Browsing Tag

goals

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – Phil 3:14

I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven.  – Phil 3:14 (ERV)

I ran long distances for my track team at school. One of the hardest things to do in a track meet was to keep running when I started getting tired. Many times, I just wanted to fall to the side of the track and stop. However, I learned though that when I started getting tired, I needed to hang in there and just keep running. There was a reward for finishing for my team if I would just not quit.

This is true in life too. Many times things get hard and we are wired to want to quit. However, when we quit we often miss out. There is power in finishing the things we start. It’s easy to start something, but sometimes it’s finishing that shows character.

God has called you to something. Today, determine to work hard to finish what God has called you to do. Don’t be a person that starts only, but keep working hard, and see what God has called you to do to the finish.

So choose to be a person of character and finish well in the things you start.

determine to work hard to finish what God has called you to do

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Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – Philippians 3:17

Tips for Teens to grow in their relationship with God

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. – Phil 3:17 (NIV)

It’s the new year, and if you’re like most people you’re thinking about goals for the new year.  That’s something that we all should be working on. However, in all your goal setting, don’t forget to challenge yourself to grow in your walk with God.

Getting started growing closer to God can often seem overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you do it? The thought of it often makes you feel too overwhelmed to even want to begin.

Knowing God doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In the last two days, we’ve talked about taking five minutes a day to read your Bible and five minutes a day to pray. Today, we’re going to challenge you to take five minutes a day to help yourself grow.

Tip #3 – Spend 5 minutes a day listening/reading something spiritual.

You can do that by reading or listing to something spiritual each day for five minutes. If reading isn’t your thing, look for teaching videos on YouTube. If you love to read, find a few good books that challenge you spiritually.

Spending 5 minutes a day reading or listening to something that challenges you to grow in your walk with God will make a big difference in your life.

So each day this year challenge yourself to do these three things we’ve suggested:

  1. Invest 5 Minutes in the Bible
  2. Spend 5 Minutes in prayer
  3. 5 Minutes listening/reading something spiritual.

These 15 minutes you spend each day challenging yourself and growing in your relationship with God will really help you in the long run. You’ll never regret investing in yourself and your relationship with God.

So this new year, challenge yourself to grow your relationship with God.  We’re excited to see what 2020 brings for you!

 

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – James 5:16

Teen New Years Resolution - Prayer

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16 (NLT)

In yesterday’s devotion, we talked about how to make Bible reading easy for the new year. Today, let’s talk about prayer. It’s easy to feel weird when you’re about to pray. Sometimes you don’t know what to say or how to really get started doing it. So today, we’re going to show a few easy ways to make prayer part of your routine in 2020.

Tip #2 – Spend 5 Minutes in Prayer Each Day

When you’re starting off, it can be really exciting wanting to pray and you think, I’ll spend 30 minutes a day praying and it will be so easy and wonderful. Then three days later, you begin dreading the idea of praying in the first place. So instead of a huge and lofty goal of prayer, consider doing something sustainable.

Choose to spend 5 minutes a day in prayer. It might be while you take a shower. It could be waiting for the bus each morning. Find a place that works for you and commit to 5 minutes each day. Set a timer on your phone and when it goes off, you’re done. Setting a timer might make it feel a little less spiritual, but sometimes knowing you’re not spending hours on end helps you push in for a few minutes. If the 5 minutes is over and you’re still enjoying your time with God, don’t feel like you have to stop. Just let the five minutes be your starting point and commit to doing it each day.

Try Praying Like This:

Lots of times it can be hard to know where to start when you pray. One easy thing to do is to start by finding a couple of things you can thank God for. Find two or three things and spend a minute or two thanking God for the good things in your life.

After that, talk to God a bit. Tell Him areas where you struggle. Be honest and open with Him. Ask God for help and wisdom for the tough things you’re facing.

Finish up praying by telling God how much you love Him.

A simple format like this takes only a few minutes, but you’ll be surprised how much you’ll grow in your walk with God as a result of spending 5 minutes a day praying.

 

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – Hebrews 4:12

Teenager New Years Resolution

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

It’s almost the beginning of a new year, and you’re probably starting to think about New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe you want to lose some weight, learn to play guitar, or spend a little less time playing video games. Most people try to make some positive changes for the upcoming year.

One of the best resolutions you can make is spending more time reading your Bible in 2020. So this year, we want to present you with some simple ways to make having a quiet time with God really simple.

It can seem really intimidating to try to read the Bible each day. So let us help you by giving you some quick tips to help you have a simple Bible study plan for 2020!

Tip #1 – Spend 5 mins in the Bible each day

In your quiet times each day, challenge yourself to spend a simple five minutes reading the Bible each day. And if reading the Bible isn’t your thing, consider having it read to you. YouVersion provides an audio version in several different Bible translations.

Also, consider:

  • Reading a Proverb that is the same as the day number. So if it’s January 1, read Proverbs 1.
  • Start reading a chapter from the book of John each day.
  • Do a topical study of an area that interests you. Search our website for topics or google and see what you can find.

There are lots of easy ways to get God’s word into your life. Pick one that makes sense to you. Then set a timer for 5 minutes. When your timer goes off, you’re done. It’s that easy.

Don’t make Bible reading hard this year. Instead, commit to 5 minutes a day and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll grow in your walk with God in 2020!

Check out this great video by the Bible Project to help you get started reading the Bible.

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – Luke 1:37

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion Teens Goals New Year

For with God nothing shall be impossible.- Luke 1:37

It’s a new year, and you’re probably all geared up for all your new years resolutions. Maybe you want to spend less money, read your Bible more, or get better grades in Chemistry. Whatever your goals might be, it’s always good to get God involved in them.

If you set a goal to get better grades, then get God involved with it. Find some scriptures in the Bible about learning and choose to read and study those. As you get God involved and mix faith with your efforts, you’ll really see your goals succeed.

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God says that with Him nothing is impossible, so believe God this year. Choose to have faith that He will do what He says. Believe Him that He will bring your goals to pass and that with Him nothing is impossible!

4 Truths About Habits

Teen Devotion About HabitsAs a teenager, you might not really think about your habits much. But, you probably have tons of habits. You might have a habit of getting up in the morning a certain way. Or a habit of eating something a certain way.

I have this crazy habit of eating Nutter Butter cookies. I take two cookies, open each cookie sandwich up, and scrape out the peanut butter. I then re-stack the cookie using only two of the four cookies and all of the peanut butter filling. This makes a mountain of a cookie with lots of good peanut butter filling. Its so good!

Sometimes, habits can be weird, like how I eat Nutter Butter cookies. Other habits are boring and some habits are good and others are bad. Regardless of how habits are characterized, let’s look at a few things that habits have in common.

Truth One – Habits are Hard to Break.

Habits can be really hard to break, especially if you’ve been doing them for a long time. Maybe you have a habit of cracking your knuckles and it drives your mom crazy. So you try really hard to quit, but it seems like you always forget and crack them anyway. Habits are tough to break. Over time, they’ve become a part of who you are and it makes it much harder to break them when you find a bad one.

A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It’s an undo-it-yourself project.  – Abigail Van Buren

Have you ever had a habit that was really hard to break?

To break a habit, it takes a lot of hard work, but if you decide to do it and are determined, you can break any habit. Also, don’t discount God’s help in breaking a habit. Ask God for wisdom and he’ll show you creative ways you can break your habit.

The more bad habits you kick when you’re young, the freer and more fun you’ll have as you get older. Don’t waste any time, start working on those bad habits today!

Truth Two – Habits are hard work

Good habits don’t just appear in your life. As awesome as that would be, habits don’t just show up in your life. You’ve got to choose to work on the habits you’d like to have.

If you want to be more generous, you’ve got to spend time working on generosity. If you want to be more patient, you’ve got to practice patience in your life. A good way to do this, is to find some verses in the Bible that deal with the habit you’d like to see in your life. Read the verses and say the verses out loud daily, and put a copy of the verse in your locker at school or mirror at home. Getting God’s word into your heart is a good way to develop good habits.

Another practical thing you can do is to find some resources to develop the habit in your life. Perhaps your library has a book on your habit, or you can spend some time searching online to find tips to develop the habit. You can gain a lot of insight by simply looking for resources designed to help you develop good habits.

Regardless of how you develop the new habit, you need to realize that good habits aren’t going to just show up in your life. Just like an athlete has to practice hard to become good at their sport, you’ve got to spend time practicing and developing good habits in your life. Good habits don’t happen by chance, rather they’re developed through hard work and discipline.

Truth Three – Habits  determine your destination.

Just because you want to get a certain level of success in life doesn’t mean that it will happen. Just desiring something will never get you to where you want to go. Your destination in life is determined each day by the habits you keep.

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it. -Horace Mann

You’ve got to put in work to get to where you want to go in life. High achievement doesn’t happen automatically. You’ve got to put some time in to developing habits that will help you reach the destination you desire in life.

If you want to do well in sports there are certain habits you must develop to get you there. If you never show up for practice and don’t eat right, you’ll never achieve as much as those who do. To be good at something, you’ve got to develop the habits you need for success.

This is why its so important to develop good habits while you’re young. As you get older, habits become harder to break. It also becomes harder to reach your destination. Choose to develop habits that will help you reach your goals.

Habits help you reach your dreams.

If you have a dream of becoming a musician, then begin to develop good habits of practicing music. If you want to be a writer, begin writing a little bit every night before you go to bed. Whatever it is that you dream of doing, the habits you work on now matter. They will take you toward your dreams or away from them.

People ruin their lives with the foolish things they do, and then they blame theLord for it.  – Proverbs 19:3 (ERV)

Habits are really important. So choose today to make good habits in your life. Choose to not let life just pass you by, but rather put in the effort to develop good habits today.

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What Canoes Teach Us About Hope

Teen Devotion and Youth Group Lesson on Hope

When you’ve got a great talent or ability people will often ask you when you realized you were able to do your talent. I discovered my “talent”, or lack there of at the age of ten. I was at a summer camp with some friends and during a free time at the camp, a friend and I decided to take a canoe out on the lake. It was fun, we paddled and talked and had a great time. When we were about in the middle of the lake, we heard the camp’s bell. The bell was telling us that our free time was over and we needed to go to the next scheduled activity. 

My friend and I began trying to turn our canoe around. We realized in a few minutes that we weren’t able to turn the canoe around. We tried and tried and tried, but no matter how hard we tried we weren’t able to turn our canoe around. And in that moment, I realized how bad I was at steering a canoe.

In canoeing and in life there’s often times where we need to turn it around or we need to course correct. Sometimes we might see something coming up ahead and realize that we need to change our course. Or perhaps, we see a dream, goal or vision that God has for our lives but we don’t know how to get there.

How Do We Get There?

So how do we do it? How do we get from where we are now to where we want to be? How do we stay motivated and keep moving toward our goal even when our goal seems too far away and we begin to wonder if we can ever get there?

Hope is what keeps us focused and moving toward our God given dreams and goals. Hope is what motivates us when things get tough and we want to give up. In the Bible, the disciples faced a situation where they wanted to give up hope.

but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. – Luke 24:21 (NIV)

In this passage, the disciples were sharing their feelings and said they had hoped. They had given up on hope since Jesus had died. They were feeling really discouraged and didn’t know what to do next.

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How do you turn a bad situation around?

One of the most important things to do when you’re in a tough situation is to not give up on hope. Hope is very important to accomplishing your dreams and goals, so let’s look at a few reasons why.

Hope = Direction.

If you lose your hope, you lose all direction in life. If you were in a canoe and you dropped your paddle, you’d be in trouble. Without the paddle, you’d have nothing to steer you. Hope is the same for us in life. Without hope, we have nothing steering and driving us toward our goals and dreams in life. If we give up our hope, we give up our direction.

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Hope = Anchor.

When you’re boating an anchor is important. Without it, you could run aground or drift off course. An anchor helps keep you in place. In life, it’s no different. We need something secure and something to help hold us steady. A secure anchor for our lives is Jesus.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain – Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Many times in life our emotions, feelings and circumstances can try to drift us off course. We have to realize that if we lose hope, we lose our anchor.

Guard Your Hope.

When you’re canoeing it can make sense to take a dry bag with you. A dry bag is a safe place to put keys, books, maybe even food that you don’t want to get wet. Once this bag is sealed, it keeps important items from getting wet. Our hope is important. It’s something that needs to be guarded and kept safe. If we’re going to accomplish the dreams that God has put in our lives, we need to be sure to guard our hope.

What you put your hope IN matters.

If you were to try to hope in a canoe and paddle on carpet, you wouldn’t get very far. It would be hard work and really tough. However, if you were to put that same canoe into water and begin to paddle, it would be a lot easier. Why? What you put your canoe in matters. In life, it’s no different. What you put your hope in matters. You can put your hope in your friends, or in money, or lots of other things. Just be sure that what you put your hope in is solid. That it’s something that can see you through. In life, putting your hope in Jesus is a good choice. Jesus will never leave you or let you down. What you put your hope in matters.
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Hope can be resurrected.

Your situation isn’t too far gone for God. Your hope can be resurrected.

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? – Luke 24:5

These women went back to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They were looking back at what had been. The angel asked them why were you looking for the living among the dead. The angel was telling them that even though their hope (Jesus) was once dead, it had now been resurrected. They didn’t have to keep looking for it in the place of death. In the same way, our hope can be resurrected, if we put it in Jesus.

Hope is important as it is the motivation for you to reach your God given dreams. Always remember that your situation isn’t too hopeless for a resurrection. Your dream isn’t too far off for Jesus to help bring it to pass in your life. If you choose to keep hope alive, your situation is never too hopeless. If you trust in God and lean on Him as the source of your hope, you’ll never be disappointed and never be without true hope.

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If you’re a youth leader and would like discussion questions or a lesson outline and powerpoint, you can download them below.

6 Reasons To Make Financial Goals

Teen Devotion - Financial Goals, Habits, Spending MoneyFinancial goals can seem pretty boring when you’re young. Most likely, you’d rather work on that history paper than think about your future financial goals. Setting financial goals isn’t probably what you’ll be bragging to your friends you did Friday night, but they are important. Setting financial goals can launch you forward into success faster. Here are six awesome reasons to set financial goals.

Reason One – Debt Stinks

It’s really easy to get sucked into the trap of spending too much. Those new shoes might seem so appealing and getting the newest phone might be really tempting, but getting into debt over them isn’t fun. It’s easy to get sucked into buying lots of things. While there’s nothing wrong with having nice things, getting into debt to have those nice things won’t pay off in the end.

If you want to be financially stable, make the decision while your young to stay out of debt. Credit card debt is especially bad. Setting good financial goals is important, they will help you stay out of debt.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. – Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)

Reason Two – No regrets.

When you get to be old and you’re looking back over your life, what financial decisions will you remember most? The coat that you had to have? Or that backpack that everyone at school was talking about? Or will it be the time you gave money to help missionaries touch lives for Jesus?

If you want to live a life without regrets, one step toward that is to make sound financial decisions. If you set aside money for saving and giving, you’ll find that you’ll be able to do the things that you want to. Choose to set financial goals so that you can live your life with no financial regrets.

Reason Three – Embarrassment

There is always that embarrassment of always living off your parents. Its not cool to be 34 and still borrowing money from your mom to get McDonald’s on Friday night. However, if you spend every penny you make each month you could find yourself in that situation.

It’s embarrassing not having enough money to buy things or help others out. You can avoid this by setting up good financial habits while you’re young. Choose to spend your money wisely and set some financial goals and limits for your life.

Reason Four – You want to achieve more.

If you want to achieve more, have money to give to others, and have nice things, you’ve got to have a plan to get there. Unfortunately success in life isn’t automatic. It takes work to get to where you want to be in life. If you want to be well off, you’ve got to make plans and wise financial decisions to get there.

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Reason Five – You want to enjoy life

If you don’t want to be stressed out all the time, wondering where the money is going to come from to pay for your rent, then it would be good to set up some financial goals. Your goals don’t have to be complicated. Simply determine to save and spend less than you make. An easy way to do this is to take out some money in cash for fun. Once your fun money is spent, then you know you can’t spend any more until your next pay period. This might seem like it’s keeping you from having fun, but in reality the opposite is true.

If you want to really enjoy life, and not be stressed out about money, then choose to spend less than you make so you have money left over in case of an emergency. Goals like these will help you stay on track financially and leave you with some room to have some fun too.

Reason Six – You Want to take adventures

If you want to travel, give, and change the world, it’s going to take money. With some smart financial goals, you can set aside some money so you’re able to travel and do the things you really want to do.

Setting up financial goals isn’t easy. It takes some work and saying ‘no’ to what feels good right now. However, if you set goals and hold yourself accountable to those goals, you help yourself in the long run. Financial goals helps you achieve more and help others too.

What are some financial goals you have?

3 Practical Steps to Help You Accomplish Your Dreams

 

Youth and Teen Devotion - 3 Practical Steps to Reach Your Dreams

If you’re like most teenagers, you want to do something big with your life. You don’t want to be ordinary, but you do want to accomplish something meaningful. You desire to live your life to help others.

These desires are God breathed into your life. They’re exciting and fun and for some of you, they will be world changing. As fun as dreams are, success doesn’t happen automatically. To help your dreams become successful in the long term, we’ve come up with three practical steps to help you accomplish your dreams.

Step One – Prayer.

When you’re in the midst of doing something big for God prayer is vital. You’ve got to get God’s vision for your dream. God will show you how to do something when you don’t know how. He’ll show you the people you need to do the things that God is calling you to do, and He’ll give you the grace to do it. Be quick to go to God for His help.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

God sees the big picture. He has the benefit of knowing the future, so it’s important to get His input on your dreams and goals. Sometimes God will tell you to wait because the timing isn’t right to accomplish your dream. Other times, He might show you that you need some help or training to do what you feel in your heart to do. Be open to hearing from God about your dream. Follow His leading on the timing, and whether the dream is really what you’re to be doing right now.

Often God will put things in your heart, but they won’t come to pass all at once. Be patient and let God lead you in the development and discovery of your dream.

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Step Two – Discovery.

Discovery should always be a step in reaching your dreams. Discovery is simply getting to know yourself. During this phase, you’ll want to identify what types of things you excel at, and discover potential weaknesses. Its also helpful to get to know about jobs or careers that could potentially interest you. Learning about both of these areas is what dream discovery is all about.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

You have a God given gift that you can use to help others. Spend the time to find out what that is for you. Ask God to show you what things He’s put inside you and how you can begin to use them to make a difference.

Another part of discovery is to begin looking for others who have done something similar to what you want to do. Maybe you dream of a music career. Seek out others who have careers in music. Find out what education they needed for what they do. Find out what they do on a daily basis and see if it seems like this is something that would be a good fit for your strengths.

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. – Proverbs 28:26 (NLT)

It’s always worth it to invest the time to discover if your dream is a good fit for your gifts, personality and strengths.

Step Three – Reality Check.

After exploring the other two steps above, it’s good to do a little reality check. After you’ve spent some time discovering some of your gifts and talents, does your dream fit within your gifts? Do you believe that you could realistically accomplish your dream?

Also after praying and spending time with God, how do you feel about your dream? Is the timing right for you to pursue your dream? Do you feel like this dream is inspired by God? In answering these questions, choose to put God’s leading ahead of your own excitement if it’s needed. Be open to adjusting your goal or dream if God is pushing you that way. Choose to put God first in the pursuit of your dreams and goals.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

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God has given you a dream to do something exciting with your life. He’s gifted you in a unique way to accomplish the things that He has put on your heart. Don’t be afraid to dream big and get involved with your dreams. With God’s help you can accomplish big things!

If you’ve got a Bible study or a youth group and would like to use this devotion for discussion, we’ve got some easy to use discussion questions based on this devotion.

 

3 Reasons to Make Goals

3 Reasons to Make Goals For Teenagers - Youth Group

As a teenager, its easy to think that setting goals doesn’t matter. You might feel that goals are for adults to accomplish, or setting goals is something you can worry about when you get older. In this devotion, we’re going to talk about a few reasons you should start setting goals now as a teenager. Don’t wait until you’re finished with school, married, or set in your career to set goals. The time to start is now. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. Setting goals is a habit.  There’s no reason to wait to set goals. If you start setting goals now as a teenager, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Don’t let excuses or laziness keep you from setting goals for your life. Instead make setting goals a habit in your life.
  2. Setting goals is fulfilling. There’s nothing better than the feeling of accomplishing the goals you set for your self. Its great to be able to check something off the list and know that its done and you did well. By setting goals you know where you’re going and what you want to accomplish. Goals give you something to aim for and to run after. So set some goals and enjoy the chance to cross those goals off your list.
  3. Don’t wait.  If you make the excuse that you’re going to wait until you’re ready, less busy, or an adult, you’ll never start setting goals. Setting goals isn’t something you should wait for or put off. Its something that you should start doing now. If you wait to set goals, you’ll end up never setting any. Choose to begin to set goals for your life!

Start the new year off right. Challenge yourself to make some goals for the upcoming year. Your goals might be something small like bumping up your algebra grade, or being more friendly to others at school. Or they could be something larger like going on a missions trip or learning to play guitar. Whether the goals are big or small, the important thing is that you begin to set them.

Don’t wait for the perfect time or the right circumstances to begin. Start by setting aside 10 or 15 minutes out of your day and write down some goals. You don’t have to over think goal setting, just think of some stuff you’d like to do or improve and throw them on your list. That way when you look back on the next year, you can see that you accomplished some great things!

A goal is a dream with a deadline. – Napoleon Hill

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