In Matthew 18:8-9 Jesus said, If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to have only part of your body but have life forever. That is much better than to have two hands and two feet but be thrown into the fire that burns forever. If your eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better for you to have only one eye but have life forever. That is much better than to have two eyes but be thrown into the fire of hell. These verses are baffling and bizarre. Jesus was not being literal when he suggested people cut off their hands and feet, and gouge out their eyes. He was telling us to metaphorically cut off the parts of our lives that lead us into sin. Jesus mentioned three body parts - feet, hands and eyes. Is there somewhere that you feet shouldn't go - a party, nightclub, friend's house? Are there things that you hands do that they shouldn't - take and post photos, type unkind comments online? Are there things that your eyes see that cause you to be tempted and sin - movies, television shows, YouTube videos, pornography? If going to these places, doing, or seeing these things cause you to be tempted and sin, cut them off. Don't put yourself in a position where you can be tempted. When I was a teenager I put myself in situations that led me to be tempted. Sometimes I resisted, sometimes I didn't. I went to some high school parties, read some magazines, saw some movies, that distracted me from living the holy life that God planned for me. I know that saying no to some of the things that your friends are doing will feel like cutting off your hand or foot, but it's better to have life forever than to enjoy the temporary pleasure of sin now.
Challenge: What is God convicting you to give up that is causing you to be tempted and sin?
James 1:12 says, God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him. Faith is believing that Jesus died and rose again so that you can enjoy eternal life in God's family. It is trusting that he is in control, even when everything is going wrong.
It's a bit like flying on a plane. When I get on a plane I trust that the pilot knows what he is doing and that the plane has been maintained properly. I trust that, even though the plane is heavy, it will get into the air, stay there, then land safely at the other end. Faith is also trusting that even when there is turbulence and your juice spills and the luggage compartments drop open, you will get safely to your destination.
Do you find it easy to have faith when everything is going great but struggle the minute things get a bit bumpy? Trust God that he knows what he is doing. So strap yourself in and enjoy the journey.
In Matthew 18 the disciples had just asked Jesus who would be the greatest person in heaven. They were hoping that he would choose one of them but verse 4 says, The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child. This is another example of God's upside down economy. You need to be humble to be great. Little children are humble by nature. They are teachable and completely reliant on others. We should trust in, and rely on God, just like a little child relies on its parents for everything it needs. If you live like a little child with complete trust in God, you will be great in the kingdom of heaven.
This is a great devotional book for teens. It's beautifully presented and would make a great gift too. Emma Mae reminds me of a Disney Princess.
Joy is mentioned 242 times in the New International Version of the Bible. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary *, joy is "the happy state that results from knowing and serving God." It goes on to say, "Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God." It is directly proportional to your relationship with God - a great relationship with God equals great joy.
Romans 15:13 says, I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Joy and hop are closely linked - we experience joy because of the hope that we have in Jesus. That is why we can be joyful no matter what our circumstances. Even in the middle of sickness, a family breakdown, loss, or heartbreak, we can experience joy because we know that one day we will enjoy eternity with Jesus without any of those painful things. James 1:2-3 says, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James is saying to be joyful when you experience hard times because they are developing your character!
Do you feel joyful? If not, you might want to invest some time in your relationship with God.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.