5 Reasons to Buy a Guided Character Study for your Teenager this Christmas

The world seems to be burning. There are so many things to know, to avoid, to enjoy, to be anxious about. The anxiety is falling on us everywhere like snow in a blizzard. Both kids and adults feel it. Here are some good reasons to look again at Serving One Lord guided studies, designed for teens and young Christians of all ages.

1. IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE

Who hasn’t felt the sting of exclusion, taunting, or worse at the hands of school bullies? A huge problem in all schools today, bullying can have lasting effects on children, even if the situation seems mild.

The Bible doesn’t gloss over the subject of bullying and the story of Hannah can inspire your child to recognize and handle tough situations differently. While there are many practical ways to deal with bullies – reporting to adults, authorities, etc. – there remains a need for an emotional healing that God wants to provide for those who seek him. A desperate prayer directed straight to the Almighty can change everything. Such prayer grows faith, builds trust, and bestows peace.

If you or someone you know suffers from bullying, you could check out Hannah Unhinged fullsizeoutput_6029for a biblical approach that changed the course of history. Hannah’s cry for help in her “perfect storm” of problems found its way to God, who blessed her with a son, Samuel, who in turn became one of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel.

2.  CHARACTER MATTERS IN RELATIONSHIPS

Our country is flooding with stories of “sexual misconduct” by men in high places. Somehow these men didn’t learn the basics of respect and trust in relationships.

Girls need to discern who can be trusted, and what qualities deserve attention. The character of a “Proverbs 31 Woman of Excellence” is very attractive to men of honor, and the love story of Ruth and Boaz is a perfect example.

Teens looking for a healthy relationship will enjoy the twists and turns of the love story from the book of Ruth. It has much to teach about blessings born of love, trust, and respect.

Ruth and Boaz: Woman of Excellence, Man of Honor looks closely at these two characters, one an outsider who learns hard work and faith from her bitter mother-in-law, and the other an older bachelor who recognizes the qualities that make a woman faithful and excellent. Together they show how godly relationships can develop in surprising ways. God is always working toward his children’s good.

3. THERE’S NO SHORTCUT TO LEADERSHIP WISDOM

Teenagers are naturally impatient. They want a chance to DO something, often leaping in when it might be better to watch and wait a while. Teenagers do well to look around for leaders they can learn from – maybe parents, youth leaders, teachers – and follow their examples.

Joshua spent many years as a close observer and assistant to one of the greatest leaders in history. For teens who are looking for leadership role models the life of Joshua is one of the best. The key to great leadership is a close relationship with God. Joshua learned this important wisdom from his mentor, Moses.fullsizeoutput_6c7c

The Bible paints the character of Joshua first as a slave in Egypt, then as assistant to Moses, and later as a conquering leader in the Promised Land. In Joshua, Strong and Courageous, readers are led through the wilderness to see how great leaders develop through all kinds of circumstances. They will learn a lot about God’s character as well.

4. DEPRESSION IS REAL

Life can be very hard and sometimes our mistakes seem to dog us and keep us from becoming the people we are meant to be. Every year, especially at Christmas, some people fall victim to their own lack of hope and come dangerously close to self-destruction.fullsizeoutput_6c80

A close look at the life of Jesus through the experiences of Peter can help teens gain perspective about any mistakes that loom large. They will see that in spite of denying Jesus and losing faith, Peter came back to Jesus because he loved Him.

Then God raised Peter to a full life of “rock star” proportions as he told boldly the gospel story and healed many in the Name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit guided Peter all the rest of his life, and it was not an easy one.The life of discipleship is an antidote to depression. Knowing deep in your heart how much God loves you, no matter what, can keep a heart at peace.fullsizeoutput_654f

5. THE BIBLE IS MORE RELEVANT THAN YOU OR YOUR TEEN MIGHT THINK

The Bible. It’s not really just a dusty old history book, nor is it a stuffy collection of do’s and don’ts. It contains stories of real people who, just like us, struggle to find God. Sometimes the stories show us what not to do, and sometimes they show us God’s amazing patience. The characters within the Bible are not that different from the characters in today’s news headlines. They are certainly not perfect, but some of them are excellent role models.

In the simple solid Bible study guides from Serving One Lord, you will dig into the scriptures and find lovable characters from whom you will learn something about God and godly ways. Try one today. Order from ServingOneLord.com using PayPal or a credit card. A study guide will be on its way to you in no time!

Was That Really Necessary?

jericho-tell-es-sultan-neolithic-tower-from-east-tb091504848jordan-river-aerial-from-west-tb010703748Reading Joshua 4  and 5 today, I wonder, like many Christians, at the utter destruction commanded by God when Joshua entered Jericho. Was this really necessary?

First, is it right for us to question the morality of ancient cultures in light of our own ethos? After all, our wars and genocides and abortion statistics might seem a bit inconsistent with our condemnation of the past. And though we condemn these current evils, are we taking the stand that will change them? It’s harder than we like to admit.

Second, is there a greater lesson here? Should we look beyond our own reaction to the “victory through destruction” actions? God has a way of speaking truth through historical parables. There is a lesson here about mercy, God’s mercy toward Rahab and her entire family. There is a lesson here about obedience on the part of the leader, Joshua. There is a lesson here about obedience of the people toward their godly leader. There is a lesson here about peace.

Let’s take those lessons one by one.

Mercy: If God had not believed Jericho needed to be destroyed, I think he would not have ordered it.

And notice how he skillfully spared both the advance spies and Rahab the harlot. God doesn’t really have to justify to us why the rest of the people had to be destroyed. Shouldn’t we trust him the way Abraham did when asked to sacrifice his own son? The way Peter did when asked to walk on water? The way the disciples did when he took one lunch to feed 5000? The way the priests did when stepping into the Jordan River at flood stage? So it may not make sense to us, but we aren’t God, so that’s not too surprising. And God more often than not was known to spare people deserving of death.

Obedience: These chapters are emphasizing obedience.

I went through and highlighted all the places where “The Lord said…” and then I highlighted “So Joshua did….” Then I noticed the next thing was “The people did…” Joshua had watched Moses as he listened and obeyed God for over 40 years. Joshua had seen how Moses was forbidden to enter the Promised Land. Was that fair? God had his ways, and Joshua learned it was best to trust and obey. He didn’t waver or parse God’s commands. He just did it the best way he knew.

Trusting your godly leaders: Whatever Joshua says, goes.

The people, at this point in the story, are paying attention to Joshua.  Later, when they decide to second-guess him, trouble ensues. It is all right to question your leaders if they are not listening to God. If they are, you will know it, not by what they tell you to do, but by how they are seeking God’s direction.

Peace: God wants us to see that when there is evil in our own heart, it is best to completely destroy it if we want peace.

If we think, “Oh the poor things, let’s let them live, but just keep them under control,” we think more highly of our ability than we ought. We figure we can just keep an eye on them and they won’t give us any trouble. I don’t know about you, but sin keeps rearing its tempting head when I let it.

The bottom line is we get into trouble when we think we know better than God.

Alternatively, when people follow the Lord’s commands, amazing things happen. I agree it is very hard and we tend to weigh these actions against our own version of godliness, but in the end, it may be to our own detriment and the slowing of God’s abundant blessings. Many things are difficult to overcome, but if God commands us, he will be with us.