Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30: People of God

9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10, New International Version

April 30: People of God

I love the books of 1st and 2nd Peter; one of the greatest treasures in the Bible is found in our passage today from 1 Peter 2.

At one time, the Jewish nation represented the chosen people of God. Although foreigners did occasionally enter into the group, like Ruth and Rahab, God's people were mostly represented by the children of Israel.

However, when Christ came into this world as the Son of God and Son of Man, the Gospel was spread to Jews and Gentiles alike. This is the reference we find in today's passage. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.

This is not a new concept to Christians, so as a teen, you may have never thought about the privileges offered to us as people of God.

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I would encourage all of us to live as people of God. We are not of this world, and we, by God's grace, need to learn to live in the world, but not of the world. That is a tall order, but what a blessing to those who understand that we not only do not have to, but we should not run after the things of this world.

This is a temporary home--a home with a God-given purpose. I encourage you, while you are still a teen, to seek out God's special, unique, purpose for you. And, pray for strength to overcome the challenges of this world and bring glory to God, alone.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29: People Full of Faith

25 I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

Job 19:25-27, New International Version

April 29: People Full of Faith

Often, when we think of people full of faith, we remember the patriarchs -- Moses, Abraham, etc. However, I thought it would be a good idea for us to visit with Job in Job 19. Remember that when Job makes this mighty proclamation, this is not after everything has turned out well. He is still in the midst of pain and misery!

Everything bad that could happen to Job seemed to have become a reality. His children have died, his health is gone, and his friends have deserted him. It sounds like a good time to throw in the towel, does it not? But, amazingly enough, we have, in Job 19, one of the most glorious testimonies of faith given in the entire Bible.

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. . . . . I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

If it seems as though life has dealt you some severe blows, I would ask you to ponder these words of Job, written at a similar time in his life. It is not so amazing that we profess profound faith in the Lord God when everything seems to be going great in our lives. However, it is quite another thing to be people full of faith, when nothing seems to be going right!

Take some time today to ponder this Bible passage, and ask God to help you grow in faith that you may proclaim, with Job, I know that my Redeemer lives . . . . yet in my flesh shall I see God!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28: People Commended by Christ

7 "My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 8 But the LORD said to my father David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 9 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.'
2 Chronicles 6:7-9, New International Version

April 28: People Commended by Christ

What an extraordinary example we have in our Bible passage today from 2 Chronicles 6, in thinking of People Commended by Christ. David was a great king, but the time was coming when his kingdom would need to be turned over to his son. He had hoped, before the end of his own reign to build a temple for the Lord. Was God pleased?

Yes, God was very pleased that David desired in his heart to build a temple for the Lord, however He had someone else in mind for the job. David was a man of war, and God desired that the one who built the temple would be a man of peace, and so commended Solomon for the job.

God was intimately involved in David's reign, and though David had periods of sin which broke his fellowship with the Lord, he always returned to find that God had never left him.

There is an impressive message in this for you, today's teen. As a Christian teen, you never walk alone; God is constantly with you wherever we go. Furthermore, just as God had specific plans for David's son, Solomon, so He has specific plans for you.

Like most of us, you will probably find your Christian walk to be a constant struggle between what you know you should do and what you really do. Yet, God knows you intimately! He will never leave your side, and as you develop a closer walk with Him, you will understand, more and more, His guidance in the decisions you make.

Pray, today, that you, too, will be part of the class of people commended by Christ. Pray that you will be able to look beyond the everyday circumstances of life, and follow the path God has prepared for you.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27: People Guided by God

1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

2 "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you."

4 So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
Genesis 12:1-4, New International Version

April 27: People Guided by God

We have numerous examples in God's Word of people guided by God, including this one from Genesis 12:1. As a teen, this is perhaps one of the most important principles to incorporate into your life.

We are all guided by someone or something. It is amazing to understand that we are created to be social beings, and as such, are largely influenced by our environment. That begs the question, who guides us?

Who and what are the most important influences in your life today? Is it friends, TV, music, parents, your social environment at school and elsewhere? As you make your own personal list, did you include God?

I do not know about you, but I know that often I tack God on at the end, as a perfunctory answer to that question. But, is that where God belongs? May I encourage you to rethink your list, and this time, put God first.

Abraham listened to God, and obeyed God's guidance in His life. We are given the Word of God to show us, by the lives of the patriarchs, how to live before God in a world which largely ignores Him. Learn to listen to the Spirit of God within you, guiding you in the way you should go.

All Christians are guided by God; they just do not often take the time to listen! May we all become people guided by God.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26: People Belong to God

1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

2 for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.

Psalm 24:1-5, New International Version

April 26: People Belong to God

People belong to God! When you think about that, how does that affect your attitude toward others? Maybe I should say, How should that affect your attitude toward others?

Every person who ever has lived, who is living now, and who will ever live were created by God, in His own image. There are many people who are hard to love. They may not be very pretty, they may have a terrible disposition, or they may have a strong hatred toward us. Does that mean they are less special in the eyes of the Lord?

Are we better than others because we are Christians? Does God love us more than those who are not Christians?

This may seem rather simplistic, but sometimes I think we use excuses such as these to not show the love of God to others. They may be homely, poor, bitter, filled with hatred, etc. But, what does that tell us about them? They need Christ?

As you go through this day, remember that everyone with whom you come in contact was created by God, and belongs to God!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25: People Crying to God

7 "Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
1 Kings 3:7-9, New International Version

April 25: People Crying to God

Today we begin a new series of devotions on the word, "People." Beginning today with "People Crying to God," we will look at a Bible passage from 1 Kings 3.

It was a troubling time. It seemed as though nothing but misery had plagued King David during the final years of his reign. Now the kingdom was placed in the hands of Solomon. What kind of a king would he be? It is with this background that we hear Solomon crying out to God.

He was the king; the possibilities were endless. As He cried out to God, for what would he ask? Would it be riches, power, or safety from enemies living all around? No! Solomon did not ask for any of these things. Instead, he fell before God asking for wisdom to lead this great kingdom.

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"

Solomon rightly understood two things. First, these were not his people, rather, they were God's people. Second, he knew that he could not lead these people without the help of God.

It is interesting that this should be the topic of devotions for teens. As a teen, you are on the threshold of adulthood. Many of the decisions you make now will affect you for the rest of your lives. Are you up to the task?

I hope you said, "No!" In reality, none of us can really successfully walk through this life without the hand of God tightly clasping our own. I would encourage you to think carefully about Solomon's prayer.

People crying to God, realizing their own inadequacy, will see God working mightily in their lives, giving them wisdom to make the correct choices.


Solomon was certainly not perfect, but no one before or since has had such an amazing kingdom. Truly, God answers prayer!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April 24: Reconciled to God

10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:10-11, New International Version

April 24: Reconciled to God

When I was a teen, I used to hate those times when my best friend and I would argue. Usually it was over some little unimportant thing that had been blown way out of proportion. In a few days' time, we both realized that our friendship was much more important than the little tiffs we would have.

What does it mean to be reconciled to God? Why was there a division come in the first place? Unfortunately, we were born into sin, totally separated from a holy and righteous God. But, that did not need to remain the situation. Through Christ, the Son of God, we can be reconciled to God! How amazing is that?

What does that reconciliation do for us? Everything! We, who were once lost, are now found, and all of the glories of Christ are available to us! We are saved through the life of Christ.

You know how wonderful it is to make up with friends after times of conflict; now imagine the joy of being reconciled to God of All Gods, and Christ, the King of all Kings.

As you think of everything that entails, walk in the joy of Christ this day, thanking Him that you are reconciled to God!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23: Receiving Christ

4 Then I called on the name of the LORD :
"O LORD, save me!"

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:4-9, New International Version

April 23: Receiving Christ

I really love the Psalms; so often the Psalms reveal the inward emotions that so often prevail in our hearts and lives. How often, as teens, do you feel that you have reached the end of your rope? Nothing seems to be going as it should, and there seems to be no hope for the future.

As creatures of this world, so often we get so bound up in the world that we cannot see the Light of Christ shining around us. Why is it, that we often wait until there seems to be no way out before we remember the Lord? It seems as though the Psalmist from Psalm 116 has reached that point.

After all seemed to be hopeless, the Psalmist cried out, Then I called on the name of the LORD, "O LORD, save me!"

What happened next? All of the blessings of Christ came rushing upon Him.

*The Lord is gracious and righteous.
*God is full of compassion.
*The Lord protects the simplehearted.
*When I was in need, God saved me.
*My soul is at rest.
*The Lord is good to me.
*The Lord has delivered my soul from death.
*He delivered my eyes from tears.
*He delivered my feet from stumbling.

Why?

That I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

What are the joys of receiving Christ? Too many to number!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22: At Christ's Feet

29Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Matthew 15:29-31, New International Version

April 22: At Christ's Feet

In my Daily Bible Devotions blog, we are currently going through the book of John. It has been wonderfully refreshing, and has given us a wonderful opportunity to know Christ better on a personal level.

You can all picture the scene above; here is Jesus, the most amazing man from all of the reports the people had heard. After just hearing a few words, they could sit at Christ's feet all day and listen to Him tell of His Father in Heaven.

Now, we know that many of these people only came to see Christ's healing, but some were truly converted, and went away praising God.

I was just remembering, as a teen, how much fun it was for a group of us to sit around on the floor and talk for hours on end. We never ran out of things to say. Perhaps you have experienced the same thing.

Now, this time, imagine Jesus sitting right there with you! This is the relationship that is available to us all! Through prayer and meditation, we are able to sit at Christ's feet, and enjoy an intimate time with Him.

Even better, we can sit with a group of Christian friends and talk about the Lord. What an amazing time of fellowship! As Christians, we are always drawn to others who share our faith in Christ.

It must have been amazing to be alive and walk and talk with the Lord Jesus Christ. But, it is still an amazing time, as we still can have an intimate and personal relationship with our Lord, that exceeds all other relationships!

How amazing is that?

Go, today, and sit at Christ's feet!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21: Asking God for Directon

7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the "tent of meeting." Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Exodus 33:7-11a, New International Version

April 21: Asking God for Direction

It was a special time, was it not? It was easy to discern the will of God; Moses had only to go into the tent of meeting to seek the will of God. It must have been equally as easy to serve the Lord, right?

Why, then, were the Israelites often disobedient to the leading of the Lord through Moses?

Is it easy for us to serve the Lord today? No, it often is not! The Israelites battled their own sin natures, just as we do today. Often, I am afraid, we really do not want to know what the will of God is! If we do not know His will, then we cannot be disobedient!

Now, that is definitely faulty reasoning. God has given us His Word to read and understand the Lord our God. When we are disobedient to Him, it is just the same as though we had gone into the tent of meeting with God and then openly refused to do His will.

In addition, God has given to us His Spirit who leads and directs us in the way we should go. As a teen, learn to listen to the Spirit of God within you. God will never lead you in the wrong path; His Spirit will always lead you into the way of truth.

What an amazing thing! The children of Israel were dependent upon Moses to discern the will of God, but we can each discern His will by just asking God for direction. What an amazing God we have!

Go, this day, in the power of the Lord, and seek Him alone, asking God for direction each day. He will answer your prayer!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20: Our Need for Christ

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.' 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:8-12, New International Version

April 20: Our Need for Christ

I love Peter; for some reason I find it easy to identify with him. Impetuous by nature, he often found himself fumbling before the Lord, but when God took over His heart, there was no one who could stop his faithful testimony for the Lord.

Such is the case in this passage from Acts 4. What we are reading here is Peter's actual testimony before the authorities when he was thrown in prison for his faith. Remember, that Jesus instructed the disciples not to worry about what they would say before the authorities, for when that time came, the Holy Spirit would direct their words.

That is exactly what is happening here. Look at the remarkable testimony he gave.

"It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Our Need for Christ

Where does your faith lie? By the grace of God, pray that your faith lies in the only name under heaven given to us by which we must be saved: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every person on this earth, from the beginning of time until time shall be no more, needs Christ! As Peter was bold in his faithfulness, may we, too, be bold for Christ and live faithfully for Him every single day of our lives.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19: Only Savior

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
John 3:16-21, New International Version

April 19: Only Savior

Most people are familiar with John 3:16, but how familiar are you with the verses following that verse? John 3:16-21 gives a complete picture of the true Gospel, and if you are wondering how you can speak to your friends about the Lord, this would be a great passage to use.

What do we discover about our only Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, from these verses?

*God loved us enough to send His only Son so that we might find the way to eternal life through Him.
*The purpose of Christ's coming to this world was not to condemn the world, but to save the world.
*Whoever believes in Christ is saved, but whoever does not believe stands condemned.
*Christ, the Light, came into the world, but the heart of man loves darkness rather than light.
*Those who do evil are those who love darkness, and they do not want their evil deeds shown by the Light.
*Whoever lives by truth, comes to Christ.

Christ Jesus, our Savior, is the only Savior: the only way, the only truth, and the only life.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Pray for your non-Christian friends that through your shining testimony for Christ, His Light will show their deeds of darkness and bring them to Him, the only Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 18: Apart from God

174 I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.

175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.

176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.

Psalm 119:174-176, New International Version

April 18: Apart from God

Being a positive person, I much prefer using the positive, rather than the negative viewpoint when discussing a particular topic. I shudder when I think of the implications of living totally apart from God. Yet, there are many times in our lives when we do exactly that!

It is so easy to become so consumed with our daily lives and worries, that we can actually seem to forget that we are Christians. What happens then? Though our salvation is eternally secure in our Lord Jesus Christ, we lose that comfortable sense of His presence. The concerns and worries of this world quickly overtake us; gone is the peace of God which passes all understanding.

When we find ourselves apart from God, what are we to do? I think, perhaps, that is what the psalmist was thinking when he penned these words from Psalm 119. We may find ourselves drifting away from the Lord, and then one day we stop and say, "Where am I, and what am I doing? Where is God?"

What are we to do when we suddenly find ourselves apart from God? May we do as did this Psalmist.

174 I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.

175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.

176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.


God has never left our sides. Let us turn back to God with these verses of confession, as did David, the psalmist. We can be assured that God will hear our prayers and return us to the right path.

What an amazing God we have! Oh, how sweet is our salvation in Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17: Only One God

1 And God spoke all these words:

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:1-3, New International Version

Only One God

Today we begin a short series of devotions about Salvation. It is very appropriate for us to consider as our first teen devotional under this heading the topic: Only One God.

As Christians, we serve the one and only true God--there is no other, but what does that mean? It is a good question for us to address. At first, the answer seems rather obvious, "Well of course, there is only one God." But, the question really is, "Do you serve this one God, or do you serve other gods."

By serving other gods, does that mean that we go back to serving the gods of the Greeks, the Romans, the Irish, etc.? What is the definition of "god?"

Realistically, your god is the one thing that you serve above all others. It could be money, possessions, movie stars, rock artists, or any other thing that is more important to you than God. This is a particularly good topic to ponder as a Christian teen, as you are at the age where you set the patterns that you will follow for the rest of your lives.

God implicitly commands, "You shall have no other gods before me." It is a rather simple command, but one that is actually not very easy to obey. We are to love no one person or thing more than we love our Father God. How can we determine where our true affections lie?

Let us take a moment to stand back and ponder our lives. How do we make our decisions? Do we stop and think about what Christ would do before coming to an answer? Would Christ be pleased with our friends? Would He be comfortable going to the places we go? Would He be comfortable with the conversations we have with our friends? Would He be comfortable knowing our thoughts (as we know He already does)?

I think those questions are a good place to start when covering the topic of salvation.

Only One God -- who is that God for you?

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16: Answered Prayers

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. ) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?"

25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
Exodus 15:22-25, New International Version

April 16: Answered Prayers

Moses was a great man of faith; unfortunately he had the almost impossible task of leading the children of Israel to the promised land. No matter how many times they saw God work in their behalf, they continued to falter in their faith at every turn. Such is the case in our teen devotions for today.

The children of Israel had traveled in the desert for three days without water. Imagine their joy when they found water at Marah. But, that joy soon turned to anger when they realized that they could not drink the water because it was bitter. So, the people grumbled against Moses.

How did Moses respond? Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

God had been testing the children of Israel, and as usual, they failed!

Does God still test us today? Oh, yes! How do we respond?

God is available 24/7, and He wants us to understand that it is He who takes care of us and leads us in the way we should go. As a teen, you will face many tests of faith in your lifetime. Begin now, to pray for God's grace to help you pass each of these tests. Failure, however, is not devastating--as a Christian teen, you cannot separate yourself from the Lord your God.

Oh, what an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

I have a whole section entitled Answered Prayers on my devotional web site. Take some time to read some of the devotions today! You will even find a devotion on this same Bible passage, that is different than the one I wrote here today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15: Praying Regularly

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel 6:10, New International Version

April 15: Praying Regularly

Perhaps you are familiar with this story. Daniel, a Jewish boy who had been taken into captivity, spent most of his life in the land of Babylon. As he grew into a man, God prospered Him greatly. By the time of Darius, the King of Babylon, he had so distinguished himself above all of the other administrators, that the king planned to set Daniel over the entire kingdom.

You can imagine, this did not set well with the other administrators of the land, yet they could not find any fault in him. Finally these men said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God." (Daniel 6:5)

So, they devised this plan, as recorded in Daniel 6.

6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den.

They knew that Daniel had a reputation for praying regularly. Did this decree stop Daniel? No, as shown in verse 10, above, Daniel continued to pray three times a day. What happened? Though Darius was greatly distressed, he could not disobey his own decree, so Daniel was thrown into the lion's den.


The king spent a sleepless night, and at the crack of dawn rushed to the lion's den, threw off the stone that covered the opening, and called down to Daniel. "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?" (Daniel 6:20)

Did Daniel respond, or was he dead! Look at Daniel 6:21 & 22.

21 Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."

God honors those who honor Him! As a Christian teen you are bombarded with temptations that even your parents did not have to endure. How would you have responded in a situation like that which Daniel faced?


May we all, by the grace of God, be found praying regularly!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14: Praying All Night

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Luke 6:12, New International Version

April 14: Praying All Night

All right, I have to be honest with you. I have never prayed all night! I am like the disciples who went to pray with the Lord and fell asleep.

Several times in Jesus' ministry we find Him going off by Himself to spend time with His Father in Heaven, often praying all night. He was so focused on His ministry and obedience to God, that He simply could not go on without some personal prayer and fellowship with God.

What is prayer? Is it not simply talking with God? When we become so stressed by the world around us, it is time for us to wrestle with God, as we find Jacob doing in Genesis 32 (New International Version)

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."
But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob," he answered.

28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."

Go to God - wrestle with Him! He is our true Source of all blessing. Only in him will we have the strength and wisdom to live in obedience to Him, and conquer the storms of life!

What should you do when you find the problems of life drowning you? I would hope that you will find yourself praying all night, until God blesses you as He did Jacob.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13: Praying for Enemies

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48, New International Version

April 13: Praying for Enemies

God's ways are certainly not man's ways! That could not be more true that what we see in the words of Jesus from Matthew 5. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 - 7) gives us the ultimate instructions for living the Christian life. He begins in these verses by showing us a better way. Instead of hating our enemies, we are to be found praying for enemies.

If you go on in the reading you will find that there is more. First we are given the example of God, who sends the rain on the unjust as well as the just. Then we are reminded that if we love those who love us, where is the reward? And, if we only greet those who greet us, how is that different than the unbelievers?

The Christian life goes beyond the normal bounds of human behavior. We are told to love those who do not love us, and to pray for those who are our enemies. How do we do that? Sometimes, we so dislike someone that we do not even want them to become a Christian!

We cannot do this in our own power. First of all, we need a true change of heart causing us to seek the things of God rather than the things of this world. Second, we need the power of God to conform us to Christ, so that old things are passed away, and all things have become new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, New International Version)

Pray, that as a Christian teen, God will give you the power to live as Christ lived, and that you will be found praying for enemies as well as those you love!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12: Praying for Mercy

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Luke 18:9-14, New International Version

April 12: Praying for Mercy

It would be very difficult to do devotionals on the subject of prayer without including this Bible passage from Luke 18. We are given two very different examples of prayer, both of which are common today as well, and are then told how God reacts to such prayers. One man was a tax collector, and the other was a Pharisee--a leader of the Jews.

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

The sin of pride is so subtle that it often creeps into our lives at the most unsuspecting moment. Have you ever thought about how good you are, especially compared to other teens, because you faithfully serve the Lord. Are you pleased because other teens in your youth group really look up to your example of leadership?

We all have problems with pride; that is the chief difference between these two prayers.

The Pharisee was proud of the works he did for the Lord. And, he was especially proud that he was not like the sinners he saw all around him--robbers, evil doers, adulterers, and even this tax collector.

The tax collector came before God and knew there was a problem. Nothing in him deserved the mercy of God. Who was he that God would look upon such a lowly man. How did he pray? He would not even look up to heaven; with eyes downcast, he prayed that God would be merciful to him, a sinner.

Which one received the mercy of God? Yes, the tax collector.

We are often told that God calls sinners, and not the righteous to repentance. We must pray that our hearts would not be puffed up because of the things we do for the Lord, or even because others look up to our Godly example. How quickly pride overtakes us.

Our goal is to live a live for the glory of God, alone, and not ourselves.

Yes, we should be praying for mercy, because we understand that it is only God in us that keeps us from sin.

God Bless You,
Linda



Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 11: Prayer for the Church

23 "As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away."
1 Samuel 12:23-25, New International Version

April 11: Prayer for the Church

Samuel was a great prophet, sent by the Lord, during a very dark time for the Israelites. They were constantly plagued with the problem of running after the things of the world, and rejecting God. The idols of the world were far to glittering to resist temptation. God sent Samuel to encourage the people to leave the things of the world and follow God faithfully with all of their heart.

What does this have to do with you, a Christian teen? I think there are some lessons that we can glean from this passage. First, I would challenge you with this question. Who is "the church?" In our culture we use the term church to mean that place we go to worship the Lord. But, the term "church" in a broader sense, also means all Christians everywhere.

It may seem that as one teen there is not much you can do to affect the difficulties that may spring up in your own local church. However, that is simply not true. We must never underestimate the power of prayer. I often wonder how many church difficulties could be solved if more people would plea with the Lord to come to their aid, and help resolve problems that exist.

On a larger scale, it may really seem really impossible for you, as a teen, to have any effect on Christ's church throughout the entire world. Again, that is not what the Bible says. Samuel was faced with a seemingly impossible task as he faced the continual sinning of God's people.

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.

Samuel even has the audacity to insinuate that failing to pray for God's people is sin! As Samuel prayed for the rebellious people, I encourage you, too, to pray for both your local church and the church at large. God does hear your prayer for the church, and He does answer prayer.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 10: Prayers by Parents

15 God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"

Genesis 17:15-18, New International Version

April 10: Prayers by Parents

As you know, I am following a Bible reading plan found in the NIV Thompson Student Bible. As such, I do not necessarily choose the Bible passage used for each topic. Although sometimes I decide to use a different passage, I was intrigued by today's Bible passage from Genesis 17.

I can think of many Bible passages where parents pleaded with God for a child, or on behalf of their child, and God answered that prayer in amazing ways. This parental prayer, however, falls in an entirely different class.

We have had several devotions on the lives of Abraham and Sarah, so if you have been reading this Devotionals for Teens blog, you will already be familiar with this this story. You will remember that God has continually promised that He would bless Sarah and Abraham with a son, and that their descendants would be as the stars of the sky. Sarah and Abraham were now quite old, and Sarah was beyond the years of childbearing, so notice the shift in Abraham's prayer.

And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!"

I preface my comments with: "Remember, parents are people, too!" Do parents ever make mistakes? I know, I can see you laughing. Of course they do. Do parents ever lack faith? Again, of course they do.

Abraham simply could not see any way that God could keep His promise except through his son, Ishmael, whom he had from Sarah's handmaid, Hagar.

Now let us take a look at ourselves. Do we ever make mistakes? Do we ever lack faith? Of course--we all do. Take some time today to thank the Lord for Christian parents. Though they may be hard to understand at times, they do have a deep love for you.

We know that Abraham was surprised to learn that God can work in seemingly impossible circumstances. God did, indeed, give him a son, Isaac, by Sarah even though she was 90 years old.

Impossible circumstances--does that describe your life? Go to the Lord; pray that He would increase your faith. God is not bound by the restraints of this world as we are.


Prayer by parents are precious. But, just like you and me, they are still a work in progress.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9: Pray in Secret

5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Matthew 6:5-7, New International Version

April 9: Pray in Secret

What advice does Jesus give us about prayer? To answer this we turn to Matthew 6, where Jesus is instructing the people.

Jesus warns us to not be like the hypocrites who like to pray out in the open so that everyone can see how godly they are. They have their reward! In other words, that is all the reward that they will get.

But Jesus tells us this. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

Our relationship with Jesus is the most precious relationship we can have. We must be careful that everything we do is from the heart. God knows if we are just doing something because "everyone is doing it" or if our hearts are really in tune with Him.

Then, as an aside, Jesus gives us one more piece of advice. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

It always comes back to the same thing, does it not? and with all your Love the Lord your God with all your heartsoul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.

As a Christian teen, now is the time to develop that close, personal walk with the Lord. Pray in secret, and God will reward you. That is the only reward that matters!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8: Prayer

26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh.
At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.
Genesis 4:26, New International Version

April 8: Prayer

How does prayer affect our Christian life? As a teen, does it really make a difference if you are faithful in prayer?

To answer this question, we go back to the book of Genesis. We are told that Adam and Eve had two children, Cain and Abel. God was pleased with Abel's offering, but not with Cain's offering. In jealousy Cain killed his brother, Abel. That was not a good start for a Godly line of men, was it? The only one left was the son who did not please God.

We find, in Genesis 4, that things changed when Eve gave birth to Seth. We just have one little verse at the very end of chapter 4, but oh what a difference it made! When Seth grew to manhood, he also had a son, named Enosh. Then, what is the last sentence?

At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

Yes, prayer matters. As the Bible unfolds, a distinct line is drawn between those who pray and those who do not. You see, if you truly love the Lord and have a relationship with Him, you need to talk with Him. Your prayers do not require fancy words; they only require a heart that loves the Lord God above all else.

It sounds too simple, does it not? You can talk to the Lord about everything in your life. God hears your prayers and He does answer. As you pray to Him faithfully, you will find your faith growing. And, by the way, when you pray, take some time to just be quiet and listen! The Holy Spirit within us guides us through our prayers and especially during the times we spend meditating upon Him.

Prayer! Don't leave home without it!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7: Prayerlessness

2 God looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.

3 Everyone has turned away,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

4 Will the evildoers never learn—
those who devour my people as men eat bread
and who do not call on God?

Psalm 53:2-4, New International Version

April 7: Prayerlessness

For the next several days, we are going to be having devotions on the subject of prayer. As a Christian teen, the power of prayer is always right at your fingertips, so to speak.

How often do we Christians droop around in our Christian lives because we do not use the powerful tools God has given to us to live an effective life for Christ
? Upon considering the topic of prayerlessness, I was drawn to Psalm 53. David, the Psalmist, was a mighty prayer warrior who understood the necessity for prayer.

What does God see when He looks down from heaven? According to the psalmist, He sees that everyone has turned away from Him; there is no one who ever does good.

How can that be? Did not God see the Christians? As we follow on through this Psalm we discover exactly what the psalmist is saying. I love verse 4.

Will the evildoers never learn—
those who devour my people as men eat bread
and who do not call on God?

Sometimes it seems as though God's children do fall into the same category as the evildoers. The evildoers seemed never to learn because they continue to fail by not calling upon God?

Does that happen to describe us as well? How often do we call upon God? Do we just wait until times of deep distress, or do we make a regular habit of communing with our Lord and Savior? What a good thought to start the day. Let us pray today that God would help us to walk close to Him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6: Importance of the Resurrection

36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."

37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

Luke 24:36-49, New International Version

April 6: Importance of the Resurrection

Have you, as a teen, ever pondered the importance of the resurrection of Christ to you? If you are like me, I grew up in church and heard the story of the resurrection every Easter for as long as I could remember. But, in my teen years I began to look at the Bible differently, often pondering the importance of many of these familiar Bible stories in my own life.

I felt like I was divided into two sides: my daily life side, and my spiritual side. Perhaps you feel the same way. How do we merge our two sides? I would like to focus on verse 45 from Luke 24.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

The Bible is a living book. By that, I mean that every time you read the Bible, the Holy Spirit guides you in your understanding and in applying that verse to your life. The meaning of the verse never changes, but based upon your current circumstances, the impact of that verse will often vary.

It is important that we remember that we are guided in our understanding, and in every aspect of our lives by the Holy Spirit. Learn to listen to the leading of the Spirit, and pray for continual guidance regarding all of the details of your life.

Often, we are too busy to stop and take the time to just meditate on the Lord and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I would challenge you, as a teen, to do just that. You will be amazed at the impact it will have on your life.

We do not have two separate sides--the secular and the spiritual--we are one person. How do you understand the importance of the resurrection of Christ to you? Ask the Lord to guide you.

I will give you one hint: Christ conquered death when He was resurrected; we know that, in Him, death for us has been conquered as well.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5: Christ's Resurrection

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One
see decay.

11 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16:7-11, New International Version

April 5: Christ's Resurrection

What does the resurrection of Christ mean to you, as a teen? How does it offer hope in Christ?

The Psalmist answers that question beautifully in Psalm 16. With heartfelt words he declares:

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Obviously the Psalmist's hope rests completely in the Lord who counsels him and instructs his heart in the night. His confidence in life is bolstered because the Lord is at his right hand.

So how can he have so much hope in the Lord?

10 because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One
see decay.

Ah--there it is! God, our Father did not abandon Christ to the grave, nor allow Him to see decay, but resurrected Him! Just so, you as a teen can have the same confidence as did the Psalmist.

Christ is not lying in a grave, returned to the dust. No, He conquered death and sin and was resurrected, first back to this life, and then He ascended into heaven. In Christ, we too will not be abandoned to the grave, but will also be resurrected to life eternal, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Pray that God will grow you in Him, that your confidence may more and more be resting in God, our Father, and not in the things of this earth.

Oh, how He loved you and me!

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4: Christ Crucified

14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

Psalm 22:14-19, New International Version

April 4: Christ Crucified

Perhaps you are like me and thought that this was a rather unusual passage to use for the topic, Christ crucified. After I thought about it, I realized that this is a perfect passage to use. We are all, especially with today being Easter Sunday, extremely familiar with the New Testament passages regarding the crucifixion of Christ.

As we read through these verses, we get the human side of Jesus' suffering. Because He was also God, does that mean that His human suffering would be less than ours? No!

It does mean that He could have stopped His pain and suffering at any moment; He could have even stopped it before He was arrested. At any time He could have returned to heaven and said, "Enough!" But He did not!

Instead, He sent this quick plea to His Father God.

But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me
.

He showed us, that when our human strength fails, the Lord is not far off; we, too, can plead for God to come quickly and help us.

Oh, what a Savior! He saved us, He loves us, and He stays by our side 24/7!

God Bless You,
Linda