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

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

Devotional: A Great and Noble Task – Relationships, Actions, and Dress

Devo1Go here to read part one.

Our Relationships

Everyday we associate with people–all different kinds of people. People who are happy, hurting, lost, saved, confused, searching, careless… You might simply be acquaintances with them, or maybe they’re your closest friends. You are affecting them, but they are also affecting you. Having a relationship with someone shouldn’t be thought of as a small thing. Whether it’s a family bond or a friendship you have in mind right now, that person isn’t “just” someone you hang out with. They have a soul, and we who are Christians have a responsibility to let Christ shine through us (Phil. 2:15b) every time we’re with that person!

We know we should also choose wisely who we continually associate ourselves with. Let’s read some Scriptures about the subject:

  • “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” (Prov. 13:20)
  • “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”” (I Cor. 15:33)
  • “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Prov. 12:26)

After reading these eye-opening verses from God‘s word, should we ever think relationships are small things?

Our Actions

This is probably the one we need to think on the most. We’ve all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words”—and truly, they do. When someone says, “Sure, I’ll be there!” but they never show up, how does that make us feel? When we are saved, and call ourselves “Christians,” but we don’t talk about God, never stop to think about helping others, and put the focus on “what I want” …how does that make God feel? What is that saying to our Father?

Extra5What do you consider a “small” action? Holding the door open for the woman with children in her arms? Picking up a piece of garbage and putting it in the trash can? Telling a visitor at worship services that you are glad they could be there and hope to see them again? Ladies, we all see these things—opportunities, rather—that need to be seized; how often do we take responsibility and do them? Even though sometimes we look at ourselves and think, Oh, I’m young and busy, I’ll let one of the older women take care of that, we have some of the most powerful influence at this time in our lives! Please realize that. Whether they tell you or not, people notice when you take the time to do little things. Your peers will see there is a different spirit in you than in the world. And why do we do good things in the first place? To glorify God. (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12b) Out of love, to show others that we are His. (John 13:35) That we are meek servants of Christ, and here to serve. Our actions, however small we may consider them, have a huge impact on the world for our Savior!

Our Dress

I know this is a touchy topic for a large population of women out there, but it is definitely not a “small” part of representing God, and we need to deeply consider it. I want to ask you to please answer yourself honestly about this: Do you want people’s attention solely for your body and outer appearance, or do you want people’s attention because they see you’re different from the world—with your attitude, words, relationships, and actions—and that you desire to glorify God and reflect Him to them?

Sometimes we feel accused when we hear women speak at ladies’ days or other activities on “modesty.” We think, No one should tell me how to dress; it’s not a big deal! Do you know why we feel this way?

1.We are not fully submitting to God and His will for us: “…that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel,” (1 Timothy 2:9); “…not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13b)

2.We know what is appropriate, and feel guilty when we make the wrong decisions with our dress. (see James 4:17)

SS2Please think on this: when you see a woman who is outwardly very beautiful, but isn’t covering enough of her body, or else dressed too tightly…what do you think of her? Many of us can’t deny that we often go into grandmother-mind mode: What kind of mother would let her daughter out of the house dressed like that? I can’t believe this girl! Does she not realize those guys are staring at her body?! How often do we instead pray for this generation, and set a good example for them by our clothing choices? Way too often we want to fit in and look like all the other women and be accepted for the way we look. But, we need to choose today who we want acceptance from: the world or God. We can’t serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24) Choosing to represent God in the way we dress is not a “small” thing, and let us consider it that way no longer!

Our Task

Helen Keller once wrote, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.” Ladies, let’s allow God’s word to pierce our hearts to know that all these things we look at as “small” are great because He is working in them! We should earnestly take on any “small task” for the glory of our Lord. When we truly think of how everything we do is making an impact for Him, we see it’s certainly nothing small. Let us think in the way that Paul was confident of the Philippians: “…He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Phil. 1:6b). Remember, we don’t know all of God’s plans, but He is doing great things through all of our “small” efforts every day. What an honor!

By Hannah Smith

Devotional: A Great and Noble Task – Attitude and Words

Devo2Our theme for September 2009 is, “Pierce my heart in the small stuff.” This can be approached from many different angles, but first we’ll delve into our main scripture, Matthew 5:18: “…until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (NASB)

Understanding Matthew 5:18

The King James Version of the Bible words Matthew 5:18 differently, but we can easily break it down: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Jesus is speaking to the multitudes, saying that until God has accomplished all that He desires to accomplish, nothing—not even a jot (the English form of the smallest Greek letter, the iota) or tittle (a point)—shall pass away from His word. The word of God is unchangeable, just like He is unchangeable. (Malachi 3:6a; Psalm 90:2) We don’t know all of God’s plans or thoughts, because His thinking is so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), but it is obvious that even things that seem “small” to us are very crucial to His work through us on earth! Sometimes we get in ruts, and life feels like a never-ending pattern of going through the motions—how terrible! With that kind of feeling, nothing we do seems very important! Let’s wake up and make a conscious effort to allow Christ to shine through us in all the “small stuff” in our lives. What kind of daily things might we pass off as “small” or unimportant in relation to our spiritual lives?

Our Attitude

Often, we forget to pay attention to our attitude. The way we say things, and our body language, are big indicators of how we really feel about things. Say you’re with friends Sunday afternoon, when a glance at the clock reminds you that evening worship service begins in thirty minutes. You roll your eyes, sigh, and say, “Well, I gotta go to church now. I guess I’ll see you guys later.” When you arrive at the church building, you slump in, take a seat on the back pew, cross your arms—and stay that way the entire service. You might not consider this attitude of any importance, but what kind of impression does this make on people for our Lord? How do you think God feels when we come to worship Him and have this awful attitude? He deserves so much better. When we have an attitude such as this toward serving and worshiping our great Father, how can we honestly say we are excited to tell others about Him? In the June devotional, we talked about the kind of attitude a worker for Christ must have; we must be respectful, confident in Him, willing to work, steadfast, and cheerful! (Philippians 2:12-18) We should have a mind like Christ (Phil. 2:5); He certainly had a good attitude toward serving His Father! (John 6:38, 9:4-5) Our attitude toward spiritual things certainly has a huge impact on the people in our lives. We cannot consider our attitude as something small; we are representing Christ!

Our Words

Devo1I don’t need anyone to tell you how powerful the tongue is: but how little time we take to prepare our words! Words can be small, but powerful. In James 3:5, we read, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (emphasis mine) Think of the statement, “I love you.” That’s one of the shortest sentences, but definitely one of the most meaningful! On the other hand, harsh, careless words uttered in a moment of anger or thoughtlessness can do damage that can take a great deal of time to undo. Thinking before speaking is something that sounds like a small task, but is truly a great challenge. The book of Proverbs says a lot about the tongue:

  • “…he who restrains his lips is wise.” (10:19b)
  • “He who guards his mouth preserves his life…” ( 13:3a)
  • “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly…” (15:1-2a)
  • “The heart of the righteous studies how to answer…” (15:28a)
  • “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace…” (17:27-28a)
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (18:21a)
  • “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” (21:23)

It is plain to see how much our words can do. A sincere, “Have a good day,” and a smile to a cashier can brighten their day! A thoughtful, “Thank you,” to someone who prepared your meal will be so appreciated. You might think your words are of small importance, but they contain great power! May our hearts be pierced to use “small” words wisely!

Check back soon for part two.

By Hannah Smith

Devotional: God, I thank You

“The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.’” Luke 18:11

JfT2Wow, I’m glad that I’m not like that Pharisee––he sounds so arrogant! Oh, wait…

How often do we look at others’ sins and think how glad we are that we’re not as sinful as them? I’ll admit it––I do. I was raised in the church. I have Christian parents. I never went through a “rebellious” time as a teenager, partying and drinking and such. And so, it’s been pretty easy for me to consider myself not such a bad sinner. I’m pretty good (Mark 10:18).

And then I realized how sinful my heart was. I may not be committing the sins that result in severe external consequences, but I may also have a much bigger problem––pride. Although I thank God that I haven’t been tested in regard to other sins, Scripture is filled with warnings against pride, as well as other “internal” sins. Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride was the downfall of many (2 Chronicles 26:16). Even more sobering, it tells us that God will humble the proud (Isaiah 2:17).

Now, I thank God that His Holy Spirit is living in me and convicts me––daily––of my sin. It’s only when He does this that I can fully realize how much I need Him and the salvation He offers, and how little I deserve it. God, I thank You that You chose to save me, a sinner, and that your Spirit leads me to realize how much I need Your grace.

By Lisa Grimenstein

Devotional: But Even If…

“But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:18

jft2aThe above verse is a very convicting one for me. It’s from a story we’ve probably all heard since childhood––Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace. That was always an intriguing one for kids. But as an adult, I’ve recently been amazed at some of the aspects of this story––this verse being one of them.

As the story goes, King Nebuchadnezzar set up an image to be worshiped (90 feet high, mind you). However, knowing full well the consequences of disobeying the king’s command––a very fiery death––Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to bow down to the statue. First, I’m amazed and challenged by their obedience to another King, and their courage to remain steadfast. Imagine how hard it would be to look around at all the others and see them falling to their knees in worship to this false god. It would be very tempting to justify doing the same.

However, they stay on their feet. And when questioned by the king, they give an astounding response. They boldly state that God is able to save them from his fiery punishment, but that even if He does not save them, they will obey and serve only Him. That is trust. Knowing that God is able to answer our prayers, but also deciding that even if He doesn’t answer in the way we want, we will still serve only Him. They did not back down, even if they didn’t like what the result might be. We need to strive to have the faith of those three, and to stand up for God no matter what the possible earthly outcome. Luke 9:25: “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”

By Lisa Grimenstein

Marriage is Honorable

devo1This month’s theme is “Pierce my heart for marriage” and our key scripture is Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all…” The Bible is clear on what love is, and how we are to treat our spouses (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19). But, notice the first verse again. It does not say, “Marriage is to be held in honor among married people” or “Marriage is to be held in honor among those who think they want to get married someday,” but, instead, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all” (emphasis mine).

So, what does it mean to honor marriage? defines honor as “high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank.” Do you have high respect for the married couples you know, and for your future marriage?

Honor married couples

It can be easy to forsake the command of honoring marriage without even realizing it. Married couples are to make their decisions together, jointly, and as a team. If one of our parents says no to something, and we go to the other parent to try to get what we want, we are asking them to become divided as a couple, and we are not honoring that marriage.

If we treat married couples with kindness and gentleness even when we don’t fully understand the decisions they make, then chances are we respect and honor them. If we gossip about them, are rude to one or both of the spouses, judge their decisions, secretly want the husband to notice us, or do anything else that is potentially harmful to their relationship, then we are not honoring their marriage, which is, in turn, sinning against God.

Honor your future marriage

devo2We need to be careful to not only honor the marriages of those around us, but to also honor our future marriage by having godly relationships now, and by keeping ourselves pure for our future husbands (1 Corinthians 7:1-4), praying that they will also remain pure for us.

Apply it

This month, as we’re concentrating on having our hearts pierced for marriage, check the condition of your heart. Are you honoring the marriages of those around you? If not, pray for forgiveness, go to the couple you’ve been dishonoring to ask the forgiveness of both spouses, and strive to do better in the future. Marriage is a gift from God (Genesis 2:22-24), so make sure that you’re honoring all marriages – yours or not.

By Davonne Parks

College Edition: Purpose and Prepare

devo4We recently discussed how to choose a school, as well as offered wisdom from women who’ve been there, so please read that article if you haven’t already.

Purpose and Prepare

Beginning a new chapter in life is always exciting, but we don’t rush into big decisions without taking time to prepare for the changes, do we? Being away from the adults and other influential people in our lives, we will soon realize that if we’re going to do something, it’s on our shoulders and we must make time for it; we need to decide ahead of time what kind of person we’ll be in college. I like the phrase, “purposed in [his] heart,” because it shows the maturity and responsibility of a person to make the best decision and stick to it. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not take part in the king’s delicacies (Daniel 1:8). Will we be responsible and purpose in our hearts to use our time wisely in college? Whether you attend a state school or a Christian school, there are a few things for which we must be prepared to set aside time:

Studying. Let’s take two looks at studying. One, studying for our classes. While it may not always be enjoyable, it’s profitable and needed. If you are going to pay the money for college and work toward a degree of some sort, it is only logical to study and learn the material well. Studying doesn’t have to be exhaustive and boring, though! Spice up studying at times by having study nights with the girls in your dorm. Make snacks and play memory or flashcard games. Be creative! Secondly, studying God’s Word. Even if you attend a Christian school, you still need personal Bible study and prayer. Don’t count on getting all you need spiritually from Bible classes and weekly worship services. Taking time alone to let God speak to you through His Word, and to pray to Him, is vital in a Christian girl’s spiritual growth.

devo5Extra Activities. It might take a while to get adjusted, but once you are comfortable in college, seek out different activities in which you can help others, grow in Christ, and also relax and have fun! Look for church student centers where you can meet other Christians and take part in activities of fellowship and worship. Become part of community service groups or other clubs that assist people or causes. If you like athletics, try out for a sports team if you will have the time to dedicate to that. However, while it is good to be involved, never overload yourself. In college, the extra-activity possibilities are nearly endless; just make sure to take part in the ones that glorify God.

Family and Friends. The hardest part about college for so many is leaving behind family and friends. That’s perfectly natural! We have attachments to these people, and we find security and love in being around them. In college, you will likely meet more of these people, but it will take time. Carrie Underwood has a song called “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” that captures the feeling of leaving home for college. In it, the responsibility of being on our own is illustrated, and we feel that longing to still be part of “home.” Take advantage of the free moments you’ll have to send a heartfelt e-mail, write a friendly letter, or give a kind call to a loved one. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Your close ones will appreciate the remembrance from you!

God. Most importantly overall, it is of the greatest urgency that we prepare our hearts and use our time wisely for God. He, after all, is the One who allows us to attend college, and we owe our lives to Him. Just like mentioned earlier in the latter part of “Studying,” time with God is vital to our growth as Christians. Also, recall our key Scripture this month: “…fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecc. 12:13). In college, we may be tempted to rearrange our priorities. We as young Christian ladies have got to place in the front of our minds that our whole purpose here is to glorify, respect, and honor God and keep His Word in all we do. Doesn’t that slow everything down and put life in simple perspective? Make special time for God everyday, so that He can help you continue steadfast in your life for Him.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

devo3Several of my close brothers and sisters in Him are graduating this year. I am saddened by their departure, but I have faith that they will make great impacts for Christ on the people they meet. They may stay near to home or they may go far, but they will always be able to be close to God. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the [girl] who’ll decide where to go.” Now, as you depart on a bright new road, where will you go? What will you do for Christ? Make the most of this wonderful time in your life–for Him!

By Hannah Smith

College Edition: Choosing and Wisdom

devo1Can you believe it’s summer already? I’m positive you are all glad for a break from school—unless you are involved in summer studies or college prep! We will focus on Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 during the month of July: “…Of making many books, there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh…fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” That passage is very fitting for our theme, “Pierce my heart: college edition!” If you are preparing to head to college this fall or sometime soon, I pray this devotional will be helpful to you. If you are still in middle or high school, I hope it can still be a reminder of how important it is to keep God where He belongs—in the driver’s seat of our lives.

Choosing a School

To attend college is a huge blessing! Those of you who are readying to enter this stage of your lives should realize that there are so many people who want to go to college, but cannot for various reasons. College is a wonderful opportunity to grow in Christ, meet other Christians, study new and enthralling subjects, and get involved in good, wholesome activities.

Public colleges and universities are likely to have the same type of people and ideas as a public high school. But now you are on your own, and the temptations call for a more mature person to handle them. This is not to say a Christian cannot overcome the temptations in these schools. There are plenty of good public or state schools that have church student centers. I have Christian friends who enjoy these as good places to learn about nearby congregations, as well as find other Christians with whom they can build strong relationships!

Christian universities, on the other hand, are wonderful in their own special way! Although they are sometimes pricier, numerous Christians relate to me that the experience is well worth the money if the school is reputable and grounded in God’s Word. Some schools may have the title “Christian,” but do not teach the Truth. Please carefully research the “Christian schools” to find one that will allow you to become stronger in your faith and love for God and His Word. If you have a desire (and the money or scholarships) to attend a Christian school, I commend you in that!

Lastly in choosing, it is always a must to visit the school you are interested in. Explore the campus and ask questions to those escorting you around. More importantly, pray about choosing the right place! Always keep in mind the comforting passage in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

devo2Wisdom from Women

For this devotional, I wanted to get firsthand information about college experiences from wise Christian ladies in my life. I asked a few different questions, and these are the real and true replies of Christian women:

1. How did you/are you staying close to God in college/while you were in college?

  • Good, strong Christian friends and/or roommates; being around like-minded people.
  • Going to worship, singings, retreats, campus devotionals, and other activities of fellowship and worship.
  • Personal Bible study and prayer.
  • Developing my own faith–not being a Christian just because it’s what my parents taught.

2. What was/is the hardest part about college?

  • Not making a habit of skipping services because parents are not there to tell you otherwise.
  • Making time to study the Bible amid all the schoolwork and activities.
  • Projects and due dates all piling up at once.
  • Having to study really hard for classes.
  • Being away from family.

3. Any more advice or extra comments to Christian girls about to enter college?

  • Be devoted to God.
  • Don’t give up on your faith!
  • Be convicted and passionate in what you say and do, because people are watching and you are making impressions for God.
  • Pull through exam weeks with friends to help you.
  • Don’t leave God out–never let anything get in the way of keeping Him first.
  • Make a game plan before leaving home to keep your faith strong and stay close to God; pray for His help, and stick to it!

I encourage you to speak with the Christian ladies you know about their experiences. Take their advice to heart, and thank God for them!

Coming Up

We’ll soon discuss having a purpose in college, and preparing ourselves for the ride, so stay tuned!

By Hannah Smith

God’s Workers

devo1“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

Our focus in June is “Pierce my heart in choosing a career.” I’m sure most of you reading this can relate with me back when we were little girls, always dreaming of the things we wanted to be when we grew up. Doctors, teachers, veterinarians––and the ever-popular princess––among the most common! Now that we are older and have more developed personalities, we probably have a better idea about what we’d really like to have a career in. But, if you are like me, choosing a career can be a tough thing!

Some of you may be thinking, I have plenty of time to think about that, but it is never too early to start planning and working toward your goal. The earlier you can begin taking classes and/or training to reach your job of choice, the easier it will be in the long run. First, we should tackle…reality!

Reality Check

For a girl who loves fairytales and “in-my-perfect-world” scenarios, reality has always been a bit of an enemy to me. But, I’ve come to see that reality is really much better than anything I can imagine! In reality, yes, any workplace can have tough situations and temptations at times, but God is always our Rock and Strength (Psalm 18:1-3), and will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor. 10:13). I love to remember that! Let’s look at some very real temptations that may come up in certain careers:

  • Gossiping and bad-mouthing other employees
  • Lying about your accomplishments / taking credit for someone else’s work
  • Feeling the “need” to make more money and be “bigger” and “more important”
  • Pressure to attend immoral after-hours parties or activities
  • Exposure to foul and obscene language
  • Placing work before your family, the church, and God

And there are many more! At first glance, it sounds like I’m trying to be negative about careers, but it’s important to be prepared when choosing a good career. You must take into consideration the effects a certain job will have on you and those in your life. Study God’s word and find out the truth about how negative influences can affect you (I Cor. 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14; I Timothy 6:10) so that you can be prepared and be an unashamed worker for God.

devo2For some of you, your career choices may seem limited, but you can remain steadfast in the Lord, and withstand the trials you’ll face! For others, you may be blessed with a wide range of career opportunities, and you should choose wisely! Simply having a job is a blessing these days, but we must not forget to keep reality in view and be constant in representing Him.

Christians: Stand Up or Sit Back?

To prepare ourselves, we can assume that there will be temptations. What are you going to do about it? You could go along and join in the sin, but you know that is not pleasing to God (Romans 12:2; James 4:17; I John 2:15). You could ignore the wrongs, but how would those in sin know how to get on the right path unless you kindly and lovingly talk to them? (I Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:13-15) Or…you could represent Christ (Galatians 2:20; Phil. 2:5).

Some coworkers may respond very well to your care and concern for their souls; however, others that you work for or with may not agree with you––but what is that to you? Should we not please God instead of men? (Galatians 1:10; Acts 5:29) It’s always important to stand up for Christ, even when it may be the unpopular thing. If you have to be in a career where there are immoral things and people around you, do not be afraid to be different! God has not given us a spirit of fear, and He will not leave us. (2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 13:5-6) What a spectacular thought!

So Many Options!

We’ve prepared ourselves, girls. We know that there are always temptations, but that we can overcome them with God! Now, explore the amazingly wide world of careers and opportunities. Think about your talents, your likes, your dislikes, your weaknesses, your passions, and so on. If you can find a job that fits your personality and skill, that is wonderful!

Many women, however, choose to stay at home. And, although there is no monetary pay, this is also a good “career,” especially when having a family! Stay-at-home moms keep the house presentable, cook, and spend extra time with their children, which enables them to follow God’s plan and command for the family (Deut. 6:6-7; Proverbs 22:6; Titus 2:4-5). Many women who stay at home are able to run small home-based businesses that are successful, too!

devo5When choosing your career, make sure it is something you will enjoy. Often, people are asked why they do what they do, and they reply “for the pay.” But, in my opinion, it is greater to do something you truly are passionate about. That way, you will be able to use the talents God has given you to their fullest, and you will be joyful in using them! This doesn’t excuse us, however, from being joyful in our work and using our talents when in a job that is not our passion.

Working Full-Time…For God

Once, our preacher gave a sermon on “A Christian’s Job Description,” and that title sticks out to me in this devotional. Of course, we should never think of being a Christian as a “job,” but rather, a great privilege! If you are already a Christian, realize that you have the most important, wonderful, rewarding, and blessed “job” in the entire world! How humbling that is, knowing that God has allowed us to have such a position. You are working for the best Boss in the world, too!

As in every job, your attitude is extremely important! Here are some “job requirements” from the Bible that our preacher shared:

1.Must work reverently and respectfully (Phil. 2:12)
2.Must work confidently, knowing that God works in you (Phil. 2:13)
3.Must work willingly (Phil. 2:14)
4.Must work inoffensively, giving it your best to do what is right (Phil. 2:15)
5.Must work steadfastly, continuing on (Phil. 2:16)
6.Must work cheerfully (Phil. 2:17-18)

Those are all wonderful ways to work in any job, but are even more needed in being a Christian and serving such a great, powerful, merciful God.

Oh, Career! Where are you?

Finding a career you will enjoy may take some time, but don’t become discouraged! If you already know what you’d like to do, that is great! Have patience, have fun, and enjoy having a career one day, Lord willing. It doesn’t have to be just a “job.” It can be a place in your life where you find happiness and opportunity! Most importantly, let’s always remember to seek to please God first in whatever careers we may consider (Matt. 6:33), and never forget our most important “employment”: serving others, serving Christ, and obeying our Father in heaven.

By Hannah Smith