Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teen Answers

This is an email I received recently from Ashley (name changed).

I was in a relationship for the past 2.5 years with a guy from my church. But suddenly, he broke up with me saying that I am not the right girl for his family. I might have made lots of mistakes in this relationship but I never wanted to break away from this. This has been very shocking to me. I am very worried on one hand that I have done injustice to the actual person whom I am going to marry by not keeping my virgin love secured. On the hand, I am happy that though I did not submit to God's will for my life partner and got into this relationship, now my life is completely submitted to His will and purpose for me.
Please can you let me know your thoughts on this?
Thanks a lot for your time and patience.

Dear Ashley,

I appreciate your honesty, and I am sure most of us can understand your situation. Though this has been difficult for you, to say the least, I can already see how God has used this experience to bring you closer to Him.

The thing for all of us to remember is that we are all scarred by sin. Well, it is even more than that, is it not? We are all condemned by sin!

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:32, King James Version)

However, it does not end there.

20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23, King James Version)

We are made free from the law of sin and death. Does that mean that Christians do not sin? Of course not, but it does mean that Christ is right there beside us when we come back to Him with a repentant heart.

I think you have brought up a very interesting point, Ashley, about finding the right partner for life. There is so much to say about that, but I will just say this. We cannot out-guess God, or as I often say, "God does not run His train on our track." God does not cause us to sin, but our sin does not circumvent God's plans for our lives.

In other words, Ashley, God has a specific plan for your life, and He has used this experience to set you on the right path. May you continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Christ, and may you live in the joy of Christ.

Thank you for sharing with us,

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teen Answers

Here is a question from Mary (I have changed the name).

Hi...I've just been confused about this one thing in particular. Me and this boy like each other a lot...we're both real Christians who try to live our lives after Him. We both agree on the important things in life..and everything seems like it could be perfect...although, it seems as if God is saying "not yet, not right now"...neither of us are sure though, it could be a flat out no or yes...but it seems like wait. So my question is, why would God let us both like each other, yet possibly say no? That doesn't make any sense to me. I guess I'm trying to justify why His answer is just wait. Wouldn't it seem kind of pointless for it to be no?...in my eyes, it's like dangling a treat in front of a dog, but then not giving it to him.

Dear Mary,

You are delving into one of the greatest difficulties in the Christian life. No one likes to be told to wait. I, of all people, am probably one of the most impetuous persons alive, and have had to deal with this all of my life.

The fact that God lets you like each other is a great blessing. As both of you are Christians, I would suggest you spend some time together studying God's Word. Read about couples, and what God says regarding marriage.

The Bible does not hold a very popular stance in our day of "If you love him, it's OK." Perhaps God is preparing the two of you for some great things, and this is just the first step--the first test of your faithfulness to God even above your love and faithfulness to each other.

I do know that God's Word is true and changeless, and is the only path that leads to a life of peace and joy, so I encourage you to tread carefully, and cry out to the Lord for grace to be faithful to Him, above all.

Here is a Bible passage that I often cling to in times of great difficulty and temptation,

33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36, King James Version

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, June 28, 2010

Teen Answers

After taking an unexpected break from these devotions, I thought it would be a good time to do some "Teen Answers" devotions. I really appreciate hearing from you, and hope you will continue to write to me with your concerns and questions. To send a comment, just follow this link: Teen Answers, and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Today we will look at a very sad commentary from Amber (I have changed the name)

im having trouble caring about any thing anymore...i almost like getting in trouble...im only 13...in foster care(:it sucks:)i feel like noone cares 'bout me...i DONT knw wat 2 do!

I think it would be great if some of you would write to Amber via my Teen Answers link. Just begin it: Dear Amber, and I will know that it is a response to this commentary.

Dear Amber,

I was really saddened to get your comments. I must admit that I can not begin to imagine what you are going through, and therefore do not want to give you simple platitudes.

What I do know is that whether no one else in the whole world cares about you, Jesus does. It certainly does not seem like it though, does it? I am sure you think a loving God would not put you through a life like you have. God, however, is preparing you for the future. In what way, you may ask? I do not know, but I know it is true.

You did not say whether you are a Christian or not. I would encourage you to go to Christ. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:

6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

This plea, Amber, is not just for you, and certainly was not just for Isaiah. This plea is for all of us, and the resulting promise is, too. Only in Christ will you care to forsake the things of the world and turn from evil. When you do, by His grace, He will abundantly pardon you, and change your life forever!

Ask your foster parents to allow you to go to church; find a nearby church that teaches the truths of the Bible. There, God will not only teach you His Word, but give you some lasting, true, friends.

I would encourage you, and all teens, to realize that these years, though they seem long, will soon be over. Then, as an adult, the rest is up to you!

I have been, and will continue, to pray for you, Amber, that God will touch your life and your very soul in such a way that you will turn to Him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 20: Blessings of Following Christ

27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:27-28, New International Version

June 20: Blessings of Following Christ

How I love John 10; John paints a beautiful picture of the blessings of following Christ.

How do we know that Jesus is our Savior? Jesus answered, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me."

As a teen, I would ask you, do you know the voice of Jesus? Jesus is largely ignored by the world today. Why is that? The world does not know the voice of Jesus; they do not know that this is the voice of the Savior.

As a Christian teen, what are the blessings of following Christ? Read verse 28.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

Not only do we have the comfortable presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us and show us the way to the Father, we have a guarantee from our Shepherd that He will give us eternal life. How secure is this life? No one can snatch them out of my hand.

In our world today, there are very few guarantees. Some people seem to do everything right and yet success and happiness elude them. Others do everything wrong, and yet success is poured upon them. There are many reasons for this, but I think one of the things our Lord is trying to teach us is, this world is not our home.

Let us, by the grace of God, set our affections on our true home, and enjoy the blessings of following Christ.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 19: Blessings of Faith

If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.' "
Isaiah 7:9b, New International Version

June 19: Blessings of Faith

Tucked away in Isaiah 7, is this remarkable verse. "If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." If you could claim one verse for a life verse, this would not be a bad choice. By the grace of God, wave it as a banner, and carry it with you wherever you go.

As a teen, you will find that this is not a very popular message. In our day, we idolize the person who stands on their own--the one who triumphs through all odds to receive the glory. We admire the wealthy who got there by their own hard work and determination.

Yes, these are people to be admired, but did they really do it on their own? Who provided the opportunities for them? Who gave them the health and physical vigor to withstand the odds? Who brought just the right people at the right time to help them accomplish their goals?

Ah, the blessings of faith! It is still as true today as in the day this verse was written. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

What is the flip side of this? If you do stand firm in your faith, you will stand. We must never forget that it is God who leads us and guides us; the blessings, the honor, and the glory that we receive along the way are all to be cast at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As one catechism puts it, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever."

I encourage you, as a Christian teen to stand tall in the blessings of faith.

God Bless You,
Linda

June 18: Blessings in Disguise

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:36-37, New International Version

June 18: Blessings in Disguise

Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was walking upon the rooftop of the royal palace one day, observing the city--his city. "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" he declared.

31 The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32 You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes."

All of this had been prophesied by Daniel when he interpreted the king's dreams. Though Nebuchadnezzar had been warned, he did not listen. However, this story does end well. Seven years later, God restored Nebuchadnezzar's sanity, and he gave the glory to God, as shown in the verses above.

Though this had been a horrible experience for Nebuchadnezzar, it was a perfect example of blessings in disguise. For seven years, his life looked nothing like a blessing, and yet God used this to reveal Himself to the king.

At the end of this time Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom was restored, and he became even greater than he had been before. Look at his words in verse 37.

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

As Christians, God has reasons for the difficult times that come our way. Even as a teen, God is molding and shaping you so that you may become more like Him. Often times, our very worst experiences are really blessings in disguise.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17: Blessed People

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 1:1-3 & 6, New Internatonal Version

June 17: Blessed People

For the next six devotionals we will be looking at the topic of blessings. I cannot think of a better place to begin than Psalm 1. You will note that I did not include verses 4 & 5, as it deals with the wicked, giving a contrast to the blessed people mentioned in the passage above.

Who are these blessed people? These blessed people are the children of God; as a Christian teen, you are one of these blessed people.

What do we know about these blessed people from Psalm 1?

The blessed people:

*Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked
*Do not stand by the way of sinners
*Do not sit in the seat of mockers
*Do delight in the law of the Lord
*Do meditate on this law day and night
*Are like a tree planted by streams of water
*They bear fruit
*Their leaf does not wither
*Do prosper
*Are watched over by the Lord

That is a pretty impressive list; as you evaluate yourself, how do you stack up against this list? You know, there is something understood by this passage. These blessed people are walking faithfully with the Lord.

I don't know about you, but sometimes it is easy for me to become trapped in the ways of the wicked. Is it any wonder, then, that my way does not seem to prosper when that happens.

Do you sometimes feel like your prayers bounce off the ceiling? Have you lost that sense of the presence of God standing right there beside you wherever you go?

Perhaps it would be a good idea to re-evaluate your Christian walk in light of Psalm 1, and pray that God would graciously help you to not just give verbal assent to your Christianity, but to actually walk in the steps of the righteous.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16: David

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD."

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the LORD chosen this one." 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The LORD has not chosen these." 11 So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?"
"There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep."
Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives."

12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."

1 Samuel 16:6-12, New International Version

June 16: Fathers

God was looking for a king to replace Saul, who though had looked to be a great king, turned away from the Lord. The result was disaster for the children of Israel. Where would God find the right person to replace Saul?

God sent Samuel, the prophet, to the house of Jesse from the tribe of Judah. Samuel commanded Jesse to bring all of his sons, for God would choose one of them to be the next king of Israel. My, how promising these young men seemed to be. As each one passed by, Samuel thought, "Surely this must be the one God has chosen."

God chided Samuel, saying, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

When God had not chosen any of the sons who were present, Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all of the sons that you have?" Jesse replied, "Well, there is still the youngest, but he is out caring for the sheep."

Samuel ordered that the youngest son, David, be brought to the feast. When David arrived, God said to Samuel, "This is the one!"

I do not know about you, but I remember that, as a teen, I did not think much about the future. I was too busy living my day to day life. But here we have a young man, probably in his young teens, who already had a deep and tender love for God. In looking for a king, God did not care about his physical features or prowess; God looked at the heart of David and said, "Yes, this is the one."

If God were looking to choose a king or queen today, would He choose you? What does God see in your heart right now? Nothing deserves more of your attention, even at your age, than developing a heart that is sold out to the Lord.

Are your others abilities important? Of course they are. However, those same abilities will do nothing for the kingdom of God unless your heart is where it should be. It does not matter who else you please, or even fool with your Godly actions. It is your heart, just between you and God, that matters, for you cannot fool God any of the time.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15: Godly Fathers

1At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Acts 10:1-2, New International Version

June 15: Godly Fathers

What does it mean to be a Godly Father? Is every father who claims to be a Christian a Godly Father? Because a father attends church regularly, does that mean he is a Godly Father?

As a teen, these are good questions for you to ponder. After all, some day in the not too distant future, you many very well find yourself to be a father, or to be married to your child's father.

The truth is, not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian, and not every man who claims to be a Godly father, is a Godly father. I am sure you have heard the saying, "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time." But, do you know what is even more profound than that? You cannot fool God any of the time!

It is all a matter of the heart. The truly Godly father is the father who has a heart for the Lord. He certainly is not perfect, but his love for the Lord Jesus Christ runs deep.

In our Bible passage from Acts 10, we find a Godly father in one of the most unexpected places. The Bible tells us that Cornelius, a Roman Centurion in the Italian Regiment, was a devout man. As a matter of fact, everyone in his family was devout. Cornelius loved God so much that he gave generously to those in need, and prayed to God regularly.

Though the Jewish Christians had previously paid him no heed, God knew the true heart of Cornelius, and sent Peter to direct Him in the way of the Lord.

As a Christian teen, the decisions you make today will affect the rest of your lives. I would pray, guys, that you determine right now, that you will sell yourself to Christ, praying that your life would be a personal testimony now and forever of your deep love of Christ. Pray, too, that when the time comes, God would make you a Godly father.

Do not take this lightly. Remember, you are the leaders of tomorrow's church!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14: God as Father

" 'I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: 11 When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. 14 I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' "
1 Chronicles 17:10b-14, New International Version

June 14: God as Father

In today's devotion, we return to King David and Nathan, this time from 1 Chronicles 17. In verse 1 of this chapter, David spoke these words to Nathan.

"Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent."

Nathan encouraged David to go ahead as he desired and build a house for the Lord. However, before the plans could begin, God appeared to Nathan with the message shown above. (Read 1 Chronicles 17 to get the full account of God's message.)

Imagine the joy and peace these words must have given David. No matter how great of a man he had become on this earth, he was still subservient to his great God and Father. To understand that God would so bless David with such a son, was more than he could comprehend.

But, there is more. Look at verse 14.

"I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' "

How could David or Solomon be set over God's kingdom forever? To what is God referring? This is one of many passages in the Bible which points to the Lord Jesus Christ who would take on the throne of God's kingdom and reign forever. Through the line of David and then, Solomon, the Savior, baby Jesus, would be born.

We see so little, do we not? We have a very miniscule vision of the reality of God's kingdom. We see our lives, our friends, our families, and in one sense, this is the whole of our lives. But, is it really?

As a Christian teen, remember that we see through a glass darkly. God, however, has the whole view of our world in His focus, from the beginning to the end of time. He has set us here at this time for a specific reason--to be of service to Him.

Let us remember that God, as Father, is the true ruler of our lives. He leads and guides us so that His purpose for us might be fulfilled to His glory.

How amazing is that?

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13: Father's Love

13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."
Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

2 Samuel 12:13-17, New International Version

June 13: Father's Love

It was a very dark time in King David's life. He had sinned against God, and even though God forgave his sin, Nathan the prophet declared to David that his newborn baby, by Bathsheba, would die.

Did David just accept this edict from God? No, David, knowing that God is a merciful God, implored him for days and nights to let the child live. His love for this child was so great, that all of his kingly duties were swept aside, that he might plead with God for the child's life.

How did God answer those prayers? God, as David knew, did not always answer his prayers in the affirmative. Such was the case here.

How, then, did God show His mercy to King David? We must remember that David would have another son through Bathsheba named Solomon. This son would follow David to the throne of Israel and would become the wisest and wealthiest of all kings of Israel.

It is hard to explain a Father's love; it comes so unexpectedly. Until you look upon your first child, you cannot imagine that you could love someone so much.

As teens, your relationship with your parents can often become quite strained, and definitely misunderstood. Believe me, that will most likely change in the years to come.

I would, however, challenge you to think of your Father God. As a Christian teen, His undying love will go with you all of the days of your life. No one in all the days of your life will ever love you as much as He loves you.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12: Disciplining Children

11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,

14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

Proverbs 3:11-14, New International Version

June 12: Disciplining Children

Ouch! Probably the last devotion you want to read, as a teen, is one about disciplining children. However, I hope you will stay with me on this, as I want to take a different focus, that I think will be very helpful to you.

Proverbs 3, shows us a bigger picture on the topic of disciplining children. The subject here is that of God disciplining his children. This passage uses the example of a father's disciplining his childen, but God gives us a deeper understanding of the entire subject. God disciplines His children; in other words, everyone who is a child of God (including your earthly fathers) is under this discipline.

Why does God do this? Is He angry at our sin, so He takes out His anger on us? No way! Actually, the exact opposite is true.

In this passage we understand two truths. First, God only disciplines those He loves, and second, the result of that discipline is wisdom in the heart of the believer. In His love, He directs us this way and that, opening and shutting doors that we may be kept on His path. Second, God desires that we grow in wisdom and faith in Him.

What is the value of the wisdom that God's children gain?

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,

14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

The wisdom that God gives to us is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. How amazing is that?

God may use your fathers to discipline you now, but when your father does not discipline you, or when you are too old for your father's discipline, as a child of God, God loves you so much that He will never abandon you to your own whims--especially when those whims lead you away from Him.

I'm a child of the King,
A child of the King,
With Jesus my Savior,
I'm a child of the King!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11: Concerns of Fathers

1 There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. 2 He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.

3 Now the donkeys belonging to Saul's father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, "Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys." 4 So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

5 When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, "Come, let's go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us."

1 Samuel 9:1-5, New International Version


June 11: Concerns of Fathers

This story from 1 Samuel 9 leads to the annointing of Saul by Samuel the prophet. Today, however, we are going to take a little "aside" and look at verse 5, shown above.

Kish, a Benjamite of high standing, lost some donkeys; he commanded his son, Saul, to take a servant and go look for the donkeys. Because God was using this circumstance for a greater purpose than simply finding donkeys, Saul and his servant did not find the donkeys. After looking through several neighboring districts, Saul realized that by this time his father would stop being concerned about his donkeys, and be more concerned that Saul had not returned home.

It is really hard, as teenagers, to put yourselves in the place of your parents.

I was very hard on my parents when I was a teen. Oh, I treated them fine, but I could not understand their control on my life. Did they not trust me?

Fathers, especially concerning their daughters, are often so concerned about the safety of their children, that they put tight controls on their childrens' lives. This, of course, can be quite offensive to their teens.

This story is a perfect example of such a case. However, in this case Kish gave his son, Saul, the freedom to go to the neighboring districts and find the donkeys. This was not a safe assignment; in reading the book of Judges we know that horrible things could happen to travelers. Because Saul had been gone three days, he realized his father would be worried about him. You will have to admit, that most father's would be quite upset if their children had been gone for three days, with no communication. (Sorry, no cell phones.)

I would encourage you, as Christian teens, to understand that God has given you the parents he has for a reason. That reason is related to your Christian growth and the future plans that God has for your life. As Christians, God uses the concerns of Fathers to direct the lives of their children in the path He has chosen for them to follow.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10: Duties of Husbands

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.
Ephesians 5:25-26, New International Version

June 10: Duties of Husbands

It is not surprising to find a verse in the Bible telling husbands to love their wives. After all, we would assume that a good Christian husband would love his wife. However, there is more in this verse: husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. The church is often called the bride of Christ.

What does all of this mean? From the perspective of a teen, this does not sound very difficult at all, does it? Marriage is God's school of learning, for both the husband and the wife, and takes work on both parts to maintain harmony.

Just as we learned in yesterday's devotion, the first thing a husband must do is to love God more than His wife. Second he must love his wife just as Christ loved the church. How much did Christ love the church? Christ gave His life for the church! Husbands should love their wives so much that they would give their lives for them!

If they are willing to give their life to save their wife, it is obvious that they love their wife more than themselves. We have lost that perspective in our world today. Couples marry with the thought: "If it does not work out, we will just get a divorce." What has happened to the idea of commitment?

Guys, those are the things you should think of now, while you are dating. When you go out with a gal, you must say to yourself, "Do I love her enough that I would give my life to save hers? Do I love her more than I love myself? Am I willing to commit my life to her for the rest of my life?"

Of course, there are other duties of husbands, but it is amazing how the other duties will fall into place when this first duty is in place.

Guys and gals, spend much time in prayer considering God's leading in your lives. He will bring the right person to you, when the time is right. Also, guys, remember that the strength to fulfill your duties as husbands can only come from the Lord.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9: Fathers - Abraham

1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Genesis 21:1-5, New International Version

June 9: Fathers - Abraham

As Father's Day approaches, it is fitting that we should do a series of devotions on fathers. We will begin this series with Abraham. As we have had several devotions already on Abraham, today we will focus on Genesis 21 where the birth of Isaac is recorded.

Remember, Abraham already had a son named Ishmael, so though Isaac was Sarah's only son, Isaac was Abraham's second son. It was a miraculous birth, was it not? Sarah was 90 years old, and Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.

What kind of a Father was Abraham? We know that though he loved both of his sons dearly, He loved God even more.

As a teen, you may not have spent much time thinking about becoming a parent. When God blesses you with children, whether you will be a mother or a father, what will your relationship be with your child, and what will your relationship be with God? Abraham sets a master example before us.

God must always be first in our lives; He must come before ourselves as well as our children, spouses, parents, siblings, or friends. As you look to the future, do you want to be a good father (or mother), to your children? You can only accomplish this if God is first in your life.

I do not mean to say that we must proclaim that God is first in our lives. Many do so, but is it really true? God must really be first in your life. Your children are or will be a gift from God; they are a most precious gift, to be sure, and they need your undying love. However, they need you to love God even more.

As a Christian teen, these are good things for you to ponder. You are already realizing that childhood is quickly leaving you.

Pray that God would help you right now to establish God as being first in your lives.

JOY = Jesus, then Others, then You.

God Bless You,
Linda