Thursday, October 3, 2013

Video Devotions Available!

Video devotions are available on my Daily Bible Devotions blog. I will continue to write Teen Devotions after my break. I hope you will take advantages of the video devotions until then. Please note that they are addressed to Christian women, but are still suitable for everyone (even teens).

Here is the first video devotion from Psalm 1, entitled, "First Love."










God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Temporary Break!


Hello to all of my faithful readers. I wanted to let you know that I am taking a temporary break from writing my daily Bible devotions. During this time I hope you will take advantage of my archives, for I have literally several hundred devotions in the archives.

I am currently working on a video project for my Psalms devotions; when completed both video and audio options will be available. As I complete each Psalm and have them published to the web, I will put links in both this, my Devotionals for Teens blog, as well as my Daily Bible Devotions blog. 

Once that project is progressing well, I plan to continue writing both my Daily Bible Devotions and my Devotional for Teens blogs.

Thank you for your on-going prayer support. May Jesus Christ be praised!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Have No Fear!


 24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
 25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
 26Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 

Have No Fear!

What things are you afraid of? As a teen, unfortunately, one of our greatest fears is that of not being liked. Even worse, we fear being ridiculed. Jesus words to His disciples directly challenged this very fear!

The words of Christ are blatantly clear in these verses from Matthew 10. Spoken to a people who are overly concerned about what others think, as we also tend to be, He was saying, "If they hate me, the perfect Son of God, then they are going to hate you, too, if you are truly seeking to live in a manner which is pleasing to me."

That really is a difficult issue for us, is it not? We think that, as a Christian teen, if we are faithful to God, and live according to His Word, that everyone will love us. However, just the opposite is true. The closer we align ourselves with the Word of God, the more odious are we in the eyes of the people of this world. Our "righteous" living causes them a great deal of discomfort, for it tends to be a mirror, reflecting their own sin back to them. People of this world are much more comfortable being with others like themselves, for they do not have to feel guilty about their own thoughts or lifestyles.

Consequently, we tend to live as a closet Christian. We are teens who love the Lord, but we do not make an issue of it, trying to hide our real feelings when we are with our peers.

We, as Christians, must seriously considers the words of Christ from verse 26: "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known."

What is Jesus saying here? Jesus is reminding us that we need to remember the reality of life. For, in the end of time, everything will be set straight. Nothing that happens today will be covered at the end of time. All things will be revealed before a holy and righteous God who will miss nothing. We may try to live a "hidden" life, living for the Lord sometimes, and living for the world at others. Will God see those compromises we make with this world? Oh yes! Let us live in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord, for in the end, all things will be revealed! May we stand before the Lord with no reasons for guilt or concern. Truthfully, a "half" believer is no believer at all!

When we think of it, it really is fear that causes us to compromise our faith, is it not? Our fear of what others will think or say about us is far too important to us! Jesus said, "Have no fear." By His grace, let us seek His help to live in a manner pleasing to Him. When we fail, let us come before Him seeking His forgiveness, and seeking His grace to help us in the future.

Let us also seek out the fellowship and friendship of other likeminded Christian teens, that we may have others to encourage us during the difficult circumstances of life. God has designed churches to guide and direct us. He has given us Godly pastors who faithfully teach and instruct us from His Word, and He has provided the opportunity to grow in Him through our fellowship with other believers. It goes without saying that we need to seek out churches which faithfully proclaim His Word as the only Guide for faith and practice. Admittedly, it seems harder and harder to find churches which have not compromised with this world, but they are still there. 

If you do not have Christian teens as friends, then pray that God will bring them into your life. Pray that God will give you at least one very close Christian teen whom you can encourage and who will encourage you. 

Go this day, and have no fear! Rest, instead, in the grace and help of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you this day to remain faithful to God!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, September 9, 2013

Persecution


 21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
 22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
 23But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 

Persecution

As a teen, are there things in your life that are so important to you that you are willing to die for them? We probably do not often think about such things, but for the Christian, we must always understand that this world hates Christ, and thus it hates us. Though we may not suffer persecution now, we certainly may in the near future!

The very word sends chills down our backs, does it not? Jesus said, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." At this very moment, there are those in this world who are experiencing this very thing--right now! However, for many of us, the words seem somewhat foreign. It is true that it is not necessarily popular to be a Christian, but unpopularity is a long way from the type of persecution spoken of by the Lord Jesus.

As Christian teens, each of us needs to ask the question, "Would I die for my faith?" Is my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ just a preference, or is it life itself?

We all like to be liked, but persecution goes far beyond the matter of whether we are liked. We are not only not liked, we are hated, and we are hated to such an extent that our live is not considered to be worth living any more by our enemies.

God has given to each of us a natural sense of self-preservation, and we understand that as believers, we are here to do a work for the Lord. However, no matter how wonderful our life may be, and no matter how valuable we may determine our work for the Lord is--nothing is worth trading our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! Truly, Christ is all!

Matthew 16:26 poses the question, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

By God's grace, as Christian teens, let us lift our eyes to the Lord Jesus Christ, and look beyond the things of this world. This world is not our home, for our true home is in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ. By His grace we will soon pass through this vale of tears and enter into His joy forever!

Let us, then, not fear what may come to pass while we walk upon this earth. Though many unpleasant things will undoubtedly occur, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Jim Reeves wrote a wonder hymn about this very thing:

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

I have a loving mother just over in Gloryland
And I don't expect to stop until I shake her hand
She's waiting now for me in heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Just over in Gloryland we'll live eternally 
The saints on every hand are shouting victory
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven's shore
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, September 6, 2013

Spirit of Your Father


 16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
 20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 

Spirit of Your Father

From the time we were little children, we were identified with our fathers. Have you ever thought, that as a Christian teen, you are identified with God, Himself? How should knowing this affect our lives?

Matthew 10 continues with a very sober warning: "But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake."

Jesus precludes this with the words, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." In other words, we are called to understand the true heart of man; in dealing with the people of this world we must not be naive! That is not to say that we are to have any sense of superiority, pride, or arrogance, thinking that we are better than the people of this world. Why? Our pride is in Christ, and not in ourselves!

The only thing that makes us different than the people of this world is that, in the words of Christ, the Spirit of your Father is in you! We see and understand everything in this life from a different perspective because the Holy Spirit lives within our hearts. Understanding the difference, we should not expect the people of this world to understand the things of God. No wonder they reject the Bible, and even the very words of Christ, assuming Him to be but a man.

We must remember, therefore, that it is not our job to convince people of the truths of God's Word. We are to pray, instead, that God would open their hearts of understanding. For, unless God opens their hearts, nothing we do will convince them of the truths taught in the Bible.

How, then, should we approach the people of this world? We must understand that the difference is: the grace of God. We should pray for our unsaved friends, relatives, and neighbors--pray that God would open their eyes to see the truths of His Word and to see their need of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. We should pray that God would graciously move in their hearts and lives so that they would humbly bow the knee before Him, and receive Christ.

Knowing that not everyone comes to Christ, we must not be naive in our dealings with the people of this world. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one! The very ones who turned against Christ happened to be the religious leaders of the Jewish people. Often, the greatest antagonists to true believers are those who are very religious, but have never truly turned their heart to the Lord. 

Then, too, there are those who openly reject Christ. Often these are the very ones who are leaders of cities, countries, and nations. Should we fear their reprisals against us, especially if we live in nations where Christians are openly persecuted? Christ encourages us to put all of our confidence and trust in Him, not worrying about what we would say if we are brought before the ungodly. For, in our hour of greatest need, He will surround us with grace and strength, and give us the very words we should speak.

This world is antagonistic to God, so we should not be surprised when it is antagonistic to His children. As Christian teens, let us pray that, should we be required to take a stand for the Lord--even at the cost of our life--we would be found faithful to God!

Go this day, in the strength and power of God, and faithfully serve Him, remembering that a crown of glory awaits us when we enter the gates of heaven, and the first face we see will be that of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tolerance!


 11And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
 12And when ye come into an house, salute it.
 13And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
 14And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
 15Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 

Tolerance

As a Christian teen, how are you to view the attitudes of those around you? Is it true that we all worship the same God and that we really all have the same life-goal in mind? No! Believe it or not, there are really only two views: people either believe in the God of the Bible, or they do not! That is it!

Tolerance! The word has a nice, satisfactory ring to it, does it not? We live in an "I'm OK, you're OK" world where what you do is good for you and what I do is good for me. However, is that truly the attitude that Jesus was promoting to His disciples? Is that the attitude that Christ desires to see in His church today? Is His chief concern that we do not offend one another in our zeal for being faithful to the Lord?

These are serious questions that every Christian teen needs to ponder. As we look at Matthew 10, we see that Jesus' words were not words encouraging compromise. He commanded His disciples to faithfully proclaim the message of salvation as they traveled from village to village, with a stern warning in verse 15:
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Not only was Jesus not promoting tolerance of other views, He was warning that God, Himself would administer swift justice upon any city that rejected Him! We need to be careful that in our zeal to not offend others we do not find ourselves in the position of offending God! It is God we serve, and it is His will we must obey.

This is not a popular attitude in the world in which we live. As the world continually moves to a one-world church (and, yes, it is moving in that direction), it is not the God of the Bible who will be worshiped. It will be a god of man's invention!

These words of Christ are especially pertinent in our 21st century world. In the last decade we saw modernism creep into the church. Denominations which had faithfully proclaimed God's Word since the time of the reformation were suddenly waffling on such tenants of the faith as the virgin birth, the miracles of Christ, the atonement, and even questioning whether Jesus was any more than just a good man. 

These "new" ideas did not come in overnight, so to speak. They were brewing in these churches for decades before denominations actually split. So, we must be careful in this, the 21st century, that in our desire to be casual and to present God as the tender loving Father who is most loving and kind, we do not forget also His hatred of sin, and judgment against evil doers. Let us not redefine sin! Let us remember that it is God, and not man who defines the true meaning of sin.

God is tender, loving, and kind. However, His loving kindness is manifested in the salvation He has provided through the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not simply, "Understand and say, 'Well done!'" to those who hold other views than those presented in His Holy Word, the Bible. What, then, is sin?

Any lack of conformity against God and His laws is sin! Even one, what we may view as tiny, sin is enough to keep us from God for all eternity! God is perfect, righteous, and holy. It is not our goodness or even our earnest desire to please Christ that makes us believers. It is the shed blood of Christ, shed on our behalf that saves us. It is our going to Christ and pleading His forgiveness that brings us into a righteous state before God.

Let us not, then, in our desire to be tolerant of our culture find ourselves at odds with God, Himself. Read and study His Word; spend time in prayer and fellowship with Him. It is through the guidance of the Holy Spirit who dwells within every true believer that the truths of God's Word are revealed and understood. 

Let us, as Christian teens, be the light that shines in a sin-darkened world. By the grace of God, may our lights so shine before men that they may see the righteousness of Christ, and be moved to come to Him for salvation. There is salvation in none other than in Christ! That is the Gospel we must send to this 21st century world! Not a Gospel of tolerance, but a Gospel of God's love and holiness given to us through the death of His only Son!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Go!


 5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
 6But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
 7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
 9Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
 10Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 

Go!

As a Christian teen, when Christ speaks do you listen? When Christ spoke as He did here in Matthew 10, was He speaking to you today, too, or was He just speaking to His disciples?

Twelve fledgling disciples! Inexperienced and clueless as to what would be coming in their lives, Jesus gave them the simple command, "Go!" However, He added this postscript: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." Why would Jesus give such a command? Why would He prohibit them from reaching all of the lost?

There is much we do not understand of the ways of God, but we must understand that His plans are perfect and His timing is perfect! This restriction would not be in place forever! After the death of Christ, God would raise up Paul and others, whose specific command was to go to the Gentiles.

This is not out of character with the way God had always dealt with mankind. Centuries before, God spoke to Abraham, and from him raised up a people for Himself. Other than a few exceptions, salvation was only sent to the descendants of Abraham. Was God being unfair? No! Were the ungodly nations surrounding Israel complaining because God had not come to them? No!

With our foolish pride, we are so often quick to call God into account because we believe He is being unfair to us! As Christian teens, we must be very careful to avoid this trap, for a trap it is! In everything we do and say, let us seek to bring glory to God, and desire that His name is not offended. He is God, and we are not! He does not run His train on our track!

For God's chosen purposes, He determined to work among the descendants of Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob. What an amazing testimony we have in the Old Testament of God's mighty works among His people. How did God's people respond? 

The history of the nation of Israel is a sad one, indeed! Though there were times of great faithfulness to God, most often we see them running away from Him, rebelling against Him, and chasing after the gods of the surrounding nations. By the time Jesus came to this earth, only a few recognized Him and received Him as their long-awaited Messiah. Most turned against Him, not just in antipathy, but in outward hatred, leading to His crucifixion.

Yet, this was all a part of God's plan. Jesus came to this earth for the very purpose of purchasing salvation for His children. And, when the exact time came for that salvation to be fulfilled, Jesus gave up His life to purchase a people for Himself. 

As Gentiles, we bow before God in amazement. Rejected by the Jewish people, God opened the door for salvation to all peoples of the world. From the time of Peter and Paul, we see the early beginnings of God's church expanded to the point that now, God's people come from all lands and nations. 

Has Jesus' command been made null and void because Gentiles have been included in His kingdom? No! The command of Jesus is given to all of His children: "Go!" We are still called to go and preach the Gospel of the good news of salvation. That "preaching" does not necessarily mean actual preaching. God calls some to preach, but He calls all to present Christ by their very own testimonies. Each of us is called to be a living sacrifice for the Lord. 

Everything we think, say, and do, is to be done to the glory of God. Let us, then, as Christian teens continue to be busy building His kingdom. Let us pray for our unsaved friends and acquaintances, and let us live faithfully for Him so that others may see Christ in us. How is that possible? Truthfully, none of us can live perfectly before God, but we must pray for His grace and His help that we may be faithful to Him, and present Christ to a world that is lost apart from Him.

Let us then obey the command of Christ, and "Go!" Yes, go, and spend your life for Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda