Friday, December 17, 2010

Rebellion Against God

 9For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
 10Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee. 

 Rebellion Against God

Our world is in rebellion against God! Do we hear world leaders speaking words of faithfulness to God? Do we even hear our peers around us speak of faithfulness to God? What motivates our world today? Sadly, the love of money and greed for more is more evident than a true concern for man. We see unparalleled wickedness, matched with a growing hatred toward God.

Even as teens, we must admit that the prevailing attitude toward life is: I am going to make all of the money I can and enjoy the life of the rich.

How should we, as Christian teens react to the world in which we live?

David was plagued on every side by enemies, especially King Saul. Yet, did we ever see David raise his arm against Saul? When Saul was just a few feet from him, David could easily have taken his life, yet he did not. Why? David understood that the lives of all men are in the hands of God. It was God who would, and did, ordain the exact time when David would become king.

As we observe the world around us, let us not become discouraged. Let us walk in faith and confidence in our God who rules all. Even those who are in rebellion against God will be dealt with in God's time.

Until then, let us pray that God would use us for His honor and glory, that by His grace, more and more of those who are presently in rebellion against God, would come to know Him as their true Lord and Savior.

Oh that God would bring all men to Him!

God Bless You,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As for Me

 7But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
 8Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. 

 As for Me

 There is no doubt about it! As we read verses 7 and 8 from Psalm 5, shown above, David knew that there was no righteousness in himself. All of his help and strength were found in the Lord. How, then, did he come before God? 

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. 

How do we come before God? Do we come in humility and Godly fear, worshiping our God who is pure righteousness and holiness? Or, do we come with expectations--maybe even demands--that God would grant us our desires and petitions before Him?
 
In the end, each person must answer these questions for themselves. It does not matter how our pastors, our friends, our parents, our families, etc. answer them. 

As for me, how do I come before God?

What a wonderful example of David. In pondering these same questions he said, 

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

David understood that our lives must be lived in the righteousness of God. The answers lie in God, and not in the things of this world. Only in Christ will we live lives of peace, joy, and contentment.

As Christian teens, let us, today, join David and plea with the Lord to lead us in His righteousness, and to make His way straight before us.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God Abhors Sin

 5The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
 6Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

 God Abhors Sin

How can we possibly express the true relationship between God and sin. At best, our words are paltry in their expression. According to our verses today from Psalm 5, God hates all workers of iniquity, He will destroy those who speak falsehood, and He abhors bloody and deceitful man. 

We have such a light view of sin, that we cannot comprehend a God who is so perfect that not a speck of sin could ever stand before Him. We all agree that ax murderers are sinners, but what about the sweet little old ladies who have cookies for all of the neighborhood children? 

We have, therefore, created this middle ground. Of course, we are not perfect like God, we all understand that; but, then, neither are we all as evil as that ax murderer. We live in the civilized middle ground. That works well for us, does it not? We can live our lives feeling pretty good about mankind and especially, ourselves. Surely, God who created us understands. It's kind of that, "I'm Ok, you're OK" attitude.

That is where the real problem lies. God is perfect; His perfection does not allow even a speck of sin, including the middle ground we have created. Compared to others, we might look pretty good, but compared to God, no man can stand before Him.

Do we need Christ? Yes! Amazingly, Christ's blood is sufficient to pay for the sin of man, both in that middle ground we have created, as well as for that ax murderer. By the grace of God, He created a solution to our hopeless separation from Him through the payment bought by Christ who shed His own perfect blood in payment for our sin. When God looks at His children, He sees them through the perfect blood of Christ which washes away their sin.

Let us remember, then, that it is never us, or anything within us that gives us the ability or intelligence to accept Christ's payment for our sin. Our salvation is all of God, and none of us. Christ is All!

As Christian teens, let us take time to think about what that really means in our daily lives. Are we living in a manner pleasing to Christ who gave so much to save us? Remember, there is no middle ground; God abhors sin, yet there is Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Perfection!

 4For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 

Perfection!

Perfection! We really do not understand it! We are people who are corrupted by sin, living in a world that is a constant evidence of the results of sin, both in nature as well as politically. How, then, do we understand God? We face this question often, as Christian teens, but it is not a question just for teens. All of our lives we will continue to see our inadequacy in trying to understand God.

God is perfection; no evil lives in God. Is God pleased with man's sin? Is God pleased when His children sin? Why did God create  a world that had the capacity to fall into sin? These are the deep things of God that we will never truly understand until we leave this life and enter into the glory He has provided for His children.

When we really think about our world, its sin, and then God's miraculous provision to satisfy the penalty for sin, we must fall down before Him, speechless. It did not have to be this way, you know. God could have destroyed this world with one word, and created a new, perfect world. Yet, He did not.

Our perfect, holy God created a world with the capacity to sin, along with the solution for that sin, all before speaking His first words, "Let there be light." That is truly perfection beyond what we can comprehend.

The next time we are tempted to chide God for events we do not understand, let us take time to pause and meditate upon our perfect God, who sent His perfect Son to take on the penalty for our sin which separated us from God, making a pathway for us to God. 

Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God didst die for me!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, December 13, 2010

Look Up!

 3My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. 

 Look Up! 

 What is it about mornings that seems to set the mood for the entire day. If we "get up on the wrong side of the bed" it seems as though we have problems all day. How did the Psalmist avoid that feeling?

He prayed in the morning. Not only that but look what he said.

In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Maybe on those bad days we are looking in the wrong direction! Do we look at ourselves? Are we consumed with the stresses of life? Are we worried about our circumstances? According to the Psalmist we should look up in the morning.

Do you think our day would go differently if we took the time to look up to God in the morning and cast all of our worries and cares on Him, knowing that He will come to our aid? How often do we not enjoy the blessings of the Christian life just because we do not access those blessings?

What a good reminder for all of God's children to live in the blessings and joy of the Lord instead of being consumed by the depressing circumstances of this life. As we were reminded yesterday, we can say to God, "Hearken", and expect that He will answer.

During the stresses of life that seem so overwhelming in our teens, let us learn to take a little time in the morning and look up to our Lord, knowing He will be there.

How amazing is that? 

God Bless You,

Linda

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hearken!

 1Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
 2Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. 

 Hearken!

 Where do we go for help? What do we do when our friends no longer speak to us, our parents are upset with us, and we did not pass our science test? 

We can try to make up with our friends, try to make our parents understand our point of view, and study harder for the next test, but do we first go to the Lord? 

We may pray later, but usually that is after we have exhausted all other attempts to get our life back in order. After all, God is not going to talk to our friends or our parents, and He is certainly not going to retake our test. 

David understood the correct order when He implored God to give ear to his words. He even emboldened his requests with the word, "hearken." He is saying, "Listen, God; I need you. Consider what I am saying and listen to my helpless cry.

How often do we think of prayer as a last resort? "I cannot do anything to help you, but at least I can pray." We should say, "I will pray for you, and then see if there are other ways I may help." Prayer is what we need first and foremost.

Not only do we need prayer, but as children of God, we can go to God boldly and say, "Hearken!" We have the right to expect God to not only hear, but also come to our aid.

I must admit, that it is easy to take that right for granted, but we must consider where we would be without that help! We must also consider the hopelessness of the lost, and pray that God would open their eyes to the truth. What a great lesson to learn while still in the teen years; He is God, and He is available to us.

What an awesome God we have!

God Bless You,

Linda

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Peace!

8I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. 

 Peace

 This is perhaps, my most quoted verse of the Bible; I especially like its wording in the King James Version. 

How often are we kept awake by the worries of this life? Maybe we are afraid no one will like us; maybe our best friend just quit speaking to us; or maybe a family member has just received word of a terminal illness. These, and many more worries can easily keep us awake at night.

But, look what David experienced; his was not just a matter of the worries of this life. He spent many years of his life running from an enemy who wanted nothing more than to David's death. Even in our day, throughout the world there are many teens who are in constant fear for their lives, through persecution, epidemics, or even natural disasters. As teens, these events are so often far removed from us that we do not even think about them.

Even so, David testified to us: I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep. Why? For thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Our peace, or lack of it, does not rest upon the things of this life, or on others. God grants to His children a peace that passes all understanding.

Go today, and rest in the Lord who is the only one who can truly grant us life, safety, and peace.

God Bless You,

Linda

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gladness in My Heart!

 6There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
 7Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 
 (Psalm 4:6-7, King James Version)

Gladness in My Heart

Who will show us any good?  Have you ever felt that way? No matter where you look, you just cannot seem to see anything good. The news is bad, the weather is bad, you seem to have no friends, you even hate your life! Even Christian teens share feelings such as this; this is not an attitude that is common just to those of the world.

Do you think the Psalmist ever felt that way? David experienced the same things in this life that we do. Psalm 4 is such a wonderful encouragement to Christians. Even when everything in this life seems to be falling apart, we are reminded that gladness and joy do not come from within, from our circumstances, or from another person. It is not the job of other people to make us happy! Gladness and joy are gifts from the Lord!

Thou hast put gladness in my heart.

But, there is even more! Even though we know it is not true, we can think of nothing that will bring us more happiness than to gain a large amount of money. Maybe we will win the lottery, or a long lost uncle has left us with 2 million dollars! Think of what we could do with 2 million dollars (tax free of course). 

Did David share this sentiment with us? Yes, he did.

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

Think of it! The Lord has put such gladness in our hearts, that our joy is even more than if we received news that we were going to receive 2 million dollars! Why? The joy of the Lord is an eternal joy; it will not vanish at the end of this life.

Go today, as a Christian teen, and live in the joy of the Lord! 

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stand in Awe!

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.
5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 4:4-5, King James Version

Stand in Awe!

As we continue this study on First Love from the book of the Psalms, David commands us to stand in awe, and sin not. How do those two commands fit together? As a Christian teen, can you think of anything more that will keep you from sin than meditating upon God and all that He has done for his children? We use the word, "awesome" rather flippantly today, but in reality, there is only God is truly awesome.

Let us stand before our God in awe, not publicly, but privately upon our own bed, and put our trust in Him! With all of the world's glitz and power displayed before us, it is easy to forget the God we serve.

God calls us to righteousness.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.

By the grace of God, may we set aside the appeal of the world and stand in awe as we gaze upon our God. We are set apart; set apart to stand in righteousness. How? By putting our trust in the LORD and not in the things of this world.



It all sounds rather easy, does it not? However, even as a teen, you know that is not true. The world constantly tugs at our emotions, pushing us to be like the world. Yet, even as we become like the world, does it bring us more friends, or more happiness? Not at all! Even as a Christian teen, you are called to be set apart.


Stand in awe and reflect upon the LORD!

What a great and majestic God we serve. He does not forget his children, no matter how unimportant they may seem in this world.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Set Apart!


2 O ye children of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing?

3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Psalm 4:2-3, King James Version

Set Apart!


As Christians we are set apart to serve the Lord, and yet we often find ourselves entrapped in the muck of this world. What picture does the Psalmist paint? The children of men love vanity, which is a life filled with emptiness or worthlessness. Even more, they seek after leasing (the New King James translates that word as falsehood). That does describe our world today, does it not? Men are caught up in the meaningless world of greed, lying when necessary to accomplish their purpose.




Where does that leave us, as Christian teens? We face the same temptations, and often find ourselves in the same place. That should not be! The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. We are set apart as children of God, purchased by the blood of Christ. Our lives are not meaningless! Rather, God has a specific plan for each of His children, unique to each one. Just because we are teens and have not reached the status of adulthood, we are not excused!

How do we find that purpose for our life? We call upon the LORD! The LORD will hear when I call unto him.

What an amazing God we have. He saves us, He keeps us, and He sets us apart that we may live a life of service for Him. Our life has changed from one of meaninglessness to one of fulfillment and joy. Oh, we may not feel that way every day when we wake up, but we know it is true.

Today, let us call upon the Lord and seek His wisdom and guidance that each day might be lived unto His glory alone.

The LORD will hear when I call unto him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hear My Prayer

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1, King James Version


Hear My Prayer


Do you hear that sense of longing as David begins this Psalm? Sometimes it seems as though we only remember the Lord when we are in trouble; and yet, does God ever get tired of our inconsistency and turn us away? No! As a teen - as a matter of fact all of our lives - that is a great comfort!

God did not turn David away, and He does not turn His children away today either. I love the words of David: Thou has enlarged me when I was in distress. I get the sense of God enlarging us with His comfort and grace. In distress the world seems so small, and the Lord seems so distant, but now God fills our awareness with His love.

Now, David can say with confidence: Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Does God answer the prayers of His saints today? Does God answer the prayers of Christian teens? Yes! As David found in his day, we know that in our day, God is our very help in the time of trouble.

Go today in the confidence of the Lord, knowing that when you cry out: Hear My Prayer, He does!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 25, 2010

God is our Salvation

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
 7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
 8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. 

God is our Salvation

What a great Psalm. David was discouraged by the lack of faith of others, but, upon pondering the God he served, was able to go forward trusting that his salvation belonged to the Lord. 

Look at the bold statements he made.

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. . .  8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.

I do not know how long David wrestled with his faith until he came to the glorious conclusion in verse 6. Judging from my own experience, sometimes this can take very little time, and yet sometimes, it can take days, weeks, even months (dare I say - even years) before we come to our senses and realize that God is our Salvation. 

All of our vain attempts to strengthen our own faith are fruitless; only by falling before our Lord and claiming his salvation can we understand our need for Christ. Is this really true of Christians as well? Yes! Christians may not be able to lose their salvation, but they can certainly lose the sense of the comfortable presence of God in their hearts and lives.

Let us remember that our battles belong to the Lord. What a valuable knowledge to gain in your teen years. As we continue through life and see His faithful hand at work, we realize more and more, that it is God, alone, who saves us and who keeps us. Remember, our enemies are also God's enemies.

God is our salvation, our rock, and our fortress! There is no need for another!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

God Bless You,

Linda

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Glory!

 3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
 4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
 5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

My Glory!

As David pondered his situation, look at his glorious conclusion. "But thou, O LORD art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." Notice, he did not use self help, or self actualization therapy; he knew his true estate. What did he say about the Lord: the Lord is my glory!

We may believe in the power of positive thinking, but without the Lord, where would we be? It just makes one want to shout for joy! David cried to the Lord with his voice, and what happened? "He heard me out of his holy hill." We serve the very same God.

We put our trust in many things: other people, money, popularity, etc., but all of those things may fail. Even so, God will never fail His children. Even from his teen years, David was so assured of this, that he laid down and slept.

The older I become, the more difficult it is to sleep if something is on my mind. Perhaps you have that problem even in your teens. It may not even be a negative thing--it may just be anxiety over events in my life or the lives of my loved ones. David was troubled, yet, when He pondered the Lord he was able to sleep.

What did he find upon awakening? 

I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

Let us go to the LORD today, and live in His power and grace. We must each say, it is not my glory, but rather, it is the glory of the Lord that sustains me.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Help!

1Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
 2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 

No Help!

In the Psalms we see David and other writers right down in the trenches where life is not always so pretty. As Christians, we can certainly identify with the Psalmists. The very nature of our weakness as humans is demonstrated in our wavering faith: some days the Lords seems so close, and yet other days He seems so far away.

Of course, this is aggravated by unbelievers (sometimes even other believers) who say, "There is no help for him in God."

Even David, a man after God's own heart, wrestled with his faith. That is a good thing for us, and is one of the reasons God has included the Psalms in His Word. If all of the Old Testament patriarchs and heroes never faced such things, where would that put us? If we saw the Old Testament Christians as perfect creatures, we would know that we could never be one of them.

Therein lies our help. As David found help in the Lord, no matter what the obstacles, so do we find help in the Lord all of our days, not only just in our teens. That may mean that we have to go against the views of the crowd, or our families, friends, and neighbors, but we are not left with no help. This is not easy to do in the teen years, but oh what a blessing to discover that God is always there!

Let us think about that today when impossible circumstances or discouragement seems to overwhelm us. God is our help; no other help is needed!

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, November 18, 2010

 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Psalm 2:12

Kiss the Son


Psalm 2, verse 12 gives us both a warning and a blessing. We are warned to kiss the Son and we are reminded of the blessings we receive by putting our trust in the Lord.

Why does the Psalmist say, Kiss the Son? It seems a rather strange way to tell us to love and serve Christ, does it not? Think of the state of Israel when this Psalm was written. The heathen nations surrounding Israel worshiped idols, often falling down before the idol, kissing its feet.

Yet, what could that idol do? Not a thing! The heathen put their trust in their man-made idols.

As Christian teens, we do not do the same thing today, do we? Of course we do--anything we put before the Lord Jesus Christ is an idol. What idols do teens kiss in our day? Friends, money, and popularity, are just a few. Is it wrong to have friends, be wealthy or popular? Of course not! The problem comes when we we place these things before our relationship with the Lord.

Let us, by the grace of God, fall before our God, and kiss the Son. May our hearts, our lives, and our very souls be focused on our service for Him. He has given so much, and we are asked to give so little in return.

Make these commitments now, while in your youth, and they will stay with you for your entire life. Truly, the blessings of God will satisfy us more than all of the other things we crave!

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ask

8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

 9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

 10. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

 11. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Psalm 2:8-11, King James Version


Ask!

Most of us are familiar with the story of Israel conquering the holy land, and therefore Psalm 2, verse 8, seems to bring to mind visions of a great battle between believers and unbelievers with the assured victory going to the believers. I think, though, we miss the point of verse 8.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.

How can the heathen be our inheritance if they remain heathens? Do you think, perhaps, God is telling us to ask for the conversion of the heathen, and He will answer our prayers?

Though we have the entire Word of God before us, we tend to live each day as though God really will not answer our prayers, especially in regard to the lost we encounter every day. Maybe God does not answer our prayers because we do not ask!

What further admonition does the Psalmist give?

Be wise . . . serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

Is wisdom possible for teens? Do you have to be older to be wise in the things of the Lord?
Wisdom is timeless! It is not a matter of age, intelligence, or even Bible knowledge. Rather, it is a matter of the heart. May we, as Christian teens, serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

May God increase our faith and give us a vision for the lost who are all around us. Let us pray, and then see how God answers our prayers!

Ask!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 15, 2010

My King

 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 

My King
 
The heathen rage and foolishly set themselves against the Lord, bringing His wrath and displeasure upon themselves. Can you imagine a worse situation? We may have many enemies, but the one enemy we cannot afford to have is God!

As Christian teens, where are we? Who is our king? Are we so busy trying to keep up with the world that we not only do not care about the lost, but we really do not even care about our own relationship with the Lord? God offers everything to us, and provides it through His only Son, the Lord Jesus. Do we dare flaunt it in God's face?

There is no mistaking the real message of Psalm 2. This is a Messianic Psalm: a Psalm which points directly to Christ.

Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Let us not take this message lightly. May we all say with the Psalmist, "You are my King!" Then, by God's grace, let us ponder what that really means, and focus on our true reason for being here. This is critical during our teen years; the things teens do for the rest of their lives are based on the decisions they make today. Better to have no friends at all than to have God as an enemy!

When we look around and see the lost, let us remember that, there, but for the grace of God, go I! Let us be busy about the Lord's business in whatever capacity He gives to us.

I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rage

 1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

 3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

Psalm 2:1-4, King James Version


Rage


Rage! That is a rather strong word to use, and yet that is exactly the word used in verse 1 of Psalm 2. The question is asked, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

It is not popular to use such terminology in our day even when talking about the enemies of God. After all, people are not really all that bad, are they?

We, as Christian teens, need to remember that this world is a battleground between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. As a matter of fact, it is easy to see the derision that many have toward believers. Why is that true?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

This is not just a happy little disagreement; the enemies of God hate Him so much that they rage against Him. And, they rage against God's people as well.

How should we respond? How does God respond? God laughs! Though we may live in a battleground, the battle is already won; Christ is the victor! God laughs at the foolishness of men who think they are worthy opponents of Almighty God!

Understand then, the true nature of those who hate God, and therefore hate us as well. It is not a simple disagreement; they are in a rage.

Everything we think, say, and do is our reaction to this battle; let us go forth boldly knowing that the battle has already been won, and we are on the winning side.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Way of the Ungodly

4. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1:4-6, King James Version


The Way of the Ungodly

As I was reading through these last three verses from Psalm 1, I noticed that verse 6 does not say that the ungodly shall perish, but rather that the way of the ungodly shall perish. We already know that the ungodly shall not stand in judgement, but what is the significance of the way of the ungodly perishing?

As a teen, how would you define, the way of the ungodly? It does not take too much of an imagination to begin to list the differences between believers and non-believers. However if you observe the patterns or lifestyle of people, it is not always easy to see the difference between Christians and non-Christians.

Yet, we, as Christians are called to be different, are we not? Unfortunately most people believe that attending church is all it takes to be a Christian or at least an inner belief in God is sufficient. The Bible does not agree. God calls His children to come out from the ungodly and be separate.

That does not mean that Christians should establish their own little communities and never mingle with the world. It does mean, however, that as Christians live in the world, they are not to run after the attitudes and ideals of this world. Why? Because, the way of the ungodly shall perish!

As a Christian teen, I encourage you to take your outward lives more seriously! Who are you really trying to please? Who are you really trying to model? May you, by the grace of God, seek to turn away from the natural tendency to run after wordliness and seek, instead, to follow Christ, our first love!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delightful Tree

1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth for his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3, King James Version


Delightful Tree


For our devotion today in our series entitled, First Love, we will continue in Psalm 1. You will note that I have returned to my beloved King James Version of the Bible. All of my Bible memory work has been done using the King James Version, and thought I would return to it for this series from the book of Psalms.

Since getting a wonderful little dog, (my therapy dog), I have been taking daily walks. How can one not be impressed by the lofty trees God has created for this beautiful world He has made for our enjoyment. It is fall, and our ground has been transformed into lovely green, brown, yellow, and red carpeting.

We are reminded in Psalm 1, that as a Christian, we are to be like a tree, a delightful tree, which God has planted by the waters. Like that tree, our leaf of righteousness will not wither, and by the grace of God, whatever we do shall prosper.

What does that mean? There are many days that do not seem very prosperous to me! Are we here for our own prosperity? No, we are here as servants of the Lord. Wherever God leads us, we prosper spiritually. Whether we are experiencing the new growth of spring, the exhilaration of summer, the fading colors of fall, or the dormancy of winter, our righteousness through Christ shines as a living testimony of His faithfulness to us.

[I know, it is not necessarily easy to think like a tree - but take some time to meditate on what God is saying in this Psalm. As a Christian teen, does your life show evidence of the solidarity of a tree? If not, what can you do to change that? Where can you go to change that? The answer to both questions is to go to Christ. Study the Word and ask the Lord to make the Bible real to your heart, that in your heart of hearts you may purposefully seek to love and serve Him alone. May He always be your first love!]

Go, be a delightful tree for the Lord!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First Love

It is not always easy for me to get two devotionals written every day, so I have decided to use the same devotional for each blog, with this exception. I will make changes or add comments that I think are especially relevant to teens today. The comments I add will be enclosed in brackets [ ].

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

First Love



I love reading mystery and even science fiction books, especially those written by Christian authors. Recently I finished a book entitled, The Restorer, by Sharon Hinckly.

[This was really a great book that I think would be well worth your while, as a teen to read. In many ways it illustrates the importance of the Word of God in all aspects of life. Besides that, this book is really good! I hope you will read it!]

Somehow the author was able to meld our time with that of the time of the Israelites - say in Joshua's day. The power of the Word of God in everyday life was emphasized throughout the book.

After reading the book, I thought about my own life. How much do I meditate on and repeat the Word of God throughout each day? Do I even take time to read the Word and pray once a day, much less weave it throughout my entire waking hours.

[Make your daily time with God a part of your daily life, and it will stay with you for the rest of your life. As a Christian, this is not optional!]

Then, I thought of of the church at Ephesus mentioned in Revelation 2:4-5a. What did God have against this church?

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first.(New English Standard Version)

Then I thought of the world in our day. What nation bows before God at the onset of a battle and cries out to Him for victory? Even more personally, how much do we, as Christians, approach every battle of life empowered by the Word of God and with a prayer on our lips.

What is wrong with Christians in our world? Most have lost their first love! With that in mind, I am beginning a new series which I expect will last for more than a year. I am entitling it, First Love.

I have a series of Psalms devotions on my website, (http://devotional-reflections-from-the-bible.com) in which I have written one devotion for each Psalm. In this series, I plan to go through the Psalms a few verses at a time, that we may glean from the impact that God had in the life of David, as well as other Psalms writers.

Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

May that describe you and me!

God Bless You,
Linda

[Make God bless you, and make your teen years a vibrant testimony for His glory. By the grace of God, may He be your First Love all of your life!]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Self Denial

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."
(Matthew 16:24-27, New King James Version)

Self Denial

As we continue our devotions on "self" we are going to look at the topic of self denial. What is self denial, and what does it mean to us today?

As Jesus ministered to the people, thousands followed after Him. Why? What did these people want? Jesus was often saddened when He perceived the hearts of the people, as He understood that they wanted His healing touch, but not His salvation message. Are we guilty of the same thing?

What do we see in Christ? Who is He to us? We are truly a selfish people; all through life we strive to take care of number one. Of course, that is not totally wrong, but the error lies in being so consumed with ourselves, that we do not see our need of Christ, or care about those around us.

Was Christ selfish? Did He come for His own purposes? Of course not; He came for the sole purpose of saving you and me. Was His life easy? Was He easily distracted by the world around Him? No! Christ was born, lived, and died with one purpose in mind: to save a people for Himself.

As Christians, what does God expect from us? The most basic understanding we must come to is that God brought us here for a purpose. The day we became His child, self died! Our purpose changed from one of living for ourselves to one of falling before Christ and seeking His purpose for our lives. We changed from not caring about those around us, to loving the lost and desiring to present Christ to them.

Does that describe you?

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

By God's grace, let us fall before our Lord this day and ask Him to help us in our own self denial; ask Him to give us a greater love for Him and for others than for ourselves.

It is not an easy task, but truly, the end justifies the means.

26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buy Gold!

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(Revelation 3:14-21, New King James Version)

Buy Gold!

As we end these devotions on self deception, I think this is a very fitting Bible passage. In the book of Revelation, God is commenting on the state of the New Testament churches, in this case, the church at Laodicea. This is particularly suitable to us, as I think it describes the state of so many professing Christians in our day.

What was the problem in Laodicea? They were not doing anything that was really bad, were they? No, they were not. The problem was that they were not doing anything very good either! God called them lukewarm -- neither hot or cold. The people were quite content in their lives; they did not need anything.

The real problem was that they did not need the Lord. Does that describe us today? As a Christian teen, how important is the Lord in our life? How much do we need Him? In reality, the people in Laodicea did need the Lord, but they were self deceived; they did not realize their great need. Consequently they did not possess Christ as their Savior.

What a trick of Satan! He does not have to convince us their is no God; instead, he just convinces us that we really do not need God.

What did God say was the solution to this problem? Buy gold!

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

What is this gold, and what are these white garments? As Christians, God clothes us in white garments, purchased for us by the blood of Christ. Though we sin, yet Christ's blood covers that sin in white, holy garments. The gold is the Christian virtues we receive through the trials of fire which God allows to come into our lives. Why are these trials necessary? They are necessary so that we do not become complacent or lukewarm before Christ.

By the grace of God, let us praise our Lord and Savior every single day for the new life He has granted to us. Though this life may be filled with trials, yet Christ covers us with white garments and allows us to buy gold!

What an amazing God we have.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 1, 2010

No Sin!


5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
(1 John 1:5-10, New King James Version)

No Sin!

I do not know about you, but when I was a teen, I could not stand to be corrected, especially in front of others. I truly did not understand my heart of hearts. The Bible tells us that our heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

God knows us well, does He not? Now, years later, I have been "beaten down" (not literally) for my foolish pride, until I came to understand that before Christ, I deserve nothing. The only good in my life is because of Christ and not because of me.

That is exactly what we understand from John 1. We are people of darkness, but in God there is no darkness at all. How then, can we walk with God or have fellowship with Him if we continue in our darkness? We cannot, except for the Lord Jesus Christ. Though He walked among a people of darkness, He was filled with light. Even as a man, Christ knew no sin. However, as a fellow human who understood our plight, He made a way to God through His own death as a payment for our sin.

Does that mean we, too, are a people with no sin? Absolutely not, but it does mean that when God looks upon us, He does not see our sins, because they are covered by the perfect blood of Christ. Does that mean we can continue to sin, because we are covered?

No! Becoming a Christian is a heart matter; our life changes from our heart outward. In our love and zeal for Christ we want to serve Him, and desire to be obedient to his will. To scoff at our own sin only points to our own self deception.

In this world we will always be grieved with the sin in our own lives, but someday, when we stand face to face with our Lord Jesus, He will grant us a new life--a life with no sin!

Amen, so let it be!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Deceived Heart

21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.
(James 1:21-26, New King James Version)

Deceived Heart

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Sometimes, as Christians, we forget one of the most necessary and important duties of being a Christian. As Christian teen, (as a matter of fact, all Christians), we must be very careful to guard our hearts. Christianity is a religion of the heart; in our heart of hearts we love the Lord our God, and thereby seek to faithfully serve Him all of the days of our lives.

If we have any other motive, all of our good Christian works are as nothing before the Lord. We have, instead, a deceived heart. That is really the message we receive from James 1. You see, we can easily deceive others, and unfortunately we can easily deceive ourselves, but we can never deceive the Lord.

If we say we love the Lord, and yet we do not feel the necessity of living in obedience to His commandments, what does that say about us? None of us can live perfectly before the Lord, but all of us have the same advocate before God. We must continually go to Christ and cry out for His grace and mercy that He will help us to live faithfully before Him. That is the only way to avoid a deceived heart.

God is always faithful to those who love Him from their heart!

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Burden Bearers

1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load.
(Galatians 6:1-5, New King James Version)

Burden Bearers

We have been discussing self deception in relationship to ourselves. But, as a Christian teen, what should we do when we discover a fellow believer who has succumbed to self deception? If these verses from Galatians 6 were truly practiced among Christian believers, we would certainly live in a different world!

How do we usually respond when we discover someone is being deceived? Unfortunately our first tendency is to spread the word! Often we even take pleasure in the fact that someone else is wrong; it makes us feel even better about the fact that we were not deceived. Secondly, how often do we quickly remove ourselves from those who live in error? It is as though intermingling with them might spread a plague on us!

Those are things we expect to see in the world, but not among fellow believers. Christ calls us out from the world to be different from the world. If Christ had taken that same attitude toward us, there would be no believers!

So, let us discuss the right reaction as given in Galatians 6.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

We are called to be spiritual restorers, showing forth the long suffering and patience displayed toward us by Christ. We deceive ourselves if we think we are too close to the Lord or too spiritual to ever be deceived. In reality, I do not think one Christian lives their entire life without entering into times of self deception.

You see, we cannot live the Christian life in our own power. Every time we try, things begin to go awry. Just as we must continue to go before the Lord asking for grace to keep close to Him, so should we be praying for our Christian friends that God would keep them close to His heart as well.

So let us, this day, bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, October 29, 2010

Feeding on Ashes!

18 They do not know nor understand;
For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,
And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.
19 And no one considers in his heart,
Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say,

“ I have burned half of it in the fire,
Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals;
I have roasted meat and eaten it;
And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?
Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”
20 He feeds on ashes;
A deceived heart has turned him aside;
And he cannot deliver his soul,
Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”
(Isaiah 44:18-20, New King James Version)

Feeding on Ashes!

God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, tells a story in Isaiah 44, of a man who cuts down a tree, burns some of it to warm himself, and then uses some to carve an idol which he then falls down and worships. How does God see this? He sees this man as one feeding on ashes.

In other words, this is the height of self deception. It is not always easy for us in the 21st century to identify with this person; we do not find ourselves bowing before an carved idol. But, wait a minute, could there be more to this passage?

Yes, there is a bigger picture here; one which is a good thing to ponder, especially in our teens. What drives us? In our heart of hearts, what is at the root of all of the things we think, say, and do?

The Christian will most often quickly reply, "Well the Lord is at the center of everything I think, say, and do?" Is that really true? Are we just mouthing the words? The heart of self deception is that we are the ones who are being deceived about ourselves!

I once heard a man say, "When a couple marries, there are six people going down that aisle instead of just two. There is the man that he thinks he is, the man that she thinks he is, and the man who God knows he is. Likewise there is the woman she thinks she is, the woman the man thinks she is, and the woman God knows she is."

How do we find out who we really are? How do we learn to see ourselves as God sees us so that we are not self deceived? From our youth, by the grace of God, we must learn to see ourselves from a Biblical perspective. When all of the fluff and gloss of our lives are stripped away, what is really left? How do our lives compare to the commandments of God? What spiritual fruits are evident in our lives?

In the end, the question is, on what are we feeding? Are we feeding on the attitudes of this world, or are we feeding on God's Word? Or, as the prophet Isaiah expresses, are we just feeding on ashes?

He feeds on ashes;
A deceived heart has turned him aside;
And he cannot deliver his soul,
Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

As we work through these devotions on self deception, let us take time each day to consider the example given and say, "Is that me? Do I do that?" Let us pray, that by the grace of God, we are not just feeding on ashes. Let us truly ask from our hearts, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?"

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Like the Beasts!

16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.
(Psalm 49:16-20, New King James Version)

Like the Beasts!

Self deception is a major problem in our world today. Look at Psalm 49:18:

Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself).

Just look around you. Who is praised and honored the most in your school? Why does it seem to be true that those who are the most popular are often those who come from families who are well to do financially?

Here is a thought for you as a Christian teen. You may want to praise and thank God if you are one who is not in a wealthy family! Why would I say that?

It is often true that the rich think of themselves as being in a special class of people; in other words they see themselves as better than others. This can be a real problem for wealthy believers. Yet, is this true? The world seems to think so!

I do not mean to say that if you are a wealthy Christian teen you are evil. I am just saying that wealthy believers must overcome this temptation to think of themselves as better than others because they are wealthy. This is a very subtle form of self deception.

What does the Bible say? All men, no matter what their heritage or financial state may be, are equal before God. There is only one way to God, and that is through Christ. It is the same road that all believers must take, no matter where they live and no matter what age they may be.

It is interesting to note that David uses some pretty strong language to describe those who are guilty of self deception.

A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.

Are we like the beasts? Let us pray that God would grant to us a realistic view of ourselves, not as others see us, not even as we see ourselves, but rather, as God sees us.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Self Deception

1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
(Psalm 36:1-3, New King James Version)

Self Deception

After having several devotions on the topic of self control, we are going to go on to a topic that is especially relevant to all believers (actually all non-believers as well): self deception. This Psalm of David, Psalm 36, is declared, by David, to be an oracle, i.e. a message sent directly from God, addressed to the wicked--those who have no fear of God.

The first characteristic given to the wicked in Psalm 36 is self deception. The wicked one is flattered when he discovers his wickedness and hatred. Unfortunately, we live in a time when this tends to describe our modern day hero: one who is often proud of his own hatred.

As Christian teens, I am sure you face this attitude every single day at school. The teen years are years especially noted for overwhelming emotions. When one hates another, they do so with aggravated passion. When one loves another, they feel they cannot ever live again if they lose that person's love.

What are we to do? After all, Christians are not made of stone! Christian teens are real people, too! How do we face our emotions in a manner which is pleasing to God? This is exactly what we will be discussing in the next several devotions.

I will give you one hint to think about today. We will deal with these verses in another devotion, but for now, just ponder these words from 1 John 3.

18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
(1 John 3:18-23, New King James Version)

Our hearts may quickly deceive or condemn us, but let us remember that God is greater than our hearts.

God Bless You,
Linda