UNDERCOVER ANGELS: Christian Books for Girls
UNDERCOVER ANGELS: Christian Books for Girls
Devotionals Just for Girls
Devotionals Just for Girls
The Importance of Perseverance
|Posted on September 10, 2013 at 10:27 PM||comments ()|
Moving Across the Ocean
|Posted on September 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM||comments ()|
Running the Race to Win
|Posted on January 23, 2013 at 11:34 PM||comments ()|
I love rewards. When I taught preschool, I used rewards often to motivate positive behavior. Lately, I have been thinking about heavenly rewards ... rewards for completing the life work God has given to each of us specifically.
I believe God has a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. When we are born again, that's the beginning of partnering with God to follow that plan.
In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul says, "Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn't preach the Good News!" NLT
Paul's calling was to be a preacher. What is your calling? What are you passionate about doing for God? What excites you?
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." NLT
We often hear about how salvation is a free gift. It's not based on anything we can do to earn it. No amount of good works can ever get you to heaven.
Ephesians 2:8-10 talks about this. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 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." NLT
So, Salvation is a free gift, and after we are born again, we are on a mission here on earth for God ... to do the "good things he planned for us long ago."
Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.*"NLT
* Or but serve the Lord with a zealous spirit; or but let the Spirit excite you as you serve the Lord.
1 Peter 1:17 says, "And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land." NLT
Let's make sure everything we do is on mission. Let's not try to do "good things" out of obligation or guilt that might distract us from our true calling. Let's instead follow -- with lots of energy and passion -- that specific life calling of God.
Like Cotton Candy
|Posted on January 15, 2013 at 1:48 PM||comments ()|
Why Bad Things Happen (part 1)
|Posted on December 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM||comments ()|
God could have created us to be robots who always do the right thing, but He allowed us to choose Him... or side with Satan and the rebellious, fallen angels. Luke 11:23a "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me."
We can see the consequences of man's evil choices, motivated by Satan, all around us. My five year old daughter asked me why a bad guy would shoot himself. "That doesn't make any sense," she said. I had to explain to her that Satan doesn't love his followers. He wants harm for them. Of course, God could intervene and stop all of Satan's followers before they could do any evil, but that would totally eliminate choice. What is God's solution? He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sins and enable those who give their lives to Him willingly, to live forever in a perfect world. He is planning to completely remake this earth without the curse. There is something in our hearts that craves a peaceful/perfect earth. The Bible says, Psalm 37:11 "But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."
At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, we see some of what the new earth will be like. I've been to Venice, Italy, with water streets...it is beautiful. I can't wait to see the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 22:21-22 "Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations."
I so look forward to Jesus' second coming, which will not only bring peace to our hearts but will literally bring peace on earth.
To learn more about what the Bible actually teaches about a literal heaven, read "Heaven," by Randy Alcorn.
Can you imagine living in a culture where every single citizen has chosen the King, and the King himself is not selfish, but willingly laid down his life for them? That's the perfect world that awaits a true child of God.
Why Bad Things Happen (part 2)
|Posted on December 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM||comments ()|
Today I had to take my baby to get a shot at the doctor's office. She cried and turned questioning eyes towards me. I might know shots can protect her from life threatening diseases, but at six months old, she can't begin to understand the good that will come out of this trial. She must trust me as I hold her and comfort her, and whisper in her ear, "It's O.K."
Lately, I've been reading in the Gospel of John. Three of the miracles Jesus performed shed some light on this topic of suffering for me.
1) Suffering can be a consequence of sin and/or bad choices. In John 5 Jesus heals a man who was paralyzed. He tells the man, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." John 5:14. My pastor at the church I grew up in, Jon Courson, used to always say, "Sin is not bad because it is forbidden...it is forbidden because it is bad."
2) Suffering is sometimes allowed for a bigger purpose. In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. His disciples asked Him if the man had sinned or his parents. "'It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins,' Jesus answered. This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work." John 9:3-4
In John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but first he delayed coming when Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha called him. Both Mary and Martha separately accuse Jesus: "Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died." Johm 11:21&32. And later, in verses 33 through 38, Jesus wept, not because Lazarus had died, but because of the people's lack of understanding in His purposes. Eve also doubted God's goodness. It is one of Satan's oldest tactics.
When I was a junior in high school, my best friend died tragically in a car accident. I still remember showing up late because there was a detour due to the accident. Something was wrong. The students were still all outside, but they were not talking. It was eerily quiet. That's when I saw her brother crying, and something inside of me just knew. I started to cry and so I turned to walk to the restroom. That's when I heard someone scream into the payphone the tragic news that my friend was dead. It didn't seem real at first. I think we were all in shock. She loved the Lord with all of her heart. She had shown me what it looked like to make God the center of everything, and she had been so full of life...Now, looking back, I can see how much good God has brought from her life and death. Many, many kids committed to Jesus after her death, and many more decided to go into the ministry because of her. My first book is dedicated to her as well. God can use what Satan means for evil and bring about good. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose."
James 1:2-4 says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
I have lost three babies...two through miscarriage, and one stillborn at seven months. When the news came back from her ultrasound results, it was not good. We were told something was wrong with our baby. Over the course of the next couple of months, we learned that our baby had Triploidy, a rare chromosome abnormality which meant that our baby would not survive. The specialist recommended that I abort our baby. I firmly told him I would not. So, for the next several months, I had to go into my doctor every week...waiting for the heartbeat to stop. Everywhere I went, people would ask me when I was due etc. It was a very difficult time in my life, but the strength and peace that God gave to me was amazing. He seemed so close, and my faith was proven rock solid...something I wouldn't have know unless it was tested. My baby was stillborn on February 14...Valentines Day. I named her Aliyah Charis. Charis means "Grace" in Greek. God was with me through it all, holding my hand...and now, ten years later, He has blessed me with three more healthy and beautiful babies. Trusting God isn't always easy when we don't understand why things happen the way they do, but if we will chose to trust in Him, we are guaranteed a happily ever after that makes any movie ending pale in comparison.
Trusting God's Will
|Posted on September 4, 2012 at 5:56 PM||comments ()|
Some people are afraid of giving their lives completely over to God. They think that if they do, He will make them miserable.
Romans 12:1-2 says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Interesting...if we give ourselves to God as a living sacrifice--holding nothing back--He actually changes the way we think...and His will is GOOD, PLEASING AND PERFECT.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."
The key is loving God first, and He changes our desires into Godly ones. Don't follow the example of someone who seems to be miserable in their service to God, chances are, that person is not really following God's will for their lives.
God's will is always good, pleasing and perfect, but that doesn't mean it is without trials. It means that the person who is walking in total surrender to God will enjoy serving Him and the plans He has for their life will be like a dream come true.
I love the movie Soul Surfer, the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a girl who lost her arm during a shark attack while surfing. God used her tragedy to showcase His strength in her and answered her very specific prayer about using her life. His will for her also included fulfilling her dream to become a pro surfer.
Serving God is a wonderful adventure, and He has a specific purpose for each of our lives. I am so blessed to have parents who modeled God's goodness to me. They always had my best interest in mind, and I knew that I could trust them because of their love for me. That kind of trust in God's goodness and love for us is what motivates us to hope even when our circumstances might seem bleak.
Living Like a Missionary
|Posted on May 23, 2012 at 12:23 AM||comments ()|
I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between the missionary life, and the lives of the rest of us back home. How would my life be different if I was a missionary?
The first thing that comes to my mind is that I would be totally dependent on God...in everything. Every aspect of my life would be devoted to Him 100%. My focus would be on how I could best use my resources and my time for God's purposes and my calling. Every day I would filter everything through that title: missionary.
In his book "Dependence Upon the Lord" K.P. Yohannan gives several guidelines for determining whether or not someone is depending on God. One of them really stood out to me:
Page 33 "When your bank account is full, do you just dish out money for anything, whenever it is wanted or needed? Or do you take the time to pray and seek God, waiting upon Him to speak to you and show you how to handle the resources He has given you? By always looking to Him, even in the good times, we show that our lives are fully dependent upon Him and Him alone."
The Bible teaches through the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25 that to those who use well what they have been given, more will be given to them.
I loved the time I spent at a small orphanage in Mexico. Being on the mission field is so amazing, so peaceful, so refreshing. My question is, can I live here in the United States and still keep my focus 100% on God's kingdom like a missionary? I'm planning to try. I'm excited to embark on this adventure and see where it takes me.
True Abundant Life
|Posted on May 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM||comments ()|
I love the line from the cartoon, The Incredibles, at the end when the mole pops out of the ground and says, "I wage war on peace and happiness!" For some reason it is so out of the blue that it makes me laugh every time.
The thing is, I feel like I want to wage war on two things too. Not peace and happiness, but legalism and selfishness.
The Bible says in Matthew 7:13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way."
Matthew 16:24-25 "Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
There's two extremes I have noticed. Some believers have gotten down the "deny yourself and take up your cross" part really well, but they don't seem to understand about the adventure of following Jesus, or the abundantly wonderful life that He offers. They don't have any joy in their lives. They come across legalistic and prudish. They usually get burned out, and they turn people off to God.
The other extreme is the people who want the abundant life and blessings from God without denying themselves at all. They are the ones who heap up riches on this earth for themselves, ignoring the needs of others. Not thinking about how God might ask them to sacrifice in order to help feed a starving orphan etc. There's even whole churches with this mentality, spending all of their money on themselves instead of investing in eternity through reaching out. Giving in the New Testament usually focused on helping believers in another area or helping the poor.
Let's be those who walk on the perfect, narrow path. Those who deny ourselves in order to gain the true adventure filled life God intends for us, fulfilling our purpose on earth of being His body.
Don't be a Flabby Christian
|Posted on April 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM||comments ()|
In my last post, I talked about how the Bible compares the Christian life to a race. The Bible also teaches that Christians are part of the body of Christ (1Corinthians 12:27). We work together to accomplish God's plans. Ephesians 2:10 says, "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." Isn't it exciting to think that God has specific good works planned for us to do? Have you ever wondered what those works are? If you're not sure about it, talk with God. He will show you.
There is much work to be done, but sometimes as Christians, we can let ourselves get flabby. It is so easy to get distracted living in a country of plenty. It is so easy to focus on ourselves only, and not on the reason God has blessed us in the first place...so we can pass that love and blessing on to others. I have experienced visiting third world countries where people literally lived in cardboard houses, yet they were spiritually wealthy. The best part is that when we are doing what God has created us to do, nothing can compare with that kind of abundant and fulfilling life.
1 Timothy 7b-8"Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come."
I just finished reading the book Kisses from Katie . What an inspiring story about a girl who lives out every day following God's call on her life. The following is a video about the author, a young woman who found the good works God had planned for her. She was senior class president at her school and homecoming queen before embarking on this exciting adventure.