O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. – Psalms 63:1
Have you ever been really hungry or really thirsty? Maybe you wanted a drink so bad you would have paid a lot of money for a bottle of water. Or perhaps you were so hungry you would have eaten almost anything. That’s a little like what this Bible verse is talking about. Today’s verse is a neat way of looking at your relationship with God. Just like you wouldn’t go long without eating or drinking, you shouldn’t go a long time without spending time with God. You should be longing to spend time with God just like you’d long to eat or drink. Spending time with God shouldn’t be a chore or something you do only if you have to or if you have questions that you need to be answered. Spending time with God should really be that thing that gets you excited and refreshes you. Just like you’d feel refreshed after drinking when you’re really thirsty, you should pursue God in the same way. You should be letting him refresh you and fill you with the things you need.
Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (HCSB) Do you feel like God is calling you to do something for Him? What is stopping you from doing it? Fear is one of the most common things that holds people back from doing things for God. Some people fear what others will think, others fear the consequences of a decision or stand for God. Regardless of what the fear is, if left unchecked, fear will stop you from doing what God is calling you to do. One of the best ways to combat fear in your life is to push past the fear. What does that look like? It’s telling your friend that seems depressed about Jesus even when you feel scared. It’s going on that missions trip even though you’ve never been that far away from home. When you push past your fear and step out you’ll find that God will always come through for you. God never leaves you alone and without help.
A song of ascents. I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. – Psalm 120:1
Life can get really tough at times. You might be faced with a difficult situation or a difficult person. Perhaps things at school aren’t going the way you’d like them to, or you dread going home because things aren’t going well there either. Regardless of what is going on in your life, you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Today’s verse encourages you that at any time and in any place you can go to God for help. When you go to God, you can have confidence that He hears you and cares about what you have to say. You have a right to fellowship with God the father because of what Jesus did. Jesus made a way for you to come to God. So no matter what you’re facing or what you’re going through, go to God for help. Go and get the help and strength you need to face your problems and fears. You’re not doing this alone. You’ve got God on your side.
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” – Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NLT)
I remember the day I turned 16 years old and got my driver’s license. I was so excited to finally be driving. When I first sat behind the wheel of my car, I remember being really excited and a little nervous because I was driving all by myself for the very first time. Learning how to drive like many experiences you have as a teenager can be really exciting. However, today’s Bible verse tells us to not forget God in those exciting experiences. We’re to draw close to God in the exciting, scary and just normal times of life. Life can easily get busy and sometimes in all the excitement, it’s easy to forget about God. Remembering God takes work. However, putting God first in your decisions and experiences will pay off in the end. Putting God first will keep you from a lot of heartbreak and failure. So even though it takes more work when you’re young, it keeps you from heartache in the long run. Today choose to put God first in your decisions, relationships, and experiences. Choose to step out of what is easy and do what is right. Pursue God in all you do.
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV
Have you ever said to yourself, “I need to increase my faith”?
Maybe you have read a book, or listened to a sermon series that encouraged your faith.
It’s fairly common for us to review our relationship with God, but less common to focus on the outward expression of our faith, which is love.
Do you ever look at your life and think “I am not loving others enough, therefore my faith is lacking” ?
Faith isn’t simply head knowledge of the Bible or Jesus; even Satan and his demons believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead (James 2:19).
We must realize that true faith produces fruit, and that fruit is love.
Paul understood that the church in Thessalonica was increasing in their faith because their love for each other was also increasing. Paul told Timothy that he is to love from a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
Our faith is ultimately in a God who showed love towards us his enemies, through the death of his son on a cross (Romans 5:10).
Unfortunately, many who are outside the church see it as a people who have faith in a God or Bible that produces the fruit of hate and condemnation instead of love.
Our faith in Jesus should show through our love towards those both outside and inside the church.
Do you feel as though your faith is strong, yet you seem to not show love towards others?
Take some time with the Lord today and search your heart; are your actions expressing your faith in God? Do others feel loved when they interact with you? Try seeing your love for others as a barometer for your faith in Jesus & see how it can change your life (and the lives of those around you!).
Then Jesus said to his followers, “And who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:15 (ERV)
How you perceive something matters. For example, if you’ve heard the “Yanny” vs. “Laurel” debate on social media you know that some people hear one thing, while others hear something completely different. When it comes to our spiritual lives, how we see things matters. How do you see Jesus? Do you see Him as your provider, your friend, and the only way to God? Or do you see some guy who was a good teacher and did some good things to help others? How you view Jesus is important.
If you view Jesus as a friend, then in those moments where you feel friendless, you’ll have a friend. If you view Him as your salvation, in those moments where you feel unworthy and worthless, you’ll remember that you’ve been bought with a price.
So today, take a moment to think about how you see Jesus. Choose to see Him like Peter did. He’s your savior and he’s the answer to every need you’ll ever face. So draw close to Him and trust Him to be all you need.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Cor 13:4 (NIV) Have you ever been in a situation where you or someone you care about hasn’t been treated kindly. It can really be hard to do the Godly thing in these situations. How do you stay kind and patient when people are mistreating you? How do you deal with those around you who just drive you crazy? One important thing to remember is that you’re not going to becoming kind and patient in one day. It’s a lifelong process. So pick a small area each day that you can work on becoming more loving to others. You might choose to let your brother pick the TV show you watch at night instead of arguing with him. You might let the new kid go in front of you in line at lunch. Whatever it is, find a small area where you can practice patience and kindness everyday. If you do this daily, you’ll find that you’ll become much more loving and kind than you thought you could be. With God’s help, you can be patient and kind.
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words – Proverbs 4:20 (NLT) Have you ever found that it’s really hard to pay attention? Maybe you think your History teacher is really boring and speaks in a monotone voice. Or perhaps when talking to friends, you struggle listening to conversations about things you aren’t interested in. Focusing your attention on something or someone takes effort. Being attentive is something we’re supposed to do with God’s words. We are to listen to them carefully. Not just sort of half listen but really listen to them. We should get them down in our hearts and then let those words affect our daily lives. God’s words should be a part of what we think, do and say. It’s when we really let the Bible get into our heart that it has the power to change us. So if you’ve not really listened and thought about God’s words challenge yourself to do it. When we get the Bible into our heart it has the power to change us
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28 (NIV) Jesus does not want you to carry the weight of the world yourself. He wants to carry it for you. The Christian life is not about you doing the best you can and then God will do the rest. It’s a complete surrender to Jesus where He is in control. He takes the responsibility of carrying your burdens. The question is, will you give Jesus full control of your life? It’s easy to say yes at a youth camp or retreat where emotions are high. But really think about it. Will you let Jesus be in charge? Whether you’ve been a christian already for years or have only thought about it, Jesus wants to be your all in all. So today, put up a white flag. Let Him have control of your life. He will take better care of you than you could ever take care of yourself.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16 (NLT)
Praying can feel overwhelming at times. You may not feel like you know the right words to say or how to go about praying. Here are a few things to remember when praying. Anyone Can Pray – It’s good news to know that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar or have a ton of scriptures memorized. You can begin praying right now, where you’re at.
Prayer Is Just Connecting With God – You can connect with God just like you would with friends through a text, Snapchat, or Twitter. Connect with God by telling him your thoughts, feelings, fears, and dreams. Also, let Him know that you love Him and you’re grateful for His help in your life.
Pray The Word – This is freeing, when you realize that you don’t have to always come up with stuff to pray. Use your Bible to help you and pray scriptures out over your life and to help you pray for others too. If you don’t know where to start, use Google to search for Bible verses on the subject you’d like to pray about.
Pray with Authority – You can know that God hears you when you pray and great things will happen when you pray. Today’s Bible verse tells us that when we pray it’s powerful and produces wonderful results. Praying is an awesome way to connect with God, to thank Him for what He’s done in your life, and to also see results. If your prayers are based on the Bible, you can expect to see powerful results. So make prayer a part of your day today. Spend time reaching out to God and experience the power available to you as you pray.
But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. – 2 Corinthians 2:14 Have you ever come into your house when something really tasty is baking? In my opinion, there’s nothing better than the smell of cookies baking. Your mouth waters just thinking about eating one of those tasty cookies. You can’t wait until they finish baking and you can sink your teeth into one of those warm cookies. That’s a lot like what today’s Bible verse is telling us. God leads us to victory in every situation we face. We know that we’re always going to come out on the other side a victor because of who lives on the inside of us. This constant victory is like baking cookies. It makes us smell good to those around us. As Christians who know their place in Christ, we give off an awesome scent that makes others hungry for Jesus. Our lives show God’s goodness to those around us.
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” One of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive. When people don’t treat you the right way, when they make fun of you, bully you, or give you a hard time for what you believe it can be really hard to forgive and be kind like this verse challenges us to do. The good news is that God is a just God. He wouldn’t ask us to do something we couldn’t do. It wouldn’t be fair for God to expect us to do something that was beyond our ability. Thankfully, that’s not what God did. God gave us the love we need to love others. He tells us that His love has been placed in our hearts (Romans 5:5). So God has given us what we need to love others. We can be kind, tenderhearted and forgive others, because God has given us what we need to do it.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs – 1 Cor 13:4-5
Have you ever wondered how to know if the person you want to date is dateable? One easy way to judge this is by looking at that person’s love life. That’s doesn’t mean looking at social media to find out the people they’ve already dated. Instead, it requires looking at how they love others. How do they treat their mom and dad? How do they treat their teachers, friends, and the workers at the restaurant? If they treat them with love, like today’s Bible verse describes, then you know you’ve got someone who is worth dating. So in your dating relationships, choose to protect your heart. Wait for a person who will treat you with Godly love and respect. This type of a person is someone you will want to date. Choose to say no to relationships that push you away from God and wait for ones that are exhibiting Godly love. In the end, you’ll be thankful that you said no to them and chose to protect your heart.
Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3 (GW)
Lots of times, we lean on ourselves for things. We might not have had the best parents, or upbringing and it can cause us to doubt God’s love and ability to help in our lives. When people have let us down, it can be easy to not want to trust God for things. Today’s Bible verse really comes down to trust. It’s a challenge to put your trust in God. Rather than relying solely on yourself for everything, it asks you to trust God. Trust doesn’t always come easily, however. It can be really hard to trust something as big as your future and plans to God. That’s what this verse is telling us to do. It’s saying to trust God with your plans, trust Him with your efforts. You can trust God with these things because He’s good. He isn’t going to let you down like people may have in your life. He’s going to always be there to walk you through the challenges that life brings. So decide today to trust in God for your future. Trust in Him and watch your plans succeed!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Have you ever thought about the fact that you’ve never actually seen yourself? Yes, you’ve seen yourself in a mirror but that was just a reflection. You have to look in the mirror and believe that what you see is the truth. If your hair is in place in the mirror then you have to trust that. In the same way, God has a different image of you than you can see on the outside. His image of you is made up of all the qualities that Jesus exchanged with you when you surrendered your life for His. The Bible calls this transformation as a becoming a new creation. This verse in Ephesians describes that transformation. God calls us new in Christ and tells us that He’s planned good things for us. So regardless of what you’re going through, regardless of who’s put you down, and who’s told you that you’re not qualified, God sees you differently. He sees you through the mirror of Jesus and when He looks at you, He sees greatness.
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. – Proverbs 13:20 (NLT)
Your friends and the people you surround yourself with are important. The people you choose to spend time with and get advice from matters a lot to your future. I once heard someone say to never take advice from anyone who isn’t smarter than you in an area. What they meant was, if you need money advice, you need to find someone who manages their money better than you do. If you need relationship advice, find someone who has successful relationships in their lives. Who you walk with, associate with, and take advice from makes a big difference in your life. If you struggle with the temptation to sin in a particular area, you will want to avoid spending too much time with friends that struggle in the same area. If you choose to make smart friendships, you’ll find that you’ll be challenged and avoid a lot of trouble in your life. It might be hard to say no to a bad friendship or relationship, but realize that you’re worth it. Your future is important enough to say no to a bad relationship. Choose today to walk with wise people. Get advice from wise people and have close relationships with those who challenge you to be better and get closer to God.