“My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. …” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. (Daniel 6:22-23 NLT)
It was Easter Sunday. At a church in West Africa, the congregation was absorbed in worshiping God and giving glory to him for his sacrifice and resurrection. They had no idea that danger had entered their village.
That danger came in the form of a lioness. Wild and angry, she entered the village, killed several livestock animals, and two people. As she approached the congregation, they realized what was happening and shook with fear. But their pastor shouted, “Don’t be afraid! The God that saved Daniel from the lions is here!” And with that, a lightning bolt shot out of the clear blue sky and struck the lioness, killing her instantly. When the police showed up to investigate, all they could say was, “The God of these people must be a God of miracles.”
God is a God of miracles. And he’s not afraid to use his power to protect his people. I think though that his people could do a better job trusting him. Here in America, we think we’re pretty self-sufficient. We have our own houses, jobs, multiple ways to make food in even the tiniest kitchen, places to exercise, to relax, to hang out with friends. Maybe in all this luxury, we forget that the entire universe is held together by God’s hands alone and that we are entirely dependent on him. God made this world perfect all the way down to the last oxygen molecule so earth would be safe for human life.
Human beings really can’t do anything independently. Everything we do relies on God in someway. We just don’t realize it.
Take time today to tell God you trust him. Take time to remind yourself that you are not truly in control of anything but you know the One who is. When tough times come, we don’t have to be afraid because God is on our side and He has the power to make miracles happen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
Lee Bramlett is a missionary that works with the Hdi culture, translating the Bible into their language.
One night in a dream, God urged Lee to look up the word “love” in Hdi. In his study of the language, Lee had found that verbs in Hdi always end in “A”, “I”, or “U”. He looked for the word “love” and found forms of it ending in “A” and “I”. Why no “U”? In search of an answer, he asked the Hdi translation committee.
Lee asked, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”
The translators replied, “Yes. That would mean you used to love your wife. Now the love is gone.”
Then Lee asked, “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?”
“You could,” answered the leaders. “It would be love based off your wife’s actions. You would love her as long as she cleaned the house, cooked the meals, and remained loyal to you.”
Finally Lee asked, “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”
The leaders laughed. “Of course not! If you said that, you would have to continue loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”
Lee thought quietly for a minute and then he said, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”
Now it was the leaders turn to be silent for several minutes. Then tears started to trickle down their faces. “Do you know what this would mean? This would mean that God continued loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”
One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do,” to “I love you based on who I am and who I created you to be.”
I think sometimes we forget how much God loves us and how much He sacrifices for us. We live life as if we don’t owe God our entire existence. Other times, we think He loves us because of what we do and how much we accomplish. We try to do enough good actions to counteract our wrong actions, to make us worthy of God’s love. But it’s not possible to right our wrong with our good. Neither is it possible to make God love us anymore since He already loves us to the max! God loves us for who He created us to be no matter what we’ve done.
Instead of trying to earn His love or living like His love doesn’t matter, we need to accept God’s love and let His light shine through us, making us more like Him everyday.
My name’s Danielle Dodge. I’ve found it’s a hard job to summarize fourteen years of life into a small paragraph so I’ll just mention a few things. I’m an avid writer and reader. I love to write young adult fiction/fantasy novels and devotionals. I’m a ballerina, a violinist, an amateur photographer and an amateur horseback rider. I like BIG words, bright colors, cats, and of course, chocolate. And if you didn’t guess already, I’m a born again Christian, follower of Jesus Christ.
God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b NIV)
Every January, my family watches the video. Every January, we watch Dad filming Mom and my sister as the three wait with their adoption group in the Chinese hotel. Then, out of a doorway steps a man carrying a round bundle of . . . clothes. Inside the ball of yellow and red is a nineteen-month-old baby girl.
The man walks over to my parents and hands the baby to Mom. The moment the little girl changes hands, her face crumples up and she bursts into tears.
I don’t remember that moment, but it’s easy to understand why I started crying. I had been living with a foster family for a while, and I must have thought they were my family. Then, I was handed off to three strangers and taken away to their hotel room. My nineteen-month-old brain must have been thinking, Who are these people? Where are they taking me? I want to go back to my other mommy!
Needless to say, I adapted to my new family. Now as a fourteen-year-old, I can’t imagine having any others parents. But it’s not just adopted babies who feel confused, scared, and alone. I think everyone gets to a point sometime in their life where they are hurting inside and feel alone. In those moments, people need to turn to God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5 that says He will never forsake or leave us. If people don’t turn to God for comfort, then they’ll turn to worldly things for that satisfaction of being loved. Worldly things promise fulfillment but they never come through on their promises.
Unlike God. God always comes through on His promises, especially the one that says He will never leave us. He is always with us through every trial, storm, or hurt.
Whenever you feel alone, turn to God as your source of comfort and love. Open up the Bible and let His word encourage you. You could also go to a close Christian friend, tell them how you’re feeling, and have them pray with you.
Whatever makes you hurt or feel alone, know that God sees you and He loves you. He will never leave you or forsake you.
Danielle Dodge is a fourteen-year-old girl who lives in Missoula, Montana. She’s in love with writing and reading. She also enjoys playing the violin, dancing, and horseback riding.
“Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, ‘I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.’ . . . So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:18,20 NIV)
“So what does what I eat have to do with my relationships?”
Going into a relationship can be as fulfilling as a Big Mac or as scanty as devouring a Snickers bar. Let’s use a formula called the glycemic index to see why! (glycemic what?)
Everything we eat goes through a digestive process. After so many breakdowns, every choice bite is used to provide us with the calories we need to function. Each waking moment and every blink of the eye requires energy. But not all of the foods we eat are digested the same—not all foods are what they appear to be!
The glycemic index is a measurement used to track how fast or how slow foods are utilized. Proteins and fats have an evenly based glycemic index. The digestive process uses the calories from these foods in a steady way. So a Big Mac and fries allows a stable up flow of energy.
Breads, sweet drinks, and all sugary foods … are complex carbohydrates, digested quicker. The result is fast energy, but it’s used up as quickly as it appears. The instant gratification of a Snickers bar; the sweet, smooth chocolate enhanced by the salted peanuts, intermingled in a layer of caramel goes down fast and boosts your mood. But after the high, you’re left deflated, let down and outright stripped of ambition.
Moving slower in a relationship than your heart and hormones want, will allow for an incubation period. But love can strike you blind so you go for the instant satisfaction.
The Snickers bar relationship will peak and then fall, leaving you with a sudden void. A more thought out, well rounded relationship will go a long way, not letting you down in a tumult.
When you meet that perfect one, when the sensations of the right chemistry are upon you, make the right choice. Don’t throw away the opportunity of a lasting relationship for the quick fix of a Snickers bar!
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first”, doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” (1 Corinthian 13: 4-8 The Message)
Sara Bareilles, a popular singer, describes being controlled by a guy in her song Gravity: “You hold me without touch, You keep me without chains.”
When I was a senior in high school, I met a charming and funny guy who I fell head over heels in “love” with. Looking back, I have realized how unhealthy that relationship was for me. I was verbally abused, called names, and controlled for a year of my life by someone who never deserved me in the first place.
When I moved away for college, I was enlightened by 1 Corinthian 13, where God describes to us a love that is so amazing that it never fails, never gets angry, always trusts, and always perseveres. I realized that the relationship I was in wasn’t any of those things and it definitely wasn’t a Godly relationship. I broke the relationship off and by doing so I regained my self-confidence and became a girl who wasn’t going to let people push her around, especially silly boys.
It can be hard to get out of abusive and unhealthy relationships, but you must always remember that you are the most important person in the situation. If you are in a relationship that is bad for you, think about yourself and your future. Never let a guy hold you back from being everything you can be. Search for the type of love that God describes in 1 Corinthian 13 and never settle for less than you deserve.
McKenna Watts is originally from Hueytown, Alabama, but currently resides in Livingston, Alabama where she attends the University of West Alabama. McKenna works for a daycare at a Methodist church where she teaches a three-year-old daycare class. McKenna is majoring in elementary education and wants to teach kindergarten after she graduates. McKenna began writing at an early age and is now a staff member with the Southern Christian Writers Conference based out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama that her family has run and operated for the past 20 years.
Notice the title says “We Were Made to Worship.”
Not “We Were Made To Worship God.”
We were made to worship, period. The way you live fills in the blank. Each of us was born with a desire inside of us to give something or someone praise. Unfortunately, many of us fill this desire by worshiping things other than the One who created us. John 4:23-24 explains:
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit… that’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship… those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves…” (MSG)
It’s what you say, the way you act, and your love that reflects what’s in your heart—and your heart reflects who or what you live for.
If you’re a teenager, then you’ve probably caught yourself drooling over another teen of the opposite sex and craving to give into peer pressure. Or maybe you’ve caught yourself raising your hands at a concert or a football game.
We live for what we love.
Are there any desires in your heart you’ve subconsciously put before your Heavenly Father? If so, ask him to remove those and replace them with the desire to worship him only.
“The secret things in their hearts will be made known. So they will bow down and worship God…” (John 4:23-24 MSG)
You were made by God. You were made for God. But are you living for him?
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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But God shows and clearly proves His love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 8
Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you. Hebrews 13: 1
But if one loves God truly, he is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8: 3
For whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3: 12
I love those who love me, and those who seek me early and diligently shall find me. Proverbs 8: 17
But God–so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us. Ephesians 2: 4
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. John 13: 34
By this shall all know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 35
And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight. Philippians 1: 9
Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4: 8
Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword? Romans 8: 35
Read the rest of this article at Real Teen Faith!
Valentine’s Day, also known as Single’s Awareness Day, has a tendency to be either a love-it or hate-it kind of holiday. If you’re celebrating red roses, candy hearts, and teddy bears with your significant other, Valentine’s Day can be full of giddy happiness. But for those of us who may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend this Valentine’s Day, all the candies and cards have a tendency to make us feel a little left out.
However, instead of letting Valentine’s Day remind us of what we don’t have, maybe we should try letting it remind us of the incredible love that we do have.
“How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)
You may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend at this stage in your life, but you do have a God who loves you with an amazing, extraordinary, and unconditional love that is fully satisfying. He is your greatest love, and His love is reason enough to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. You are never really single when you are in a love relationship with the Lord. You are never really alone because God is near to you, wrapping you in His arms of love this Valentine’s Day.
May all the hearts and flowers this Valentine’s Day remind you of the greatest love that you will ever know. May each heart balloon remind you that are treasured, valued, and adored by the King of kings. And may every pink flower cause you to remember how precious it is to know true love, the love that your Father has lavished on you.
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…)
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12 (NIV)
Singles Awareness Day
No matter what you call it – it annoys me…
I don’t like candy. The regular Hallmark movies already make me want to gag. And when I see so much pink and red and white together it makes me want to convulse into seizures.
When I see couples making out in the streets and singles making goo-goo eyes at the remaining brood – I really do convulse into seizures.
It’s just one of those days where I’d rather stay in bed and relive Discovery Channel’s Shark Week on TiVo.
Despite all the pomp and circumstance, and even my excessive distaste for the day, I think someone, somewhere along the line – got it right.
Showing love has changed throughout the ages. The ancient Greeks used to toss an apple to the woman they fancied, and if she caught it – they were as good as engaged.
Ladies in old England would fasten their handkerchiefs to a knight’s javelin to let him not-so-subtly know she favored him the most.
Back in the 17th Century, in Wales, a man would tediously carve a pair of wooden spoons – called Lovespoons – and would give them to the girl he loved to show his affection.
And in 30AD, God sent His son to die a butchered death and bear the sin of a world that had rejected him so that we, ungrateful children, may spend eternity with Him. Because no matter what we’ve done – and no matter what we will do – God loves us.
Kind of puts ‘love’ into perspective, huh?
So this Valentines-Singles-Awareness-Day, take a step out of conformity and spread the greatest love of all with those you hold dear.
The love of Christ.
Christine grew up in the windowless basement of her grandparent’s house and has thus been fondly nicknamed “The vampire in a box” by her friends. She has a strong affinity for sarcasm, shiny purple things, and random, useless information that “normal people probably wouldn’t care about.” She likes to sing, act, draw, write, read, and make fun of Prince Charming in her spare time. Some of her epic skills include: surviving a piano being dropped on her, carrying on a five hour conversation with a wall, and making a grilled cheese sandwich spontaneously explode. (read more…)
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