Make Me a Servant

devo2Hello, ladies! It is now May, and this month we will be asking God to “pierce our hearts to serve.” The main Scripture we want to keep in mind is 1 Peter 4:10—“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We all have people in our lives who have done things for us (and continue to do so). These individuals may have taught us a skill that we use in life, such as how to read. You may be thinking of a parent who has raised you alone, and provided for all your needs. Or, perhaps, there is one person who deeply influenced you in your decision to become a Christian. Just think, what if that person had never taken the time to tell you about God’s love and offer of salvation? What if they had never “ministered” to your wants and needs? Let’s take a deeper look into serving.

Why Should We Serve?

Jesus served. He healed the physically sick (Matthew 12:15, 14:14; Mark 1:34), He was a friend to the spiritually sick (Matt. 9:10-12), and He fed the hungry (Matt. 14:13-21). But He was truly the ultimate Servant when He gave His life on the cross (Acts 3:13; Luke 23:46). There is a devotional song that states, “Make me a servant, Lord, make me like You; for You are a Servant, make me one, too. Make me a servant; do what You must do, to make me a servant; make me like You.” Just knowing our perfect Example was a true servant is enough reason to serve others—and God.

How Should We Serve?

When we are swamped with work, and the phone rings, we usually get frustrated—especially if the phone is hiding and we have to search for it! Is it not like that sometimes when a friend asks for our help? We craft reasons as to why we simply cannot assist them. What if someone called with concerns of being saved? Would we dare say we are “too busy” then? To serve others, we have to put others before ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Realize that we should want to help those in need, especially if their need is spiritual. He calls us to not only serve, but to do it joyfully, not grudgingly or with a desire for recognition. We are told to be humble, as was Christ, and live life as a servant (Matthew 5:5, 23:11-12; Proverbs 29:23; Philippians 2:5; James 4:6, 10, 1 Peter 5:6).


devo1The devotional for March 29th in Power for Today, a tri-monthly devotional booklet, addressed how we each possess special gifts and abilities from God. Select lines from 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “As each one has received a gift…” and “…let him do it as with the ability which God supplies…” (emphasis mine). So, we know each one of us has something we can definitely use for the furtherance of God’s work––a gift He has provided us with. We must discover what that gift is! The book Girl to Girl lists some good ideas for helping out in your home congregation:

  • Teach Bible classes, or serve as a teacher’s aide.
  • Clean and cook.
  • Make and send cards to those struggling, sick, or in need of a friendly hello.
  • Call those who have not attended in a while, and let them know you miss them.
  • Volunteer for odd jobs. (Helping with bulletins, making copies, sharpening pencils, updating bulletin boards, etc.)
  • Help with Vacation Bible School.
  • Encourage all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

But, of course, you know that there are numerous opportunities to serve outside the church. Do you enjoy writing? Write encouraging notes to the kids at school who are having a tough time. Is there someone in the community who lost their home in a natural disaster? Get some boxes and ask friends if they will donate clothes, food items, or money. It’s easy to find ways to serve when you are on the lookout! Try different ways to serve others, and find things that you enjoy doing, but more importantly, make sure it will help those in need, and most importantly–glorify God (Matt. 5:16).

“No one cares!”

It is a sad fact that there are women who have kindly served others their whole lives, but rarely got a “thank you.” You may feel unappreciated if you are not recognized or praised for a good deed, but always remember that we serve to glorify God. It is greatly encouraging when we are thanked; however, do not let yourself become disheartened if you feel no one cares for your help. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart…” God knows when your intents to serve and help are pure, and you will be blessed for them. He notices when no one else does. In the end, we will get the biggest and best “thank you” ever—a home with Him! (Rev. 2:10b)

Be thankful—USE!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17a). Would you not say the unique abilities we each have are good gifts from above? God truly does bless us with all we need to serve Him in serving others. Thank Him (Eph. 5:20) by using your talents to aid others in need! Use your special gifts, and “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).

By Hannah Smith

Caring for His Creation

devo1April is here! This is the month we see flowers bloom, feel the temperature warm up, and enjoy being outside again. We may have picnics with our church family, play ball with our friends from school, or just take a walk. This month we are focusing on, “Pierce my heart to care for Your creation.” Romans 1:20 states, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen…” Where do we see His creations? Everywhere! In fact, a few were just mentioned: nature, our church family, and our friends. Let’s talk about some things He has created, and how we can better care for them.


Probably the most obvious of His creations is…nature! The very first Scripture in the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He made the earth we live on, as well as the stars and planets above us. You can read in all of Genesis 1 about how God created the whole earth and everything on it––by simply speaking it into existence; that is a wonderful example of His “eternal power”!

If you have ever taken a trip to the mountains, the beach, or a canyon, it is easy to see God’s power in creating these beautiful places. Even in our hometowns there are places of much beauty and serenity. Cities often have lush gardens to visit or landscaped parks to play in and enjoy. You can see God’s beauty in rays from the sun beaming on gently rolling hills, and lovely wildflowers while driving through small-town countrysides.

Having these blessings in nature are wonderful, but what if we do not take care of them? When people begin to throw trash out of their cars, stop caring for the parks, and forget about our places of peace in nature, we will lose that beauty in our lives. But, we can help! If you live near a park or garden, volunteer to help plant flowers, trees, or shrubs. Pick up the trash you see on your walks in the park. If you live in a smaller town, get a group of friends and clean up a road during the weekend. Or, pick a place in town and ask if you can plant flowers! There are many simple, easy ways to care for the spectacular nature God allows us to find joy in. Let’s take care of these places to show God we appreciate them!


devo2Often when we think about God’s creations, we forget about people! In the latter part of Genesis 1, God created man (male and female). We know that God loves man (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9,19), and does not want any to perish in the end. However, we know few follow the narrow path, and not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will enter that eternal kingdom (Matt. 7:13–14, 21–23). So how can we care for people, whom God created? First of all, we can simply be kind (Ephesians 4:32; Galatians 6:10).

When our actions toward others are kind, caring, helpful, and loving, people will recognize there is something different about us––we are the people of God! (John 13:35). When others trust us, they may be more willing to listen when we tell them about God! Share with people the love of God, and study with them about the salvation He offers, so that they might ultimately be with God one day! As young women, we are in a position to study the Bible with our girl friends. Have a girls’ night, watch a clean movie, make snacks, and study the Bible! By caring for people who do not know God, we are doing what He has commanded––sharing Him with others! (Mark 16:15).

The church

After we become a Christian, we also become a member of Christ’s church. Our church family is a huge blessing from God! In Acts 2:42–47, we read about the fellowship of the early church. They would pray together, eat together, praise God together, worship together…they were just glad to be with one another! We should love the church in the same way. How can we care for the church? Encourage one another (1 Corinthians 15:58; Hebrews 10:24–25; Ecclesiastes 4:10). Pray for one another (James 5:16). And, just as you read in the paragraph above, it is wonderful to be kind and helpful. It is truly a divine blessing that we have the church as a family, and we should care for it continuously.

Taking Action

Caring for our physical world, the people in it, and our church family may seem like a big responsibility at first glance. But with so many little ways to help, Christians can make an enormous impact by working together!  I want to encourage you to ask God to help you see the opportunities you have to care for everything and everyone around you, and how you can let God’s love shine through you each day! Let’s never forget every blessing is from above (James 1:17) and we must care for the blessings He has so lovingly and willingly allowed us to enjoy during our time here on this earth.

By Hannah Smith

Shoot For The Moon

devo1“Pierce my heart to live up to my full potential,” is our theme for March. The key scripture is Psalm 139:14: “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” To see God’s magnificent and unmatchable power, all you have to do is use any of your senses to recognize that all the things around you were created by Him! We ourselves were created by God Almighty (Gen. 1:27), and our whole duty is to serve Him (Ecc. 12:13; Matt. 4:10). Since we have such a humbling privilege to serve our incredible Master, shouldn’t we make sure we give it our best to live up to our full potential—for Him? Of course! But…how do we do that?


Let’s look at James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given him.” Since we know that “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26), it’s logical that if we are working toward our full potential, then before anything else, we should seek His guidance! He loves when we come to Him in prayer and realize that only He is able to strengthen us with His unlimited power. We are also told to “pray without ceasing” (I Thess. 5:17), and believe and trust that God will answer our prayers.


I like to call the Bible “My Road Map to Life,” because in it, God reveals to us how to be saved, how to grow as a Christian, how to treat others—everything we need to know! Therefore, we can know that by studying it, we will be better prepared to teach others and defend our hope in God. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (emphasis mine). What a comforting thought in our endeavor to reach our full potential! From studying the Scriptures, we come to learn and understand God’s perfect instructions more deeply, so that we can be “equipped for every good work” down every path of life.

Find Support!

Suppose you regularly hang out with a group of people who indulge in worldly desires, have no respect for teachers, parents, and other adults, and use foul language. The simple fact is this: “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (I Cor. 15:33). This seems to be one of the hardest truths to grasp, especially as young women, but let’s get serious with ourselves; if we constantly allow those influences in our lives, there’s no way we can reach our full potential. “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has unrighteousness with righteousness? What communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14). We can try to teach unbelievers the paths of righteousness found in God’s Word, but if they desire to continue down their current path, we must sever our ties with them before they drag us down.

devo2Now, you may ask, where are we supposed to find good people to hang out with? At times, it might seem like there aren’t many people who sincerely want to follow the Lord. But we can know who those people are by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-20). The people who are friendly to you no matter what, are honest in their schoolwork, and do not gossip or bring others down by their words are probably the people who will be your true friends—hopefully, you are thinking of your brothers and sisters in Christ! Our Christian family is a great, beautiful blessing, and we should realize they are the best support around! I love the passage in Ecclesiastes about having good friends: “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion…” (Ecclesiastes 4:10, emphasis mine). Our Christian family understands our rejoicings and our sorrows, and they will comfort us in hard times. God blesses us in allowing us to be around other Christians; He knows that we need support, and that it is hard to be strong alone. But let us never forget that even if it seems like no one else is around, our Best Friend is always by our side, and willing to work in us! Surrounding yourself with people who allow the fruits of the Spirit to be evident in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23) will definitely help strengthen you in reaching your full potential!

Look For Opportunities!

Perhaps some of you like to plant flowers in the spring. You have your flowers, dirt, water, gardening tools, and the knowledge of how to properly plant them and keep them alive. But, if you have those things and don’t use them, what good are they? Just so, if we sit around and just have faith that we will reach our potential, we won’t succeed, will we? We have to work (James 2:14-26). I like to use the phrase “look for opportunities” in the place of “work.” There’s a woman going to her car, struggling with a baby bag, a child, and a load of groceries. Offer assistance! An elder’s wife has had surgery and is unable to prepare meals for the family. Why not ask if you could make their dinner one evening? God gives us these opportunities so that we can easily make an impression on others—for Him. When we are constantly on the lookout for ways to reach out and help others, we become a better servant for Christ, we are diligently working to reach our full potential, and we are glorifying God by our good works (Matt 5:16)—and we will be blessed for that!

Landing Among The Stars

devo3A popular quote goes like this: “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” That is a wonderful thought! We, as Christians, can relate to that. Paul tells the Philippians in Philippians 2:5 to have a mind like Christ. Although we know we will never be perfect like He is, we are still to strive to be like Him to the best of our ability, asking for His guidance and help. Doing so is still “landing among the stars” in God’s eyes, because we are obeying Him, and doing His will, by giving it our all to reach our full potential. You might be searching for ways to grow. So pray, study, surround yourself with good friends, seek opportunities, and I am confident that “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it…!” (Phil 1:6).

By Hannah Smith

Love Like He Does

devo8With Valentine’s Day here and romantic love (or lack there-of) prevalent on many of our minds, it can be easy to forget about the committed love Christ has for us–which is why we chose this month’s theme to be “Pierce my heart to love like You do.” First Corinthians 13:6-8 is one of the better-known passages in the Bible about love, and one that describes real love very well. “…[Love] rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”

Christ’s commitment

Christ was so committed to us that He willingly died for us. God loves us so much that “He sent His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with Him. What immense love! God wants us to live with Him in heaven to such an extent that He sacrificed His only Son for us! When Jesus was on the cross, He became our sin. As Jesus was being tortured and dying, He cried out in agony, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Because of God’s love for us, He had to walk away from Jesus’ cries for help. This is all part of God’s plan for our salvation. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). And Rom 5:8, “But God demonstrates [proves] His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What amazing love God and Jesus had for us!

Action, not feeling

From God’s example, we see that love is not just a feeling. Love is showing action or doing something. Christ dying on the cross for us was a significant way to show us how much He loves us. First John 3:18 instructs us to, “…not love in word, or with tongue; but in deed and in truth.” That means that we are to show our love, not just say that we love someone. Jacob showed his love for Rachel when he served her father for her hand in marriage. Jacob said the seven years he served seemed to him only a few days because of how much he loved Rachel (Gen 29:20).

devo2Love is serving others, not out of expecting something in return but of actual love for a person, which we are able to do through God’s Holy Spirit in us. Matthew 20:28 says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Love does not expect anything in return. Love is not selfish. When we care for a brand-new baby they cannot do anything for us in return, but we still love it, feed it, change it, and care for it. That is unselfish love (1 Corinthians 13:5). We must show our love even when we’re tired or not feeling well. Maybe we had a bad day, but since we may be the only person to show someone kindness, then we are obligated as a Christian, to show love, to serve others, and to be patient and kind toward them.

If we love as God loves, then that often means loving those who are difficult to love. The book of Ruth (only four chapters!) is a great example of real love, put into action, towards a difficult person. We can all be challenging to love sometimes—we are sinners–so we need to have the same love for others as Christ has for us. God even commands us to love those who persecute us. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” and John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

Love your enemies

Loving someone doesn’t give them permission to abuse us. While God commands us to love that person, He does not tell us we are to tolerate abuse or sin in their lives. Perhaps we need to have the mindset that Jesus had at the crucifixion when He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He commands us to love Him, and by loving Him we are also showing Him respect. If people are unkind toward us, then they do not have God in them, because 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” God is love and as we have seen, He is the perfect example of love.

devo7We must love our enemies and the people who are rude to us or who don’t appreciate our kindness or goodness. That is so hard to do, but we are told we must do it (Matthew 5:43-48). We don’t deserve God’s love but He loves us anyway and we are commanded to love others, whether or not we feel they deserve our love. Again, it doesn’t mean to allow abusive behavior, but we do have a choice as to how we react to that person. When we can’t love them for their sake, then we must find a way to love them for Christ’s sake–because of His love and sacrifice for us. First John 4:12 says, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” It might also help to remember this verse when others hurt us: Romans 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Love is …

We will conclude with this passage of the true essence of love: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, “…Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own [not selfish], is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Carol Gartman

Renewed in Spirit

I love the theme and verse this month! Pierce my heart to be renewed. Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Let’s also look at verses 11 and 12: “Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

Break it down

I just love that! Those verses were written from David to God. David had such a close and personal relationship with God, and that is evident in these verses. Let’s break it down a little bit:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” In the Old Testament, there were many rituals to prove loyalty to God, but David understood that a relationship with God is much deeper than just our actions – a true relationship involves a pure, clean heart.

“And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Renew means to restore, or make new. Steadfast means unwavering, or firm. David is asking God to restore an unwavering and firm spirit within him. Wow! Have you ever asked God to do that for you?

“Do not cast me away from your presence.” Do you love God so much that you never want to be away from His presence? What an awesome love!

“And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” The topic of the Holy Spirit is one that I’m just beginning to study. I don’t have much knowledge on the topic yet, so I will just guide you to 2 Timothy 1:14: “…through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” David wanted the Holy Spirit to continue to dwell in Him. There’s a thought to ponder!

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” Are you joyful about the salvation we’re offered? That’s something we can rejoice in every day! This is much deeper and better than temporary happiness. We can take joy in all situations, no matter what the circumstances, just as Paul described in Philippians 4:11. It is so cool that God offers His love and joy all the time!

“And sustain me with a willing spirit.” Sustain means support, and willing means cheerful. David is asking God to support him with a cheerful spirit. Do we ever ask God to do that for us? If not, we need to!

Right now

Let’s meditate on Psalm 51:10-12 for a few minutes, as a whole: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

As we make our resolutions and choose which areas of self improvement we want to focus on this year, let’s make sure that having a renewed and steadfast spirit is the top priority on our list.

Take the time, right now, to pray, and to study His word. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your life!

Davonne Parks

All to Jesus I Surrender

This is a song that I think gets to the other side of giving––it’s not just about giving to others, but also giving ourselves to Jesus. Written by Jud­son W. Van De­Vent­er and Win­field S. Weed­en, its words are a statement of giving our lives to Him.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.


I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.


All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.


All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!


As you read the following verses, please notice the attitude of the two men in the following parable, which Jesus tells after a Pharisee states, “I give tithes of all that I get.” Notice what Jesus says about him.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:9–14).

Our attitude in giving, not only of time or money to the church, but also of ourselves to God, is very important. Let’s keep our giving attitudes proper, so our relationship with God will be enhanced. in the way of our relationship with God.

By Megan Skinner

Christmas Greed

Complete this phrase: Christmas ______________________.

I’ll bet most of you said “presents,” right? I’m guessing that you meant the presents you’re going to receive.

Look at us

Do you want to know what I often think of when I hear the word “Christmas?” Greed.  During what’s supposed to be the most giving time of year, so many of us become greedy! People will literally fight for the last toy on a shelf for their child; others create page-long Christmas wish lists (and become upset if the entire list isn’t met); and some want an elaborate meal prepared for them.

We’re not like that, are we?  Think about it for a minute. Have you ever been upset on Christmas day because the gift you really wanted wasn’t under the tree?  Do you regularly expect to sit down to a wonderful holiday meal that you didn’t help prepare (or worse, complain about the food)? Have you ever been upset with someone because they didn’t spend as much money on you as you spent on them? I think that if we’re really honest with ourselves, we could name several selfish things we’ve done during this season.

I hope we can all understand the problem with this greedy mindset, and that we’ll do our best to become conscious of Christmas greed, so we’ll no longer allow ourselves to think and act in such unbecoming ways.

Look outside yourself

When we’re used to focusing on ourselves it can be difficult to change our hearts, but I have a few suggestions in mind to help with the process.

Set aside money. If you receive an allowance, have a job, or receive a check from grandma in the mail, put a set amount aside so you can give to others, as we’re told to do in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Don’t let a lack of money stop you, though! You can do so many things for free, like shovel driveways, babysit, clean a house, or volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

Make a new kind of list! Make a list of ways to give to other people. Your parents or the elders at your church may know of someone in need. Give to that person, whether it’s giving them a bag of groceries, purchasing a few gifts for their children, or putting an anonymous envelope of money under their front door.

Pray about it. Ask God to open your eyes and heart to others. When we’re diligently seeking His will and searching to help others, He will lead us to them.

Keep in mind

We’re not going to be perfect, and our human instinct is to feel disappointment when we don’t receive what we were hoping for, but when we take the time to give to those who have less than us, we will naturally begin to focus less on what we don’t have and more on what we do have.

The ultimate gift was already given to us by Jesus Christ, when He dedicated His life to living perfectly, and when He died on the cross for our sins, as Hebrews 12:2 illustrates: “… Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

We can learn from His perfect example and remember that the more we give to others, the less we need to take for ourselves.

Davonne Parks

Count Your Blessings

The following song was written by Johnson Oatman and Edwin Excell. As we read the words, let’s think about all that God has blessed us with.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

The authors of this song understood the importance of being thankful for what we have. They knew they were blesses, just as all of us are today.

We can also approach thankfulness in a different way than usual. Instead of trying to think of everything that God has blessed you with, ask Him to show you everything that He has blessed you with. Notice the people who have less than you, and ask yourself how you can help them. Donating time, money, food, blood, etc. are ways to share our blessings with those in need. You can bless others without having to spend hours of your time and hundreds of your dollars. And remember, our most important blessings are not the ones we can own and touch––they are the blessings we feel.

Colossians 1:11-14 “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

By Megan Skinner

If Only

When was the last time you felt genuinely thankful for something? I’m not talking about the excitement we feel when we obtain a new possession; I’m talking about true gratitude that comes from deep within. Sometimes we focus so much on what we want, that we forget to focus on what we already have. There’s a lot of truth to the phrase, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”––but we shouldn’t have to lose something before we appreciate it!

As females, we tend to do a lot of “if only’s”:
“If only I had that car…”
“If only my parents would give me more money…”
“If only that boy noticed me…”
“If only I didn’t have so much homework…”
“If only I had more clothes…”
“If only my room was better…”
“If only my hair was straight…”
“If only my hair was curly…”

If only, then what? If only we had those things, we’d be happy and our lives would be perfect, right? Wrong! If only we had what we listed, we’d only move on to another list of “if only’s”!

In Philippians 4:11–13, Paul wrote, “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Considering that statement was made by a guy who was put into prison for being a Christian, that’s pretty powerful!

Do we really want to go through life wanting more and never feeling satisfied, or do we want to learn to be content and thankful, like Paul, even in difficult circumstances?

Basic Thankfulness List

Clothing: Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a closet full of clothes and several pairs of shoes to choose from every day. Look around your school. The girl who dresses in weird clothes and wears the same outfits all the time may not have a choice. Her parents may not be able to afford to buy her clothes whenever she needs them, so she’s stuck with hand-me-downs and whatever they can find at the local thrift store, not just to accessorize in cool ways, but because they don’t have enough money to drive to the mall and buy new things. The next time we’re tempted to complain about having nothing to wear, let’s thank God we’re blessed enough to have more than what we need, and remember that “…life is more than food, and the body more than clothing” (Luke 12:23).

Food: We are so blessed with an abundance of food! The next time we’re tempted to complain about a meal that is set before us, let’s instead think about teens or children on American streets who would love to have that meal. Say a prayer of thanks that you are blessed with full meals every day, hug the person who cooked that meal to show your appreciation, and rejoice that one day “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:16–17).

Shelter: Our homes are something else we tend to take for granted. We have so many homeless people in our own communities, people who live in shelters, sharing rooms with complete strangers. There are others who live on the streets, covering their heads with cardboard boxes to stay partially sheltered from wind, rain, and snow. Instead of complaining that we’re not allowed to paint our bedroom or buy the new furniture we want, let’s be thankful that we have a home to live in and furniture to sit on, as Paul was in 1 Timothy 6:8: “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”

Physical Self: We often take our looks for granted, and it’s not uncommon for us to complain about our imperfections. Imagine not being able to see those imperfections, or anything else. Ginny Owens is blind, yet she has chosen to not let her blindness stop her from becoming a Christian singer/song writer and telling others about her gratitude to God. The next time we want to complain that our hair isn’t just right, or our skin isn’t the exact shade we want it to be, let’s choose instead to be thankful that we have sight to see ourselves, as well as everything around us, and let’s remember that, according to Proverbs 31:10, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”

If Only…

If only we would learn to be content with what we have, we’d be more thankful, more loving, and more compassionate, and we could more effectively share God’s blessings with the world.

We’re told in Colossians 3:17 that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Next month we’ll discuss how to give to those in need, but for now let’s embrace today and thank God for all of our blessings.

– Davonne Parks

I am the Vine

The following song is by Knowles Shaw. When I think of virtue, one thing I think of is bearing fruit for Jesus. Think about the words and what they mean in your life.

“I am the vine and ye are the branches,”
Bear precious fruit for Jesus today;
Branches in Him no fruit ever bearing,
Jesus hath said, “He taketh way.”

“Now ye are clean thro’ words I have spoken;
Living in Me, much fruit ye shall bear;
Dwelling in you, My promise unbroken,
Glory in heav’n with Me ye shall share.”

Yes, by your fruits the world is to know you,
Walking in love as children of day;
Follow your Guide, He passeth before you,
Leading to realms of glorious day.

“I am the vine and ye are the branches;
I am the vine, be faithful and true;
Ask what ye will, your pray’r shall be granted,
The Father loved me, so I have loved you.”

I want you to read the next passage with God in your heart. These are the virtues that every one of us should display or be striving for in our daily lives.

Romans 12:9-21 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Think about your life every day––what do you do to show the world that you are God’s?

By Megan Skinner