Thursday, October 31, 2013

You Are God's Pumpkin

God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, "If you boast, boast only about the Lord." —1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (NLT)
For most of the country, the crisp cool air of autumn is upon us. A sure sign of autumn is that Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere in retail stores. Halloween costumes and disguises are selling out in stores as trick-or-treaters are ready to take over the streets. A popular symbol of both harvest time and Halloween is the pumpkin. I was thinking recently that being a Christian is a lot like being a pumpkin. Perhaps you are visualizing this orange, round vegetable and wondering how you could ever be compared to one of these squashes! Simply put, like a child chooses a pumpkin to carve and mold an image upon, so God carves and molds His own unique design in you.

The Scriptures tell us that the Lord chooses us. He lifts us up and washes the dirt from our skin. Then he opens us, connecting deep inside to scoop out all the slimy, yucky stuff, including seeds of doubt, spite, lies, and fear. Then He carves a new creation, and makes our faces shine by putting His light inside for all to see.

Sometimes I feel like I don't want my light to shine because I am ashamed of a thought or action or pattern in my life. I try to hide the light Christ has put in me, and blend in with the crowd. What I forget is that when God carved me, created me, and gave me His Son, I no longer had to count on my own strength. I can count on the Lord's. It is He who washes me clean; it is He who gives me a spirit of strength and perseverance; it is He who makes me pure; it is He who frees me from sin; and it is He who gives me hope. When I realize that my part of the equation is to rely on His strength and power, then I can do as Scriptures say, and shine His light through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What starts as an everyday squash turns into a lantern of light. What starts as an everyday person turns into a beacon of hope for all to see. Through our union with Christ, we are given the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit who enters and dwells in our lives. It is He who picked you out and carved you just the way He wants you. So make sure you keep your lantern lit for all to see. 

*Written by Kelly Mcfadden*

Sunday, October 27, 2013


First, you can believe for everything the Word of God promises you or provides for you. But you can’t believe beyond the Word. Why not? Because “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). Faith is based on what God’s Word says, and you cannot believe beyond your knowledge of God’s Word. If people try to do this, they will get in trouble.
For example, years ago I met a denominational pastor who received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and was kicked out of his denomination.
With no church to pastor, he had gone into business for himself in a large city, and he started attending the largest Full Gospel church in that city. This man was unmarried and was probably between 35 and 40.
He told me that a beautiful woman sang in the church choir, and because “you can have what you say” and “whatever you desire, just pray and believe you receive,” he was going to pray and believe he was going to get her for a wife.
However, I can’t find where the Bible says, “I promise John that he can have Mary for a wife.” Mary may not want to be his wife—and John may be just as well off without her anyway!
So I asked the man, “Have you ever talked to this woman? Have you ever had a date with her?”
“No,” he replied.
Sitting out there in the congregation while the choir sang on Sunday mornings, this man had seen the woman, was attracted to her, and thought because “you can have what you say,” he could just say they would be married and it would come to pass.
But under what conditions will it come to pass?
“Well, if I believe it strongly enough,” some will argue.
No, faith must be based on God’s Word. As we have seen, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word. And the Word of God says,“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
“Whoso findeth a wife” implies that you have a part to play, all right, but you must be open to the Lord’s direction, and you must realize that you cannot go against another person’s free will.
The Lord will lead and guide you. You have a right to claim His guidance because He has promised to guide you. But just to pick somebody out and say, “I’m going to believe God and she’s going to be my wife,” won’t work.

Another’s Will Is Involved

The woman you want to marry may not want to be your wife. That would work the other way around for women: The man you want to marry may not want be your husband.
Friends, you’re not going to be able to override another person’s will in the matter, so you may as well settle that once and for all.
God Himself does not exercise authority over human spirits. If He did, He’d make everybody in the world get saved today, and then we could enter into the Millennium.
We only have authority over evil spirits; not over human spirits. God has granted mankind free will to choose for themselves.
In the first meeting I held after leaving my last pastorate, an unmarried woman in her thirties asked me, “Brother Hagin, do I have the right to believe for a husband?”
“I believe you do,” I replied, “because the Bible says, ‘Whoso findeth a WIFE findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord’—and it would be a poor rule that wouldn’t work both ways.”
Will faith work here?
I told the young woman, “You can’t just pick out somebody and say, ‘That one’s mine.’ But you can ask God to lead you. You can claim a mate by faith and let God work out the details because you believe Him.”

Standing in Faith

For many months, it didn’t look like things were going to work for this young woman: No young man came into her life. Every time I saw her, I encouraged her to stand in faith. She would say, “I’m standing in faith. It’s going to work. I know it is!” She had certain ideals in mind. She said, “I’m not a minister myself, but I have been in the work of the Lord for many years, and I want to marry a minister.”
In the process of time, I saw her, and she had married a fine man—a minister. Her faith had worked.
I also remember two beautiful young women who attended a revival meeting I once conducted in Oklahoma. They had just graduated from high school with the highest grades in their class. Both were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in my meeting. Some months later, when I returned to that church for another meeting, the Lord led me to minister a word of wisdom to one of the girls.
Afterwards, the pastor said, “Brother Hagin, I’m so glad you did that. You didn’t know this, I’m sure, but that young woman is engaged to be married, and we’re concerned about it. The young man has attended church here, but I’ll just be honest with you—I’m sure he pretended he got saved so he could marry her.”

Something Better

I hadn’t known these details the night the Lord had me minister to the young woman. She was sitting on the front row that night. I asked the congregation to sing because I didn’t want everyone to hear what I told her. I said to her, “The Lord told me to tell you this: ‘I’ve got something better for you. Don’t marry right now. I’ve got something better for you.’”
Two years later I was out in California in a campmeeting when a fine-looking young couple came up to me. The woman said, “Brother Hagin, do you remember me?”
“No,” I said, “but your face looks familiar.”
She told me her name, but I still couldn’t remember who she was.
“Well,” she said, “you’ll remember this: You called me up while the congregation was singing and you told me the Lord said not to marry then because He had something better for me.”
“Oh,” I said. “I remember that.”
“Well,” she said happily, “here he is!”
Then, she told me she and her husband were in Bible college preparing for the ministry. “Oh, I’m so glad the Lord arrested me and ministered to me,” she said. “I would have made a fatal mistake. We’re so happy. And we’re working for God.”
God did have something better for her. God can lead and guide us. We need to be open to the leading of God.
You see, we can believe God and exercise faith for anything that is promised in the Bible. But we must base our faith upon what God’s Word says. If we get into areas beyond the Word, we will get into gray areas—into dark areas. As long as we’re in the Word, we’re in the light. Then we’re on safe ground—sure ground.
Some may say, “I don’t know just what direction to take in life, so what shall I believe for?”
Well, trust God for guidance, because He has promised to guide you. Claim His guidance by faith. Say, “The Lord is guiding me. He is leading me. I may not see it this moment. I may not even know what to do at the moment; but, He is my Guide and I trust Him.”
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). God will guide you. But remember that He leads you just one step at a time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Live Long

The Bible has a lot to say about God's will concerning our life here on the earth—how we are to live and for how long. God has a good, long life planned for us. But without that revelation, when we reach 60 or 70, we may start winding down and getting ready to go.
God never meant for us to die young. It's His will for us to live out the full number of our days. Traditionally, Psalms 90:10 has been quoted in regard to man's life expectancy. It says: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten (seventy years)—or even, if by reason of strength, fourscore years (eighty years)..." (The Amplified Bible). But what most people don't realize is that reading this verse alone is taking it out of context. A footnote to Psalms 90 in The Amplified Bible explains:
This psalm is credited to Moses, who is interceding with God to remove the curse which made it necessary for every Israelite over twenty years of age (when they rebelled against God at Kadesh-barnea) to die before reaching the promised land (Numbers 14:26-35). Moses says most of them are dying at seventy years of age. This number has often been mistaken as a set span of life for all mankind. It was not intended to refer to anyone except those Israelites under the curse during that particular forty years. Seventy years never has been the average span of life for humanity. When Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes, had reached 130 years (Genesis 47:9), he complained that he had not attained to the years of his immediate ancestors. In fact, Moses himself lived to be 120 years old, Aaron 123, Miriam several years older, and Joshua to 110 years of age. Note as well that in the Millennium a person dying at 100 will still be thought a child (Isaiah 65:20).
Here we learn that the Israelites who died at 70 were living under the curse caused by disobedience. According to Galatians 3:13, Jesus has redeemed us from the curse being made a curse for us. If we have made Jesus our Lord, freedom from all the conditions the curse causes belongs to us—that includes sickness, destruction and early death.
So don't have the mindset that you should only live to be 70. What God actually said about man's lifespan is found in Genesis 6:3: "And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years."
Think about it. That means at 60 you are just middle-aged. That's not the time to start slowing down. Instead stand on this scripture and others like Psalms 103:2-5: "Bless the Lord...who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction...who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." Be determined to enjoy to the fullest the many productive years the Lord has promised you.
Live the Book
Like every other blessing, there are conditions to living a long life. Psalms 91 is a picture of the person who receives this blessing.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
The person this is talking about loves God and stays connected to Him. He doesn't fear, but trusts the Lord to be his refuge and says so. The truth of God's Word is his shield and buckler. He dwells or abides under the shadow of the Almighty in obedience, and God shows him His salvation. The word salvation means "material and temporal deliverance from danger and apprehension, preservation, pardon, restoration, healing, wholeness and soundness."
God will satisfy you with good things, including healing, protection and long life when you are living and abiding in Him.
Keep Doing God's Will 
For years I heard Kenneth Hagin say you ought to live 70 or 80 years, and if you're not satisfied, live awhile longer. He proved that to be true. He passed 80 and just kept going until he finished his work.
A commentary on Psalms 90 in the Tehillimsays until Moses reached 80, like other men he was growing weaker. But look what happened to him then. "When he reached the age of eighty, Moses received an extraordinary infusion of youthful energy and vitality, because at that time he was chosen to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt, to receive the Torah, and to lead the Jews to the Promised Land. This Divine mission so invigorated him that his health and strength remained undiminished until the moment of his death."
Deuteronomy 34:7 says, "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."
Just as He did with Moses, God can give you a new assignment at any time. So if you have noticed that you've been slowing down because you're getting a little older, double up on the Word. Let the Word be made spirit and life to you (John 6:63). And get involved with what God is doing. That's the best way to live a long, productive life.
Acts 1:1-2 in the New Living Translation says, "Jesus began to do and teach until the day he ascended..." That's my plan too—to do and teach until I ascend! I encourage you to do the same. Live long and live strong-stay well and stay here as long as God has something worthwhile for you to do.
You Don't Have to Be Sick 
One woman wrote to us and asked, "If I keep getting healed, how am I ever going to die?" The best way for your body to die is for your spirit to just leave. You don't have to be evicted—forced out by sickness, disease or accident. God can call you out and say, Come home. Come on up here. You can simply pass over from this side to the other side—from earth to heaven. I get excited just thinking about it. Glory to God!
You don't ever have to be sick. God's best is for you to live in divine health every day, but He is also eager to heal. John G. Lake said, "Divine healing is the removal by the power of God of the disease that has come upon the body. But divine health is to live day by day, hour by hour in touch with God so that the life of God flows into the body just as the life of God flows into the mind or flows into the spirit."
You live in divine health by staying in continual contact with the Word of God and the Spirit of God. In fact, the way to be free in every area of life is to attach yourself to God.
It's your responsibility to stay well and whole. You do that with the Word of God and by resisting the devil. Go to the Bible and find out the truth. Realize that healing belongs to you and stand in faith for it. Rebuke symptoms when they try to come. Say, "No, you're not coming here, in the Name of Jesus. I'm healed by the stripes of Jesus."
When the devil tries to crowd your mind with dark thoughts about your life being cut short, rebuke them. Replace those thoughts with the promises of God. Speak the Word out loud in faith. Remember Psalms 91 says the person who makes the Lord his refuge, the one who receives protection and deliverance, has to say so.
Obey Natural and Spiritual Laws 
God didn't make your physical body to fail. He made your physical body to sustain itself when given the right food and the right conditions. He created your body to stay well and live to be of old age.
And if that's your goal, you'll need to determine that. Regardless of what ailments your relatives have had, they don't need to affect you. Don't look at your family history. You are born of God. Now you're part of His family. You can take the Word of God and stop any unwanted, hereditary tendencies in your life.
Now, that doesn't mean you can eat unhealthy foods all the time and expect to live healed and live long. Most sickness is self-induced by living wrong and eating wrong. There are natural and spiritual laws by which we are to live. It's our responsibility to eat the right kind of food, exercise, rest—to make choices that will help us stay healthy.
God expects us to obey Him. Scripture tells us over and over to hearken to God's voice and His Word. Proverbs 4:20-22 says, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." The margin of my Bible indicates the word health can be translated as "medicine." God's Word is medicine to your flesh. Not only that, this medicine affects everything in your life. It will cause your faith to rise up and receive.
Get into the Word—it's essential to your life and health. Spend time there and find out what God is telling you to do. If He instructs you to make changes, know that they will always be for your benefit. Psalms 25:12-13 in The Living Biblesays, "Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best. He shall live within God's circle of blessing...."
When you are obedient to walk in His ways, God surrounds you with blessings— healing, protection, favor, whatever you need.
Guard Your Heart 
If symptoms linger, if our healing doesn't readily manifest, Ken and I start checking to see if we are walking in love and obeying God. We ask ourselves if we are spending enough time in the Word of God for it to be made life and health to our flesh.
Proverbs 4:23 in The Amplified Bible warns, "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." You "keep" your heart by keeping it full of the Word of God. That's the most important thing you have to do in this life. You can't live in divine health and keep your faith up without a steady diet of the life force of God, which is the Word of God.
The wisdom of God is written down for us in His Word. Revelation of the Word is precious because it takes care of everything in our life. It causes health and healing to come. It brings happiness, joy and peace—nothing missing, nothing broken. Walking in God's wisdom is a key to living long and living well. Proverbs 3:13-18 says: 
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. 
By spending time in the Word of God we can have so much life flowing out of us that sickness and disease can't even get close to us.
Jesus teaches us that our commandment is to walk in love. We are to love God with all our heart and to love each other. You can't live long and strong and be in strife, unforgiveness or other disobedience. When that happens the life flow is hindered. Disobedience also comes in the form of wrong words, traditions of men, anger, bitterness, grief, fear, envy and jealousy. All disobedience opens the door to the enemy and stops the life flow. These things can adversely affect our health and our ability to receive from God.
Disobedience opens the door to the effects of the curse in our lives, but obedience releases the blessings of God.
I'm convinced it would be possible to live to be 120 years old by obeying the Word of God. If you ate the way God said to eat and abstained from what He said to abstain from, you'd be well on your way to a strong, healthy body. Add to that a steady diet of the Word of God, allowing the life force of the Word to continually quicken (make alive) your mortal flesh. Then if you were faithful to obey the Word of God in every area of life, I believe you could live an active, productive life of 120 years or more.
When you walk with God, you can walk healed and live long. "And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee...the number of thy days I will fulfil"(Exodus 23:25-26).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

David & Goliath-Fear

I"m so blessed to be posting the 100th blog post with 3633 views!  I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to those who read my post and share them with others! Means a whole lot to me. 

David was a shepherd boy who spent most of his time in the fields with the lambs and the sheep.  He always wondered about God who created this lovely world.  Prophet Samuel had sent for him and anointed his head with oil.  This was the sign that God had chosen David to be the future king of Israel.  David had returned to the hills near Bethlehem to take care of his father’s sheep

At that time, the Israelites were still at war with their old enemies, the Philistines.  One day when David was in the hills, one of the king’s servants came to fetch him.  The servant asked David to bring his harp and go to the king.  King Saul who was ill and unhappy wanted to hear David play the harp.  David played the harp for the sad king who was comforted by the music.  The king regained his strength and went to his army.  The armies of the Israelites and the Philistines were on opposite sides of the hill, and both armies were ready for battle.  Each day the Philistines sent their champion, Goliath, who was fully armed and gigantic in size, to shout across the valley “Choose a man, and if he were able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants.  But if I kill him, then you shall serve us.”

The Israelites trembled as they heard the voice of Goliath.  Nobody was brave or strong enough to fight with this giant Philistine.  One day, David came to the Israelites’ camp to see his brothers.  He heard the words of Goliath.  He was amazed that the Israelites were all afraid.  “I will go and fight with this Philistine” David said.  When the king knew about David’s intention, he said “You are not able to fight for you are a youth, and the Philistine is a man of war”.  David replied “The lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear when I kept my father’s sheep, will deliver me.” The king said “Go, then, and the Lord shall be with you.”  Unarmed, except for his staff, his shepherd’s sling and a few stones, David went to confront the giant. 
Goliath was angry when he saw that the Israelites sent a shepherd boy to meet him.  “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks and stones?” Goliath shouted.  “Today the Lord will deliver you into my hands and all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” David replied.  David ran fearlessly towards the Philistine giant, he slipped one of the stones into his sling, and skillfully flung it so that it hit Goliath in the forehead, who fell to the ground.  When the Philistine army saw that their champion is dead, they fled the battle.  The Israelites won the battle and David whom God had chosen to be the future king of Israel was the hero of the people of Israel.

How do we relate to our circumstances when there is no hope that comes to mind? Do we give up, do we break down crying, do we fear or do we stand still and see the the Lord?  
 Isaiah 9:7: Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty accomplish this. 
David fight lions and bears to protect his father's sheep.  God loved David's heart and wanted him to be king.  As David approached Goliath, Goliath looked at David and thought it was a joke.  Galiath was this big  wall and he was  9"ft tall, everyone feared him. They never went to God and asked for peace or prayed for courage, David had no "fear" when he faced Goliath, David could have feared but he knew who was greater  even when he knew he was small and can take that fear from him, God. David is like us we are little and we have fear we need to hand our fear over to God, yes we may have a "Goliath" in our way but as long as we stand firm on God's word, we can do anything like concur our dreams!  You and I have free will to live as we please, we have free choice. David chose to submit his will early in his life to the Lord and let Him direct his pathways. He did not lean to his own understanding when he faced Goliath!  

We relate to David and Goliath the story from the bible.  We have this big horrible Goliath in our way and we being David the small little person we need to have the mind set that he had, trust in God, pray for courage and peace. David's heart was fully set enabling him to face Goliath. It was sword against the spirit of Goliath's voice that was roaring in his ears. He was brought to a test to prove God's ability to stand with anyone who makes Him Lord! When we humble ourselves unto the Lord during the good times when we walk in his ways.  David knew his Lord and gave his life to Him by walking in the Spirit/Word of the Lord! 

Bad Company

"Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character. "(I Corinthians 15:33)
(When I first read this from someone I knew I needed to post this on my blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did)
They influence your speech, dress, and mannerisms. They are your constant mirrors. They are in your address book and in your phone 's speed dial. They have a firm grip on your heartstrings, and oftentimes they are the difference between success and failure in the Christian life. Good ones can nudge you to victory. Bad ones can drag you to defeat. What are they? You guessed it...friends!
The bottom line is that the type of friends who form your inner circle will most likely determine how faithfully you serve Christ, and whether or not you make a spiritual difference on your campus. When Paul wrote today's verse: "Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character " - he was addressing a friendship situation.
The Christians at Corinth had friends who basically denied the resurrection. In other words, their main goal in life was to try and find happiness through partying, because there would be no judgment day. So these believers had friends who were pulling them in the wrong direction. My guess is that those Christians thought that they were strong enough in their faith to resist the bad influences of their friends.
Paul says- I don't think so...
So what about it? Are you being misled? Do you have as your best friends those who have Jesus as their best friend? If not, it's just a matter of time before your character is corrupted with the virus of spiritual compromise.
I can't help but think of Ronnie. We went to school together all through Jr. High and High School. In fact, Ronnie helped lead me to faith in Christ as my Savior. We held each other accountable and witnessed to our unsaved friends. But as high school continued, Ronnie began to make other alliances. More and more of his friends were less and less concerned about Christ. Pretty soon his closest friends were absolutely unconcerned about the Lord, and positively concerned about their own happiness before anything. Bit by bit Ronnie got his eyes off the bull's eye of serving Christ.
There came a time when I had to choose between my friendship with Ronnie, and my allegiance to Christ- and guess what? Rock breaks scissors: Jesus wins. Sound judgmental? Perhaps, but the judgment was more on myself than on Ronnie, because I knew that eventually I would shipwreck my faith if I stayed on course with that friendship. Sound difficult? Absolutely, breaking off a close friendship is like having surgery. Yet if you don't go through with that spiritual operation, you could lose your spiritual life.
By the grace of God, when I graduated my eyes were set on entering the ministry, and today I serve the King of Kings. By the time Ronnie graduated he was just like his closest friends...spiritually weak and disinterested. To this day, 18 years later, Ronnie is totally unconcerned about following Jesus, and completely miserable.
In the words of one pastor: "If you drop a white glove in the mud...the mud doesn't become 'glovey'...the glove becomes muddy." This is especially true in relationships. Christian teens that continue with godless friendships will themselves become godless.
Maybe you need to make some decisions right now about your inner circle of friends. Don't put it off! The whole direction of your spiritual life hangs in the balance...


  1. On a scale of 1-10 (1=bad, 10=good), what kind of influence do your friends have on your spiritual life?
  2. Do you really think that "bad company corrupts good character?"
  3. If your closest friends were put on trial for being Christians- would they be convicted? Would you?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welcome to Graceland

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

Apparently Paul had some kind of "thorn in the flesh"...we may more commonly use "pain in the neck." no one knows for sure what the problem was. We only know he was completely vexed by this thorn, and he begged God three times to take it away.

So how would you like to receive God's answer? The verb Paul uses for "he said" is legei, a form of the verb lego, meaning to stay or speak. But legei is typically reserved for the words of a ruler. God is speaking as king here...and he says no. Not only that, he speaks to Paul using perfect tense. This is what your parents do when they say, "And that's final!"

There are some hopeful elements in this passage. Isn't it good to know that when we are in need of God's grace, our struggle doesn't necessarily mean we lack faith? Don't get caught in the trap of saying, "I asked, nothing happened, and therefore god must not be real, or he must not care about me, or I must not be good enough." He is God. If we dictate his answers to our prayers, we're not really affirming his place as Lord of all.

God depicts our weaknesses as strengths. When we display a strength, it's easy to take credit, but what about when we succeed where all indicators say we should fail? Tim Tebow played his first real football game as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 2011. Though Tebow is super easy to like, he doesn't play like an elite quarterback. He has a funny throwing motion. his arm isn't the strongest. No one expected him to have success. Yet in his first season, Tebow led Denver Broncos into the play-offs. Tim Tebow will be the first to tell you that even on his worst days, God is racking up victories in his life.

It's okay if things are out of order in your life right now. you are a broken vessel. Let God do his thing, which is to glorify himself through spite of your limitations. Let him be strong.

Action Step

Write your greatest weakness on a slip of paper and put it on your mirror. every time you see it, ask god to glorify himself right there!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Being a Famous Christian

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos wanted it, but it was God who made it grow. It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

Katie Davis was only nineteen when she turned her back on our culture's celebrity-driven world. She left her cute clothes and her even cuter convertible, and a boyfriend she hoped she might marry one day. she left behind good-hair days and the gym she loved to frequent. She even left her parents...and her dream of attending college.
God called her to the red dirt of Uganda. Don't miss this: she was nineteen when she was called. Within just a few years, she became the adoptive mother of fourteen Uganda girls. She left the "celebrity" of a good life in the United States for the grand promotion to do what God called her to do.
In a way, she is a celebrity. There's a New York Times bestselling book about her life. But not the kind that's self-made. She didn't invite fame. It came when she wasn't looking for it. It came while she was obediently living out 1 Corinthians 3:4-7.
Katie lives the truth that each of us should do the work of God calls us to. No one person is more important than the other. One pastor preaches to a few thousand each week. Another, to a home church of fifteen. Both are important. One nineteen-year-old gets a record deal with a Christian label. Another goes to live on the on the red dirt of Uganda. Both are important. One teenage girl leads a Bible study club in her public school. Another prays for her. Both important. 
Fame tries to assign greater importance to one person than another. How do we fight that? It's true, some gifts are more visible than others, but we need to learn to regard gifts of service, prayer, and mercy as monumental forces in God's economy, because they are! Regard the people you are with at a concert as more vital than the artists on stage. Let's face are not likely to get more than a passing smile from the artist, but you get to do life with your friends.

Action Step

Check out Katie's story at and learn about her exciting work in Uganda. Ask your youth leader to do a round table discussion of this topic at youth group soon.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Makes Heaven Weep?

Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, "Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well"...but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? (James 2:15-16)

What might an observant teacher conclude about a student who looks exhausted, wears rumpled clothing or the same outfit several days in a row, and often keeps late hours at school hanging out in such places as a locker room or a student lounge? That's easy, right? There are thought to be about 1.5 million homeless teens and kids in the United States, but as you can imagine, counting people who have no permanent address is not quite an exact science! In 2005, the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, alone estimated there were 5,500 homeless students enrolled in public schools!

Keith Green, an early pioneer of Christian Rock, wrote these words in a song called "Asleep in the Light":
'Cause he brings people to your door
And you turn them away
As you smile and say
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
'Cause Jesus came to your door
You've left him out on the streets

It sure does seem something is required of us, doesn't it? While it may not seem like a lot can be are in school, you don't have much expendable income, and your parents may be wary of a radical response on your part to the homeless...the mandate is pretty clear nonetheless. We are supposed to take action on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have needs.

Action Step

  1. Read Matthew 25:31-46. Where do you see yourself in this parable? Are you a sheep or a goat?
  2. Is it true that obedience is not defined by what we don't do but by what we do for the world that God so loves.
  3. What is one simple thing you could do to help?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Taxes Are due, Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship. -Deuteronomy 26:1-2

Whether you have a job or not, you probably already know the date taxes are due in this country. Yep, we usually pay up on April 15. Here are some crazy facts about the anxiety surrounding the date taxes are due:
  • The number of traffic accidents increases one week before April 15.
  • An accountant will put in seventy-hour workweeks during tax season.
  • About 15 percent of Americans think it's okay to cheat on taxes.
God calls us to be careful managers of the resources he provides. Maybe you have heard people chatting excitedly about tax refund they are about to receive and big plans they have for all that "free money." The reason people get money returned is they are having too much withheld from each paycheck in the fist place. In essence, what you have done is lent money to the government but charged no interest. If you put that money in your own bank or better yet in something called a mutual fund, you could be earning interest on it!

As to giving...America is one of the few remaining countries offering citizens a tax credit for charitable giving. To make this simple, if I earn one hundred dollars but have given away forty dollars, I only have to pay taxes on the sixty I didn't give away. You'll notice how this helps on taxes once you start filing more complex forms (not the normal teen-friendly 1040EZ). So giving to those in need is not only good management of money, but it also falls right in line with our character as followers of Jesus. We should seek to give as much as possible , and not just the leftovers. First fruits were the best, the ripest, and the most delectable part of the harvest. these were to be brought to the place of worship so God's people would learn to glorify God first and satisfy self later.

Action Step

Give before you buy this week. Until you have given your tithe.

Monday, October 7, 2013

That’s what makes you beautiful

Where is beauty found?

One Direction are right! When it comes to beauty, many of us feel “insecure”. And the lads have got it right in saying that beauty is more than skin deep, that you “don't need make up to cover up”. At this point One Direction are heading in the right... direction. But then I start to get confused when the guys say "The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed'". Is that also what makes someone beautiful?
Our world is full of mixed messages about beauty, what it is and how we can get it. Beauty has become a valuable commodity and we will try anything to become more beautiful.

God's definition of beauty

So what really makes you beautiful?
God has a surprising answer in 1 Peter 3:3-6
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands,  like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
According to God, what makes you beautiful is the “inner self”, a “gentle and quiet spirit” (v.4-5). In God’s sight, inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. The way to really “light up the world” is not by flipping your hair or smiling at the ground, but by developing your inner self.

Inner beauty lasts longer

Not only does inner beauty hold more value to God, but inner beauty doesn’t fade with age. We obsess over how clear our skin is, but one day our faces will be lined and wrinkled. We work hard at having the perfect hair, but one day it will be grey and wiry. But the hope of heaven that we have in Jesus means that beauty coming from a gentle and quiet spirit is a beauty of eternal significance, which doesn’t fade.
So, whenever you spend time on your physical appearance, why not commit to a parallel effort to enhance your inner beauty? Perhaps next time you read a chapter in a fashion or fitness magazine, you could then read a chapter from the Bible or a Christian book. Or, after you have finished your morning “beauty routine”, spend some time praying, addressing some inner blemishes or flaws. And every morning when you look in the mirror to check your outward appearance, do a “soul check”. Scrutinize what’s on your conscience, what’s in your heart. Then decide what the focus of your day will be: the hair and the skin, or the person within?
Yes, that’s what will make you beautiful.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Christian girls in a sexy world


Each day we are being fed messages about how girls and women should be. The world shouts out that all women are and should be sexy. It is in the television shows and movies we watch, the internet sites we browse, the songs we listen to, the magazines we flip through and even on the billboards we drive by every day. The world tells us that the ideal woman is hot, sexy, sassy and on the prowl.

At school the message is no different. When I was at school, social groups were roughly divided by the clothes girls wore. Generally the shorter the skirt and more flimsy the blouse, the more popular you were with the girls and the more attention you received from boys – I gather the world hasn’t changed much since I left school. The message we receive at school is that if you dress sexy and engage in sexual behaviour the more popular you are in the social scheme. It is a case of the “survival of the prettiest”.

However, these messages are not what God tells his daughters.


Your worth and value are not based on your body nor on being sexy. We need to get real about this. Genesis 1:27, 31 and Genesis 2:23-25 express the goodness of our physical bodies which God created. We are made in the image of God and this should be where our value is found. However, we do live in a fallen world where the goodness of creation and relationship have been broken. In our obsession with our bodies and clothing to gain value and acceptance, we make idols of ourselves. We need to realign ourselves with God’s values.

1 Samuel 16:7 expresses that while humans look at outward appearance,God is concerned with our heart and character more than our bodies or clothes. Furthermore, this side of the cross, our identity as Christians lies in Christ and not our outward appearance. We need to be counter-cultural! God loves us (1 John 4:6), has chosen us (Ephesians 1:4) and wants us to be conformed to the image of his son (Romans 8:29) and not the ideal body image. Remind yourself and your sisters that you are a dearly loved child of His.


The Bible teaches quite clearly on modesty and sexuality. Ephesians 5:3says ‘But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.’This ‘hint’ includes both our actions and our appearance. God desires that sex, a good thing created by Him, be enjoyed only in a man-woman marriage relationship. Genesis 2:24talks of the beautiful union between a man and his wife as does Song of Songs. Elsewhere the Bible warns of the consequences of not respecting the place of sex within marriage such as Hebrews 13:4. Women are encouraged also to dress modestly and develop inner beauty, (1 Peter 3:3-6). This is what God desires for his daughters – not because he is a killjoy but because he loves us and in fact knows what will bring us more joy!


Girls – we need to get real about the effect our bodies and actions have on men. If you dress sexy you may receive unwanted attention, or may become tempted to become involved in ungodly sexual behaviours. Furthermore, we need to love our Christian brothers at all times – not just youth group or church!

Sometimes we would like to argue that it is our right to wear what we want and it is the boys' fault for thinking such “bad” things. This is not Christ-like. We need to lay down our lives (and our rights) to love others and encourage them onto godliness. When we dress sexy this isn’t helping our brothers. Think about what messages you are sending when you are buying clothes and getting dressed. Girls, let’s be real with each other too and point out when your sister may be inadvertently immodest especially when the weather warms up.


Sex and being sexy has a time and place that God is all for – within the marriage relationship. Baring our bodies and engaging in sexual practices belong there. I urge you sisters to wait till then to be a sexy Christian girl. Any hint before then is only damaging to your brothers and yourself. Be girls who seek to love God with their hearts, minds, bodies and clothes.