10 tips: Study God’s Word

10. Put time into studying. Don’t rush through Bible reading just so you can say you read. Make time to read, and take your time so you can fully benefit from studying God’s Word.

9. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted. Turn off the radio and TV. Go to a place were you won’t be interrupted or get distracted. Make sure you can stay focused on what you are doing.

8. Study with friends. Gather some friends and study together. You can help each other get through chapters. But make sure to have a personal study, too, so you won’t rely on your friends to study. However, make sure you’re studying God’s Word––don’t get distracted with unrelated issues.

7. Figure it out. If you don’t understand a verse, go back and re-read the chapter. If you still don’t understand, ask someone to help you understand.

6. Read something you’re interested in. Find a favorite story or event that you enjoyed hearing about as a child.

5. Take notes. Jot down any questions about the reading so you don’t forget to ask about them later. Writing a summary is also a good way to help you understand what you are reading. Also write down verses you love and memorize them or post them where you’ll see them often.

4. Read regularly. Skipping days when busy is very easy to do, and if we’re not careful, before we know it we won’t be reading at all anymore. It’s important to make study a priority even when we’re busy. In no time it will be a part of your normal routine.

3. Have a plan. Decide to read through a certain book, then do it in small amounts at a time. This will allow for much more learning than just reading random pages each time.

2. Make sure you are studying for the right reasons and not just because that’s what you are supposed to do. Pray that you will desire to study God’s Word so that you can become a more mature Christian.

1. Pray before studying. Ask God to help clear your mind of distractions and open your heart to understand and love His Word.

By Kim Cook

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Starting things off

This is the third “Top 10 List” I have written, and I’m still figuring out how to do this in a way that will help you, the readers, but still be enjoyable to read. Upon receiving the subject for the August issue, “Pierce my heart to make a statement at school,” I began thinking about what to write. I recently had some of my friends over, and many of us talked about all the problems and experiences that have happened during high school. After everyone left, I decided to use our own experiences during high school to write a brand new Top 10 list, one that tells the truth about high school, from my perspective. I feel that I have a lot to say to future and current high school students so they will not make the same mistakes that I have made or that I have seen others make.

Top 10 Things that Define High School: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

10.) Dating: Many of us want to have the perfect high school relationship. We need to be careful, though, because a guy might seem like the best guy ever at first, but it could be an act––just be aware of that. Dating in high school is not the best thing; some girls will even say they wish they hadn’t dated in high school at all. I am not saying not to date; just date wisely.  Please remember this one thing that I have learned from experience: don’t think you can change a boy, because in the end, you are the one that is changed, which is not what God wants, if our change doesn’t glorify Him (Romans 12:2): “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

9.) Friendship: Don’t worry about having the most friends in high school, because that is not what is important about friendship. In high school, I have found that true friends are the ones who are there for me no matter what, and who don’t try to pull me away from God, but challenge me to grow in Him. Our friendship and well-being really matter to a true friend. Proverbs 3:3-4: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

8.) Gossip: This is possibly one of the worst things about high school. Many people say they hate it, but most people seem to get caught up in it. We should do whatever we can to avoid it because gossip is always hurtful, and can ruin someone’s entire high school reputation. We need to choose our words wisely and refuse to become involved in speech that may hurt someone else. Proverbs 20:19: “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.”

7.) Parties: Many high school parties consist of three things: sex, drugs, and alcohol. At these parties, some people do things they will regret. Some people will tell us that we need to go to these parties in order to be part of the whole high school experience. I say, “Why? So that I can have a night that I can’t remember, while acting like a person who I would be ashamed of later?” I think I’ll pass. We can have a great high school experience without going to these parties. By going to alcohol-intended or unchaperoned parties, we are just introducing the temptation. First Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to “avoid every kind of evil.”

6.) Schoolwork: I have done a lot of assignments that I have disliked, but I have also done some that I really enjoyed. All of the assignments are important to do because they all count for something, and the grades we make now will have an impact on our future. I know it is really easy to slack off and just get by, but most of us probably do not want to spend our senior year of high school stressed out and working extremely hard just so we can graduate. We should work very hard each year. The earlier we develop good study habits the better, because we will become accustomed to our study habits, and it is easier to keep good habits than to change the bad ones. We are in school to learn; everything else is just extra. Proverbs 14:23: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

5.) Teachers: There are going to be ones we don’t like very much, and there are going to be ones that we love. Take the advice they offer, because teachers are often much wiser than we give them credit for; they have been a student before, and they do have a lot of experience. (We do, however, need to be careful not to take advice from non-Christian teachers if their advice does not go along with God’s word.) One day we may need to go to a teacher for college and/or job recommendations; it will be important that we have earned their praise and proven ourselves deserving of a positive recommendation. Proverbs 1:3-5: “For acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young––let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”

4.) Influences: In high school, there are good and bad influences. If the influences cause us to rebel against our parents, our morals and values, and ultimately, God, then we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be under that influence—we should run from it!. I know high school can seem like a time to rebel against authority, and we might even get away with going to that party or hanging out with people we weren’t supposed to be around, but we never know when it is going to catch up with us, and even if we never get in trouble, we are disobeying God. Second Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

3.) Maturity: During high school there are many opportunities to become the bigger person in a situation. Make sure to take advantage of those times, because people will see that, and that will display to them our maturity. The characteristics of a Christian are those of a mature person. The more mature we are, the more responsibilities and freedoms others will give us, allowing us to demonstrate even more maturity. During our high school years we have a chance to find ourselves and figure out what kind of person we really want to be. Hopefully, more than anything, we find ourselves to be a child of God, who longs to serve Him. The best part is we get to mature into that person. First Corinthians 14:20: “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.”

2.) Memories: High school is filled with them and if we want to leave a good legacy behind, we need to act like godly people. Proverbs 10:7: “The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.” High school should be a time of little worries and a lot of opportunities to have fun. We need to be careful not to wish our high school years away. There will be times when all we want is to be done with school, but before we know it, school will be over, and at times we may wish for more time in high school and more chances to do everything over.

1.) Newness: Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Freshman year is generally the year that everything is new and fun. This is a perfect year to establish friendships with people who have similar values as us and who will encourage us to be godly people.
Sophomore year is a perfect year to befriend the incoming Freshmen and make them feel welcome and comfortable in their surroundings.
Junior year is a great year to really begin thinking about colleges and future goals, and to work toward those goals, because other areas of high school are generally already established, allowing more room to focus on the future instead of just the present.
Senior year is full of excitement, anticipation, and memories. We should be a godly example to others, share the word of God to everyone around (which we should always be doing), and end our high school career knowing that we did everything we could do to help increase God’s kingdom, because sharing the Word of God is the most important statement any of us will ever make.

By Kim Cook

Show Your Freedom

Top ten ways to show your freedom in Christ:

10. Invite people to church, gospel meetings, youth activities, and anything else going on in your church.

9. Show others Christ’s love by serving them (Matthew 25:35-40).

8. Act like a daughter of Christ, because actions speak louder than words.

7. Dress appropriately, because it is hard to convince someone you’re a real Christian when you don’t look like a Christian.

6. Talk with your brothers and sisters in Christ about your lives so you can help each other grow.

5. Befriend people you want to share the gospel with. People are more likely to listen to someone who they know cares about them.

4. Avoid unchristian-like places and activities such as alcohol parties and unchaperoned events, because if you’re at these events, people will automatically assume you’re not a sincere Christian.

3. Read your Bible in public (be careful to not be self righteous or condemning).

2. Share the Bible passages you’re reading about with others around you.

1. Pray with others, for others, and for yourself, that you will have the strength and knowledge to share God’s word.

By Kim Cook

Make June Worthwhile

Top Ten Ways to Make Your Month of June Worthwhile

10.) Start a movie night! Get friends together and watch a movie. You can make it a weekly thing, and you can have theme nights like Disney movies, or even do a television series.

9.) Go to a museum or art center! Call your local art museum or art center and check when they have free days. Take a bunch of friends, or go by yourself.

8.) Have a Girls’ Night In! Do makeovers, facials, eat junk food, cook something together, and just have fun being with the girls. Don’t forget to take pictures!

7.) Get involved in a community service project! There are organizations around your community that are sure to love your help. See our “Helping Hands” column for great service projects you can do!

6.) Go to the mall! If you don’t have money to spend, don’t worry. Just bring a friend and window shop, or go to the record store and have fun listening to new music.

5.) Go to the park! Be a kid for the day; maybe even have a picnic.

4.) Get ice cream! Gather some friends together after church; there is nothing like a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.

3.) Start a Bible study! Since being out of school means you have more free time, get some friends together and have a Bible study. There is nothing like being with your friends and studying God’s word. For great ideas to get started, check out our Weekly Devotional, Daily Bible Reading, or Monthly Spread the Word column.

2.) Go to a lake, river, or ocean! Spend a day with friends, relax and have some fun. See our “Adorably Modest” article for cute, modest swimsuits.

1.) Have a bonfire! It is a great way to hang out with friends and start off the summer.

by Kim Cook


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