Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Lord


 2The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
 3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
 4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
 5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
 6The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. 

The Lord

As a teen, what comes to mind when you think of the Lord? Psalm 147 gives us a glimpse into the Psalmist's answer to that question.

Who is this glorious and wondrous God we serve? The Psalmist poured out his praise reminding us of who God is and what He does for His people. Look at his words from Psalm 147.

*The Lord doeth build up Jerusalem
*He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel
*He healeth the broken in heart
*He bindeth up their wounds
*He telleth the number of the stars
*He calleth them by their names
*His understanding is infinite
*The Lord lifteth up the meek
*He casteth the wicked down to the ground.

How does this psalm relate to you as a teen. Perhaps you have never felt like the outcast, or perhaps you have never been broken in heart. Perhaps you have never been wounded! Yet, even though you are teens and have not lived for decade upon decade, perhaps you really have experienced these things.

Indeed, who is like unto our God? There is none other like Him; in Him we have perfect peace and trust for His strength and wisdom are infinite. We have every confidence that we may go to Him, for He never leaves nor forsakes His children. Nothing on this earth is infinite, so it is a concept we cannot easily grasp. Our God is infinite; He is not bound by the finite measures of this world.

Therefore, is anything on this earth out of the controlling hands of Almighty God? No! He reigns supreme over all of heaven and earth. Each day our scientists are discovering more wonders about our solar system as they are able to peer deeper and deeper into its depths, but God knows every single star in existence. Not only does He know ever single star, but he knows every single star's name! We will never come upon a discovery that is unknown to God, or not under God's control. What an amazing God we serve!

Are we broken in heart? We can go to God, for He, alone, can heal the broken in heart. Are we deeply wounded? God binds up the wounds of His children and gently carries them in His arms. Are we cast down by those of this world? God will lift up the meek who have put their trust in Him, and He will cast the wicked down to the ground. Though it may appear that the wicked have control over this world, it is not so! The day will come when God will put everything in its rightful place; true justice will be served.

As a teen, you know that there are really very few assurances in this life. However, in God there is no doubt. What He promises, will come to pass.

This is the God we serve! This is the Lord! Go to Him today, for in Him is all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Satan, the father of lies, has bound this world with his evil ways, but the Lord will triumph over all. The time will come when even Satan will be bound, forever!
 7Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalm 37:7King James Version)
God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 29, 2013

Praise is Beautiful!

 1Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. 


Praise is Beautiful!

Many things are considered beautiful, such as a pretty girl, a baby, a flower, the sunset, etc., but, as a teen, have you ever thought of praise to God as being beautiful

As we near the end of our series of devotions on the Psalms, "First Love," we are reminded by the writer of Psalm 147 to praise the Lord because praise is beautiful, or as the King James Version states, praise is comely. It would be rather easy to skip over this verse and go right on to the rest of this Psalm, but let us stop for a moment and consider the depth of what is presented by the writer right here in verse 1.

Praise is beautiful! As Christian teens, we love the Lord and we love to sing praises to His name, right? However, when you really stop and think about it, other than when you are in church, how much time do you actually spend praising God? Sadly, we as 21st century Christians often miss out on one of the greatest joys of being a Christian because we have forgotten how to take the time to simply praise the Lord. As teens, we are so busy hanging out with friends, going to the movies, maybe even doing homework, but how often do we stop and just spend some quiet time with the Lord, with no one else around?

When was the last time you put away your books, newspapers, and magazines, and turned off the computer and the television and took some private time to just praise the Lord? As a matter of fact, I would challenge you to do just that today. Take some time--even just five minutes--to find a quiet place where you can just commune with the Lord. Pray to God, thanking Him and praising Him for all He has done for you. You are in for a delightful time of communion with Him!

If we are not in the habit of doing such a thing, we might, at first, find it rather difficult, but it will become much easier with practice. For what things do we owe praise to God? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Praise God for:
*friends
*music
*strength to live each day
*beautiful sunshine
*refreshing rains
*the laughter of children
*the sound of birds praising the Lord with their vibrant songs
*family
*food
*good health
*times of sickness so that we learn to depend upon God and not ourselves
*our salvation
*a God who loves us so much
*Christ, who gave His life that we might have eternal life with Him forever
*God's Word to guide us
*Christian friends
*gorgeous sunrises and sunsets

When you consider God's faithfulness, you begin to realize all of the great and profound blessings He has granted to us. Even those who do not know the Lord are blessed by His goodness to them, for God brings the sunshine and rain upon the unjust as well as the just. Unfortunately, many who hate the Lord will one day know the true terror of life without God!

Yes, praise is beautiful. As Christian teens, let us praise, honor, and magnify the name of God who has done so many wondrous things for us. What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, April 26, 2013

Reign Forever!


 10The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD. 

Reign Forever!

As a teen, we often talk about forever, but do we really have a true sense of what it means? After all, to a teen, 10 years can seem like forever!

As creatures of this world we have a hard time grasping the concept of forever! Psalm 146 tells us that the LORD shall reign forever. Realizing what that truly means, should we not then be more concerned about our relationship to this reigning Lord than to anyone or anything else? Yet, that is usually not the case; we are so intent upon this life in which we live that we seldom give any great thought to how well we are serving our reigning king.

That really is the issue, is it not? It is not true that someday the Lord will return and reign forever, but rather, even now, Christ is reigning. Yes, He will return and set up His kingdom on this earth, but even now He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Right now, He is reigning from His heavenly throne. Right now, we, as Christian teens, are serving King Jesus!

No matter what our circumstance may be on this earth, it is only temporary. Even as teens we have come to understand that this world is constantly fluctuating. Weather changes from day to day, kingdoms rise and fall, people die, and people are born. What may be the normal experience one day may be completely different on another day. Why, then, do we spend so much time worrying about the things of this earth?

The Psalmist, who incidentally is in heaven right now, understood this. He concluded His Psalm with this great exclamation of praise and honor to God, for in truth, nothing else mattered! He gazed upon all future generations calling them to praise and honor the Lord. It did not matter to him what their circumstances might be; he understood that God would live and reign over them just as He reigned over the Israel of his day. Even though the writer wrote this Psalm over 2000 years ago, he was talking to teens today in the 21st century! How amazing is that?

Does God truly reign over the kingdoms of this earth? We live in a time when very few if any kingdoms really do true homage to God. Does that mean that He does not reign over them? We must understand that nothing that happens on this earth is removed from God's Almighty hand. What He has planned does and will come to pass. From our perspective that may not seem to be the truth, but we must understand that, just as the children of Israel did not see God's hand upon them, especially when they were sinning against Him, He never left their side, and He never leaves our side as well.

We are here on this earth but a short time compared to eternity. But God, who created this world, will care for it until the exact day it is to be no more. He will then create a new heaven and a new earth, where we, as His children, will live with Him forever!

Go, then, this day in the strength and power of the Lord. Love Him, serve Him, and obey Him, for His reign is forever!

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Lord


 8The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
 9The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. 

The Lord

As a Christian teen, how would you describe the Lord? Psalm 146 continues with some glorious statements about the Lord. Who is this God we serve and what does He do?

*The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind.
*The Lord raiseth them that are bowed down.
*The Lord loveth the righteous.
*The Lord preserveth the strangers.

What do these things mean, and how do they apply to use as teens?

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. Who are the blind? The Psalmist is not talking about physical sight, but rather spiritual darkness. Born into sin, we are unable to see God's pure and perfect light, but when He opens our blind eyes, we can suddenly see His righteousness. 

We must remember that the lost are blind, and until God opens their eyes, they cannot see! We have every hope to pray for those we love who are lost, for when God opens their eyes, they will see! When we understand that salvation is truly of God and not of us, our prayers become more fervent and vibrant as we beseech God to reach those we love.

What of those who are bowed down with the cares of this world? Is there no hope? Yes, there is hope in the Lord, for the Lord raises up those who are bowed down and overcome by their own sins. Through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, He forgives their sins and raises them up, planting their feet upon His solid rock and lifting the heavy burdens from off their backs.

In a world that supposedly has an answer for everything, it is helpless to reach the thousands of teens who are so bowed down with troubles they do not know where to turn. Perhaps that even describes you! Go to God; He loves you, and He will lift the burdens from your shoulders. Your outward circumstances may not change, but you will no longer be carrying those burdens by yourself! You will have the peace of knowing that God is right there beside you, loving, protecting, and guiding you in the way you should go!

Who are the righteous that the Lord loves? The righteous are the redeemed--those who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb. Not one of us has that righteousness in and of ourselves, but all who come to Christ, confessing their sins and their need of Him as their Savior are bathed in His righteousness. We, as children of God, are the righteous! Yet, it is not due to any righteousness that we may have, but all is due to the righteousness of Christ who has covered our sins.

For teens today, Christ truly is the answer to all of their problems. He, alone, can bridge the gap between them and God, for God looks lovingly upon those who have been redeemed by Christ!

The Lord preserves the strangers. Who are the strangers? Again, we are the strangers. Born into sin, we are lost from God, but when born into Christ we have become strangers in this world, for now we have a new home. We are truly strangers in a strange land, looking forward to our heavenly home, and the new earth that God will create at the end of time. Leaving this life will just be an entrance for us into our true home!

Let us, then, turn to God, our First Love, for in Him we find all that we need. He has opened our eyes, lifted us up, loved us, and will preserve us all of our days upon this earth, and then He will safely bring us home to be with Him forever! 

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God Our Hope


 5Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
 6Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
 7Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: 

God Our Hope

As a teen in this, the 21st century, happiness is not automatically assumed. As a matter of fact, happiness seems to be one of the most illusive qualities--here one moment, and then gone the next. The writer of Psalm 146 did not seem to have that problem. Why not?

What is the relationship between happiness and hope? The Psalmist equates the two when he encourages us to trust in God our hope. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God. Could it be true that the secret to true happiness in the 21st century is so easy? Why, then are not Christian teens the happiest teens in the world?

Perhaps our very difficulty in finding real happiness lies in our proximity to the things of this world! Perhaps, though we hold the dearest of treasures in the palms of our hands, we do not realize or value what we have! 

Why did the Psalmist make such a bold claim? The Psalmist looked to God his Creator and stated that God: keeps truth forever, executes judgment for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, and looses the prisoners. How can that be true? Even teens in other countries often go hungry or are imprisoned for their beliefs; even teens, are often oppressed, especially in certain countries, with no deliverer in sight. To answer this apparent dilemma, we need to look a little deeper into the Psalmist's meaning. 

First, how does God keep truth forever? In a world where truth and lies are so intermingled, it is often hard to actually distinguish between the two. As a teen, how are you to know what is right and what is wrong? We know that throughout the entire Word of God, we are told that God is truth--in Him are no lies. As we look to God's Word, the Bible, we, as Christian teens, can safely trust in the truths that God has providentially unfolded within its pages. With the Bible as our guide, we can more easily discern between truth and error. Of course, that presumes we read and study our Bibles!

As the world runs steadily away from God, we should not be surprised by laws and practices which are contrary to God's Word. As Christian teens, let us hold fast to God's laws. If a practice is condemned in the Bible, then it should be condemned by us. If a practice is lauded by the Bible, then it should be lauded by us. This practice alone, if followed by all mankind would alleviate much oppression, suffering, and even hunger!

What of those teens who are oppressed, going hungry, or imprisoned for the Gospel? Is God nowhere to be found? God never leaves His followers, but that does not mean that His followers will not suffer persecution for the sake of the Gospel. Christ warned that, because man hates God, man will hate the followers of God. Even as Christ was condemned, so will His followers be condemned. However, that condemnation is only in this world, but this world is not our home! Our home is with Christ. What we face here is just a temporary passage of time, but what we have coming is a bright and glorious future with the Lord Jesus Christ forever! Are you, as a believer in Christ ready to suffer persecution? How real is your faith--will it carry you even through times when it costs everything to follow Christ?

May you, as a Christian teen, love Christ so much that you will not hold your life on this earth too dear. May you truly love Christ so much that He is all--even to the point of losing this life. Jim Elliot, a missionary who lost his life serving Christ once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Does that describe you?

Let us then, not be weary, but let us look to God our hope, who sustains us, enriches us in His Word, and encourages our hearts. Let us look to Christ who walks beside us all of the days of our lives upon this earth, and will be the first to welcome us home when we enter the gates of heaven.

Amen, even so come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Trust


 1Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
 2While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
 3Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
 4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. 

Trust

As a teen, in what or in whom do you trust? It is a simple question, but the life of your soul depends upon your answer. The Psalmist said, "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."

It is a hard thing to ponder, is it not? We do trust in others; as a matter of fact we often spend our entire lives seeking those who are worthy of our trust. As a teen, it is hard not to be impressed by some of the great heros of our day, yet, according to this very Psalm, it is foolish to put one's trust in any person, for, in the end, they will die and return to the earth, and on that same day, their thoughts die with them.

It is a rather somber warning, is it not? The Psalmist is going beyond the matter of simple trust, or belief in another's good intentions or even their belief system. The Psalmist is helping us to turn our hearts--even our very souls--to Christ. He begins this Psalm with the words, "Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul." In other words, the Psalmist helps us to understand that there is hope for us, but that hope rests in the Lord and not in mere men or women. He continues in verse 2, "While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being."

Let us, by the grace of God, as Christian teens, take the Psalmist's words to heart. As we go about the duties of each day, let us not depend upon the goodness of others, but, rather, let us depend upon the goodness of God to give us hope and strength for each day. Let us take our instructions from God, Himself, and not from other people. Now, that is easy to say, but how do we do that?

First of all, we must realize that even in our churches, we are called to examine the words spoken by our pastors and teachers in light of the Word of God. Our trust, even then, is not in their words, but in God's Word. That presumes, of course, that we know and understand God's Word. As teens, is that even possible? Yes, of course it is, but it does presume that our Bibles are important enough to us that we spend a lot of time reading them!

Believers in the 21st century, are often a rather sorry lot. Having ingrained ourselves in the love of the things of this world, it is time we wrench ourselves free and ingrain ourselves, instead, in the Word of God. Let us be diligent in reading and studying God's Word, let us seek the fellowship of other believers, and let us develop a regular, close time of fellowship with God. Most of all, let us seek the Lord daily in prayer, asking for help and guidance that we may grow more and more like Christ. Just because we are teens, it does not mean that we cannot seek God's guidance through His Word. David was just a shepherd boy when he was known as a man after God's own heart!

In other words, let us, like the Psalmist, we must trust in God to lead us in the way we should go. For, as we are reminded in Revelation, God's words are true and faithful.
 5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
 6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
 7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:5-7King James Version)
Go, then, as Christian teens, and trust in the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, who will give to you that thirsts the fountain of the water of life freely!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bless His Holy Name


 17The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
 18The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
 19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
 20The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
 21My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever. 

Bless His Holy Name

As a Christian teen, how do you bless the Lord? What has He done for you, specifically, that causes your heart to lift up in praise to Him?

Seven times David recounted the blessings of God in these verses from Psalm 145, reminding us to bless His Holy name.

*The Lord is righteous in all his ways.
*The Lord is holy in all his works.
*The Lord is near to all that call upon Him in truth.
*The Lord will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him.
*The Lord will hear the cry of them that fear Him.
*The Lord will save them that fear Him.
*The Lord preserves all that love him. 

What an amazing God we serve! Notice, however, that there is a qualification in these blessings of God. Do these blessings really apply to you in the 21st century? The Lord is righteous to all, holy regarding His dealings with everyone, but is only near to them that call upon Him in truth. He only fills the desires of those that fear Him, and He only hears the cry and saves them that fear Him.

There is the qualification: the Lord loves those who fear Him. In other words, it's all about the heart, is it not? God knows your heart of hearts; He knows whether you truly love Him or not!

What of those who do not love the Lord? Verse 20 tells us that all the wicked will He destroy! That sounds a bit harsh, does it not. However, true justice demands that those who hate God will be punished. Even if they live in comparative ease on this earth, the day will come when they will have to answer to God Himself for the deeds done on this earth. At that time, the true nature of their hearts will be revealed.

It is easy, as a teen, to get so involved with life that these things seem to lose their importance. Satan is a mastermind at diversion. He will stop at nothing to divert you away from Christ; he will stop at nothing to keep you from living and serving God faithfully!

Truthfully, this world is all we know. It is not easy to look beyond this life, but it is necessary that we do so, for God is an eternal Being. This world is but a vapor compared to eternity. Let us not be so consumed by this world and the things it offers that we do not turn our faces to the life to come. 

Let us seek Christ and His kingdom. Let us pray to Him that everything we do and say will be for His glory and honor alone!

In Heaven, the things of this earth will be seen for the trifles they are! Nothing accomplished here, apart from our service to God, will matter in eternity. As Christian teens, let us run this race with patience, knowing that these days are evil, but our true life with Christ is coming. 

Let us then join David in proclaiming, "My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD; and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever."

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Eyes of All


 14The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
 15The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
 16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. 

The Eyes of All

It is an amazing world in which we live! As a teen, what amazing opportunities stretch out before you. Man has truly accomplished much, and yet there is so much more to accomplish! To whom do we owe honor and praise for such achievements? Is it man who is so great, or is their a deeper cause? That is exactly the subject of David's words from Psalm 145 shown above.

How can we not, as Christian teens, sing honor and praise to God, our First Love, when we read such glorious words of Scripture as these? Truly, we must cry to the Lord, "The eyes of all wait upon thee." For even the creatures look to their Creator for food and sustenance, for, unlike man, they know their Creator! 

If you have a pet, your cat, dog, or whatever other creature you have, looks to God to sustain them. Dumb beasts though they may be, they understand who their Creator is. If you forget to feed them, they do cry out to God in their hunger!

Man in his foolish pride thinks that he attains unto greatness by his own efforts. Little does he realize that the greatness to which he attains is at the hand of God Almighty. Even those who are not believers achieve greatness or lack of it due to the hand of God's providence upon them. For we are reminded in the Proverbs,
 1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1King James Version)

As Christian teens, we are greatly encouraged by David's words in Psalm 145: The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that he bowed down. So, we are reminded that if God has caused us to be bowed down for a time, then we have every hope that He will also raise us up again. Perhaps the very reason we are going through troubles is so that we will turn to Him and cry out for relief.

Is it not amazing that God is so intricately involved in your life as a teen? Nothing you do or say is unknown to Him, and nothing that others do or say to you is unknown to Him.

Everything we have, and everything we experience is evidence of the good hand of God upon us. Let us, then, not be tempted to worship the things we have have, or to take undue pride in our own accomplishments. If we have achieved much, it is due to God's help. If we have achieved little, it is so that we might look to God to sustain us.

In faith, as teens, let us join David in praising God and in acknowledging the truth of his words.
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
This is the God we serve. He loves us, He saves us, He keeps us, and some day He will bring us home to Glory to be with Him forever! What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 15, 2013

Everlasting Kingdom


 10All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
 11They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
 12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
 13Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. 

Everlasting Kingdom

What does the everlasting kingdom have to do with you, as a teen? After all, your life is just beginning, there is plenty of time to think of the life to come, right? Maybe not!

David, in Psalm 145, said, Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

As Christian teens, do we really believe that? Yes, I think we do, at least we certainly should, but the true question is, do we live as though we believe that? In other words, do our lives manifest our belief in Christ's eternal kingdom, or are we so busy living this life that thoughts of our eternal life are shoved into the corner, waiting to be considered another day? 

We are busy, after all. With school, homework, and extra curricular activities, and maybe even part time jobs on the side, do we even have time to consider our life after this life here on earth? Truthfully, our attitude toward what happens after this life has a profound effect on how we live this very day!

When I was a child we used to taunt one another with the chant, "Actions speak louder than words." It was the truth, was it not? The challenge to teen believers in the 21st century is to look beyond the things of this world and look to Christ. In this world we find all manner of manifestations of sin, greed, and envy, but in Christ we find true peace, hope, and joy. From our heart of hearts, or as evidenced by our actions, Christ needs to be preeminent in our lives. Nothing in this life can compare to the riches we have in Christ Jesus.

Even in the middle of school, homework, and extra curricular activities, we must keep the Lord Jesus Christ as the true focus. Nothing we do or say should be done apart from Christ, for He is the very reason we have hope for the future.

When thinking of the Lord, David said,
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
As teen believers, let us align ourselves with the Word of God rather than the things and attitudes of this world. Let us look to our Lord God and praise and bless His name. Let us speak of His glory and talk of His power, and let us make known to all of our friends and family members, the mighty acts of God and the glorious majesty of His kingdom. That is why we are here!

It is easy to get caught in the quagmire of this world, but we are called to rise above this world and praise and magnify our God. As Christian teens we are already a part of His everlasting kingdom. As such, this world is no longer our home, for our true home is with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are passing through this vale of tears, but will soon enter the joys of the kingdom of heaven where we will be with Christ forever! After all, even if we live another 80 years, that is still just a breath of time compared to all eternity! 

How will your generation make a difference for Christ? What effect will today's Christian teens have on tomorrow's world? Only you can answer that question.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Lord is Gracious


 8The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
 9The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. 

The Lord is Gracious

As Christian teens, how would you explain the grace of God to your unsaved friends and loved ones? What did David really mean when he wrote Psalm 143, verses 8 and 9?

When we say that the Lord is gracious, what exactly do we mean? The answer to that question has to do with the recipient (us), and not the giver. In other words, The Lord is gracious in what He gives to us because we do not deserve His gifts. There is nothing in us that makes us worthy recipients of any of the gifts He bestows upon any people, whether they are believers or not!

Grace is often defined as "unmerited favor." The difficulty is that we tend to think in the opposite direction. For example, we do not find ourselves saying, "Look at God's grace in the kindness He bestowed upon us; we certainly did not deserve His help." Instead, we are more apt to think that God owes us the benefits He gives. Even more, not only does God owe us, but He is not doing a very good job. We see countless examples where God could have intervened in a situation, but did not, so we think we have a right to call God into account for His lack of intervention. Unfortunately, this is not just a propensity of teens, this is the way most unbelievers, and some believers actually think!

Of course, we are not usually so bold in our assertions. Instead, you have probably been asked the following questions by your unbelieving friends: "Why do babies have to die?" or "Why did God allow that teen to die in that car accident?" or "Why did God take that mother when it is so obvious that her husband and children need her?" In other words, we are asserting that if we were God, we would certainly make different choices.

How vain we are to think such things! We may not understand the ways of God, but in truth, we know that the decisions He makes are righteous and perfect. Though we may not understand now, we will certainly know the truth when we ourselves reach the gates of heaven. We certainly do not have the mind of God, but we do know that He is righteous, kind, loving, and perfect in all of His actions on behalf of mankind.

David did not wrestle with questions like these. Instead, he was practically overcome when he pondered the grace of God on his behalf. In psalm after psalm we find him pouring forth words of praise like those found in verses 8 and 9 of Psalm 145.
The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
As Christian teens, let us marvel at the grace and goodness of our Lord. When we examine our own lives, we must admit that, indeed, He is very slow to anger. God does not zap us every time we do something wrong! How wondrous, tender, and patient He is with us. In spite of our most feeble efforts to serve Him, we find ourselves constantly falling short. Yet He picks us up again and again, and sets our feet upon the right path.

Go to God today and thank Him for His love and mercy that He exhibits toward you! Truly, the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger and full of great mercy. For all eternity, let us sing of His love and mercy extended toward all men, and especially toward us, His dear children!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, April 8, 2013

Memory of God


 4One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
 5I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
 6And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
 7They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. 

Memory of God

As Christian teens, why do you believe what you believe? Most likely you understand who God is because you have read His Word, but even more, you have probably been taught the precious truths of God's Word by your parents, other relatives, or even very good friends. Our testimonies of our relationship with Christ are power means that God uses to bring others to Him. Not only by God's Word, but by the testimony of God's working in the lives of those we love and respect, have we learned of His existence and of His great love for us.

How do we know of the greatness of God? How do we understand His wondrous works as they are daily manifested to us? We understand our great and mighty God by the testimony of His Word, but we also understand His glorious deeds done on our behalf as told to us by our parents and our grandparents, or others we know and respect. Their own personal memory of God as He has worked on their behalf is a powerful testimony to us.

We, likewise, will pass on our own memory of God and His care for us to our children and grandchildren. We have God's Word to instruct us, yet it is the testimony of the lives of His people throughout the ages since His Word has been completed that assures us that God is living, moving, and acting on our behalf today just as He did in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Our Bibles are not dead books, but show to us the the living and active power of God which is manifest to us daily.

As teens, we do not often take the time to think out of the box. We are not so very concerned about future generations that will come from us, but what we think today, we will pass on to those who follow us. We are the children of this generation, but in just a decade or two, we will be passing on whatever we believe to our own children.

What an amazing God we serve. Just as generations have praised His works to another, and just as David declared the glorious honor and majesty of God, so do we, too, speak of God's power and might displayed to us even in this 21st century. Our God is not dead, neither does He sleep, but, rather, He plays an active role in our daily lives, caring for us, leading us, and teaching us, that we may grow more and more like Christ.

Truly God's acts are terrible, awesome acts. His power is greater than any power in the manipulative hands of mere men. When God speaks, even the winds and the waves obey His will, as was demonstrated by Christ when He was with His disciples in the middle of a terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee. Man may be ever so clever, but he is stopped by the works of "Mother Nature." "Mother Nature," however, is controlled by God Himself. 

Do we, as believers, live our lives in faithful trust of this God we love and serve? Do we understand and appreciate His guiding hand upon us each and every day? Do we understand that open and closed doors of opportunity are there because of God's guiding hand upon us? As we look to our future, are we confident that God is guiding us and leading us in the way we should go?

Let us not live as people of this world who live in fear of what fate might send their way. Let us, instead, bask in the light of God's help and blessing knowing that even on the bad days, God's loving hand is caring for us and guiding us through the difficulties that come our way. 

As we understand these things, let us pass on our own memory of God to those who follow after us. May they understand by the word of our own testimonies that God is everything. Christ is all--there is none other like Him. Without Christ we have nothing, but with Him we have all we will ever need for life, health, and peace, both in this life and in the life to come.

May your own personal memory of God be precious to you, and precious to those who follow after you!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, April 5, 2013

Unsearchable Greatness


 1I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
 2Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
 3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. 

Unsearchable Greatness

As a teen, when you think of great people, who comes to your mind? Do you think of great athletes, great entertainers, or maybe even close friends or relatives? David never compared any human being to God; none could come close to His greatness.

Psalm 145 is an incredible Psalm of praise by David; no wonder David was known as a man after God's own heart. From verse 1, he launched into glorious expressions of praise to God, leaving no doubt as to the reason for his success both as a person and as the king. Never did he bring glory to himself, but, instead, gave all honor and praise to God,

David's religion was not just a "once-a-week" practice, giving God his one day in seven, but reserving the other six days for himself. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. He could not go one day without praising and honoring God for all that He had done for him. as Christian teens, does God mean that much to us, or do we tend to take Him for granted? Do we throw our token of worship to Him on the Sabbath, but then reserve the rest of our lives for ourselves? Do we just view God as our rescuer when troubles seem to overtake us?

David's worship was a daily worship, epitomized by the words of verse 3. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. Unsearchable greatness--what does that mean? No matter how much we ponder the greatness of God, we will never come close to plumbing the depths of His great love and mercy. No matter how many examples we can list of the greatness of God, there will always be more. It is a list we will never complete! Where else is there a God who loves with such perfect love and grace that He is willing to send His only Son to pay the price of sin for a people so unworthy as us?

Where, on this earth, do we see anyone so completely selfless, who loves the unloved even though that love may never be returned? When we consider the great people of this world, who comes to mind? Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, Alexander the Great, Queen Elizabeth, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Mother Theresa--all of these have done great things, but none are like unto our great and wondrous God, neither would any of them claim to be. All of them saw themselves as unworthy before the throne of Almighty God.

God's greatness did not end at our salvation, did it? Amazingly, God not only saves His people, but He watches over them, leading, guiding, comforting, shepherding, and protecting them all of the days of their lives on this earth. Then, when their days on earth are done, He guides them safely into His kingdom. As teens, you have probably not yet gained the perspectives of contemplating God that come from decades of following Him, yet you certainly have already seen examples of His greatness evidenced in your own personal walk with Him.

Oh what a wonder that Jesus found me.
Out of the darkness, no light could I see.
Oh what a wonder; He put His great arms under,
And wonder of wonders, He saved even me!

Oh the unsearchable greatness of our glorious God. It reminds me of those wonderful verses by Paul from Romans 11:

 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 11:33-36King James Version)

Go, today, and enjoy the unsearchable greatness of God!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy Teens


 11Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
 12That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
 13That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
 14That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.
 15Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. 

Happy Teens

As a teen, what is the key to happiness? What does it take to make happy teens? Surprisingly, very few people actually know the answer to that question, yet it appears that the writer of Psalm 144 did! Happiness is not bundled in the abundance of possessions, but rather, true happiness is a gift from the Lord. The Psalmist is correct in asserting, Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

How can he rightly make such a statement? Surely there are many unbelieving teens who seem to be quite happy. In one sense, happiness is difficult to define. What makes you happy certainly may not make me happy. So how then can we say, Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord? Does that mean that all believers are happy?

I am sure those are the questions you may be asking, and many more as well. What David, the Psalmist is speaking of here is a happiness that is the result of being at peace with God. When all is said and done, what matters the most? Does it matter if we have many possession, are popular, or have built up a name for ourselves? Does it really matter if we have power or are famous? When we reach the end of our lives, none of those things will save us. We can become the best loved ruler ever known to man, but if we are not at peace with God, then we have a very bleak eternity ahead. In the same sense, we can have lived a difficult life of poverty and loneliness, but if we have obtained salvation through Christ, all of the shackles will be released upon our deaths. Our future in heaven is assured forever!

The Psalmist describes those who experience great blessing upon this earth, but that blessing is really only the beginning for them. We know that many who love the Lord do experience such blessings on this earth, but many do not. Because we live in a sin-infested world, not all believers experience such great blessings, however, all believers do experience a great peace. In the end, all of the treasures of this world are not to be compared to being at peace with God, our Creator.

Go this day, as a Christian teen, and seek the Lord. Only in Him will you find true peace, true love, true joy, and true happiness. Go, and in Christ, be happy teens!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sing Praises


 9I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
 10It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. 

Sing Praises

More than anyone, teens seem to have the pulse of the world when it comes to music. Each generation claims a style of music that is their own, bringing their unique likes and dislikes to the forefront. 

Have you ever wondered what kind of songs we will sing in heaven? How will we even know the words or the tunes? I am sure those are rather unimportant questions in broad scheme of things, but it is true that music has always been a rather important part of worshiping God. Even in the time of David, temple musicians held what we would consider to be full-time positions, for music has always been considered a critical part of the worship service.

In our day, one can attend contemporary worship services using music with a solid beat and often accompanied by a praise band, or one can attend a traditional worship service with psalms or hymns being sung, and often accompanied by an organ or a piano. Of course, there are several varieties of the above-mentioned types of services, some more or less formal. It is also true that people tend to be very passionate about the type of worship service they prefer, often being very critical of those who do not agree. 

How, then, are we to know what is most pleasing to God? As one of my former pastors used to say, we certainly have the emphasis on the wrong syllable! As we have often been reminded in this series, called "First Love," God is more concerned about our hearts and not our personal bent toward the style of music we use. David was known as a man after God's own heart, and we would do well to make that our most important goal.

So, whatever type of worship service you attend, always remember that God is most interested in your heart. Do you truly love Him above all others?

I think we will be amazed when we get to heaven. First of all, I believe the singing of the angels will be a more glorious sound than anything we have ever heard on this earth. All of our petty likes and dislikes will be shed the moment we reach the gates of heaven, and we will experience, for the first time, a pure worship of this wondrous God we love and serve. When we look upon the face of the Lord Jesus Christ (I believe His face is the first face we will see in Heaven), nothing else will matter!

Let us then, as Christian teens, worship the Lord, even being willing to learn a new song, as we sing praises, honor, and glory to His holy name. Truly, it is God who grants salvation even unto kings, and it is God who delivers us from harm. He guides, He protects, He nurtures us, and He loves us with an unsurpassable love.

So, no matter what type of music you enjoy, I encourage you this day to sing praises to this mighty and wondrous God we love and serve. 

God Bless You,
Linda