Devotion for the week of 2/17/14-2/23/14
Unrequited, unreturned, love is something I’m sure we’ve all faced at some point in our lives. When you like someone and they don’t like you back. For some of us, when that happens, we look in the Bible to see what it says about it. Many people believe that the Bible doesn’t say anything about things like unrequited love. But when you look a little closer you see that it actually does. Maybe it doesn’t say it in the way you’d expect, but it does say it. First, we must remember that Jesus has experienced pain, too. So when we are hurt by things, in this case, unrequited love, it’s important to remember that Jesus knows what it’s like to be hurt. John 1:10-11 says, ‘He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.’ Unrequited love is a form of rejection. And Jesus has been rejected, too. He loves everyone, the entire world, but they don’t all love him. He gave them a choice to love him or not, and some have chosen not to love him. It’s the same with us. We can try but, honestly, we can’t make someone like us. We can be ourselves and hope that they like us but, in the end, it’s their decision. It’s their choice. We have given them a choice to like us or not, just as Jesus has given them a choice to love him or reject him. Jesus has been rejected by millions of people. But instead of focusing on that, he focuses on those who do love him. And we should do the same. So the next time you like someone and they don’t like you back, don’t feel bad! It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you! Just as they chose not to like you, you should choose to focus on those who do like you: your family, your friends, and, most importantly, Jesus. Jesus loves you more than anyone ever can! He loves you so much that he died for you! He loves you unconditionally! In your life there will people that don’t like you. But just remember how much Jesus loves you.
Devotion for the week of 2/10/14-2/16/14
Isaiah 48:10 says ‘See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.’ Trials are often said to ‘refine’ us, and this verse confirms that. Affliction means trials so, when God says He tests us in the ‘furnace of affliction’, He means that He tests us through the ‘fire’ of our trials. Just as silver is refined when put through fire, we are ‘refined’ when put through trials. God puts us through trials to help make us better. He also tests us through our trials which means that He uses trials to test our faith. When we go through hard times God wants us to turn to Him for help. Some of us do, but others shun Him because they are angry that He has placed them in that trial. It is when we ask for his help, though, that He will bring us through our trial. We just need to trust Him. In my experience, I have always learned a lesson from my trials. My trials have always refined me and made me a better person. It’s important to know that God doesn’t give us trials to hurt us, He gives us trials to help us. Sometimes in life, by the decisions we make, we put ourselves through hard times. But, when that happens, God will use that to make us better. Recently I went through something and it was my own fault that I went through it. But God used it to help me learn a lesson and He refined me through it. So, whenever you are facing a trial, know that God will use it for your good. He will refine you!
Teen-to-Teen 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Girls for Teen Girls and Teen-to-Teen 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Guys for Teen Guys
God allowed me, along with many other teenage girls from all over the US and beyond, to be a contributing writer for B&H Publishing Group’s Teen-to-Teen: 365 Daily Devotions By Teen Girls for Teen Girls. It and the boys’ edition, Teen-to-Teen: 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Guys for Teen Guys, were released in November of 2013 and are available at Amazon.com, Lifeway Christian Stores, Mardel Stores, Barnes & Noble, and most Internet stores as well as other Christian stores. The devotions contain personal stories and reflective thoughts that are inspiring and uplifting. I highly recommend it for girls who enjoy some daily encouragement. So go check them out! If you are touched by the messages in these books please post a review on some of the sites where they can be purchased. Remember, these books make great gifts!
Devotion for the week of 2/3/14-2/9/14
Matthew 20: 1-16 is The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The parable tells of a vineyard owner who, throughout the day at different times, hires men to work in his vineyard. At the end of the day he pays the men, starting with those that had just started working about an hour ago. When the men who had worked all day saw how much the other men got paid they were excited because they thought they were going to get paid more since they had worked longer. However, when the vineyard owner paid them, they received just as much as the others. This outraged them, so the vineyard owner said to them “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius (a typical day’s wage)? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” I really like this parable because of its meaning. You see, the vineyard is the world, the vineyard owner is God, and the vineyard workers are Christians. It is saying that whether you become a Christian in the beginning (when you are young) or in the end (when you are old), you will still be granted the same gift of eternal life in Heaven. Even though some people have been Christians for longer and have faced prosecution and rejection because of it, in the end all Christians, new or longstanding, will go to Heaven. And you should not expect any special treatment from God just because you’ve been a Christian for a long time. When the men who had been working from the start of the day got angry with the vineyard owner about their pay, he asked them if they were jealous because he was generous. God doesn’t want us to be upset that He treats new Christians the same as longstanding ones. He wants us to be glad that He is so compassionate. So let’s just be glad that we all end up in Heaven to spend eternity with God.
I absolutely love this verse! Through all the business and noise in life, sometimes it’s best to just take a step back and listen for God. Just find a quiet place and ‘be still’ and bask in the presence of the Lord. Know that He is God, and He will take care of you.
Devotion for the week of 1/27/14-2/2/14
A song by a Christian group named Hillsong United entitled “Oceans” is composed of powerful and moving lyrics. Its second title, “Where Feet May Fail”, has great meaning behind it. If you do recall in the book of Matthew chapter 14, the famous story of Jesus calling for Peter to trust Him and walk on the water is tied to this title. I believe that when they say “where feet may fail” they are referring to being out in the depths of the ocean and struggling with your faith and with trusting God so that, in trying to walk on the water, your doubt and fears may cause your feet to fail. Meaning that when your circumstances are rough and it’s hard to trust God, your lack of faith may cause you harm. Your feet may fail out in the middle of the ocean. Throughout the song they sing of how they will keep their faith even in the deepest waters. At one point in the song they sing the lyrics “You’ve never failed and you won’t start now”. That is my favorite part because, when I look back on how my life has been since I became a Christian, I realize that God truly has never failed me. And I rest in the fact that He never will. I like how they word it, “You won’t start now”. They are saying that, no matter what we are going through at the moment, God isn’t going to fail us now since He never has before. I love the touching words in this song! Everytime I hear it I am reminded just how much God loves me and I realize just how much I love Him.