Waiting {Encouragement for Teen Girls}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Teen Girls

Waiting is so hard.  It could be be waiting for that adorable dress to go on sale, it could be waiting for that avocado to ripen (guacamole, anyone?),  it could be waiting for that phone call, a difficult relationship that you’ve been working hard to reconcile, it could be a dream you’ve held forever…whatever it is, no level of waiting is easier than another.

 

I’m stubborn.  I’m a hard nose.  I’m willing to work hard for what I want–even if it kills me.  I don’t care.  I want it, I’m willing to do what it takes to get it.  I don’t care about the pain.  The blood.  The sweat.  The tears.  Bring it on–as long as I get what I want in the end.

 

But that’s not the way that God always works.

 

He does not ask me to practically kill myself for what I want.  He doesn’t want sacrifice, it doesn’t matter how much blood, sweat, or tears I shed–trying to show Him how badly I want something.  He wants obedience.


“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,”

~from 1 Samuel 15:22

 

Sometimes I forget that what want is not necessarily what God wants for me.  Or, if it is something that I believe is within His will, I forget that He is not always working within the time schedule that I want things to occur.

 

“Come on, God!  It’s time for this to happen now!”  I point to my watch, tap my toe.

 

Amy, are you being faithful where I have you right now? 


But Lord, I have been!  And I keep trying, isn’t it time that everything pays off now???

 

Amy, trust Me.  Wait.  Wait upon the Lord.  Remain faithful.


I am reminded of the scene in the movie Fireproof.  Even now, as I write this post, I am blasting the song “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller through ear buds.  So good.

 

Anyway, the scene with the montage showing Caleb, how while he is waiting for the Lord to work he is simply being obedient.  No matter what the outcome appears to be, he does not waver in that which he believes the Lord has called him to.  He just waits.  He keeps pressing in on the commands of the Lord.  He waits.  He remains faithful.  Even if it means forever.

 

Even if it means waiting for eternity.

 

“Let us not become weary in doing good,

 for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

~Galatians 6:9

 

“At the proper time”–in God’s time.  Even if it means til eternity.

 

God’s timing is always best.  He is omniscient.  He knows the desires of your heart, He will not withhold good things from you, but He will protect you.  And because He is supreme, His will comes before yours.  Is His will first and foremost in your heart?

 

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,

On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

To deliver their soul from death

And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;

He is our help and our shield.

For our heart rejoices in Him,

Because we trust in His holy name.

Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,

According as we have hoped in You.

~Psalm 33:18-22

 

What are you waiting for?  

How can you serve the Lord while you wait?  

Talk to God about the things on your heart that you are waiting for.  Are they from Him?  Give them up to Him, trust in His holy name, and bask in His peace as He carries them for you–and be faithful wherever He calls you in the meantime.

Embrace Them! {Encouragement for Teen Girls}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Teen Girls

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Colossians 3:14  

Oh, little brothers… and little sisters for that matter!  Don’t ya just love ’em to pieces?  (I can see you smirking!)  Let’s admit it.  Sometimes brothers and sisters get on our nerves… But that doesn’t make it right. Allow me to explain.

The world views us (or at least me) as a teenager that has too much responsibility having to occasionally help mom with the kids.  The world teaches us that we should not have to be helping with laundry, wiping noses, cooking meals–it is too much work for one so young, trying to explore life!   I don’t know if that is you but that is not me!

God intended for you to help your mother with housework, chores, and yes–even the children, so that she could train you for your future roll of being a wife and mother.  Little brothers and sisters are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127) and they should be embraced!  Their talents, their joys, even their shortcomings should all be embraced.  Through your brothers’ and sisters’ shortcomings you are being sharpened and refined for the work that the Lord has for you when you become a mother and have to take care of your own children that will very likely have similar shortcomings.

When your little brother comes and gets in your bed in the middle of the night because he is scared, embrace him!  Cuddle him close, give him a few kisses, tell him you love him!  When your little sister draws you another card- the millionth one and you’re tired of figuring out what to do with them- embrace her.  Thank her, use some double-sided tape and tape it to your bedroom wall, and tell her you love her!  When your other little brother wants to play catch in the backyard but you just started to read that last chapter, embrace him!  Put a mark in your book–for how long will your little brother be nine years old wanting to play catch with his big sister?– and race him to the backyard. Oh, yeah.  And don’t forget to tell him that you love him.

Have you noticed something? 🙂  Tell your brothers and sisters that you love them!  When they walk by, clothesline them and kiss them on the cheek.  Ruffle your brother’s hair as he passes by and say, “I love you!”.

These days won’t last forever, and your brothers and sisters will eventually grow up and have their own families.  Will they be any less fun?  No way!  But imagine what kind of stories they would tell their own daughters, using you as an example (how much of a privilege and delight is that?!?) about how their big sister never turned them away, she was so joyful to do things with them, and how she just couldn’t stop telling them that she loved them!  Embrace your brothers and sisters!  You will have many friends in your life, but your brothers and sisters have been and will be your friends the longest period of time: forever.

What are some ways that you could show your little siblings that you love them?  Read them a book?  Bake cookies together?  Take them out for coffee? (Ha, that’s one of my favorites!)

How might you encourage them in their walk with the Lord?

What do you think you could do to encourage them in the skills and gifts that God has given them?

Are there areas in your relationships with your siblings that you see lacking in which you may need to show them more love?

 

Arrived? {Encouragement for Teen Girls}

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Teen Girls

Do you ever do this? Sometimes I find myself unconsciously looking down on others (even other Christians) and making prejudgements either because they dress differently, act differently, do things differently.

 

I was recently in a situation in which I caught myself doing this very thing.  I felt like I had “arrived”.  That God had “enlightened” me, and that “they” had simply not “gotten there yet”.  The poor dears!

 

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: what am I doing?? It’s not my job to prejudge appearances!  Who am I to look down upon those that do not share my convictions?

 

I realized that when we get to the point where we throw our convictions and standards at everyone else and expect them to comply, we are not considering others better than ourselves; we are failing to love!

 

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” ~Romans 12:3

 

We are all at different levels in our faith, God will convict who He will of what He will—in His timing, and on His terms!

 

It is God’s job to convict, it’s my job to love.  Is there a time that we may need to rebuke a brother or a sister in Christ on something? Absolutely.  But each situation is to be handled carefully, correctly applying the concept of Matthew 18, and should be addressing a direct offense against the objective Word of God.

 

None of us have arrived.  I will continue to be sanctified until the day that I reach the pearly gates.  I realize that I have so much yet to learn, to be convicted of, to raise the standards of, to continue to be refined in the way of holiness in Jesus Christ.  How dare I try to “fix” those around me by forcing them to comply to the little that I know, when God is already at work in them?  God has called me to love, and yes, even to sharpen by way of encouraging other Christians in the ways of holiness– but the refining is up to Him.

 

Questions to ponder:

How do you look down at other Christians because they are different?

How might you look down at non-believers, because they are bad, different? 

Is there a difference between loving people and agreeing with their choices?

How did Jesus love those who were bad?  (Think of an example, like the woman at the well; the thief on the cross…)

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