I’d like you to understand when I say, “God is our God.” Of course he is. Even Satan knows that.
But just knowing this truth isn’t all that being a Christian is about. Mark 8:34 says:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (NIV)
Let’s say there’s a guy that loves you more than you could know, and constantly tells you, but you keep ignoring him because you’re “too busy.” What if he wrote this long love letter that explained how much he cares for you? Not only that, but this letter contains all the answers that you’ll ever need to know in life, including promises for your future.
Why would you ignore this special kind of friendship? In order to follow God we need an intimate relationship with him. Part of that is to find who you are in him. Why would you want this dear friend to only be a small part of your life? Follow him and he will become your everything if you allow him!
I dare you to get to know the friend that loves you no matter how awful you treat him. I dare you to read the love letter that is scratched and dusty, hidden and ignored in the back of your bookshelf. God wrote it to you thousands of years before you were born. Turn your Sunday religion into a true, eternal relationship.
Tessa Hall is a writing and coffee obsessed seventeen-year-old. She lives for Christ only and believes that it’s not just a religion, but a relationship. Her Young Adult, Christian fiction contemporary novel, Purple Moon, is currently under contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She also writes a blog called “Christ is Write” where she posts teen devotions, writing tips, book reviews, author interviews, and coffee recipes.
Tessa has always enjoyed writing and has a passion to spread God’s healing, love, and comfort to her peers through the written word. Some of her other passions include acting, film, music, photography, and dance. She has big dreams and high hopes for her future, but believes that God can grant the desires of her heart as long as she puts Him first. Her favorite scripture is Ecclesiastes 11:9 (MSG): “You who are young, make the most of your youth. Relish your youthful vigor. If something looks good to you, pursue it. But know also that not just anything goes; You have to answer to God for every last bit of it.”
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Life is like an Etch-A-Sketch.
No, really; bear with me here for a moment. It takes a lot of skill and patience to create something beautiful, and even one little mistake can ruin the whole picture. Think about it.
Say a young child is trying hard to draw a picture on an etch-a-sketch. No matter how hard he tries, he always messes up the picture, and there’s no way to fix it! The child starts to get discouraged and almost gives up.
But then, a kind stranger comes along and picks the child up and sets him back on his feet and before the child’s very eyes, the man clears the etch a sketch’s screen with a flip of his wrist. Very soon, his fingers set to work on the etch-a-sketch’s dials, deftly spinning an exciting, beautiful picture like none the child had ever seen before. The child sniffed away his tears as he took the offered Etch-A-Sketch, protesting weakly that he would only mess up the picture again.
The stranger smiled indulgently, patted the child on the head, and simply told him to add to the picture, and when he made another mistake, the stranger would be there to fix it. And he was true to his word. In a very short time, when the boy made another mistake, the stranger was right there. But instead of erasing it altogether this time, he simply worked the mistake into a stunning design, creating something even more breathtaking than before. He then hands he etch-a-sketch back to the boy and watches over him with a smile as the small one attempts to expand upon the picture.
That is an Etch-A-Sketch is life and the little child is you and me. Who is the kind stranger? No other than Jesus himself. When someone puts their trust in him, he takes their life full of sin and ugliness, and hands them back a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning, and a life free from sin and death. Then, when we make a mistake, as we will, he very lovingly weaves our mistakes into the picture, helping us to learn from them and still produce a masterpiece worthy of proud display.
Shannon Meiers is a 16 year old home-schooled sophomore in high-school. Shes an aspiring writer, and is currently working with the special needs ministries at her church. Shannon, or Shan as her friends know her, is constantly learning… (read more…)
I don’t understand people on rainy days.
Why do they drive faster when it’s raining? As if the roads aren’t dangerous enough when the ground is dry, they choose to take a risk with wet roads. And then, they run from car to store, from store to car as if the rain will melt them like the Wicked Witch of the West. Why? Rain is refreshing, not disastrous. I actually like to stand outside in the rain for no reason other than to be rained on.
Then there’s the attitude of the rainy day. People mope around like rain is the worst thing that ever happened to them. I do not understand this attitude. Rainy days are absolutely awesome. Especially if there’s thunder and lightning involved. It’s a natural cleansing of the earth. People should rejoice in the fact that the earth is being refreshed. The same way we need water in order to survive, so does the planet on which we live. And the reward of this lovely rain is the beauty of nature; flowers, trees, grass, all manner of foliage need rain to survive. Rain means renewal.
Therefore, enjoy rainy days and thank God for the refreshing.
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16 NIV)
I am first and foremost a Scribe of the King. It is my desire to serve God through the written word. I have been creating stories since age three. I would tell them to entertain my family, but didn’t start writing them down until age eight or nine.
Since then, the need to write has been insatiable. At age nineteen, I had my first book, Where’s My Other Sock?, published by Tate Publishing. Then, I graduated from community college with a degree; not in anything writing related, but in accounting. Currently, I’m hunting for a bookkeeping job and working on several books or story ideas. In my stories, I challenge the reader’s imagination with adventures into the fantasy realm. Some stories lean towards mystery/suspense or general fiction, and I try to write for all ages. I find my inspiration from JRR Tolkien’s works and from the Randomness of everyday life.
SDG. (read more…)
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)
I sat on the edge of my seat, tense, with my hands clenched onto its piped edges. The faded vinyl was torn in spots revealing tufts of yellowed foam from beneath. Every click of the meter raised the fare and my frazzled nerves. This taxi was a perpetrator of gridlock and I was an innocent victim!
New York City is an entanglement of traffic and people, all in a hurry to get somewhere. At every intersection, a gripping phenomenon called gridlock looms about as frantic truck drivers, taxis, cars and pedestrians attempt to beat the light. The result—after several light changes the mess of traffic cannot proceed in any direction. Often involving ten to fifteen vehicles, gridlock can only be unlocked by a police officer who quickly issues a citation to each driver he frees.
I glanced up at a warning sign swinging between the traffic lights that read, “DO NOT CAUSE GRIDLOCK” and watched as it began to rain.
“Here’s the fare. Thanks for the ride.” I handed the driver his money and darted out into the cold rain. The damp smell of concrete and fumes from the traffic were welcome sensations. Now I would make my appointment, a little soggy, but I’d be on time
Confusion, hurrying, and outright ignorance to the warning signs can cause gridlock in your life. Too many directions and not enough focus will entangle you, causing you to become a victim. Our God is not a confusing God. He wants His people to live untangled lives and keep their focus above.
It might be time to step back and unlock the snarled areas of your life and let the Lord direct your paths. As you encounter the intersections of life proceed with caution and “DO NOT CAUSE GRIDLOCK!”
New York City Gridlock Facts:
“Gridlock.” Some holidays with parades, the Christmas season and visits by the President or foreign dignitaries cause major traffic jams in Manhattan because of the traffic volume or street closings. The city issues a “gridlock day warning” asking people not to drive into the city. A “gridlock” occurs when there are so many cars that no traffic can move because all the streets are filled. If you “block the box” on a gridlock alert day, you will definitely get a ticket.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21 KJV)
Have you ever heard the expression, “There is a miracle in your mouth”? No one really knows who first coined that phrase, but it is a very true statement. In fact, according to this verse in Proverbs, life and death are in the power of the tongue. That being the case, wouldn’t it be better to use our mouths to speak life instead of death? Wouldn’t it be more productive to speak words of victory instead of defeat?
Successful athletes have been using their mouths in this way for many years. The Golf Channel recently did a feature story about Golf Legend Gary Player. In this interview, Player shared something very interesting. He said that from the time he took up golf at age 14, he would wake up, look himself in the mirror, and say, “I’m going to be the best golfer in the whole world.” It’s no wonder that in 1965 at age 29, he won golf’s Grand Slam—the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA. At that time, he was the youngest competitor to ever reach that pinnacle. How did he do it? He saw himself as a winner and a champion long before his talents merited such talk. He understood the power of words.
Think of every word as a container—filled with either life or death. Think before you spew words everywhere. Speak only good things into your life. If you can’t say anything positive, then just zip it up! Only say what the Word says about your situation. If you don’t like your life right now, do a mouth check. Are you saying what God says? Change your words, and you’ll change your world.
Grace Principle: Evangelist and author Darlene Bishop says, “Your life follows your words.” In fact, she wrote a book with that exact title (Legacy Publishers International).
Michelle Adams is a successful and award-winning author. She teaches at writers conferences across the country and shares her love of the written word with aspiring writers. Visit Michelle at www.michellemedlockadams.com
Just when you think life is crappy…when you hate what has been given you…if you want another person’s shoes to walk in…watch this teen make his life whole out of what he has!
“If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10 NIV)
No one talk to me; no one get near me: I can’t handle it. Lock the door so no one can come in, and no one can go out. Look in the mirror, see nothing worth looking at. Why do I look this way? Why can’t I look good? Sit and think about my life, and how there’s nothing worth living for in it. The walls are closing in, there’s nowhere left to turn, one thing left to do: end it.
Have you ever felt this way? Like there’s only one option: ending your life. I have, and it’s not something I wish upon anyone.
I was 11 years old, starting 6th grade. I wasn’t strong in my walk with Christ, and I later realized that was the problem. The first paragraph describes how I felt. At school, I focused on my work and nothing else. I went to church and didn’t soak anything in. It was like I wasn’t really living; I was just existing.
If you’ve ever felt like this, please keep reading! The only way to escape the grips of depression is God.
My pastor runs a youth camp for a week during the summer. It was there that I felt God speaking to me, calling out my name; telling me that there was a reason to keep living: Him and His plans for me.
Things didn’t immediately get better—don’t expect them to—but I did start feeling better. It was like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders. Now, I’m fine. I’m happy. It’s great because I can see God working in my life.
I want all of you to feel the same way. Please, if you feel the way I felt: talk to God. A youth minster, pastor, or an adult that you’re close to will help. God has a plan for you! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (NLT). Please don’t deprive yourself and the world of that plan.
I’m Haley Faye Snyder. I’ve lived in the same Christian home in Kentucky since I was born. I have one little brother and two loving parents. I go to Westport Baptist church and have my whole life. I accepted Christ into my heart when I was six and then re-committed my life to Him when I was 11 at Boones Creek Baptist Camp. (read more…)
For additional resources check out this book:
By Lisa M. Schab
Despite what you might have been told, the feelings of sadness and hopelessness you may be struggling with are probably not “just a phase” or “something you’ll grow out of.” As many as 20 percent of people your age have symptoms of serious depression, yet many teens and even many adults don’t recognize the signs. Only half of depressed teens get the help they need to overcome these feelings. If you’re feeling depressed, this workbook offers things you can do, both on your own and with a counselor, to feel better.
The activities in Beyond the Blues can help you cope with sad and difficult feelings, find new ways to make friends, and deal with conflicts. Little by little and on your own schedule, you can make small changes in your life that will lead you to a brighter, more enjoyable future.
“‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the LORD. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.” (Isaiah 66:9 NIV)
As I held the newborn baby in my arms, I marveled at her tiny fingers and toes. Her soft skin and delicate body took my breath away. As I stared into her peaceful face, I realized how precious a newborn baby is.
The birth of such a beautiful baby is not an easy thing. Months of discomfort and pain lead up to the anticipated arrival. However, if you ask any mother, she will say that the nine months was definitely worth the pain and waiting.
In Isaiah 66:9 (New Century Version), God speaks about the pain of pregnancy and the joy of delivery. “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” In the same way that new birth comes after a time of pain, spiritual refreshment comes after times of trials and troubles.
When we experience sickness, death, divorce, loneliness, stress, and failure, God gives us this promise: I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. When we trust God in our times of trouble, He will create something new within us. Through the pain, He will give us a new hope and faith that comes from learning to surrender to Him. Every season of struggle is an opportunity to see God bring about new spiritual life. When that new life springs forth, you will realize it was worth the wait.
Ashli Roussel, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Harding University, is passionate about sharing the truth and love of the Lord through writing. She loves camping, running, playing the piano, and participating in missions. Most of all, she is passionate about knowing, following, and serving her Lord and Savior. Without Him, her stories would mean nothing.
Ashli has battled and overcome an eating disorder, which God used to teach her great truths about who He is and how He is involved in our struggles. Now she desires to comfort others with the comfort that she has received from God. Keep an eye out for Ashli’s regular articles on iBegat.com! (read more…)