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relationships & dating

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” – Isaiah 40:8 (NIV)

Do you wish you had a date? Are you in a relationship, but wish you knew how to get out of it? Relationships are hard and whether you’re in one or not sometimes it’s just simply hard to be content. Some days are good and some days are bad. With all the ups and downs of relationships, it’s often a lot of work to be content.

The good news is that no matter how crazy your relationships get, there’s one thing that is constant. It’s God’s word. God’s word is never changing. And when things get crazy, it’s God’s word that we should turn to. God’s word should be the standard and the guide for all our relationships.

So regardless of your relationship status, choose today to look at God’s word. Let the unchanging truths in it be the standard for how you live your life. Don’t be swayed by relationships and feelings but rather cling to the truth found in God’s word.

Read: Date Smarter – 5 Devotions About Relationships

Daily Bible Verse and Devotion – 1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals” – 1 Corinthians 15:33

Have you ever thought about the types of people you hang out with? Who do you spend most of your time with? The answers to these questions can tell you a lot about yourself and where you’re going.

It’s easy to think that it doesn’t matter who you hang out with. You might not really spend much time thinking about that. However, today’s Bible verse shows us that we should care about the kind of people we spent time with. Whether we want to admit it or not, those people influence us.

The majority of what you’ll accomplish in life is tied to who you choose to spend your time with. If you spend time with people who challenge you to live for God, and be better, you’ll find that you’ll always be growing.

Today, choose to spend some time reflecting on who you hang around. If you don’t have friends pushing you to do and be better, consider trying to find some that will. The friends that you hang around are important. They can direct the path your life takes.


1 Corinthians 15:33

7 Strategies to Help You Stay Sexually Pure

Strategies to Remain Sexually Pure for Teenagers

Sexual temptation is something we all face at some point in our lives. Winning the battle against sexual temptation isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard to stay strong in a world where sexual purity is laughed at. However, with some good strategies in place, you can win the fight against sexual temptation.

Strategy One – Watch What You Watch

One of the best strategies to stay sexually pure begins with being careful what you watch online and on TV. You can begin to feed sexual desires by spending too much time watching the wrong things online and on TV. Be mindful of what you’re watching and what you spend time thinking about.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Phil 4:8 (NLT)

The battle in the physical is often won first in your mind. Choose to think Godly thoughts and watch Godly things online and on TV. It will make your fight against sexual temptation much easier.

Strategy Two – Find a mentor

Find someone you respect who has already made the journey before you. Perhaps it’s a youth worker, older friend, or sibling. Find someone who has won the battle of sexual temptation and learn everything you can from them. See what strategies worked for them in their own battle against sexual temptation and see if you can apply any to your life.

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. – Proverbs 13:20

Strategy Three – Walk Away

If you’re dating someone, and things start getting heated, don’t be afraid to walk away. Stand up, walk to the other side of the room, leave the area, avoid dark places, cars or whatever seems to work for you.

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. – 2 Timothy 2:22

Don’t be afraid to put on the brakes and walk away. You’re in control of your body. If you want to stay sexually pure, you’ll have to make the decision to walk away from situations where you’ll be tempted.

Strategy Four – Stay Accountable

Having a good friend or two to stay accountable with is important. You need someone to help challenge you to stay strong when you’re feeling weak. Battles aren’t fought alone. You need to find someone to help hold you accountable.

Strategy Five – Date others committed to avoiding sexual temptation

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? – 2 Cor 6:14

You can’t expect to stay sexually pure and date someone who doesn’t have that same value. It doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to find someone who shares that same value and date them. It will make it so much easier in the long run. Date someone who is as committed to staying sexually pure as you are.

Strategy Six – Have a reminder

Before we were married, my husband and I had a funny phrase we would say to each other to challenge ourselves to stay sexually pure. We’d tell each other, ‘keep it clean until June 13.’ Our wedding date was June 13. It sounds a little funny, but it worked as a great reminder for us. Whenever we were feeling weak in that area, we would say this funny catch phrase and it help remind us of our commitment to remain sexually pure.

Do something fun to remind yourself of your commitment. Whether it’s a ring, a catch phrase or something else, have a reminder that you can use to remind yourself to stay pure.

Strategy Seven – Keep it casual

Don’t take your relationship too seriously. Don’t assume that it will end in marriage. Don’t act like you’re already married. You will most likely have several relationships before you get married. Don’t put too much pressure on your relationship. Don’t assume that you will marry this person. Most likely you won’t. Take the pressure off, keep it casual and simply enjoy life.

Get to know the person, but don’t jump straight to love and marriage. Keep yourself pure by putting on the brakes a bit and keeping your relationship casual.

Here are a few tips when it comes to guarding your heart in relationships.

What are some other strategies you’ve used to avoid sexual temptation? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’re a youth leader and you enjoyed this devotion, we’ve made some discussion questions based on this lesson. Check them out below!


3 Tests To See If You’re In Love

Teen and Youth Devotion on Finding Out If you're in love

How do you know if you’re really in love? Is there some magic formula, math equation, or science experiment that can tell you? How do you know when you’ve found the “real deal” and when to just keep looking?

There’s got to be a better way to approach relationships and dating. We’ve come up with three tests to find out if the relationship you’re in or pursuing has the potential to be the real thing.

  1. Test #1 – The Push Test
    The best way to find out if your relationship is true love is by putting it through the push test. The push test takes an honest look at your current relationship and asks, “What is this relationship pushing me toward?” Is your relationship pushing you toward God? Are you challenged to be a better Christian by the person you’re dating? Or does your relationship make you do, say and go places that you’re not comfortable with? Is your relationship pushing you toward your goals? A true relationship headed toward love and marriage will push you closer to God and challenge you to accomplish your goals.

    Stop forming inappropriate relationships with unbelievers. Can right and wrong be partners? Can light have anything in common with darkness? – 2 Cor 6:14

  2. Test #2 – The Church Test
    The church test is a great way to find out if your relationship really is love. The church tests asks if how you act and the things you do around your crush or boyfriend/girlfriend were viewed by your pastor, or even Jesus himself would you be embarrassed? Is your relationship causing you to do things physically, verbally, or any other way that isn’t right? If it is, you need to cut the relationship off. As a Christian, you’ve got the spirit of God living on the inside of you. You should be acting in ways that reflect that new nature.

    Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself – 1 Cor 6:19


  3. Test #3 – The Family Test
    This test asks how your family feels about the person you’re dating. Do they feel that you’re a better person because you’re with them? Or do they see some red flags in your relationship? Do they become worried about your behavior when you’re with that person? If your family has concerns about your relationship, you need to take those to heart. If a relationship doesn’t pass the family test, you should seriously consider calling it off.

    If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:3 (NLT)

These three tests should help you determine if your relationship has the potential to be true love. Always be sure to spend time praying and asking God about your relationship. Also, don’t be afraid to call off a relationship if it’s not headed in a good direction. Your heart is too valuable to not be protected. Determine today to make good choices when it comes to dating.

If you’re a youth leader, and you enjoyed this devotion, be sure to check out the youth leader lesson on the same topic. We’ve also got a ton of great resources in our youth leader resources section, so check them out!

How to Get Your Heart Sucker Punched

Teen Advice, Youth Bible Study Lesson and Devotion on Dating and Broken Heart

February is known for Valentine’s Day. Its a holiday that’s great, if you have a date. If you don’t, its a sad reminder that you’re single, and not getting a stuffed bear, box of chocolate or whatever else your significant other might get you. With the idea of relationships in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind if you’d like a broken heart. Or if you’d rather avoid a broken heart, then these are a few things to not do in a relationship.
  1. Have Sex.

    If you’re not married, you shouldn’t be having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend. It doesn’t matter how amazing the person is, or how you know that this person is the “one” and that one day the two of you will get married. The point is you’re not married right now, and that’s what counts.
    Many teenagers think its okay to have sex if you’re thinking about marrying the person you’re dating. However, the only time you should have sex is when you’re married. Not almost married, not after you’ve exchanged promise rings, or if you’re talking about marriage. If you’re almost married, you’re NOT married. Something could happen, you could break up. And if or when you do, your heart will get ripped to shreds because you didn’t guard it. Choose to not allow your heart to be broken. Choose to go about having sex God’s way, and keep your heart from being broken.
    Stay away from sexual sins. Other sins that people commit don’t affect their bodies the same way sexual sins do. People who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. – 1 Cor 6:18 (God’s Word)

  2. Fall in Love.

    Many teenagers let themselves fall in love with the person they’re dating. Almost all teenage relationships don’t end in marriage. So, if you allow yourself to fall in love too quickly, you’re going to get hurt. Guard your heart. Take time to get to know the person you’re dating. Don’t give too much of your emotions away to that person. If you allow yourself to fall in love too quickly you are setting yourself up for heartbreak in the long run.
    Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

  3. Don’t give your life to God.

    One of the best ways to get your heart broken is to not give your life to God. God created you to need Him. You’re not designed to run your life on your own. You were created for relationship and fellowship with God. God wants to guide you, comfort you, and walk with you through life. By not giving your heart to God, you are not allowing Him to be your comfort and guide for your life. Life can be tough at times and if you’d like a broken heart, the best way to do that is by not letting God into your life.

These are three things to do if you’d like a broken heart. Heartbreak isn’t what God desires for your life, but He lets us decide if we want to follow Him or not. By not following God and what He has said in His word, you’re opening up your heart to be broken.

Choose to follow after God and allow Him to direct your paths. As you do, you’ll find that you’ll be happier and experience less heartbreak.

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Relationships – What Are You Holding On To?

Teen Devotion Youth Advice on DatingRelationships are tough. Dealing with other people isn’t easy. And when it comes to dating, its even harder. Dating can get rocky sometimes. You might not do the right thing or say the right thing. The person you’re in a relationship with might not do the right things either. So what do you do when things in a relationship get a little rough?

The answer to this reminds me of a time I was training to go on a missions trip. Our team had training for an entire week before we went. We wanted to be close as a team and be ready to minister to the people on the trip. Two days of training were set aside for us to do a ropes course.

If you’ve never done a ropes course, it can be a bit challenging at times. We had to climb rock walls, jump off a 30 foot pole, and compete in several obstacle courses.

One of the most monumental things we did was climb up a 100 foot climbing wall, and then zipline from the top of the tower down to the bottom of a steep hill. When I was standing at the top of the climbing tower looking down, there was nothing more I wanted to do than to just stay there and cling to the safety of the top of the tower. However, I couldn’t do that. I had to let go of the tower to zipline down to the field below.

Its a simple concept really, and its this: you can’t hold on to two things at once. I couldn’t hold onto the tower at the top and also zipline to the bottom of the hill. If I would have tried, I could have probably broken my arm or hurt myself in some way.

This is true too in our dating relationships. It is easy for us to let go of God so that we can gain a person in a relationship. We let go of God’s word and begin to put more faith in our feelings and what the person we’re dating is telling us.

This is a dangerous place to be. When you let go of God, you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak and failure. However, the opposite is true too. When you hold onto God and put him first in your relationships, success is sure to follow.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33 (HSCB)

What are you holding on to in terms of relationships? Are you holding on to God and trusting Him in your relationships? Or are you holding on to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Are you allowing them to dictate things?

Take a close look at your life. Choose to make any adjustments that are needed in your relationship so that you’re holding on to God and not anything else. Its a simple truth, you can’t hold onto two things at the same time.

Imagine the Possibilities

Devotion for Teens and Daily Bible Verse on ImaginationYour imagination is a very powerful thing. It can bring good or bad things into your life. When I was still single I wanted to be married more than anything else. I was tempted to give up on my plan to remain sexually pure because my wife to be was nowhere in sight. What kept me encouraged was imagining myself married. I would imagine myself happily married and having kids. I imagined myself outside on a nice spring day mowing the lawn and my wife bringing me lemonade while my little kid was playing around the house. One day a few years ago, my wife and I had bought our first house and I was out cutting grass and all this came back to me that I had imagined all this before.

The word “Imagination” is used over a dozen times in the Bible. Most of the time it’s referring to when people have used imagination for sin and evil. This is often true, however, your imagination can also be used for good. Here is a verse that the Bible uses the word “Imagination” in a positive light.
1 Chronicles 29:18 (KJV)
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee

The author of this verse, Ezra is writing about a prayer that David had wrote. In the prayer, David is thanking God for all the amazing things He had done for the people of Israel. He prayed that they would keep these things in their imagination, so they wouldn’t forget.

Your imagination is a powerful thing. Its so powerful, that you can’t do anything until you have imagined it first. Anytime you sin, you imagined it first. You see yourself doing it and you associate with the good feelings it might bring if you did it.

Just like this verse says however, you can imagine good things. Anytime the Bible says you can do something even when you don’t feel like you can, imagination plays a part in helping you do it. For example, if you see in the Bible that you can pray and someone will be healed but you’re shy, you need to imagine yourself doing just what the Bible says until you see yourself doing it. Remember you can’t do it until you first imagine it in your mind.

I know a minister who was in the middle of a major building project. He was believing God would help provide for a building for his Bible college and growing staff. The building would costs several million dollars and he felt that God wanted Him to build it without borrowing any money. This minister said that during the building process, he would go to the empty site and imagine it finished. He would go as far as taking empty paint cans and would tie rope from can to can to mark the walls of rooms in the building. He imagined himself opening doors and going into the next room. He wouldn’t allow himself to step over one of the ropes on the ground because in his imagination that was a wall. Several years later the project had been completed and his Bible college was having an opening celebration ceremony. Someone asked him if he was excited to see the finished building. He said he was actually more excited back when he was imagining it because it had become just as real to him then.

You use your imagination everyday. However, challenge yourself to use it positively for God. Imagine yourself doing things we see in the Bible. When it seems like the dreams in your heart are far off and you could never accomplish them yourself, begin to use your imagination for good.

sharing your faith

How to share your faith with others

It can be a scary thing to share your faith in Jesus with people. There can be lots of reasons why you might be afraid to share your faith with others. You might think, if I share Jesus at school, people might laugh at me, or think I’m weird. Or perhaps you might think, I’d share my faith, but I don’t know what I would say. Maybe you think that you just don’t know enough about the Bible to share your faith.

So, with that in mind, here are some tips for sharing your faith with others.

  1. Fly your freak flag – be bold in what you believe.  People at school will actually respect you more if you stand up for what you believe.  If  you are confident in what you believe, even if people don’t understand why you believe the way you do, they will respect you for having the courage to stand up for your beliefs.
  2. What you know is enough – You don’t have to be a pastor or a Bible scholar to share your beliefs with others.  Acts 4:13 – “They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education.” (Message)
    Peter and John didn’t have 17 years of Bible school under their belts when they shared with others.  They had just been with Jesus and relied on God’s help when sharing with others. When sharing your faith with others, know that what you know is enough.
  3. Focus on your story – What has God done for you?  Share those experiences.  Your story of what God has done for you is powerful.  Never doubt the power of simply sharing who God is to you.  You can really encourage and influence others by simply sharing what you know.

Sharing your faith with others can be a little scary sometimes.  Always know that you can rely on the power of the Holy Ghost when sharing with others.  The Holy Spirit on the inside of you can give you the words to say and help you when you get stuck.  Rely on His help when sharing your faith with others.  You can make a difference in your world.  God really wants to use you to do great things for Him.  Start by sharing what he has done in your life with others!

For fun, listen to Revolution by Worth Dying For or My Future Decided by Hillsong United
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Little Black Book on How to Win a Friend to Christ (Little Black Books)
This is a great book if you don’t love reading. Its short and to the point and most importantly, its got some great pointers on how to lead a friend to Christ!

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Why Should You Choose Sexual Purity?

Sexual Purity For TeenagersSex is a huge thing. If you’re honest, you probably think about it a lot. Maybe you think its going to be magical like they show on movies. Or maybe you’ve already had sex and are wondering what should you do now. Does the act of having sex before marriage now make you unable to be used by God?

Lots of people have different philosophies about sex and sexual purity. There are purity pledges you can take, purity rings you can buy, and tons of ideas floating out there about sexual purity. So how do you decide to be sexually pure? Here are a few things to remember.

  1. The choice is yours. Only you can decide to be sexually pure. You can choose to accept God’s plan for sex within marriage, or you can choose to ignore it. That’s your choice, no one can force you to do it. Its important to not make the decision to remain sexually pure because you’re feeling pressure at your youth group or church. Make the choice for you. If you make a choice because of peer pressure at youth group, you’ll end up feeling resentful towards it. If you make the choice out of fear that someone at church will judge you, you’ll end up regretting it.
    Choose to be pure because you love God and want to follow His plan for your life.
    Not because you feel forced into it or because of fear of others. Be pure because you’ve decided between you and God its what you want for your life.
  2. Get to know what God says. If you’re having a hard time deciding to be sexually pure, just spend some time in the Bible. Read scriptures that deal with your body and how God sees it. Get to know your heavenly father and His heart on sex. That way when you decide to be sexually pure you’ve made an informed decision based on what God’s word says. Here are a few verses to check out.
    1 Corinthians 6:18
    1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
    Ephesians 5:3
  3. Believe you’re worth it.You’ve got to see yourself the way God sees you. You’ve got to believe that you’re worth the wait. Even if it means that a girl or guy you’re dating will break up with you because you’re not giving in sexually, decide that you are worth the wait.
    Even though its hard to wait when you’re young, if you choose to believe that you’re worth the wait it will really help. If you’re going to stay strong in the midst of sexual temptation, you’ve got to really believe that you are worth it. You’ve got to believe that no matter what someone will say or do to you that you are worth the wait sexually. Don’t give in just to get along or go with the flow!

The only way that the choice to be sexually pure works is if you choose for yourself for the right reasons. You’ve got to choose to be pure because its what you believe and what you want for your life. You can’t do it because it makes your mom happy or because all your friends in youth group are doing it. You’ve got to decide to do it because you’ve seen the benefit of it in God’s word and you choose it for yourself.

Finally, if you’ve messed up sexually, its not the end of the road for you. You’re not disqualified from ever doing things for God and getting into heaven or anything like that. But you can choose to move on from your sexual mess up. You can move forward and live a sexually pure life from this point on. Here’s a great devo about what to do if you’ve messed up in this area.

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Sex180: The Next Revolution This is a great book with lots of ways to rethink our culture’s view of sexuality and challenges you to think about sex how God would!

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3 Tips for Smarter Dating

Tips for Smarter Dating

Dating.  It’s a loaded word.  Some people hate the word because it brings thoughts of broken relationships and rejection.  For others, dating is an exciting and fun adventure to explore. Regardless of how you feel about dating, here are some principles that will help you become smarter in dating.

  1. High School relationships don’t last – Almost all high school relationships end in breaking up.  That can be a depressing reality, or it can be something that empowers you.  If you realize that more than likely the person you’re dating right now you won’t marry and will most likely break up with, it can free you to not take the relationship so seriously.
    You can be free to get to know someone of the opposite sex, but without putting tons of pressure on yourself to take the relationship too seriously.
  2. Keep your friends – This mistake is made all the time.  People in dating relationships often become so engrossed in another person they forget to keep other friendships.  This isn’t healthy.  You need a variety of relationships to keep you centered and grounded.  Also, if the relationship you’re end probably won’t last, its good to keep your friends so you have someone to hang with when your relationship ends.
  3. Stay close to God – Don’t become so engrossed in another person that you forget to spend time with God.  Your relationship with God is the most important relationship in your life.  Don’t let it fall to the wayside.

Remember, don’t take dating relationships too seriously.  Be sure in any relationship to not shut out the other relationships in your life.  Long after your dating relationship ends relationships with your friends, family and God will see you through.

Learn More About Godly Relationships

This is our simple five day devotional on relationships. Check it out and challenge yourself to pursue Godly relationships!