Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Thinking Before We Speak

Thinking Before We Speak


James 1:19

"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." But we don't always do this, so....

There you have it, folks! You have just been agitated enough to say (or do) something that immediately you wish you could take back. It happens to all of us. Other things happen in our lives {things we were not anticipating in our plans} and our "emotional" backpack becomes so heavy, that when that extra weight is added, your "backpack" topples over, pouring out and revealing a flood of emotions that should have been dealt with earlier.

There is the anger of thinking that there is no one there for you, or has cared enough to bother; the embarrassment of believing that you stick out like a sore thumb because of your problems; or the resentment of your "perfect" friends and their so-called perfect lives. Enough emotions to drive anyone insane - but before you regret anything that happens, think about this: Will the things I am saying or the actions I am carrying out bring me closer or farther from God?!

Treat everyone the way that you would treat Jesus. If He were to walk into the room, would He be proud of what He sees?!

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Naive: A Gift From God, By Christina

Naive: A Gift From God

By Christina M.

When you begin to become a teenager, many changes happen to your body and you begin to mature. You also learn many new things. It's difficult in the ungodliness of this world not to accidentally learn trashy thoughts. In fact, you can't watch just about any movie without hearing a profanity or seeing something that's inappropriate.

When you were little, you wouldn't have known what the bad word was or what they were doing was so wrong. But, because you're older, you understand. You're not so naive anymore.

Often, groups of girls talk about things, and there will be one girl who doesn't understand what they are saying and the other girls will make fun of her and call her a baby. I believe that it's wonderful when there are still naive girls, girls who don't know "everything."

I used to be one of those girls. My parents kept me out of the world and what, for most people, are perfectly normal things and sayings. However, as I got older, I eventually discovered these things for myself. I learned profane words and understood inappropriate conversations.

It wasn't all learned at one time, of course, it was a slow process. But before, there was a sense of innocence, sweetness. I thought the world was all delightful and a wonderful place to be. I've since discovered it's not. If you're still young, treasure those years. Be thankful to God you don't understand vulgar sayings and trash talk.

Monday, March 8, 2004

Fear, By Kimberly


By Kimberly M.

We're all afraid of something, whether we want to admit it or not. Be it snakes, heights, spiders, bees, disease - the list goes on and on.

How can we deal with fear? We need peace.

How do we get it?

Only God can give us the peace we need. Instead of worrying about the little things, we need to trust God. He will protect you, and take care of all your needs.

Nahum 1:7

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

Isaiah 41:10

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Psalm 56:3

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

Isaiah 43:2

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

And whether we realize it or not, fear is sin. God does not create fear, but instead, Satan does.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

So if we are giving into our fears, we are doing exactly what Satan wants.

Just ask God to help you control your fears and give you peace about them. He is always there for you!

John 14:27b

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Lemons, By Kimberly


By Kimberly

One day, My mom was making a lemon cake for my dad. He loves them, and requested one for his birthday.

She'd run out of lemon juice, so she used a real lemon. But when she picked up the lemon, it was partly shriveled up.

I said to my mom, "It looks like it's rotten!"

She said, "No, it's still good." I have to admit, I doubted her from the way the lemon looked. But she cut it in half, and to my surprise, the lemon was perfect inside.

My mom said, "Looks can be deceiving." And that got me thinking. As Christians, sometimes we can be like that lemon.

Except opposite. We try and make ourselves look good on the outside. But in reality, we're not good on the inside.

Take for example how you act at church. You always act happy and pleasant, right? Well, then how do you act at home? Do you argue with your siblings? Talk back to your parents? Snap at someone when you're stressed out?

Then why don't you do those things at church, and when you're out in public? It's because you don't want to look bad.

If you know you shouldn't be acting badly at church, then you know you shouldn't be acting that way at home, too.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Saturday, March 6, 2004

Friends: How Do You Treat Yours? By Kimberly M.

Friends: How Do You Treat Yours?

By Kimberly M.

How do you treat your friends? Like they're the special person God made them? Or do you take them for granted, and treat them wrong?

Chances are, if you treat your friends well, then you probably have a lot of them! And teens should always have friends. Who else would you be able to talk with at Youth Group? Who else would you like to go to the beach with you during the summer? Who else would you stay on the phone with until your mom tells you it's time to get off?

Let's take a look at some things. Read the list below, and see which ones pertain to you.

1) No matter what, I'm always honest with my friend. No matter what I think she'll think of me if I tell her the truth, I tell her.

2) If I disagree with a friend, I don't get all heated up about the subject. I simply explain my point of view, and stay calm when she shares hers.

3) I let my friend know that I like being friends with her. Maybe once in a while I send her a note or call her up on the phone just to see how she's doing. I let her know that I care about her.

4) If my friend has something to say, I listen to her. No matter what exciting thing I have to say, I don't interrupt.

5) If someone is being rude or being mean to my friend, I stand up for her. I don't let others treat her badly.

6) I never talk about my friend behind her back, or gossip about her. If I want to share something about her with someone else, I ask her first to see if it's okay with her.

7) I share my feelings with my friend. If she asks what's wrong, I don't just keep what I'm thinking all bottled up inside for fear that she'll think badly of me.

8) I never break a promise with my friends. If I say I'm going to do something, I try my best to stick to it.

9) I never think I'm better than my friend. I know that God made us equal.

How did you do? Did you answer yes to most of the questions? Did you say no to a lot and felt bad about it? Or did you say no to a lot and don't really care?

Let's take a look at what God has to say.

Proverbs 17:17a A friend loveth at all times.

Proverbs 27:10
a Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not;

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Are you being kind towards your friends? Forgiving? Just think about it. If you're not, don't you think now is the time to start? You've heard it before:

If you want friends, you have to be a friend.

Friday, March 5, 2004

The Armor of God, By Hillary-Beth

The Armor of God

By Hillary-Beth

Do you get dressed every day? I'm not talking about putting on clothes - I'm talking spiritually!

Helmet of Salvation

Protects: your thinking. Our thoughts are to be pure and for God.

Breastplate of Righteousness

Protects: Emotions

Out of your affections are the issues of life - don't respond by just emotions, but by doing the right thing! God's way is the best way!

Belt of Truth

Ties in the Truth and keeps it there!

Learn the Truth. Know (remember) the Truth. Sift all else through the Truth. Grow in the Truth. Share the Truth.

Sandals of Peace

Carries the Gospel to the world! Be a peacemaker. Wherever God sends you, be a sharer of the peace of Christ, whether it's in your home, down the street, or across the world. "Those who are faithful in little will be faithful in much." You can be at peace in the midst of conflict! Just be dressed in the right uniform!

Shield of Faith

No matter how intense the battle, no matter how many temptations are thrown at you, you can find protection behind the shield of faith, which sits on the Rock, Christ.

Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God

It's offensive. It's defensive. It can be used with believers and unbelievers alike. It convicts and sets free.

When we fail to resist temptation, we've laid down our armor. Thought a bad thought? Go and find where you laid your helmet, soldier! Yelled at someone in anger? Strap that breastplate back on! Did you realize that there is no armor in provision for running away from these battles? And they are all in your head, your heart, so all the harder to fight!

Take your stand. You have a position as a child of God. In Christ stand firm. Every day. Make an impact. Bear witness. Go to the battlefield. God does the fighting for us if we only stand. He shares through us, not for us.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

In The World, But Not of It, By Kimberly M.

In The World, But Not of It

By Kimberly M.

It seems like no matter what you do or where you go, you hear or see something against God's commands. You watch TV, and a commercial for an R rated movie comes onto the screen. You walk into the supermarket, and someone swears because they dropped bottle of soda on the ground. You go to the electronics section in a store to look at the computer games, and radios play music with bad lyrics.

It's so easy to be tempted to watch that commercial, even if it's just for a couple of seconds. Or, to stay in that section of the store longer to hear a bit more of that song. But, is that what God wants you to do? Let's see what the Bible has to say:

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Remember that little saying that goes, "Garbage in, garbage out!"? It's true. If you are listening or seeing wrong things, pretty soon you may slip up and say something bad, too.

Satan wants us to do or make the wrong decisions. He is the master of worldly things and temptations. We need to stay clear of his tricks, and remember what God wants you to do. Stay strong and resist the urge of temptation. When you do feel tempted, remember this verse:

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.

Above all, keep Scripture in your mind to protect you from wrong:

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Trusting God's Plan For Your Life, By Kimberly M.

Trusting God's Plan For Your Life

By Kimberly M.

I bet you've wondered before what you're going to want to be, or do someday. You might have written an assignment on it for school, or just one day got an inspiration. But what about what God wants you to do? He has plans for your life.

Maybe you're worried about His plans. Maybe you think that He might want you to do something that you don't think you can do. But simply trust in Him. His plans for you will never be something that is impossible for you to do.

Be willing to look at new opportunities, because they might just be something that God wants you to do in your life. You never know. He may want you to become a Sunday school teacher, a missionary, or a social worker.

And lastly, be sure to pray about it. Ask God how He can use you to help others, or how you can serve Him. God gives each person certain spiritual gifts:

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching.

Ask Him to show you how you can use your gifts for Him.

Take a look at these verses about trust:

Psalms 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Psalms 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalms 118: 8-9 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

Psalms 125: 1 They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

God's Acceptance, By Hillary-Beth

God's Acceptance

By Hillary-Beth Koenig

Do you ever feel like no one accepts you just the way you are? Do you constantly struggle to love others just as Christ loves us? Do you know that God accepts you totally and loves you completely?

God had created each of us to be unique. He designed us to be different and to serve special ways in specific places and certain times. As Christians, we are all members of the body of Christ, and we function best when every part is working how and where it should. Just because someone is not in the spotlight doesn't mean they're not as important. Just as no one sees the heart pumping blood, sometimes no one sees the compassion we show to others and the encouragement we give. We all have different personalities and quirks. Think about the people you love - they all do something that annoys you a little or is wild or silly, but you still love them!

God is glorified when we accept one another. But He cannot tolerate sin. We have to love one another despite the sin in hopes that they will change, but we cannot change other people - change only occurs when someone gives his life to God. Jesus was around people who lived in sin in order to bring them to Him. We ought to also, as long as the people aren't bringing us down with them and making us an ineffective witness.

Nothing we can do can make God accept us - He just does. We cannot do enough good works. Only faith will save. He accepts all who come to Him, as simply as that. We must accept His gift of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and rising again on the 3rd day to bring us eternal life. Then we are accepted into His family and into His presence.

God did not create us to sin and be separated from Him, but we chose sin. God gave us free choice. He wants to set us free from sin so we can be who he made us to be. If recurring sin of any kind is weighing you down, you cannot be fulfilling your potential in life. Only when you let Him set you free will you be able to be successful; then we are in His Will, doing what He purposed us to do.

Where'd that come from?

Matthew 9:11-12
Chronicles 34:4
Colossians 2:6
Romans 3:27
Romans 15:7
Romans 8:39
Romans 3:23

Monday, March 1, 2004

Get Involved - Volunteer! By Kimberly M.

Get Involved - Volunteer!

By Kimberly M.

Maybe when you read the title of this article, you thought, "Volunteering just isn't my thing." Or you might think, "Why should I? I've got better things to do!"

The Bible tells us to be kind to each other, and helping one another is a part of being kind! It's impossible to be absolutely helpful all the time, but you can at least take a few minutes each day to give someone a hand!

Here's a whole list for you to choose from!

Offer to help out some way in your church. See if they need any extra people to help out in the nursery, Help clean up after the service is over, or just ask someone in charge if there's anything you can do to help!
Do some weeding for your mom without being asked.
Volunteer to help take care of a neighbor's pet for free while they're away.
Offer to make a sibling's bed up for them in the morning.
Prepare a meal for your family to give your mom a break.
At a friend's birthday party, ask the person who's in charge if they need you to take pictures or serve food for them.
Offer to baby-sit a younger sibling for free if you're parents need to go somewhere.
If your family's thinking of having a yard sale, ask your parents if you can donate part of the money earned to charity.
Send a "thinking of you" E-card to a friend you haven't seen in a while.
Ask your parents if you can volunteer at a nursing home once a week to help out with food, helping the patients to get around in their wheelchairs, or anything else that might be needed to be done.

Now try and think of a few on your own, and write them down. And even if you don't enjoy volunteering, remember that your doing it for God.

That's what really counts.


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