“Look! I stand at the door and knock.
If you hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
(Jesus said that.)
Early in the morning, I love to sit on the couch with a fresh cup of hot coffee and read my Bible. This is my time to be alone with Jesus. I know that He wants to teach me something new about Himself and about myself every time we have early morning coffee together.
After a few years of setting aside this morning time, I noticed that my routine had become more habit than a dedicated time to have coffee with the Lord. One morning as I poured myself a cup of coffee it hit me: If this is really coffee time with my friend, why do I only pour a cup for myself? Starting that morning, I poured two cups of coffee, one for Jesus and one for myself. I sat Jesus’s cup next to mine on the coffee table as a reminder that my friend was with me and this was our time to learn about each other.
When you sit down to read your Bible, are you excited about spending quality time with your friend or is it just something to check off of your to-do list? Next time you sit down to read your Bible, remember that you are spending time with the friend who died for you.
Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God.
You will always harvest what you plant.
At a young age, I understood that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins. When I was just six years old, I asked Him to forgive my sins and thanked him for dying for me. From then on, I was determined to live a life that would make Jesus proud to call me His child. I even told my mother that I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up.
When I started high school I began seeing kids doing all kinds of things that I knew were wrong for me, a follower of Jesus, to do. But they sure looked like they were having fun! Little by little I, too, started doing those things. And pretty soon I was living two lives: I was one person when I was at home and at church and I was someone completely different in school and with my friends.
God patiently let me live my life that way for a few years. But soon my two lives collided and everyone saw how two-faced I had become. By claiming to be a Jesus follower and still willfully doing things I knew were against Jesus, I was literally mocking God.
If we claim to be followers of Jesus, we need to constantly be checking ourselves, monitoring our own behavior, to make sure we are being the people He wants us to be, and never mocking Him.
Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up, so I can look for another drink?”
Every evening after dinner my father would read a chapter out of the Bible. Normally I wouldn’t listen; instead I would be thinking about what I was going to do next. This was especially true during the summer months between my junior and senior years of high school. That was the summer when I started drinking.
One evening my father began reading the 23rd chapter of Proverbs. I spent the first part of the chapter formulating my plan for how I was going to get out of the house so that I could party with my friends. My thoughts were quickly interrupted when I heard him read verse 29! I remember thinking, “The Bible describes a drunk?!”
Until that evening’s reading, I didn’t realize that the Bible had something to say about any situation happening in my life. I didn’t stop drinking until later in life, but I will tell you that every time I got drunk those words from the Bible seemed to run through my mind. That’s how powerful God’s Word is.
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey His commands. Yes, He humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell.
The Old Testament tells the story about how God took His people, the Israelites, out of Egypt where they had been slaves for hundreds of years. As good as it was for the Israelites to no longer be enslaved, they then found themselves hiking through the desert for forty years! As you know, the desert doesn’t have much of vegetation so there wasn’t much food for God’s people to eat. But God took care of their hunger pains: Every morning God rained down manna (a bread-like food) for His people to eat.
As these verses say, He provided food for His people “to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” God provides you and your child with food to nourish your physical body. He wants you to remember that reading His word, the Bible, provides you with spiritual nutrition that is needed for your soul.
Are you spending time feeding on God’s Words? Are you finding creative ways to feed God’s word to your child? One good way to feed your child’s spirit is by reading him a Bible story before bedtime. It will provide you with a chance to spend some special time with your child, while allowing them to learn God’s word.
(Today's reading was written by Marcia Furrow. Marcia served as a Mentor for Teen Mother Choices for 10 years.)
[Moses said to the people of Israel,]
“The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.”
I have a friend who is an expert when it comes to crafts. She has the ability to look over any project that I’ve made a mess of and turn it into something so beautiful that I can’t wait to display it! Although my friend is clearly gifted by God to do all sorts of crafts, she has a difficult time believing that God would use those talents for His glory.
After Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and they began their journey through the desert, God instructed him to build a tabernacle, a portable church that certain men would carry in front of the people as they traveled. God intended the tabernacle to be a reminder that He was always with them. God had very specific plans for what it should look like and because He is the God of the universe and He deserves nothing but the best, this tabernacle would be exquisitely beautiful. God had given a man named Bezalel “great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.” Because of these gifts, Bezalel was chosen to build the tabernacle.
What talents has God created in you? Whatever skills He has given you, consider how you might be able to use those gifts to serve Him and others.
Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God
and only later counting the cost.
Opening my mailbox one day, I found an envelope from a credit card company. The envelope read, “Pay no interest for the first 30 days!” That grabbed my attention and I quickly filled out the application, put it in the self-addressed envelope, and dropped it in the mail. Within just a few days I had a new credit card. The problem was I hadn’t read through the application’s fine print and after using the card for a few months I learned that after that first month, the interest rate went up to 26 percent! Because I had signed a contract with this credit card company, I had to pay the fees.
How many times do I make a promise to God, or anyone else for that matter, and when it comes time to fulfill that promise I want to back out of the agreement? Before you promise anything, whether it’s to God, another person, or even a credit card company, think it through thoroughly. Don’t promise something too quickly; it may cost you more than you ever thought.
Wherever your treasure is,
there the desires of your heart will also be.
If you really want to know what is important to you, look at your checkbook register or your credit card statements.
How and where a person spends their money says a lot about that person. For example, if you were to look at my son’s checkbook register, you would find all sorts of electronic stores listed. He loves anything that has to do with computers. And if you were to look at my daughter’s checkbook register, you would find at least five different clothing stores listed. My daughter loves clothes.
God knows the real person who lives inside each of us. He knows what “the desires of your heart” are. He knows where and how you like to spend the money that He has blessed you with. Everything that we have has been given to us by God. That includes the money he allows us to make through our jobs.
Have you pulled out your checkbook register lately? How many restaurants are listed? How many clothing store names do you see? Is there enough money left in your bank account to pay the bills this month?
Remember, God blessed you with your money. Be wise in how you spend it.
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows--
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
Being a teen mom is not easy. Not only are you struggling to take care of yourself, you have a little one who needs you to care for his or her every need. Not only do you have to get yourself to school, you have to get your baby to childcare. If your baby’s father is not active in your baby’s life, you have to be both mother and father to your child. And when you are trying desperately to make a better life for yourself, it can be very lonely.
When you find yourself feeling lonely or overwhelmed, remember Psalm 68:5. The God who created this world and loved humankind so much that He came to die for us so that He could have a relationship with us, is the very same God who calls Himself a “father to the fatherless, defender of widows.” (In Bible times any woman who was left on her own to care for her children was considered a widow.) God wants to father your child and wants to be your defender!
As you work your way through your day, remember that the most powerful force in the universe knows you and loves you just as you are.
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
On the corner near my house there is a bank. I like driving past this bank and reading the interesting messages on the marquee. The other day it read, “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” For someone like me who is not a very good planner, this message made a lot of sense. If I want the goals I’ve made to become reality, I have to make a plan.
When Jesus came to earth, He had a goal and a plan. His goal was to make it possible for human beings to have a relationship with God. His plan was to live a perfect life and yet be put to death, not for anything He did but for the things that all humankind did and does. Because Jesus paid in advance for the sins you and I commit, we now have the opportunity to have a one-on-one relationship with the God of the universe! And while that relationship offers us eternal life, Jesus also promised to give us a life worth living here on earth—“a rich and satisfying life.”
Have you accepted Jesus’s perfect plan for your life?
A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind Him through the crowd and touched His robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of Him and told Him what she had done. And He said to her,
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.
Your suffering is over.”
Mark 5:25-30 and 34
This poor woman had her period constantly for twelve years! In Old Testament times when a woman was menstruating she was considered unclean and as long as she had her period she wasn’t allowed to be in public because anyone she touched would also be considered unclean. That’s why this woman trembled when she had to tell Jesus it was she who had touched Him. She could be sure that Jesus would be very angry with her for causing Him to be unclean. Jesus wasn’t angry. Not only did He heal her, He called her His daughter, claiming her as His own.
This woman’s story is a reminder to us that there is nothing dirty in our lives that Jesus can’t take care of. There is no reason He won’t claim us as His, as long as we come to Him in faith.
Christa is the founder of Teen Mother Choices and Teen Mother Choices International.