Humans were created as free moral beings. They were not programmed to do good or forced to serve the true God.
Men and women have the capacity to choose freely. As free individuals they can use their free will to choose right or wrong, good or bad. However, the consequence of one choice is different from that of the other choice.
The nation of Israel was encouraged to make the choice that results in life rather than death. The true God encouraged the right choice when he said “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” – Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (New Living Translation)
Similarly, as free beings we are faced with two choices. We can choose to be on the path of righteousness or the path of wickedness. We are all encouraged by God’s Word to choose wisely.
Here are some Bible verses that explains what is expected of us and the consequences of our actions:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 (English Standard Version)
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13 (21st Century King James Version)
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33
“Therefore, whether YOU are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
“This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” – John 17:3
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
“Subject yourselves, therefore, to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from YOU. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to YOU. Cleanse YOUR hands, YOU sinners, and purify YOUR hearts, YOU indecisive ones.” – James 4:7,8
“Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from YOU along with all badness. But become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave YOU.” – Ephesians 4:31,32
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
Clearly the true God prescribes a way of life that he expects his followers to adhere to. This involves displaying the qualities that set him apart from all other gods namely, love, wisdom, justice, kindness, compassion and loyalty.
This godly way of life benefits us now and in the future when the influence of the Devil will be no more.
These common complaints are usually part of the rocky and challenging life of teenagers. Teenagers are no longer little girls and boys but they are not yet adults. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a path laden with potholes and blind corners.
Teenagers experience bodily changes that are sometimes exciting and at times awkward. They undergo emotional changes that can be confusing at times. Teenagers also reach out for “adult status” but at times their efforts are hurried and risky.
God’s Word the Bible has some fine counsel and advice to help teenagers through their challenging years. Here are a few:
Remember your Heavenly Father
Ephesians 3:14,15 reads “On account of this I bend my knees to the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.” God is the originator of the family arrangement and he knows best what is good for us.
The teenager who listens to his/her heavenly Father is wise and will benefit from following God’s counsel such as this one:
Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: “I have no delight in them”; Ecclesiastes 12:1
Teenagers can draw close to God by reading his word the Bible and by communicating with him through heartfelt prayers.
Respect your Parents
The originator of the family has given mothers and fathers the responsibility of taking care of the children they bring into the world. He has also given children (including teenagers) the command to be obedient to their parents.
Children, be obedient to YOUR parents in union with [the] Lord, for this is righteous: “Honor your father and [your] mother”; which is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-3;
Observe, O my son, the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Proverbs 6:20
It is in a teenager’s best interest to listen to his or her parent(s). Parents know more than their children and their life experiences make them qualified to impart knowledge and wisdom to their teenagers. When the Bible is used as a guide to teach teenagers the path of righteosness, the result will likely be a family made up of God-fearing teenagers.
Be Aware of the the “desires incidental to youth”
There is enormous pressure on teenagers to fit in and go along with the latest trends. At times peer pressure tempts them to engage in practices that are immoral and illegal. The Bible encourages teenagers to:
Flee from the desires incidental to youth, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call upon the Lord out of a clean heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Youthful energy, inexperience and desires can be a dangerous combination if allowed to go unchecked. The Bible gives youths counsel about:
work – (The very craving of the lazy will put him to death, for his hands have refused to work. Proverbs 21:25)
cheating – (The LORD hates anyone who cheats, but he likes everyone who is honest. Proverbs 11:1, Contemporary English Version)
abusive speech – (Let all malicious bitterness and anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech be taken away from YOU along with all badness. Ephesians 4:31)
drunkard (Do not be misled. Neither fornicators…nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards…will inherit God’s kingdom.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10)
clothing (Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3,4 New International Version)
friends (A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Proverbs 17:17, Amplified Bible)
violence (Do not become envious of the man of violence, nor choose any of his ways. Proverbs 3:31)
Stay within your assigned boundary
Not much is said of Jesus during his early life. However the Bible makes a significant reference to a time when Jesus was 12 years old. As is customary his parents Mary and Joseph took him to Jerusalem for the festival of the passover each year. On one occasion his parents were returning home to Nazareth and noticed that their son was missing. They eventually found him in the temple where he was “sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them.” (Luke 2:46)
Although young Jesus was doing something commendable his mother said to him: “Child, why did you treat us this way? Here your father and I in mental distress have been looking for you.” (Luke 2:48) His parents made him aware that they would appreciate it if he told them of his whereabouts. Doing so would put them at ease and prevent moments of “mental distress” such as the one they endured for 3 days.
Just as the son of God was required to make his parents aware of his whereabouts, today’s teenagers should do the same and live within the boundary set by their parents. This boundary includes where teenagers are allowed to go, what activities they can engage in and what time they should return home.
These limitations are for a protection. Also the heavenly Father expects parents to set limits and enforce discipline as part of effective parenting.
A rod and reproof impart wisdom, but a child who is unrestrained brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15 (NET Bible)
As a teenager matures and act more responsibly, a parent should relax the restrictions placed on that son or daughter. Parents should always be mindful of the Bible verse that says “YOU fathers, do not be exasperating your children, so that they do not become downhearted.” (Colossians 3:21)
“My son, my law do not forget”
As a teenager approaches adulthood, he should be preparing himself for life away from home. His parent(s) would have hoped that their wise teachings are taken to heart. Thus, the departing teenager or young adult will be motivated to resist the world’s pressures even when his/her parents are not watching.
My son, my law do not forget, and my commandments may your heart observe, because length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you. Proverbs 3:1,2
Here are some valuable Bible verses that should guide your daily life:
The Golden Rule “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them; this, in fact, is what the Law and the Prophets mean.” Matthew 7:12
Love your neighbor “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor; therefore love is the law’s fulfillment.” Romans 13:10
Conquer evil with good “Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.” Romans 12:21
Seek peace “If possible, as far as it depends upon YOU, be peaceable with all men.” Romans 12:18
Be kind, be forgiving “Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave YOU.” Ephesians 4:32
Be faithful “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” Luke 16:10
1 Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted as saying “money is the root of all evil” when in fact it does say “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The Bible is not against having money or wealth but warns against the love of money and the relentless pursuit of money.
The Bible does mention righteous men who were wealthy and God-fearing at the same time. Job was a very wealthy man who was considered to be “a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.” At Job 1:3 his material possession is described this way: “And his livestock got to be seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels and five hundred spans of cattle and five hundred she-asses, along with a very large body of servants.”
Solomon, one of David’s sons, was another servant of God who had wealth in abundance. His vast wealth included “forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots and twelve thousand horsemen.” 1 Kings 4:26
Clearly the concern here is not money itself. 1 Timothy 6:10 describes the danger as a pursuit of money or wealth that has led some “astray from the faith.”
The love of money makes money one’s master, or god. The Bible warns us at Matthew 5:24 “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. YOU cannot slave for God and for Riches.”
Money is not just a cruel master but a deceitful one as well. Jesus Christ warns of “the deceptive power of riches.” (Mark 4:19) Riches have deceived many by promising happiness but failing to deliver. Riches tend to create a craving for more. Wise King Solomon made this observation: “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” Ecclesiastes 5:10 (New Living Translation)
The love of money and the needless pursuit of excesses can also affect one’s health. Wise King Solomon noted that “People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.” Ecclesiastes 5:12 (New Living Translation)
In the pursuit of wealth some have also engaged in unethical and criminal conduct. Proverbs 28:20 make us aware of this danger when it says, “he that is hastening to gain riches will not remain innocent.”
Sleepless nights, stress, anxiety, marital failures and stroke are not uncommon for those who are preoccupied with excessive wealth.
The Bible give us a healthy view of money when it suggests: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5
The Bible also encourages us to “Keep YOUR eyes open and guard against every sort of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15
Teamwork is the collective effort of a group of persons who work efficiently to accomplish a set goal.
Teamwork is more than simply working together. Teamwork involves a unified group focusing mainly on the task at hand and getting that task done efficiently.
One of the challeges that should be overcome when different personalities work together, is not allowing different skillsets, attitudes and viewpoints to get in the way of the desired goal. Each person on the team must make compromises in order to attain the desired goal.
The smallest team consists of 2 persons as in a marriage. A wife and husband team working together for the good of the family is comparable to a pilot and co-pilot guiding a plane while following the same set of rules and standards.
There are many Bible verses that apply directly and indirectly to teamwork. Two of the more popular teamwork verses are:
“For just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function, so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but members belonging individually to one another.” – Romans 12:4,5
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?” – Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
Proverbs 6:6-8 refers to the hard-working ants. This Bible passage is often used to encourage industriousness. However a keen observation of the ants clearly gives us a case study in efficient teamwork:
“Go to the ant, you lazy one; see its ways and become wise. Although it has no commander, officer or ruler, it prepares its food even in the summer; it has gathered its food supplies even in the harvest.”
A pattern was set in the Garden of Eden when Eve was brought to Adam, after which these words were uttered “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
A successful family and any other team, is a result of mutual respect, coorperation, diligence and a sincere desire to reach the goals set by the family/team.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 (God’s Word Translation) When a sentence against a crime isn’t carried out quickly, people are encouraged to commit crimes.
Matthew 6:33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these [other] things will be added to YOU.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether YOU are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.
Luke 11:13 “Therefore, if YOU, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to YOUR children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!”
Proverbs 20:23 (New International Reader’s Version) “The Lord hates weights that weigh things heavier or lighter than they really are. Scales that are not honest don’t please him.”
Proverbs 15:17 A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.
1 Peter 5:8 Keep YOUR senses, be watchful. YOUR adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour [someone].
Proverbs 11:14 When there is no skillful direction, the people fall; but there is salvation in the multitude of counselors.
Matthew 6:27,28 Who of YOU by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? Also, on the matter of clothing, why are YOU anxious? Take a lesson from the lilies of the field, how they are growing; they do not toil, nor do they spin;
Proverbs 23:20,21 Do not come to be among heavy drinkers of wine, among those who are gluttonous eaters of flesh. For a drunkard and a glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with mere rags.
Isaiah 40:28,29 Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, is a God to time indefinite. He does not tire out or grow weary… He is giving to the tired one power; and to the one without dynamic energy he makes full might abound.
Ephesians 4:25,26 …speak truth each one of YOU with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another. Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with YOU in a provoked state.
Psalms 37:25 A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, And yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, Nor his offspring looking for bread.
Matthew 19:26 With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Proverbs 20:29 The beauty of young men is their power, and the splendor of old men is their gray-headedness.
Philippians 4:13 For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me.
1 John 3:10 The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother.
Proverbs 23:29,30 Who has woe? Who has uneasiness? Who has contentions? Who has concern? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has dullness of eyes? Those staying a long time with the wine, those coming in to search out mixed wine.
Proverbs 27:2 May a stranger, and not your own mouth, praise you; may a foreigner, and not your own lips, do so.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred is what stirs up contentions, but love covers over even all transgressions.
Proverbs 10:19 In the abundance of words there does not fail to be transgression, but the one keeping his lips in check is acting discreetly
Proverbs 11:22 As a gold nose ring in the snout of a pig, so is a woman that is pretty but that is turning away from sensibleness.
Colossians 3:5-8 Deaden, therefore, YOUR body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of those things the wrath of God is coming. In those very things YOU, too, once walked when YOU used to live in them. But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth.
Colossians 3:23-25 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.
Romans 15:13 May the God who gives hope fill YOU with all joy and peace by YOUR believing, that YOU may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.
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