#Prayerlife

Taylor shouldered through the people gathered at the entrance to the event center. “What’s going on?” he asked his friend Drake, who was busy looking around. Drake jumped. “Dude, you scared me. I told you not to sneak up on me like that!” Taylor laughed. “Man, you in a crowd full of people. How you gonna say I snuck up on you?” The two boys bumped fists. Drake turned to Taylor. “You think we can get his autograph? This place is crazy pumped. He might not stay around long enough.” Taylor smiled. “I’m staying all night if I have to. I don’t care how long the line is.” They were finally wanded and waived through. 

When the youth minister had broke the news that Kanye West was going to perform at the conference, the room had exploded. Everyone was bouncing off the walls. Ever since Kanye had announced his conversion to Chirstianity, Taylor’s entire youth group had been praying for him. They had talked and recognized that Kanye was in a strategic position to affect millions of people for the cause of Christ.

Taylor and Drake found a place to sit and made their way back out to get drinks from a vendor. Their youth minister had told them there was no way they could sit together as a group so they were told to break into groups of two or three and find somewhere to sit. They’d meet up in the lobby before leaving. The lines for the vendors were long because there were so many people. Drake looked around anxiously. “Man, I hope we don’t miss him waitin’ in this line.” Taylor nodded his head. Drake turned toward Taylor. “Are you listening to me?” Taylor nodded again. Drake noticed that Taylor had his eyes closed. “What are you doing?” Taylor finally opened his eyes wide and stared at Drake. “I’m tryna pray man! You keep interruptin’!” Drake held up his hands. “My bad. What you prayin’ for?” Taylor looked up at the ceiling and tried to avoid the question. “Taylor!” Drake crossed his arms and stood there with raised brows. Taylor looked at the ground and rubbed the back of his neck. “I was praying that we’d get to get Kanye’s autograph.” Drake rolled his eyes. “And how does that benefit the K.O.G.?” Taylor laughed. Their youth leader had shortened Kingdom of God to K.O.G. and created a song to the tune of O.P.P., which they later found out was some dirty song from the 90s. 

“I guess it doesn’t. I just really wanted to meet him. I know he hasn’t always been a good role model but I’ve been praying for him.” Drake nodded his head. “Yeah, me too.” They finally made it to the front of the kiosk and were about to place their order when some guy in a hoodie rushed up and broke the line. “Hey man, can I get ahead? He shook Taylor’s hand and quickly ordered from the vendor. “I need a water.”  Taylor was too shocked to react. As he released the man’s hand he caught a glimpse of his face. Taylor’s mouth dropped open and the guy put a finger to his lips as he grinned. He disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. Drake ordered and bumped Taylor. “What’re you gettin, man?” Taylor came to himself and placed his order and paid. As they walked back to their seat, Taylor realized that God had answered his prayer above and beyond more than he had asked for.    

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18

OPERATION: ACTIVATE

What is your prayer life like? Have you positioned yourself to receive all that God wants to give you? Live holy, love God, love others. Pray for others, especially those in places of authority or influence for the Kingdom of God. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Fear Of Missing Out

FOMO

David stared at himself in the mirror for a long time. What had he done? How did this happen? His heart ached so much in his chest that he felt strangled. What was he going to do now? He was such a fool. Anger at himself welled up and he punched the mirror, breaking it and cutting his knuckles badly. 

“David?” His Dad called.

David scrambled to get to his bathroom and wash his hand off before his dad came in.

“What happened?” His dad looked at the mess of the mirror and David’s hand wrapped in a towel. David couldn’t meet his father’s eye. He was so ashamed of what he’d done. 

“I’m sorry, Dad. I’ll pay for the mirror. I didn’t mean to make a mess.” David’s dad sat down in his desk chair.

“Forget the mirror. What’s going on?” 

David stared a hole in the floor. “Nothing.” 

Dad sat silent, waiting. David’s heart began to pound. He recognized the feeling. It was the same pounding, sick feeling he’d gotten when it was over. Conviction. He tried to swallow it down but he just couldn’t. He looked up at his dad and everything just broke loose. He began sobbing as his dad wrapped his arms around him. Dad led him over to the bed to sit down and continued to hold him until he had stopped crying. “Dad, I messed up so much.” His dad just continued to comfort him.

“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on, okay? We’ll try to make it right.” David jumped up from the bed.

“I can’t make this right, Dad!” David exploded. Dad held up his hands. “Whoa. Let’s talk. Just tell me what happened.” David felt horrible for yelling at his dad. “I messed up.” David’s throat worked as he tried to keep from crying again. “Shea and I had sex.” David hung his head and sat down in the desk chair. “I thought it would be great, but all I feel is empty. The guys at school made it seem so cool and it felt like I was missing out. Now I just feel sick.” Dad knelt in front of David so he could look him in the eye. “David, the reason you feel sick is because you have violated God’s commands. You have taken something that doesn’t belong to you and you have given away something that doesn’t belong to you. You got caught up in covetousness and now you know it never fulfills the promises it makes. It only makes you sick.” David wiped his eyes.” “Covetousness? I thought that was just wanting something that someone else had.”

“It is.” Dad said. “You wanted to experience what someone else had experienced. Coveting doesn’t always involve ‘things’. As you’ve discovered, it can also involve experiences. Wanting to know how something feels can get you in just as much, if not more, trouble than wanting some thing that someone else has.” David nodded.

“I was just so afraid I was missing out. I wanted to be like everyone else.” He replied.

“But you’re not like everyone else. Remember? We are called to be set apart. Different. You will never miss out on what God has for you because He will send it when He knows when you’re ready to receive it.” David sat back down on the bed next to his father. “So what do I do now?” He asked.

“Well, you can’t change what you’ve done, but you can ask for forgiveness and choose to live God’s way until you are married. I know it’s not easy, but God gave us boundaries for a purpose. This will be a hard learned lesson, but I know you can make the right choice. You want me to pray with you?” 

David nodded his head and they knelt beside the bed. 

Follow up Verse

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:1-2 

OPERATION: ACTIVATE

Is fear of missing out (FOMO) ruling your life? Reflect on your current situation. Are you living within the safety of God’s boundaries for you? If not, repent and choose to return to God. He loves you and only wants what’s best for you. Living His way will cast out FOMO and free you to live a life that glorifies God.

https://www.learnreligions.com/lies-teens-tell-themselves-on-sex-and-dating-712550

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

When We Don’t Get Our Way

Working For Him

“Mom, I didn’t get the job.” Emily sniffed and her voice broke. “She didn’t even let me finish the application. She just took it and said ‘It’s fine’ and then said she’d think about it.” Mom held the phone close and listened carefully.

“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry. What happened?” Mom could tell that Emily was upset. She could almost see the hurt on Emily’s face.

“She asked me if I was applying for the host position or the bus person position. I said I wanted the host position because I didn’t like dirty dishes.”

“Oh dear,” said Mom. 

“She wasn’t very interested in me after that.” She sniffed. “That wasn’t what I meant though, and she didn’t give me an opportunity to explain.” Emily started crying again.

Mom was nodding her head, then realizing she was on the phone and Emily couldn’t see her, she said, “I’m so sorry, honey. I know how it feels to be misunderstood.”

“I’m going home.” Emily said.

“Okay, baby. But, don’t feel too bad. Maybe this was God’s way of protecting you from a bad situation. That woman might not have been a very good person to work for.”

Emily sniffed again. “What do you mean?”

“Well, remember when I didn’t get that job I wanted? I was sad for a while until I heard what it was like to work for the person that is the manager.  When I heard how he micromanaged everyone I was glad that I didn’t get the job.”

Emily huffed. “Yeah, but I hate my job now! I thought it was going to be great but it’s awful!”

“I understand.” Mom said. “But God may have placed you there for a purpose. Have you thought about that?” Emily sniffed again. “No.” She paused a moment. “Why would God put me somewhere that I’m miserable?”

“That’s a good question. Have you asked yourself why you’re miserable? Are you too focused on the negative instead of the positive? Have you asked God why you are there?” There was another long pause before Emily responded.

“No, not really.”  

“When I start to get down about not having the job I want, I remember that I am working for God, not myself.” Mom paused before continuing.  “I didn’t get the job. Maybe it was because I would have settled. I would have achieved what I wanted, not necessarily what God wanted, and I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t have trusted in God so much as in myself.”

“I guess I never thought about it that way.” Emily said. “Maybe I need to pray about God wants instead of what I want.”

Mom smiled. “I think that is an excellent idea. I’ll pray with you.”

Emily smiled too. “Thanks Mom.”

Follow up Verse

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 NLT

OPERATION: ACTIVATE

Are you seeking your own plans or God’s plans for you? He has a great plan and a future full of hope for you. Pray for His guidance in your life. Work wholeheartedly and focus on serving Him instead of man (the world).  

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Spiritual Gifts

Y-O-U-nique

Sarah watched as Avery took the stage to deliver her candidacy speech. I wish I could do that. Avery spoke with such passion and conviction. Everything she did was amazing. She was going to win the presidency for sure. After the assembly, the classes voted. Avery was announced as student council president. There was lots of clapping and hooting as everyone congratulated Avery on her win. 

After school, Sarah went to the math lab for tutoring. Sarah’s teacher, Mr. Peters, had convinced her to volunteer on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s after school, helping other students who were struggling in math. Sarah loved math and quickly grasped new concepts. She also seemed to have a talent for explaining those concepts to others in a way that made sense. She had received many thanks and compliments from both teachers and students.

When she entered, Sarah was surprised to see Avery signing in. What was she doing here? Was she here to tutor students? Were they going to replace Sarah with Avery? Suddenly Sarah was very nervous. She approached the table where Mr. Peters was assigning students to small groups and individual tutors.

“Oh, Sarah! You are just in time. I need you to work with Avery today.” Sarah noticed that Avery looked a little embarrassed to be there. “Sure.” She turned and indicated a small table in the corner. “How about over there?” Avery nodded and made her way over as Sarah picked up her materials from the teacher. “Hey, a word of advice. Avery really struggles in math and she can be argumentative. I placed her with you because I believe you can help her. Just be patient.” Mr. Peters smiled as he handed Sarah their things.

Sarah was surprised. Avery struggles with something? Sarah said a quick prayer as she made her way over to where Avery waited looking anxiously at her math work.  They spent the next hour going over Avery’s math, Sarah explaining where Avery was missing steps or getting the formulas confused.

“Oh my goodness!” Avery sighed. “I feel like I’ve learned more math in the last hour than I have in the last four years. I wish I could be like you.” Avery began packing her things.

“Me? That’s crazy. You’re senior class president and involved in more clubs that I can count. You’re so confident and commanding. I wish I could be more like you.” Sarah completed the tutoring log and passed it to Avery to sign.

“You know, this reminds me of my devotion verse from this morning. I hadn’t figured out how to apply it until now. It’s 1 Peter 4:10-11, ‘God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.’” Avery finished signing the log. “I don’t understand math like you do and I am definitely not patient enough to explain it like you did. You totally have the gift of helping others. My mom says I have always been assertive, so being a leader is like my gift. Both gifts are important and both should be used to glorify God. But we each have a gift that is unique to us.” 

“Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way before.” Sarah smiled at Avery. “A Y-O-U-nique gift.” 

Avery laughed. “That’s one way to put it!”

Follow Up Verse

1 Peter 4:10-11 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

OPERATION: ACTIVATE

What gift(s) has God given you? Are you using them to serve His kingdom? If you’re not sure, ask God to reveal to you what your gift is and how He wants you to use it. 

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

Made New

Someone Like Me

Steph sat in the conference with her head bowed and her heart pounding. The speaker, a pastor, had talked about how Jesus had changed the life of so many people. He gave example after example of person after person. People with anxiety, people with depression, people who were bullied for being different; all kinds of people. But not people like me, she thought.

Steph’s friend Gemma had invited her to go to this youth conference over winter break. Steph had thought it would be fun. She could hang out, shop, and get away from her life for a little while. She hadn’t planned on this. She wasn’t prepared to face the questions and deal with all the realness of it.

“You can have the same freedom that Sam and Alex and Jennifer have experienced.” The pastor continued. Steph’s heart continued to pound. She wanted that freedom. But what would people think about her? Especially someone like me. 

“Don’t worry about what others may think. This is a decision only you can make. Reach out and grab a friend if you need to. Come. Counselors are waiting to talk to you.”

Steph thought she might throw up. The harder her heart pounded, the more sick she became. She reached out and took Gemma’s hand.  When their eyes met, Gemma started crying and pulled Steph into a tight hug. “Can I come with you?” she whispered into her ear. Steph wasn’t able to speak so she just nodded. Hand in hand, they walked to the front to meet with a counselor. 

With every step, Steph was bombarded with misgivings. What am I doing? Maybe this isn’t a good idea. Jesus will never accept someone like me. I’ve made too many mistakes. Thoughts raced through her mind as they walked through the door to the counseling room. Gemma practically dragged Steph to the middle of the room where a woman was standing holding up a book. 

“Hey, are you available?” Gemma asked her.

“Absolutely! My name is Lynn. Who are we talking to?” Gemma indicted Steph and Lynn turned to face her. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Steph.” Lynn turned to the other girl. “And who are you?” The girl smiled. “I’m Gemma.” Lynn shook both girls hand. Alright, this is my first time doing this and I’m supposed to read this to you and we’ll go from there, okay?” As Lynn read the different options Steph wanted to race out of the room. What was she doing? Jesus was never going to accept someone like her. She really shouldn’t waste this woman’s time. However, when Lynn read the part about knowing Jesus but falling away from Him, Steph’s heart began to burn and tears started pooling in her eyes. “That one.”

“Oh Steph! God has sent me to you. I understand. Let me tell you a little bit about me.” Lynn explained what she’d experienced and how Jesus had changed her on the inside and on the outside. Steph’s heart leaped in hope. Here was someone like her! Lynn continued to encourage Steph with scripture after scripture and story after story. When they finally prayed together, Steph knew that this was the right decision. Just before they left, Lynn pulled her into a hug, then looked deeply into her eyes. “Steph, I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be easy, but you can do this. I’ll be praying for you.” 

Follow Up Verse

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

OPERATION: ACTIVATE 

Have you accepted Jesus as your savior but not lived like it? You can come back! Jesus loves you and promises that you can be made clean and pure and new. Pray, confess your sins, and ask for forgiveness. Make a commitment to really follow Jesus, get into the Word, and find a friend to help you stay accountable. 

Unexpected Idols

The Man (or Woman) In The Mirror

Samantha washed her hands and watched as Tracey touched up her makeup in the mirror of the school restroom. All the girls were complimenting her looks. Even Chase, one of the baseball boys, told her she looked nice today. “Hey, I’ve been looking for you. I was hoping to get your help with something.” She dried her hands while Tracey finished applying more lip gloss. 

“Oh yeah, what with?” Tracey rubbed and smacked her lips together, spreading out the gloss. 

“We need help with the youth car wash fundraiser this Saturday. Can you come?” Tracey scrunched up her nose. “Ugh. I hate washing cars. It’s so sweaty and dirty. Besides, my makeup might get messed up.”

Samantha laughed. “Well, just don’t wear any, silly. We’ll all be getting wet and dirty. We’re there to work, not win a beauty contest.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Tracey said as she packed up her makeup to leave. Samantha was astounded. What was going on with her friend? 

When Samantha got home, she told her mom about the conversation she’d had with Tracey. “She used to care more about serving God than how she looks.”

“Hmm. Sounds like Tracey is making an idol out of her appearance.” Mom said. 

“An idol? I thought an idol was like a little statue that people bowed down to.” said Samantha.

“Oh no.” said Mom. “An idol can be anything that we elevate over God. In Bible times, idols were an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship, like a carved statue. The Bible warns mankind to stay away from idols and to worship God, and Him only. This warning is so important that it is included in the Ten Commandments as number one and number two! Today, our idols might look different. They could be money, our job, our social status, our hobbies, or even our image. That’s why the Bible says in Romans ‘They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–’. You really need to pray for Tracey, and maybe try to talk to her about how she has changed.”

“I’ll try. I really care about Tracey and I don’t want to lose her as a friend.” Samantha said. 

“How about we pray for her right now?” 

Follow Up Verse

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– 2 Timothy 3:2-4

OPERATION: ACTIVATE 

Do you have unexpected idols in your life? Ask God to reveal them to you and ask for forgiveness. Then talk to a trusted adult or accountability partner.

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.