And yet, O Lord, You are our Father.
We are the clay, and You are the potter.
We all are formed by Your hand.
Have you ever watched a potter working at her wheel? First, she puts a lump of clay on the wheel and then she begins turning the wheel slowly. While her hands firmly press the clay and the wheel spins, the creation gradually takes shape. Perhaps she’s creating a pot or maybe it’s a water pitcher or a beautiful vase. The potter adds just the right touches to make her creation into what she envisions it to be. For example, if she wants it to be a water pitcher, she adds a spout. If it’s to be a pot she will add two handles.
The Bible uses the image of a potter to help describe how God created each of us. Each of us is uniquely different. Romans 12:6 reminds us, “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” In one person God may put musical talents. In another He may put the ability to be an encouragement to others. He molds into each of us the traits that we need to serve Him.
Do you realize that God has created you with the exact traits that He needs for this time in history and in this part of His universe? You were crafted and designed by the greatest potter for a reason ... and on purpose!
Young people, it’s wonderful to be young!
Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do;
take it all in. But remember that
you must give an account to God for everything you do.
Several years ago I taught the Bible book of Ecclesiastes to a group of eighth-graders. It took me a few minutes to get the class to quiet down when we came to chapter 11, verse 9: They started celebrating as soon as they read the first part. “Look! The Bible says because we’re young we’re supposed to do everything we want!” the entire classes shouted at me. Once I got them to calm down, I asked them to read the second part of the verse aloud together: “But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.” Once they had finished the verse, the celebrating stopped. They realized that while God wants us to have fun, He also wants us to remember that some day, when we stand in front of Him, we will have to give an explanation for everything we have done.
Being a teenager is an exciting time. The world is wide open to you; the opportunities to have fun are almost limitless. God wants you to enjoy your life and all that it has to offer. Remembering that some day God will ask you to explain the things you did in your life can serve as a great motivator to focus on enjoying the things in life that honor God and His name.
And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.
My Grandfather was born on the 4th of July, and every year he would say, “The whole country celebrates my birthday!”
As Americans, Independence Day is one of our favorite days of the year; we celebrate our political and national freedom in many ways—with fireworks, picnics, and even worship services. Freedom is an important part of our lives, and our lifestyle.
As free people, we want to promote freedom for all. However, freedom doesn’t mean that we allow anyone to do anything at will, especially if it is harmful to another. Nor should we expect that we can do anything we want to do simply because we want to do it.
For example, we don’t allow our children to eat food that is not good for them, to stay up past their bedtime, or to read books or watch movies that could destroy their innocence.
For a Christian, freedom means that we are freed from the power that sin has on our lives. We are freed from the negativity of a lost soul, from despair, from hopelessness, and from a meaningless existence.
We are freed so that we may follow the Lord Jesus Christ, wherever he leads.
Jesus is the truth. When you know Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior, you will find the freedom you crave. Freedom from materialism, envy, impatience, lovelessness, cluelessness, distrust, and loneliness.
How might you live in freedom today? Will you ask Jesus today to remove the false chains that are binding you, so that you might truly celebrate being free in Him?
(This blog was written by Teen Mother Choices' friend and former Mentor, Marcia Furrow.)
Do not be afraid or discouraged,
for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.
He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.
The year is half over! Can you believe it?! How is this year going for you so far? Has spending a few moments reading God’s word become part of your daily routine?
As a young mother, there are many things you need to do during the course of your busy day. God knows everything that is going on in your life and He desperately wants to be in it.
Continue spending time with Him each day, no matter how busy your day gets. There is so much that God wants you to learn about Him and this wonderful life He has given you. As you move into the second half of this year, recommit yourself to God. Thank Him that He already knows what will take place in the second half of this year and that He promises to never leave you.
“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.
Christa is the founder of Teen Mother Choices and Teen Mother Choices International.