Great Peace


Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27)

Jesus promises to give us peace as born-again Christians – yes, that means you, too, teen girl. What a lovely and wonderful thing to give someone. Can you give peace to someone else? The only way I can personally give peace to someone else is by not making their life miserable, I suppose. But this is not the peace that Jesus is talking about here. This peace is a rest and quietness from within which goes beyond what a human being can give another. I cannot provide rest and quietness to anyone’s heart. Only the Lord can do that.

How can we as Christians receive this peace that Jesus promises to give us? This peace starts out in our lives the moment we repent and ask Jesus to save us. This peace is knowing that we will never have to worry about going to hell! There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:1)

But there is more peace to follow – Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Mat 6:31) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Mat 6:32)

Are you afraid, teen girl? What are you afraid of? Bullies? Not knowing what will happen tomorrow? Nothing can happen to us without the Lord knowing about it.

1 Pet. 3:12-15, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Discouragement comes from lack of trust. Have you ever noticed some believers who never let anything get to them? Maybe your parents are that way. When everything seems to go wrong in their life, you would never know it by their actions? Yet other Christians seem to live a life of constant defeat. What is it that makes the difference? I believe there are two important things you must do to rid yourself of this.

(1) Trusting the Lord to take care of your problems, no matter how desperate the situation appears. The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2Sa 22:3)

(2) Filling yourself with the Word of God is the second key. Teen girl, do you have an illness or an impairment which will be with you until the Lord takes you home? Fill yourself with the Word of God – take comfort in the Scriptures! Encourage yourself with the Word – this was the greatest achievement of the author of Psalm 119, in my opinion. No matter how desperate the circumstances were in his life, he encouraged himself with the Word. DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Psa 119:25) This man’s spirit was so down (down in the dumps, if you will) but he knew that God’s Word would quicken him (make him alive) again.

As born-again believers, we have received the Holy Spirit to not only teach us but to comfort us. It is the Spirit that makes us alive in Christ. If we feed the spirit, we will be encouraged in our spirit. However, when we feed the flesh and dwell on our circumstances, we reap discouragement. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom 8:11)

You may believe that this is easier said than done. However, Job was stricken in so many ways yet God encouraged Job to remember who HE was. Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) God knows exactly what you need – so much so that the Holy Spirit prays for you when you just can’t! What a loving God we have! Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom 8:26) God knows your troubles and sorrows to such a depth that He provided His Spirit to make intercession for you because He knew that you would not be able to put into words just how discouraged you are! What love the Father has for you, teen girl!!!

Be encouraged – Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) This same God is looking out for you!

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Troubles of the Day


2 Cor. 4:8, We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

As I read this verse, it amazed me how consistent Paul was in his walk. Have you ever been troubled on every side of your life, teen girl? Are you being bullied? Are you failing some subjects in school? Do your parents understand you?

Usually, we have troubles in one or two areas but there is at least some stability in the other areas. Paul states that he was troubled on every side. I’ve been in this situation once or twice in my Christian walk and it was a very difficult time in my life. However, I remember drowning myself in the Book of Psalms and feeling the Lord’s presence through it all. Psalm 27 was especially a blessing to me during these difficult times. My discouragement lasted but a short time and was replaced with that peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Paul said that although he was troubled on every side he was not distressed. The Lord brought him through – a peace was evident by his testimony in 2 Cor. 4:8. Can you say that about your trials?

Paul continues to say that although he was puzzled and perplexed about the situations around him, he was not in despair. As he looked at his circumstances, he was not without hope because Paul knew that the Lord was in charge no matter how much chaos was in his life. Can you say that, teen girl? What did Paul have that you don’t have? Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isa 26:3)

There’s the word “trust” again. When we trust in the Lord to take care of each situation in our life, He provides us with a peace that is perfect. Isn’t that just like the Lord? He does not provide just a little peace or just enough to get by at the moment. The Lord provides that perfect peace. What do we need to do to receive that perfect peace? Our minds must be stayed on the Lord. Noah Webster says that the word stayed means “fixed; settle; sober.” That depicts a heart that is focused on the Lord; a heart that has been reading the Word and is not swayed by life’s billows. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

The Christian’s life is like an ocean. There are times it is calm and beautiful. There are also times of storm where the waves come crashing down. But remember, my friend, the Lord Himself calmed the seas (Mark 4:39) – He is the Creator of those same seas. He can and will calm the troubled seas in your life. You must trust in Him and lean on Him during these troubled times. Again, that word trust comes into play. When we try to figure out our circumstances on our own, we are overwhelmed by it all. We become consumed with our own problems. The Lord doesn’t want us to be in this state of turmoil. God will work in your situation – it may not be the way you think or expect, but He will work in your life! That is why He tells us to trust in Him and not try to figure things out for ourselves. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Pro 3:5).

 

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Self Esteem


And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luk 16:15)

I truly believe that the worse “new teaching” from the world today is the one of self esteem. This teaching is definitely not scriptural and it has done so much damage to young people, especially teen girls. It is not a new teaching but it is certainly more prevalent in today’s world than in the past. Everyone is focused on me, myself and I. What’s in it for me? You offended me! You hurt my feelings. You’re no better than I am. Don’t tell Katie, who’s in the tenth grade, that she is only reading at fifth grade level, you’ll ruin her self esteem! No where in God’s Word does it say that we should esteem ourselves! Why do you think people are conceited and full of themselves? They have been “self esteemed” to the point where they think the world owes them everything!

Noah Webster’s definition of the word esteem is SO very different from today’s.

1. To set a value on, whether high or low; to estimate; to value.

Then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. Deu 32.

They that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Sam 2.

2. To prize; to set a high value on; to regard with reverence, respect or friendship. When our minds are not biased, we always esteem the industrious, the generous, the brave, the virtuous, and the learned.

Will he esteem thy riches? Job 36.

Merriam-Webster’s definition 

is the regard in which one is held; especially : high regard

Merriam’s definition is quite diluted, isn’t it, teen girl?

What do you think God’s Word says we are to esteem?

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12)

Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (Psa 119:128 ) 

God’s Word should be esteemed. If you were to place the emphasis of Merriam’s definition for esteem to God’s Word, you would not be totally convinced that it deserved such a high rating, right? But if you put Noah’s definition, you see that the Bible is to be prized and reverenced. This is a much different viewpoint! No wonder the worldly Christians do not look to the Word of God to change them. They don’t revere it, therefore, it’s impact on their lives is minimal.

Does God regard esteem as sin?

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luk 16:15) (emphasis mine)

God considers it an abomination if you esteem that which is ungodly.

Whom should we esteem?

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Phi 2:3) and And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. (1 Th 5:13)

We should esteem the brethren better than ourselves and we should esteem those who are over us – our deacons and our Pastors. No where in my 27 years of salvation have I ever read in God’s Word that I should think highly of myself. If I love the brethren, they will always take precedence over me.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, (1 Cor 13:4)

Paul says that our love for each other will cause us to be longsuffering with each other, be kind to each other, not envy one another, and not think highly of ourselves.

Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Rom 12:16)

My friend, these are not the Bible verses encouraging us to have self esteem! These verses are encouraging us to be humble, meek and low in pride. What will happen to the one who thinks highly of himself?

Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. (Job 40:11)

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. (Eze 21:26)

Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (Dan 4:37)

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Mat 23:12)

For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 14:11)

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 18:14)

None of these verses sound like words from a support group for self-esteem. Quite the opposite. We should rather be humble and be promoted to the front of the line by the Lord than to think more of ourselves and have Him tell us to get to the back of the line. If anyone had reason for self-esteem, it was the Lord Jesus Christ. But He humbled Himself to the point of dying for you and I. If we are to walk in His footsteps, how can we possibly have self-esteem and say that it comes from God? This is hypocrisy – we should do well to learn from the account of the Pharisee and the Publican.

One who is truly born again and is living for others doesn’t have time to think about herself because she’s always thinking of others :-)

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Avoiding Temptation


1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

Temptation is something that everyone goes through. Christians are not exempt. As a Christian teenager, the challenges are many because you are still learning how to avoid temptation. It’s a growing process in one’s spiritual life. Are you struggling with a “pet” sin that you can’t seem to let go? Do you gossip? Do you lie? No matter what the sin is, you can stop with God’s help. Doing it on your own will only lead you back to doing the same thing. But with God’s help, you can conquer it! :-)

When I was struggling in a certain area, I searched the Internet for resources and ideas to help me. I didn’t want to stay in the situation I was in. I wanted to overcome and conquer this sin with God’s help. I learned this method to avoiding temptation and tweaked it for my use. I hope it will help you as well.

  1. Write down on a piece of paper the temptations that you want to eliminate from your life. This confirms in your mind that you are serious about getting rid of these sinful habits.
  2. Put your list in your Bible or some place where you will see it often. Seeing it reminds you that this is your goal and you will be able to achieve that goal if you are reminded often.
  3. If you have a close friend that you trust, or even your Youth Pastor, ask if you can give them a copy of the list so they can pray for you and ask you regularly how you’re coming along. This is called “accountability” and it will help you to succeed.
  4. Remember, temptation is not a sin, although the devil will try to convince you that it is. The sin is giving in to that temptation. Read Matthew 4:1-11. Notice that Jesus was able to defeat the temptations by quoting God’s Word to Satan. That leads us into the next step. :-)
  5. Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. So, when you’re being tempted, you’ll be able to remember this verse and you can quote it to God so He can provide that way of escape for you.
  6. Memorize more of God’s Word. Ps 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is God’s Word which will help you to stay out of trouble. Whenever a situation comes up that tempts you, you’ll be reminded of a Bible verse which will keep your mind on God rather than the temptation itself.
  7. Replace your temptations with righteous alternatives. For example, if you like to make fun of other girls, learn to say nice things about and to them instead of nasty things. If you like to read trashy books or watch trashy shows, replace them with Christian books and Godly shows. When you replace ungodly things in your life with good things, you eliminate temptation in this area. Ephesians 4:25-32 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Also, Colossians 3:5-14 says Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye. 14 And above all these things [put on] charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
  8. Stay away from the things that tempt you – that’s the best way to avoid temptation. The Bible tells us to flee from sin. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Flee from the sins and follow after the things of God. 1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. And 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. If you have a problem with cursing, stay away from those friends who curse. Make new friends if you have to. But make the effort! If you drink alcohol, then stay away from situations where alcohol will be served.
  9. Make sure that you pray. The Lord encourages us to pray so that we can avoid temptation. This is where I failed early on in my Christian walk. Prayer is so important. Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
  10. Study your Bible. For example, if your sin is being impatient with your parents, study about patience. Find verses dealing with patience and memorize a couple of them so you can easily pull them out of your memory when you’re tempted to yell at your Mom or Dad. If your sin is stealing or lying, then study about the consequences of that sin.
  11. Lastly, read your Bible faithfully. Make it a habit to read every single day – not just for a minute like so many websites advertise. But set aside as much time as possible to read Psalms and Proverbs along with the rest of your Bible reading. I make it a habit to read all of Psalms and Proverbs every single month, along with my daily Bible reading. Psalms encourages my heart while Proverbs teaches me God’s will for my life. :-)

Teen girl, you canovercome temptation. The Lord your God is faithful and He will always provide a way for you to escape temptation. But you have to take the first step of obedience when temptation comes knocking.

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Purity


~Matthew 5:8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

It is God’s desire that we all be pure in heart. In so doing, we are able to see God through His Word and experience a close fellowship with Him.

Purity is not something that we hear much about nowadays. Today, fifty percent of teenagers have sex at least once. How very sad this is! :'( What was meant to be something wonderful to wait for until you were married is made into something that is no longer a sacred event. Since the statistics are so high, one must wonder what the spiritual condition of these who have given in to temptation! Granted there are some who make mistakes, like King David. However, when he repented, he stayed on track in his spiritual walk.

~1 Corinthians 6:18-19 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Where are you, teen girl? Have you thought about becoming one of the 50% who has had sex before marriage? Or have you already? Losing your purity for the sake of “keeping a boyfriend” or trying to be popular are not good reasons. Staying pure is God’s will for your life. To disobey God is sin and there will be repercussions to suffer: an unwanted baby, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), emotional problems, guilt, depression, etc. Any of these is not worth separating you from fellowship with God!

So what do you do now that you have sinned? Repentance is the key. Repentance means to turn away from that life and to do it no more! Don’t put yourself in situations where you will be alone with a boy and be tempted. Say no to temptation and  you won’t regret it. King David stayed loyal and true after he repented. There is no record of his ever sinning after his adultery with Bathsheba. That was true repentance.

~Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then make a pledge that you will remain pure. To you, teen girl, who has remained pure, make the same pledge. Sign the pledge in front of your parents so that you will be more committed to keeping it. God wants to put you with the perfect Godly man – one who will love you and make you happy. Those are God’s thoughts toward you so why not wait for the one that He has chosen for you? :-)
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Feeling Unloved?


“Love is the greatest thing that God can give us; for He Himself is love; and it is the greatest thing we can give to God.” ~Jeremy Taylor

There will always be Someone who loves you, teen girl! Whether you are born again or not! God loves us despite the fact that we are sinners.

~Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He loved us before we ever knew He loved us.

~1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

There is nothing that you can do or say that will make God love you more or less. It is not in God’s nature to place conditions on His love for us. Whether we are good or have sinned, God still loves us according to Romans 5:8 above! He is the best friend you will ever have. He is the ultimate parent. He is the one who will never stop loving you.

~1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

~1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us, God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

~John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out fromGod.

So do you feel unloved today, teen girl? I surely did when I was a teenager. I constantly had to be reminded how much my parents loved me because I was so insecure. But I was not saved at the time. Now that I am saved, I know God’s love is more than any love I could possibly find here on earth!

Re-read these verses and encourage yourself in the Lord that God Himself loves you with a love so great that you can’t even fully imagine it. :-) You are loved!!

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Spiritual Growth


~John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Even a child can bear fruit for the Lord :-) As a teenager now, you should be passed the stage of obeying your parents. You should not have to be “re-taught” how to obey as you should have learned that early in your life. At this point, you should be teaching your younger siblings how to obey. If you don’t have any younger siblings, you can be an example to your friends – you can help them to teach their younger siblings. All this is part of the maturing process as a Christian.

The Lord Jesus doesn’t tell us to bear a few fruit but much fruit! That doesn’t have a definite number – it doesn’t mean to stop after a certain time in your life. It does, however, mean to continue to grow. A small tree (as in our picture above) can only bear so much fruit. But that largest tree can bear way more! That’s how we are to be in our Christian walk. As we get older in the Lord, we should be producing more and more fruit than the year before.

How can you do this?

~2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.

~And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.

~1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

Many teens I’ve spoken to have set the Lord aside and think they will come back to Him when they are older and they need Him more. How very sad this is. Trials and tribulations will come along during that time and they won’t know how to handle them. As well, they will make mistakes in their decisions that will affect them in their adult years. For example, without God leading you, you have a baby without getting married. You cannot reverse that – you are now a mother with adult problems and adult responsibilities. You have no husband and, if you did, he is not a Godly Christian who would love the Lord and take care of you and the baby the way you should be.  Life could have been very different if you had been faithful as a Christian and waited on the Lord to send you the right man to marry. God has promises of joy for those who wait on Him. That is spiritual growth!

Don’t let your spiritual fruit dry up and die. Nurture your spiritual walk with the Lord by reading your Bible, getting involved with teen functions in your church, and being a good daughter to your parents. God will reward you with much fruit :-)

Posted in Devotionals