Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bear the Yoke?

 25The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
 26It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
 27It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 
(Lamentations 3:25-27, King James Version)

Bear the Yoke?

What an interesting choice of words is found in Lamentation 3: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Now, I will bet that in all of the words of advice and wisdom you receive from others, you have never been told that it is good for you to bear the yoke in your youth.

I thought that youth was a time to have fun and enjoy all the love, affection, and things poured upon you. Life need not be taken too seriously, as this is a time for innocence and fun? Right? No! Perhaps that seems to be a prevailing attitude among the youth of our day, but for the Christian teen, that is certainly not the advice given to you by God.

I know it is a scary thought, but the attitudes, habits, and patterns of life you establish now, while in the days of your youth, will accompany you all of your days. Somehow we think that a magical day is coming when we will set aside all of the things of our youth and become adults. Do not tell them that I told you, but adults are really just "youth" a few days, years, or decades from now. In other words, the insecurities you feel now will follow you all of the days of your life.

What are you to do? Now is the time to establish habits and patterns that will build up your faith in the Lord and be a positive influence on your Christian life. Remember, many of the greatest Psalms of David were written when he was but a youth, keeping watch over his father's sheep. How about Daniel? While still a youth, he was torn from his family home and taken to live in the courts of the king of Babylon. Yet, refusing the riches of the kingdom, he chose to eat only the foods God called clean. From his youth, he remained faithful to God.

If the rest of your life depends upon the type of Christian you are today, what will your life be like? Do not wait to get serious about the Lord, for the opportunities you face today may well be gone tomorrow.

What Christian traits does God value? The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is not our talents or our good looks that impress God--it is our hearts. Seek Him today with all of your hearts, and He will remain your Lord forever!

So, bear the yoke now in the days of your youth. Now is the time to reach out to God; now is the day of salvation!

God Bless You,

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Called by God

4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
       5 “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
      Before you were born I sanctified you;
      I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then said I:
      “ Ah, Lord GOD!
      Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
7 But the LORD said to me:
      “ Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
      For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
      And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
       8 Do not be afraid of their faces,
      For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD.
9 Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me:
      “ Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
       10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
      To root out and to pull down,
      To destroy and to throw down,
      To build and to plant.”
(Jeremiah 1:4-10, New King James Version)

Called by God

The above Bible passage from Jeremiah 1 is one of the most amazing examples of God's calling of His servant. Hearing God's call upon Him, Jeremiah said, "Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." His pleas were useless as evidenced God's Words to Jeremiah. How does this Bible passage apply to us as teens in the 21st century? Let us look through these verses and see how God spoke to Jeremiah, realizing that God speaks to us in the same way today.

Jeremiah was first approached by God who said to Him: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." How amazing is that? The next time someone tells you that a baby is not a person while still in the womb, you read Jeremiah 1. Jeremiah was a person in the eyes of God even before he was in his mother's womb. You are not here by accident, but your life was planned by God before time began, and you have a God-ordained job to do while you are here! Is that too big of a stretch to gain from these verses? No! God is so much bigger than we can even imagine!

No wonder Jeremiah's feeble excuse was ignored by God. When he complained that he could not speak because he was but a youth, how did God respond? "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak."

Can we then look at God and say, "No!"? Like Jeremiah, God does not call us to do what we are not able to do, but, rather, He equips us with all of the abilities, including our likes and dislikes, that make us perfectly suited for the job He has planned for us to do. If we need to speak before rulers of this world, we are not to worry about what we will say, for He will put the words in our mouths. We are not to fear what they can do to us, for God will protect us.

You may ask, "But what of those who are martyred for the Lord? Where was God's hand of protection for them?" Those who are martyred for the Lord are exactly where God has purposed for them to be. We will live exactly the number of days that God has planned for us before time began, and when our day comes to be taken to live with Him forever, we will go to Him. As a believer, do you think that when you die you will be disappointed to find yourselves wrapped in the arms of Jesus? I think not! We may be missed by family and friends, but we will not be disappointed. However, until that specific day ordained by God before time began, you are safe no matter where you are or what you are doing.

It is time that you as today's Christian youth look beyond your limited existence and see the bigger picture. You have a job to do--that is why you are here. What are you doing today to prepare yourself for a lifetime of service for God? No matter what career field you enter, as a believer, you are called by God, foremost, to live that life to the honor and glory of God, alone. He will use you to be a light to those all around you who walk in darkness.

In other words, everyone--at least every true believer--is called by God no matter what their future holds. Like Jeremiah, even as a youth, you are being equipped to fulfill the God-given purpose for which you were created.

Pretty cool, don't you think?

God Bless You,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Rejoice in Your Youth!

    9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
      And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
      Walk in the ways of your heart,
      And in the sight of your eyes;
      But know that for all these
      God will bring you into judgment.
       10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
      And put away evil from your flesh,
      For childhood and youth are vanity. 
(Ecclesiastes 11:9-10, New King James Version)

Rejoice in Your Youth!

There is a saying, which I am sure you have heard: Youth is wasted on the young. Unfortunately, it takes about four or five decades before you will see the true humor in that statement. Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes 11, seems to be saying much the same thing.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.

Is it just me, or does it seem that there are very few teens today who actually seem to be rejoicing in their youth? Why not? What has happened that has created such cynicism, such anger, and such depression during these days in which you are to be rejoicing?

One can point to many reasons, I am sure, but perhaps what we see is symptomatic of a false impression regarding the way to find happiness or peace. Where do most teens turn to find happiness? I can think of a few things, and I know you can think of even more: sex, drugs, friends, possessions, and the list goes on. The difficulty in all of these things is that true happiness and inner peace cannot come from others or from things which we possess.

As Christian teens, how are you to reach your lost peers? Are you struggling with the same issues they are, or have you found the answer to true peace, joy, and happiness? For answers, let us turn to God's Word, for only there will we find the truth!
 3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
 4Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: (Isaiah 26:3-4, King James Version
 4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6, King James Version
 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2, King James Version)
What does the phrase: "the chastisement of our peace" mean? Here is Isaiah 53:5 in the English Standard Translation: But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

You see, we are under the curse of sin, therefore peace is impossible. However, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He died on the cross for our sins took upon Himself the chastisement we deserved. The result: peace for the believer! How amazing is that?

Going back to Solomon's words in Ecclesiastes, we are given both a warning and a charge.

Warning: Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.

Charge: Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.

How do you remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh? By the grace of God, look beyond the days of your youth, not just in this life, but consider where you will be when the days of this life are over. True happiness, peace, and joy are found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Go to Him now, while you are still in the days of your youth. Only in Him will you find, not only peace, joy, and happiness, but also truth!

So, go, and rejoice in the your youth, but do so with the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ! In Him is no darkness, neither shadow of turning!

God Bless You,