles in the way. One of my goals, for example, is to evangelize through rap music. For me, there are huge barriers to cross. Like, the fact that very little music with religious content gets played on mainstream airwaves. Rap music today is mainly shallow and void of any moral message, so what I am bringing is the opposite of what that audience is accustomed to. And pretty much all "Christian Rap" gets labeled as such and pigeon-holed in to a category that only Christians listen to. So, you have hundreds of artists all saying the same thing, getting minimal to no airplay, and hundreds of albums only available through Christian outlets that a secular audience doesn't know even exists. So, how am I supposed to get my message to secular people instead of "preaching to the choir"? Human logic says I should alter my message, but God's logic is different. 

The apostles in the above verse faced similar situations. Not only was their message being publicly opposed—the powers that be, were stirring everyone up against it—and they got tossed in the slammer on top of it. The audience the apostles were supposed to reach was out in the public square, not in the jail. Now, unless one of them was a locksmith or an escape artist, it was completely impossible for them to accomplish the goal God had set for them. Not to mention the armed guards outside. I'm sure asked God what on earth was He thinking, letting them get locked up?  How were they supposed to get their job done now? But God sent an angel who literally did the impossible. He unlocked the gates and walked them right past their guards without being spotted, and told them to tell the people the "full message." That day, they were in the temple courts, reaching exactly who they had been told to reach.

Our God-given mission is the same way. If God tells us what to do, we can use our God-given gifts as well as we can, but in the end, it is only His hand that can allow us to fulfill what He planned. Toning down or altering our message won't help things. Compromising won't advance our cause.  Just like He opened the prison gates, He will open the gates for you, and deliver you to where He wants you to be heard and seen. And once there, you will be free to give the "full message of this new life" to everyone with ears.  Rely on His strength and His timing (not your own wisdom) to open the doors for you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:48:00 AM
  Road Trip

By: Steve Self


Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Matthew 16:24 (The Message)

As we grow and mature in our lives, we are raised to take control and do what needs to be done.  But as we turn our lives over to Christ, Jesus tells us it’s time to be dependant on Him, letting Him make the moves and do what needs to be done.  Jesus is the driver of the car of our life.

When I was a child, I rode all over the place with my parents.  We would run errands, go on trips, go get the car fixed, go to the store or go visiting people.  As a child I didn’t have a lot of say in where we went.  When my parents wanted to go somewhere, they loaded me in the car and we were off.

Sometimes as my parents were getting ready to leave for a long trip, they would spend a lot of extra time in the house to make sure we had everything we needed.  I would get impatient and start moving around in my seat.  I would take off my seat-belt and start walking around the car or even get out and stand in the driveway until the driver came back at which time I got in trouble for not being in my place in the car.

Jesus calls us to be the little child in the back of the car.  In our Christian life, Jesus has many destinations He wants us to go with Him to.  He wants us going with Him to school and the hospital, on trips, etc.  Jesus has many different places He’s working and many different places He wants to show us.  We need to realize that in our faith, we like the little child in the back of the car and He expects us to put on our seatbelt and ride.

Too often we try to be in the driver’s seat and take off without Him, but we would totally lose our way without the person who knows where we are going.  Sometimes it can get uncomfortable sitting in the backseat without the car running or the A/C on, but what we need to realize is that in these waiting periods, Jesus is making sure we have everything we need to go on an extended trip.  He will never let us go somewhere unprepared.  Sometimes, we need to have faith and trust in that waiting.  Let’s put our focus on staying in the car and belted in, so that we will be ready to go when Jesus puts the car in drive. 

You may be at a place in your life right now where you are waiting on Jesus to make a move and it feels like you have to wait forever.  Let me make you this promise, Jesus is at work and will bless you.  Some people look at this waiting as a time for patience to be built, some people look at this time as a time of unanswered prayers, some people look at it as a time of non-blessings or being out-of-season for a ministry.  No matter what is true of the circumstances, Jesus looks at it as planning for the trip.  Let Him plan, remember He’s not preparing Himself for the trip, He’s preparing you.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:48:45 AM
  Trading Places with Jesus

By: Beth Hays


But Christ rescued us from the Law's curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse. (Galatians 3:13) CEV

Beth: Oh God, I feel so messed up. I’ve taken so many priceless gifts and ruined them. I have hurt you desperately. It’s been one thing after another. I’ve delivered blow after blow to your scarred, broken body and even more to your shattered soul. I have hurt you. And all the good in me will never make up for that. So, I’m gonna stop trying. No more lists of reasons why you should love me. No more pity parties. No more masks. No more actions without love. All I have is me: the messed up, almost hopeless, unlovable, hurting soul that I am. But, it’s yours. If you’ll take this mess, it’s yours. No more pleads to hold me. No more enabling. No emotions. Just the naked truth all I am if you want me, I’m all yours.

God: Want you? I long for you as one thirsts in the desert. But, I can’t simply come and take you. We have to make a trade my life for yours, your way for mine, My heart for yours, all of you for all of me. Are you willing to give me every part of you and take on every part of me?

Beth: Oh Jesus, my heart longs to. But, I know what I’m getting into, your heart that bleeds for the hurting, your holiness that makes right decisions, your joy that never loses its intensity, your death, the end of life, and your resurrection that sets me apart as a miracle. All these things are such high standards, such a different manner of living. Did I mention your persecution? Society will hate me, mock me, and kill me. And I will love them. All of you, for all of me? How could I make such a trade? But how could I resist? I WILL. I’M YOURS. You’re mine. I want your heart, your holiness, your joy, your death, your resurrection, your love, and even your persecution. Have my heart, my selfishness, my depression, my neediness, my spite, my sarcasm, my lust, my bitterness, my worldly happiness. I’m all yours, You’re all mine. Wow, what a trade!

This is an actual journal entry I wrote in May of this year, and I felt it worthy of sharing. This was my journey into pouring out all of me and filling me with all of Him. I was crucified on that tree and raised with Him. He was hurt in my place. I hope for just a moment you can see what a HUGE price your life cost Him. And what a small price it will cost us to clothe ourselves with Christ. May God touch your heart with a new hope and fire today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:49:37 AM
  Cast Your Cares

By: Mellisa


Missy was the kind of girl that everyone wanted to know. She had lots of friends, she was always happy, always looked at the positive side of things, she was always there for her friends, and always had the time to listen and make you smile. She was one of those people who when you asked her how she was she never said bad, and 99% of the time her answer was great. She always found joy in something, something that often many wondered where she got the strength to find it in.

"Ask, using my name and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy." John 16:24 NIV

Missy found her joy, and the joy she shared with others in God. He was her God, her Heavenly Father, and her best friend Jesus. That's how people always saw her as happy and cheerful. The past few days though, Missy had a strange feeling with in her. She had a full day at school, went to volleyball, and now was at home finished with her homework. She sat on her bed holding her pillow in her arms, as out of nowhere tears began to pour down her cheeks. For a reason unbeknownst to her, Missy couldn't stop crying.  She was sad and her heart weighed heavy. Nothing in particular had been terribly wrong, but little things had piled up and eventually poured out. Missy needed peace, with herself, and with her issues.

"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Friends, sometimes there are times in our life that pile up on us, and rain over us like rushing floods. But our God, he is there for us, to give us love, peace, joy, and an understanding.

Especially as teens we go through times where sometimes we just don't know who we are anymore, but God is there, to show us our path. " Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you." Turn your cares over to him.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:50:20 AM
  Here For The Tough Times

By: Beth Hays


”A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)NIV

How many times have you and I heard this verse? Probably more than we need to remember. I know that I can think of countless sermons, church services, campfires, and other times when this was a sappy verse used for emotion—I don't think that's always a bad thing. But, for me it's led to a comfortability (yes I did make up the word) with the verse.

So, I was sitting the other day, just hanging out with God, when it hit me the depth hidden in these words. A friend loves at all times. That means even when it's tough to say, say it. Even when it's scary to bring up, bring it up. Even when it's un-cool to compliment, compliment anyway. It's love and love is the hardest, deepest emotion. And friends, true friends, should love at ALL times. That includes when life is hard or when you disagree or when your trust is broken. The kind of friendship God designed is full of LOVE AT ALL TIMES.

But, that isn't where I was really blown away. A brother is born for adversity. Just what does that mean? Well, if someone was born for something it's their whole purpose in life. And adversity is when everything is challenge a difficult, uphill challenge. So, (brace yourself, this is deeper than you think) that means families were created for the tough times. God designed the whole purpose of family to be a safe haven and support system when life stinks and seems unbearable. Wow! Did you catch that? Its WHOLE PURPOSE is to be a shelter in the midst of a storm. I know some of your earthly families aren't like that. Mine isn't either. But, I'm not without a God-designed family, and neither are you. You see, WE are the supporting, loving, family and we're here for the tough times.

That means when your life crashes down, you can always run into the arms of your brothers and sisters in Christ and we will hold you, nurture you, and stand beside you. That also means that you, as a sibling in Christ, have a responsibility to make this family a safe haven from the outside chaos of our world. How many different Christian groups or individuals have you known that DIDN'T show you that safety? Well, that's as hard as you have to work to
make up for it. :) We have the awesome opportunity to be a family. And we're created for when times get tough. Are you putting that into action?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 03:50:59 AM
  Before It's Time

By: Jeff Lappano


”Be fruitful and multiply. Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and they unashamed.” (Genesis 1:28; 2:24, 25)

Earlier this year I bought the Sims. It’s a really great game, and I’m happy to have it. However as some of you may know, the Sims 2 was just released.

Reading the different articles and checking out the website from time to time has given me the passion to own the game. However, I was reading the message board this weekend on the website, and many people have been having different technical issues with the game. Of course I still want the game, but I want it when all the glitches are worked out. Of course we all know that the first two chapters of Genesis have one general theme, which is creation. I believe that God gives us his opinion on a very relevant issue this time. The issue at hand is sex and marriage. Where does sex fit in within the realm of marriage; before, after, or during the marital relationship? Of course it is inside the context of a marriage relationship.

This is the only way God intended for sexual relationships. Ever realized when you are in sin, you try to sneak around or cover up the sin somehow? 2 Samuel 12:12, “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.” Here we find Nathan bringing a prophetic rebuke against David for committing adultery (which is having sexual relations with other people while one is married) with Bathsheba. When there is a sexual relationship between a man and his wife, there are no technical difficulties because everything is set according to God’s will. The bugs have been worked out. My personal view is that sex is a wedding gift to the newly weds. There will be a day for every one of us to open that gift and experience it in the way that God has fashioned it to be.

Maybe there are some of you who are dealing with this issue right now. You opened the gift too soon. You’re dealing with the guilt and shame of doing so. I’m not going to rebuke you because it’s not my place. May I offer words of encouragement instead? Number one, get right with God. He loves you and accepts you! Number two; make a vow to yourself and to God that from here on out that precious gift will be saved until your married. God is not a god of wrath and hate, but that of love and mercy. Being a part of this wonderful ministry at TDDM, I know for a fact that if you need prayer, you can contact one of us, and we will pray for and with you. We love you and do not hate you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 11:32:21 AM
  The Wasp

By: Amber Owen


“When he [Jesus] woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, ‘Quite down!’ Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm.  And he asked the disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Do you still not have faith in me?’” (Mark 4: 39-40)

I am deathly afraid of wasps.  I don’t like them whatsoever.  They sting, they look mean, and they are always flying around my face!  It never fails—I step outside and there is one in my face or buzzing in my ear.  I fear them so much that when I go outside in the summer time, I have to say a prayer for God, just to protect me from them.  Then, and only then, will I feel good about going outside. 

Although I pray, sometimes my faith proves to be weak.  I still flinch when I hear that buzzing in my ear.  Or I do the always famous “buggy bob-n-weave,” you know, when you look like a complete idiot from a distance, flailing your arms.  One instance when my faith was weak, was earlier this week.  I was driving with my windows down (no air conditioning), “Buzz, buzz, buzz.  Buzzzzzz, zzzzzz,” I hear coming from the dash board.  Looking around, I spot my yellow jacketed, bug-eyed friend, the wasp, equipped with stinger and all.  Immediately, I think, “Oh, I hope that thing doesn’t come near me.  I don’t know what I’ll do if it does.”  So, out of fear, I didn’t take my eyes away from it.  Scared to death it was going to land on me, I watched it fly from the right side of the dash to the middle and then eventually right in front of me.  “You better not land on me,” I said to the wasp in a threatening tone.  Guess what?  It did just that! Right on my face! All of a sudden I look up and there is a street sign slicing the passenger side of my car.  Out of panic, I veer across the two lane highway and end up in a pile of fallen tree branches (thanks to Hurricane Jeanne).  That’s right I wrecked my car because of a wasp. 

Thankfully, I was alright and my car was just lodged into a big pile of brush, which if it hadn’t been there I probably would have ended up in a house or something. While waiting for help to come and the police to arrive, I ran the scene over in my head.  Why weren’t my eyes on the road?  I was so afraid of the wasp that I wasn’t able to drive.  I wasn’t able to focus on the path I was traveling. 

I think as Christians we let fear push us off the path of faith that we are traveling.  Sometimes we compromise our morals, our living, our love, or (like in my case) our safety because of fear of pain, rejection, devastation, failure, distrust, etc. I didn’t have faith that God would protect me from that wasp.  The truth is that God protected me from that sign, protected me from the brush, protected me from possible oncoming traffic, AND the wasp!!  If God can calm a storm with raging winds and tumultuous waves, who am I to say that He can’t protect me from a tiny wasp. I learned that fear can keep you from doing the right thing and the right time, and fear is a direct result of lack of faith.

Are you letting fear steer you in the wrong direction?  Do you have that torturous buzzing in your ear?  Maybe you have some rocky roads to travel, or some stormy seas to sail?  Trust in Jesus.  Don’t let your lack of faith provide a breeding ground for fear in your life.  I pray that you, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, will be encouraged that God is an awesome God and is preparing and protecting you for everything in life.  There is nothing to fear!  God Bless!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 11:34:06 AM
  Cleaning Our Hearts

By: Ariel Gant


"No," said Peter, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." (John 13:8)

It was one of those mornings. I found myself occupying the same pew as always, yet this Sunday, I felt I was there more out of habit than the desire to worship our Lord. For weeks, I'd been overwhelmed with my unworthiness for the love of a Righteous King. As the pastor began the message, my mind wondered a bit before falling on this verse, which God used to speak to my heart.

I rarely let God see my heart and work on it. I feel this incredible sense of unworthiness and shame for Him seeing how yucky I've allowed it to become—kind of like the fish tank on Finding Nemo when they clogged the pump and it wasn't cleaned for a few days. But His love cleans and covers that. Still, Satan continually reminds me of my past and the sins I still struggle with. And I sometimes feel like I'm so unworthy, so unlovable and wretched that God
could never even see my heart, much less touch it to cleanse it.

Over and over again, I've prayed for God to change my heart, mind and will according to what He wants for me. And I get frustrated when I look at my life and see little or no change. But, this verse reminded me that it's because I'm too ashamed of what resides within my heart, so I try not to let God even SEE it. Surely He couldn't TOUCH it and still love me. But, to reach the full extent of His love and healing, I know it's a necessity. As much as I try, I haven't figured out how to love and serve God without allowing Him to fully infiltrate my life and truly get to know me. It's impossible.

Is there something you're trying to withhold from him out of fear? You know, one really cool thing I've learned about God is this: He fully knows our hearts anyway, but instead of forcing His way in, He gently knocks on the door until you're ready to answer. And through it all, He still loves you completely...He only wants you to let Him in to clean up the mess and make you anew.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 11:34:56 AM
  I Don't Wanna Get Up

By: Adam R. Rinehart


"Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.  Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 113:1-4 KJV)

My wife and I were watching the newest rendition of “Freaky Friday” a few weeks ago, and needless to say, I laughed my head off. It also amused me to see the teenaged girl not wanting to get out of bed. (Incase you did not see the movie, the mother and daughter magically switched bodies)  It was also amusing to see the mother come into the bedroom and forcibly grab her feet and drag her out of the bed to get ready for school.

I would guess that I am no better.  I am not a morning person.  I would rather be nocturnal than I would get out of bed in the morning.  Some of you are saying, but “Adam, sometimes I do not feel that there is a reason to get out of bed?” I know how you feel, but the more and more that I study Scripture, the more and more that I find that there is more reason to get
out of bed then just to begin the day, and go about our business.

When we really look at what God has made us for, and what God commands us to do in the day, I find that we are called to praise the Lord all day long. We have got to understand that all of creation is giving glory to God.  All of the earth rejoices!  The cats meow, the dogs bark, the cow moos, the lions roar, the trees shake in the wind, the seas roar, and we get out of bed in the morning all to praise the Lord!

Some of you may still argue that, “Well, I have nothing to praise Him for.”  Excuse me? You have breathed.  You woke up that morning. You have a school to go to. You got there safely.  You got home, and are able to do your homework. You are able to see your family, and talk to your friends.  Those are just little things to praise God for.  We are to praise Him from the time that we get up to eat our breakfast to the time that we lay our head to rest for the evening. So, let’s get busy praising!  Praise The Lord!  May God’s Grace Abound in You.





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 08, 2006, 11:35:57 AM
  A Love Without End

By: Tony B. Rhoda


But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him. (1 John 2:5) NIV

When we first enter a new relationship with the opposite sex, everything seems perfect. Every thought that enters our minds has something to do with them. Every time the phone rings, you’re seen making a mad dash in anticipation for the new love of your life to be on the other end. Constant butterflies seem to have invaded your stomach and nothing stands in the way of spending every second of everyday either thinking or longing to be in their arms.

As days fly by, time takes it's indisputable toll. Once strong relationships of “love,” turn into battles of doing everything possible to keep from falling apart. Some say you need time away. Some think you may need to see other people. The point is, that you have lost the sparkle you once had.

When you’re first saved, there is a fire burning in your eyes that everyone can see. You head off into the day with a newfound hope, one in an awesome savior named Jesus. Just like every relationship, you can't stand being separated. Praying before bed just doesn't cut it anymore. You’re praying in class, the hallways, at lunch and any spare second you get. Your constantly reading a letter of love that He has given you known as the Bible in every period.

But in every relationship, hard times seem to seep their way into any crack we may have? If your not truly committed, truly honest with yourself and with others, it will fall apart. Believe it or not, Jesus never leaves us. We always seem to try and find others to fill His place. Whether it's secular music, teen magazines, drugs, or even your friends, we allow outside forces to try and convince us on what is right. Don't listen to what people say, or who you should, or shouldn't talk to or date. Listen to your heart. Jesus knows that you’re right for Him. And He wants to have a relationship that will last more than a lifetime. Invite Him into your life, and find a love that will never end. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:50:50 AM
  Sweet Surrender

By: Ariel Gant


”The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).

"God," I prayed, "If it's what's necessary, you can break me this weekend...but hold me close when you do." Nervous about finally surrendering to what I knew God wanted, I sat down in my seat from worship at a retreat my youth group was on. God had pressed upon my heart for a couple of weeks the importance of breaking down the walls of my heart and letting Him in. But, I'd been spiteful about it. In fact, I was so afraid of it, I'd wished I hadn't committed myself to this weekend in the woods with God. But, I knew I had to, and I'd better make the best of it.

As I took my seat, a young man walked out on stage and, with a heart full of passion and hurt, uttered the very same words that my heart had been crying and I'd refused to recognize the pain and uncertainty behind them to allow God to work on the situation. As the skit continued, I tensed and began to tremble, attempting to prevent tears from flowing from my eyes. "God," I began again, "I know I gave you permission and promised I'd go through with this, but do we HAVE to let me break down in front of EVERYONE?! I just can't do this RIGHT
NOW..."

That night, God brought me to a point where I could choose to follow what he wanted -- allowing the things that were hurting me to be felt and dealt with -- or denying it. In a moment of faith, I committed to it. But as my heart shattered amidst 150 people, I got scared and went back on my word. The consequences? A severe headache from holding back, a few more days of hopeless regret and pain, and the fear that I'd passed up my only chance at healing.

The next morning during our quiet time, I asked God to forgive me for going back on my word and to work on my heart. On my way to Psalm 23, that day's devotion, something drew my attention to this verse. Reading it, I knew immediately what I was supposed to do. I know we're called to make sacrifices for Him. Mine that day was to sacrifice my pride and fear and let Him begin to work on my heart. Only then would I be able to reach His peace again. And oh, did I miss it! So, I surrendered. And as I let him work on me, I saw glimpses of Him, opportunities to minister, and pieces of my heart begin to heal. Did it hurt? Yes. But was it worth it? Most definitely.

Sometimes we let our pride or fear take over. Not wanting someone to see our weakness, we hide alone in our pain and fall into hopelessness. Not wanting to show our hearts, we pass up the chance to tell someone how much they mean to us. We later lose them without them knowing. What is God prodding you to do? Put it in this verse...and know that they're for Him. No matter how bad it seems, He'll still love you just the same. And it WILL be worth it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:51:40 AM
  Making A Living

By: Amber Owen


“Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth.”  (1 Timothy 6: 6)

Car insurance, credit card, gas, car payment, etc…How many hours have I worked this month?  Am I going to be able to go to mall, that concert, or on that date? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Or if you haven’t, I’m sure that you’ve heard your parents, brother, sister, or friends ask them at one time or another.  All these things pose a question about money.  How to pay for this and how to do that...

Almost every aspect of our life is touched by money in one way or another.  How we can make decisions, sometimes comes down to knowing how much change is jingling in our pockets (or lack thereof).  A question that I ask myself almost everyday is how much money is sitting in my account.  Numbers and figures run through my mind almost all the time.  We are making a living.  This is what life seems to be about.  “Making a living.”  It’s funny when I look at that phrase and think of God. 

Really, God makes us live.  God is the one making the living.  He’s making the living for us.  He blesses us and feeds us, and He knows just what we need when we need it.  I think that all too often we are obsessed with making the living and not living with the life that we have been blessed with.  Sometimes I find myself falling away from faith, because I don’t have the means to pay off the credit card, or purchase a new car.  I worry about how I’m going to buy that present for my mom or do that thing with my friends that I really want to do?  This is what Timothy is talking about in a verse following the one above,  “…some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).  Knowing this, he is encouraging us to have true religion (ultimate faith in God) and be content with what we are given, for we are blessed. 

Are you worried about money?  Do you worry about how you are going to pay for the next tank of gas, or the clothes you need for school?  Pray that you will be filled with contentment that God has blessed you, and He knows what you need when you need it, and the best thing of all is that He will provide it when the time is just right.  Be patient and persistent in your faith and do not worry about that next dime.  Make a living with God, and let Him handle the money. God Bless!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:53:03 AM
  Theft-Proof Joy

By: Matt Crawford


“And ye therefore now have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (- John 16:22)

Jesus made that promise to the disciples over two-thousand years ago, and guess what? Two millenniums later, no person has ever taken away the joy of a Christian. Whether mocked, abused, neglected, rejected, raped, or tortured, no Christian on Earth has ever lost their joy because another person took it.
The second that we believe in Jesus, a door is opened to a new dimension in our life, and can never be shut again. That new dimension is the joy that comes from knowing for certain that the God of the entire universe has become our Father.

Before we were born, we did not exist. Like magic, our bodies came from nothing and developed into working organs inside the womb, and all because God wanted us to exist.  Imagine God knew all your sins before you were ever conceived. He knew all your flaws, your imperfections, and yet he knew that if he created you, he would love you. So he gave you life and your very own unique soul.

On top of that, God sent Christ to die for you, so that you could be with him forever. And you WILL be with him forever, alive and unblemished, with eternal pleasures scheduled by God himself before time started. Furthermore, you have his assistance now. His Holy Spirit, his mighty hand, his healing power, his saving grace, his answer to prayer, and his tender love are all available to us for the asking - His word promises it. Think about it. The God who started everything, who is bigger than life, who is infinite - is your best friend. All the things of this world are as nothing. In the blink of an eye, it will all pass away, and eternal life will take hold. And all because God chose YOU.

All of this in a person’s life creates a capacity for joy which can never be stolen from them. The only thing that can smother a believer’s joy is the believer themselves, whether it is a sin being committed, or a depression or grudge being nursed. The reason a person has no joy is no one’s fault but their own.
If there is something smothering your joy which you are willingly holding on to, it should be made clear to you that joy awaits if you are willing to let go. With salvation, you have been given the keys to a mansion owned by God. In the living room is the loudest, most technologically advanced stereo system in the world. It is always ready to play, but believe it or not, you control the volume. Joy is the same way. It is not controlled by external sources or circumstances. How much joy we have simply depends on how much we choose to meditate on the reasons we have for joy.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:54:03 AM
  Helping Yourself

By: Donn Adams


     John tells us the wonderful story bout Jesus and the woman who committed adultery. Everyone knows the story. After a group of religious leaders tried to arrest Jesus and failed, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. He appeared again in the temple courts where he encountered a woman who was accused of adultery. Her accusers demanded the death penalty in accordance with the Law of Moses. Jesus countered the accusers with one statement, "If any one of you is without sin, let him cast the first stone." (John 8:1-8). John 8:9 explains…. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman standing there. Jesus stood up and asked her "Woman, where are they? Has no-one condemned you?" The woman said, "No one, Sir" and Jesus said, "then, neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin." Jesus, by His actions teaches us that we must become involved in order to help someone. Luke tells us that helping others is a PRIORITY (Luke 13:15-16). Peoples needs are more important than laws. Helping always comes to those with faith (Luke 18:35-43).

     No matter how old you are, you will encounter times in your life when someone comes to you and asks for help or you go to someone to ask for help. This is not a weakness or a sign that you are not capable of helping yourself, it is a sign that you care both about yourself and about others. You are capable, at any age, of developing a strong lasting relationship with another person by being willing to become involved with that person enough to want to help them. It is an experience that we, as humans and as Christians, value and cherish. I know that each of you has committed to help someone you know and I know that you have experienced the wonderful feeling of the sense of accomplishment and love you have shown. This is one of the most compassionate and loving you can do for someone else who is in need. Helping someone, giving of yourself will give you a sense of self worth and accomplishment. Our churches spend a lot of time helping others in many situations. Selfish people do not become involved, selfish people don't care about others. When we help we are not selfish. God will reward us for this and He will love us for this. Helping is infectious. Try it sometime, help someone without being asked and let me know how you felt about yourself and the person you helped. Help someone each day and you will experience a calm and a peach in your life. I pray that I have helped you today.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:55:00 AM
  Fighting The Odds

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Give and it will be given to you." (Luke 6:38)

     The Word of God calls us to plant seeds in people's life. He calls us, to be the light to a dark world. He calls us to be of good nature. He asks us to love Him with all our heart, and to follow Him even when the road gets rough. We strive everyday to do these things, but when it comes down to God asking that you give up your money. "Hold Up, Wait A Minute. I'll give you my heart, and my life, just don't touch my money."

     I've been through it all. I have experienced being able to receive anything and everything I have ever wanted. I have also struggled watching my parents scrape together the funds to put food on the table. Money is a very touchy subject and corrupts a lot of people. A couple of years back I received my paycheck and soon as it fell into my hands I already knew where the money was going. Gas, oil change, transmission fluid, and maybe a bite to eat if I had enough left. Unfortunately, I only received enough money to pay for Gas, and for my trucks expenses. I had no idea how I was going to get through the rest of the week.

     When I got home one of my friends was almost in tears. His tire went flat and didn’t have enough money to fix it and his parents didn’t either. Before I left I could feel God pulling on my heart to leave the money from my check with him. But, how was I going to pay for my stuff? "God you must be seriously tripping!" I knew though it was Him, I felt His pull, so I knew it was what I should do. I left the money on his front seat and went to soccer game I was playing in. I prayed that God would meet my needs and I could only hope I knew what I was doing. Because I had to fully rely on the Lord at this point. No other way around it. Now, I was broke.

     I had a full tank of gas and about ten cents. This was going to be an experience. But, slowly and surely I saw the Lord meeting my needs in a remarkable way. I received ten for mowing my neighbors lawn. The next day a kid came up to me at school wanting to buy my old raggedy trumpet that looked like scrap metal for ten dollars. "Sure," I said, knowing I never use it anymore. Then I was called into DJ a private party out of nowhere at the skating rink that I DJ for. Not only did the rink pay me cash, the director of the private party thanked me for a great job with a twenty dollar tip. Here I had only ten cents to my name and when the week was over, not only did I have enough money to meet my needs through the week but I also had enough to pay for my oil and transmission along with put another full tank of gas.

    Friends, I can't explain it. I don't know how or why it works. But, if you give to the Lord, and tithe and let God use what is originally His in the first place, He will not only meet your needs but He will do more. The world says to hold on to your money, to save it. Never lend it out or give it away. But, the Lord tells you differently. If I ‘d kept my money, I would have still fallen short of all that I needed. But, when I let God take over and I gave it to Him to use when He asked for it. Not only did a peace and joy come over me, but, all my needs where met. There is no other explanation than God. Pray about what you can do to further the Kingdom of God. Let him not only use a part of your life, but all of it. You would be amazed at what He will do for you too. God Bless and Keep the Faith.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:55:56 AM
  This Is My Story

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Let your light shine before all men…(Matt 5:16)

Each morning we wake up to a new dawn, a new day, and a new start. Each afternoon we go home, go to practice, or go out. With each evening we lay our heads down and fall asleep awaiting the next dawn, the next day, the next new start. What is your story?

I have grown up in the best of times and the worst. I have been there and done that with many aspects of my life. I have been on the top of the mountain shouting out to the world and demanding attention. I have also sat in the valley in hopes of the attention of an ant...yet it just crawls on by.

With every morning I am faced with a choice. Will I choose to make the best of every situation, or lie down in defeat when things do not go my way? I have a choice whether to follow my God, my heart, or my temptations and shortcomings. I can choose to use my talents or focus on my failures. I and only I, have the ability to write another chapter in the book of life.

You see life is what you make of it. You will come across times that are out of your control or situations, which may be out of your hands. It is what you do during those times that when you look back on, you will see whether your book will be a best seller or one that doesn't even get published. This is my dawn, my day, and my new start. This is my story, what's yours?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:56:51 AM
  Encourager

By: Matt Crawford


They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. (Acts 2:42-43)

Who are our best examples as Christians, if not the New Testament believers under the first apostles?  It was in their time that the gospel was first spread, and it’s teaching was accompanied by miracles and signs. They had the presence of Jesus still fresh in their minds, and the power of the Holy Spirit had just come upon them. If any group of believers ever had this Christianity thing down, if any group ever would’ve had the right idea of what to do next – wouldn’t it be them?

Despite the fact they were the highest (and only) examples of Christians, who could’ve rested on their laurels and been satisfied with the amazing things they already experienced, our verse says that they devoted themselves to prayer. We may be a far cry from those people as a church, but one thing they did (and the most effective), we can do just as easily. They devoted themselves to prayer. That means they were always praying. Not just when they had need, not just when they were changing jobs, not just when they were making decisions. Always. Any spare moment, they prayed. They knew how serious this belief thing is.

Being devoted to something means you keep at it until you see results - no matter how long it takes. Then, seeing it works - you continue doing it. Devote yourself to prayer, asking for the things of God with all of your heart at every turn. If the first church, who already had Gods hand all over them, knew they had to be devoted to constant prayer - how much more should we? But they were faithful - they prayed. And we see right in the bible the results they got. Nothing anywhere says we cannot see those same powerful results, if we pray like people who know Jesus will answer.   




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:57:42 AM
  Handling Opposition

By: Beth Hays


When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a band of men whose hearts God had touched became his constant companions. But there were some wicked men who complained, "How can this man save us?" And they despised him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them (1 Samuel 10:26-27) NLT

Saul was a pretty cool guy (we're talking about the one in the Old testament here...not the one who became Paul). He definitely made some mistakes. But, for the most part he tried to follow God. Some people noticed that he was on the right track and followed him. Some people even became his close friends. But there were others who weren't quite as nice.

Have you encountered people that treated you like that? Do you feel like you're all by yourself in a very cold world? Have you had people oppose you, tell lies about you, start rumors to destroy you? Then, you know how Saul felt. This godly man had a slew of people who despised him. In my words: they hated him with a passion.

He didn't let that stop him though. What did he do when people came against him? He ignored them! He walked away and let them say their wicked things. Do you think maybe you could help follow in his footsteps? When people come against you with anger, malice, and even violence, can you ignore their wickedness and be content with the ones who will be faithful to you? Think there's no one that fits that description. Try God. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5) NIV says your Brother. Even when the wicked hurt you, turn and look to God...He will never let you go.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:58:38 AM
  The Master Craftsman Part 1

By: Jeff Lappano


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Genesis 1:1, John 1:1 (NKJV)

Today I want to begin to look at a fun and interesting topic. Hopefully, we all know Christ as savior, but scripture records that Christ did and still does so much more than that.  Genesis 1:27 begins by says, “Let us make man in our image.” “Our,” is God being three persons. The point here I want to draw out is that though God is one, He is three in one.  Each part of the Godhead has a different job that they are doing. In John 1 scripture tells us that the word was with God, but also that the Word was God. How can that be? I would like to share with you just a short study about this word in the Greek.

John denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation. Paul, in my opinion, being one of the greatest bible authors, also shares revelation concerning Christ in his role of creation. Colossians 1:15-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that on earth, visible and invisible, wither thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”

The Bible is clear that Christ was not only present at creation, but was the creator of all things. Today we live in a society where the “Big boom” theory of creation is being taught. This is not so. Creation occurred because Christ spoke and things were created. A Bumper sticker reads “Big Bang Theory: God Spoke, and Bang it happened.” Why would God lie to us about this? As scripture says that God is not a man that He should lie. As I prepared to write this deep thoughts Bible study it was made so clear to me the importance of this teaching by the Holy Spirit. As many of you in public schools are taught the big boom deal, I must plead with you to hold on to the confession of your faith. Don’t be tossed around by everything you hear, but stand for the truth.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 09, 2006, 09:59:42 AM
  On Fire Again

By: Matt Crawford


“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I wish you were one or the other. So then because you are lukewarm, that you are neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)

Does this verse challenge you? Bother you? Identify you? Scare you? Do you remember a time where you had finally rid yourself of whatever killed your fellowship with God? Where you had strength over temptation, joy to spread around, and love for prayer? You felt like you had finally discovered what being a Child of God was all about, and your peace was unmatched. Somehow, sin, disbelief or complacency nursed their way back in and interrupted your fellowship with the Lord. Now all your joy is forgotten, and when you look at scriptures that mention God’s peace and happiness, you wonder if you can ever get back to that place, or even remember what it was like. Then in today’s verse, you see what Jesus had to say about lukewarm life, and you feel even worse!

So what is the solution? Jesus said he would have us either hot or cold, and we certainly don’t want to become cold, so there is only one choice. We must get to a point where we are spiritually hotter than ever. But how? When Jesus mentioned spewing us out of his mouth because we are lukewarm, we get the image of a beverage that is either served hot or cold. What beverage do you know of heats itself? No drink - coffee, tea, hot chocolate, anything - becomes hot without flame or heat from an external source acting on
it to make its temperature rise.

It’s the same with spiritually. While many people seek to fit the term on fire, the truth is we cannot heat ourselves. Even if we devote hours to reading scripture, promise not to sin, and fight with all our heart to avoid tempting situations. We may get discipline from it, but we still won’t have that spiritual hotness that we and God both desire. We cannot heat ourselves! But we CAN make the decision to change, restore our fellowship by confessing and repenting of sins, and ASK God to put the flame to us. As soon as we acknowledge that it’s not about what we do, but about what God does for us, then we will experience grace. True zeal for God is caused when he affects our lives, when he stokes the fire, and when he gives us the grace to be all he desires.

Then with grateful and joyous hearts, we have no choice but to be zealous for Him. And it is done this way so He gets all the glory. So, cold or hot? How about on fire!? It can be you if you simply repent, believe, and ask. And keep asking. I've said it before - nag God. He rewards faith, and faith doesn’t give up. Your Fathers good pleasure is to give you the Kingdom. He wants to be pleased by you just as much as you want to be pleasing to him. So pray, and wait for His answer. The word promises that if we ask, and believe, we have what we asked for. And when God answers, when he stokes your faith up again - you will be able to identify yourself without hesitation as one of the few and happy who are on fire for God.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 10, 2006, 10:25:48 AM
  The Real Hope

By: Adam R. Rinehart


John 11: 25-26 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

The day started out as any other day, but as I was getting to go pray at a friend’s church, things took a turn for the worse.  Chris came running out, “One of my members is unconscious and they are taking her to the hospital.”  The other pastor and I chose to stay there and pray for the situation.

After we prayed, I came to the office, not thinking much about it, and then the phone rang,  “She passed away!”   You are kidding?  She did?  She was only in her 40’s.  She had 3 beautiful children, was the treasurer and the piano player of the church.   Life, in a moment was whisked away from her without any warning or any clue.  I went to help with the children until Chris and the Dad came home to tell the kids. 

In the flash of an eye, our lives can be taken away from us before we know it.   We never seem to think a lot about it until it really broadsides us and we see the reality of death.   We go about our business and routine, and never really take a moment to neither thank God for the things that He has done for us nor realize that the next minute it could be us.

That afternoon, I could not study and had a very hard time doing anything for that matter.  Those children were on my mind.  So, I said, “Lord, what can I do?”  Go home.   I did just that.  As I walked in the door, my daughter met to greet me, and immediately I took her in my arms and gave her a humongous hug. 

We truly have a lot to be thankful for, and especially for the fact that even in death, the glory of God the Father and the glory of God the Son will expound more that we will ever imagine, especially, if we know Him as our personal Savior.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 10, 2006, 10:27:21 AM
Blood of White Out

By: Tony B. Rhoda


The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) NKJV.

"How can I ever become a Christian after all that I have done? I have gone way to far this time. There is no way I can get into heaven now." Have you ever asked yourself this question, maybe heard it from a friend? Not one of us can avoid sin as it constantly hunts us down; but let us rest assured that we have one awesome Jesus who can forgive and cleanse our lives of everything we have done. So when we get to heaven we will stand in front of our Father with a clean slate.

Every day as we wake up to a new dawn, another piece of paper is added to our book of life. You carefully write down every little detail with each and every move you make. Nothing is left out, not the day you kindly gave a friend a dollar in need, nor the time you carefully stole the dessert off of your friends lunch tray. Each day your page comes to an end as you fall asleep, and the pages are turned as they wait for the first rays of the morning sun to add another. We all have different points in our lives that we know that God is looking down on us and smiling; but more than that we feel like we let Him down, as another sin is added to the text.

When the last second of our lives tick, we will enter judgment, the time when your term paper called “Life” will be turned in. As we walk up to the desk and hand our work over to our Great Teacher, there is no doubt in our minds that we have failed. For even one sin, is to many to get us into Heaven. As we hold our heads down in shame awaiting the call for Hell, Jesus walks up. He kindly whispers to His Father, "Dad, hold on a second. I'm sorry to interrupt you but, you see, I promised him that I would edit his paper before it was turned in." Then our loving Lord hands Jesus your rough draft, and with His precious blood, turns our mess of scribble full of sin into an errorless masterpiece.

Take a moment to rejoice for we have more than just an English major in our Savior, but a loving God who will make sure we pass the test of life if we will only ask Him into our hearts. There is no doubt that each one of us deserves Hell. But then Jesus walks up and hands the final draft to our Teacher. He pulls His red pen out and starts to grade. You sit there waiting the inevitable fate, and then He looks up and smiles, marks down an A, and answers, "Well done good and faithful one, welcome home." God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 10, 2006, 10:28:06 AM
Must Be 21 or Older To Sin

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Don't you know that your body is the temple of God? "

Have you ever wondered why alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, movies, and other things have age limits? Ever wonder why it seems that the best things in life always have rules and regulations? What's the big deal?

I remember when I turned 18. I was finally of legal age and I wanted to try my hand at the lottery. I strutted myself up to the gas station and I was going to buy my first scratch off ticket. Of course, I was carded because I still look (and act) like I'm around 16. Then in slow motion it was handed to me. I exchanged the dollar and proceeded out to my truck to show my friends this newly found possession.

If only I could scratch off and be a winner of 1,000 dollars, if only I can pick the right box. Then my life would rock! I was really starting to get into to this. Then like an old pro I grabbed the "sacred lucky penny." (Don't look at me funny, you know we all have our lucky coin when we do a scratch off.) I proceeded to slowly scratch the card that would soon change my life forever.

Well, I can't say that I won the million dollars, actually I lost, but it just showed me why there was an age limit. Besides being very addicting, it is wrong to gamble in the eyes of the Lord. "But, I'm supporting education when I buy a ticket," I hear some people as they try to find a reason to make it ok. That's just a gimmick to make it seem like it's not a sin. That you're really helping out people by gambling. Satan is good at things like that.

Sure it had the chance to ease all my problems. But, then I would learn to rely on the Florida Lotto instead of God. Same concept applies to alcohol, cigarettes, porno magazines and movies. When problems occur in life we often go to these illegal things to help ease the pain. Instead of going to God we go to beer, instead of Jesus we find lust.

Nothing can replace the feeling, the high, and the victory of winning like Jesus. We don't need a silly little card, a cheap thrill, or a little buzz. Instead we get an alternative. We can have the eternity of heaven as our prize, we can have the thrill of having all of our problems solved with the Bible, and we can have the buzz of Jesus radiating through our eyes when we catch the flame he has to offer us. There isn't a thing in this world that can replace Him, and to top it all off, your never to young or to old to accept Him into your life. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 10, 2006, 10:29:02 AM
Fighting Surrender

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will. (Psalm 37:4-5) TLB.

It's a battle in which we all want to come out as winners and a war that takes us from the boundaries of life to the void of the soul. While our minds conduct a symphony of worries and trials, our heart embraces every beat of timpani that seems to be off key. What does it all mean? How can we escape the depths of a world of unknown? Is the answer out there?

Search the outer regions of a sky filled with stars and what do you see? Scan the depths of an ocean and what will you find? We struggle daily to find the answers to all of life's problems and get trapped by the cares of this world that we can't seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Inside each of us is a space that longs to be filled. Deep inside our bodies we embrace the idea of being whole. The emptiness of this disease has only one cure and that's the antidote of Christ. Through Jesus our worries and cares are violently flooded away by the crimson blood of the cross. The nails that were so brutally thrusted through His hands still thrust through our problems.

The cross has more power in one splinter than the government has over the whole nation. If there is something in your life that is hindering your walk and depressing your life, then I urge you to go into your room. And when the door is shut go to prayer with your Father. If you think the stars in the sky was a masterpiece. You haven't seen a thing until He gets done with you. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 10, 2006, 10:30:08 AM
When Worlds Collide

By: Tony B. Rhoda


I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
(Luke 15:7)

A flash of lightning can light up the sky with its power and might. A rainbow can cast its amazing colors across the horizon with its beauty and wonder. And a single soul that accepts Christ can bring the angels into an uproar with dancing and shouting.

Sit with me and let your imagination wonder to a distance place, this realm we call Heaven. A normal day is taking place on earth. But, something is different this time. The wind is gently whistling through the tree's, the cars are driving through the suburbs and children can be seen playing in the streets. A school bus pulls through and the afternoon begins.

But this afternoon has all of heaven taking notice. It's this afternoon that a young teenager is accepting Christ for the first time. A few kids from school have taken the time to talk about Jesus. Taken a moment to share their love and faith.

The angels stop what they’re doing; Jesus leans in his thrown closer to the scene just waiting for the chance to enter in. Then it happens. "I believe in you Jesus, forgive me of my sins and enter my life." A smile crosses the Father's face and the celebration begins. Jesus meets the teenager for the first time face to face.

Anyone can impact someone with the love of Christ. Whether you’re a teenager, a kid, or a grown adult. All you need is someone who is willing to take a few minutes and let someone know they care. Let someone know the reason you wake up every morning, the reason you can smile when everyone around us is frowning. All of heaven rejoices at the thought of one soul being saved. I encourage you this week; throw a party, not here on earth, but in heaven. The angels are ready, the atmosphere set, the balloons and confetti are in their positions, now all it takes is you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:39:58 AM
Heaven's Telephone

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) NASV.

Imagine how life would be like today with out the telephone. Scary thought, huh? Try and figure out how you would get in touch with friends. Would you have to write a letter a week in advance to see if they wanted to go to a movie? I have a few friends that would go through complete denial if they had their phone taken from them for just a week. The phone can be someone's best friend, or in my case a while back, your worst enemy.

I had just finished mowing the lawn when I decided to take a break and see how my girlfriend was doing. As I picked up the phone and dialed her number, I tried to think of all the stuff I wanted to talk to her about. But then something horrible happened; yes you know the one thing we all dread. The busy signal! I started tripping when I heard the most annoying beeping sound known to a teen besides the fire alarm at school.

Then thoughts started running though my head. "What if she's talking to another guy? She's probably asking her friends to help her find a way to break up with me. Maybe she's tired and trying to give me the hint to leave her alone. Or she might even be off with someone else and left her phone off the hook so I wouldn't know. Noooooo!"

After a few minutes, I calmed back down and decided I would think the situation over and try a new approach. By the time I started thinking of what to do next, I couldn't help but think of how God must feel at times. Are there times when God tries to call me and He gets a busy signal? Maybe there are times when I'm so busy talking to other people or hanging with my friends that I forget all about my heavenly Father.

You know it's a free call every time we want to talk to our best Friend upstairs. You never need to dial a 1 and you don't even need an 800 number. He's there at anytime of day whenever we need Him. We just have to take the time to pick up the receiver and dial Him up. So, take time during the day before you call a friend to remember there is another person who not only is dying to talk to you but already died so you can spend a few minutes a day to say hi. The next time you pick up the phone, spend a second thinking of Him, because believe it or not, He spends all of eternity thinking of you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:40:50 AM
Battling Faith

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. (1 Peter 5:7) TLB

It's Friday night, and once again, she sits home alone. "Does anyone care about me anymore," she asks herself. Across the street a young man sits in a dentist chair as a mask is placed over his face and the drill begins the spin in the back of his mouth. "Will the pain ever stop," he wonders as his eyes close shut? On a hill near the outskirts of town our Savior is nailed to a tree. "Do you think they will open their hearts up to me Father," He asks His Dad seated in Heaven. What do you think?

Every day we face trials and struggles. Some can be as devastating as a death in the family, or as tragic as a divorce between your Mom and Dad. Others may include the fact that you can't make friends, or you have nobody to turn to when you need a shoulder to cry on. Is it your just not satisfied with your life, and where you are at, and where you might be headed? Do you even know the plans God has for you? Do you even know the calling placed on your life?

No matter where you are at right now, or how hard it may seem, there is someone who has been there done that. There is a Savior by the name of Jesus, who hung on the cross to take these worries away from you. Do you know how you’re going to pay your next bill? Do you know if when you go out tomorrow if it may be your last? Has life started to deal you a bad hand?

In all we do, we just have to remember the reason Jesus died on the cross. He died for our salvation, so that we wouldn't have to worry any more. He died for our sins, so we wouldn't have to deal with defeat. He died for our lives, so we wouldn't have to be afraid or deal with heartaches. In Matthew 6:26 it reads, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" You better believe we are! God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:41:32 AM
Can Music Effect Me?

By: Tony B. Rhoda


“That righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard." (2 Peter 2:8) The Christians at Corinth thought that immorality in the church wouldn't affect them, but they were wrong. (1Corinthians 5) NIV. (Updated for 2004)

Music, we live it, fall in love with it, and treasure it. We remember loved ones and ones we are currently in love with by these tunes. With songs begin such a high point in our lives, we sometimes over look what God wants. I haven’t been able to find a “thy shalt not listen to Ludacris, or Maroon 5” in the Bible, but what I did find was a couple of verses that not too many can argue with.

The first one deals with a person named Lot. Read the verse above, it is fairly easy and to the point. If you hang around bad company and listen to negative lyrics your soul will be tormented and some of it will rub off on you. “Cause it’s all in my head I think about it over and over again.” Now, I know Nelly wasn’t talking about this devotional when he wrote his latest number 1 hit, however it is something that is very true. The more we listen to music the more it replays in our heads….over and over again.

Ok maybe that didn't faze you or you're still thinking, "but it won't bother me." Let's look at the second verse. Now if fellow Brothers and Sisters are struck with immorality in their own church, and fail, now that's a problem. Even if we think we are stronger than that, we are not.

We sometimes get so caught up in our music; we don't even realize what we are singing. I'm not saying if you don't stop this second your going to hell, but sit back. Let's try praying about it. I believe in your heart you know what is right and what is not. Not only will changing the type of music help your relationship with friends and family, but will also help with your relationship with our Savior.

Try going to the local Christian Book Store and check out some CD’s, or visit our online TDDM Christian CD store. The Christian music industry has gone way up in the past few years, and even the secular music stores carry them. If you are having trouble with keeping your faith or staying close to God, look at a few aspects of your life, then pray. Not just on music, but on anything that could be put into question. Remember I do not own my life, when I was saved I gave it to Him. So, don't give half of your life but give it all, and one of those is music. You never know, it may keep you from having Usher like confessions. God bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:42:20 AM
Into The Movies

By: Tony B. Rhoda


For the wages of sin is death.....(Romans 6:23) NKJV.

"You have the right to remain silent," the officer stated as the four were escorted out of the theater. Josh, Bryan, John, and Aaron had just been busted for sneaking into the movies. This definitely was not what the friends had in mind for their night out. It all started just 30 minutes ago...

"This action thriller would definitely be worth the three dollars to rent, but eight dollars to see it at the theater? That was ridicules," Josh told his friends. It was time to take action. So, the blueprints were laid out, the strategy planned, and the group of friends started their assault.

Billy was the distraction. He walked up to the ticket puncher dude and asked him for the time. Josh quickly slipped in behind him, while Aaron proceeded to the restroom. Without a moment to lose, John quickly dove to the ground and crawled under the rope. Yes, all in except....ummm Bryan. Oh no, not Bryan. They never did figure out how he was to get it. OK, back to the drawing boards. Once inside, they set up the rescue squadron. The mission was almost a success except they could never leave a man missing in action. It was time for Operation Saving Private Bryan. Josh took the first try with his novelty of an idea.

"I'll hit him from behind, you grab the rope, lasso him up and hold him for ransom."

Obviously he had seen to many western movies, but it did give Aaron an idea. If he could only get behind him and start gagging on some popcorn, then Bryan could run inside the theater to get help. Out would pop Josh who would proceed administer the Hymlic maneuver and continue with CPR. It just might work...

Even though this would prove to be one of the funniest nights the group spent together it also turned out to be the costliest. They were caught and not only did they have to pay for the movies they also got a free escort to the police station down town. They received merit badges and an Emmy nomination for best actors, not to mention a ticket telling them of their new contract deal. Just sign your name at the bottom and pay the 134 dollars.

Even though we tend to do crazy things with our friends, remember that there is a time and place for everything. We set examples by living a Christian life and I'm sure we have all heard of other people who tired or ourselves who tried to sneak into movies. Remember that no matter how small a sin could be it's still a sin. And just one sin will keep us out of the Kingdom that God has prepared for us. So what if you have to wait until the 99th Star Wars movie to come out on tape. One day we will walk through those pearly gates into the biggest sci-fi film ever, except this will be one movie that not only comes true, but has the happiest ending of all. All you have to do is accept Christ as your personal savior you'll be apart of the all-star cast. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:43:07 AM
Clearing Vision

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"There hath no temptation take you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor. 10:13) KJV."

The dark skies grew nearer when I was traveling home the other day. At first there were just a few isolated raindrops hitting my windshield. Nothing major just mostly inconvenience. As I continued down the road the sprinkle turned into a drizzle then what seemed like a flood. At this point seeing out of the window was almost impossible. Then common since kicked in and the windshield wipers went to work.

In our Christian life, we sometimes get our vision blurred by the constant raining of sin. During the beginning it's not to bad. Then the rain starts to pour and your stuck in a storm of trials and hardships. Whether it is divorce, lost of friendship, or temptations, there is only one thing that can clear your vision. That is your faith in Jesus Christ.

In the verse above, a promise is made. You will not be tempted, tested, or put through more than you can bear. If you can't feel like you can make it through the day, be happy because God knows that you’re stronger than anything that is going on. Believe it or not, but you can over come any obstacle that comes your way. No matter how bad things become the Bible shows us that He will not let us be tempted more than we can handle it. It also shows us that "I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.”

No matter how bad you feel, what you’re going through, or what hand life has dealt, you can make it. There is hope when there seems to be none. Ask Jesus today to turn on the windshield wipers and clear your vision. If you are not a Christian or are not sure whether you would make it to heaven if you died today, ask Jesus into your heart. If you don't have a close relationship with Him or you have been backsliding, then I hope you understand that you can't make it on your own. Sooner or later the rain will be to hard, the sin will be too strong. Just trust in the Lord with all your heart. If I'm not mistaken He is the only one that can calm the storm. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:43:58 AM
Making The Move

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)  NKJV

As scary as it may seem to some, I have taken up a new hobby. A new passion that has consumed my spare time and has kept me up way past my bed time on several occasions. A game that takes skill, talent, and a smart brain, unfortunately, those are three things I have not been blessed with as much as others. I am talking about the classic game of chess.

A good friend of mine recently got me hooked on this game. Showing me how to move the different pieces and how to sharpen my skills. He taught me if I move apiece here and they have apiece there, I could win. Or if I move this here and that there I lose. The more I played the game the more I got hooked.

As time passed I started to see how complex this game really was. It takes only a few minutes to learn and yet years upon years to master. Something about the challenge brought me to the point I am now. But, the more I started to play the game, the more God showed me that our Christian lives can be played out in the same fashion.

Just like you rarely, if ever, play the same game of chess twice. There is rarely a day that is the same. Each day we wake up and face a new set of challenges, a new struggle, or a new battle. We have an opponent that will do anything to take us out. All it takes is one slip, not thinking for one-second, and everything is turned upside down and we get behind. Once this happens it is so hard to catch back up.

I know I will never master chess and I certainly know I will never master this game we call life. But, I do know someone who has. Jesus Christ, came down to earth and showed everyone the way to live, the way to act, and the right moves to make. He is still with us even today if we ask. Read the Bible to learn about the different strategies and techniques. Ask Him for advice, or what to do next, and He will guide you every step of the way. Even though I may never become that great of a chess player, I know that with Jesus standing behind me, I can become a great person and a great Christian. God Bless, and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:44:36 AM
Shifting Gears

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities." (Isaiah 54:2-3) NIV

Wouldn't it be nice if life were an automatic car? So when we ever needed more speed it would shift for us. To give us that extra rpm all we needed to do was press the gas a little harder. But, to drive a stick shift, it takes more than just pressing the gas, it takes time and effort and concentration. This funny little thing called the clutch now gets thrown into the picture.

As Christians, we often think about reading the bible more, talking to a friend about Christ, or stop listening to secular music. But, when it comes right down to taking action we are stuck in first gear. Yes, it would be nice if all we had to do was think about it to have it shift gears, but it takes more than just thinking about stuff to do it. You have to start pressing the clutch shift into gear to get doing it.

Learning to change gears is not very easy. It takes time and hard work to learn how to do it and a couple of messed up transmissions in my case. Once you get the hang of it though, it’s like riding a bike. To start you have to condition yourself for it. Start out and read the bible two chapters a day. Or with what ever you would like to accomplish. Then you get into that habit and you might even miss reading the bible one day if you didn't get to that night. You can apply this to everything else not just the bible.

Unfortunately, we can't just think of doing something and it happens. So instead of thinking about the problems that you feel that need to be worked on, go ahead and start praying and start trying to take that next step in your faith. If we don't start now, we could be stuck in first gear for a long time.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 11, 2006, 11:45:52 AM
  Abandoned

By: Beth Hays


Abandoned by God Beth Hays Beth@tddm.org

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6) MSG

I have an unending fear that God will give up on me. I find myself pleading these words often--"Finish what you started in me, GOD. Your love is eternal--don't quit on me now." (Psalm 138:8) MSG My heart reaches toward heaven pleading with my Daddy not to let me go. But lately, I have even stopped asking--settling to believe that He HAD abandoned His child.

Loneliness is unbearable. But, feeling as though even God has abandoned you is far worse. It's tough enough to be deserted by those who did or should love you most, but how do you feel when even the God of love seems to be absent? I have spent the past few weeks in that place...feeling completely abandoned by the God of love.

And, today, as I was reaching my arms to Him so He could pick me up, I came across a wonderful reassurance--God promises to finish His work in me. That means even when I don't feel Him He's there. Even when I can't see Him working, He is. Even when I feel completely abandoned, He hasn't left me. God is bigger than my feelings and He PROMISES to finish what He started in me. God never breaks a promise.

Maybe you're there too. Maybe you're not. If you are, join my hand and we can walk through this together. Let's try to stand in the TRUTH that God is love. And love doesn't abandon. If you were not, would you look around you for the lonely and take their hand? You have more power than you will ever know--each of you contains the power to break someone's loneliness. May God embrace your hurting heart today and carry you close to His heart.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:39:12 AM
  Who Are You Listening To

By: Lisa


Who are you listening to?

Just the a few weeks ago I was about to start heading home from school when I saw a girl sitting down looking upset who I had never seen before. Keep in mind that I was absolutely dead to the world, I had just done a lot of exams that day and I felt absolutely drained. But some nagging feeling inside of me told me to go talk to her. God told me to talk to her so after a lot of thinking and feeling annoyed at God I went and said hey. Turns out she had a lot on at the moment and I could relate being in the exact same situation. We spoke for hours that night, as I talked to her about a lot of things in her life. Just before I went to bed she told me that she was on the verge of committing suicide that she felt she had no one to talk to. But she said when she found someone with something in common to her it helped her so much, even if I couldn’t fix the problem it helped to have someone to talk to.

Wouldn’t it be nice if when God wanted to tell us something an Almighty deep voice would shout down from above? Or God would send an angel to us in the middle of the night to let us know what is in His will for us? Man it would make things a lot easier.

But God doesn’t exactly always work like that. More often He gives us subtle hints and shows us through things. And these things are not to be ignored. Ever had that nagging feeling that you thought God wanted you to do something but you didn’t because you thought that it wouldn’t be right for you? There are so many ways that God can speak to us, through scripture, through out dreams, through our thoughts, through other people and through anything!

Now I’m not saying to listen to every thought of message you get. If it’s a thought that contradicts the bible REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT. "…Test the spirits to see whether they be of God." (I John 4:1). As long as you follow God’s Word, His Bible and as long as you check the messages you receive with His Word, you are safe. If you have ANY doubts you should spend some time in prayer about it. Follow Jesus and you will not be misled. In other words, God’s Word is God’s criteria for us to know for sure if we are led by the liar, the deceiver or by God’s Holy Spirit. Who are you listening to?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:39:55 AM
  What Happened To Christmas?

By: Matt Crawford


For we are the temple of the Living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" 2 Corinthians 6:16b)

Has anyone heard about "Christ" being taken out of Christmas in the Denver parade and in the New Jersey school?  Since our cherished holiday is targeted like this, it should just be another reminder that God says we are to be the salt and the light of this world. That means that God has left us in the world for a purpose, and expects us to do His will - being His body in the world, and acting as He would act: loving and showing His character. The holiday is about a gift, about love. But we cannot rely on two days out of a whole year to be the only reminders of God's grace and love to the world. While "Merry Christmas" is being taken off of school signs and department store decorations, we have to be the replacement.

God lives in us and should be the reminder of his great sacrifice, Jesus. If we throw a fit because people want to take Christ out of Christmas, yet we don't have Christ-like love and grace for the world to show them the holiday is really valid, then to them it's just a bunch of religious folk, whining because they aren't the majority and they don't get their float in the parade.

Even if "Merry Christmas" is taken off the sign or off the wall, and manger scenes aren't allowed, "Merry Christmas" can't be taken off our lips. The account of the virgin birth can't be taken from our minds. Most of all, God's love for other people, including non-believers and even enemies of Christianity (which is the very essence of the Christian holidays) cannot be taken out of our hearts.

Slowly I'm learning that all my outrage about the latest exploit of a world trying to be rid of God, amounts to nothing. Ten times more potent is the softening of my heart and loving sinners. In fact, if I get all up in arms about how the world is taking away my religion or religious rights, yet I don't have the true fruits of the religion - what a sad joke I am. 

The Christmas season is all about God sending a gift to those who were far from deserving. And that means us. That also means to the godless people who want to take Christ out of Christmas. "For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." So while every effort to keep the true meaning of the holiday in the public square is good, if we ourselves are not a walking holiday to God's love for sinners at all times - our efforts are a hypocritical waste. My response to the day's controversy is to be the holiday.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:40:38 AM
  At The Name of Jesus

By: Adam R. Rinehart


"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11   (NKJV)

If you were to ask me what were my favorite set of Christmas verses, I would have to say Philippians 2:5-11.  Oh yeah, it is not the classic “Mary and Joseph” verse, but it has more to do with Christmas, our salvation, and how we should be Christ-like than anything else.

To me, Christmas is not all of the presents, the food, and all of the other material things that the world has turned it into being.  To me, Christmas is the fact that Jesus did not consider it to be robbery to be equal with God, but he made Himself into the form of a servant and came to this earth for the purpose of dying on the cross for our sin. What a Christmas Present!

Christmas is Jesus!  What a name?  Sure, he has other names, but about the name Jesus.......got it in your mind.  Now look at vs. 9-11, “Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”   How powerful!   Let us exalt Him!  At that name, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. How powerful!  Let us exalt Him more.

I challenge you to think about that at the beginning of this Christmas season.  Jesus came to this earth in the form of a servant in order to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Ultimately, the best Christmas present ever. Think about His name and that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.  Let us exalt Him? Are we doing that? Are we seeing Him as the ultimate servant?   Are we servants ourselves?  Are we following Jesus and His example?  Not only this Christmas Season, but on a daily basis.  What a Christmas present it would be if we could start following Jesus and His example more in our lives.  May God's Grace Abound In You!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:41:31 AM
  Take My Yoke

By: Matt Crawford


“Gentle and Humble "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls," (Matthew 11:29).

Ever found yourself being too critical? Ever said something with good intentions to a person, only to find out they were too sensitive as yet to hear your comments, or that maybe you should've just stayed quiet - and the ensuing argument left you both walking away confused or hurt? If someone has a problem, at what point do you keep your mouth shut, or at what point do you speak on it? Need God's wisdom to know when to practice silence with love?

A few days ago I met a person who had a lot of bitterness from their past. I immediately sensed it and felt for them. I decided I should tell them how noticeable their anger was, and that they could be freed from it. The person acknowledged their bitterness, but immediately became defensive and directed their anger to me. I made some comments in response to that, which probably didn't use the judgment I should've, and the argument described above happened. When it was over, this person had me pegged as the type of guy who gives Christians a bad name. Instead of seeing me as attempting to be an earnest and helpful brother, they viewed me as dissecting them and being over-critical. Whoever was in the right, I felt there was definitely a better way I could've handled myself. If by any chance that person gets this devotional, I want them to know I am very sorry, and th! at I would've wrote them and explained myself with more detail and gentleness, had I known how to contact them. I hope they will forgive me, and take me simply as a brother whose intentions are only good - and also know that I am praying for them, and praying to become more gentle and Christ-like in my relationships with people.


All of us believers have on occasion to speak to a person like I did, and we always want to help. Maybe we see something about that person that we think we should point out. Nobody I know would intentionally say something hurtful to a person unless they felt the issue needed to be addressed - and our intentions are always good. The only problem is that you never know where a person is in their own lives - whether they are aware of and working on their issues, how sensitive they can be, where they are spiritually, or even if they have an unknown psychological issue that could throw a monkey-wrench in the whole conversation. Back in my angry, depressed days, anybody who tried to help me address my faults, no matter what their approach, became an enemy and a hypocrite, condescending - and anything they said was an insult.


Number one, we should learn not to be critical or judgmental. We should look at the plank in our own eye before we try to take the speck out of our brother's eye. But of course, if we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, we can't just ignore our brother or sister's problems and pretend they don't exist. Our responsibility to each other is to always try to lift each other up and help each other out. So how do we know how or when to act and when to be silent and let God work it out? We have to do what we were so eager to do when we first became Christians, and that's take Jesus' yoke on ourselves. He said he is gentle and humble in heart, and that's how we need to be. We can ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?"

But we need the grace of God and the Holy Spirit that was in Jesus to give us the answer and equip us with power to be like Him. I don't know whether the person I mentioned above was in such bitterness that anything I said would've been seen as an insult, or whether my main mistake was continuing the argument when I saw the conversation becoming fruitless. The main thing I walked away with was a sense of how, as Christians, we can run rough-shod over people without noticing it. Whether right or wrong, I had a profound burden to become more like Jesus in my dealings with people. Remember, as a Christian, you are going to attract people whose problems go beyond the day-to-day life you may know. People who come to you may be depressives, rape victims, schizophrenics, or just people who have absolutely no faith in people - even Christians - so be good to them. And since all believers are called to be ministers of the gospel to those they come into contact with, we'd better know ! how to be like Jesus - gentle, humble, sensitive, and most of all, loving - in our dealings with people.

If there is something you feel you need to say to a person, even if it may be hurtful, make sure you are led by God first, and have a record of love and Christ-like gentleness towards that person to back up what you say. So even if your words hurt, because of your conduct, they will trust your good intentions. We've dealt before with seeking the Holy Spirit, and how important it is. This is just more confirmation of that, and more reason to pray for it. If you have asked for it and feel you haven't received it, keep asking! There are times when asking over and over for the same thing is not appropriate, but when it comes to the Spirit, Jesus himself said to be persistent. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is literally having Jesus living on the inside. What better way can you think of to take his yoke upon yourself than that? Pray for it, and wait expectantly. In the meantime, before you speak - pray! Ask yourself what Jesus would say or do in this situation, and whatever yo! u do - do it in love.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:42:11 AM
  A Gift For Jesus

By: Tony B. Rhoda


For God so loved the world...

This is a special time of year not only for your family and friends but also for another special someone who often gets pushed aside during the holiday fling. It was this month some two thousand years ago when a virgin named Mary brought a little baby into this world. We have heard the story time and time again of how the King of Kings walked the earth, and the timeless tale of the One who came to seek and save the lost. But now two thousand years later, what meaning does it still hold?

As another Christmas is edging towards us. It seem like everyone is making a mad dash to the malls and outlet stores to find that certain something for that special someone. Trying to find the perfect gift is almost as hard as trying to find where you last had your TV remote. For some reason you find everything where you least expect it.

I was looking over the list and checking it twice. The last present was finally bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree. After I left the room satisfied with a job well done I suddenly had this feeling that I was forgetting someone. When I closed my eyes I started to pray and I finally realized whom I forgot. Out of all the people I hold close to my heart, the one I held the closest was left off my list. I laid awake trying to figure out what I could do. What do you give a God who has it all?

After a while, I sat down and started pray. During my quiet time with God I found out exactly what to do. God has everything, He can have any toy, or any tie. All He has to do is say the word and all of heaven and earth is at His fingertips. But out off all the possessions this world could offer, He could only care about one thing, and that's you. He doesn't want your money, or your CD's. The one thing He wants is what money can't buy and what only you can give. That's our lives, hearts, and soul. Even though it seems like sometimes God has it all. He has nothing if He doesn't have you. Take time and pray tonight and wrap the biggest gift of all. The gift we all have inside, our heart. Because when we give Him our heart and lives, we don't give a present that will be forgotten next year, but a gift that He will be able to treasure, for now, and all of eternity.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:42:47 AM
  One Of His Sheep

By: Brittany Waller


"There were some shepherds in that part of that country who were spending the night in the fields, taking care of their flocks. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone over them." (Luke 2:8-9)

I was once a shepherd in a live nativity. We had a real baby for Jesus and live animals. As I sat in the cold of the night in the barn stroking the coat of the sheep at my feet, I couldn't help but live in the moment. To think of what it must have been like back in the day, witnessing the birth of Jesus, and trying desperately not to get bit by the sheep. It would have been an experience.

Even though I know the whole Christmas story by heart, it was as if I was living it for the first time. I looked up just as the angel was being lowered down from the ceiling, and I had to cover my eyes. Well, not because of the angel’s beauty or enchantment but, mainly because I was afraid she would fall on me.

All was going well and the reenactment of the nativity scene was almost finished. It was during this time that I really started thinking about what this was all about.

God is our shepherd, and we are his sheep. Yes, you are a sheep! Hang with me I am drawing a mental picture. When Jesus was born, God used Him as a way of bringing his flock together. We are His followers and listen to His calling. Kind of like sheep to a shepherd! God is our light. Just as the angel's glory shone over the hills of Bethlehem that holy night, God will also lead his flock. So, light some candles this Christmas season and remember Jesus is the light of the world! Just don't burn yourself, always be safe with fire. Oh and don’t let the wax drip on your hand, it is really hot. Ok, and now I feel like I am your mother. So, I will go for now and say Merry Christmas to all, and to all a holy night.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:43:28 AM
  What If?

By: Jeff Lappano


“Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’” Luke 1:38 (NKJV)

Today we are to look at a critical subject in the birth of the Lord Jesus, that being of his mom, Mary. Imagine the predicament that the angel, Gabriel, put the girl in. Bible scholars and historians tell us that the mother of the Savior was between the ages of 14 and 17. Scripture reveals that at this time she was unwed. In our minds the age factor seems the worst of the situation but in that culture it was commonplace for people to get married young and have families. The situation really surrounded around the fact that she was unmarried. If you read the Joseph’s side of the story, you’ll find that he wanted to do the right thing in the eyes of the law and put her away.

Once Mary totally understood that this was in the will of God, she was on board according to our text. She submitted herself to the will of God. What if she said to Gabriel, “Come back in a couple of months when I’m married, and we’ll do this thing?” Doesn’t that sound like a good, sound logical answer? Well of course it does, however let’s turn to the Word. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Scripture tells us that should Mary have told Gabriel that the timing wasn’t right for this to happen, she would have missed out on the call of God for her life, for the Messiah must be born of a virgin as the prophecy indicated.

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example.” Here we find an exhortation from Paul to Timothy. This was written several years after the resurrection of Christ, but yet Mary lived it. She didn’t care about anything but to adhere to the will of God for her life. As you open your presents on Christmas morning keep this in mind. Because the teenage girl decided to follow the will of God we’re celebrating the holiday. This holiday season I challenge you with the idea of not letting anyone looking down on you because you’re young. In your youth, you have a purpose and a call of God. I encourage you as Mary did: follow hard after whatever it is that God is calling you to.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 12, 2006, 10:44:16 AM
  The Guiding Star

By: Brittany Waller


"...the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was." (Matthew 2:9)

Why is it that we are always looking for signs? Whether it happens to be a sign from God or an actual road sign. It almost consumes us at times, especially if we are trying to follow the signs to the mall.

In the time of Jesus there was no such thing as a road sign. So, God chose to guide the three wise men with a star. What a great idea, because guys never stop to ask for directions!

Even if God gave us a star to guide us today, we probably still wouldn't see it. During the Christmas season we are too busy attempting to wrap presents, burning Christmas cookies, and sending cards to relatives we don't even know anymore.

So, let’s try something different this year, let’s push away the details of Christmas that about make us pull out our hair. Let us focus on God and take the time to kneel down and thank him for all our blessings. Even if there is no neon sign with blinking lights sent from God, know that He is still there. You are the twinkle in His eye, and if you follow him you will never lose your way, even if you don't have the directions.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:11:26 PM
  Where God Works

By: Beth Hays


Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don't fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked? (Eccles. 7:13) NLT

   
An Elder at my church paraphrases this verse wonderfully. He says: "Look for where God is working and then join Him." I wish I had known that last year...

There is a student-led Bible Study at my school. I went to it last year for about four months, dragging my behind out of bed each morning a half-an-hour earlier than usual. Every week we came against the same conflict. There was no challenge, no excitement, and no real purpose. If I focused really hard on what was being said occasionally I could get something out of it. But, usually I just concentrated on the scripture and tried not to let the lesson bog me down. It's terrible to say of a Bible study isn't it?

I forced myself to endure this half-an-hour learning nothing and bored to death in a place where no one could sense the presence of God. I don't think it was the teacher; He's a great person. I don't think it was the lessons, I'll bet they could be made valuable. But, it was the lack of challenge to grow in God. Truthfully, no one was allowing God to work.

Meanwhile, I failed to look around my youth group. There were tons of people who truly thirsted for more knowledge of God. There were people waiting to be taught. Seeing the harvest waiting, the same elder who first showed me this principle encouraged me to pray about starting a Bible study myself.

I have to admit, I was quite nervous. I'd never done that sort of thing before. I didn't know how to teach, didn't know where to start, and didn't know who to invite. All I knew was that God was evidently working in the young girls in my youth group. So, I took up the challenge. Today I lead a discipleship group that God is actively working in. I went from a lack of challenge to abundant challenge, even as the leader. I think God speaks to me more than anyone! Instead of wasting my time where religion is stale, I am gaining joy from true growth.

My challenge to you today is not necessarily to start a Bible Study (though it might be). But, it is to look around your sphere of influence. Where is God working? What can you do to join Him?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:12:35 PM
  The God of Impossibility

By: Beth Hays


Elisha replied, "Hear this message from the LORD! This is what the LORD says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of fine flour will cost only half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost only half an ounce of silver."
The officer assisting the king said to the man of God, "That couldn't happen even if the LORD opened the windows of heaven!"
But Elisha replied, "You will see it happen, but you won't be able to eat any of it!"
So it was true that five quarts of fine flour were sold that day for half an ounce of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain were sold for half an ounce of silver, just as the LORD had promised. (2 Kings 7:1-2, 16)

Let's put this in modern-day terms. Elisha told the people that tomorrow CD's would be a nickel apiece and meal at McDonald's would only cost a penny. These were unbelievably low prices. So, of course this officer told the prophet that even God could do that-it was impossible.

We do that to God a lot don't we? We tell Him that it is impossible-that even He, the God of this universe couldn't do THAT. No, people can't just get better from terminal illness. No, mountains can't crumble from nothing. No, God, even you can't make people come alive again. Yet, he's done all this and more. We limit God to our human perspective, when in reality He's blown that limiting box away with His amazing miracles.

Just as in this example in scripture, sometime people who don't believe, end up limiting themselves as well as God. For instance, a pastor who feels really called to a certain church stays where He is because it's more comfortable. Then, He finds out that he was EXACTLY what was needed. And usually by that time, it is too late. Don't limit God. Not only are you limiting a Being so far greater than your possible comprehension, but also you are limiting the possibilities of the miracles God is ready and willing to work through you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:13:47 PM
  Obedient Service

By: Steve Briesacher


I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual service of worship.  Romans 12:1 (NASB)

Paul wrote these words almost 2000 years ago to the first Christians, yet
still today we struggle with the practical aspects of living a life
pleasing to God. The hustle and bustle of the 21st century has, however,
left many of us struggling to find ways to live for God. What exactly does
it mean to be a living sacrifice Holy and acceptable to God? To find out
we need break this verse down to its individual instructions.

Let us first take a closer look at the first line. In it Paul is urging
the brethren (Christians), by the mercies of God. Obviously Paul is saying
that this is important information he is trying to pass on to us. Now, by
saying, by the mercies of God?, I believe Paul is letting us know that on
our own we will be incapable of following what comes next. It is by the
mercies of God that we will be able to do what he is instructing,
essentially by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Then he follows by saying, to present your bodies a living and Holy
sacrifice?. He is speaking here of our physical bodies as being both
living and a Holy sacrifice (Holy meaning set apart for God). So we can
conclude here that, our physical bodies must be sacrificed (sanctified and
Holy) in some way, which is acceptable to God. He obviously does not mean
physical death because the sacrifice is living. So how do we sacrifice
ourselves alive then? The answer to this is to look at the basic
definition of sacrifice. Essentially to sacrifice something means to give
something up. I believe that Paul is trying to remind us that we are to
give up our old sinful natures as a spiritual act of worship to God. But
how can we do that, especially since we are still living in a fallen,
sinful world full of temptations? The answer to this is in the next verse.

Paul goes on to say in verse 2, and do not be conformed to this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the
will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. The key
here is to not be conformed to this world. In other words, don't follow
the ways of the world. Don't become like the world around you.

Fine words, but how exactly do we accomplish such a thing? The world we
live in is desperately wicked (Genesis 6:5) Then the Lord saw that
wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually?). If we continue to live
in it as we are then we too shall fall with it. Paul then tells us to be
transformed by the renewing? of our minds. This change will come
essentially with a change of mind. Yet, simply saying we will change our
minds, are only empty words until we back them up with some kind of
action. It all comes down to this; on our own we can do nothing, but
through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can
accomplish this. What I am getting at is this; that it is not rituals,
traditions, or even religion that saves us, but a simple relationship
between God and us. That is the action Paul is trying to get across to us
here. That is the purpose of our lives here. We are to learn to love God,
as he loved us.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:15:13 PM
  Are You Jealous?

By: Janet Adams


Have you ever been jealous?

Yes, of course you have.

Jealousy is one of the ugliest of emotions. It can make a total rational person go crazy. Sometime the jealousy is intentionally provoked. Like when someone plans and goes out of their way to make you feel jealous. Most of the times the situation has little basis for it. Like when you feel jealous because you think someone is better or nicer looking, but they really aren't. These are things that we perceive to be so. Where there is frequent and strong manifestation of the emotion, the real cause is usually inside of us. It comes from our own inadequacy and insecurity. They call jealousy the "green eyed monster." It can take a pleasant person and turn them upside down.

Jealousy is there with siblings in every home. One might like something the other has better than his own. One could get jealous over the other spending more time watching TV or staying up late. There are all kinds of simple normal jealousies.

As parents we try to make the child feel a good self-worth and security so their fears are put to rest stopping the jealousy.

When jealousy takes over a person and makes them want to slander or injure the person who they are jealous of then this take on a more deeper meaning. Love in Christ for our brothers and sisters shouldn't bring on such rages of jealousy. I have to admit I remember when some other girl would hang around the guy I liked, I would get upset or mad. I would talk bad about her to my friends and hope no one would like her, especially the guy I liked. I can remember feeling just terrible about myself. This emotion can really get us into a bad situation. When all is said and done, we could have really hurt someone. Talking bad of someone and causing them to have a bad reputation is hard to get over. Most of the feelings are inside of us and we really have no basis to feel this way. We should take these insecurities and bad feelings to the Lord in prayer and let him put a stop to them. Stop these feeling before they get out of hand, do not let others make you jealous, even when they do it on purpose. Most of the time if someone is jealous of you they will do things to try to make you jealous.  It is a nasty circle.  When you feel jealousy for little petty reasons, don't allow it to enter your mind, tell yourself you will not allow yourself to think this way and take it to God in prayer. Nothing can hurt you but what you allow yourself to perceive. To let these small twinges of jealousy manifest will make us sick, like a cancer. Looking in my Bible for verses on jealousy, I found a list about jealousy.


Jealousy can:
<>< tear believers apart
<>< make you feel even worse
<>< cause a strong dividing force
<>< cause blind anger and rage
<>< cause us to loose self control
<>< can lead to other sins
<>< leads to criticism
<>< not let us see the danger, don't underestimate it
<>< causes war

God does not want you to be jealous, you are beautiful and wonderfully made just the way you are. You are special, you are YOU!!!!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:15:57 PM
  Endless Masks

By: Beth Hays


Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains. (Proverbs 14:13)

       I remember talking to an old youth pastor about wearing masks in ministry. When I told her I was the queen of them, she replied: "Then, I am the princess!" It strikes a chord in me to remember that conversation. I have since found such a true, inner joy that masks are no longer needed as long as I live in God's presence.

       But, the past few weeks have been a different story. I sunk back into my old way of life. I started to fall into sin. But, even worse, my inner being started to harden and I started to stray from the joy I has found. I was thrown from God's presence by the circumstances surrounding me, or so I thought. Truthfully, I stepped willingly. But, regardless, I started to put on my old masks. I started to pretend to be happy and pretend to worship. I started to say formal prayers instead of talking to God from my heart.

       I have a spiritual mentor who cares enough about me not to let this become a lifestyle. He came up to me and asked what was going on. Because of my trust in Him, I shared my heart. I had tried so hard to cover up the anguish inside, but even when the masks were stripped away, I was still left with my pain. Solomon knew what He was talking about.

       This mentor of mine gave me a great suggestion: he told me that the masks didn't cut it-I needed the real thing. In order to achieve that I needed to take the focus off of me and place in on the One on whom it belongs-God. In short, He told me to worship-to express to God just what an awesome and amazing Being He is. My spiritual leader and I spent over three hours today talking and joyfully sharing in the joy that has returned to me. I have thrown away the masks. My circumstances haven't changed, nor has anything else. Anything, that is, except throwing away the masks. No more pretending. No more hiding. From now on only true joy (a happiness not dependent upon circumstances).

       Have you been hiding behind long worn-out masks? Have you been settling for a fake happiness rather than true joy? Throw them away today, my friend. The real thing is so much better and worth the effort!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:17:03 PM
  Falling from Grace

By: Steven Self


Statement:

I can't be a Christian anymore.  I constantly fail, I'm not doing God's will.  Sometimes, it's just too hard.


Answer:

1 John 1:9 (NLT)

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.


It's so easy to feel let down by our own actions.  Even when we try and try to live a life for Christ, we still fail, we still fall, and we still get hurt.  We constantly find ourselves coming back to the foot of the cross asking God to forgive us.  The most important thing to remember is that we need to trust in God for His grace and forgiveness.


When we mess up, we tend to think that God is mad at us and that He won't listen to us.  Thats not even close to being true.  Even when we have a weakness that we intentionally fall in to, God is faithful to forgive us.  When we make a mistake, even when we do it over and over again, God knows how were attacked by Satan and the struggling we are doing.  He's sees our hearts and He knows the things that are beating us down. 

We all feel unworthy for God's forgiveness, that's because we are.  But the awesome part is that God loves and forgives us anyway.  We always try to set boundaries on God's grace and love, essentially telling Him "OK God, I've messed up on this, so you can't forgive me now."  You may be thinking "I don't say that.", but have you ever thought "God doesn't know all I've done, He won't forgive me for this."  When we do this were forgetting that God is in control and His grace, it is His to give, not ours to take.  Think about that last sentence for a while.

Dear child of God, He loves you more than you can imagine.  Jesus never said this walk will be easy.  As a matter of fact, He said the exact opposite.  He said it would be hard.  You will face hard times in your walk, there are ups and downs.  Regardless of whether your up or down, God is with you and faithfully loves you through them all.  Don't give up on your walk, or on your faith, because I can promise you that God won't give up on you.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:18:05 PM
  Arguing with God

By: Beth Hays


Shamefully, I must admit, I am the queen of arguing with God. When my mom first became ill I got angry...I told Him that He needed to heal her now. Well, he didn't and that infuriated me even more. When he called my nanny home to Him in heaven...I screamed at Him for hours. When he took away my best friend, I turned away from Him.

He lovingly accepted me back when I was willing. But, I didn't stop. He called me into ministry...I said no. I would not speak in front of people. I wanted a quiet, stable job. I didn't want to be a youth minister! Eventually, He got me to agree. Now, he's changing my heart so that not only am I doing it for Him...but I WANT to do it.

Today I was talking with my best friend Lauren. She is moving to France for a year to further her education there. I became so angry with God. Why would He put such an amazing person in my life and then let her walk away? I sobbed as I told her I was happy for her (which I was...but oh so sad for me). Then I sat down and opened my Bible.

Then the LORD said to Job, "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" (Job 40:1-2) NLT

OK...you win AGAIN God. Why do I ask such questions? Why do I doubt the judgment of the creator of this beautiful world? I will never understand why... But, I gave it to God. I handed Him my broken, lonely heart. I know His plan is so much bigger...and who am I to argue? If you are wrestling with God about a situation in your life...let this verse stop you in your tracks...just as it did for me. God knows what he is doing. Trust Him...and don't argue!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:19:15 PM
  Restore The Compassion

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehart


Rev. 2:4  “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your
first love.”
   
Do you remember the day that you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior? 
I will never forget that warm in Sunday morning in June of 1981, that the
Jr. Church teacher asked if anyone would like to give their hearts to Jesus
as their personal Savior.  She pulled the old steel chair around, and said,
“If any of you would like to give your heart to Jesus, would you come
forward so that I can pray with you?”   Once that first step was taken, the
rest were easy to follow after.   I prayed, repented, and asked Jesus into
my heart that morning, and you talk about the excitement!   I felt like I
had just finished taking 10,000 showers and the burden was lifted!  Remember
the feeling? Remember your excitement?
   
That same excitement and love is what John is talking about when Jesus
said, “You have lost your first love.”   Their passion and fervor for the
Lord Jesus had become cold and desolate.  They forgot about their love for
Him and what He did for them at the moment of salvation.     Friends, what
about us?  Have we lost our love for Christ?   How can we tell?
   
When lost souls are no longer a passion in your life, and those who are
lost and burdened with a load to carry are not seeing their hearts filled
with the love of Christ.  When your daily Bible reading and time with the
Lord has gone astray.  When you think only about yourself and do not have
eternity’s values in view, then you have lost your first love.   When the
day to day things just become day to day, and life just happens with no
thought of Jesus and what He did for you goes through your mind, then you
have lost your first love.
   
In conclusion, I implore you to take a look at your heart.  Have you lost
your first love?  Have you kept that broken heart of yours broken and have
forgotten about Jesus and what He can do for you?   Remember your first
love!  Restore that excitement!
Renew the passion!  May God’s Grace Abound In You



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:20:02 PM
  Losing Control

By: Tony B. Rhoda


Until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Genesis 27:45

I was extremely hungry. When my stomach started to grumble it meant one thing and one thing only, “feed me!” I proceeded to jog out to my vehicle in between classes in hopes to find a few quarters. After about five minutes of an extensive search and rescue mission for the lost coins, I found sixty five cents. Enough for a pack of peanuts in the vending machine. Life just might be worth living again.

I jogged back to the cafeteria while checking my watch to make sure I had enough time. When I finally reached my destination I quickly put in the sixty five cents and proceeded to press the combination that would send my peanuts tumbling down. As I watched the vending machine dispense my prize, horror shook my entire body. NO! This could not be happening! My peanuts got stuck!

Oh the thoughts that went through my head. I never realized how much a packet of peanuts could mean to someone till that point. I was so upset and my face started to turning red. I was going to lay hands on this machine and it was not going to be in a good way.

Why do we get so upset during the stupidest of times? If we let anger take control of us then anger is going to make us look like an idiot. Plain and simple. This week try and control your temper and do not let it get control of you. Once you lose your control on your anger, you lose your witness. Don’t let that happen. God Bless and Keep the Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:21:19 PM
  Love with No Limit

By: Steve Briesacher
TDDMSteve@yahoo.com

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"This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." 1 John 4:10 (NLT)

God is love. Love is God. They are one in the same. One cannot know true love until He knows God. God's very character is limitless. He is eternal. His wisdom, power, presence, and love have no limit. God was in perfect love as the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit, but He opened Himself up so that we could know His love. Our purpose is to receive His love for us, allowing it to break our hearts, and result in true worship to Him. Many times as believers we know God forgives us, but we do not forgive ourselves. We try in our own strength to obey His commands, but we always seem to fail and beat ourselves up. If we humble ourselves and receive His love for us, it will fill our hearts overflowing and compel us to do good works.

The reason that we see so much sin in the world is because people have rejected God's love. Think about it... If someone rejects God's love, they are going to try to find fulfillment in something else like drugs, sex, people, money, or religion. It is not so much that people are homosexuals and prostitutes, but that they have rejected the love of God. People are going to do something evil if they are not made complete by the love of God.

"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong." 1 John 1:9 (NLT). Notice this scripture has no limit, it does not matter how big or small the sin is that we commit, God will forgive us and cleanse us. He will not hold our sins against us if we humbly confess with an honest heart. We must love ourselves or we will never be able to fully receive His forgiveness.

His love has no conditions. We do not have to do anything to earn it. It is free. The love of God does not hinge on what we do, the degree to which we do it, or how we perform. He just gives it freely. Every sin deserves death, but Jesus took the punishment for these sins on the Cross for us. "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT). God can now forgive us, separate us from our sin, and forget the sin has happened. "The LORD is merciful and gracious;he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us,nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins,nor does he deal with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear himis as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious actsas far away from us as the east is from the west." Psalms 103:8-12 (NLT).

He loved us so much He gave His very self to express His love. God's love has no end. It is so deep. He wants to be close to us and see us live free in His love.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 13, 2006, 01:22:01 PM
  When You Feel Rebellious

By: Joyce K. Rhoda


"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17(KJV)

We've all felt a little rebellious now and then. The urge to push the envelope, do something you know you shouldn't...just because. A child going through the 'terrible twos' is a good example of a rebellious spirit. Is it any wonder that most kids learn the word 'no' shortly after 'mama' and 'dada'?

Just as parents have to watch over and discipline their children to keep them safe and teach them right from wrong; God provided us with his word to guide us and He watches over us too.

Not everyone has Christian parents who raise them according to Gods' teachings. If your parents aren't Christians, you can turn to the youth director or pastor of your church for spirtitual guidance. God has given them the wisdom to show you how to follow God's word and help you when you are tempted to rebel.

Temptation to sin is real and is constantly attacking us. Whenever you feel the urge to give in and rebel, remember that you won't get any satisfaction from sinning, just guilt. To reap the benefits of love, peace, joy and happiness turn your life over to God and obey Him at all costs. The rewards are well worth it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:01:29 AM
  You Might Die Today

By: Janet Adams


No one wakes up in the morning thinking, "Maybe I will die today." But someone will die today.

Someone got out of bed this morning never to return to it tonight.  Some said good-bye to their wives, husbands, children, parents, brothers or sisters this morning over breakfast telling them they will see them later.  But some will never come home tonight.  Some have great plans for the weekend that will never happen, instead their family will be at their funeral.  It happens.  On June 12, 1999 at 7pm my husband kissed me good-bye and left to go to the store to get steaks to barbecue.  As I was making the salad and setting the table on our porch for dinner, the call came in.  My husband was dead. 

He had not been sick or hurt or anything.  He died of a brain aneurysm.  He was dead before he hit the floor in the grocery store.  He didn't wake up that morning saying, "I might die today."  He had plans, a good job, a family, a life.  When it is our time to leave this world there may be no warning at all.  Some are ill and know that the time is drawing near, but for most, we do not know.  I know that when my husband left and never came back that he did go to a place that was prepared for him.  Heaven, my husband went immediately to Heaven, how do I know that?  The Bible says:
"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."  John 11:25 KJV

I witnessed during our lives together my husband prepare his soul to insure he was going to Heaven.  I saw my husband pray to Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sins and to change his life.  I saw my husband dedicate his life to God.  I saw him grow in a personal relationship with Jesus over the years.  I saw the spirit of the Lord within him each and every day.

IF YOU WERE TO SUDDENLY DIE TODAY -
DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE WHERE YOU WILL GO?
DO NOT WAIT !!!!

Do not wait another minute because no one knows where our time is come.  Go on your knees NOW and pray to God for salvation.  Ask Jesus to come into your heart and live there, changing your life and forgiving you of your sins.  You need no fancy prayer, just talk to him from your heart as you would your best friend.  This guarantees a place in Heaven for all eternity.  Especially when we are young we may think we have plenty of time to do this in our lives - but we just never know.  An actual prayer to God must be said, just thinking and feeling it won't make it so.  Go down on your knees NOW and ask Jesus to come in your life.  Believe me I never expected to never see my husband again when he left that evening. Go to God now and make your reservation for a wonderful eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.  I know one day I will see my husband again when it is my time to go to Heaven. Do it before its too late, you don't get a second chance after you die.  The alternative is ever lasting life in torment separated from God in Hell.

"For me to live in Christ and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21 KJV

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  Jon 14:1-3 KJV



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:02:36 AM
  Ode to Air Fresheners

By: Tony B. Rhoda


How long, O you sons of men, Will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness And seek falsehood? Psalm 4:2

Sure, this might sound a little silly, but I truly believe that air fresheners are one of the greatest inventions to grace this earth in years. They are so convenient now too. You can plug them in anywhere. When they are all out of that smelly good stuff, just pop in a refill and you are good to go.

Why  am I making such a big deal about these cool devices? Well, let me explain. If you have an animal, it takes away the smell. If you left your leftover lasagna on the desk, it can sit there and rot for a week before you start to realize it. After a long day you can come home and open the door to the smell of a frosty winter mist instead of musty gym clothes.

That my friend, is why I am in love with air fresheners. But, we can also take this further and relate it to our every day life as a Christian. God can be the breath of fresh air in our walk with Christ. By reading the Bible, you allow yourself to wash away the sin by realizing how you are to live. By praying, one can erase the foul odor of backsliding by asking for help.

When we have the right tools and equipment, it is easy to make even my place smell fresh and clean. When we have the right stuff in our Christian life, it makes it simple to resist the sin that will stink up the place. If you are living in the dumpster it is time to get washed off. Put a clean pair of underwear on and get out there and make a difference in the world. God Bless and Keep the Faith!





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:04:12 AM
  He Came As a Man

By: Steve Briesacher


H"In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with
God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He
created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't
make." John 1:1-3 NLT

He created everything there is . Nothing exists that he
didn't make. So the Word became human and lived here on
earth among us. Thousands upon thousands of pages have been
written on this single passage of scripture. It has been an
issue of debate and confusion, but the truth is simple if
one has faith to believe it. In the beginning, God was in
perfect partnership as the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Spirit. They were all chillin' together and everything was
fine and dandy. You see, God is only one being, but He
shows Himself in three different ways. Here is a little
chemistry for you. (Oh, No! Not school work!) Water always
has the same chemical makeup, H2O, but it has three
different states. The three different states of water are
liquid, solid, and gas. God is one, just as water has one
chemical make up, but He reveals Himself in three different
forms.

The Almighty God who created the universe, who formed man
out of dirt and breathed life into him decided to send
Himself in human form. The Word, mentioned in John 1,
became a human being. He was given the name Jesus when Mary
became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Stop! Think about this,
picture it in your head. The Word was sitting on the throne
in heaven one minute and the next minute he was inside
Mary's womb. Girls, can you imagine being told that Jesus
was going to be your baby's name and He would be the Savior
of the World. Why in the world would God send Himself? No
one really knows why He did it, but we know that He did it
for us.

Sometimes we view God, how we view our dads. If our dad is
never there, we tend to view God as never being there for
us or if our dad was hard on us, we view God as condemning
and with no mercy. "Christ is the visible image of the
invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all
and is supreme over all creation." Colossians 1:15 NLT If
you want to know what God is like, we can look to Jesus'
life. The scripture is plain to say that Jesus Christ is
God in the flesh. He is the same being that spoke
everything into existents during Creation. One of the
reasons the Word became flesh is so that we could see what
God is like and have an example to follow.

"Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his
rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble
position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in
human form he obediently humbled himself even further by
dying a criminal's death on a cross." Philippians 2:6-8 NLT
Christ's main goal was to do the will of the Father, and
the will of the Father is to love people. Christ humbled
Himself because God loves us. He did not come into this
world as a king who had power, authority, and many
possessions, but He came as a baby in a manger. He is a
humble king. He lived through His teenage years, just like
us, but without sin. Then, He died on the cross for our
sins and rose from the dead. Stop! Think about this! People
were accusing Him of things He did not do, He was spat on,
brutally beaten, and mocked on the cross. The people triple
dogged dared Him to do something if He was really God. At
any moment, He could have called fire down from heaven or
angels to smack them upside the head, but He didn't. His
love was so great; He looked past their faults. Wow! If I
was in His position, I would have probably lost control of
my temper towards them.

Jesus was just like any normal human being. He wasn't a
stiff. He experienced childhood, the teenage years, and
manhood. I can imagine Jesus as a young child, crying
because He scraped His knee, running to His mommy to make
it all better. Jesus as a teenager dealing with hormones
and pimples or laughing with His friends. I wonder what His
favorite food was. Did He like ice cream or peanut butter
as much as I do? Jesus had a job, He was a carpenter. This
is how He made a living. Do you remember how He blessed the
children and said, "let the children come to me"? So, how
are children blessed? The best way I know is to wrestle
with them in the dirt, grab their hands and spin them
around, get on my hands and knees and be a bucking bronco,
and the ultimate, tickling them and blowing on their
bellies. He probably splashed water with His disciples and
found God in all these things.

"Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every
respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could
be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He
then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins
of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering
and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being
tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18 NLT Because He Himself suffered
when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being
tempted. Jesus knows exactly what we are going through and
to show us His mercy and understanding of our lives, He
came to earth to walk in our shoes. He knows what it is
like when a good-looking guy or gal walks by and we are
given a choice to lust, but He always chose the right
thing. He knows what it is like to pray when our bodies are
tired. Jesus is our friend; He wants us to share our
burdens and our hearts with Him. He is not a God who is way
out there and does not care about the little things in our
lives, but He came as a man and meets us on our level.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:05:46 AM
  God Will Provide

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehart


Phil. 1:7.……..“you all are partakers with me of the gospel.”

When Paul was writing the book of Philippians sitting in a jail cell and thinking in his mind about them, the thought came to him of the help financially and the help in manpower that the church at Philippi gave to him for the cause of the Gospel.

Today, I was planning for the literature part of our July 4th outreach that we have hear at our church. You see our church is located just across from the fairgrounds here in our county which makes us a prime location for the people to watch fireworks. While I was planning, I was looking at some Gospel tracts, and reminiscing about my days at Moody Bible Institute where I was an open-air preacher and a tract expert for a ministry that went into the subways during rush hour on Friday nights.

There were nights that I would sit in my room looking over tracts, and wondering where we would get the money in order to get more to give out. Would you believe that we passed out over 20,000 tracts that year, and had left over tracts at the end of the year that we gave back to the Practical Ministry Office! What a joy to know that when we have a heart for evangelism and wanting to share the Gospel that God will always provide!

We can know that will always be true. Friends, when we have a heart for evangelism, God will always provide for us whether it be financially, safety, of whatever the need may be. What a joy to know that! Now that we do know that, then why not spark that heart of evangelism in your hearts and share it with the people that need to hear it! There are people dying and going to Hell, and we need to get out there and share the news before it is too late. God will provide! Let’s get to work! May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:06:33 AM
  Were you tempted today?

By: Janet Adams


"Where you tempted to cheat today at school?"  Where you tempted to stick something into your pocket at the store today?"  Where you tempted to lie to your parents?"  Daily or even hourly we are tempted to sin.  Satan is everywhere with temptations to sin.  We are human and this is something that will be constant throughout our lives until we leave this world and go to heaven.  Paul describes the Christian as having two natures, the old and the new, which constantly compete for power.  Remember the old cartoon with the guy standing there with a little devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, both are whispering things into his ears.  He has to decide who to listen to.  We Christians have to understand and learn to confront this "magnetic pull" of our own sinful nature and Satan's wiles.

God never promises to remove temptation from us, for even Christ was subject to it.  But there is a sense of achievement and assurance that results for the victory over temptation.  We need to keep strong in Christ in our daily lives so that the temptation doesn't turn us to sin.  Temptation alone is not sin but can lead us to sin. 

"But remember this - the wrong desires that come into your life aren't anything new and different.  Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you" (1 Cor. 10:13).  Temptation is of the devil (Matt 4:1-11 temptation of Jesus.)

The sin is when we give in to temptation.  None of us should deliberately place ourselves in a position to be tempted.  Satan will attack us where we are the most vulnerable. 





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:07:36 AM
  Keeping Your Cool

By: Tony B. Rhoda


And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities. Acts 26:11

Oh I was mad. Furious even. I was about to lose it all. I am still amazed to this date how I kept it all inside. But, I have to give credit where credit was due. My step-dad fooled me pretty good.

It was April 1st, also known as April fools day. I woke up to the sound of my door being beat on. I slowly got up and tried to figure out what was going on. I was about eight years old and still in my night clothes when I was told that our cat got outside. So with just a t-shirt and underwear on I was told to hurry up and run around the house after him.

I took off not wanting to lose my cat. When I made a lap around the house I was informed that the feline took off around the house again to keep going. I must have made about seven trips around the house when my mom came out of the house holding him. "OH I am so glad you caught him!" But, then she laughed and said april fools. I then realized that I spent that last ten minutes running around my neighborhood with practically nothing on. What was I thinking!

I realized that getting upset didn’t do me a bit of good. My kitty was safe and that was all that mattered. When we lose our cool we lose control of a situation. That is when things can get ugly. Even when things do not go the way you want, stay focused and stay level headed. Because if you don’t, then April fools day will do more than just pull one over on you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:09:27 AM
  You Are Loved

By: Beth Hays


Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to Hosea, "Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah-'Not loved'-for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.  (Hosea 1:6 ) NLT

Man, I'm so glad my name doesn't mean "Not Loved!" Can you imagine if it did? Especially back in Old Testament times, it would have been horrid to be referred to as unlovable. Yet, even though my name doesn't mean such a thing, my heart has felt that way. I have felt like I have "Not Loved" plastered on my forehead for the world to see. I'll bet you can relate.

Have you ever had everyone leave at once? Have you ever felt like your family despised you? Ever been abandoned, abused, or neglected? If so, you've felt like that too. You've felt like you're not loveable. Well, my friend, I have amazing news for you! Look what God did for Lo-ruhamah:
   
"At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself! I will show love to those I called 'Not loved.' And to those I called 'Not my people,' I will say, 'Now you are my people.' Then they will reply, 'You are our God!' " (Hosea 2:23) NLT

He took her and told her that HE loved her. The God of the universe took the unlovable and loved her. My friends, he does that with us too. He takes the ones who are hurt and broken and despised and cherishes us. He "shelters us with His wings and shields us with His feathers" (Paraphrased from Psalm ps. 91) I want to assure you that no matter how unlovable you feel, God adores you! The Creator of everything calls you His masterpiece (Eph. 2:10) NLT. Let that stir yoru heart and comfort your spirit today!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:23:49 AM
  He Came As A Man

By: Steve Briesacher


"In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make." John 1:1-3 NLT

He created everything there is . Nothing exists that he didn't make. So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.

Thousands upon thousands of pages have been written on this single passage of scripture. It has been an issue of debate and confusion, but the truth is simple if one has faith to believe it. In the beginning, God was in perfect partnership as the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. They were all chillin' together and everything was fine and dandy. You see, God is only one being, but He shows Himself in three different ways. Here is a little chemistry for you. (Oh, No! Not school work!) Water always has the same chemical makeup, H2O, but it has three different states. The three different states of water are liquid, solid, and gas. God is one, just as water has one chemical make up, but He reveals Himself in three different forms.

The Almighty God who created the universe, who formed man out of dirt and breathed life into him decided to send Himself in human form. The Word, mentioned in John 1, became a human being. He was given the name Jesus when Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Stop! Think about this, picture it in your head. The Word was sitting on the throne in heaven one minute and the next minute he was inside Mary's womb. Girls, can you imagine being told that Jesus was going to be your baby's name and He would be the Savior of the World. Why in the world would God send Himself? No one really knows why He did it, but we know that He did it for us.

Sometimes we view God, how we view our dads. If our dad is never there, we tend to view God as never being there for us or if our dad was hard on us, we view God as condemning and with no mercy. "Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation." Colossians 1:15 NLT If you want to know what God is like, we can look to Jesus' life. The scripture is plain to say that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. He is the same being that spoke everything into existents during Creation. One of the reasons the Word became flesh is so that we could see what God is like and have an example to follow.

"Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross." Philippians 2:6-8 NLT Christ's main goal was to do the will of the Father, and the will of the Father is to love people. Christ humbled Himself because God loves us. He did not come into this world as a king who had power, authority, and many possessions, but He came as a baby in a manger. He is a humble king. He lived through His teenage years, just like us, but without sin. Then, He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. Stop! Think about this! People were accusing Him of things He did not do, He was spat on, brutally beaten, and mocked on the cross. The people triple dogged dared Him to do something if He was really God. At any moment, He could have called fire down from heaven or angels to smack them upside the head, but He didn't. His love was so great; He looked past their faults. Wow! If I was in His position, I would have probably lost control of my temper towards them.

Jesus was just like any normal human being. He wasn't a stiff. He experienced childhood, the teenage years, and manhood. I can imagine Jesus as a young child, crying because He scraped His knee, running to His mommy to make it all better. Jesus as a teenager dealing with hormones and pimples or laughing with His friends. I wonder what His favorite food was. Did He like ice cream or peanut butter as much as I do? Jesus had a job, He was a carpenter. This is how He made a living. Do you remember how He blessed the children and said, "let the children come to me"? So, how are children blessed? The best way I know is to wrestle with them in the dirt, grab their hands and spin them around, get on my hands and knees and be a bucking bronco, and the ultimate, tickling them and blowing on their bellies. He probably splashed water with His disciples and found God in all these things.

"Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18 NLT Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. Jesus knows exactly what we are going through and to show us His mercy and understanding of our lives, He came to earth to walk in our shoes. He knows what it is like when a good-looking guy or gal walks by and we are given a choice to lust, but He always chose the right thing. He knows what it is like to pray when our bodies are tired. Jesus is our friend; He wants us to share our burdens and our hearts with Him. He is not a God who is way out there and does not care about the little things in our lives, but He came as a man and meets us on our level.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:24:42 AM
  Stop The Train

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehart


Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and
you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
the ends of the earth."

Romans 6:23  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal
life in[1] Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Erwin Lutzer the Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago wrote in his book, 
“Hitler’s Cross,” he tells the story of a German Pastor who stood up in a
meeting and said that he was in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust and was
the pastor of a church.  “We knew that they were taking the Jews to their
destruction and we would just ignore it.  Our church was by a railroad track
and every Sunday we would hear the whistle of the train loaded with cattle
cars going down the railroad tracks and the cries of people going to their
demise!  It got to the point where graded on us when we worshipped and when
we would hear them going down the track, we would have the organist turn up
the organ and sing the Gospel hymn louder and louder until the cries were
faded out!  Week after week. The organ would be raised and we would sing all
of the great hymns, and when we would still hear the cries we would only
sing louder!

Here in the 21st Century, the lost and dying world are on the train to Hell
and the sounds of their voices are right outside of our homes, our schools,
our churches, and they are crying, but we are doing nothing about it.  We
choose to block them out, put the earplugs in, and maybe raise the volume on
our music.   Why do we not try to stop the train?  Why not get on our horse
and chase the train down and knock out the conductor and the engineer? We
have the power! God has given us the grace that is unstoppable and we can
stand in front of that train to give the people a chance!  What are we
waiting for? May God’s Grace Abound In You



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:25:39 AM
  Graduation Gift

By: Janet Adams


My graduation gift to you is a simple 2003 shiny penny..

     The date on this penny is 2003 -
Your graduation year, may you always remember this special date with fondness.

Abe Lincoln is on the front, he was known for his HONESTY -
So always be HONEST with yourself and others.

     The word LIBERTY is on this penny -
LIBERTY means that you are free to do and be what you want.
So cherish that freedom, don't waste it or take it lightly.

     IN GOD WE TRUST is on this penny -
TRUST IN GOD, really put your faith and trust in God. 
Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance throughout your entire life.

  UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is on the back of this penny -
That is your home address, no matter where life takes you,
May you always remember where HOME is and who you are.

E PLURIBUS UNIM is also written on the back-
This means OUT OF MANY COME ONE,
You may be just One person, but you are very special and unique. 
You are very important to those who love you. No one is quit like you.

     One Cent is the worth of this penny.
Doesn’t seem like much but every child’s piggy bank starts with one penny. 
When you put enough pennies together it will eventually amount to something grand.
Save your money and spend it wisely.

     Go out into the world and amount to something grand.
Set your standards high and reach for the stars.
Always remember the "good ole days" and those who encouraged you and loved you. 
Give of yourself to others, putting others first. 
And most of all, Be Happy!!!

     And, just in case you need it one day...
     This penny's for good luck!!!!

Congratulations



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:26:29 AM
  While You're Young

By: Beth Hays


Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living. (Eccles. 11:9, 12:1) NLT
   
The one thing I regret most in my life is that I never got to be a kid. I didn't really have a childhood. I had adult responsibilities at the age of two. I can remember trying to figure out to cook a meal without the use of a knife or the stove. It was quite a challenge. I am grateful for my past, but I have one regret: I never was a child.

I've learned in recent years to take that back. I have learned the joy of swinging and the joy in laughter. I have learned what it is to play and be free. I understand when Solomon talks of the wonderfulness of childhood. It truly is amazing to be young.

We are encouraged to enjoy our years of youth, but given a warning as well. Don't be foolish in your happiness. Yes, be happy. But, don't hurt God in the process. Do you know how much your sin hurts our precious savior? More than we can imagine, I'm sure! Enjoy your years of youth...but remember that you will have to fess up to everything you do when you're looking God in the eye on judgment day.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:27:29 AM
  The Summer Time

By: Steven Self


John 8:31-32 (The Message)
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. "If you
stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure.
32Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free
you."

It’s that long awaited time again.  The time that all students dream of
since the first day of every school year, a time that makes memories that
last a lifetime, a time of relaxation, a time of fun.  The only word that
can describe this wonderful time is “summer”.  What a great feeling when
that last school-bell of the year rings!

When we become Christians, it’s like going from the middle of the school
year directly to summer.  Do we lose our responsibilities? No.  But we do
get to leave behind a lot of the things the world has to stick to.   For
instance, we are no longer a slave to sin because Jesus has set us free.  We
no longer have to worry about being accepted by the popular people, because
we’ve been accepted by the One who created the popular people.  We no longer
have to worry and focus on money, we have a Lord who promises and does
provide us with all we need.  We no longer have to focus on getting high,
because we’re given a spiritual high that can’t be touched by any drug. 
We’re free from worrying about everything because Jesus said that He would
take our burdens on himself.

Upon accepting the Lord into our lives, we are given a great peace, much
better then we have on even the most relaxing of summer days.  We are set
free from accepting much of the self-torture and self-hatred the world
contends with daily.  What a pretty view of Christianity, why don’t more
Christians see it this way?  Because most proclaimed “Christians”, don’t do
any homework.  I know so many people who think going to church on Sunday and
Wednesday makes them whole.  Church attendance doesn’t make you holy, nor
does it save you.  It’s the personal relationship you have with God that
does that.

The only way to know God is to read about Him and talk to Him and follow
what He tells you to do.  That’s how a relationship works.  Most teens get
busier in the summer, but I want to challenge you to spend a little time
each day studying the bible and praying and trying to live out your faith. 
I promise that if you truly attempt to know God better, you’ll experience
the type of freedom I’m talking about.  The wonderful thing about this
freedom is that it’s not on a timetable, and you never have to go back to
being the way you were before.  The only way the truth can set you free is
if you know what the truth is.  How can you use something without reading
the owners manual?   How can you be good at something if you never practice.
 
Summer eventually comes to an end, the freedom we have in God won’t.  Have
a great summer while you get to know the one who invented it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 14, 2006, 11:28:55 AM
  The Letters of Our Lives

By: Beth Hays


Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ prepared by us. It is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on stone, but on human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) NLT

In my personal devotions this past week, the writer asked if people saw me just as "affectionate and unusually moral" or as a Christian. The more I thought about it the more I realized that just because I am a kind person does not mean that people see that that kindness is God in me. In conclusion, I came to see that most probably just saw me as a good person.

So, I began to pray. I prayed that God would give me opportunities to do something that would show that my faith is real, and not just an illusion. I also asked to be tested so that I could be sure that I had a REAL commitment to my God. Well, God answered my prayer. I was asked to say a prayer over the loudspeaker at the football game Friday night for a friend of mine who was in a car accident and is in serious condition. God gave me an opportunity to public show my devotion to Him. What I failed to mention, is that this completely tested my commitment because I am desperately afraid of talking in front of people. So, after being nauseated for hours, I did it. God answered my prayer in less than a week!

We're told that our lives are a letter to be read by all who see us. Our actions should reflect the beauty of our Lord. But, even more, we should be open and willing to show people that it is not just our actions, but God acting through us. God wants to blow you away with His miracles...so start asking! I encourage you to live a life so that you are a letter worth reading!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:05:31 PM
  Minutes

By: Scott M Ringo


What is the significance of a minute in a day?  What is ten minutes in a day?  We each get 1440 minutes in a day and most of those go by unaccounted.  Sure, we notice the day go by because we live through each one of them but it difficult to account for every one of those minutes in detail.  It can be a struggle when someone asks us what we did yesterday, and find it challenging to come up with an answer that seems worthy of spending a whole day on the tasks we performed? 

According to world statistics in the last ten minutes, 75 mothers gave birth to cute cuddly babies that are alive and well.  In those last ten minutes, 42 people said their last good-bye to the life that they lived on this earth, content or not with what they had done.  For the last group of people those last ten minutes were important.  The last ten minutes were important for all of us if we get practical about it.  Medically it takes fewer than 5 minutes from the time our hearts stop until we are in eternity.  What about spiritually, how long does it take your "spiritual heart" to die once your passions die?  It might be even fewer than the last ten minutes. 

In John 15:7 Jesus tells us, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. " 

The Greek word used for desire here is "aijtevw".  Aijtevw means to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, or require.  This intense emotion is in the New Testament 68 times.  Jesus lived this life of desire  (aijtevw) while He walked this earth.  It is amazing thought that Jesus came determined to give everyone He met the desire for what they longed for. 

If we believe what Jesus said, then we should be living each minute of every day continual in Jesus, His words continuous in us, and doing our best to meet the aijtevw others have. 

My Challenge to You
Meeting the needs that other people have shows them that we care for them and that they are important.  Each of us with a little effort has the ability to meet the needs of others.  We might find we have no time to meet the needs of others because we are so busy trying to meet our own wants.  You can never give too much to others, and in giving, you may just find that you meet your own needs by serving others in their needs.

Take a couple minutes today and plan out how you can serve those God placed around you by helping them get what they need.  The couple of minutes that you can give to those around you today could be the biggest difference anyone has made in their life.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:07:18 PM
  Praying For Your Church

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehar


Colossians 1 9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Are you really praying for your church? There are times that I think that when we pray for our church it may sound like, “God, would you bless my church?” Other times, it comes with utter passion and a need for desperate help and it comes out, (emphasis on God) GOD! Would you bless my church? It just seems that when we come to God in prayer for our churches that we really do not ask Him for the things that we really ought to be asking Him?

What would happen if we prayed like Paul and said, “Lord Jesus, I want to take the promises that you have given us in James, and the promise that you have given us in Colossians, that Paul asked for concerning the little church in Colosse, Lord Jesus, would you extend your grace, knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding to our church? Would you help it with division, synicism, gnosticism and the forces of evil that we are battling at the church? Bind us together in one accord? Will you help us to bear fruit in every good work that we do, to grow in knowledge of God. Father will you give us the strength with all power according to his glorious might so that we may have great endurance and never want to give up, and never want to let petty things that bother us cause division among us. Give us patience, and joy. We give you the thanks and the glory for all of these things. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!”

What would happen if we made it our certain point to make that our prayer? I know that with the faith in God that He will begin to answer our prayer and we can begin to see these things happen in our churches. May we begin to pray these things, and take a look at our prayer life and see what God would have for us to really be praying about when it comes to our church instead of our own mamby pamby little prayers that we have been saying for our church, and watch God do a mighty work! May God’s Grace Abound In You And Your Church!
   


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:08:19 PM
  You Might Die Today

By: Janet Adams


In Memory of Donn W. Adams.

No one wakes up in the morning thinking, "Maybe I will die today." But someone will die today.

Someone got out of bed this morning never to return to it tonight.  Some said good-bye to their wives, husbands, children, parents, brothers or sisters this morning over breakfast telling them they will see them later.  But some will never come home tonight.  Some have great plans for the weekend that will never happen, instead their family will be at their funeral.  It happens.  On June 12, 1999 at 7pm my husband kissed me good-bye and left to go to the store to get steaks to barbecue.  As I was making the salad and setting the table on our porch for dinner, the call came in.  My husband was dead. 

He had not been sick or hurt or anything.  He died of a brain aneurysm.  He was dead before he hit the floor in the grocery store.  He didn't wake up that morning saying, "I might die today."  He had plans, a good job, a family, a life.  When it is our time to leave this world there may be no warning at all.  Some are ill and know that the time is drawing near, but for most, we do not know.  I know that when my husband left and never came back that he did go to a place that was prepared for him.  Heaven, my husband went immediately to Heaven, how do I know that?  The Bible says:
"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."  John 11:25 KJV

I witnessed during our lives together my husband prepare his soul to insure he was going to Heaven.  I saw my husband pray to Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sins and to change his life.  I saw my husband dedicate his life to God.  I saw him grow in a personal relationship with Jesus over the years.  I saw the spirit of the Lord within him each and every day.

IF YOU WERE TO SUDDENLY DIE TODAY -
DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE WHERE YOU WILL GO?
DO NOT WAIT !!!!

Do not wait another minute because no one knows where our time is come.  Go on your knees NOW and pray to God for salvation.  Ask Jesus to come into your heart and live there, changing your life and forgiving you of your sins.  You need no fancy prayer, just talk to him from your heart as you would your best friend.  This guarantees a place in Heaven for all eternity.  Especially when we are young we may think we have plenty of time to do this in our lives - but we just never know.  An actual prayer to God must be said, just thinking and feeling it won't make it so.  Go down on your knees NOW and ask Jesus to come in your life.  Believe me I never expected to never see my husband again when he left that evening. Go to God now and make your reservation for a wonderful eternal life with Jesus in Heaven.  I know one day I will see my husband again when it is my time to go to Heaven. Do it before its too late, you don't get a second chance after you die.  The alternative is ever lasting life in torment separated from God in Hell.

"For me to live in Christ and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21 KJV

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  Jon 14:1-3 KJV



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:09:14 PM
  Sharing Problems

By: Steven Self


Question:  How can I tell other people at my church the problems I’m having
when I don’t trust them to keep it a secret?


James 5:16 (The Message)
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for
each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a
person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.


As Christians, we are called to encourage each other and build each other
up.  Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves amongst a crowd of gossips
and busy-bodies.  Many people have grown up believing that church is just a
place you go and everyone puts on a happy face.  Many people see church as a
social club where the only way to be “In Christ” is to be happy and cheerful
and perfect.  That’s not how Christianity is.  Christians aren’t perfect,
they aren’t always happy and they don’t always have easy lives.  As a matter
of fact, it’s much harder to be a Christian than not.

Church gossip can be worse than the politics are in congress, but we don’t
have to play in to it.  If you go on and pretend nothing is wrong because
you don’t trust the other people at church, your putting on the same face
they are.  The bible tells us to admit our faults to others and seek
encouragement from each other.  But if you are in an environment that’s like
this, you want to be very careful about who you do talk to.  It’s important
to find someone who you can look up to in Christ, someone who is actually
living a Christian life, not just putting on a Christian suit when they
venture in to church.  This takes a little homework.  Try to find out how
they live their life outside of church.  When you are truly living a life to
please God, it’s really easy to see when others are too.  This really does
take one to know one.

If you are having a hard time figuring it out, talk to your youth minister
or senior minister, pastor, etc.  There are some exceptions, but for the
most part, they are very good to talk to.  If you still can’t find the help
your looking for, you can always write to one of your friendly, neighborhood
TDDM writers.  We not only write devos, but I’ve been told we listen well
too.

You will face troubles in your walk, it will happen, Jesus guarantees it. 
When we do, we need to seek the advice of people who can help us and lead us
in the right direction.  If you need help, open up to someone you can trust
today.  But I also want to challenge you to look around your church and ask
yourself, if someone else is having a problem, do I live a life that would
invite them to bring their problems to me?  Many people find that when they
open themselves up to help others, they begin to also find other people to
help themselves out.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:10:04 PM
  The Domino Effect

By: Beth Hays


For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:13-14) NLT

I grew up in a pretty ritualistic church. That's great if that's how you worship. But, for me, it only led to a huge game of "playing Christian." I knew all the answers in Sunday school--the good little girl, as most would say. Always smiling, the church thought I was the perfect daughter. They were wrong. I was a very depressed and lonely little girl who tended to take that out on my very frustrated parents.

I did the prayer thing...at least on the surface. Yes, I said "Dear God...bless mommy and daddy and grandpa and grandma..." But, did I ever really talk to God? No. Why didn't I talk to God? Simple-because I didn't know Him. I just pretended to.

When I was 11 I went to church camp. During that week someone told me that God wanted to be more than the "big guy in the sky." She told me that He wanted to be my friend. I didn't have many friends...and a free friend sounded pretty good. So, I told God that I wanted to be His friend. Things have gotten much better from there. I'm really praying now. In fact, I have hour-long conversations with God at least once a day. These are the highlights of my days. But how did I come to call on God? I believed. How did I come to believe? Someone told me. Do you see Paul's (and I believe God's) point here?

So what does this leave you to do? Well, if you don't believe...I just told you about god...so talk to Him. If you do, help others to believe by telling them. Way too many times people tell us to witness, but they don't explain why. Your job: start the eternal domino effect.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:11:05 PM
  Path

By: Scott Michael Ringo


Have you ever taken a road trip?  We are all on a road trip of sorts through our life.  Many times that thought conjures up images of complicated twists and turns trying to know the exact path to take.  A road or path is just a tool.  The journey can be more important than the destination and many times is.  The path is a way to get to where we are going that has a surface that may be a bit smoother than heading straight into the jungle whacking bushes.  Depending on which path we choose to a destination may decide how quickly we arrive, or which means of transport we can take the trip on.  The means of transport may also decide the "ride" of our journey.  On foot or a car we might have a better chance at new discoveries while in a plane we will miss the details, the view will be different.  A path may have twists, turns, bumps, and even bridges that we must navigate.  A well-groomed road has few of these challenges allowing faster arrival to the destination, thought it might be a longer road.  There are even those times when there is no path available and bushwhacking through the jungle is the necessary means of travel.  We may not have a choice in the path we take or the vehicle by which we travel.



A bumpy challenging road is not a bad choice for some, as they love the adventure and the discovery.  Gaining experience in travel through life on roads like this is the only choice for the adventurer.  Pioneering a path is a challenging yet rewarding accomplishment.  For some, pioneering uncharted territories is what they love to do.  They explore the new and marvel at the discoveries as they journey through life.  Their passion matches the depth of the assignment and the stories and lessons they gain are endless.



To mature each of us must travel some unfamiliar paths.  We can do that with great delight or complete misery, the choice is ours.  A smooth or bumpy road does not mean we took a wrong turn; it is just part of the journey to the destination.



Paul lived the life of a pioneer, and no doubt, his path had boulders, potholes, twists, and great drop-offs.  The letter that Paul encourages the Philippians with is an attitude that we should have no matter the current path we are walking.



"Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again – rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.  Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7



Paul made it to the end of the journey he was on, as in time, we will.  How we progress and the attitude we have on our journey is all up to us.



My Challenge to Us
On any journey, whether it is spiritual or physical it is important to continue to head towards our destination.  We might take a wrong turn or experience exhaustion but continued progress towards the end of the road is essential in completing the trip.  You may not be a pioneer and despise the bumpy or challenging terrain you find yourself on at times.  Heed the advice from Paul, one of the worlds best travelers "Always be full of joy in the Lord".  You will eventually get to your destination and the rest at the end will be worth the trip.  While traveling, enjoy the journey!   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:11:54 PM
  What Is Your Temperature

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Rev. 3:14-21


15. "I know the things that you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.
I wish you were one or the other!"


I remember the day that I got married like it was yesterday. It was hotter
than all get out on that July day. I remember the moment that my wife
gave me her ring for my finger. I was dazzled by what was in it, and
especially the fact that it was gold. I never wore much gold growing up,
and now, for the rest of my life, I was honored to wear something that would never tarnish or would ever fade. As I got older, I began to wonder how gold was made, got to be so shiny and what a jeweler had to accomplish in order to get the finished product. After a little research, a jeweler will melt gold from its beginning state so many times until he finally gets to the point where he will see his reflection, and it shines like the sun.

Friends, the city of Laodicea was the most wealthy of the seven of the seven churches in the book of Revelation. More that likely, they had all that they ever wanted in the area of riches. It was known for its industries, manufacturing, as well as
its medical studies. The city always had a problem with its water supply
though, so bad that they had to have water piped in from hot springs in
other lands. By the time the water reached the city it was lukewarm, so
lukewarm that it made it disgusting to drink.

People in the church at Laodicea had become just that in their faith. They
were neither hot and on fire for Christ, nor were they as cold as ice. They had everything, yet they were lukewarm which led to idleness causing the church to become hardened
and self satisfied. This would ultimately cause them to be destroyed from
the inside out, and God would "spit" them out of His mouth.

Friends, how many of us are lukewarm? Think about it for a second. Some
of you are totally riding the fence when it comes to your faith and
relationship with Jesus. Some of you are right out cold, and without any
spiritual life in your hearts. What is the solution?

First, Jesus said to repent. Turn from our ways, and go back. Begin a
passion for Him. Second, he said to "buy gold from him." Remember what I
said earlier about gold? We need to become gold in Jesus's eyes so that
we can reflect Him in our lives and hearts. Thirdly, the text says, "I
stand at the door and knock." Jesus is standing at the door of all of
our lives, and it is our choice whether or not we let Him in. He wants us
to invite Him to take control of our lives. Friends we need to do just
that.

Finally, what about your life? Is God refining you like gold? Can He see
His reflection in your heart? My prayer is that you will do a reality
check, repent, and begin to see His reflection in your lives. He is
standing at the door and knocking, won't you let Him in to live forever?
May God Be With You




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:12:49 PM
  Afraid Of God

By: Matt Crawford


"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7
"For we know Him that has said, ‘Vengeance belongs to Me, I will recompense,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord shall judge His people.‘ It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." Hebrews 10:30-31

Are you afraid of the Lord? All throughout the bible the fear of the Lord is stressed as an important thing. If not for fear of the Lord, none of us would have ever felt the need for forgiveness of sins. If not for fear of the Lord, God’s children would walk all over Him.

Some people don’t believe God should be feared, and many also believe He will not punish them for sins. But the bible says that we should fear God. In fact, God did punish His own chosen people, the Israelites, many times in the old testament. When they rebelled against Him in the desert, He caused them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until the generation of unbelievers were dead. When Uzzah showed contempt for the ark of the covenant by trying to keep it from falling (ignoring a command that only the priesthood should handle it) God’s anger burned against him and he died on the spot. In the book of Acts, when the early believers were selling their belongings and becoming a collective, one couple decided to sell their land but hold back part of the money for themselves. The same couple God struck down and killed for lying to God.

The bible says clearly that God is no respector of persons, which means that God does not favor one man above another, or use a looser set of morals for judging one person than another. If this is the case, what is to say that God would not punish Christians, His own saved people, as He punished His people in the old and even the new testament?

I don’t stress this to make you cower and tremble and think you are going to hell for whatever sins you have done. The bible says that if we confess our sins and repent, God will forgive us. (1 John 1:9) But for those who are sinning, this is a warning. We are to fear and respect God. Doing this is the beginning of wisdom in that it was the fear of God that called us to salvation, and it is the fear of God which keeps us from sinning and falling away from our savior. Because despite what people believe, God does judge His people, and He will punish His people. Does He love us? Yes. Are we saved? Yes. But He is also the Father, the Judge, Holy. There is no sin without consequence, and just like a father punishes His children accordingly, so God punishes us.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:13:34 PM
  Being In Love

By: Janet Adams


"in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" Romans 8:28

Fifteen year old Beth is in love with James.  Is this real love?  Or puppy love?  It is real love and the commitment she has made to their relationship is real.  They have promised to love each other forever and they really mean it.  Now that doesn't mean it will last forever. 

Between the ages of 15 and 21 people change the most.  They change interests, attitudes and values.  They will discover new talents and gifts within themselves.  They will change attitudes and opinions about the way others live their lives and what they want out of life.  What the 15 year old may want at 15 isn't what she may want when she turns 20.  There are many decisions that you will make that can change your life in the stage of 15 through 21.  Making the wrong choice can have a lasting effect.  Some of the wrong choices may result in having sex before marriage, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. 

Love at 15 is real and all the real emotions come with it.  You need to evaluate your relationships and seek the will of God in these emotions.  A commitment to God, keeping Him the central point in your life will help you keep all these emotions in check.  Love is the most important thing you will feel and it has its up and downs.  Having God walk with you through these very important years is vital to keep a healthy grounded life.  You don't want to live with regrets that you carry through a lifetime, no regrets, don't regret something at 21 that you did at 15.  Think carefully about love and your relationships.  Place God in the center of all things in your life, love included.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:14:27 PM
  Someday: Perfection

By: Beth Hays


Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:43-44) NLT

I have several close friends with eating disorders. I have even more that are unsatisfied with how they look. I could spend hours showing you just how much God thinks you are perfect the way you are. But, I know most of it would go in one ear and out the other. So, I'll save that for another day. Instead I want to offer you some hope.

You look in the mirror and you can probably tell me more about you that you don't like than what you do. Maybe you're underweight or overweight. Maybe you're too tall or too short. Maybe you have acne or other blemishes. Maybe you have birthmarks or deformities. Whatever you see in that mirror, I promise you're not the only one who feels that way about themselves.

But, it isn't always going to be this way. In the course of your earthly life it will probably change a little. You may grow taller and your skin may grow wrinkly. Then you may even grow shorter. But, when you leave this earth, we are promised, that your body will so much better. You will be full of power and glory. You'll look an awful lot like Jesus after His resurrection. So, I want to encourage you that no matter what you find wrong with your body now (which, I remind you is perfect to God), it will go away someday. You have hope. You will be more beautiful than any of us can imagine. Let that fill you will hope when you look into your reflection!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:15:29 PM
  The Cage

By: Scott Michael Ringo


My mother has an African Lovebird named Tiki.  Tiki likes his life indoors and has a sheltered, posh life with all the benefits.  Tiki has an eight-story cage, a seed bowl that is always full, a soft cozy bed, and all the comforts of air-conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter.


As I held him one day, I wondered if He knew God.  Maybe a strange thought, but do animals simply know who God is without question?  I believe they know God; all nature must for He is its creator.  When Tiki needs something, does He ask God for it or does he simply know that God will take care of his need? 


If birds have faith then Tiki might have more faith than even other birds.  Tiki needs to have faith that not only will God provide for him but that his provision from God comes through his caretaker.  He is very helpless to do anything himself to gain what he needs in any other way than through someone else.  Compared to other birds, Tiki might actually have an easier physical life.  He always has food without getting up early to "get the worm", and even medical attention that without it he would have died.  (See the story "Tiki")


However, Tiki has lost his freedom from certain natural acts.  He is not free to make his own decisions on where to go outside his cage, and he has never flown.  However, does he care?  Other birds are free as the wind, they spend their days where they want, but are subject to disease, or even getting ate.  Therefore, there are good points and bad points to that freedom.  Given all the benefits of being a "caged" bird maybe the loss of freedom is worth the other benefits.  Tiki's gain of benefits comes with the loss of being able to fly and be free in the world as a natural act.  If deciding on his own, knowing all the choices, would Tiki choose the life indoors or out?


Tiki's scenario is much like ours.  Many look at a life surrendered to God as a life put in a cage without freedom.  The freedoms they feel they would lose are freedoms of natural acts that they should have not loose.  The only freedom that God requires us to give up is the freedom to sin. 


When we choose God, we are deciding to let go of the freedom of sin for the gain of being with Him and all His benefits.  To be in relationship with God we choose to give up freedoms that we could have, but to have those freedoms would result in a life without God.  Given the choice, knowing all the options, a life in God with all the benefits of His provision and love far outweighs the freedom of sin.  Once we learn God's love it is easy to trust giving away what we may sense as freedom, and recognize it is not a loss but freedom itself.


"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it.  But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.  And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process?"  Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)


My Challenge to Us
I believe God wants us to be more like Tiki, helpless to do anything without Him providing for us.  The "cage" that He provides us is not a cage to take away our freedom but instead a "cage" that is for our protection.  God created us to have freedom and happiness with Him and the freedom of sin only brings sadness with a life and eternity apart from Him.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:16:37 PM
  It Is All About Love

By: Joyce K. Rhoda


Scripture: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Think about how many times you say the words "I love you" and who you say them to. There are different degrees of love. The love you feel for family, friends, significant other or pets are all a little bit different. However, God, the creator of love wants us to know that loving Him is the first and greatest commandment he gives us. "Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  Matthew 22: 37-40.

To know the true definition of love you need to read 1 Corinthians 13, which is referred to as the love chapter. Study this chapter then try to apply this to how you love those around you.

Gods love for us is true unconditional love; the closest humans come to that type of love is the love that a parent has for their child. God understands the strong feelings and committment that a parent has for their child but he insists that we love him even above our children, even asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.

Love is a very powerful emotion and we need to keep this emotion focused on God. As you begin dating and even when you find the person you intend to marry; be sure that your love for God remains true, strong, first and foremost in your life. When two people marry and both put God first they will be blessed by Him.

Keep these next two scriptures in mind, they will help keep your love focused on God. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
and "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 38-39.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:17:16 PM
  Slandering Truth

By: Beth Hays


But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach their destructive heresies about God and even turn against their Master who bought them. Theirs will be a swift and terrible end. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of them, Christ and his true way will be slandered. (2 Peter 2:1-2) NLT

I must admit: I'm a sucker. I am way too trusting and will consider almost everything that's offered to me. I fall for way too many gimmicks and cons. Biblical teaching used to be no exception for me. I would see someone and automatically assume they were of God. But, lately God's been teaching me a lesson.

I watched part of a movie today. I'm not sure what is was called, but in it a man pretended to be a preacher and faked miracles. He did all of this simply to gain money. Then, I was watching a local Christian television station when I saw a preacher running wildly around a stage and repeatedly asking for money. Then she started to threaten that only those who give money to her organization can receive healing and miracles. C'mon, people!

I used to just assume that this was truth...until I dug deep into God's word. I realized that miracles and healing are available to everyone. I also realized that there are people out there who are pretending to be men and women of God only to gain money for themselves. The Word tells us that people will deceive us. Yet, we're not without hope. God will take care of them in His time. But, until then make sure you steer clear of all teaching that doesn't match up with God's Word. Don't be guilty of following someone who slanders the true way of Jesus.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:17:59 PM
  Recognizing Holiness

By: Beth Hays


Do not treat my holy name as common and ordinary. I must be treated as holy by the people of Israel. It is I, the LORD, who makes you holy. (Leviticus 22:32) NLT

My name is Beth. You probably know that by now considering it says "By: Beth Hays." In my school there are probably 5-7 other girls named Beth. It isn't an uncommon name. So, if you were t come into an assembly and scream the name Beth, though we might look, we wouldn't come running. That's because my name is ordinary.

God is a whole other story though. There is only ONE being named God. There is only one God. He's one-of-a-kind. When we whisper "God" he comes running. So, don't say "God" as if it's nothing...because in all actuality He is EVERYTHING. He's not common or ordinary. There is no one like our God. So, remember the next time you get frustrated with the slow driver in front of you, or whatever your personal temptation may be. His name is Holy...just like He is. 

Because of His holiness, you can come to be more holy. But, you can't do it by yourself. Start looking through scripture and looking at the character of God. Realize His perfection. And then realize that he pictures you perfect as well...and he has the power to shape you more and more like Him everyday. Our God is awesome (in the truest sense of the word) and He wants you to recognize that. Take some time today to step back and look at who he really is.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 15, 2006, 01:18:44 PM
  Reward

By: Scott Michael Ringo


Driving along on my way to somewhere one day a car passed me in the left lane.  The car was a Mercedes and as it passed the license plate caught my attention.  I am often amused at what people will attach to the rear of their cars.  I began to decipher the customized license plate.  The first word was "My".  The second word was indeed cryptic, rewind…red wind…Reward.  The license plate stood for "My Reward".  Plainly, the car was a reward of some type for the people who owned her.  The car was a nice car but fell short of what I would call a reward.  The owners even got short-changed on the word "REWARD" spelled out on the license.

No, our reward is ready, waiting, and far better than a car or a huge house for us at the end of life here on earth.  The reward that we will receive is not a prize that will rust and fall away one day, but instead a life forever in our creator's presence.  Though marriages, families, and homes may be enjoyable to some extent, the reason for living this life is more important than even those.  Life is just a short sprint in which to run well so we can receive the prize awaiting us in heaven. 

Paul explains it like this: "But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven."  Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)

In Corinthians Paul asks: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it".  Corinthians 9:24 (NLT)

My Challenge to Us
All our life's efforts are worth the strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize.  It is so easy to be fooled there is a reward that we are to be seeking while here in this life.  So much around us tempts us into believing there are reward items that we should be picking up along the way to heaven.  There is only one prize, one race, and one effort worth aiming for, and that effort is Jesus Christ himself.





Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 16, 2006, 10:20:32 AM
  The Rock

By: Rev. Adam R. Rinehart


Matthew 7:25 “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

What a site?! Here in Indiana we have had so much water over the past few days that I have wondered if I needed to build an ark? The water in the basement, the flood in the church parking lot, and the stink! People have been cleaning their houses, and the insurance adjusters busier than all get out.

While thinking about all of this, I have thought about what Jesus said about building our house on the sand and about building our house on the rock. When I think about making sure that our house is on the rock, I think about making sure that Jesus is the foundation that our lives are built upon. When storms and floods come, and our lives are built upon the Jesus then our lives will always stand.

In conclusion, we need to do a reality check and really see where our lives our built upon. Are they in the sand and easily washed away? Are they truly built upon Jesus Christ the solid rock! May God’s Grace Abound In You



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 16, 2006, 10:21:13 AM
  Reckless Love

By: Beth Hays


May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other--each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified. (Romans 15:5-7) NLT

There are some people who just drive me crazy! Know what I mean? They do that one thing that grates on my every nerve. They constantly take from me and never give in return, or they talk about me behind my back. There are people who I just can't stand some days. How could God ask me to live in Harmony towards them? And how can he ask me to treat them like I would treat Jesus? Tough commands, eh? Yet, we are reassured that God alone will give us the patience and encouragement necessary to love them as Christ does.

I always hate it when people tell me to do something and then don't explain why I need to do it. Thankfully, God gives us a reason to love everyone, even those who drive us crazy. He wants us all to unify and to praise Him together. Praise God with the Goth in your school? Sing to Him with your abusive father? Honor the Father with girl who makes fun of you? Do these things seem impossible? They are God's vision. He envisions us all unified giving Him glory...and He gives us the tools to follow this commandment.

So, what is your job? To "accept each other just as Christ has accepted you." Look at your life and your heart. Glance deep inside and see all the times when you have scarred hearts with your words and harmed souls with your actions. How could the God of the universe accept you as you are? The answer is simple: grace-loving you even though you don't deserve it. So what are we to do: Show grace abundantly. Be the hands of Christ to that person who most drives you crazy. Thankfully, you don't have to do this alone because Paul reminds us that God will help us in this endeavor. So, go out there and love recklessly so that one day we can all praise God together.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 16, 2006, 10:22:31 AM
  Is The Bible True?

By: Steven Self


Question:

I've been a Christian most of my life but lately I've been wondering if the Bible is really true.  How do we know that the Bible was really inspired by God and not just made up?

2 Timothy 3:16 (The Message)

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another--showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way.

There have been many questions as to whether the bible was truly accurate.  How do we know it’s really the truth?  Well, lets look at the facts.  The bible was written over a 1500-year period, by over 40 different authors in different parts of the world, and in different languages.  You can read the bible from cover to cover, and when read correctly; you’ll find no contradictions of ideas.

Time and time again, people have tried to disprove events that the bible talks about only to find that the event did actually occur.  A scientist who was trying to disprove it wrote one of the most compelling books written about the Death, Burial and resurrection.  Instead the evidence he found led him to believe and brought him to Jesus.

Truthfully, we couldn’t have come up with this stuff on our own.  If you were going to create a god for people to worship, would you create one who loves you and one who sends his own son to die for you?  Absolutely not.  With our human nature we would create gods that are powerful and don’t put up with people messing up.  We wouldn’t create a God of grace, but one of power.  Take a look at some religions that are considered cults, you’ll find that the gods they worship are something that a human would have invented.

I believe the bible is 100% true and 100% inspired by God.  The bible was written by a God who is much bigger than we are and who is more amazing than we could ever imagine, which make the bible much bigger than we are.  Have you ever been reading over one and all of a sudden it took on a new meaning?  It happens all the time, it’s because God’s word is alive.  God has done so much in my life and shown me so much in the bible that I couldn’t possibly ever believe otherwise.  It’s natural to question the bible, don’t accept what other people say about it without really digging in and learning for yourself.  When you seek God’s face and dig into the bible for His guidance, you’ll find it’s much more alive than you’ve ever seen before.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:52:17 AM
  Open Arms

By: Beth Hays


Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome. (Ephesians 3:12) NLT

I've been a Christian for six years now. I've been an active Christian for three. Yet, it wasn't until this past June that I was able to walk freely into God's presence. My path was blockaded by past shame, guilt, and fear.

The shame came from looking back at the horrors I have seen and experienced. It came from knowing that God has seen the horrible things that have taken place in my life. Certainly after knowing that he wouldn't want me. The guilt came from the sin that I still kept locked in my heart. It was born of sins that I had let fester, even though God had long forgiven them. I still hated myself. The fear came from seeing Him as an angry Father who would strike at any moment.

Then, at a conference total saturated with the message of God's abundant love, I came to get a little courage. I first had to come to a point of brokenness and stand in that yucky place of shame, guilt, and fear. Then, in that point of intense vulnerability, I got up the courage to look up at my God and really look into His eyes. I saw that, contrary to my fear, he didn't run when he saw my grossness. Instead, He opened His arms and surrounded me in peace and relief.

What in your life is hindering you from waling fearlessly into God's presence? Do you know that God already sees that? Yet, my friend, he loves you anyway. He sees all that you are and is longing for you to look up to Him and give Him everything. Reach deep inside and find that courage to boldly enter His gaze-you will be shocked by what you find. You will find that the God of the universe is ready and willing to gladly accept you with open arms.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:53:30 AM
  Leashes

By: Scott M. Ringo


Each morning I start my day thanking God for the peace and freedom from all entanglements that I have in Him.  On one particular morning while enjoying that thought a neighbor was walking his dog.  Dressed in a tie for work he patiently waited for his animal do the necessary things that dogs do on walks.  The dog sniffed the grass, deposited some items, checked out a flower, and rolled the grass.  I realized how unlike a dog the dog was actually being.  If the dog were not on the leash, it be running, rolling, dashing off, and possibly never come back?  I wondered who was actually on the leash the dog or the owner.

Pondering why the leash was necessary, a couple thoughts came to mind.  Domestication for dogs in captivity is necessary.  Domesticating a dog is training it to be a little less like a dog and a little more like a human.  Domesticating is also training the human to be a little more mindful the dog has needs and is never going to be human.  We as humans keep animals in an unnatural environment, mostly indoors, and in the box that we call home which is "our" comfort level.  We want companionship at a level that is convenient for us which causes unnatural rules and behavior for the animals we keep. 

Jesus blended into the common people and met them where they were bringing freedom to the captive.  For people like a blind man at a city gate, a woman at a well, and a man that had been dead for three days Jesus gave them all they had ever wanted.  From what we know of Jesus' daily life he had no set schedule, instead as He went about His day He gave the people that He came on their hearts wants.  Jesus did not have a special appearance but instead looked like those who were common.

When was the last time that we gave someone their hearts desire simply because they asked for it?  No leashes, no laws, no stipulations, only that which they want more than anything else and everything to carry out that desire.  Have you received your hearts desire lately?  I wonder if when we do things for people we do them with only our agenda and goals in mind.  Is it that we only do for others so we get something out of it ourselves?

Jesus' message to the religious rulers of his time was that, indeed, they were only thinking of themselves and not the people that they were serving.  In Luke 11:46 Jesus tells the religious leaders "You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help." There is a similarity to the "leashes" we looked at earlier.  It is interesting that it was the common people who recognized Jesus for whom He was and the religious leaders, full of biblical knowledge who nailed Jesus to a cross. 

My Challenge to You
Is it possible for us to make an acquaintance with a person and our only motive being to serve them with what they need and want, never mentioning our position, our knowledge, or our needs?  Meeting human needs was a daily activity that Jesus, the Son of God was consistent in and still is today.  The religious leaders were full of book knowledge but when it came to meeting human needs, they crushed the people beneath religious demands but never willing to help.  Will you be a person who becomes a common person not bound up in religious laws and controls (putting leashes on people) and instead brings freedom to those who are in need of a miracle?  Be a person who makes your daily activities meeting human needs, giving God glory through your serving.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:54:14 AM
  Full In Him

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Colossians 2

9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (NIV)

“I only left for a few minutes.” I told my wife as I came home to find the inflatable pool that my daughter enjoys playing in overflowing with water. The waterfall from the top of the porch going down on the bushes below was indeed a site to behold. I placed the hose in the pool and then left to go to the church. I had not turned it full blast, but I will tell you that once water flows, it keep going until someone turns it off.


When we look at the fullness of Christ, and who Christ is, we know that He is both fully Christ and fully man. With that, we know also that Christ has filled us and we do not need anything or anyone else to sustain us. We are “full” or “complete” in Him! Our position as a child of the King is knowing that we are indeed full of Him!

Why is it then that we have trusted other forms of people or things to try to find that fullness that God overflows our hearts? We have placed that aspect to the test, and have asked, “What is the true meaning of life?” We have placed things that are tangible and things that are going to fade away into the place of our hearts where Jesus wants the fullness and wants to overflow Himself in us. We have to realize that when we look for the meaning of life, there is not other meaning or no other person that wants that hole in our hearts but Jesus because He is life and He is our everything.

Is Jesus your everything today? Is He the fullness that fills your heart? May we today take a strong look at our hearts and truly see that Jesus is our everything and overfills our hearts with His “fullness”. May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:54:52 AM
  Self Control

By: Matt Crawford



"He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." (Proverbs 25:28)

Imagine a city with no walls and no defenses. The ruler of the city has neglected to fortify it, thinking "tomorrow I will build walls." The next day arrives, and again the ruler neglects the need.
Suddenly, thousands of foreign soldiers pour over the horizon, and the ruler realizes the grim reality: He allowed his own city’s doom. The enemy rushes in, plunders, rapes and destroys the entire city, and its ruler is put to shame and killed.
A believer with no self control is just like this ruler. Without self control, the devil can attack you at any time, with any temptation he pleases, causing you to be torn between God and sin. He will make you ineffective, with the eventual goal of stealing your joy, killing your witness, and totally destroying your life.

We must learn to control ourselves, to not give in to every urge of the flesh; Not just knowing what is right, but doing it. Without self control, we become ineffective, and God has no place for an ineffective servant in His kingdom.
The keys to gaining self control are constant prayer, reading the word of God, and fasting (unless health problems prohibit.) When you begin to do these things in dedication and sincerity, you will learn to control your flesh, your tongue, your behavior, and you will not fall away from the Light. But the one who does fall away, "My soul shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38)."



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:55:47 AM
  A Bugs Life

By: Tony B. Rhoda


In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:6) NKJV

Only ten more minutes until the next class started. The concrete slab my school called a bench was looking fairly comfortable. After I took off my back pack and tried to get situated I looked down to notice a tiny bug crawling across the sidewalk.

At first I didn't pay much attention to the little guy. Then I noticed the poor fella kept turning every few seconds and continued to go in circles. Did he really not understand that the grass was only maybe five more feet in front of him? From where I sat I could see exactly where he needed to go. For nearly five minutes I sat and watched him. I seriously could not understand how difficult getting to the grass could really be. I mean it is just right over there!

When I walked into the class room I couldn't help but think of how God looks down on us from heaven. Now I understand the bugs problem. All he had to do was say, "Yo Tony, help a bug out here and show me where the grass is." I would have picked him up and put him where he belonged. But, I don't think that is possible. However, we can talk to God and ask for His help.

God is there and wants only what is best for you. We are clueless and have no sense of direction when we try to choose our own paths. It is when we decided to stop wandering in circles and give our lives to God that he will point us in the right direction. What are you waiting for?

God Bless and Keep The Faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:56:33 AM
  Stock Market

By: Steven Self


Question:

My question is whether or not the Stock Market is correct for a Christian. Teachers in my school are always encouraging us to be active in the stock market because it will most likely help you, and I see it as a sort of gamble, and that`s a sin. Is it ok to participate in the stock market? Thanks & God Bless!!!

Answer:

While I would be concerned about you entering into the stock market in this economy, I wouldn't discourage you from ever getting into it.  The stock market is a risk, but it’s much different than gambling.  As a matter of fact, with good study and examination you may be able to make a good return on your investments.  Making money from the stock market is not much different than receiving interest on money you have in a bank account.  A well-placed investment may be very good stewardship of your money. 

The big mistake that is usually made is the importance that people place on their money and on their investments.  A couple of years ago when the stock market was falling, I know of several people who committed suicide because they lost a lot of money.  The hardest thing to do is to keep the right perspective on it. 

I would suggest the following, if you want to invest your money in the stock market first pray to see what God would have you do and ask Him for guidance as to what stocks to invest in.  Set aside a specific amount of money that you can afford to lose, never skimp on tithing, eating, or paying your bills to get this money.  This should be extra money that you had planned for entertainment.  Be very careful about listening to advise from stock-brokers and such, they make money whether or not you do.  They make money when you make a transaction.   

The world of investing is full of greed and deception, but the act of investing can be very rewarding (when you tithe, don’t forget where the money came from.)




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:57:17 AM
  Never Hopeless

By: Beth Hays


Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25) NLT

How many of you have looked at a Christian and thought to yourself "Why are they so upset? I thought they served this amazing God." (Note the sarcasm!) I know that before I found Christ I thought that way. I would see a Christian grieving and get mad because I thought they were hypocritical. Now, I'm not saying Christians aren't supposed to grieve. Quite the contrary...even Jesus cried. Pain is a very healthy emotion and I believe it's perfectly normal for a Christian to be upset...just not hopeless. You see, what I didn't realize was that these people were upset, yes, but that they were not without hope.

My life hasn't been easy (I don't think anyone's is), but I have never (since being a Christian) been in a situation that I didn't think God could make better. We say, as Christians, that we have this eternal hope. Now, let's act on it. Let's not give up on ourselves, or this world. Instead let's hold on to God's promise of His love.

And when our world seems so close to being hopeless, what should we do? Encourage others! Show others the hope in their lives. I guarantee that by doing so you will find hope in yours. Burst with love! Another way: hang out with other Christians. That's what church is supposed to be about, you know. Not just doing what you do every Sunday because mom says you have to, but also to fellowship (hanging out) and being encouraged by other Christians while keeping Jesus your focus.

So when life crumbles (and sometimes it will) turn to the promise of God, outbursts of your love, and the encouragement of Christian fellowship keep you full of hope. May you be strengthened today in Him!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:58:05 AM
  Summer Time

By: Steven Self


John 8:31-32 (The Message)
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. "If you
stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure.
32Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free
you."

It’s that long awaited time again. But now it is almost over.  The time that all students dream of
since the first day of every school year, a time that makes memories that
last a lifetime, a time of relaxation, a time of fun.  The only word that
can describe this wonderful time is “summer”.  What a great feeling when
that last school-bell of the year rings!

When we become Christians, it’s like going from the middle of the school
year directly to summer.  Do we lose our responsibilities? No.  But we do
get to leave behind a lot of the things the world has to stick to.   For
instance, we are no longer a slave to sin because Jesus has set us free.  We
no longer have to worry about being accepted by the popular people, because
we’ve been accepted by the One who created the popular people.  We no longer
have to worry and focus on money, we have a Lord who promises and does
provide us with all we need.  We no longer have to focus on getting high,
because we’re given a spiritual high that can’t be touched by any drug. 
We’re free from worrying about everything because Jesus said that He would
take our burdens on himself.

Upon accepting the Lord into our lives, we are given a great peace, much
better then we have on even the most relaxing of summer days.  We are set
free from accepting much of the self-torture and self-hatred the world
contends with daily.  What a pretty view of Christianity, why don’t more
Christians see it this way?  Because most proclaimed “Christians”, don’t do
any homework.  I know so many people who think going to church on Sunday and
Wednesday makes them whole.  Church attendance doesn’t make you holy, nor
does it save you.  It’s the personal relationship you have with God that
does that.

The only way to know God is to read about Him and talk to Him and follow
what He tells you to do.  That’s how a relationship works.  Most teens get
busier in the summer, but I want to challenge you to spend a little time
each day studying the bible and praying and trying to live out your faith. 
I promise that if you truly attempt to know God better, you’ll experience
the type of freedom I’m talking about.  The wonderful thing about this
freedom is that it’s not on a timetable, and you never have to go back to
being the way you were before.  The only way the truth can set you free is
if you know what the truth is.  How can you use something without reading
the owners manual?   How can you be good at something if you never practice.
  Summer eventually comes to an end, the freedom we have in God won’t.  Have
a great summer while you get to know the one who invented it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 08:59:03 AM
  Seek Wisdom

By: Matt Crawford


"Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go; keep her, for she is your life". (Proverbs 4:13)

There are several very important aspects of Christianity which the bible stresses repeatedly throughout the Old and New Testaments. One of these is wisdom. 
   
From my understanding, wisdom is something given by God, not something we already possess. Wisdom is spoken of all through Proverbs, and note Proverbs' author: Solomon. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, yet for all his wisdom he stresses the seeking of wisdom, and the "taking hold" of instruction.
   
Solomon was one of the greatest kings to ever rule God's people, because early on he relied not on his own wisdom, but asked God for a heart to judge Israel. After this he built Israel into such a great kingdom that nations everywhere paid tribute, and kings and queens came from all over to hear his wisdom.

Wisdom is necessary to understand scripture and to obey God's word. If you read the scripture without prayer for understanding, most of it will remain a mystery. On top of that, if you receive wisdom like Solomon, in the same way people will look to you for answers, advice, etc. Imagine the opportunities to share the truth of Jesus Christ that kind of wisdom would bring.

Stay buried in the scripture, praying for and using God's wisdom always. Solomon himself said that instruction is our life. If we don't seek, accept, and walk in wisdom, we will die. Hold fast to God's instruction, knowing that like Solomon eventually did in his old age, it is possible for you to lose sight of it and fall into destruction.
   


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 17, 2006, 09:00:01 AM
  Crazy for God Right Now

By: Steven Self


1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but
to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

H-town's own Beyonce Knowles has a song on the radio right now called "Crazy
in Love".  In this song, she talks about how she's so in love with this guy
that she looks crazy to other people.  She says she doesn't care how she
looks because of the love she has for this person.  Do you see where I'm
about to head with this?

The person who truly loves God, does things that make them look stupid to
the un-saved world.  We act differently when we have a true faith in God.
Once we see how much Jesus means to us, we can't help but act this way.
Does God's love have you acting crazy right now?  Do you do things that
un-saved people can't understand?  Or are you fitting in with everyone else
in the un-saved world?

When we hear the word of God and truly get the understanding of what God has
done for us by sending His own Son to die for us, it produces a response of
faith.  This faith drives us to love and to do things for God that seem
goofy to the world.  Not that were trying to earn salvation, it's just that
we're so motivated to give back to God that we can't help ourselves.

Many teens have only inherited a religion from their parents, a few teens
have begun to own their own faith and grow in God.  Where are you?  Here's
how to tell.  If you go to church, but God doesn't make a difference in the
rest of your life, then you have just inherited a religion from your
parents.  If you have begun to own your own faith, you begin not to fit in
with your old friends anymore.  You begin to seek God's guidance on how to
handle problems in your life.  You begin to care about God's feelings when
it comes to you doing things your not supposed to do.  If you don't own your
own faith yet, then earnestly pray to God to show you what to do in order to
have your own faith.  He'll respond.  He wants you to be a part of His
kingdom.  Come on, what are you waiting for?  There is an eternal difference
in inherited religion and owned faith.  Only one leads to heaven.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:25:19 AM
  Updating The Bible

By: Steven Self


Why don't they update it so it can be used in my life today?


Answer:

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The truth of the matter is that the bible is very relevant for our lives today.  Many people look at an exact story and say "This isn't speaking about modern living"  The examples in the stories somtimes may not be, but the ideas are just as valid today as they've ever been.

Many people don't believe in the bible, even some Christians.  The reason for this is simple.  We have an enemy who is trying to trick us into believing the bible isn't real so we won't follow it's teachings.  He's succeeded with some people.  If you don't believe in the bible, then ask God for guidance and spiritual discernment to know the truth.  The bible is the truth.  Period. 

Humans have a hard time accepting the fact that we're not the one's in charge of the world.  The fact is that God is in charge.  We can't control weather, sickness, or death but God can.  We don't really want to face the fact that we are accountable to the One who made us.  There is a God who formed us and made us and who we'll need to answer to.  He gave us the bible for 3 reasons.  1 - To know Him, 2 - So we would know the truth, 3 - it's a road-map to show us how to live.

God loves us very much and He would never make us go somewhere blind or without guidance.  He's given us the bible to help us along in our life.  When you read the bible, it begins to speak to you.  The bible will help you learn God's will for your life and help you to see what He wants you to do.  God uses the bible quite often to speak to people, He uses it to speak to me several times a week.  If you can't see how the bible can work for your daily life then pray to God and ask Him to show you this stuff as you read through it.  Pray that prayer everytime you read the bible and you'll be amazed at how much you begin to see fromt the bible that you never noticed before.  The most amazing thing that will happen is that you'll find out that the bible truly is relevant to your life in 2007, 2008 and so on.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:30:01 AM
  Living In The Shadow

By: Beth Hays


Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1) NLT

   
I seem to live in a cycle. I get really close with God and my life seems to be pretty close to perfect. I am overwhelmed with joy and in constant contentment. Then, something happens. And I get mad. Well, sometimes it's more sad than angry. But, nonetheless an intense emotion redirects my attention from god to my circumstances. Then, I start stressing.

When my life is all well and good, I seem to find perfect peace. Why? I was standing in the presence of God. While I'm in His presence and let Him invade my life, I look through His eyes and gain a joy that no circumstances can touch. But, when I look at my life, and lose sight of Him, I crumble. I can't even function because I am no longer in God's shadow.  I am overwhelmed with life and long for rest.

That rest is found only in LIVING in His shadow. Notice that it doesn't say run in and out of God's shadow. We're not supposed to be constantly leaving the presence of God. We're supposed to be living there. Are you? Just recently, I've learned how to stay in His presence. Have you found that place in Him? All you have to do is seek Him



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:32:05 AM
  Keep On Keeping On

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13-14)


When an inventor is trying to invent a new product, or a new idea that will change the world, there is usually a lot of trial an error. Biographies have written that it took Thomas Edison over nine hundred tries before he got the light bulb to finally work. Nine hundred times of going through the trouble of making a light bulb, plugging it in, flipping the switch and watching the lifeless piece of glass do absolutely nothing, or the wire burst into millions of tiny pieces. People must have thought that he was nuts, but he kept trying time after time. Most of us do not realize how many failures and the depression that people go through before they ever succeed in the dreams and ideas that they wish to accomplish.

Friends, that is the way it is with our lives, and the life of living for Christ. We have all dealt with depression and the failure. We have all found ourselves going through failure, and some of us through the depression and failure before we ever find ourselves in any type of success. The problem is that we let these failures and our past lead to emotions, the emotions lead to depression, and the depression lead to a victory for Satan.

Most Christians in one way or another have failed in their walks with Christ, but they would not be here to talk about it if they had just sat and let the failure get the best of them.

The solution is quite easy to talk about, but can be quite difficult to put into practice in our lives. BUT, we HAVE to forget about our past and keep running our race. Paul did. Even though he had his faults, blunders, and failures, he forgot about the past and stayed totally committed to Christ in the race that he was running. He never gave up. That is what we need to do if we fail or feel depressed.

Being committed to Christ does not always mean that we are going to be successful, but it does mean that we are to forget about the past and hang in there, learn from our mistakes and get back up and do our best in the race before us. Remember, if you are feeling like a failure and feel depressed today, I would encourage you to ultimately seek Christ, but also to find a friend that you can share it with, and let's not let Satan have any victories whatsoever in our lives. May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:33:03 AM
  Self Control

By: Matt Crawford


"He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." (Proverbs 25:28)

Imagine a city with no walls and no defenses. The ruler of the city has neglected to fortify it, thinking "tomorrow I will build walls." The next day arrives, and again the ruler neglects the need.

Suddenly, thousands of foreign soldiers pour over the horizon, and the ruler realizes the grim reality: He allowed his own city’s doom. The enemy rushes in, plunders, rapes and destroys the entire city, and its ruler is put to shame and killed.
A believer with no self control is just like this ruler. Without self control, the devil can attack you at any time, with any temptation he pleases, causing you to be torn between God and sin. He will make you ineffective, with the eventual goal of stealing your joy, killing your witness, and totally destroying your life.

We must learn to control ourselves, to not give in to every urge of the flesh; Not just knowing what is right, but doing it. Without self control, we become ineffective, and God has no place for an ineffective servant in His kingdom.

The keys to gaining self control are constant prayer, reading the word of God, and fasting (unless health problems prohibit.) When you begin to do these things in dedication and sincerity, you will learn to control your flesh, your tongue, your behavior, and you will not fall away from the Light. But the one who does fall away, "My soul shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38)."



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:33:48 AM
  Parents Divorce

By: Steven Self


My parents were supposedly Christians, but they got divorced.  What’s going to happen to them now?

Malachi 2:16 (the Message)
"I hate divorce," says the GOD of Israel. GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies says, "I hate the violent dismembering of the "one flesh' of marriage." So watch yourselves. Don't let your guard down. Don't cheat.

Divorce is a very terrible event that hurts everyone involved.   Over and over again, the bible speaks out against divorce.  The bible even says divorce is a form of violence.   In the above verse God says “I hate divorce”.  But God doesn’t hate divorce because marriage was something that He thought of and wants to make us stick to.  God hates divorce because of how badly it hurts his children. 

I can understand you being upset with your parents over this, but we all make mistakes as Christians.  How many times have you done things that don’t really glorify God since you’ve become a Christian?  You know the one thing that Christianity has that no other religion shares?  Grace.  We are the only one’s given grace.  Since we have that going for us, shouldn’t we be majoring in Grace?   Divorce is so hard, we really need to be showing them all the grace we can.  Giving them grace doesn’t mean you agree with what they’ve done.  It simply shows you love them as God loves you.

Divorce is not the unforgivable sin in Christianity, but it is sure tearing America up.  With the divorce rate soaring to new heights, America is finding itself to be a place of no family values.  Families don’t eat together, children aren’t disciplined the way they should be, children aren’t showing any respect for others because the adults aren’t showing any respect for each other.  While many of you don't have control over whats happening now, you can control what will happen in your own life.

Divorce is a terrible occurance.  Today, if you are going through the pains of divorce, I want you to know something.  God loves you and will help you through it.  Your life might have been turned upside down, but God can help you to turn it upright again.  You may be facing horrible pain and upset inside right now, but God will give you the peace your looking for.  Pray to Him right now for guidance and for help.  He doesn’t want you to suffer through this alone, He wants to help you with it.  He will.   Divorce hurts all involved, but God is big enough to heal everyone and make them better than they were before.  I should know, I’ve walked through it myself.  You asked what would happen to them now, with any luck they will be shown grace and love by those who surround them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:34:29 AM
  Known Destiny

By: Beth Hays


Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there's no use arguing with God about your destiny. (Eccles. 6:10) NLT

When I was 14 God made it clear to me where he wanted me in this world. I was very fortunate to learn, by a string of events, that god wanted me to go into youth ministry. Now, if you are one of those people who doesn't believe that girls should be in ministry, take it up with God. I am not a biblical scholar. I simply know how to recognize the voice of my Shepherd and try to follow it.

So, anyway, God told me what he wanted me to do. Well, I had issues with this. You see, when I became a Christian I promised God that I would do anything for him, except be a minister. When He told me to love His kids, I said OK as long as I didn't have to speak in front of people. Haha. God doesn't listen. I suppose that is because He is the one who calls the shots. He gave me tons of opportunities to speak in public...and then told me to use them.

Then, as I was trying to get out of going into youth ministry God took me to a youth conference. The speaker talked about being called into ministry and gave an altar call. Man, even had I resisted I think I'd been drug up to that altar by the Spirit inside of me. Wow! I've never felt such a strong pull. I had argued for years...and I was finally ready to accept God's will for me. Since that day he has molded and shaped me so much that I'm no longer dreading my future, bu instead longing for it to be truth. I want to minister...and yes, I even want to speak. I am ready to be God's hands in this world.

God is going to call us to do some pretty crazy things. They probably won't be what you had in mind for yourself. But, your future was known long ago. God has known all along what you will be. So, stop arguing and start submitting. He really does know what's best for you! Trust your Dad in heaven today!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:35:31 AM
  Wearing God-Glasses

By: Steven Self


Matthew 6:22-23 (The Message)
"Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder
and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed
and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your
windows, what a dark life you will have!

Do you or anyone you know have to wear glasses or contact lenses?  If so,
you know that a person that needs to wear them has a huge problem seeing
without them.  I know people who are blind as a bat without them, some can't
see 2 feet in front of their face.  They need to wear them so they can see
and focus on the things they need to do. 

Our Christian life is like this.  We need to wear our God-glasses if were
going to see what God wants us to do.  When we don't focus our eyes on God,
we end up focused on other things like pornography, drugs, alcohol, sex,
money, popularity, secular music, skimpy clothes and all that stuff.  The
big problem is that when we put our God-glasses on, Satan runs by and knocks
them off.  If were going to keep our eyes on God, it turns into a constant
struggle.  Satan is a bully and will do whatever it takes to keep us as
blind as possible.

Satan loves to take our weaknesses or things that particularly interest us
and use them against us, over and over.  The more he can keep us running
around in a circle, the less we are able to actually walk a straight line
for God.  Satan is really good at this stuff.  He starts things out easily,
but they only get harder.  He slowly tricks you and leads you down the path
that he wants you to follow, by the time you realize where you are, your
overwhelmed with the situation your in.  His biggest secret is getting your
attention.  Once he owns your attention, he owns you.

That's why Jesus says here that if you focus on God-stuff, you'll head in
the right direction.  But if you let yourself focus on these other things,
you head in the direction Satan wants to take you in.  What has your
attention, has you.  What has your attention today?  What are the things you
focus on and chase after?  Are they God-things or has Satan gotten you off
track again?  If you realize that your God-glasses have been knocked off,
then simply put them back on.   Don't let him make you think that you have
to get on your hands and knees and search for them.  See Satan can knock
them off, but God never allows them to go further than your hands.  They are
in your hand, simply put them back on and ask God to point you back in the
right direction.  He'll do it, He loves you and wants you to follow Him.
You are special to God, He loves to help us back to the right path.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:36:27 AM
  Beat Down

By: Ben Lippens


1 Peter 5:8 - "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

A few years ago, I flew out to Florida to minister at a Youth Event. Since we had a few days before the event itself, the Event Coordinator decided to show me some of the sights of Florida. Upon our departure from an amusement park, an argument broke out between two large men. One man was crossing the street with his (based on assumption) sister, wife, and infant. As they crossed the street with the infant in its stroller, a car drove up and the driver -- shouting obscenities -- demanded them to get out of the way. The other man saw it necessary to protect his family, but the driver was insistent on a fight. Pushing came to shoving, shoving came to hitting, and hitting came to wrapping a Road Block Barrier around the drivers head.

It was as if the driver waited for this man come to a crossroad before engaging into battle. Reality is, Satan is real. He is steady creeping around waiting for you to get to a crossroad before he attempts to beat you down. As a hunter waiting for its prey, Satan will go for the slowest, most weak creature. By living a life that is not devoted to God, you wave the white flag and fall to the ground -- waiting for Satan to shred your life to pieces. This scripture points out how you can protect yourself: Be self-controlled and alert. Be aware of your spiritual status, watch for areas of your life that fall short, tighten up loose ends. If there is a place for evil to rear its head, it will. Ephesians 6:13-18 gives Christians a description of the things God has given us to protect ourselves. Upon reading this passage, notice that in the description of the armor, NOTHING protects the backside. Why? Because God does not desire you to run, but to "Stand Firm in your faith." Also notice that there is ONE offensive tool, the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

Wisdom is extremely valuable. Being able to pass on wisdom may mean saving someone's life. Just as police use lights and sirens to notify folks that they are en route to an emergency, use your spiritual wisdom to notify others about the reality of Satan. He's there and He's ready to rock your world. Know that with God...You can ROCK HIS!!!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:37:58 AM
  Imprisoned Hearts

By: Beth Hays


So he went and preached to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19) NLT

Frantically, you pound your fists against the cold, hard metal.  You don't know what got you here and you don't know how to escape. A windowless room surrounds you. It's dark and scary. Feeling trapped is an understatement. So, you scream at the top of your lungs and you only hear laughter in return. You're in prison.

No, not all of us are in a physical prison, surrounded by iron bars and stuck eating gross food. We have the freedom to walk around this world and make our own choices. But, far too many of us live in an emotional prison. We live behind bars. Those bars have names you know. Some of us are trapped by fear, some shame, some guilt, some bitterness. Others are behind depression, abuse, or addiction. These feelings control us, and hinder us from experiencing life fully.

God didn't come for those who walk around this world without burdens and shackles. He didn't come to have casual conversation with those who were perfect. (As if there are such people anyway!) He came to those whose spirits are in prison. He didn't mean a physical prison...though He loves them too. He means emotional prisons. He came to unbind your ankles and remove your shackles. He came to set you free.

If you are living in an emotional prison, invite God into your situation. Ask Him to set you free and stand in confidence that He will be with you all the way. You don't have to stay in your prisons walls...even if they are self-built. "So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free." (John 8:36) NLT Jesus is waiting to set you free...truly free. He has the power to make those walls crumble. May you find His amazing freedom.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:39:20 AM
  Unique

By: Scott Michael Ringo


What are your passions?  It may take a minute to think of what your passions are the reason might be that it is rare when someone asks that question.  We are asked how we are, or how we feel, but usually not questions that probe as deep as what passions we have. 

God does care what your passions are because He put them there to guide you through your life in the way that He made you.  God does care that you enjoy what you do, where you live, how you spend free time.  God made you unique and He wants you to enjoy that uniqueness.

David acknowledges to God in Ps 139:13 -15
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous- and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book."

Those delicate inner parts that God knit together to make you includes your emotions, your likes, your dislikes, even what you enjoy for fun. 

All of us have times in our lives that we just do not feel like we are worth much, and everything seems to be going wrong.  Some of us may have those times of defeat more often.  At a time when David was being hunted down by his enemies and was feeling down about his life and his choices he remembered that God made him unique.  David also took comfort in knowing that God had already planned the very day that he was living.

My Challenge to You
Take a moment and acknowledge to God that you are thankful that He made you as you are.  God has some radical things planned out for you to experience and enjoy in your life, today is completely planned for you.  Next time your feeling down about yourself or your decisions remember God made your life and you as unique as anyone else’s, enjoy who you are. Take some time today doing something that is unique to you and your passions.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:40:42 AM
  You Matter (Plus Praise Report)

By: Steven Self


Matthew 5:5 (The Message)
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less.
That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't
be bought.

Our teenage years are filled with frustration, pain, anguish and growth.
And that's the easy part.  To say the least, its not an easy time of our
lives.  But our teenage years are the years we find out who we are.  They
are very important to us and teach us a lot, if we're even able to make it
through these severely trying times.  Some sadly don't.

The world paints a picture to us of what success is.  They say success is to
be rich, good-looking, skinny, in shape, to have the coolest of clothes, to
have seen the newest movies, to have the newest things and to be popular.
When we don't reach these expectations, we feel like losers.  We feel like
were not successful and don't measure up like the rest of the world (like
they measure up either). 

This scripture verse tells us not to worry about what we have or don't have,
or the way we look or don't.  It gives us permission to be happy with
ourselves because of who we are.  God made us each very uniquely.  He made
us so special that no one else in the world is just like us.  Other people
may have similar traits or interests, but no one else is just like us.  God
made us each to be individuals. 

You may not measure up to what the world says is success.  But dear child of
God, you do measure up to what God calls success.  God made you to be who
you are, dig in to that and find out where your niche is.  Don't try to
fight against it by trying to reach the world's version of success.  Just
like the ZOEgirl song "plain" says.  "You are a jewel, you're a treasure,
you are one of a kind and you shine just as bright as the stars in the sky.
You're a rare kind of wonder created just right, so keep your head up over
the pain, there's nothing about you that's plain."  Once you realize how
special you are to God and the big plans He has for you, you'll realize how
important you really are. 

 



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 18, 2006, 10:41:34 AM
  When The Storm Rages On

By: Tony B. Rhoda


* Read Mark Chapters 3-4 *

Peter wipes a drop of sweat off his face as he dips the oar into the still waters of the sea. The boat gently descends into the sunset as another day comes closer to an end. He listens to Matthew and Philip talk about the morning. A smile breaks Peter's face, as Andrew recalls that Jesus, who is fast asleep at the stern, healed the man with the withered hand.

"And the look on the Pharisees' faces was just priceless," Phillip chuckles.

"What a day," Peter thinks to himself, feeling the blister on his heel from the trek to the sea. The multitudes of all different types and from many cities came just to hear the voice of the one we call "Son Of God."

"What a blessing, He has been to us all," Matthew states, "to think that Jesus would ever want something to do with a low down tax collector."

"Like two poor fishermen are any better," Andrew adds, looking over to his brother Peter.

A gentle breeze sweeps over the boat as Peter stokes the waters with oar. A gray cloud emerges out from the top of the mountains. James turns around.

"Looks like a little sprinkle is heading our way, better grab an oar and let's get to the other side before it hits."

As the wind starts to pick up, the beautiful sunset takes cover from the growing darkness of clouds from the horizon. A wave splashes over the side unto Peter's tunic. "Come on guys, let's pick up the pace," Matthew yells. The boat tilts to one side as it gets tossed to and fro with each passing wave. "Everyone stay centered in the boat, try and keep it still," James says.

"We're taking on water," Andrew frantically screams. The rains start to beat down on their faces as the waters become rough. White caps of the waves flood into the boat as a clap of thunder sounds overhead.

"Quick, let's get this water out of here, we're going under." Peter looks around not knowing where the voices are coming from, just doing his best to keep the boat moving. Fear grips every nerve in his body as fate may have found its day for his life.

"Help!" Peter turns around, his brother was hit by a wave and was hanging on to the side of the boat. "Andrew," Matthew yells as another wave throws him back in from the other side. Climbing back onto the boat, Andrew dives over to Jesus. He grabs his shirt and shakes him. "Teacher, don't you care that we are going to DIE!?!?"

Already awake and aware of the situation Jesus rises, and rebukes the wind and the clouds and says to the sea, "peace, be still." He looks around at the disciples, each soaked, scared and in disbelief. Not knowing whether to be thankful or angry, they stand there dazed by the events. The silence was broken, "Why are you so fearful, how is it that you have no faith," Jesus asks.

A silence fell over them. "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him," they thought.

Has there ever been a point when a storm came out of nowhere to flood your life? A time when there seemed to be no hope in sight? Jesus could have sat there and lectured the disciples, or shared with them of how little faith they had, but that would have solved nothing. With the heart that we all want to have, Jesus asked a simple, humbled, question. "Why are you so fearful?"

We are going to go through trials. Times when you want to be on the floor yelling at Jesus asking Him, "Do You Care About Me?" Just remember that He does know what is going on at all times and will never let you take on more water than you can handle. Rejoice that we serve an awesome God. God Bless and Keep The Faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 19, 2006, 09:07:27 AM
  Illuminated In Darkness

By: Beth Hays


In less than a week I lost four of the most influential people in my life. None of them are lost forever, but they no longer hold the roles they once did. First, two of my youth leaders, a couple who has known me since I was in junior high, called and informed me they were leaving our church. They would no longer be the vital parts of my life they once were. I was devastated and confused. I had no idea why any of this was happening. Then, my beloved youth pastor informed me that she was also not going to be with us any longer. This amazing spiritual mentor who had been such a precious gift to me was going to be 45 minutes away. To top it all off, my best friend went back to France. My spiritual leadership dissolved in less than 7 days!

To say the least, it was devastating for me to lose my support system, and the close relationships I had. I doubted God, yelled at Him, and even threatened Him. I tried to do all I could to change it. But, of course, it didn't work. I went through the stages of grief-anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. And finally I turned to God and cried. As I was reading, this verse stood out to me: You have taken away my companions and loved ones; only darkness remains (Psalm 88:18) NLT I did feel like I was in darkness. I didn't no how to escape this. I felt abandoned.

But, as I was reading God's word a couple of days later God brought this verse to me: But even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you. (Psalm 139: 12) NLT yes, I may be in darkness...but it's not dark to God! He still sees me! He knows my pain and is still with me all the way. I may be abandoned and alone, but I'm still standing in light in God's eyes. And because of that, I'm not alone at all.

I know sometimes life can seem unbearably lonely. I know that when life crumbles we feel like we walk along in darkness. But, remember that God looks at you and sees you illuminated in the midst of darkness. May you find comfort in His amazing light!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:49:15 AM
  Fire Dance

By: Scott Michael Ringo


In many tribal cultures, there are dances and rituals that members perform to please the gods they worship. Ceremonies for rain, cleansing rituals, sacrifices, and even fire dances keep their schedules full making sure their gods are happy and not mad. 

It is as easy to make our walk with God complicated.  We can as easily make the bible so complicated that it is hard to tell when the writing is right side up.  The "fire dances" of the bible keep us so caught up we can barely face God daily, not sure if we are in good standing or not.  While there is a few basic principles set forth for us to follow in the bible, they are there to ensure that we live a life that restores us to God's loving arms.  They are not there to keep us performing a "fire dance" afraid at any moment that God's judgment will find us lacking in a performance or fear of failure.

God has already judged the world including us, other than death; we are worthy of nothing else.  Nevertheless, God has restored us to Him through His son Jesus.  Christ's death on the cross for us is the only performance we will ever need for God's love. 

God does not want our performance, neither does God want ceremonies designed to get His approval of us.  God wants us to just believe that He has our lives under His control and to live out the basics.  God calls us to live out the basics and then believe that He will carry out the details of our lives.

Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.'  And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."  Mark 12:29-31 (Message)

The simple basics are to believe in God with all of our hearts, soul, and strength and to show everyone we meet His love. 

Part of maturing as a Christian is to enjoy the freedom that God has everything in His control.  What may have looked like mistakes in the past are springboards to put you where He wants you to be today.  It is impossible for anything to go wrong and nothing can be out of control when they are God's plans.

My Challenge to Us
We need to stop fretting about the past and areas where we have failed.  There are no complicated "fire dances" that we need to perform and no intricate   God's plan for us is simple and the path that we are to follow is basic.  We need to believe that God is everything to us with finality.  Second, we need to love Him with all we have and love others as much as we love ourselves.  Everyone that made an impact for God in the bible did so by getting back to the basics that God designed for us.  It is not hard or complicated, we just need to decide today to be mature and simply do what He has told us.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:50:17 AM
  What Are You Looking For

By: Adam R. Rinehart


For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Candid Camera is beginning to show old episodes on PAX TV now. I think
that if you want to see a show that makes me laugh really hard it is that
and the Jamie Kennedy Experiment which are both shows that play practical
jokes on people out of the middle of no where. Sometimes they are setup.
Jamie Kennedy is a little more off the wall because he dresses up
himself.

In an old Candid Camera episode, an actor is on a busy sidewalk and
begins to look at the ground. He walks around a bit and continues to look
down. People are passing by him and a few give him strange looks. After a
couple minutes, he decides to get down on his hands and knees and begins
feeling around with his hands. People begin to slow down and watch what
he’s doing. Finally, one person stops and starts looking at the ground.
Then another one begins searching the sidewalk.

In a few minutes, the camera shows about a dozen people looking down,
some even on their hands and knees! At that point, the actor, who got all
this started in the first place, quietly gets up and walks away. No one
else notices that he has left. They're so intent in their search that
they never even bothered to ask what it was they were looking for. This
is a good picture of how many people live and think in our society today.
They're searching for something because they know there’s got to be more
to life.

You know some of us may be reading this devotional today, and say, “What
are you talking about? My life is the same old stuff, but a different
day! I've maintained. I've continued in my walk with Christ. What more
could you ask?”

Live for Christ! So many of us have thought that since I'VE have asked
Jesus as my personal Savior, that is it. No, it is a daily striving and
working for the Lord to see others come to know Him as their personal
Savior. It is dying to the sin that so entangle us.

Friends, Paul had it right when He said, “For me to live is Christ, and
to die is gain” His life revolved around Christ. When someone would
mention the name “Christ“, Paul would light up! When you talked about
working, striving, and letting Christ be the potter of your life, that
was right down Paul’s ally. We have to do the same! We have to have
passion for Christ and that living for Him. There truly is more to this
life, and we can find exactly what we are looking for to fill the void.
Christ! May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:51:08 AM
  Where Is Jesus

By: Matt Crawford


"And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed those that had need of healing." (Luke 9:11 KJV)

In this new testament scripture, Jesus took his disciples away to a private place in the desert to be with them. When the people found out where He was, they flocked there, and Jesus received them and taught them and healed them.
   
Many people like us who read and write these devotionals, have Jesus. We are in that private desert place with Him, learning from Him, enjoying fellowship with Him and security in His presence. But do the people we love know where to find Him? What about people we meet along the way in life, co-workers, friends, even enemies?
   
People in this life need a savior, and most don't know where He is. Some don't even know they need Him. But what this scripture says to me, is that when we tell them of Jesus, and tell them where to find Him, those who want Him will go there to that place, and Jesus will not only receive them, but teach them and heal them!
   
We often worry about what we are to say to people to get them to convert. What this scripture says to me is if we ourselves know where He is, and are with Him, all we have to do is tell others about Him, and where to find Him (the bible and prayer!) Those who want will go there, some immediately, some years from now. And when they do go, Christ Himself will welcome them, speak the kingdom to them, and heal them! It is by the leading and teaching of God himself that they will understand and be saved. All we must do is answer questions when asked, love them, tell them where to find Him, and pray that they go and see for themselves.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:51:58 AM
  Wake Me Up

By: Steven Self


Romans 1:18-20 (The Message)
But God's angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing
and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the
basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By
taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have
always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power,
for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good
excuse.

The world is hungry and thirsty for God.  People yearn for fulfillment of
the empty hole inside them.  What most people don’t realize is that the hole
within them is God-shaped and they end up running away from the very thing
they are looking for.  Check out the following verses explaining a
non-Christian’s search for the Lord.

How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb without a soul
My spirit sleeping somewhere cold until you find it there and lead it back
home.

Now I know what I’m without, you can’t just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real, bring me to life

Frozen inside without your touch, without your love darling
Only you are the life among the dead

All this time I can’t believe I couldn’t see
Kept in the dark, but you were there in front of me
I’ve been sleeping a thousand years it seems
Got to open my eyes to everything
Without a thought, without a voice, without a soul
Don’t let me die here
There must be something more

Do you know what’s amazing about this song?  It’s secular.  It’s meant to be
a dark-sounding song.  But it describes the desire in our lives that God
wants to fill for us.  Don’t know what this song is?  You’ll recognize the
chorus.

(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside
(save me)
call my name and save me from the dark
(wake me up)
bid my blood to run
(I can’t wake up)
before I come undone
(save me)
Save me from the nothing I’ve become
(bring me to life)
I’ve been living a lie, there’s nothing inside
(bring me to life)

This is a dark song, but only because the singer hasn’t ask the right person
to wake her up.  As a Christian, you know how brightly God can shine on us
and wake us up from the nothing we were becoming.  We are created to know
that there is a higher being and we know instinctively that without
acknowledging and worshipping God, we are truly living a lie.  It’s
interesting to note that this song is sung by a group called “Evanescence”,
checking out the dictionary it means, “disappearing after only a short
time.”

Not only does God create us to know He exists, He makes it very plain and
apparent in nature.  Life as we know it right now is evanescence, it does
disappear after only a short time, then we move on to eternity.  We have our
choice, Jesus and eternal life, or eternal damnation.  There is no in
between, there is no other choice.  If you don’t choose Jesus, you are still
making a choice.  Choose wisely and wake up.  God will save you from the
nothing you’ve become.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:53:22 AM
  Handling Opposition

By: Beth Hays


When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a band of men whose hearts God had touched became his constant companions. But there were some wicked men who complained, "How can this man save us?" And they despised him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them (1 Samuel 10:26-27) NLT

Saul was a pretty cool guy (we're talking about the one in the Old testament here...not the one who became Paul). He definitely made some mistakes. But, for the most part he tried to follow God. Some people noticed that he was on the right track and followed him. Some people even became his close friends. But there were others who weren't quite as nice.

Have you encountered people that treated you like that? Do you feel like you're all by yourself in a very cold world? Have you had people oppose you, tell lies about you, start rumors to destroy you? Then, you know how Saul felt. This godly man had a slew of people who despised him. In my words: they hated him with a passion.

He didn't let that stop him though. What did he do when people came against him? He ignored them! He walked away and let them say their wicked things. Do you think maybe you could help follow in his footsteps? When people come against you with anger, malice, and even violence, can you ignore their wickedness and be content with the ones who will be faithful to you? Think there's no one that fits that description. Try God. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5) NIV says your Brother. Even when the wicked hurt you, turn and look to God...He will never let you go.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:54:07 AM
  Crazy for God Right Now

By: Steven Self


1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but
to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

H-town's own Beyonce Knowles has a song on the radio right now called "Crazy
in Love".  In this song, she talks about how she's so in love with this guy
that she looks crazy to other people.  She says she doesn't care how she
looks because of the love she has for this person.  Do you see where I'm
about to head with this?

The person who truly loves God, does things that make them look stupid to
the un-saved world.  We act differently when we have a true faith in God.
Once we see how much Jesus means to us, we can't help but act this way.
Does God's love have you acting crazy right now?  Do you do things that
un-saved people can't understand?  Or are you fitting in with everyone else
in the un-saved world?

When we hear the word of God and truly get the understanding of what God has
done for us by sending His own Son to die for us, it produces a response of
faith.  This faith drives us to love and to do things for God that seem
goofy to the world.  Not that were trying to earn salvation, it's just that
we're so motivated to give back to God that we can't help ourselves.

Many teens have only inherited a religion from their parents, a few teens
have begun to own their own faith and grow in God.  Where are you?  Here's
how to tell.  If you go to church, but God doesn't make a difference in the
rest of your life, then you have just inherited a religion from your
parents.  If you have begun to own your own faith, you begin not to fit in
with your old friends anymore.  You begin to seek God's guidance on how to
handle problems in your life.  You begin to care about God's feelings when
it comes to you doing things your not supposed to do.  If you don't own your
own faith yet, then earnestly pray to God to show you what to do in order to
have your own faith.  He'll respond.  He wants you to be a part of His
kingdom.  Come on, what are you waiting for?  There is an eternal difference
in inherited religion and owned faith.  Only one leads to heaven.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:55:07 AM
  Not Your Forte

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Deuteronomy 10:20 “Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him
and take your oaths in his name.”

When is the last time that you really whole heartedly served the Lord?
Maybe your youth pastor or pastor has asked you to do something that you
may have not really liked to do, and you may have said, “Well, that is
not my forte?” Maybe you said that you did not have time, or that you did
not really feel like it.

As a pastor of a church, the more and more that I pastor churches here in
America, the more and more that I am beginning to see that people like to
be comfortable. Only do things that they think that they can do and be
comfortable with that.

Sometimes we as pastors delegate things for certain people to do because
we want to stretch their faith. We want to see God use the real talents
that are hidden inside of them. So, the next time that the God uses your
pastor to really stretch your faith, think about this. It was not Jesus’
forte to hang upon a cross, but He did it.

I would encourage you to fear the Lord, work hard, and see the
gifts that God has given you come alive and see the true meaning of
serving the Lord with utmost fear and watch His kingdom grow! May God’s
Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:56:06 AM
  California Stops

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Revelation 14:12) NASB

To stop or not to stop, that is the question. Whether it be more noble of me to do justice to the law and abide by the rules, or merely slow down to save time in my busy lifestyle. Hmmm, what to do. I look at my watch and fly on by.

Moments later I found myself staring at the flashing lights in the rear view mirror. The Florida law has some rule about after 12 points on your driving record in one year your in trouble. So naturally after I was pushing 16 points and working on a new world record, the letter came to me in the mail. It was time to pay for the crime and do the time.

Now does running a stop sign make me a horrible person, no. Is it a sin, yes. We should obey the laws of the land. I'm sure nobody has ever ran a stop sign before or ever gone slightly above the speed limit. But listen, in a worldly since stop signs are put there for our protection. They are put there for a reason and we should follow them. Or face the consequences.

Cities aren't the only ones that put up signs in our lives. God puts up spiritual stop signs in our life too. There are times when He wants us to stop sinning. There are times when He wants us to slow down. Do you listen, or do you just pause and keep going? One day God will put the flashing lights behind you, And if you don't stop, He will make you stop. Don't let it come to that point. Get close to God so you can hear Him and see the signs ahead of you. On the highway of life make sure your on the road that leads to Him. There will be many obstacles in the way but just follow His directions and He'll get you there safely.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:56:46 AM
  Unimaginable Power

By: Beth Hays


So the sun and moon stood still until the Israelites had defeated their enemies.
Is this event not recorded in The Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and it did not set as on a normal day. The LORD fought for Israel that day. Never before or since has there been a day like that one, when the LORD answered such a request from a human being. (Joshua 10:13-14) NLT

I ask God for things all the time. Just this morning I asked Him to help me find my car keys because I perpetually lose them. And, as usual, he answered and soon after we were reunited. (I definitely think I need some type of page for them!) I ask God for slightly bigger things too. A few weeks ago I asked Him to slow the rain down long enough for me to get in the house. After several days of constant flooding, the rain completely stopped for the duration of my walk and then proceeded to carry on pouring.

Sometimes I ask for pretty serious things. A couple years ago I had a friend who was struggling with thoughts of suicide. I prayed repeatedly for someone to come into her life who could help more than I could and, thankfully, she found a school counselor who took the time to really look and ask some needed questions. She is now the happiest I have ever seen her. Then come the life and death matters. My grandpa was stricken with cirrhosis of the liver. I prayed until I was out of tears and had many join me in my request. When he returned to the doctor not too long after, his liver was completely whole. And my grandfather made the best decision of his life—to stop drinking.

But, never in all of my requests have I ever asked God to stop time for me! (At least never with a single iota of seriousness.) I would never think of such a request! I don’t know if I have always underestimated God, or if I was simply clueless, but when I read this passage I was totally blown away. All Joshua had to do was ask God to stop time with an earnest heart and pure motives, and the Lord complied. Take a glance at how HUGE our God is. Then realize that he wants to use that power to make your life more of a witness to Him—whether through finding your car keys of stopping the world just for you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 20, 2006, 11:57:44 AM
  Remember The Spikes

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Luke 22:33 “When they came to the place called The Skull, there they
crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the
left.” (NASB)


It never fails. It is always something that happens every time that I go
to town. It happened again this morning. I am going to have to learn to
just plan on it. The train came through as I was trying to get to the
store. Humph! As sure as the sun rises in the west, it never fails in
my town, the train comes through every time that I want to get somewhere.
Sometimes, I wait only a few minutes while at other times, I have to wait
what seems like an eternity. Maybe, you have the same problem in the town
where you live.

Sometimes it is an annoyance, but as the train went through this morning,
I began to think about all of the pressure that must be on the tracks
while the train is coming through and what they use to build them. The
massive ties, the weight of the steel, and the length of the spikes.

As I was sitting there this morning, thinking about those things, I began
to think about our Lord on the cross. The weight of the lumber and
especially, the piercing of the spike. If you think about it, in order
for a spike to be able to hold up a man on a tree so that while he
struggled he would not fall off, had to be something you would not hang a
picture on a wall with. Friends, the spikes that held Jesus on the cross
that dreaded day were spikes that were sharp enough to pierce the skin,
big enough to hold Him up on the cross, yet slender enough to fit through
the bones of his feet and hands. What grueling pain that would have to be!
What a cruel death!

But, that was not the end. Jesus chose the spikes for you and for me.
He chose those spikes so that you and I could have remission for our sins.
When we think of all that Jesus did for us this celebration of Easter,
let us not only take to heart what Jesus did, but we ought to have it live
and burn in our souls the rest of the days of our lives. Burn so much that
we want to tell others about it. That is my challenge to you today, seek
the cross and the resurrection, burn them in your hearts, and never forget
them as long as you live. Remember the spikes.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:43:27 AM
  You Matter

By: Steven Self


Matthew 5:5 (The Message)
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are--no more, no less.
That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't
be bought.

Our teenage years are filled with frustration, pain, anguish and growth.
And that's the easy part.  To say the least, its not an easy time of our
lives.  But our teenage years are the years we find out who we are.  They
are very important to us and teach us a lot, if we're even able to make it
through these severely trying times.  Some sadly don't.

The world paints a picture to us of what success is.  They say success is to
be rich, good-looking, skinny, in shape, to have the coolest of clothes, to
have seen the newest movies, to have the newest things and to be popular.
When we don't reach these expectations, we feel like losers.  We feel like
were not successful and don't measure up like the rest of the world (like
they measure up either). 

This scripture verse tells us not to worry about what we have or don't have,
or the way we look or don't.  It gives us permission to be happy with
ourselves because of who we are.  God made us each very uniquely.  He made
us so special that no one else in the world is just like us.  Other people
may have similar traits or interests, but no one else is just like us.  God
made us each to be individuals. 

You may not measure up to what the world says is success.  But dear child of
God, you do measure up to what God calls success.  God made you to be who
you are, dig in to that and find out where your niche is.  Don't try to
fight against it by trying to reach the world's version of success.  Just
like the ZOEgirl song "plain" says.  "You are a jewel, you're a treasure,
you are one of a kind and you shine just as bright as the stars in the sky.
You're a rare kind of wonder created just right, so keep your head up over
the pain, there's nothing about you that's plain."  Once you realize how
special you are to God and the big plans He has for you, you'll realize how
important you really are.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:44:05 AM
  Rooted in Love

By: Beth Hays
TDDMBeth@aol.com

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And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.  (Ephesians 3:17) NLT

I was riding through Pennsylvania this past weekend for a youth activity. If you've never been to PA, there are many "mountains" I call them mountains because we went through the Appalachians. But, to me, they resemble big hills far more than mountains. Though it makes a much better story if we call them mountains, so we shall. Regardless, I saw a sight that I had either never seen or never paid attention to before. On one of these hills were many trees (There is an abundance of trees in PA) and as I looked closely I found that although they were planted on a hill, they grew straight up.

I was puzzled by this and asked a few people what they thought. All commented that it was how gravity worked and that they grew straight because that is the way they were made regardless of where they were. I thought about this for a while and realized how powerfully it paralleled our lives. We have some crazily slanted ground under our feet, don't we? The world we live in is twisted and steep. But, if we are rooted in love, if our roots grow down deep into the love of God, we will grow straight and tall regardless of the ground beneath us. Just as gravity controls the manner in which the tree grows, so God controls who we will become in Him.

Does your life feel like it's twisted? Are you surrounded by sharp attitudes and crushing disappointment? Walking on a rocky past? I have great news for you! Root yourself in the amazing love of God and you will grow into a healthy man or woman of God. I pray that "your roots go down deep" now and always.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:44:52 AM
  Rebellious

By: Joyce K. Rhoda


Scripture: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17(KJV)

We've all felt a little rebellious now and then. The urge to push the envelope, do something you know you shouldn't...just because. A child going through the 'terrible twos' is a good example of a rebellious spirit. Is it any wonder that most kids learn the word 'no' shortly after 'mama' and 'dada'?

Just as parents have to watch over and discipline their children to keep them safe and teach them right from wrong; God provided us with his word to guide us and He watches over us too.

Not everyone has Christian parents who raise them according to Gods' teachings. If your parents aren't Christians, you can turn to the youth director or pastor of your church for spirtitual guidance. God has given them the wisdom to show you how to follow God's word and help you when you are tempted to rebel.

Temptation to sin is real and is constantly attacking us. Whenever you feel the urge to give in and rebel, remember that you won't get any satisfaction from sinning, just guilt. To reap the benefits of love, peace, joy and happiness turn your life over to God and obey Him at all costs. The rewards are well worth it.

Prayer: Dear Father, please help me when I'm tempted to rebel against authority of those around me. Help me to hold tight to your Word and live for you.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:45:46 AM
  No Brainer

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Romans 8: 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels
nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Take a test with me. True or false.
True or False Water is wet.
True or False The President of the United States is George W. Bush.
True or False The sun is hot.
True or False A rock is hard.
True or False Cotton is soft.
I would imagine that you answered most all of those questions true, and
said, “Hey Adam, those are no brainer questions!” Well, let me try the
test again, this time with some different questions.
True or False The Devil can never separate you from the love of God.
True or False Jesus will never stop loving you.
True or False Even if you eat too many pancakes for breakfast, the love
of God will never stop.
True or False Even if you sin, God will still continue to love you.
Again, you are probably saying, “Adam those are nobrainer questions, what
is up with that?” I implore you to see that when it comes to the love of
God, it is no brainer. We can never be separated from His love no matter
what we do. God will always love us, and we can never forget that. Bottom
line! May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:47:23 AM
  You Are My Child

By: Matt Crawford


"But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of GOD, even to them which believe on His name." (John 1:12, KJV)
   
     Have you forgotten that on the day you believed, you became my child, and I Myself became your father? Have you sinned, and because of guilt ran and hidden from me? Because of that one sin, and your retreat from me, were you led into other sins, until you found yourself overwhelmed and in a defeated spirit? Do you long desperately to get back to that place where you felt safe and secure in My love, but somehow feel you have to work your way back in?
     My child, do you forget that I am so desperately in love with you that I myself suffered for you? Do you not know that my heart burns to pull you in and build a hedge around you, to shield you from your enemy and be your comforter? Or do you think I am indifferent like a man would be?
     My whole heart, my whole plan, even the entire universe thrives off of my desire for you. Right now while you are distanced from me, I am longing in my soul to take you in, to blanket you in safety and love, to forgive you and cleanse your sins. Your forgiveness is already paid for and settled. Stop hiding from me. I will take you in as you are, my beloved Child, and I will teach you of myself. 
     I know that your heart is sincere and longs for me. I am here with you, simply repent and fall on me. I am your shield and your rock, and I will never leave you. I am commanding you to draw near to me. I am calling you to a deeper intimacy with me, in which I will give you peace, and refresh your soul. You are my beloved child, and my heart yearns for you as yours does for me. I am your father, and your friend. Trust in me, I will never let you down. I love you.
   -God



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:48:13 AM
  Caught by Dad

By: Beth Hays


In fact, we felt sure that we were going to die. But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life. (2 Corinthians 1:9) CEV

I was spending last week in Chicago with my dad. I learned, through two different occasions, the truth in this verse. The first was when I was talking to someone from the same conference my dad was attending. She told me of when she was a child. Her father would coax her, a child afraid of heights, to climb up on the roof to repair it. She said it was horrifying. Yet, she was also quick to assure me that every time she would fall off her father would always catch her. Not once did she fall to the ground...but instead to the safety of her dad's arms.

Then, I went up the Hancock observatory. I was 92 stories in the air looking straight down. I was so afraid that my knees shook when God whispered an amazing truth to me. He reminded me that even if I were to plummet to the ground, he would catch me. I wouldn't land simply on ground, but in His hand. He promises to never leave us. Falling doesn't count as an exception. (Nothing else does either!)

Heights were the challenge in both occasions. But no matter what we knew we would be caught. We both feared for our lives. But, through our fear we both found more faith in our Father (whether earthly or Heavenly). I want to assure you that even when you face a situation in which you could die...God will work through it. He will use it to strengthen your faith and trust in Him. Take some time to think about that and let it sink in. The God who adores you will never let you go!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:49:17 AM
  Inside out

By: Jeff Lappano


“But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man see, for man looks at the outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

Being 22 years old, I'm out on the prowl looking for my future wife. Being a Believer means that what I look for in my future wife is different from the nonbeliever. The above verse is something that I have never looked at as a verse concerning finding the right one, until the Lord opened my eyes to what He was saying

Over the past month, I've talked with two girls who gave me a list of things that they look for in a guy, of which I didn't fit some, if not most of their list. The prophet was told to appoint a king. In those days, kings went to battle, so of course the prophet knew that he needed to find a “buff” dude. As he met the first son of Jesse, he thought he was the one most likely because he was physically capable of being the king.

However, God rejected all of the sons of Jesse, except David because of one simple thing. That simple thing was what was on the inside of David. Scripture tells us that David was a man after God's own heart. He purposed in his heart to follow the law of God.

As believers, we need to hear the word of the Lord through the prophet. In 2003, the mentality of those looking for their mate is what they look like on the outside. As the Lord challenged me today, so I challenge you. Remember as a child of God you are led of the spirit. Finally, as you look for the right one, look on the inside of the one who could be your mate, and then on the outside. Lets have the inside out mentality in Jesus name.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:53:13 AM
  The Heart Of A True Leader

By: Adam R. Rinehart


I Samuel 12:5 “Then he said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand."
And they answered, "He is witness."”

When you look at the qualities of a great leader, and if you ask me who would have been a great leader, I cannot help but look at the life of Samuel.  Samuel wore the hats of many different roles in the life of being a judge to Israel.  God worked through his life not only as a judge, but also a priest, a prophet and God’s counselor at a prime turning point in the history of Israel.    The key with Samuel was that he was able to be used by God because of one foundational character in his life.  He was genuinely dedicated to the life of being a servant of God.  Samuel did just that and was able to lead Israel well, even though God really did not want them to have a king, Samuel led them in the choice for a king.

Many times we as humans have people in the public view and have accepted him for what he is, and then something happens,  maybe they find out about his past, or he says something that is not up to code, or may miss communicate something and never mean any malice to the situation, but when that happens the pedestal that he was put upon comes tumbling to the ground like a rock falling to the earth, because they are human and are not perfect.

How many times in our lives has our youth pastor, pastor, or someone that is in leadership disappointed us, or maybe they said something that was off color?  Have you given them a chance to get it right?  Have you given them a chance to be forgiven?  There are so many times that we forget that these people that are in leadership are human and will make mistakes as well?  Do we give them the benefit of the doubt?

Friends, I implore you to take a look about what you think of the leaders in your life.  Do you put them on a pedestal waiting for them to be knocked down to make a mistake, or are you really seeing the effort that they are putting toward being the best leader that they can with the gifts that God gave them?  Take a look and see.  Maybe God will open your eyes to something that you may need to change in your heart.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 21, 2006, 11:54:17 AM
  Call Me The Underdog

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"....Here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken earlier. May they give you the confidence to fight well in the Lord's Battles. Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. (1 Timothy 1:18-19) NLT"

In a world where only the strong will survive, and the fast will win, live us. The Christians. Tired, fallen, beat up, broken down, Christians. Finding the strength each morning to get up and take on another day is hard. Especially when it seems like we will never come out on top.

It was once again time for another soccer season. This was my final year and I had the starting position. I came from a rather poor school in what most called "hick town." We didn't have fancy equipment or sexy new jerseys. We had only enough money to buy 3 new soccer balls for the games. We had some talent. Not a whole lot. But the one and practically only thing we had, was heart. We also weren't afraid to get a little rough when needed.

The season started up and we had to face a private school who was ranked very high in the standings. These guys were big, skilled, and ready. We huddled up to take the field. It was in front of our home crowd that we spent the next hour running, sliding and doing everything in our power to keep from being run over. By the end of the game we dragged ourselves to the benches with our heads down. We lost 1-0. But against a team like that, deep down we were still pretty happy.

Even though we didn't win the game, we were expected to lose 7-0 in the paper. Everyone thought they could just run right over us. But we wouldn't let them. It was our home town and we weren't going to sit around and be played like fools. Now it's our turn as Christians. This is our home court. God made this place not Satan. We need to stand up and take it back. We are expected to get torn apart. We're not the greatest but we have the heart. Except in this game we will win. We will come out on top. Even though it seems like we are down now, there is still time remaining on the clock. And until the final whistle blows we need to be out there on the field fighting for Christ. It's a war out there and the other team isn't playing fair. But we will still win. Hold your head up my friend, because in the end we will no longer be the underdogs.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:33:22 PM
  Our Amazing Potential

By: Beth Hays


Matthew 13:33
    Jesus also used this illustration: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast used by a woman making bread. Even though she used a large amount of flour, the yeast permeated every part of the dough."

The hour a day I spend in prayer, yes, God is definitely in that. And He’s totally included in the few minutes of reading His word (which I keep promising will increase). Sometimes I let Him in on my decisions, especially the big ones. And I ask for plenty of favors. But when I’m just watching T.V. or playing a game on the computer, He’s the last thing on my mind.

Can you relate to that? It’s not like we exclude God intentionally. We don’t look at Him and then ignore Him (unless of course we’re sinning intentionally). No, most of the time we know He’s with us. But, there are times when it just isn’t convenient to be a Christian.

Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God should permeate every part of the dough (symbolism for our lives). God shouldn’t just be on our minds when we have the time to think about Him. He should be permeating every part of our beings. We should be so intertwined with God that we are inseparable…even when it’s not the easiest thing to do.

Take a moment and consider the wonder of the intimate time you have spent with God. Can you imagine having that joy and fulfillment all the time? What an amazing life we could lead! All we have to do is hang out with God often enough and concentrate on making God a part of every shred of our lives. We have amazing potential! Let’s go after it!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:34:30 PM
  Anger Management 101

By: Jeff Lappano


The bible defines anger as, “violent passion.”  This means you want to go “postal” on someone because they did something to you. Ephesians 4:26, psalm 4:4 (NIV)

            Now lets deal with the issue of, “Is being angry right?” Let me ask you a question now. Do you have the right to be joyful? If your final answer was “yes”, you are correct. The bible talks about believers being angry. Psalm 4:4, and Ephesians 4:26 says ”Be angry…” Both David and Paul give the people of their day, and we who read this the okay to get angry. In the second part to the verses, it says, “AND do not sin.” Chances are if you think about doing something long enough, that you will do it. David and Paul both give us ways to deal with the anger without sinning.

            I want to first off look at what Paul says to the church at Ephesus. Verse 27 says, “Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Verse 26 deals with the issue of speaking the truth. With that in mind, I believe that there is a connection between the two verses. Paul is saying, “Hey! If you’re angry, tell that person, and deal with the situation today.” As Christians we’re not called to keep silent, but in a loving manner, be confrontational.

            Lets look at how David tells us how to deal with anger in the rest of Psalm 4:4.“Mediate within your own heart on your bed, and be still.” Oh my, David almost contradicts Paul by saying go sleep on the matter at hand. Who is right, Paul or David? I believe that they’re both correct. Sometimes its good to be confrontational right away. But then there are other times when many things are said all at once in a mumble-jumble kind of way, its kind of a good thing to go sleep, and let your heart deal with the situation and when you wake up, you’ll know what to do.

            Child of God, how do you deal with anger? Do you just blast out, or do you chill and rest upon the matter and then deal with it? Brothers and Sisters, deal with your anger, yet do it in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. Amen.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:37:03 PM
  America, the Hurting

By: Steve Self


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

America, home of the proud and free.  I’m blessed to be an American, but I can’t say that I’m all that proud at some of the things we do.  America itself was founded on Godly principles, but good ole’ Satan has come in and trashed that.  He has perverted the pride in God to be pride in ourselves; he’s taken “free to worship God” to “free to do anything we want, without hindrance.”  America is hurting so badly that it’s become numb to the pain. 

There is a show on the Bravo network called “Queer eye for the straight guy”; here is how their web-site describes their mission:

“Five gay men, out to make over the world — one straight guy at a time.
They are the Fab Five: an elite team of gay men dedicated to extolling the simple virtues of style, taste and class. Each week their mission is to transform a style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man from drab to fab in each of their respective categories: fashion, food & wine, interior design, grooming and culture.”

This show is a hit, I hear people talking about it all the time.  These people shouldn’t be glorified, they need to be helped.  Straight people are watching this and listening to these people’s ideas of what is good, instead of lovingly trying to show them the truth.  We are calling evil good and good evil.  If we believe in the bible then we realize that by listening to this, we are listening to evil.  We’ve gone from a society built on God’s word to a society built on destroying God’s word. 

Where is the good news in this?  Well, we have job security in Christianity because there is obviously a lot of work to be done in our own backyard.  It’s time we put on our hardhats and hit the trenches, it’s time we share God’s word with a hurting nation in a powerful way, more than we’ve ever done before.  Jesus died for these people who are hopelessly trying to find pleasure in a bottomless pit of despair.  We need to let them know that and show them where the true pleasure is.  Christians, stand up, speak up and help others to listen up.  Do your best to make sure that they hear God’s word and about His love before Jesus comes and tells them Himself in judgment.  He’s coming back but when He does, it’ll be too late for them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:39:44 PM
  Learning the Hard Way



Alcohol and prostitution have robbed my people of their brains.(Hosea 4:11) NLT

I have an older sister who has taught me many things by example. Growing up, she was always my protector…keeping her little sister safe from all the evils of this world. Well, the evils she could identify anyway. You see, by the time I was born she was already on the path of destruction.

She started drinking at about age 15, I believe. I always heard it second hand, so I don’t remember all the details. From there she got started in a lot of promiscuity. As she grew she got caught up in the drug scene and topped it all off with a little prostitution to pay for the drugs.

It was about this time (when she was about 18) that I was born. She loved me with all she had within her. I have no doubt about that. She showed her love in more ways than I can count. But, she was still slowly deteriorating, both inside and out. The sister I loved and cherished started to diminish. She lost a great deal of weight and cried all the time. I knew something was terrible wrong.

One warm day when I was six years old my parents informed me that my lovely sister couldn’t handle life anymore and took her own life by jumping off a bridge. That was incredibly hard for me as a six year old to swallow and accept.

But, at least it was better than the truth. I found out many years later that she did jump off a bridge, but did not succeed in her suicide attempt. They put her in a psychological hospital for years and to no avail. She was lost and angry—not a good combination. So, they decided to use electric shock therapy to erase her memories of her childhood and teenage endeavors. Not only does she not remember the events of her past, but the people are foreign to her as well. My wonderful big sis doesn’t even know who I am all because of some really bad decisions.

Hosea 4:11 is not just another slogan for anti-drugs or convincing teens to behave themselves. No, it is so much more than that. I watched alcohol, prostitution, and much more rob my sister of everything she has especially her brain. I was fortunate to learn early not to touch dangerous substances or participate in dangerous activity and I am grateful. I hope by sharing this experience you will see that God wasn’t kidding and neither am I. It’s not worth the cost. You are worth far more than a little bit of temporary enjoyment!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:41:38 PM
  Add Your Two Pennies

By: Matt Crawford


"And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two pennies...."

"And he (Jesus) called to him his disciples, and says to them, 'Verily I say to you, that this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." (Mark 12:43-44 KJV)

     So often I catch myself thinking: "What do I have that is worthy to give to God? What can I possibly contribute that will add souls to the kingdom? So many people have more charisma, more speaking skills, more stage presence, and more smarts than me; yet God wants to use me?"
     The above verse reminds me, that it is not about how much or the appeal to men of what we have to offer God, but the heart that is behind us when we offer what we do have. Jesus said that the widow above gave more than all else, because she gave all she had.
     Also, in the story of Samuel searching for Israel's next king, we see that God rejected all the sons of Jesse, despite all the stature, charm, or strength they seemed to offer. Yet He chose the least and youngest, David, whose only skill was being a dedicated shepherd boy. And He chose Him because of the willing heart that was behind that small and seemingly insignificant talent. And we know that David went on to be the greatest king who ever ruled Israel, he was used by God to judge His people, and even wrote the majority of the book of psalms.
     What you have to offer God may not seem like much to you, or may seem insignificant in the eyes of man, but if you give all you have, you will be used in a big way. It is the heart behind what you have to offer that matters, and your dedication is enough to make Jesus Himself stop what He is doing and honor you.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:43:50 PM
  Finding Our Worth

By: Beth Hays


For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10) NLT

This is one of my favorite verses. I have grown up believing that I was worthless. I always knew that I would never be good enough for anyone. I had absolutely no self-esteem. I felt as though everyone around me had given up on me. And then I read that I am God's masterpiece. I'm not just a creation...because creations can go bad...but I am His masterpiece...the one thing he adores most made by His hands.

God goes even farther here to say that not only are we His cherished creation, but he has had a plan for us the whole time. Even before God made you, he knew what you would become. (Ephesians 1:11) He saw all of the mistakes you would make, and all of the joy you would find. He saw all of your failures that you will ever have, yet He still decided to create and love you. Then, He adds that not only did He create you even though he knew you even better than you know yourself, but He has got an amazing plan just for you. He had that picked out long ago too! He knows what He is doing.

The next time it seems as though you are worthless and not good enough for those around you, remember that you are God's priceless masterpiece and that He has a plan just for you. He adores you, brothers and sisters in Christ. Let that love overwhelm you!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:45:34 PM
  Anger management 102

By: Jeff Lappano


“In your anger do not sin” Ephesians 4:26, psalm 4:4 (NIV)

Webster defines anger as, “hostile feelings because of opposition”. The bible defines anger as, “violent passion.” We’re going to learn, in one way, how to deal with our anger. Transliterated from the Greek, “sin” is, “missing the mark”, or “offending”. Today I want to minister primarily from the second definition. How do we offend people? Mr. Webster (the writer of the dictionary) tells us that offending someone comes in the form of hurting his or her feelings. We hurt people’s feelings by doing or saying something offensive or hurtful to their feelings.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” When you’re angry, what time is it? According to what we’ve been studying, I think its safe to say its time to keep silence.

Proverbs 18:21 says "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."   King Solomon was literally telling us that there is so much power in the words that we speak; it directs people's lives! James 3:4 tell us that the tongue is like a rudder (which is a small propeller on the motor of a boat). That small rudder moves boats both in good and bad weather. The rudder has power! I think its pretty safe to say when one is angry, speaking “words of life” wont be on the top of his list. With that in mind, its better to shut up when your angry so you don’t tare someone down, even though you don’t mean it, and maybe because of the mood, you really aren’t conscious what your doing. May the Lord minister blessings to and through you in Jesus name, amen.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:47:29 PM
  Gone Before You Know It

By: Matt Crawford


"See then that ye walk circumspectly (diligently), not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV)

When I moved into my apartment last February, one of the things I was most excited about was the pool. I'd never had my own pool that I could use any time I wanted. My swimming was always done at friends' or family's, or at public pools. So of course, I couldn't wait for summer to arrive.

I had big dreams of going for a swim every day after work, inviting friends and family over for swimming and food, and just being able to lounge around in the water whenever I wanted. As soon as the pool was open, I was out there. I remember the first day the water was still freezing, and I kept going out every day waiting for the temperature to be tolerable. When it finally was, I was in heaven!

At first I swam every day, invited people over like I had planned, and enjoyed it to the full. But soon I found myself taking it for granted, knowing I had the whole summer to swim whenever I wanted. Before I knew it, it was the end of August, and very suddenly, rain came and the temperature dropped way down. The last day the pool was open in the beginning of September, I decided to go for one last swim. Again, the water was freezing! Looking back, I wished I had enjoyed it more while I could. But now it was over. The next day, the apartment manager came and locked up the pool until next year.

The moral of this story, and the warning Paul gives in Ephesians 5:15-16, is that we have time now, every day, to live for God and produce fruit for His kingdom. Before we know it, though, that time will be up. Our "manager" will come and call us in and lock the doors behind us, and any work we will have done will be final, all we get. The word "redeem" in the above verse means to ransom, buy up, or take opportunity. The word "evil" can also mean calamitous, or ill. That says to me, that while we are young now, the days may come when we don't have our full health, and the freedom we once did. Stress, responsibilities, or even illness may hinder our abilities.   

We need to stop spending our time as if we have it in unlimited quantity. For me, this means playing games, talking endlessly on the phone, chatting, or just sitting around watching TV. The time will come when our opportunity to work for God is finished. We will either be raptured, called home to be with God, or even become weighed down by the illness and calamity this life can cause. Let us buy up, and ransom our time, and use every opportunity, all our youth, and all our health to serve God. Let us put in our work while we still can, so when "summer" is over, we don't look back and realize that we didn't use the time to it's full potential



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 22, 2006, 02:49:34 PM
  Serving God

By: Adam R. Rinehart


It is 12:30 in the AM here on Tuesday morning, and I am in the midst of
an “All-night” (or at least a most of my precious beauty sleep time)
concert of prayer here at a friends church. It is so cool to see how God
speaks to you through prayer, and the inspiration that He gives at a time
like this of total solitude and totally seeking God’s face. I share what
He has given me with you for today’s devotional.

How do you serve God? Some of you are thinking, well, I go to church, I
read my Bible, and I live a pretty good life. But, is that really how God
calls us to serve Him? I am afraid that the answer is no. God not only
wants us to serve Him in those things, but He wants us to serve Him with
joy and gladness. (Duet. 28:47-48) How many times do we find ourselves
just serving the Lord to be serving the Lord? What happens to joy and
gladness that get thrown out the window? He calls us to serve Him also
with a good attitude and a zeal that wants to see His will totally spark
out interest and our lives! (Luke 12:42-48) When you serve the Lord are
you faithful? Do you say, “Here I am Lord, I am ready to do your will. I
want to take the task to be faithful. (I Cor. 4:2) What about for your
family? Are you willing to serve them? Parents? Siblings? etc. etc.? What
about seeing God as our Master? Oh sure He is the creator of the
universe, and saved us from our sins, but is He REALLY your master, and
you want to take the above and do His bidding?

Finally, do you serve like Christ would serve? Do you give you life to
others for the cause of the Gospel? (Phil. 2:3-8) That my friends is how
we are called to serve the Lord. Take time today to take that challenge
and say, “God how am I doing at serving you? How do I match up?” Do we
say, “Here I am! Send Me!” May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 23, 2006, 09:28:55 AM
  Getting to God

By: Beth Hays


"When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a whole burnt offering. Then he must wash his entire body and put on his linen tunic and the undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are his sacred garments. The people of Israel must then bring him two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a whole burnt offering. (Leviticus 16:3-5) NLT

Shew...that's a lot of work just to get to God isn't it? Actually, to get to God they had to do a lot more...this was just to enter the sanctuary. Think of how much you have to do before entering your church. Hmmm...maybe put on some clothes? I mean, come on, how many of you actually have to put forth effort to enter God's sanctuary? Not me...and most likely, not you either.

Before Jesus (in old testament times) in order to get into the Holy of Holies (where God was) you had to go through more work than I put forth in a week. The book of Leviticus is full of tons of rules that must be followed in order to reach God. Besides the obvious need for a sacrifice for sins, this is one reason we need Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 (NLT) "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." Jesus became the way to get to God. That's a whole lot easier than going through all of the steps, isn't it?

Now that it's been made so easy for us, I think we sometimes forget how special it is. You see, back when it took hours and even days to ever reach God, they were full of awe and appreciation by the time they got there. Now, we take God for granted. He is still just as holy and just as amazing. We just have easy access through Jesus. So next time you say "Hey God," or whatever your greeting may be, remember who you are talking to and the sacrifice made for you to get there.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 23, 2006, 09:29:38 AM
  The result of unity

By: Jeff Lappano


“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 1:1 (KJV)

          Should we take a moment and study this passage better, we would find that a simple term for “one accord” is “like minded”. The 120 people gathered in the upper room were totally focused on one thing. Should we study various parts of the Gospel, we would find that they were waiting for the promise of the Father that Jesus talked about in Luke 24.

          Continuing in Acts 2, Luke records that the power of God fell on those gathered in the upper room and they began to speak in tongues. Apparently, they were so loud that those in the city could hear them and gathered outside to find out what was going on. Peter takes the opportunity to preach and teach the people as to what they were seeing.

          Jesus’ final statement before ascending to the Father recorded in Acts 1:8 (NASB) says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth.” What we’re studying in Acts 2 is what Christ was taking about as He Ascended to the Father.

          The topic we’re studying today is the result of unity. I know that we haven’t gone there, but we’re there now. What is the result of unity? It’s simply the job getting done. Verses 41 of Acts 2 records three thousand souls were saved. Had the 120 not been in unity as the Day of Pentecost had come, I guarantee you that 3,000 people would not have been saved. Today, unite instead of divide with friends, family, and those at school. You will get more accomplished and be a better witness to God.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 23, 2006, 09:30:25 AM
  Living in the Light of the Son

By: Steve Self


Have you ever noticed the beautifully radiant colors of the sky as the sun begins to peek through the clouds?  Nature is a wonderful thing; God makes things so beautifully and wondrously. God is an artist and His art is in perpetual motion, His paintings never get stuck on canvas in a room amongst many others.  Humans can’t even make paint as beautiful as the paint God uses.  His artworks are living and always moving.  They are always new and fresh.  In order to see the exhibit, the only fee you have to pay is attention during sunrise or sunset.

This morning as I drove in to work, I was watching the sun.  I was driving along when all of a sudden the sun was covered up by a water tower.  From my vantage point the entire sun was swallowed up in a brief instant.  My mind followed down a path of wonder as I began to imagine what would happen if the sun were to be covered up.  The world would be a very cold and dark place to live, many things in life as we know them now wouldn’t occur anymore.  There would be no more children lackadaisically laughing as they splashed in the swimming pool, no longer would trips to the beach be a longing in the life of teens for spring break.  People would no longer worry about taking their family on vacation because the entire earth would be one big snowball, probably incapable of supporting life.  In my mind’s eye, it would be a miserable existence.  Without the presence of the Son, life wouldn’t exist.

As I snapped back to reality by seeing brake lights ahead, I began to see how nature closely imitated the actions of its creator.  The body of the sun may have been hidden by the water tower, but the light and warmth weren’t stifled at all.  As a matter of fact, the moon was still reflecting it’s light on the other side of the world.  The accuser tries his best to stifle God in this world, but he can only cover parts of God, he’s not big enough to stop the full presence of God.  Even when Satan hides God from public view, God’s light and warmth still shine through.  He is God, He is creator, He is. 

In our walk, too many times Satan tries to block us from the Lord.  Just like my vantage point on the sun, he can make God seem gone from our vantage points.  But God is God, He is there.  Even when you can’t see Him, and even when you can’t feel His warmth, He is there.  God is just like His creation, if He wasn’t there, life not only wouldn’t exist as we know it, but it would exist at all. 

If your walking through a time where you can’t directly see God, make sure you look around for His light and His warmth.  And remember that God may be doing you a favor by letting Satan block Him from your direct view.  Just as you can’t look directly into the sun without messing up your eyesight, you can’t look directly at God and live.  Not all dark situations are bad for you.  As a matter of fact, once you have traveled through them and reflect back over them, you’ll realize that that cloudy situation in your life was there to give you enough time to put your sunglasses on.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 23, 2006, 09:31:13 AM
  Can you say No?

By: Janet Adams


It was a normal Saturday night like any other, 12:30 am. It was time for my son Jon to be home. Actually he was already 30 minutes late.  When a parent is waiting for their son or daughter to come home, all kinds of things can go through their minds. What if something has happened and he can't get home or get to a phone. Our minds wonder with all the terrible stuff that could have happened.

Then I saw the headlights in the driveway, he is home. As he comes in the door I said, "Hi, how was your night?" Then a strange feeling overwhelmed me as I realized he doesn't look too normal. Oh no, he is either drunk or high on something. He gave me all the small talk of where he went and what he did slurring as he talked. He goes to bed.

Then as a parent I sit and try to decide what to do. This is a terrible feeling for a parent to go through. We want to trust our children. But what happens when they break that trust?

So Sunday morning comes we get ready for church. I tell him I need to talk when we get home. He starts to cry and tells me he feels terrible.  He either really feels bad about what he has done or he is trying to get a lighter sentence because he knew he was caught.

He drank at a party cause he couldn't say no. People were handing him beer and giving him shots, he didn't say no. He knew it was wrong but couldn't say no.  I asked if he feared getting caught and he said yes but he couldn't say no.  He was punished because he couldn't say no.  He broke his trust with me because he couldn't say no.  Much worse could have happened to a 16 year old drinking at a party then getting caught by his parents and grounded.  Many teen pregnancies happen as a result of drinking or using drugs.  Many terrible car accidents happen as a result of alcohol or drug use.  Many a teen has actually overdosed and died from alcohol consumption.

You have to know ahead of time what is right and wrong. You have to plan ahead in order not to do something that may catch you off balance. When you know how you will respond to a situation where you think you can't say no, then you give yourself the power to say no. Plan out how to say no to a certain situation. Have someone else stand with you and hold you accountable. Don't go to the places where you feel strong temptation for doing wrong. Replace the negative places with new positive things.

My son Jon learned the hard way how to say no.  His free time away from home was restricted and it took a long time for me to really trust him again.  He says, now that he is grown up, that drinking that night wasn't worth the consequences that he faced and he learned the lesson the hard way.

Galatians 5:19-21 says, "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissension, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Bad habits originate in your flesh. To over come these tendencies, you need the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 says, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." You walk by the Spirit when you obey what Christ has shown you to do and trust Him to enable you to do it.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 23, 2006, 09:32:17 AM
  Silence

By: Beth Hays


Matthew 12:36
    And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak.

I have learned many valuable lessons this past summer as a Christian camp counselor. There is just something about being surrounded by God’s creation and in an unconditionally loving environment that breaks down defensive walls. When those walls are down we open ourselves up more…or at least I do. So, amidst the stress of having many kids in my care 23 hours a day, 6 days a week, I was taught incredible things.

One of the things I have come to cherish is silence. This shocks even me because I love to talk and be sociable. I love to be in conversation and silence used to scare me. My mom has always joked that I came out of the womb talking because I started so early. But, I have learned the value of being quiet.

It was not until I learned this lesson that this verse became real to me. God isn’t just talking about keeping your talk clean (though I know he wants that too), but He wants you to only talk when necessary so you can enjoy the beauty in silence. When you talk unnecessarily, you are ruining someone else’s (and your own) chance at a beautiful moment of silence.

God doesn’t mess around with this stuff either. He is serious. Each of us are going to have to account for all the times we spoke when we didn’t need to or to just to talk. We will have to fess up to all of our meaningless conversations. I know I will have a lot of fessing up to do. But, now that I have experienced how precious quietness can be, I have decided to be more aware and in control of when I speak, and when I chose not to. I suggest you consider doing the same. You may find your life becoming more beautiful with each added moment of stillness.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:20:05 PM
  Death By Sin

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Romans 3:23  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.


    It seems that every generation has a role model in which we look up to in order to find kind of morals that we may be able to obtain from the lifestyles that they portray.  Some of us look to movie stars and other celebrities and try to figure out what they believe when it comes to the areas in our lives that have the most important significance on how we act and how we believe.  No wonder that sin is such a plague to our society.

    I remember a few summers ago a friend of mine came back from Alaska and was sharing how there was a problem with wolves in the area that they were staying.   He shared with me a very ironic story about how they get rid of them.   He said that they take a very sharp blade and cover it with some type of animal blood and then let it freeze.  They then cover it with even more blood and let it freeze again, they then keep this process up until there is layer after layer of blood on the very sharp blade.   They then leave their trap out for the wolf and the wolf then begins to lick the blood.   He keeps licking and licking and enjoys the taste so much that he licks until the blade finally becomes bare and the wolf is then licking his own blood until he licks his tongue off where he is then left to die. 

    Sin is the deadliest plague that affects all of humanity.   It is a sure death, and will take a miracle to cure it.   We as humans are just like the wolves,  we are born into this world with a taste for sin and we think that it will never hurt us until finally we die because we never chose to do anything about it. 

    BUT!!!!  There is a cure!   We have a God that loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.  He made the way out for us so that we may never die even though that we were born with this DEADLY plague.   I know that some of us may be sitting here reading this and saying "Man, I have heard this a million times."   The problem that I see teen-agers dealing with today is that they have heard this a million times, but they have hardened their hearts and think that it will never hurt them, when in actuality it is already killing them! 

    My challenge to you in this devotional is to really look and see what it is that you may be struggling with.  Some of you it may be that you need to ask Jesus to be your personal Savior.  Others there may be an area of your life that is totally eating you up and you need to give that to God.  Let me encourage and challenge you today to totally give it to God.  Today is the day for Salvation won't you let the man that has the cure work in your life today?



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:21:05 PM
  Prepare for the Storms

By: Beth Hays


"Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. [25] Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. Matthew 7:24-25 (NLT)

Oh my friends, our lives are filled with so many storms. There are so many horrible torrents of rain raging towards us. Just in the past week I have talked to people suffering in more ways than I could ever include in this devotional. There are numerous things plaguing our world and our lives today.

Sometimes it is sudden things like death of a loved one or natural disaster. Other times it is a long, painful process like abuse or agonizing physical problems. My friends, I can’t see into your heart to know your specific concerns and storms. But, I don’t need to because I know that they are there. I know you have storms in your life either now or in the future.

For those up against these things now…hold on. This storm will pass and you will be in calm waters once again. Hold on to Your Father’s hand.

But, I am talking also to those who aren’t in a particular storm right now. It will come. I promise, it will. So, please prepare. Don’t be like the foolish man and build your being on things that will get washed away. Don’t waste all your time on fashion or even good, but not eternal things. Use your time to deepen your faith and build a solid foundation.

For, if you do that, dear ones, you will be able to stand strong no matter what the storm around you brings. You will have a steady base and you will not be able to fall or be destroyed because your hope is based in Christ and He is eternal. Prepare for the storms and then hold on for the ride of your life. I have faith that it will be well worth it in the end!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:25:46 PM
  A Lesson From Coffee

By: Jeff Lappano


I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot.” Revelation 3:15 (NKJV)

There is a very powerful word on my heart but it comes from a very simple thing that many Americans, and people all over the globe do.

If you know me at all, you know that I love drinking coffee, as many people do. As I journal my day in letters to my fiancé, probably 5 out of 7 days I tell her that I begin my day with a trip to donkin dounts to get a refill on my medium sized travel mug. When I get a cup of coffee in a regular mug, I try to drink it within a short period of time. Why is that you ask. After a certain amount of time, the coffee in the un-lidded mug begins to get lukewarm, which to me is kind of disgusting. Several months ago, I was working at an adult education school, and many times when it was time for me to leave, I’d have some coffee left if the mug because I was so busy working I didn’t finish it. So the next day when I went to work, I’d take a sip of it, and to me it’d taste good, so I didn’t empty it or warm it up.

Jesus continues to say to the church at Laodiceans, “so then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Jesus and I are thinking the same thing, though to different matters. When I take a sip of lukewarm coffee, I spit it back in the cup.

So what is the Lord Jesus trying to say? There is a choice that we need to make. Will we serve Him with all that we are, or will we not serve Him at all? The Lord is telling us that we cannot have something from both worlds, but we must chose what we’re going to do.

If your hungry for revival you must heed to what the Spirit of God is saying to us today. The word of the Lord to us today is that He wants to use those of you who are HOT for him. He wants to use those of you who will do anything He asks without hesitation. Let us consider and then act upon the word of the Lord. In Jesus name, amen.   



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:26:30 PM
  We Are a Treasure

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Sleep is inevitable.  The insomnia,  well that sounds like a disease or something, but actually the thoughts and the feelings on the mind are more important that the sleep that I so need for this big day that is ahead of me with the birth of our second child only hours away.   Maybe here at four AM, I am preparing for what lies ahead in the nights to come.  2 AM feedings, Sports Center,  dirty diapers.  Then again, maybe I am so excited that in just a few short hours, I will be experiencing the blessing and miracle of birth for the second time. Yet, I sit here and wonder, Will he be a scientist?  Maybe a chef?  Maybe a pastor?  Maybe the next Billy Graham?  Maybe, my son will find the cure for cancer?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. 

Having the opportunity to be a father, and see this miracle happen has given me a sneak preview into the heart of God and into creation when He said that we were made in His image and knit together in our mother's womb.   We are each a special artwork that God has made, and each a special masterpiece that is all His.

Some of you may be sitting here reading this devotion and thinking that you are not worth anything.  In God's eyes you are.  Some of you may also say, Adam, I cannot so anything, I do not have any special gifts or talents. Have you asked God to reveal what talents that He made in you?   

Do not be discouraged!  God made you and you are a treasure in His eyes and in the eyes of more people that you can imagine.  Stay encouraged!  Seek the kingdom of God, and watch what God does in your life!  May God's Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:27:23 PM
  Joyful Worship

By: Beth Hays


Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.  (Psalm 89:15) NLT

Worship. I used to struggle with the real meaning of that word. I went to church on Sunday and sung a few songs, and even thought about them a little bit. I figured that was my “worship” quota for the day. I did sing praise-and-worship songs…isn’t that enough?

Then I experienced REAL worship. I stood in the very presence of God. That was mind-blowing. I stood in front of His throne and I told Him just how much I adored him. It was a place of intense love and gentle peace. It was incredible. And what followed that experience was a new depth of God. I desired to go back to that place. I longed for more reasons for worship, so I started to read the Word more. All of my pain left my focus because it was stayed on Him alone. And most of all, I was filled with overflowing joy.

Joy, my friends, is something much greater than happiness. You can only be happy when everything is going right. But, when your life is in shambles and you can still smile and praise God…that is joy at work. True joy is so much more beautiful than happiness and is all-consuming. You can’t lose it because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. It’s yours for as long as you continue to worship.

Dear ones, hear God calling you gently into His presence and follow. Turn up some great music or sit in silence and tell Him how much you adore Him. He longs to hear from you. Know that when you do, your heart will know a new depth. Then, keep worshipping and experience the most amazing thing on this earth—pure worship.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:28:18 PM
  Being Complete

By: Adam R. Rinehart


1 John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[ 2:5 Or word, love for God] is truly made complete in him.

Spumoni has to be my most favorite ice cream in the world.  Granted with it being the end of October, and ice cream shops closing it get harder to find unless you go to the grocery store and buy some which is exactly what I did this afternoon. 

The chocolate, spumoni with fruit, almonds and pistachio ice cream make it a dream of a delicatessen for you palette.   If you were to have just one ingredient without the other it would definitely not be complete.  Taking the chocolate away makes a different flavor, and definitely taking the pistachio away ruins it all together.

As I was thinking about eating my ice cream this evening after supper, I remember how complete that it made my supper and also how Christ after He rose from the dead gave us the opportunity when we accept Him as our personal Savior to be complete in Him.   Without the blood of Christ, righteousness, justification and being made holy in the eyes of God would never happen.  You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot be righteous without being justified, and you cannot be holy without being righteous.  Christ took care of all of those aspects on the cross in order for us to have that completeness in Him which comes not only from that, but also from obedience to Him.

Today as you look at who you are, remember that you are complete in Christ.  That He has commanded us to show that completed heart in Him by truly living in obedience to His Word.  May we do that today and forever more.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:28:57 PM
  An Encounter of Healing

By: Beth Hays


Matthew 9:19-22 (NLT)
    As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, [20] a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, [21] for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed."
    [22] Jesus turned around and said to her, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment.

   
Can you imagine the shame that must have lived in this woman’s heart? She had lived with a terrible disease and couldn’t find healing anywhere. It tore her up from the inside out and she had to live with pain day after day. People with illness in those days were despised and rejected. Can you imagine her pain?

And what an intrusion it would have been considered to be to go up the Savior and touch his robe. To go, without permission, and touch a divine piece of clothing.

In all honesty, Jesus should have responded in indignity or anger. He had every right to condemn this woman. He would have been supported if he had cast her away and ignored her plea.

But, he didn’t. He turned around and I can imagine lovingly looked into her eyes and told her that she would be made well. But, that isn’t even the best part, my friends. He looked at this despised woman, rejected by all, and called her his daughter. What a joyful moment! He could have looked at her in shame, but He wanted her as His own child. Then, he told her to be encouraged. He wanted her to know that he supported her. And then, he reassured her that she was healed.

What a path we are called to follow? Are you in need of healing my friends? Healing from deep emotional wounds that control your thoughts and penetrate your dreams? Are you longing to be delivered from shame that plagues you? I have such wonderful news. All we have to do is approach our father and reach out and touch His robe. Then, precious ones, He will look upon you, remind you that He is your Daddy and wants to take care if you. He will encourage and support you. And, precious brothers and sisters, He will heal you. All you have to do is reach out in faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:30:40 PM
  Halloween

By: Janet Adams


Psalm 27:1 says, The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?
John 8:32 says, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Do not fear anything, know the truth and be free. Celebrate the Lord and His ways only. He is your safety from evil.

The Spirit of fear is not of God. It is a debilitating force that can cause one to loose the proper perspective of life.

This time of year is celebrated as the time of harvest. Thus having Thanksgiving. Many fall festivals are being held all over our country. One of the most celebrated times in Fall is Halloween. Something that really seems so innocent can really be "a sheep in wolves clothing." Halloween is the day before November 1 which is All Saints Day or All Hallows Day (hallow referring to saints). This day was a celebration to honor all Saints. These spirits were dead, but it was thought that this night they would come back to life. If you left a gift of fruit, flowers, bread or candy outside of you house then only good spirits would come to your home. If you didn't appease the spirits they would haunt you. It was believed that all the dead spirits would rise and wonder throughout the towns so you wanted to make sure you would be in their favor but putting out these treats. Some would light candles and torches at their homes. The evil or frustrated ghosts were supposed to play havoc on those who didn't show them favor. Any form of manifestations such as black cats, ghosts, witches, goblins, fairies and demons of all kinds were said to be roaming about. In olden times it was thought to be a time of joining with the spirits as dressing up in customs, like the spirits, nature creatures, or demons. Having a party and running around with them and taking the treats that were left out was thought to be a "if you can't beat them join them." This became lots of fun for some but for others became a time of evil behavior that would get out of control.

Our modern day "trick or treat", where we dress up and go door to door, may seem like the most innocent of things. Some will go a little too far in the trick area, while others really get into the evil and fear aspect. Some parent refuse to celebrate Halloween in their homes or let their children dress up. Some think it is innocent fun and play. Some churches have haunted houses in them and others celebrate Fall festivals. I believe the choice is up to you on how you view this.
Even as innocent as it seems at one level, at another level its innocence is lost altogether. Because of the modern revival of witchcraft, occults, and Satanism we need to be very careful. Many devoted to Christ think of this day as paying respect or drawing attention to evil and Satan is wrong and we must NOT do that. Evil, Satan, witches and black magic is really practiced in this world and they would love nothing better than to see others join in, even in the smallest of ways. Lets not give anything to Satan or evil. Celebrate Fall and the beauty of the earth and the bounty the Lord has given to each of us.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 24, 2006, 05:31:38 PM
  Use your gift

By: Jeff Lappano


“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one other another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)

I’m sure that as you read this verse, your thinking it doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have any gifts so why finish reading? Give me just a few moments to share what I believe what the Lord wants you the young people to know. “Every man” is better translated as everyone. That’s right, you have a gift, even if you didn’t know it.

Ok well maybe the argument of God not revealing to you what your gift could work. However, as we continue to study, we’ll see that statement invalid as well. Lets take a moment and study the word “received” in the Greek. The Greek does not give us the picture of us putting out our hands and getting the gift. The Greek defines this as “to get a hold of”.

Romans 11:29 say the gifts and the call of God are without repentance. Jeremiah 1:6 say that before we came out of or mother’s womb there was an ordination to our lives. He had a purpose and plan for our lives, and the gifts he has given us are meant to help us move in the call of God on our lives.

Romans and Jeremiah tell us that we already have the gifts, so what is next? You have to find out what your gifts are! As Peter said in the original Greek, “Get a hold of the gifts”! You have to find out for yourself what your gifts are and then go from there in developing them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 25, 2006, 11:10:09 AM
  Secondhand Salvation

By: Beth Hays


Don't just say, 'We're safe-we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. (Matthew 3:9) NLT

I think I was lucky. I grew up in a home in which God wasn’t the “popular” thing to do. I grew up in an environment that required a lot of courage to be a Christian. Why was I lucky? Because of my lack of acceptance as a Christian, my beliefs were forced to stand many trials. If after all of that, I am still a believer than my faith is definitely real.
   
But, how many do you know that go to church simply because their parents do? How many do you see every day that claim to know God because their family is a “Christian home”? How much easier is it to follow in a parent’s footsteps than to analyze what we really believe?

I praise God that I never fell into that trap. But, I see many who do. You may be one of them, my friend. Are you in this race for Jesus simply because it is the “right thing to do”? Then, precious one, you are in it for the wrong reasons.

If Jesus reassured his friends that they couldn’t rely on Abraham to save them, you can’t rely on your parents to save you. Your faith has to be personal. It can’t be based on another’s beliefs.

If you are in that place right now, my friend. Start analyzing what you believe. Take a deep look at your heart. Then, take a long look at our God. If you truly want a REAL faith, seek it. God won’t leave you empty-handed. But, NEVER settle for secondhand salvation.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 25, 2006, 11:13:02 AM
  Saying The Pledge

By: Tony B. Rhoda



"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matt 6:7-8) NKJV.

Do you sometimes get into the habit of doing things over and over again to a point where it loses it's meaning? Maybe it is not the meaning, but it becomes boring or just meaningless? Sometimes, something can be so obvious that you wouldn't even be able to recognize it. Try saying one word again and again. If you keep saying it, does it even sound like a word after a while?

The other day I remembered my senior year in high school and it was revealed to me exactly how much routine can set in if you're not careful. I remember the morning announcements coming on and I was just about to fall asleep on my desk. However, it was time to stand up and say the pledge. After staying up late the night before, saying the pledge was the last thing I wanted to do, especially after I had found the one comfortable spot on my desk. The teacher then tapped me on the shoulder and gave me that look that students just dread, especially at 7:15 a.m. So I got up and said the pledge like I did every morning.

How do you say the pledge after 12 or so years? Well, with me it was a half asleep, groggy voice, that was longing to spend the next 45 minutes finding that comfortable spot on my desk again. I didn't care, and I sure didn't even think about why I was saying it while I was doing it. At 7:15 in the morning there isn't a lot on your mind except sleep and that was what my mind was determined to do.

Now let's switch the pledge to prayer. Is it something that you feel you have to do? Or maybe you just say it before you got o bed at night, with that same groggy voice that you wake up saying the pledge with. Maybe you say that same boring prayer every night. If we talked to our boyfriends or girlfriends like we say the pledge..well I'll let you fill in the blank. Think about your prayer life, do you really pray with all your heart to the Lord. Do you go into great detail and go out of your way to give thanks? Or has praying become this hassle that you feel you just have to do to get it off of your chest. I challenge you to take the time to talk to the Lord. Remember the guy that died on the cross so that you can go to heaven? Don't take that lightly. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 25, 2006, 11:13:49 AM
  Fear Factor

By: Jeff Lappano


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear” 2 Timothy 1:7a (NKJV)

Last time I brought forth the Word we started looking at our gifts. We established through the Word that each and every one of us has a gift that helps us accomplish the call of God on our life. But there is so much more that needs to be learned.

I hear this verse preached a lot. Sometimes its taken out of context, and sometimes it isn’t when being preached on. If we were to add verses 5 and 6 to this text, we would have the full understanding that Paul was dealing very specifically with the fear that Timothy had concerning of ministering his gifts.

In the Greek, fear is defined as “timidity, fearfulness, or cowardice.” If you have just started out in operating in your gift, or have been doing so any amount of time, you know for a fact that fear is a big hindrance in ministering the gift that God gave you.

Timothy wasn’t the only one who had an issue of fear ministering his gifts. Jeremiah the prophet was in the same boat. Jeremiah 1:6 says, “Then I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold I do not know how to speak because I am a youth.” I believe that if we tied 1Timothy 4 into 2 Timothy 1, and understand that Timothy was dealing with fear because of his age. The Devil uses fear of any kind to distract us from ministering our gifts.

So how do we overcome this obstacle? In both passages, the solution is made known! I think because Jeremiah’s key was made known to him specifically by the Lord so we’ll start there. Verses 7 and 8 says, “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” We must understand that the Lord is there to protect us!

Finally lets look at what Timothy was told by Paul at the end of verse 7 of 2 Timothy 1. “But of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. We must understand that the Holy Spirit will give us the power to minister the gifts he has given us. 1 Corinthians 13, which too deals with gifts says if your not ministering your gifts out of love, its going to be like a noisy gong, or clanging cymbal. A “sound mind” defined in the Greek is “self control”. This will tell us when and when not to minister our gifts, rather than being ruled by others, such as the spirit of fear.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 26, 2006, 09:06:03 AM
  The Pleading God

By: Matt Crawford


Isaiah 3:12-13 "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O’, my people, they which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths. The Lord stands to plead, and stands to judge the people."

In this chapter of Isaiah, a massive end times destruction because of sin is prophesized for Israel. This catalyst has taken away leaders, generals, speakers, scholars, all the old and wise, and the religious leaders and prophets. Young people, teens with no experience, are put into power because they are the only ones left with promising youthful energy. Women are also in power because all the men are dead from war. Desperate, people try to push anyone even remotely qualified into leadership, but many solemnly refuse. Chaos rules.

Yet in the midst of this, God stands up to plead for His people’s repentance. Standing up is very important, because in the Psalms He tells His messiah: "sit at my right side until I make your enemies your foot-stool." Yet here, we see the Lord stand up in desperate desire for the people to be saved. Sitting on the throne is an image of power, judgment, and collective calm. Yet in the midst of His judgment, He is moved to stand and plead.

In chapter 4, we see a very sudden shift in events. From despair and ruin, tormented by plagues, the jews are now protected by God with a cloud by day, and fire by night hovering over every dwelling place in Jerusalem. The word says that everyone counted among the living in that place will be saved, and called Holy. It says their sins are "washed away" by God Himself. The people have repented, and suddenly Jerusalem goes from a place of cursing, to a place shown by divine phenomenon to be holy and protected.

This tells me the heart of God desires salvation for people. The judgments God brings are shown for what they are: His last efforts to bring people back to Him through repentance, and to spare them from eternal punishment. Imagine almighty God, the world in His hands, soon to return to earth to judge it and to make the wicked tremble. Yet he stands in despair, saddened by what He must do to these people. He pleads with all His spirit for them to return and be spared. Then we see his utter joy and fierce love and protection for them as they repent. He is immediately moved to restore them, supernaturally protect them, and use His wonders to tell the world "these are my holy people," illustrating what He desires to do for all mankind.

If you ever prayed to know more of God, the person, here is your illustration.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 27, 2006, 11:53:28 AM
  Joyful Worship

By: Beth Hays


Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.  (Psalm 89:15) NLT

Worship. I used to struggle with the real meaning of that word. I went to church on Sunday and sung a few songs, and even thought about them a little bit. I figured that was my “worship” quota for the day. I did sing praise-and-worship songs…isn’t that enough?

Then I experienced REAL worship. I stood in the very presence of God. That was mind-blowing. I stood in front of His throne and I told Him just how much I adored him. It was a place of intense love and gentle peace. It was incredible. And what followed that experience was a new depth of God. I desired to go back to that place. I longed for more reasons for worship, so I started to read the Word more. All of my pain left my focus because it was stayed on Him alone. And most of all, I was filled with overflowing joy.

Joy, my friends, is something much greater than happiness. You can only be happy when everything is going right. But, when your life is in shambles and you can still smile and praise God…that is joy at work. True joy is so much more beautiful than happiness and is all-consuming. You can’t lose it because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. It’s yours for as long as you continue to worship.

Dear ones, hear God calling you gently into His presence and follow. Turn up some great music or sit in silence and tell Him how much you adore Him. He longs to hear from you. Know that when you do, your heart will know a new depth. Then, keep worshipping and experience the most amazing thing on this earth—pure worship.

 



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 28, 2006, 01:28:59 PM
  Being Complete

By: Adam R. Rinehart


1 John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[ 2:5 Or word, love for God] is truly made complete in him.

Spumoni has to be my most favorite ice cream in the world.  Granted with it being the end of October, and ice cream shops closing it get harder to find unless you go to the grocery store and buy some which is exactly what I did this afternoon. 

The chocolate, spumoni with fruit, almonds and pistachio ice cream make it a dream of a delicatessen for you palette.   If you were to have just one ingredient without the other it would definitely not be complete.  Taking the chocolate away makes a different flavor, and definitely taking the pistachio away ruins it all together.

As I was thinking about eating my ice cream this evening after supper, I remember how complete that it made my supper and also how Christ after He rose from the dead gave us the opportunity when we accept Him as our personal Savior to be complete in Him.   Without the blood of Christ, righteousness, justification and being made holy in the eyes of God would never happen.  You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot be righteous without being justified, and you cannot be holy without being righteous.  Christ took care of all of those aspects on the cross in order for us to have that completeness in Him which comes not only from that, but also from obedience to Him.

Today as you look at who you are, remember that you are complete in Christ.  That He has commanded us to show that completed heart in Him by truly living in obedience to His Word.  May we do that today and forever more.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 29, 2006, 11:34:17 AM
  An Encounter of Healing

By: Beth Hays


Matthew 9:19-22 (NLT)
    As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, [20] a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, [21] for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed."
    [22] Jesus turned around and said to her, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment.

   
Can you imagine the shame that must have lived in this woman’s heart? She had lived with a terrible disease and couldn’t find healing anywhere. It tore her up from the inside out and she had to live with pain day after day. People with illness in those days were despised and rejected. Can you imagine her pain?

And what an intrusion it would have been considered to be to go up the Savior and touch his robe. To go, without permission, and touch a divine piece of clothing.

In all honesty, Jesus should have responded in indignity or anger. He had every right to condemn this woman. He would have been supported if he had cast her away and ignored her plea.

But, he didn’t. He turned around and I can imagine lovingly looked into her eyes and told her that she would be made well. But, that isn’t even the best part, my friends. He looked at this despised woman, rejected by all, and called her his daughter. What a joyful moment! He could have looked at her in shame, but He wanted her as His own child. Then, he told her to be encouraged. He wanted her to know that he supported her. And then, he reassured her that she was healed.

What a path we are called to follow? Are you in need of healing my friends? Healing from deep emotional wounds that control your thoughts and penetrate your dreams? Are you longing to be delivered from shame that plagues you? I have such wonderful news. All we have to do is approach our father and reach out and touch His robe. Then, precious ones, He will look upon you, remind you that He is your Daddy and wants to take care if you. He will encourage and support you. And, precious brothers and sisters, He will heal you. All you have to do is reach out in faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 30, 2006, 04:38:03 PM
  Use your gift

By: Jeff Lappano


“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one other another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)

I’m sure that as you read this verse, your thinking it doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have any gifts so why finish reading? Give me just a few moments to share what I believe what the Lord wants you the young people to know. “Every man” is better translated as everyone. That’s right, you have a gift, even if you didn’t know it.

Ok well maybe the argument of God not revealing to you what your gift could work. However, as we continue to study, we’ll see that statement invalid as well. Lets take a moment and study the word “received” in the Greek. The Greek does not give us the picture of us putting out our hands and getting the gift. The Greek defines this as “to get a hold of”.

Romans 11:29 say the gifts and the call of God are without repentance. Jeremiah 1:6 say that before we came out of or mother’s womb there was an ordination to our lives. He had a purpose and plan for our lives, and the gifts he has given us are meant to help us move in the call of God on our lives.

Romans and Jeremiah tell us that we already have the gifts, so what is next? You have to find out what your gifts are! As Peter said in the original Greek, “Get a hold of the gifts”! You have to find out for yourself what your gifts are and then go from there in developing them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: airIam2worship on March 31, 2006, 02:24:44 AM
Amen Brother, some people think that their gift needs to be something spectacular. That is not always true. People have to trust God with their talent as small as it may seem to them. If you don't mind I'd like to use an example. My daughter wanted to play the flute when she began middle school, she had no idea even which end her lips were to be placed on. We were 'veeeerrrry' patient listening to those awful notes, and I thank God, because today less than 2 years later, not only is she playing the flute excellently, she has learned to read music, and much to my surprise she has composed some of her own music, which she proudly rehearsed for to our music director at church. She wants to play for the Lord. That, she found out is one of her gifts, her second gift comes naturally she makes people laugh even without trying.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 31, 2006, 09:39:30 AM
Amen sister, people do tend to overlook their God given gifts and go in search for specific ones. It warmed my heart to hear your story of your daughters gifts. I pray that she does not loose sight on them and is able to use them for the Lord in tremendous ways.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on March 31, 2006, 09:40:56 AM
  Secondhand Salvation

By: Beth Hays


Don't just say, 'We're safe-we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. (Matthew 3:9) NLT

I think I was lucky. I grew up in a home in which God wasn’t the “popular” thing to do. I grew up in an environment that required a lot of courage to be a Christian. Why was I lucky? Because of my lack of acceptance as a Christian, my beliefs were forced to stand many trials. If after all of that, I am still a believer than my faith is definitely real.
   
But, how many do you know that go to church simply because their parents do? How many do you see every day that claim to know God because their family is a “Christian home”? How much easier is it to follow in a parent’s footsteps than to analyze what we really believe?

I praise God that I never fell into that trap. But, I see many who do. You may be one of them, my friend. Are you in this race for Jesus simply because it is the “right thing to do”? Then, precious one, you are in it for the wrong reasons.

If Jesus reassured his friends that they couldn’t rely on Abraham to save them, you can’t rely on your parents to save you. Your faith has to be personal. It can’t be based on another’s beliefs.

If you are in that place right now, my friend. Start analyzing what you believe. Take a deep look at your heart. Then, take a long look at our God. If you truly want a REAL faith, seek it. God won’t leave you empty-handed. But, NEVER settle for secondhand salvation.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 01, 2006, 02:55:05 PM
  Saying The Pledge

By: Tony B. Rhoda



"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matt 6:7-8) NKJV.

Do you sometimes get into the habit of doing things over and over again to a point where it loses it's meaning? Maybe it is not the meaning, but it becomes boring or just meaningless? Sometimes, something can be so obvious that you wouldn't even be able to recognize it. Try saying one word again and again. If you keep saying it, does it even sound like a word after a while?

The other day I remembered my senior year in high school and it was revealed to me exactly how much routine can set in if you're not careful. I remember the morning announcements coming on and I was just about to fall asleep on my desk. However, it was time to stand up and say the pledge. After staying up late the night before, saying the pledge was the last thing I wanted to do, especially after I had found the one comfortable spot on my desk. The teacher then tapped me on the shoulder and gave me that look that students just dread, especially at 7:15 a.m. So I got up and said the pledge like I did every morning.

How do you say the pledge after 12 or so years? Well, with me it was a half asleep, groggy voice, that was longing to spend the next 45 minutes finding that comfortable spot on my desk again. I didn't care, and I sure didn't even think about why I was saying it while I was doing it. At 7:15 in the morning there isn't a lot on your mind except sleep and that was what my mind was determined to do.

Now let's switch the pledge to prayer. Is it something that you feel you have to do? Or maybe you just say it before you got o bed at night, with that same groggy voice that you wake up saying the pledge with. Maybe you say that same boring prayer every night. If we talked to our boyfriends or girlfriends like we say the pledge..well I'll let you fill in the blank. Think about your prayer life, do you really pray with all your heart to the Lord. Do you go into great detail and go out of your way to give thanks? Or has praying become this hassle that you feel you just have to do to get it off of your chest. I challenge you to take the time to talk to the Lord. Remember the guy that died on the cross so that you can go to heaven? Don't take that lightly. God Bless and Keep The Faith!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 02, 2006, 11:21:10 AM
  Fear Factor

By: Jeff Lappano


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear” 2 Timothy 1:7a (NKJV)

Last time I brought forth the Word we started looking at our gifts. We established through the Word that each and every one of us has a gift that helps us accomplish the call of God on our life. But there is so much more that needs to be learned.

I hear this verse preached a lot. Sometimes its taken out of context, and sometimes it isn’t when being preached on. If we were to add verses 5 and 6 to this text, we would have the full understanding that Paul was dealing very specifically with the fear that Timothy had concerning of ministering his gifts.

In the Greek, fear is defined as “timidity, fearfulness, or cowardice.” If you have just started out in operating in your gift, or have been doing so any amount of time, you know for a fact that fear is a big hindrance in ministering the gift that God gave you.

Timothy wasn’t the only one who had an issue of fear ministering his gifts. Jeremiah the prophet was in the same boat. Jeremiah 1:6 says, “Then I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold I do not know how to speak because I am a youth.” I believe that if we tied 1Timothy 4 into 2 Timothy 1, and understand that Timothy was dealing with fear because of his age. The Devil uses fear of any kind to distract us from ministering our gifts.

So how do we overcome this obstacle? In both passages, the solution is made known! I think because Jeremiah’s key was made known to him specifically by the Lord so we’ll start there. Verses 7 and 8 says, “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” We must understand that the Lord is there to protect us!

Finally lets look at what Timothy was told by Paul at the end of verse 7 of 2 Timothy 1. “But of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. We must understand that the Holy Spirit will give us the power to minister the gifts he has given us. 1 Corinthians 13, which too deals with gifts says if your not ministering your gifts out of love, its going to be like a noisy gong, or clanging cymbal. A “sound mind” defined in the Greek is “self control”. This will tell us when and when not to minister our gifts, rather than being ruled by others, such as the spirit of fear.




Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 02, 2006, 11:22:14 AM
  The Pleading God

By: Matt Crawford


Isaiah 3:12-13 "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O’, my people, they which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths. The Lord stands to plead, and stands to judge the people."

In this chapter of Isaiah, a massive end times destruction because of sin is prophesized for Israel. This catalyst has taken away leaders, generals, speakers, scholars, all the old and wise, and the religious leaders and prophets. Young people, teens with no experience, are put into power because they are the only ones left with promising youthful energy. Women are also in power because all the men are dead from war. Desperate, people try to push anyone even remotely qualified into leadership, but many solemnly refuse. Chaos rules.

Yet in the midst of this, God stands up to plead for His people’s repentance. Standing up is very important, because in the Psalms He tells His messiah: "sit at my right side until I make your enemies your foot-stool." Yet here, we see the Lord stand up in desperate desire for the people to be saved. Sitting on the throne is an image of power, judgment, and collective calm. Yet in the midst of His judgment, He is moved to stand and plead.

In chapter 4, we see a very sudden shift in events. From despair and ruin, tormented by plagues, the jews are now protected by God with a cloud by day, and fire by night hovering over every dwelling place in Jerusalem. The word says that everyone counted among the living in that place will be saved, and called Holy. It says their sins are "washed away" by God Himself. The people have repented, and suddenly Jerusalem goes from a place of cursing, to a place shown by divine phenomenon to be holy and protected.

This tells me the heart of God desires salvation for people. The judgments God brings are shown for what they are: His last efforts to bring people back to Him through repentance, and to spare them from eternal punishment. Imagine almighty God, the world in His hands, soon to return to earth to judge it and to make the wicked tremble. Yet he stands in despair, saddened by what He must do to these people. He pleads with all His spirit for them to return and be spared. Then we see his utter joy and fierce love and protection for them as they repent. He is immediately moved to restore them, supernaturally protect them, and use His wonders to tell the world "these are my holy people," illustrating what He desires to do for all mankind.

If you ever prayed to know more of God, the person, here is your illustration.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 03, 2006, 04:08:41 PM
  Joyful Worship

By: Beth Hays


Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.  (Psalm 89:15) NLT

Worship. I used to struggle with the real meaning of that word. I went to church on Sunday and sung a few songs, and even thought about them a little bit. I figured that was my “worship” quota for the day. I did sing praise-and-worship songs…isn’t that enough?

Then I experienced REAL worship. I stood in the very presence of God. That was mind-blowing. I stood in front of His throne and I told Him just how much I adored him. It was a place of intense love and gentle peace. It was incredible. And what followed that experience was a new depth of God. I desired to go back to that place. I longed for more reasons for worship, so I started to read the Word more. All of my pain left my focus because it was stayed on Him alone. And most of all, I was filled with overflowing joy.

Joy, my friends, is something much greater than happiness. You can only be happy when everything is going right. But, when your life is in shambles and you can still smile and praise God…that is joy at work. True joy is so much more beautiful than happiness and is all-consuming. You can’t lose it because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. It’s yours for as long as you continue to worship.

Dear ones, hear God calling you gently into His presence and follow. Turn up some great music or sit in silence and tell Him how much you adore Him. He longs to hear from you. Know that when you do, your heart will know a new depth. Then, keep worshipping and experience the most amazing thing on this earth—pure worship.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 04, 2006, 12:27:36 PM
  Being Complete

By: Adam R. Rinehart


1 John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God's love[ 2:5 Or word, love for God] is truly made complete in him.

Spumoni has to be my most favorite ice cream in the world.  Granted with it being the end of October, and ice cream shops closing it get harder to find unless you go to the grocery store and buy some which is exactly what I did this afternoon. 

The chocolate, spumoni with fruit, almonds and pistachio ice cream make it a dream of a delicatessen for you palette.   If you were to have just one ingredient without the other it would definitely not be complete.  Taking the chocolate away makes a different flavor, and definitely taking the pistachio away ruins it all together.

As I was thinking about eating my ice cream this evening after supper, I remember how complete that it made my supper and also how Christ after He rose from the dead gave us the opportunity when we accept Him as our personal Savior to be complete in Him.   Without the blood of Christ, righteousness, justification and being made holy in the eyes of God would never happen.  You cannot have one without the other.  You cannot be righteous without being justified, and you cannot be holy without being righteous.  Christ took care of all of those aspects on the cross in order for us to have that completeness in Him which comes not only from that, but also from obedience to Him.

Today as you look at who you are, remember that you are complete in Christ.  That He has commanded us to show that completed heart in Him by truly living in obedience to His Word.  May we do that today and forever more.  May God’s Grace Abound In You.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 05, 2006, 09:21:24 AM
  An Encounter of Healing

By: Beth Hays


Matthew 9:19-22 (NLT)
    As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, [20] a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, [21] for she thought, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed."
    [22] Jesus turned around and said to her, "Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well." And the woman was healed at that moment.

   
Can you imagine the shame that must have lived in this woman’s heart? She had lived with a terrible disease and couldn’t find healing anywhere. It tore her up from the inside out and she had to live with pain day after day. People with illness in those days were despised and rejected. Can you imagine her pain?

And what an intrusion it would have been considered to be to go up the Savior and touch his robe. To go, without permission, and touch a divine piece of clothing.

In all honesty, Jesus should have responded in indignity or anger. He had every right to condemn this woman. He would have been supported if he had cast her away and ignored her plea.

But, he didn’t. He turned around and I can imagine lovingly looked into her eyes and told her that she would be made well. But, that isn’t even the best part, my friends. He looked at this despised woman, rejected by all, and called her his daughter. What a joyful moment! He could have looked at her in shame, but He wanted her as His own child. Then, he told her to be encouraged. He wanted her to know that he supported her. And then, he reassured her that she was healed.

What a path we are called to follow? Are you in need of healing my friends? Healing from deep emotional wounds that control your thoughts and penetrate your dreams? Are you longing to be delivered from shame that plagues you? I have such wonderful news. All we have to do is approach our father and reach out and touch His robe. Then, precious ones, He will look upon you, remind you that He is your Daddy and wants to take care if you. He will encourage and support you. And, precious brothers and sisters, He will heal you. All you have to do is reach out in faith.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 06, 2006, 06:11:49 AM
  Use your gift

By: Jeff Lappano


“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one other another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)

I’m sure that as you read this verse, your thinking it doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have any gifts so why finish reading? Give me just a few moments to share what I believe what the Lord wants you the young people to know. “Every man” is better translated as everyone. That’s right, you have a gift, even if you didn’t know it.

Ok well maybe the argument of God not revealing to you what your gift could work. However, as we continue to study, we’ll see that statement invalid as well. Lets take a moment and study the word “received” in the Greek. The Greek does not give us the picture of us putting out our hands and getting the gift. The Greek defines this as “to get a hold of”.

Romans 11:29 say the gifts and the call of God are without repentance. Jeremiah 1:6 say that before we came out of or mother’s womb there was an ordination to our lives. He had a purpose and plan for our lives, and the gifts he has given us are meant to help us move in the call of God on our lives.

Romans and Jeremiah tell us that we already have the gifts, so what is next? You have to find out what your gifts are! As Peter said in the original Greek, “Get a hold of the gifts”! You have to find out for yourself what your gifts are and then go from there in developing them.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 07, 2006, 05:24:33 AM
  Secondhand Salvation

By: Beth Hays


Don't just say, 'We're safe-we're the descendants of Abraham.' That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. (Matthew 3:9) NLT

I think I was lucky. I grew up in a home in which God wasn’t the “popular” thing to do. I grew up in an environment that required a lot of courage to be a Christian. Why was I lucky? Because of my lack of acceptance as a Christian, my beliefs were forced to stand many trials. If after all of that, I am still a believer than my faith is definitely real.
   
But, how many do you know that go to church simply because their parents do? How many do you see every day that claim to know God because their family is a “Christian home”? How much easier is it to follow in a parent’s footsteps than to analyze what we really believe?

I praise God that I never fell into that trap. But, I see many who do. You may be one of them, my friend. Are you in this race for Jesus simply because it is the “right thing to do”? Then, precious one, you are in it for the wrong reasons.

If Jesus reassured his friends that they couldn’t rely on Abraham to save them, you can’t rely on your parents to save you. Your faith has to be personal. It can’t be based on another’s beliefs.

If you are in that place right now, my friend. Start analyzing what you believe. Take a deep look at your heart. Then, take a long look at our God. If you truly want a REAL faith, seek it. God won’t leave you empty-handed. But, NEVER settle for secondhand salvation.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 09, 2006, 10:31:13 AM
  Saying The Pledge

By: Tony B. Rhoda



"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matt 6:7-8) NKJV.

Do you sometimes get into the habit of doing things over and over again to a point where it loses it's meaning? Maybe it is not the meaning, but it becomes boring or just meaningless? Sometimes, something can be so obvious that you wouldn't even be able to recognize it. Try saying one word again and again. If you keep saying it, does it even sound like a word after a while?

The other day I remembered my senior year in high school and it was revealed to me exactly how much routine can set in if you're not careful. I remember the morning announcements coming on and I was just about to fall asleep on my desk. However, it was time to stand up and say the pledge. After staying up late the night before, saying the pledge was the last thing I wanted to do, especially after I had found the one comfortable spot on my desk. The teacher then tapped me on the shoulder and gave me that look that students just dread, especially at 7:15 a.m. So I got up and said the pledge like I did every morning.

How do you say the pledge after 12 or so years? Well, with me it was a half asleep, groggy voice, that was longing to spend the next 45 minutes finding that comfortable spot on my desk again. I didn't care, and I sure didn't even think about why I was saying it while I was doing it. At 7:15 in the morning there isn't a lot on your mind except sleep and that was what my mind was determined to do.

Now let's switch the pledge to prayer. Is it something that you feel you have to do? Or maybe you just say it before you got o bed at night, with that same groggy voice that you wake up saying the pledge with. Maybe you say that same boring prayer every night. If we talked to our boyfriends or girlfriends like we say the pledge..well I'll let you fill in the blank. Think about your prayer life, do you really pray with all your heart to the Lord. Do you go into great detail and go out of your way to give thanks? Or has praying become this hassle that you feel you just have to do to get it off of your chest. I challenge you to take the time to talk to the Lord. Remember the guy that died on the cross so that you can go to heaven? Don't take that lightly. God Bless and Keep The Faith!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 09, 2006, 10:33:44 AM
  Saying The Pledge

By: Tony B. Rhoda


"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matt 6:7-8) NKJV.

Do you sometimes get into the habit of doing things over and over again to a point where it loses it's meaning? Maybe it is not the meaning, but it becomes boring or just meaningless? Sometimes, something can be so obvious that you wouldn't even be able to recognize it. Try saying one word again and again. If you keep saying it, does it even sound like a word after a while?

The other day I remembered my senior year in high school and it was revealed to me exactly how much routine can set in if you're not careful. I remember the morning announcements coming on and I was just about to fall asleep on my desk. However, it was time to stand up and say the pledge. After staying up late the night before, saying the pledge was the last thing I wanted to do, especially after I had found the one comfortable spot on my desk. The teacher then tapped me on the shoulder and gave me that look that students just dread, especially at 7:15 a.m. So I got up and said the pledge like I did every morning.

How do you say the pledge after 12 or so years? Well, with me it was a half asleep, groggy voice, that was longing to spend the next 45 minutes finding that comfortable spot on my desk again. I didn't care, and I sure didn't even think about why I was saying it while I was doing it. At 7:15 in the morning there isn't a lot on your mind except sleep and that was what my mind was determined to do.

Now let's switch the pledge to prayer. Is it something that you feel you have to do? Or maybe you just say it before you got o bed at night, with that same groggy voice that you wake up saying the pledge with. Maybe you say that same boring prayer every night. If we talked to our boyfriends or girlfriends like we say the pledge..well I'll let you fill in the blank. Think about your prayer life, do you really pray with all your heart to the Lord. Do you go into great detail and go out of your way to give thanks? Or has praying become this hassle that you feel you just have to do to get it off of your chest. I challenge you to take the time to talk to the Lord. Remember the guy that died on the cross so that you can go to heaven? Don't take that lightly. God Bless and Keep The Faith!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 10, 2006, 09:51:41 AM
  Joyful Worship

By: Beth Hays


Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.  (Psalm 89:15) NLT

Worship. I used to struggle with the real meaning of that word. I went to church on Sunday and sung a few songs, and even thought about them a little bit. I figured that was my “worship” quota for the day. I did sing praise-and-worship songs…isn’t that enough?

Then I experienced REAL worship. I stood in the very presence of God. That was mind-blowing. I stood in front of His throne and I told Him just how much I adored him. It was a place of intense love and gentle peace. It was incredible. And what followed that experience was a new depth of God. I desired to go back to that place. I longed for more reasons for worship, so I started to read the Word more. All of my pain left my focus because it was stayed on Him alone. And most of all, I was filled with overflowing joy.

Joy, my friends, is something much greater than happiness. You can only be happy when everything is going right. But, when your life is in shambles and you can still smile and praise God…that is joy at work. True joy is so much more beautiful than happiness and is all-consuming. You can’t lose it because it isn’t dependent upon circumstances. It’s yours for as long as you continue to worship.

Dear ones, hear God calling you gently into His presence and follow. Turn up some great music or sit in silence and tell Him how much you adore Him. He longs to hear from you. Know that when you do, your heart will know a new depth. Then, keep worshipping and experience the most amazing thing on this earth—pure worship.

Editor's Note: If you have not already, go to www.TDDM.org/bb and sign up for our new message board! Post your thoughts and questions to teens all over the world! I will see you there!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 11, 2006, 07:17:28 AM
  What A Savior!

By: Adam R. Rinehart


And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.(Acts 1:9)

And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19-23)

Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips are my favorite cartoon strips of all time.  Calvin reminds me of myself when I was a child and the mischief that I got into.  In one of their strips, they are lying in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day.   Calvin the hyperactive little boy, asks, “What if there is no heaven?  What if this is all that we get?”  Hobbes, the tiger answers,  “Well if this is all that we get, I guess that we will have to accept it.”  Calvin replies, “Yeah, but if I am not going to be rewarded for my good deeds, I want to know it now!”

Life after death - immorality - seems to be on everyone’s mind these days.  If I were pick a religion to believe in today, I would want one that spoke with clarity and authority about life beyond the grace.

Ironically, if you were to take a few months and study the writing of other religions, you would discover that the history of their founders stops abruptly with their death.  They wasted away in the grave.  Confucius, Mohammed, Krishna, what are their plans for the future.  Not even their most devoted followers know for sure!

Have you ever had a time in your life when you wondered where God was? “I couldn’t see Him working, I couldn’t see Him or sense Him.” Honestly—has this ever been you?  We are called to:  Walk by faith and not by sight!

WE ARE DIFFERENT!  The written record of God’s word and countless eye witnesses confirm that Jesus Christ is God’s Son!  He died on the cross for the sins of the world and raised from the dead!   These are the facts that set Him and us apart!  Where is Jesus right now?   He is seated at the right hand of the Father with all power and dominion!  He is praying for you and I, sending His Spirit to live in our hearts, preparing a place for us, and getting ready to come for you and I!  What a Savior!  He is alive!  We need to serve Him more and more with all of our hearts!  May God’s Grace Abound In You.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 12, 2006, 01:09:13 PM
  Reason for the Season

By: Tony B. Rhoda


All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel--which means, "God with us." (Matthew 1:20) NIV

I woke up like I did every morning. Half awake, off balanced, and longing to tell the world to stop for another hour. After a weak attempt to hop out of my bed, I walked awkwardly towards the front door to get an idea of what the weather was like. I opened the door and with a sudden blast of wind I shrieked, slammed the door, hurtled a book case, and dove under the warm covers of my bed. "You've got to be kidding me!" I screamed at anyone that would care to listen. "It had to be 50 degrees outside!"

Fifty degrees may not sound like much, but for this Florida boy, that might as well be considered a snow day. I put on what some would consider a ski jacket, unpacked the long johns, and threw on a less than flattering pair of sweat pants. I didn't care what I looked like, I was going to be warm.

Yes, it is that time of year again. The time when we decorate the Christmas tree, put up the stockings, and drink way to much eggnog. It is also the time we get to focus on Christ. A bumper sticker read, "Keep CHRIST first in CHRISTmas." With all of the hustle that goes on during this time of year it is easy to forget why we are celebrating. We get caught up in the 5 AM mad rush for the last Hokey Pokey Elmo at Toys R Us and forget that we are giving because Christ gave His life for us.

When you wish someone a Merry Christmas, remember what you really are saying. We celebrate the birth of our Savior, His life that He lived, and His ultimate sacrifice which allows us eternal life. Of all of the gifts I could receive, none will come close to that. Christ truly is the reason for the season. God Bless and Keep the Faith.

Editor's Note: The staff of TDDM have made an early New Year's Challenge. We want to have a 150 signed members on our message boards. Do your part by signing up for free today at www.TDDM.org/bb. Then you can chat with teens across the world and find answers to all of those tough to figure out questions.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 13, 2006, 12:45:28 PM
  Twas The Night Before Jesus Came


TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE NOT A CREATURE WAS PRAYING, NOT ONE IN THE HOUSE. THEIR BIBLES WERE LAIN ON THE SHELF WITHOUT CARE IN HOPES THAT JESUS WOULD NOT COME THERE.

THE CHILDREN WERE DRESSING TO CRAWL INTO BED, NOT ONCE EVER KNEELING OR BOWING A HEAD. AND MOM IN HER ROCKER WITH BABY ON HER LAP WAS WATCHING THE LATE SHOW WHILE I TOOK A NAP.

WHEN OUT OF THE EAST THERE AROSE SUCH A CLATTER, I SPRANG TO MY FEET TO SEE WHAT WAS THE MATTER. AWAY TO THE WINDOW I FLEW LIKE A FLASH TORE OPEN THE SHUTTERS AND THREW UP THE SASH!

WHEN WHAT TO MY WONDERING EYES SHOULD APPEAR BUT ANGELS PROCLAIMING THAT JESUS WAS HERE WITH A LIGHT LIKE THE SUN SENDING FORTH A BRIGHT RAY I KNEW IN A MOMENT THIS MUST BE THE DAY!

THE LIGHT OF HIS FACE MADE ME COVER MY HEAD IT WAS JESUS! RETURNING JUST LIKE HE HAD SAID. AND THOUGH I POSSESSED WORLDLY WISDOM AND WEALTH, I CRIED WHEN I SAW HIM IN SPITE OF MYSELF.

IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WHICH HE HELD IN HIS HAND, WAS WRITTEN THE NAME OF EVERY SAVED MAN. HE SPOKE NOT A WORD AS HE SEARCHED FOR MY NAME; WHEN HE SAID, IT‚S NOT HERE MY HEAD HUNG IN SHAME.

THE PEOPLE WHOSE NAMES HAD BEEN WRITTEN WITH LOVE HE GATHERED TO TAKE TO HIS FATHER ABOVE. WITH THOSE WHO WERE READY HE ROSE WITHOUT A SOUND WHILE ALL THE REST WERE LEFT STANDING AROUND.

I FELL TO MY KNEES, BUT IT WAS TO LATE; I HAD WAITED TO LONG AND THUS SEALED MY FATE. I STOOD AND I CRIED AS THEY ROSE OUT OF SIGHT; OH, IF ONLY I HAD BEEN READY TONIGHT.

IN WORDS OF THIS POEM THE MEANING IS CLEAR! THE COMING OF JESUS IS DRAWING NEAR. THERE‚S ONLY ONE LIFE AND WHEN COMES THE LAST CALL WE'LL FIND THAT THE BIBLE WAS TRUE AFTER ALL!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 14, 2006, 10:59:32 AM
  Rejoice!

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Luke 1:46 -47  "And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."  (ASV)

One of my favorite nicknames that people have for me is the classic "Bah Humbug".    I really do not like Christmas.   Unless you have been abandoned to a lost island, you have at least heard since the end of Thanksgiving Day, and will continue to hear on through tomorrow, the use of the phrase, "Christmas Spirit".   Maybe in the form of 'having more of", "sharing in" or "getting into".   

According to Jacob Marley, in one of my favorite Christmas stories, Christmas spirit meant regret at a lifetime of wasted opportunities for good deeds.   To the distillers, Christmas spirit comes in a bottle and approximately $75 million dollars worth will be sold and consumed this month.  Christmas card business will go through the roof, and 95% of all Americans will send a total of 5 billion Christmas cards this year.  Wal-Mart © even says that they had the biggest day after Thanksgiving that they have ever had.    Some Christmas Spirit is just that spirit and nothing more.  For some,  it is more about the gifts and nothing more.  For me, you can have all of the gifts that you want, but you can never take them with you.

Put simply, to me, Christmas Spirit, according to God's Word, is a time of worship and a time of rejoicing.  That's Right!  Christmas is about worship and a time to rejoice.  Why?  Because of the unmerited, undeserved saving provision God Almighty has made in, by, and through Jesus Christ to us, giving us the ultimate gift of eternal life after this hellish life!  This is a time to rejoice and worship unto and only to Jesus Christ our Savior that came to this earth to die on the cross for our sins and raise again so that when we believe we can have eternal life!  That is the reason for Christmas.   

You know, Mary had it right about the true meaning of Christmas.  She found out that she was going to bear a child and that Child would be born of the Holy Spirit, and she could have sulked, but she chose to rejoice.  With her age, and the culture she could have been killed, or if she even stayed alive, she may have been classified as crazy and maybe would have never married again, but she chose to serve the Lord and did it willingly!  She also rejoiced and worshipped the Lord in her decision!  What about us?  Is this season all about the material or about God?   If it is about the material than all that we care about is the gifts.  If it is about God, then it better be all about God.  I am not saying that there is anything wrong about the gifts, but is it all about the gifts?  You know, I would rather have a time of worship to the Lord for all that He has done and especially saving me from an eternity away from Him, than the best Christmas present in the world.  Well, "Bah Humbug."  Or really?  May the Lord move in your heart this season to see the real meaning of the season, and cause you to respond just as Mary responded with rejoicing and worship!  May The Grace Of God Abound In You!



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 15, 2006, 08:42:13 PM
  Piecing Me Back Together

By: Beth Hays


Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 51:18 (NLT)

A couple years ago I went to a friend when I was very broken and desperate. I told her I needed some encouragement to keep going. She showed me passages about the wall of Jerusalem and talked about it had to be broken before it could be built up again. This was great comfort to me…knowing that being rebuilt could make me more beautiful inside.

As I have gone on the past couple years I have forgotten about the comparison of the wall to my life. My life has had rocky moments but I have not yet been totally broken. At least, I have not been broken like I was a couple of years ago.

Tonight I was spending my quiet time with God and He spoke to me about being broken and that I needed to be broken to be useable because I so stubbornly refused him for so long. I was too busy fooling myself and others to acknowledge my inner issues. I really broke down tonight and told Him that I knew He was right...I needed to break down those masks.

After this intense time, He brought me to this verse: Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Psalm 51:18 (NLT) Wow. He will help to rebuild me. I remembered the analogy. Imagine that one conversation two years ago could have such an impact today. I have been broken…but for His purposes…and that is an amazing thing.

Now He is going to take those shattered pieces and put me back together. Maybe you are in the same boat. Are you shattered? Let Him gently piece you back together again. He loves you, my dear ones.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 16, 2006, 09:12:50 AM
  We Are Redeemed

By: Jessica Scheurich


"In him we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of
God's grace" (Ephesians 1:7) NIV

This is the season of Easter. At Easter we celebrate
the death and resurrection of Christ. The above verse
tells you what happened on the cross.

Christ shed His blood on the cross for the forgiveness
of sins. He also redeemed us through His blood. What
do we mean by redemption? Redemption means to pay back
something that has been lost. Christ has redeemed us.
He paid the ultimate price for our lives: His own
life.

All this was done according to the riches of God's
grace. Do you know what grace is? Grace is when we get
something that we do not deserve. Such as in "For by
grace you are saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8a).
That verse tells us that through faith by grace we can
be sure of our salvation.

I will keep this short so that you can reflect on the
message of the cross. I leave you with a challenge: to
preach the Gospel to yourself every day.



Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 17, 2006, 03:23:33 PM
  Eating The Bread

By: Jeff Lappano


“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

It was ordained by God, from the beginning, that if man wanted to survive, and function on a day to day basis, he must eat something. In Genesis 2:16, God declares, “Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat.” Adam had to keep up his strength by eating, so that he could continue naming all the animals of the world.

We’re composed of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. That which we spoke concerning our physical body applies to our spiritual body. If we want to keep our spiritual bodies totally in shape for the work of the Lord, we must be eating of the bread of life!

Jesus makes it clear in our text that we cannot survive off of physical bread, and with good reason He says this. May I remind you that the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that our battle is that of the spirit realm, and not that of the flesh? Lets go deeper with this thought. In this same passage of scripture, Paul says that we need to put on the whole armour of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the enemy.” I’m going to go ahead and kick it up a few more notches. The apostle goes on and tells us that the sword of the spirit is the word of God. if you look “word” up in the Greek, you’ll see that it is translated “Rhema”, which is “a spoken word or utterance."

Believer, do you want to have victory over the enemy? Do you want to withstand the wiles of the enemy? Follow the example that Jesus set in Matthew 4. Three times the tempter came to tempt the Lord, and every time He spoke the word, and after the third time the devil left him alone. Believer, know the word! When the enemy comes to tempt you and you speak the word against him he is going to flee from you! Just as bread brings strength to the physical body, so does the spoken word of God to the spirit man. In Jesus name Amen!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 18, 2006, 02:30:21 PM
  Another Milestone

By: Adam R. Rinehart


Acts 28:15 ......."When Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage." 
(NKJV)

Here in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, we see that Paul had just landed on the shores of Italy to venture toward Rome. Reaching the city of Rome was a milestone in the life and ministry of Paul. He so longed and prayed that he would be able to see Rome one day, to see the brothers and sisters in Christ and teach them more about His love and grace. Paul made it!

You see Paul had a very big reason to thank God and take courage for he had many ups and downs in his life and ministry to be able to see it to this point. He utterly thanked God for getting him to this milestone because of all that he had been through in his life. While on the shore of Italy and starting the trail to the city, he ran into some of the brothers of Rome. What an encouragement to Paul, and this gave him courage.

Friends, when we look back at our lives and this past year with all of the events, achievements, disappointments, wars, terrorism, things that we are sick of, and many other things that have happened in our lives, what is our attitude about them? Today, as we stand on the new year, a new milestone, what is our attitude? Are we thankful to God no matter what? Are we taking courage? I challenge you to be thankful and take courage this new year as Paul did when he reached a milestone in his life and ministry. May God’s Grace Abound In You.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 20, 2006, 10:34:03 AM
  Today You Might Die



"I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."  John 11:25 KJV

"For me to live in Christ and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21 KJV

No one wakes up thinking, "Maybe I will die today."  But someone will die today. Someone got out of bed this morning never to return to it tonight.  Some said good-bye to their parents, brothers and sisters this morning over breakfast and will never come home tonight.  Some have great plans for the weekend that will never happen, instead their family will be at their funeral.  It happens.  In June of 1999 my husband kissed me good-bye and left to go to the store to get steaks to barbecue.  As I was making the salad and setting the table on our porch for dinner, the call came in.  My husband was dead.  He had not been sick or hurt or anything.  He died of a brain aneurysm.  He was dead before he hit the floor in the grocery store.  He didn't wake up that morning saying, "I will probably die today."  He had plans, a good job, a family, a life. 

When it is our time to leave this world there may be no warning at all.  Some are ill and we know that the time is drawing near, but for most we do not know.  I know that when my husband left and never came back that he did go to a place that was prepared for him.  Heaven, my husband went immediately to Heaven, how do I know that?  I witnessed during our lives together my husband prepare his soul to insure he was going to Heaven.  I saw my husband pray to Jesus Christ to forgive him of his sins and to change his life.  I saw my husband dedicate his life to God.  I saw him grow in a personal relationship with Jesus over the years.  I saw the spirit of the Lord within him each and every day.

IF YOU WERE TO SUDDENLY DIE TODAY - DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE WHERE YOU WILL GO? DO NOT WAIT!

Do not wait another minute cause no one knows where our time is come.  Go on your knees NOW and pray to God for salvation.  Ask Jesus to come into your heart and live there, changing your life and forgiving you of your sins.  You need not a fancy prayer, just talk to him from your heart as you would you best friend.  This guarantees a place in Heaven for all eternity.  Especially as teens we may think we have plenty of time to do this in our lives -- but we just never know.  An actual prayer to God must be said, just thinking and feeling it won't make it so.  Go down on your knees NOW and ask Jesus in your life.  Believe me I never expected to never see my husband again when he left that afternoon. Go to God now and make your reservation for a wonderful eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. Do it before its too late. The alternative is everlasting life in torment in Hell. 

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  John 14:1-3 KJV


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 20, 2006, 10:35:44 AM
  Phat Chance Devotional


I’ll never forget the day. We were in the middle of the Festival Con Dios tour with Audio Adrenaline and the Newsboys. I was walking around backstage, minding my own business, trying to find a little peace and quiet.  (Okay, I was looking for a port-a-john!)  Ahhh, relief was finally in sight, as I saw a few booths in the parking lot.

I was just getting comfortable, when I heard it.  I knew exactly what it sounded like…but, no, it couldn’t be.  The noise grew closer, and then I felt the jolt and the vibrations.  Suddenly, I was airborne!  A forklift had just picked up the whole booth, and I was quickly being transported to the other side of the parking lot.  When I finally landed, safe and sound, I didn’t dare move until I couldn’t hear any more talking.  Then I scooted out of there faster than a rabbit before I was noticed!

Genesis tells the story of someone else that was just getting “comfortable” in life, when he got “picked up” and taken someplace he really did not want to go.  It’s the story of Joseph.  Life was fine, and then the unexpected, the unbelievable, happened.  Joseph found himself being taken to a foreign land.  (Read Gen. 37)

It was far less dramatic than Joseph, but I too, was taken on one of those unexpected, unwanted, life-changing journeys.

I was a normal, active kid, when suddenly my Dad was diagnosed with AIDS.  That was the beginning of quite a “ride,” and took me to lots of places I did not want to go.  Within a few years, he died a horrible death.

There’s no way of downplaying how miserable that was, or of stating how much I would love to have my dad back.  But that was not an option.  God had moved me to a different place.  However, Joseph’s story did not end at chapter 37.  God had much more in store for Joseph (read Gen. 41).  And he had more in store for me as well. 

My dad led a life filled with drug abuse and sexual immorality with women and it cost him his life.  But, before he died, he had a deep and genuine salvation experience, and gave his life to Christ, and nurtured me in the faith.  His death was painful for all involved.  But a “Chapter 41” is now unfolding in my life as well.  Who would have thought that God would have used all that pain to put a passionate message of purity and abstinence in my heart – and then to provide a platform to share that message with teens across the country through our music? 

Floating port-a-johns may be funny, but there was no laughing in either Joseph’s or my undesired journey.  Nevertheless, if we are faithful, God can take even our undesired journeys and give them a wonderful ending.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 22, 2006, 08:52:06 AM
  The Choice

By: Laura Hofford


“Many are invited, but only a few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14, CEV)

All of us who are Christians got to the point in our lives when we accepted Christ as our Savior.  Maybe you grew up in church, maybe not…but there was some point when you made the decision to follow Jesus.

I grew up in a Christian home, but never really accepted Jesus till much later on in life.  I thought I believed, but as I grew up I realized I didn’t have faith in anyone but myself.  My whole concept of religion was originally based on the fuzzy warm feeling I got in my stomach knowing that I was “good” because I went to church and could recite a lot of prayers.  As I got older I realized that believing wasn’t a feeling but a conscious choice.

So does it end there?  We all chose to follow Jesus, right…so we’re good to go.  Or maybe not.  Lots of times we get up to make a profession of faith and what we’re really saying is something like “Well, I’ve looked at the available information and I’ve decided that it would be in my best interest to follow Jesus.”  Like it’s some big deal on our part!  We so easily belittle our God by focusing on what we’ve done…and losing sight of what He did for us.

Of course, it’s necessary for our salvation that we choose to accept the free gift of life.  But we forget that God chose to make us, chose to love us, and ultimately chose to hang on a cross and die for us…how arrogant of us to not fall to our faces knowing we do not come close to deserving the gift we choose to put out our hands for!

I would challenge you today in your quite time to really think about the choices that God made.  You know that He chose to die for you…what other choices has He made for your life?  Take the time to discover what God wants in your life, and be prepared for a life that is better than you what could have chosen yourself!


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 22, 2006, 08:52:55 AM
  Soul Mate

By: Adam R. Rinehart


And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24) NKJV

I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; My heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:7-8) NKJV

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29: 11-14) NKJV

When I was fifteen years old, I met Bethany. She was twelve and was told that she would never be let of the house with any boy for any reason until she was sixteen.  When she and I met, we really began to hit it off and had a little puppy love relationship and then broke up after six months.

Four years passed and we continued to go to youth group together, I dated other girls, and even thought that I would marry one of them, but God had other plans and it never worked out.  I continued on at Bible school, and was still keeping my dream, ambition, and calling of God to become a pastor one day.  My sophomore year, I went home for Christmas break and Bethany was now sixteen and able to go out on dates.

While back visiting my home church, I heard word from the pastor’s wife that there was a girl in the church that liked me.  I asked, “Who would that be?  I have dated all of the girls any way.”  Our church was small and very easy for me to do something like that.  Needless to say, she would never tell me, and so I decided to ask the pastor.  He then told me that is was Bethany.

I then asked if I could go out to dinner with Bethany and her parents that afternoon after church, and then asked her parents if she and I could go out that evening after church and talk and see a movie with Bethany.  She and I really were great friends, and then wouldn’t you know it, we really hit it off that evening and I asked her if we could go out the next night.  We did just that, and then it came time for me to go back to school, and we talked again and she said that we could continue to date.  We “long distance” dated for about a year, and I began to really hate that, and I asked her to marry me and we got married July of 1995, and have a beautiful little girl.

She really is my soul mate.  After much thought in trying to answer this question from a Biblical point of view, I did not have to look very far to find my answer.  I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us, and has even chosen the one that we are supposed to be with the rest of our lives.  The Bible says that when two people are married, they become “one flesh.”  Meaning that they become a unit and their marriage is because of the two of them.  Are soul mates perfect?  No, and the relationship is not perfect either.  One day you will want to get married and be looking for your soul mate, and God will have that person picked out and you will want to seek out His will on the matter.  God told Jeremiah that He had plans for him concerning the captivity of Israel, and Jeremiah’s life, and He has the very same plans for you and I especially in the search of our future mates.

Is it right to search for your soul mate?  Absolutely!  In my opinion, God wants us to seek His will, and seeking His will means that we may have too look for it.  We don’t know how the Holy Spirit will tell is, but when the time comes we can search God’s word, look at the doors of circumstance, talk to older Christians for wisdom, and check our motives as to why we think that this person is our soul mate.  I know that it took me a time of talking to my parents and different people to see what they thought.  I am so thankful that they thought that we ought to get married because she really is my soul mate.

In conclusion, it does not matter if you are a teen-ager of 13 or a young adult in your 20’s. I would encourage you to seek God’s will in the finding of your future mate. Pray for your future mate, and begin to pray that you will have a relationship with that person that will make you the best soul mates ever. I know that I did, and I know that my soul mate is God sent, and I will thank God and cherish her until the day that I die. May God’s Grace Abound In You.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 23, 2006, 04:12:19 PM
  Spiritual Resolution



“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6) NKJV

Every year millions of people make resolutions for the coming new year that they hardly ever keep.  Many resolve to lose weight, save money, get married, buy a new automobile, go on exotic vacations or anything that they can possibly think of.  Most of these resolutions never get accomplished.
     
We as Christians tend to resolve to read our Bibles more and pray more.  Most of the time we commit to our resolutions until about the end of January.  By then, we have become preoccupied with other things that we feel are more important.  However, this year let’s commit to establishing a better relationship with God.  Think about it.  Would it actually hurt you to spend an hour with God reading and meditating on His word?  No, because you would probably spend it watching television.  Would it hurt you to pray and give thanks to God?

We tend to make excuses for everything.  There is one thing that I want you to remember and that is that your life may be the only Bible that some people may read.  As Christians, people are watching us daily.  This year let’s commit to trusting in the Lord with all of our heart and let Him direct our paths.  May God bless you.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 24, 2006, 01:03:55 PM
  A Valued Lord

By: Tyler Pugh


“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." (Revelation 4:11) NIV

I was once a part of an exercise that judged our values. It is a simple question really. “Take a piece of paper and a pen, and for the next two minutes write down, in order, the things that you value.” My Christian buddies and I looked at each other with a slight grin, like we had the right answer to the question. After the two minutes were over my list was full of wonderful things that had some place in my heart, but of coarse at the top was God, then family, and followed by friends. When asked to read these values out loud, I was astonished to find that I was not the only person to have these specific top three. People that seemed to hate their parents and the ones that never went to church said their list of values like it was common knowledge. How could they possibly value God as much as myself?

“Next, write down the amount of time that you spend with each valued thing a day.” Right then my judgments slipped through my fingers and I was forced to get off my soapbox. My paper reflected a meager 30-45 minutes for God (not including church or youth group), minutes that I thought were sometimes long and arduous. I continued down my list and looked at family. I spent even less time with them, but the minutes grew exponentially the further I went down my list, even with the things that were meaningless to me. It was then that I realized that if I was to value God the most, then I must spend the most time with him, honoring and praising God to the fullest.
   
If you were to make a values list, would the things that mean most to you be equivalent to the time that you spend doing them? Are you honoring God with your time? Brothers and Sisters, sometimes it is hard to find that extra 30 minutes a day or even an hour to spend with God, but take a good look at your values list. Spending just an extra five minutes talking to God, reading his word, or thinking of ways to serve him makes all the difference. Pray right now, just to tell God you are thinking about him and ask if there is anything that you could do for him. God will always show you the way. May you keep God in you heart and mind, forever.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 25, 2006, 12:19:34 PM
  A Day To Remember

By: Jessica Scheurich


"And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Revelation 5:9-12

The Sunday after Christmas I was at Campus Crusade for Christ's Christmas Conference, Baltimore. It was really great. It went from the Thursday before to the Monday after Christmas. That Sunday morning a bunch of my friends and I decided to go to church since it was a Sunday. We got in three cars and left the hotel. We knew our destination but we didn't exactly have directions. Needless to say we did get there. It took us an hour to get there.

The Scripture above was from the sermon in church. It talks about the Lamb who was slain. He is the one who is worthy to open the scroll. But today I want to challenge you to sing a new song. That is what the verses say. They sang a new song and a loud song. They were passionate for God. Are you passionate in your worship to God. After all He died for us, so that makes Him worthy of our praise.

You can yell and scream at ball games. You can even dance at a win. But are you that passionate when You worship God. If you aren't as excited as the angels in heaven when you worship God, than perhaps it is time to revaluate your first love. Is it TV, music, sex, pornography, your boyfriend/girlfriend? If Jesus is not your first love than why not make Him today? He should be the center of our lives.

Back to Sunday, Church ended. I am not regretting that I went. It was different from what I normally do, doing things spontaneously. My one friend form school who saw me there will never forget that day, when I showed up at his church with a bunch of friends. So get down to business. It is a new year. Give God your love and passion. Make Him your first love.


Title: Re: Devotions for Teens
Post by: Soldier4Christ on April 26, 2006, 11:00:06 PM
  Test All Things

By: Janet Adams


Test all things; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.
(1 Thes. 5:21-22) NIV

Test all things.  Look at each activity or thought you might have