Devotional: Pass It On, Part Two

Devo3Go here to read our introduction for spreading His Word.

What Holds Us Back

We can be pretty selfish.
Have you ever seen a t-shirt or bag that boasted the phrase, “It’s All About ME”? Sometimes we tend to warm up to that idea quickly, don’t we? Did you ever think that one reason we don’t share the gospel with others is for fear that they might actually show interest? We get so wrapped up in the things we want to do and places we want to go, that we don’t like the idea of changing our plans to coincide with His plans. When we become so entwined in ourselves, how can His Spirit work in us? In the passage of Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus says that those who are truly great are those who put themselves last, and serve the needs of others. Do we read anywhere in there that “it’s all about me”? No, of course not; that’s the world’s view, and we can’t love the things in this world! (I John 2:15-17; Romans 12:2) Jesus Himself “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). We must follow our Lord, and be willing to lay aside our plans at any time to help someone better understand the gospel, or to help them when they are in need.

We feel we don’t know enough.
We so frequently inhabit this excuse; and yes, it is nothing more than an excuse! Just like Moses in Exodus 3-4, we know the feeling of reluctance, the feeling of low confidence. When it all boils down, it’s easy to spot that these feelings are due to our lack of study, prayer, and meditation on the Scriptures. We’re told to be ready; we can’t say we didn’t know: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15). “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If you have a small Bible (or if a larger one will fit), bring it wherever you go in your bag or car. If you don’t have a small Bible, ask for a pocket one for Christmas, so it will easily fit in even a small purse. It’s also a good idea to keep a reference notebook of where to find scriptures concerning certain topics. Be prepared to humbly and carefully explain answers to people who ask questions. Even if you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to at the moment, assure them that you will seek an answer and get back with them. It may help to write the person’s name and their question down in a notebook so you won’t forget to find the answer.

Devo4Whenever your fear of loneliness, tendency of excuses, and feelings of inadequacy plague your thoughts, take a breath, say a prayer, and remember—you have the power of the Holy Spirit to help you. Share the things you know with people, direct them to the Bible with their questions, and God will take care of the rest! (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

My Duty

Consider deeply the two words that head this paragraph: My Duty. One thing that I am constantly reminding myself of is that if I know of someone who needs to know the gospel, it’s my duty; I am a child of God, a servant of Christ. Also, we realize it’s our duty. In Luke 17:10, Jesus says to His apostles, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” After all He’s done for us, it truly is the least that we can do to give our lives completely to Him, and do what He asks of us. We’re not always going to do what He asks of us. We are imperfect servants. But God is so merciful and forgiving, that as long as we are pushing along, giving our best to obey Him, Jesus’ blood continually cleanses us from our shortcomings and sin. (1 John 1:6-9; Romans 7:15-8:4) Study the Scriptures, pray for forgiveness when you fail, and pray for strength and courage to fulfill the great duty He’s given you!

Pass It On

As we close, let us read the words to a devotional song by Kurt Kaiser called “Pass It On.” It is a great reminder of what we have to share with the world:

Devo6It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
And soon all those around can warm up to its glowing;
That’s how it is with God’s Love,
Once you’ve experienced it,
Your spread the love to everyone
You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring,
When all the tress are budding
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming;
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring,
You want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend
This happiness that I’ve found;
You can depend on God
It matters not where you’re bound,
I’ll shout it from the mountain tops;
I want the world to know–
The Lord of life has come to me
I want to pass it on.

By Hannah Smith

Health and Fitness: Stress

HaF1Stress is such a big part of our day-to-day lives. No matter what stage of life you are in, there is often some type of stress that you deal with. Stress can build up, leaving us to worry about how we are going to get everything done that we need to get done. We begin making lists of things that need done, and then the list spills over into tomorrow, adding anxiety and guilt over what could not be accomplished and what still needs done. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (NKJV). So what can we do in order to live like Jesus has instructed us? We must learn to manage that stress in a godly way!


Stress can be simply defined as the effects of outside forces on an individual. This is what you are feeling when you have to handle more than you are used to. Stress can be a good thing and can cause your body to react when in danger. Stress can come from external factors, such as your relationships with others, your job, the environment, and from expectations and situations that you experience every day. Stress also comes from internal factors, such as how you react to outside stressors, your nutritional and fitness status, your emotional well-being, and how much rest your body receives. We can become so stressed that it starts to manifest itself mentally, emotionally, and physically. People under severe stress can suffer sleep disturbances, muscle tension, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, fatigue, nervousness, anxiety, loss of enthusiasm or energy, moodiness, a decreased immune system, and a change in eating habits.

How To Manage Stress

Knowing what is causing you to feel stressed will allow you to manage your stress. Once you know what is causing you stress, look for ways that you can relieve the stress. Ask someone for help if you need it. Organize your schedule and do the most important tasks first, instead of waiting until later or taking on too much. For some, it may be as simple as better organizing your time. Look at the ways you have currently been coping with stress. Are they effective and healthy? Look for better ways to relieve your stress if you don’t feel as though yours are working. Make sure you get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Surround yourself with people who are a good support system for you. Sometimes just talking through a situation will make things clearer and your tasks may seem more manageable. Most importantly, don’t forget to pray and ask God for help!

Stress Relief

HaF3You will feel so much better if you can find ways to de-stress. You can come up with your own, or use some from the list below. Think about what makes you feel better and what you enjoy doing. Different things work for different people. No matter what you choose, make sure you try out a few things to see what works best for you. As always, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. has a few suggestions for managing stress:

  • Exercise: regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress.
  • Write: writing can help you get thoughts down on paper and out of your mind, to deal with more efficiently.
  • Let your feelings out: talk, laugh, and cry when you need to with someone that you trust.
  • Do something that you enjoy: a hobby can help you to relax.
  • Learn ways to relax your body: this can include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, aromatherapy, or yoga.
  • Listen to relaxing music, light candles, and take a bubble bath, read, or laugh.

Stress is part of our everyday lives. How you choose to manage it can determine your health. Let us make sure that we are always looking to God for help and instruction on how He wants us to live. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV).

By Sherri Houmard

Dating: Liking Older Guys

Extra14Is it ok I like older guys, as in 2-3 years older, while I’m 14? I have always liked older guys and it seems older guys are the one’s that notice me, (no, I don’t ask them to notice me). Is this ok?

It’s natural for girls to like older boys – it’s exciting to think that we’re mature enough for someone a couple of years older to be interested! And, once we’re adults, the two to three years isn’t such a big deal. But, for now, I suggest proceeding with extreme caution. Think about the age you ideally want to be when you get married – if you want to get married when you’re 24, then you have ten years before your wedding day. If you start dating right now, that’s ten years of temptation in your face before you say “I Do.” It is extremely difficult to date for an extended period of time and remain pure.

In addition to that, we change and grow so much from the time we’re 14 until we’re 20. We’ll continue to change throughout our entire lives, but our teens and early 20s are a time we’re really learning who we are and what we want out of life. Chances are, the person you want to date now is not the person you’re going to want to date when you’re in your 20s and ready to get married, because you’ll both be completely different people than you are today. This means that dating now will likely lead to heart- ache, because you’ll eventually break up. Even if you don’t break up, you’re setting yourself for unnecessary temptation. If you wait a few years to date each other, you’ll both have had time to nurture a good friendship together without the sexual temptation that comes in a dating relationship.

At 14, you’re likely just coming out of middle school, while a 17-year-old boy can drive and is thinking about graduation. Even if you think you’re on the same maturity level, he has more life experiences, and often when an older boy wants to date a younger girl (until adulthood is reached), his intentions are not pure, whether he’ll admit it or not.

Even though you don’t verbally ask older boys to notice you, think about your attitude. Are you seeking them out and flirting a little, hoping they’ll notice you? Are you dressing older than your age, trying to get their attention? Even if you don’t go up to an older guy and say, “Hey, will you notice me?” your attitude and dress may very well be demanding their attention!

dating2Dating at a young age may be the cool thing to do, but it’s generally not the most godly, whether dating someone a few years older or the exact same age. Why set yourself up for temptation when you could be having carefree fun with your friends instead, without the heartache?

I hope that before entering any relationship, and throughout the entire relationship, you strongly seek God’s guidance by studying His Word and praying. It’s tempting to want a relationship in order to find happiness, but remember that there is “Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad” (1 Chronicles 16:10). Seek Him first, and your heart will be glad, whether there’s another guy in your life or not.

– Davonne Parks

In the World: Halloween Thoughts

friends4Many people have differing views about Halloween. We have a few articles about this holiday, including one on the history of Halloween (Bible verses are included), and an article full of ideas of fun fall costumes to wear. We also have articles just for celebrating autumn with instructions on painting pumpkins and recipes for movie night treats.

While we hope the article links above are helpful, we encourage you to think, pray, and study His Word when choosing what to believe and how to celebrate any holiday.

– Davonne Parks

Devotional: Pass It On, Part One

Devo1October, with the cooler air and beautiful fall foliage our Creator designed, is here! With school in full swing, it’s assumable we’re all involved in various activities: school clubs, community service groups, after-school jobs, sports, church retreats, and maybe some college classes—not to mention being with family and friends! But let’s stop and take a few minutes to ponder on our theme for this month: “Pierce my heart to spread Your Word.” “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.” – I Thessalonians 2:4. Amid all the activities we fill our schedules with, do we realize that none of these compare with the great duty that God has entrusted us with?

Entrusted with the Gospel

What does it mean to be “entrusted with the gospel”? If someone entrusts you with something, they have trust and confidence in you, that you will take full responsibility of that thing, and whole-heartedly carry out your duty. Wow! God—the Creator of the world and the Almighty Father—entrusts us with the gospel! What a privilege! But do we know what the gospel is? Gospel means “good news.” What is the good news? Let’s read what Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” What great and glorious news! This is what we need to share with others. When we develop close friendships with people and get to know them, it is easier for us to be open and honest about the gospel. God entrusts us to share the good news that we who are Christians joyfully revolve our lives around. Will we let Him down, or fulfill our duty for the One who gave it ALL for us?

What Holds Us Back

Before we begin to share God’s Word with others, we need a clear view of some of the things that hurt our ability to spread His Word, and what we need to know to get past them!

We are afraid to lose friends.
Devo2Do you think you’ll lose friends if you spread the gospel instead of gossip? Even if you do, you know that (1) those aren’t really the best friends you have, and (2) “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Job said in Job 19:19, “All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have turned against me.” But how did things turn out in the end for Job? “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). Even though Job went through more loss than most of us will, we still feel hurt when our friends desert us. Pray for the people in your life, and also pray for the courage to tell them about our Father and our Savior! Truly know that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

We’re girls.
As sad as it is, there are those of us who may tell ourselves that we are justified in not spreading His Word because we’re female! First Timothy 2:12 says, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man…” but it does not say “don’t tell others about His Word because you’re a woman”! In Acts 18:24-26, we read about a man who needed a little guidance in his teachings of the Lord. Aquila and his wife, Priscilla—a woman—talked with him privately, to explain and help him understand. In Acts 9:36, we’re told of Tabitha (Dorcas), who “was full of good works and charitable deeds.” (Don’t forget that our good works speak also, glorifying God! – Matthew 5:16.) God provides numerous ways we as ladies can spread His Word and set a Christian example: we can teach children’s or ladies’ Bible classes, care for others by cooking and cleaning, take a humble stand against immoral activities, dress modestly to show that we respect our Christian brothers and the bodies God gave us…and the list goes on. Get creative in spreading His Word, too: make cards to send in the mail with Scriptures on the front, decorate binders for school with photos from church activities and your favorite verses or spiritual reminders, have a sleepover with a good friend, make snacks together and talk with her one-on-one about her beliefs, offering Scriptural guidance in love!

Check back soon for part two.

By Hannah Smith

Choosing an Insurance Plan

Insurance1Even before I got married, I had my own insurance through my job. Choosing which insurance option was right for me was difficult enough without having to make the best choice for a family. Although some employers may not offer more than two plans, usually those plans have extra options.

What are the primary plan types?

HMO- This is a health maintenance organization. This plan allows you to use physicians who are part of their network. With this type of plan in addition to your monthly premium, you may have a co-pay for office and hospital visits.

Because HMOs receive a fixed fee for your covered medical care, it is in their interest to make sure you get basic health care for problems before they become serious. HMOs typically provide preventive care, such as office visits, immunizations, well-baby checkups, mammograms, and physicals. The range of services covered varies in HMOs, so it is important to compare available plans. Some services, such as outpatient mental health care, often are provided only on a limited basis.

PPO- This is a preferred provider organization. This type of healthcare insurance has physicians who are part of their network but also allows you to see physicians who are not included in the network at a higher out-of-pocket cost. PPOs usually require co-pays for office visits, and may require precertification (insurance pre-approval) for some procedures.

What is an HSA?

An HSA is a healthcare savings account. This is usually an option with health insurance coverage that allows the member to put a set amount of money per month (or biweekly) into a savings account. Usually with this type of plan, members are given what looks like a debit card to use the funds that are in the account to pay for their out-of-pocket expenses. This account can be great but also a little confusing. The money put into the account is tax free. This means that it is taken out of your paycheck before taxes are. However, money put into this account that is not used is usually not able to be refunded to you. Deciding how much to put in (which has to be decided when insurance is signed up for) is the most difficult part of this task. In general, putting in at least half of the overall deductible is acceptable. However, if you foresee hospitalizations (for births, surgery) or have high pharmaceutical costs, saving the full amount of the deductible or more may be in your best interest.

There is so much information here, where do I start?

Insurance2Before making the decision, make sure your primary care physician (PCP) (and any other physicians your family may use on a regular basis) is covered by the plan you choose. Most employers provide websites with the plan information to verify that your doctors are covered under the plans.

If the plan(s) offered do not cover your PCP, it may be in your best interest to use a different doctor. Although this is sometimes hard, and heartbreaking, your wallet will thank you. Using a physician who is outside of the insurance company’s “network” would raise what you pay out of pocket.

It is also important to read everything about the plan. Are vision and dental included, or do they cost extra on top of the monthly premium? This is important and easily overlooked. The most important thing is that if you have questions, ask. Call the insurance company, speak with your company’s HR, and talk to others who may have had that plan before.

Although choosing an insurance plan is difficult, it is important to choose one that will cover the needs of your family. The last thing any parent wants to think about when they have a sick child is whether or not their insurance covers the illness or injury. It is always good to be prepared and understand how your plan works for you.

“For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD…” Jeremiah 30:17

By Sarah J. Ancheta

Daily Bible Reading: The Most Important Conversation

1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”

DBR1I tend to think that I obey God most of the time. I try not to do the things that are wrong, and even though I often fall short, I also try to do the things that are right, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in me. But one thing I don’t do as often as I should, which He commands, and which is most important in the lives of those I know, is share His Word. Is it really possible that for over five years I can live near and talk to someone who is lost, and never share the amazing gift God has given me and offered them? And I really do believe that I care about their salvation! How many people do I see—talk to—every day who never hear God’s Word from me? How many conversations do I have where God’s name is never mentioned?

It can be very easy—too easy—to makes excuses or give reasons why we aren’t sharing His Word. Many times I feel I don’t have the time…someone else will do it…now is not the time…they don’t and won’t care what I have to say—or worse, they will steer clear of me from that moment on. And how awkward would that be! Rather, I should be thinking how awkward it would be one day if they could see me after death and wonder, “Why did you never mention this to me!?”

This month’s reading offers many verses that can apply to spreading God’s Word. James 1:22 tells us to be “doers, not hearers only.” In chapter 4, James warns that if we know good and do not do it, it is sin (v. 17). Acts tells of Stephen, who so adamantly spread the Word that he was stoned for it. And Saul, who had one of the greatest turn-arounds in the Bible, sharing God’s Word amid persecution even after witnessing the stoning of Stephen.

If we want to see a very vivid example of how God views the disobedience of not sharing His Word as He commands, we can look at the ever-popular story of Jonah. From childhood, we’ve known him to be the guy with the big fish. And we know it has something to do with a little place called Ninevah. But the book of Jonah, which we’ll read this month, is an amazingly relevant story of someone who was commanded to share God’s word and disobeyed. He literally ran in the other direction. And why? After fasting and repenting (3:5)after spending three days in the belly of a fish—Jonah went to Ninevah to do what he was supposed to do in the first place. And how did they respond? Stoning Jonah? Chasing him out of town? Laughing in his face? No! They tore their clothes in sorrow and repented! Great! But, wait. Jonah’s reaction is the one that should surprise us the most. Or maybe it convicts us even more. In chapter 4, immediately after Ninevah’s repentance, Jonah is angry and displeased. Why? Because he didn’t believe that it should be that easy for a sinful place like Ninevah to be saved from God’s wrath.

Regardless of the reasons we often fail to share God’s Word, we need to ask His forgiveness for our sin in this area, pray that He will begin working on our hearts and provide us with opportunities, then help us to know the words to say when we tell others about His love. Rather than running from His command to spread the Word, we should be seeking out DBR2opportunities to share the gift He has given us.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Suggested Reading for October

OCT 1 Prov 26-27
OCT 2 Obadiah
OCT 3 Acts 1-2
OCT 4 Heb 5-7
OCT 5 Num 29-32
OCT 6 2 Chr 11-15
OCT 7 Ps 117-118
OCT 8 Prov 28
OCT 9 Jonah
OCT 10 Acts 3-4
OCT 11 Heb 8-10
OCT 12 Num 33-36
OCT 13 2 Chr 16-20
OCT 14 Ps 119
OCT 15 Prov 29-30
OCT 16 Micah
OCT 17 Acts 5-6
OCT 18 Heb 11-13
OCT 19 Deut 1-3
OCT 20 2 Chr 21-24
OCT 21 Ps 120-121
OCT 22 Prov 31
OCT 23 Nahum
OCT 24 Acts 7-8
OCT 25 James 1-3
OCT 26 Deut 4-6
OCT 27 2 Chr 25-28
OCT 28 Ps 122-124
OCT 29 Eccl 1-2
OCT 30 Habakkuk
OCT 31 Acts 9-10

This year’s Bible reading plan was borrowed from (To correspond with the 2009 year, we have included actual dates for your referral. You may choose to use the above site, instead.)

September Giveaway: Book Winner!

MM1The random winner of Feminine Appeal is Jenny (jennyldodson@)! You should have an e-mail from Pierce My Heart in your inbox. If not, please contact us within seven days to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest by leaving a comment on our article. If you didn’t win this month, please check back in October, because we have a special offer coming up.

Congratulations, Jenny! We hope you enjoy your new book!

– Davonne Parks

September Giveaway: Last Chance to Enter!

MM1This is the last day to enter to win our September giveaway. The winner, who will be announced on September 30, will receive a new book!

If you have any questions, please let us know, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

– Davonne Parks

Dating: Little Things Keep the Fire Going

Dating2Life is truly a crazy ride. There are great highs and then sometimes the lowest of lows. It’s unpredictable and wild. But with all the big things that we go through, it’s really the small stuff that counts. When we examine our pasts we all remember big events that happened, but with those events we recall the small things that impacted us. For example, when my brother gave his life to Christ, (Mark 16:16) I’m not completely able to remember all of the details, but I do remember the way my big cousin Garrett hugged him. They were, and still are, “manly” men, so to see them hug the way they did with their eyes tearing up, well that’s just something I’ll never forget. This was the most important event in my brother’s life but what I vividly remember is just a small detail. This is just one example of that and I’m sure everyone has had a similar experience.

When writing this, my thoughts were taken to my grandparents, who after 47 years of marriage are still very much in love and happy (Matt. 19:6). They are a strong Christian couple, which in itself makes a huge difference in marriage, but they also care for each other in a deep, affectionate way. On a trip to Mississippi, I asked Grandmommy and Poppa what kept them going all of those years. Poppa was in the Navy for many years, meaning they dealt with a long-distance relationship. To top that off, Grandmommy had five girls to take care of alone. Grandmommy told me willingly that this was a very difficult and stressful time in her life but that her love for God, Poppa, and her girls made it all worth it.

When I asked her what keeps the fire going now, she and Poppa rattled off many reasons, and to prove that it’s the simple things that matter, I’ll share them now. Grandmommy told me that something as easy as holding hands still means so much to her. It’s an effortless thing to do and yet still makes you feel special and loved after 47 years of doing it. As she told me this, she stretched her hand across the middle seat where it was met quickly by Poppa’s. She looked over at him with a loving smile and knowing eyes. Later they also explained that since they shared their “I do’s” they have never left each other without a kiss and saying I love you. The phrase “I love you” is a very easy thing to say, it just rolls off the tongue, but it is still a very important thing that always needs to be said. Verbal and physical affection is necessary in healthy relationships.

They also told me that since they were first married, every night that they have shared together, they have never failed to say I love you before going to sleep. She explained that even if they were still fighting about something, they made a conscious decision to put that aside for a moment and remember that they still and always will care about each other. That to me is a wonderful thing; to never let your anger blind you from your love for each other.

Dating1When they were married, they were different ages and different maturity levels. So because they were apart so often, I asked them if they ever struggled with growing in opposite directions from each other. Grandmommy looked at me and said, “Of course we did!” That response immediately had me ask how they handled it and she gave me the simplest and smartest answer, “We worked at it.” A very sincere and great response from a very wise woman! She told me that in every matter of life the way to get through it is to never give up and continue working at it.

I hope this reveals how important the small stuff is. It keeps relationships thriving and honest. Living for God and your mate rather than yourself makes all the difference in the world as to whether or not your relationship or marriage will work! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Roman 8:28

By Shelby Garrett