Friday, July 31, 2015

Perfercted in Christ Jesus for His Kingdom Business

Perfected in Christ Jesus for His Kingdom Business

By Joy Wie-Addo
Daniel: 1
When I was prompted to read this passage from the bible, I nearly brushed it aside and decided not to read because it was not new to me from Sunday school. Look at me comparing Sunday school knowledge to now, thinking that probably the knowledge my Sunday school teacher imparted was well enough for my life today. Notwithstanding, I decided to read it and I have learned lessons worth sharing with you. The whole passage talks about Daniel’s training in Babylon. When Daniel and his brothers were transported from Jerusalem to work for the King of Babylon.

We live in a world where everything is turning upside down. We are living in an era I call a season of NORMALCY. Almost everything by human standards is normal even things that are wrong. This is a time if you do not take care you will be carried away to accept anything as normal if you are not abreast with the word of God. As teenagers as girls, in our daily activities we will come into contact with all kinds of people and knowingly or unknowingly we may do certain things we might not even be mindful of or we will be mindful of. In school, at home and even social gatherings we may not be able to excuse ourselves from but in all these we must remember not to put our God to shame. We must not let the devil and people have anything bad to say about us. When Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity to serve the King’s court, by the king’s orders they were to be served from the king’s table and trained three years to serve in his court thereafter (Daniel 1:5). But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine and asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way (Daniel 1:8). It would have been very easy to drift off and accepted those but knowing his identity and origin he refused it. Our lives in a way are fashioned like this. We find ourselves in this world to be trained. We find ourselves doing all sort of formal and informal activities all in the bid to train us to be useful for our societies, communities and our country (the world). The world has its own standards and practices they deem fit and acceptable but when we weigh them to our faith in God some of these may not be acceptable and like Daniel we must not defile ourselves with them. It could be music, fashion, some behaviors we pick up from friends. The bible says that we are in the world but not of the world.

When Daniel and his friends chose their own meals, the chief official was alarmed because he thought that at the end of the day they would be malnourished and he would face the King’s wrath (Daniel 1:10). After ten days, they were far better than those who were fed on food and wine as the bible recounts. When we stay in tune with the precepts of God, we tend to be better and we become of better use to the world serving to glorify the Lord as Daniel and his friends did and also changing our world. In school let us not lead just normal lives but let us live lives worthy of emulation by others. Lives people would see and glorify our father in heaven. Lives that would draw people to God.

When Daniel and his friends had refused to defile themselves God granted them an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom (Daniel 1:17). When the training period ordered by the King was completed the chief official brought all the young men to the king. The king talked with them and non-impressed him like Daniel and his friends so they entered into the kings service. And there, whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgement, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire Kingdom. We are always better with Jesus Christ. The bible says that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. Wherever we find ourselves, we are there for a purpose. To change the world and so we have been fashioned for it. Just like the King gave his specifications for the choice of men to be brought to him; only young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed and quick to understand, even man knows what is good for him and his work, how much more the one who created us. Every producer of a product produces items that suits his specifications and requirements for his job market and like God he put specifications to us to make us in his image and likeness to suit his work. We are specified for the job by God himself. And we have a reason to being wherever we are. The bible says that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own….. (1 Peter 2:9). You are the right person for that Job, in your school, classroom, church, and home even on the playground. Make a difference and make God proud.

God Will be There Again

God Will be There Again

By Kaitlyn F.
So this summer I got a job working at a movie theater. Going into this job, I didn’t know anyone who worked there, and it wasn’t close to my school, so there wasn’t a big chance of knowing anybody who would also be getting a job there. I went in solo, but I did slowly make friends. Then Monday night, we all worked at the same time, so we hung around and talked while we cleaned theaters, and it was one of the best nights I had working there. And because we work at a movie theater, we can go as a group and watch free movies and get free popcorn, and just hang out with one another after work one day.

Now for college next year, I will be going to Iowa. I’m am going to a small school, where I don’t know anybody going in. For a while I was afraid that I won’t be able to make any friends while at college. God has shown me that he has helped me before make friends at the movie theater when I wasn’t trying to make friends, so why wouldn’t he help me again when I am trying to friends with the same interests and I can have a good time with. God has helped me before, so why wouldn’t he help me later.

We all encounter things in our lives, trials, challenges, troubles, and there is a good chance that we will encounter them again. The thing is that we serve a God who is constant. 
Hebrews 13:8 says,
 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 

If he has helped you before in the past, he isn’t going to change his mind and not help you in the future. He may help you in a different way, depending in the situation, and what is best for you at the time, but he is still going to help you. I can walk confidently into college, knowing that God is there, and he wants to help me, so I don’t have to be afraid that I am going to be a loner all through college.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Grandma Lessons

Grandma Lessons

By Kaitlyn F.
A month ago was my graduation, and my grandparents came out for the weekend to go to graduation. I enjoyed having them over for the weekend because I don't often get to see them. One thing that I noticed was that my grandma was always happy. I believe one of the reasons is that she was always thankful. She would be in conversation with us, and we might say something negative, but she would interject saying something to be thankful in that situation. She always found something to be thankful for in any situation. We can all learn from her because we often don't look for things we can be thankful for in the situation we are in. This reminded me about 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that says,
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
My grandma embraces this verse because she was always saying things to be thankful for, and as a result she always had a smile on her face. 
I know that it isn't always easy to give thanks in every situation. Most of the time it would be easier to look at the things that are going wrong in our life. But when we take time to stop and think about what we can be thankful for, we tend to have a more cheerful outlook at life. And if we practice finding what we are thankful for, then it can be second nature, just like it was for my grandma. I am thankful that my grandparents were able to come out to celebrate with me this past weekend.  

The Good Soil

The Good Soil 

By Emily M.
I have been using a hoe and machete, or panga in our language, to dig my little garden, when it suddenly hit me. The parable of the sower... it mentions that the seed fell into good soil. I then asked myself, what makes up good soil? 

Matthew 13:3-9 
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear. 

To be good soil is a process. The first thing was to get rid of all the weeds. Some were easy to remove, others were so hard they gave me blisters, some were so smelly and others plain old scary. Now you have to do this well and sometimes it takes a second or even third digging. 

Matthew 13:18-23 
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” 

I relate this to our Christian life. There are sins in our life if let to grow turn our good hearts into something else. They even look harmless sometimes. To be a good soil where 

out of your heart flows good issues of life” (Proverbs 4:24), then there is some digging to do.  
No one says it's an easy task, but you have help in the form of the Holy Spirit.


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