Friday, February 27, 2015

Quiet Time

Quiet Time

Rebecca U.

One thing that I know a lot of teens struggle with, myself included, is having a quiet time with God, or devotions.

What is a quiet time you ask? Well, it's simply some quiet time that you spend with God, reading the Bible, journalism, and/or praying.

It really is important to spend time with God everyday, multiple times a day if you can! Even if you think it doesn't matter, because you are still young, or because you don't understand everything in the Bible, it is important. I know how hard it can be. I'll be honest, it wasn't until recently that I really started reading my Bible and praying daily. Some days I end up just speed reading through whatever chapter of the Bible I'm on before rushing to start a busy day. But I know that isn't the best way to really connect with God, and develop a close relationship with Him. And isn't that every Christian's desire? To grow closer in their relationship with God?
What you need. 
                     A Bible 
                     A journal, notebook, or even just blank paper 
                     A pen or pencil (I like colorful ones!) 
                     Worship music (optional)

1.  Gather your supplies. I usually have my Bible (I use NKJV) and journal on a shelf above my bed, but if I need anything else, I make sure I have it before I start. Along with the items listed above, I like to have some type of dictionary nearby in case I want to look up the definition of a word. It really helps me dig deeper into the Bible! You can grab whatever else you want during your quiet time. 

2.  Find a quiet place to have your quiet time. I choose my bedroom, because I won't be disturbed there (normally...), but you may have other areas that work better for you. In the summer I hope to be able to start having my quiet time outside. 

3.  Turn on some worship music. This isn't necessary, but it may help get you into a "worshipful" mood. It really doesn't matter what band or type you listen to, just so long as it isn't too distracting from reading the Bible and journalism. Today I was listening to Laura Story's "God of Every Story" CD. 

4.  Grab your Bible, and choose somewhere to start reading. I recommend choosing a book of the Bible and sticking to it all the way through, instead of just jumping around everywhere. But either way works! It's up to you! Read a whole chapter, or just a couple of verses, depending on how much time you have. I started reading Psalms today. (It's going to take awhile to get through!)

5.  Pick out a verse (or more than one!) that stands out to you. Write it out in your journal, then write some thoughts about it below, applying it to your life. This is probably my favorite part of my quiet time. Date the page you are writing on, and don't forget to include the reference for the verses. It will be cool to look back later and see what you were learning about at a certain point in life! 

6.  Pray. You may want to write out a prayer in your journal, or you may just want to talk to God. Talk to Him about whatever is going on in our life. Thank Him for the life He has given you, even though it has its rough times. Ask for help for whatever situation you are going through. Just talk to Him, and enjoy the time spent with your heavenly Father. 

This is how I have started doing my quiet time! I hope I have given you some tips for starting your own quiet time with God if you haven't already started. This isn't the only way to have a quiet time, and different things work for different people, but I just wanted to share what I do and give you some ideas for yourself!

Do you have a daily quiet time? How do you spend that time? Where is your favorite place to spend that time? 

In Your Pain, Forgive-In Your Pain, Love

In Your Pain, Forgive – In Your Pain, Love

By Joy W.

The story of Jesus from birth right down till he left us sounds unimaginable, wonderful, unfathomable, incredible, divine and all, regardless of everyone’s views. The story of John more or same as the above. The story of Joseph is none other. Joseph went through such hardship and I can just imagine how he felt about the transition. From a home to a prison, a son to a slave. His dreams were shuttered. He is among those people’s lives brought to us to learn from, to use as guide to live our own lives, to answer every life’s question, and to make our lives better than we even think they could be. Some seem planned and articulate, and yet quiet, as it should be. That is because those who witnessed wrote them per their own feelings and how they saw them. They were documented.

Our lives are like this. It is no different from these; some are even better than others, but we fail to realize it because we have been much concerned by the pain, the challenges, the trials and all than the joy that precedes after we have patiently and steadfastly gone through these challenges. It’s just like cooking. In a minute u r so engrossed in trying to fix yourself something to eat. Your whole attention is on the food and suddenly u get a cut or you are burnt. You forget that you were even Hungary because then you have the pain to take care of. When the pain has finally gone down, you may not even go back to your cooking again, as a matter of fact you would get yourself something else to eat and forget about the food. That is when we must remember the Bible Scripture that says, in all things give thanks to God (1 Thessalonians 5:18), because everything works together for our good (Romans 8:28). And he also knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
We work because the Bible admonishes that we sweat before we eat (see where God punishes Adam and Eve in Genesis). And so we go through all the hustles of life to satisfy our needs. And even that, Jesus still tells us that if you ask anything in my name he will do it. What a wonderful God, one who doesn’t hold our sins against us. When difficulties and challenges arise we tend to lose focus in the exact things we were occupied with and get ourselves busy with something else.
Sometimes we are scared growing up, because of the challenges are terrifying and they turn to steer and direct our lives. Our fears shadow our courage and drowns the better part of our lives. We have been created in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. He didn’t give us the spirit of fear but that of courage and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

I am sure Mary and Joseph nearly gave up but God intervened because his purpose was to come alive. You can imagine. You can imagine how they felt when at the end of the day the Messiah really came and accomplished his purpose through them. Mary was the mother of the world’s Savior. Joseph, his earthly father, endured much hardship. But with God all things are possible. With God it doesn’t matter who or where you are or come from. The Bible says though your sins are red as scarlet, but they shall be white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). And even yet when we were sinners he loved us (Romans 5:8). The Bible says he knows the plans he has for us and they are not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). We share in his glory as sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). He has crowned us princes and princesses. A day is a thousand years in his eyes and a thousand a day (2 Peter 3:8).

Your future will be bright, you will be what you have to be because he has it all planned and though it tarries it will surely come to pass. If the Lord be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? Malachi 3:3 says he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. You are being refined and purified to be the real you. He knows you and has chosen you. He knew who you are, yet he picked you. He left his glory to die for you because you matter to him.

The same way Eve longed for that apple, God longed to have us back to himself. We are the apple of his eye. When we persist and patiently go through the fire, the stories our witnesses tell about us changes. It become planned, divine, wonderful, splendid, unfathomable as that of Jesus, John, Paul, Joseph and all the others we read about in the Bible to the hearers and readers.

In your pain, forgive because you are first forgiven by God. In your pain, love, because you were first loved. Let the world see Jesus in your eyes and show them love they can’t deny.

Be Courageous

Be Courageous

By Sarah P.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9, NKJV

Courage is not a word you hear a lot nowadays. Maybe you’ve heard your history teacher say that George Washington was “courageous” or you’ve read Joshua 1:9 before when you were nervous. But, to be honest, we just don’t apply courage to our daily lives. defines courage as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” John Piper defines courage as, “…the willingness to say and do the right thing regardless of the earthly cost.” The two definitions are very different, if you think about them; one is saying that courage is action with an absence of fear and that it comes from your own mind or spirit, and the other is saying that courage is willingness to follow God’s leading, even in the presence of fear. We’ll call the first definition “the world’s courage” and the second “God’s courage.”

Let’s examine the world’s courage. The world tells us that courage comes from the power within our own minds. Following this line of thinking, we should be able to somehow empower ourselves to having courage. Yet, when I’m afraid, I don’t find a power within myself that will make me courageous—or banish my fears. Instead, I often find my own depravity and powerlessness staring back at me and wish I was someone else.

When God told Joshua, “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,” He knew that Joshua was scared. This was when Joshua was beginning to assume leadership responsibilities after Moses had died. Joshua was realizing that he was responsible for leading thousands of people, and that probably made him really nervous. Therefore, I don’t think God meant, “stop being nervous and defeat fear by using the power within you.”  Instead, He goes on to tell Joshua a reason not to be afraid: “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He’s saying, “You do not need to be afraid because I am with you always.”

Courage is not a self-motivated lack of fear. It is a God-motivated willingness to do the right thing despite fear. The only way to defeat fear is to have courage and faith in God and act anyway.

So, despite what the dictionary may tell you, courage is not an absence of fear. Maybe, if we understood that, we would act a little more courageous. We would stand up to temptation from our friends and our own hearts. We would be the voice for God at our schools and workplaces. We would stand up for others, and we wouldn’t let the fear of what others think stop us. And that’s all because courage does not require us to be naturally fearless or be born with special qualities; it only requires us to be willing to follow God, no matter the cost.

Will you be courageous? Will you take a stand? Will you put your faith in God and follow Him, no matter the cost?

God Bless,



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