Devotionals Just for Girls
Devotionals Just for Girls
|Posted on April 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM||comments (65)|
Hebrews 12:1-2 is one of my favorite sections of scripture:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne."
I have never been much of a race runner, but at one time I decided to train for a half marathon. During my "training" my husband would occasionally run next to me on the treadmill at the gym. One time, I noticed that my treadmill was broken. When I put in my usual running speed, I was still walking. So, I increased the speed until I was jogging at a comfortable pace. The funny thing was that the treadmill said I was going much faster than I actually was. After about 3.5 minutes, it said I had already gone a mile. Pretty soon, I noticed my husband glance over. I think his eyes just about popped out of his head, and then he started pushing the up arrow on the speed button for his treadmill. He looked ridiculous trying to match my "fake" speed! I got hysterical and wasn't able to keep running, but I often wonder how long he would have tried to keep up that ridiculous pace.
One thing I noticed while running the actual race (I ended up only running the one mile, and I think five-year-olds were passing me) was that no one was carrying any extra weights. No one had a purse, or a backpack etc.
The Bible compares our Christian life to a race. Sin can trip us and make us fall, and weights can slow us down. What are weights in the Christian life? Luke 18 talks about a rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life (win the prize). Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions, give to the poor (storing up treasure in heaven) and come and follow Him. The rich young ruler was sad, because he had many possessions. It is not a sin to have wealth. Jesus was asking him to give up the one thing he was putting above God.
Have you surrendered everything to God, or is there one thing that you wouldn't be willing to give up if He were to ask you? Is there anything that is hindering your progress in your relationship with the Lord? I have observed that there is no way for a Christian to stay stationary in their walk. They are either moving towards the Lord, or away from Him. So many things in this life can become weights that we are carrying around with us. Just like it is difficult at first to get in shape physically--but feels so great once we do--getting in shape spiritually has even more rewards. Eternal rewards.
This Easter Weekend, let's remember that Jesus gave up everything for us. Let's fix our eyes on Him, and on the joy of eternal pleasures forever in His presence. And, let us lay aside anything that is keeping us from running the race as efficiently as possible.
|Posted on March 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM||comments (74)|
I recently took a trip to Maui and had the wonderful opportunity of meeting one of my role models, Robin Jones Gunn, author of the Christy Miller Series. Since then, I've been doing a lot of thinking about role models. I believe it is important for us to have good role models. In 1 Cor 4:16 Paul says, "So I urge you to imitate me." The next verse goes on to talk about how we should follow Paul as he follows Christ.
Sometimes I hear Christians talk about how no one should follow their example, as if it would be a bad thing. When I was a cheerleader, one thing our cheer coach ingrained in us was that we were leaders and should always be setting a good example for others to follow in our public, as well as in our private lives.
Have you ever thought about what kind of place the world would be if everyone was exactly like you? It's a staggering thought. My husband's boss once told him, "Everyone's good for something, even if it's a bad example."
People are watching your life...and imitating you. Whether it is a little sister or a friend at school.
This brings us to two important questions:
1) Who are your role models? What kinds of results are their lives producing? Are they the results you would like for your life? Are they results that will please God?
2) What kind of role model are you? Will people who are around you be inspired to walk closer to the Lord?
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"
Choosing our role models carefully is so important. Having Godly role models and mentors is equally important. If you don't have anyone in your life who inspires you to grow in your faith, maybe it's time to search for someone. Maybe it's also time to be that someone.
|Posted on February 26, 2012 at 12:10 AM||comments (67)|
I love hearing testimonies about what God has done in people's lives. Jesus came to set captives free from sin. Did you know that your testimony doesn't end the day you were born again? It begins there.
Can you imagine how strange it would be to hear someone say something like, "I was addicted to drugs, then I got saved and I'm still totally addicted to drugs but I am forgiven." Yet, that's how some people professing to be Christians live...stuck in bondage to sin.
Romans 6:14-16 says, "Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God's grace. So since God's grace has set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval."
So, God's grace is what saves the Christian and it is also what changes the Christian.
Galatians 3:3 says, "Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?"
The secret to overcoming sin takes the same humble heart as being born again. If you try to make a bunch of rules in order to avoid sin, or promise God you will never do it again, you might be able to do well for a while, but you will end up prideful in your own abilities and devastated when you fall. Peter the apostle promised Jesus he would never deny Him, then fell asleep when Jesus told him to pray that he wouldn't fall into temptation, and ultimately denied Him three times.
The key is simple really. Just follow these three steps:
1) Admit that you can't change and overcome the sin on your own. (Humility is the one prerequisite to grace.)
2) Confess that you want God to change you. (He won't force you)
3) Pray that you do not fall into temptation and put God's word into your heart.
What's your cardboard testimony?
|Posted on February 13, 2012 at 12:07 AM||comments (60)|
Christian Books for GirlsI've been thinking a lot lately about bullies and snobs. The truth of the matter is...I was once a snob and I didn't even know it. Sure I was nice to everyone, but that didn't mean I saw them the way Jesus sees them. Moving away from my home town has given me a broader perspective. I used to joke about "Walmart people" etc.
Working in the fashion industry for seven years only made my snob attitude worse. But, over the last few years, God has totally changed my heart. Now, I see all people as valuable to Jesus, and it is my job to treat them as the treasures that they are to Him. I am so ashamed that I once cared more about what other people thought of me than I did about truly loving others. So many people out there are hurting. So many kids are lonely and in need of a true friend. As Christians, it is our duty to look past their outward appearance, and love them just like Jesus did. It's one thing to be "kind" to someone but still think you are better than them. It is totally another thing to consider them an equal.
James 2:1-4 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, 'You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor'—well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives"
There is no place for a Christian to ever make fun of someone else because of their shabby clothes, their weight, their unfashionable hair, or their financial status etc. True love looks past the outward appearance, and only Jesus offers this kind of true love. Let's love like Jesus.
|Posted on January 29, 2012 at 6:07 PM||comments (76)|
Over the years, I've heard people, who are clearly living their lives in direct contradiction to God's word, say things like, "I'm praying for the right job," or "I'll be praying about that. etc."
Today, I read a verse in Proverbs 28:9 which says, "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable." That's so interesting. The Life Application Commentary on this verse says, "God does not listen to our prayers if we intend to go back to our sin as soon as we get off our knees. If we want to forsake our sin and follow him, however, he willingly listens--no matter how bad our sin has been. What closes his ears is not the depth of our sin, but our secret intention to do it again."
It can sometimes be confusing when people talk as if they are Christians, but live as though they are not. Romans 8:19 says, "For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are." It is a mystery who God's children really are. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is really saved. A true child of God will have a changed life, not one they have mustered up by trying hard to follow God's rules, but a life of freedom from the chains of sin because of the miraculous work of God. There is nothing more encouraging than hearing the testimony of someone who's life has been dramatically changed by God's free gift of salvation.
There is one prerequisite to receiving God's grace to cover our sins. It is humility. Three times the Bible says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, and 1 Peter 5:3).
So, the key to receiving God's grace for the free gift of salvation and the key to overcoming the sins in our lives once we have been born again is the same: humility. Trying harder will never help. The secret is admitting we want and need God's help. As soon as we admit this, God will give us His grace and victory.
|Posted on January 22, 2012 at 5:55 PM||comments (73)|
We had our first snow of the year this past week and my four-year-old daughter was super excited. She kept announcing to us how much snow was falling. She was mesmerized by it's beauty. This prompted her to pray for more snow. In fact she prayed out-loud that there would be snow every day forever. This little prayer got me to thinking. I realize that she would ultimately not want God to answer "yes" to that prayer. She isn't old enough yet to realize the ramifications. It would mean no summer swimming, no outdoor water parks, and freezing beach trips. It would mean no garden produce. In fact, it could potentially affect the large amount of produce grown in our valley so significantly that it would affect her own food supply. It could even result in starvation.
I believe God loves it when His children ask Him for good gifts. (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13) I love when my children ask me for the things they want, as long as they have thankful hearts. I do say "no" to them when they ask me for things that would ultimately not result in good for them and others. They do not always understand why I must tell them "no." No playing in the street, no to too much candy, no to hitting your friends. They must trust that I have their best intentions in mind. Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
It's comforting to know that God's thoughts are higher than my thoughts, His ways are higher than my ways. (Isaiah 55:9) I can trust that His plans for me are good. I can trust that He will do what is best. So how should I pray?
1 John 5:14-15 says, "And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for."
The key is praying according to God's will, or according to what pleases HIm. How do we know what pleases God? If we use the Bible as a framework to pray, we can know that we are praying according to God's heart. I call it praying the Bible in. Here's an example:
1 Peter 1:6-7 "So be truly glad. (God help me to be truly glad.)There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. (Help me to focus on the wonderful joy ahead that you promise, even when I am facing trials.) These trials will show that your faith is genuine. (Help my faith to be genuine.) It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. (Help me to remember how precious faith is.) So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."(Strengthen my faith, that I might stand strong no matter what trials come my way. Thank you for your promise of praise, glory and honor when you return. Please help me to live for that, and keep my focus on the prize.)
When we pray like this, we can confidently expect God to answer. Another verse in James 4:3 says, "And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure." If we are praying for more money so that we can give it to help orphans, God will most likely answer "yes." It's exciting to see God answer our prayers and move in our lives and others. We just need to remember that in order to experience the adventure of "yes" answers to our prayers, we must pray according to Gods' heart.
|Posted on January 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM||comments (95)|
Have you ever had one of those days where everything felt gray? I have to admit that it doesn't happen to me very often, but the other day I just had a gray day. The fog had settled into our town, but it also felt like it had settled in my home, and for no apparent reason I felt like having a pity party. The thing is, the very next day turned out to be a day full of blessings. I had a fun interview with our local newspaper about my book series, I had an ultrasound and found out that I am going to have another girl, swaying the balance of power in our family back in the female favor. (I have one son, and will now have two daughters.) Then, the clincher was the wonderful phone call from my mother explaining her dilemma for her move to Maui is that due to travel restrictions on their dogs, she will need to buy an extra ticket for someone to travel with them, and would I be willing to go? (When someone says free ticket to Maui, I say "yes!")
Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy."
If I had know about the blessings that were about to come my way during my gray day, I would have rejoiced. The thing is, we don't know what the future holds in our lives. Everything can change in a moment. We do know that God dearly loves us, and blessings are coming our way, even if we have to wait until Heaven to fully experience them. So why not rejoice today? The KIng James Version says, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life." Revelations speaks of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7, 22:2, 22:14) being in the midst of the paradise of God. Someday, God is going to remake this earth. Those who have given their lives to Him will experience paradise forever.
Our Godly dreams will come true. Lets not give up hope, and lets rejoice, believing in faith that what God has promised, He will do.
If you don't have a Godly dream, then ask God what He has for you. Partnering with God on His plans for our lives is the most fulfilling dream.
|Posted on August 3, 2011 at 2:39 PM||comments (100)|
I am reading the best book right now called, Destined to Soar by K.P. Yohannan. The chapter I read today spoke of the joy that Jesus brings to believers. "Jesus came to this earth not to add gloom and hopelessness to people's lives, but to bring light, hope, laughter and the joy of heaven to a sin-ridden world." (Page 154) I love that God has given His children the very precious gifts that the world is searching for...peace and true joy. Satan is so deceptive in trying to get people to believe that the source of joy and peace is found in drugs, alcohol, ungodly relationships, etc. when those things only lead to death. I found out yesterday that the younger sister of a girl I was friends with in junior high committed suicide, leaving her six-year-old daughter behind. I remember her when she was five years old, beautiful and full of life. My heart breaks for her and her family, and I desire to help others to see God's loving heart for them before it is too late.
K.P. says, "Our joy originates from heaven and is therefore able to fill our hearts even in the midst of suffering and difficulties. Paul and Silas, severely beaten and in chains, were celebrating in prison. Why? Their joy was anchored not in their own strength but in the promises of God:
1) That all things would work out for their best. (Romans 8:28)
2) That Jesus had gone to the Father to prepare a place for them. (John 14:2)
3) He would return to take them there." (1 Cor 15:52)
(Page 154-155 Destined to Soar)
Luke 17 talks about how when Jesus returns that times will be like the times of Noah (Genesis 5-9) and the times of Lot (Genesis 13-19). Both were rescued miraculously by God from sin-steeped cultures. Luke 17: 28-35 says, "And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business--eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building--until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be 'business as usual' right up to the hour when the Son of Man returns. On that day a person outside the house must not go into the house to pack. A person in the field must not return to town. Remember what happened to Lot's wife! Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it.That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken away and the other left."
I want to be among those who are ready and waiting for Jesus. I don't want to even hesitate when He calls me to a wonderful eternity with Him. And what about peace? At every beauty pageant I hear that what the contestants want most is for world peace. Jesus gave believers this precious gift of peace. John 14:27 says, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."
What an awesome God we serve! We can tap into the wonderful treasures He offers today! A final quote from Destined to Soar, "What about us? Do people encounter that overflowing joy, found in Jesus and the early Christians, in our lives as well? There is no more powerful advertisement for the reality of the Gospel than a believer filled with the love of Christ and the joy of heaven."
Satan knows the joy of the Lord is our strength. Let's not let anyone rob us of our joy. (John 16:22) And let's remember Psalm 16:11, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
|Posted on May 24, 2011 at 5:25 PM||comments (122)|
John 15:1-2 Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more."
I can't believe I have never before noticed in this verse the part about being pruned. I have always thought about the importance of staying connected to the vine (Jesus) in order to bear fruit. (A vine that is cut off cannot produce fruit all by itself.)
This year, my new year's resolution was that I would lay aside every weight...the extra 15 pounds I have been carrying around since my son was born, the extra stuff that is cluttering our house, and perhaps even sell our house and rent for a season.
(Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.")
As the year has progressed, it is becoming increasingly clearer to me that God wants to prune me. My husband and I feel like a giant plant, with so many different branches all competing to produce fruit. We each have two jobs, he serves as one of the pastors at our church, we have two children, and are spending almost every day working straight from 6 a.m. to almost midnight--just to keep up. My gardening friend explained to me that the purpose of pruning a plant is to send it into shock so it will send its roots deeper, and ultimately produce a more bountiful and healthier harvest.
So, I am allowing myself to be pruned by a loving God. I am cutting back on the extra things that I am able to, so I can focus on the things that truly matter to God. My mom, who is in the process of selling all of her possessions to follow her dream to move to Hawaii, told me the other day that when you get rid of stuff it lets more light in. I like that. I am excited to make more room in my life for the True Light.