Finding Gods Favor in an Unfavorable World

What does it mean to have God's favor? We all know that God loves us because God is love. But does this also mean that we automatically have favor with God? You may have heard that God is no respecter of persons which means everyone starts out on the same level playing field with God. But does this also mean God will answer prayers from everyone equally? Sometimes you hear of people who receive answers to their prayers almost instantly while others pray and don't receive answers at all. If God is no respecter of persons why would some receive God's favor, while others do not? The scriptures seem to answer this question. God requires us to have an attitude of faith and expectancy. Not just a faith that we believe in God, but a faith that no matter what we are facing, we just know God will be there to handle it if we are willing to hand it over to him. God also wants us to have a relationship with him and be obedient to him. Along with obedience, he requires we live righteously which means that we are not deliberately sinning in our lives. As humans we will commit sins and as Christians we will feel convicted if we do not repent. However if we choose not to repent and continue sinning we are blocking our chances of finding God's favor.

Moses is a good example of someone who had gained God's favor. Not only that, but he was like a close friend to God. Moses was really an Israelite baby who grew up as a royal prince in Egypt. He could have ignored his roots and had all the wealth, power and favor of a royal family. But Moses couldn't turn his back on the Israelites, feeling connected to them because they were his family. So after killing an Egyptian soldier he fled all the wealth and power to follow God. This pleased God because Moses had chosen to walk in faith and have a close, obedient relationship with him.

God expects us to have a relationship with him too. I know you are probably thinking 'I go to church and say my prayers at night'. But that is not enough. We are created in God's image which means that God feels things like we do. He is not some robotic power that takes in requests and spits out results. Let me ask you a question. If you knew a kid who only spoke to you outside of school and in the company of their parents and yours, but never acknowledged you in school- how would that make you feel? What if they asked you to do them some favors? Would you be inclined to do them favors or would you feel hurt that you were only spoken to because their parents required it of them. Well, it's the same with God. He lives in you (hopefully) which means he knows your heart and who and what is important to you. If you only talk to god (pray) when it is required of you or when you happen to have a spare moment to think about it, then you do not have a relationship with him. He is inclined to answer prayers and grant requests for those he has a close relationship with. But how do you have a close relationship with God, the almighty creator of all things? Well, it's not as hard as you may think. You probably already have close relationships with some friends. You probably spend lots of time with them talking,laughing and sharing your dreams or fears. Maybe you run to them in times of sadness or happiness so you can be consoled or have someone to share your joy with. Well it's not much different with God. He also wants to be the one you talk to, share your dreams with and run to in times of sadness and happiness. This is called relationship and it's the same with your friends as it is with God. We need to be in a state of prayer all our lives. Not that we need to be saying a formal prayer, but just talking to him all the time. However so many of us put God up on a 'shelf' and don't go to him unless it's a tragedy or some colossal event in our lives. God wants to be there for that but, since he loves us so much, he also wants to be there for the not so major events in your life. If you continue having trouble with a relationship with God and feel separated from God, please see the page called "Steps to Salvation" to remove that feeling of separation. Because God cannot hear those requests from those who are separated from him.

God wants to answer our requests if they are declared in faith without any unbelief or uncertainty. Trusting God is a form of obedience. You see God likes to reward us when we come to him like little children just trusting that he will take care of things(Romans 8:28). However there is one way we can be sure he won't listen to our prayers. That is when we whine and complain about our problems to him. When we do that it's like he sticks his fingers in his ears singing la,la,la and cannot even hear our requests.

We also have to live righteously. All this means is choosing to act obediently and purely. James 5:16 says the earnest heartfelt prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available. God expects us to abide in him which means that we are obeying his will and direction in our lives. When we abide in him then we can ask whatever we wish and it will be done. That's pretty powerful isn't it? But how do we know if we are obeying his word and not sinning. Well it's easier than you may think. Have you ever done something and felt a heaviness or tightness in your chest. That is God telling us that we are sinning. Sometimes we are not actively sinning but we are not being obedient to what God has asked us to do. 1 John 3:20:22 says that we have to listen to our hearts and if our hearts do not accuse us(or make us feel guilty) then we can have complete confidence before God. And since we are obeying him and his commandments then we will receive what we are asking for. Finally, we need to specifically ask for what we want. Why would God require us to specifically request something? Doesn't he already know our hearts and what we need? So why do we have to give a detailed prayer account to the all knowing creator of all things? Well I'm glad you asked. You see God wants to make sure that when we do receive our prayer request that we know it was really from him and not some coincidence. When we receive an answer to a specific prayer request God wants the glory and praise for providing what we asked for. We all want to receive thanks or acknowledgement for what we have done. So does God. It's really important that we keep a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude when he has granted our request.

If we make a decision to expect less of God than what he is capable of giving us, then we get what we ask for. But if we make a decision each day to be bold and with confidence say "I've got the favor of God" and its causing me to be chosen for teams or special projects. I have favor to do well at school or work and even for unexpected opportunities to come my way. Just keep believing, keep praying and releasing your faith and keep declaring that you have God's favor and you will!

Ruth 2:10-13 Romans 8:28 Genesis 6:8-9 Job 10:12 Hebrews 11

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


The Fruit of the Spirit Grows while you Grow Spiritually

Many people have a hard time understanding how to operate in or show the fruit of the spirit. If God grants us gifts, doesn't he also provide us with the fruit to use our gifts? God does bless each one of us with gifts which are placed within us when we are babies. We can't get rid of these or even trade them in for different gifts because each of us has gifts unique to us.

God allows us to mature the fruit of the spirit as we are growing throughout our lives. Just like a baby apple tree doesn't bear or grow fruit in it's first few years, human babies don't show their fruit either. Have you ever noticed how demanding babies and toddlers are? They want alot but aren't able to contribute much other than looking cute and lovable. They don't have to show their fruit though, because they know they'll get what they want when they want it. However God has planted a fruit seed deep inside of them. They have their entire life to grow that seedling into a strong plant. Some children receive alot of guidance and help in developing their seedling while others have to rely on learning the hard way- by themselves. We all have to constantly tend our seedling or plant to make sure it grows up strong into a mighty fruit tree.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever seen a gardener tending his/her plants? They water, fertilize, weed and sometimes spray the plants to keep bugs off. They do everything in their power to keep that plant living and growing. Well, we have to do the same with the fruit of the spirit which God has planted deep inside us. We have to cultivate the fruit of the spirit within us which means that we constantly watch how we act towards others.

Most of the fruits of the spirit revolve around the core fruit of love. The fruit of love is the most important fruit because we need to learn how to love in order to be able to show the other fruits. Let me give you an example, say you are planning a sleepover with your best friends. Because they are your friends, you love them right? Well, let's say you really want to watch a movie during the evening and let everyone know, but another of your friends says, "I don't want to watch a movie, that's a stupid idea!" All of a sudden you went from loving your friend to wishing your friend was not invited to the party. If you are already walking in love, things like that don't really bother you. Hopefully, you also display the fruits of patience and self-control so you don't jump down your friend's throat by saying, "I want a movie and not having a movie is the stupid idea- you fool"!! Instead you calmly say "I'd like a movie and don't think it's stupid, but if everyone else wants to do something else, that's fine with me". If you display the fruits of love, patience and self-control toward your fruitless friend, the added bonus of the fruit of joy fills you up. Yep, you get a bonus feeling of joy when you can control your feelings towards those who are rude or disrespectful to you. That's just the way God has worked it all out. Whenever we make right choices regarding our emotions and feelings and choose to display the fruit of the spirit instead of anger, pride or hate we always benefit by having a good feeling come over us.

Those that consistently walk in the fruit of the spirit begin bearing good fruit. When we see an orange tree with big beautiful oranges we expect to pull an orange off and peel the skin to find a juicy, sweet orange. But sometimes we get tricked and find that the orange is dried up or flavorless. We are the same way. Sometimes we see someone and think 'wow, that person is really involved in church and must be producing good fruit', but the bible shows us how to find out if their fruit truly is good. We are to look at a person's heart. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks(Matthew 12:34). If we stick around long enough we will realize whether their fruit is good, rotten or doesn't exist. If we pray, pay attention and listen with our spirit, it will reveal the fruit of the person.

Displaying the fruit of the spirit is difficult, especially at first. But as Christians we need to keep pressing forward and modeling the behavior Jesus demonstrated for us. You've heard of the saying 'Practice Make Perfect', right? Well, when we continue to practice displaying the fruit of the spirit then we grow up spiritually. Finally that little apple seed that was deeply planted inside us as babies soon matures into a giant apple tree which is producing a bumper crop of crisp, juicy apples. But beware; if you have produced pretty good fruit and you get out of practice in displaying your fruit sometimes you realize that your fruit is not quite as mature as you thought. When we are caught off guard, sometimes our fruit gets 'squeezed' and we realize that we need to focus more on developing that fruit. Our fruit can get squeezed when we are forced into a situation where we have to display a great amount of patience or even humility. But that is just a gentle reminder from God that the fruits of patience or humility are fruits we all need to work on further maturing. Remember that God wants to mature and strengthen the fruit within us so that he can use us for great things. So each time you discover a weakness, realize that God is preparing you for something big he has planned for you and he needs for your fruit to be fully mature in order for you to thrive in that situation.

Galatians 5:22-5:26 Matthew 12:34

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


GUT CHECK: Are You Operating From the Spirit or the Flesh?

Have you done a gut check lately? If so, are you overcoming the flesh and becoming spirit-led? We all get them;feelings. Sometimes it's anger, sometimes excitement and other times a desire so strong nothing can hold us back. As a young person our energy levels are higher and usually our feelings are also more intense. But just because we feel strongly about something doesn't mean we should always follow our feelings and act on it. God wants us to be aware of our feelings but not give into them. You're probably thinking why did God give me such intense feelings if he doesn't want me to go along with them? Well, probably because he is trying to build character in us.

Life is all about growing and maturing and every time we are faced with a challenge we have a choice. We can either be spirit-led (overcoming the flesh)and conquer it, or we can give into our emotions and feelings and stay in the same place. Let me give you an example. Let's say your little sister got into your closet and took your favorite shirt without permission. She then wore it and ruined it. You are probably pretty mad, right?! Well you have every right to be and God doesn't expect you not to feel anger. It's only natural. What he does expect is for you to work through the anger and eventually forgive your sister. You see many people (including adults) never get past their feelings and they hang onto anger, unforgiveness, rejection or loneliness forever. You are probably thinking that you have good reason to be angry with your sister because that was a pretty lousy thing she did and she doesn't deserve your forgiveness. But unfortunately it won't be your sister who suffers- it will be you. When you hold onto negative feelings towards someone, God cannot forgive you, which causes all kinds of blessings or opportunities to be closed down for you (Matthew 6:14). By choosing forgiveness we are doing a gut check and overcoming the flesh while being spirit-led.

Feelings are pretty strong and they can't be ignored but they can be managed. The sooner you learn to do a gut check and deal with and manage your feelings, the more successful in life you will be. People who have never learned how to say no to their feelings as kids become adults who are out of control. This is often called surrendering to the flesh or overcoming the flesh. Our bodies are made of flesh which craves and desires things in excess, but we also have a spirit and when we learn to be spirit-led, we have control over our desires. The spirit of God lives inside all believers and it will help guide our decisions if we allow it to. For example, a kid who lets their feelings rule their eating habits can become a morbidly obese adult who lives only to eat. A kid who expected and received gifts and rewards all their life without sacrifice grows up to be an adult who continues to buy for them self and is in so much debt they have to file bankruptcy. Do you see what I mean? These are extreme examples of people who walk in the flesh and ignore the spirit. The spirit and flesh are always at war with one another. God wants us to live and be guided by the spirit not by our flesh.(Galatians 5:16)

Remember that not all feelings are bad, but when our feelings and emotions begin to control us then we need to do a quick gut check. It's a little easier, not to mention kind of fun, to deal with feelings if you make a game out of it. Think of overcoming your flesh as a man-eating predator. The only way the vicious predator can survive is by eating it's prey- which is you! If you want to get rid of the predator then you will have to starve it. The way you starve it is by not letting it eat. Got it so far? Good. Every time you have a really strong feeling, tell the predator that you're sorry but you aren't giving into your emotions and he will not be able to eat today. Each time the predator is starved it(your flesh)becomes weaker and you(your spirit) become stronger. Until eventually you realize the predator is no longer there because he has died from starvation. You are now strong, spirit-led and have built up a lot of character. But remember the predator will try to catch you off guard and strike again when your defenses are down and you are least expecting it. It will again try to become a force in your life. Don't let it happen. You have beaten it once and can beat it again.

God says we are more than conquers and we can stand up to and defeat every feeling and emotion that comes against us if we seek Christ.(Romans 8:37) What we need to learn to do is speak God's word to it. Just say,"in the name of Jesus I command ____ to be gone". Remember we have great power if we ask for things in Jesus' name. (If speaking to it and resisting it isn't working, pray and ask God to reveal to your spirit what needs to be done.) You are not alone in this; you have a partner, Jesus, who is continuously interceding for you. Speak to your feelings and let them know who is boss. Do your own gut check. Are you overcoming your flesh and becoming spirit-led? If you follow these steps pretty soon you'll realize that the anger or addiction is not there anymore and the new person you have become is much happier and more peaceful.

Ephesians 4:22-23James 4:7Ezekiel 36:26-27Romans 8:2-16

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt

Identity Christ-is: Are you the Righteousness of Christ?

What's that? You say you aren't sure what the righteousness of Christ is? Well you've come to the right place because we are getting ready to explain righteousness of Christ to you.

Let's face it, being young is tough. Just when you thought you had it all figured out, the game changes entirely. We all want to fit in and be liked. But you have to ask yourself how important is being liked if it costs you your happiness? Many young people and also many adults are driven by the need to please others. They don't understand what it means to be the righteousness of Christ. And while it is good to do nice things for others, it is also very easy to get out of balance and live your life trying to make others happy. Often when we are spending all our time trying to please others, we don't take into consideration God's plan for our life. We have a choice. We can either be people pleasers or God pleasers. When we stop pleasing others and begin pleasing God it usually causes some friction with the people in our lives who are used to getting their way. But how in the heck do you stand up to people you may have been afraid of making angry in the past? You confirm your identity in Christ,which is the righteousness of Christ. You see, God lives in each one of us through the Holy Spirit. And when Jesus died on the cross and rose again he became our intercessor. Meaning that when we face peer pressure or hardships we can turn to Jesus; putting our faith in him and know that he will take care of us. We are complete in Christ and we don't feel like our identity has to be tied to a position, title or status.(Colossians 2:10)

One of the biggest obstacles kids face is trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into society. They don't know they already have the righteousness of Christ; all they need to do is ask God to intercede for them. During this transitional time some kids get involved with drugs, alcohol or the wrong crowd. It's like each one of us has this big black hole deep inside us that is constantly sucking whatever is around us into it. We are constantly trying to fill that hole with our desires. But everything we try to fill it with (drugs,alcohol,sex,food or material possessions) always falls short and we have to find something else to fill the void. There is only one thing that will fill the void and won't require any other substitutes; that is Jesus Christ. If your life is grounded in Jesus none of those temptations seem appealing. When you know who you are in Christ you don't have to prove anything to yourself or others. You receive the righteousness of Christ. Please don't misunderstand, this is not the 'religious' righteousness of following laws or doing good works.(Romans 10:3) This is a righteousness that you can only receive through Christ and it entitles you to come boldly before God with your requests and know that even though you still have a lot of problems in your own life, Jesus does not. He is the one interceding for you.

It's kind of interesting because when we stop trying to look or act a certain way and just pray to God and ask for Jesus to guide us and give us wisdom, then we receive it and another benefit happens. We forget how important our image is and put it into God's hands. You see God can make our image so much cooler than we could possibly attempt ourselves. Start praying for God to help you fulfill his will for your life and also for you to find favor with God and man. Before you know it, you will have fulfilled two goals-serving God and having a good reputation with your friends. That's just how God operates. When you try to get something selfish on your own-very rarely do you succeed. BUT when you ask for God's help for something unselfish(like using your gifts to serve God) he always throws in a couple of extra bonuses! Like favor or popularity with people or blessings. But be careful. Don't ask for this with the goal of only receiving more. God doesn't work that way and since he lives inside you- he knows your heart.

Knowing you are the righteousness of Christ is very important and if you can get that concept you have probably surpassed many adults. When your identity is tied to Christ you no longer need to prove to yourself or others your worth or value. You are the righteousness of Christ because of Christ's death on the cross which gave you the opportunity to receive what Jesus receives. So the next time you feel like you are unworthy or undeserving remember that it's not you who is receiving the glory of God; it's Jesus Christ who is interceding for you. You are just receiving all the benefits of having Christ's identity!

Ephesians 1:3-14 II Corinthians 12:9-10 Isaiah 45:24 Ezekiel 33:13 Matthew 6:

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


Are you Speaking Gods Word?

Hey, what is involved in speaking Gods word anyway? You say you'd like to know? Well, I'm about to tell you.

Are you currently in a situation that you can feel is dragging you down because you know in the natural there is no way in the world you can overcome it? Maybe you've been gossiped about in school and hurtful, damaging things were spread about you; things that can never be taken back. Maybe everyone has abandoned you because of this and you see no way to restore your status. Whatever you do don't say, "I'll never have a life again, my reputation is destroyed forever". Why? Because when you say those words you are ultimately the author of what will actually happen. God tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to the knowledge of Christ. We need to begin speaking Gods word to the situation.

You see, when we say negative things Satan works to build strongholds in our minds. The enemy, Satan, wants us to concentrate on our problems until we get to the point that we realize the whole thing is hopeless and no one-not even God can help us out of our mess. Let me tell you that is just not true. When we are faced with setbacks, it is really important to make a decision not to focus on your problem~ as hard as that may be. Instead focus on God and begin speaking Gods word. When we focus on God, we realize that with God all things are possible. This is called casting down imaginations and holding captive the negative thoughts and words in our mind.(II Corinthians 10:5) Negative thoughts will continue to enter your mind but you can choose not to let those in to take root and grow into a stronghold. Be at peace, calm and relaxed. Remember God will fight our battles for us, so worrying doesn't make it easier for God to work- actually it makes it harder. If you choose to stay in an attitude of faith and peace it makes it easier for God to work. It also makes it easier to start reciting and speaking God's word over our problems. Remember what the enemy, Satan, intends for harm God can make it work out for good.(Genesis 50:20)

Have you noticed a reoccurring theme in most of these lessons? Almost all things we desire from God or try to overcome require faith. Going through difficult situations is no different. It requires us to hold firm to our faith that God will take care of it. But keeping a positive mindset is not the only requirement; we also must start speaking Gods word out of our mouths. You may be thinking why can't I just pray to myself. You can, but if you are facing a big problem or circumstance it is really important that you begin verbally speaking Gods word. Remember how we said you must take every thought captive? Well, we not only have to take authority over wrong thoughts but we also must rely on Gods power to overcome and there is supernatural power in Gods spoken word. In every situation God is stronger that the enemy and we have to remember that as children of God, the lord God lives inside us (1 John 4:4).

So when we make a plea for Gods help and quote scripture from the bible we are overcoming all that is bad in our lives. You must stop saying what is wrong and replace that with speaking Gods word. Go back to the example earlier. You must guard what you say and not talk about how things actually are. Yes, many people aren't talking to you, and some may not even like you; but never, ever mumble that. God tells us we need to speak to our mountains. As we said earlier, God doesn't listen or help us when we murmur or complain. But if we start saying how blessed, popular, happy and fortunate we are it gets his attention. It really doesn't matter that none of those things are true now, nor does it matter that you don't feel blessed, happy, or popular. Because when we have faith and believe 'God's word always causes us to triumph' and 'Everything I touch prospers and succeeds'; then these things will all come to pass. Maybe right now you think nothing can change your situation but it doesn't matter because God can. Just keep on keeping on and speaking Gods powerfully annointed word over your situation. And most importantly believe that by speaking Gods word you are renewed in the spirit of your mind. (Ephesians 4:23)

Start putting on your new nature which is created in God's image and start watching your situation change and become what you are speaking over it. Pretty soon you will be back in good standing with your classmates and friends and you may even receive an unexpected blessing.(Isaiah 61:7) Just think of it as an extra special bonus from God because he loves you so much.

Proverbs 18:21 1 John 4:4Mark 11:23-24 Isaiah 54:171 Samuel 17:45 Mark 9:23Romans 10:10

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


Steps To Salvation

Do you know with 100% certainty that if you died tomorrow you would go to heaven? Salvation is a pretty serious question isn't it? Most of us plan to live long and prosperous lives but none of us really know (except God) when our time to go is. If you feel absolutely certain that you are ready then this is not for you... but if you have the least bit of uncertainty concerning your salvation on.

As you are probably already aware of God loves us more than we could ever possibly know(John 10:10). And because of his love for us, he wants us to enjoy life to the fullest and have peace. But if you haven't already noticed, a lot of people aren't happy, peaceful or prosperous. The reason for this is because we are separated from God. What does that mean you may ask? Well, let me explain. A long time ago(before even Jesus was born) people had to make sacrifices to God to make-up for their sins. A sacrifice is the killing of an animal such as a goat,cow or lamb. They sacrificed an animal and then placed it on an alter because this is what God required of them to forgive their sins. The actual placing of the animal on the alter was a way of pleading for forgiveness. This was the only way they could receive forgiveness from God and be in right standing with him. However, now we live under a new system. We still sin, just like the people of long ago did, but we are no longer required to sacrifice an animal and place it on an alter. Besides that is kind of gross anyway, right?! But that still does not take care of our problem of being separated from God because of our sins.

Any time we choose to disobey God and do things our own way without following God's rules we sin and don't measure up to the glory of God(Romans 3:23). Unfortunately, the price of sin means we cannot ever measure up to God's standards.(Matthew 7:21-23) Therefore we cannot join him for eternity in heaven after we die. Some people think that if we are nice enough to others our entire life that we can earn our way into heaven but that is just not true.(Proverbs 14:12) All sins are unacceptable to God, even little ones and none of us can go through our entire life without sinning.(Isaiah 59:2). So what do we actually have to do to bridge the separation from God since we know we cannot be perfect and never ever commit sin(we probably have already sinned anyway so it's too late for us). I'm really glad you asked! You see when Jesus died on the cross he was the one who bridged the gap between our sin(separation from God) and our ability to be acceptable to God. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice by being sacrificed on the cross for our sins.(1 Peter 3:18) So something still had to be sacrificed on an alter(cross) for our sins just like long ago but this time it was our King! That is why you sometimes hear of Jesus being referred to as the Lamb of God because he (Jesus) that knew no sin became sin. Isn't it awesome to know that someone with the status of Jesus was willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for you and me?

So we now know there is only one way for us to receive salvation and make it into heaven; that is to accept Jesus as our lord and savior. But how do we actually receive the gift of salvation? Surely there is some sort of process we have to go through, right? Nope, no process but God did give all of us our own free will and ability to make decisions. Therefore, we must make a personal choice to trust Jesus and accept his invitation. We can accept his gift of salvation and "confess with our hearts that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you will be saved".(Romans 10:9). So the question is what choice will you make? Do you know what choice your friends and family have made? Here is a quick recap:

1) Admit you and I are sinners we cannot make up for our sins on our own 2) Make a decision to turn away from your sins and repent. 3) Have faith and believe that even though you did not see Jesus crucified for your sins that it did happen and he later was resurrected(rose from the grave) and ascended to heaven. 4) ASK Jesus to come into your heart and through this receive the Holy Spirit to live inside you and guide you.

Simple Prayer:


I have sinned and I need your forgiveness. I believe you died on the cross for my sins. I repent from my sins and receive salvation. As my Lord and Savior I ask that you come into my heart and change my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Is that it? Yes and no. If you said that prayer and believed it in your heart then you have been born again. Not by a physical birth but born into God's family through the Holy Spirit. You have also asked Jesus into your heart and life and received salvation!(Romans 10:13) But is that it? Well, it's enough to get you into heaven but you want more than that right? Remember how we mentioned that God desires for us to be full of life,peace,joy and prosperity? Well, that requires that you and I enter into a personal relationship with God. And, hey you already invited God's holy spirit inside you right? God also really, really wants to have a personal relationship with you. I hope that you also want to have the same relationship with him. To get to know him better, join a bible based church and fellowship with other believers,get a bible and read it daily. But more importantly, you are now a representative of God and he wants you to share your transformation with others. Some people may not even be aware of salvation and God holds you responsible for helping others to receive salvation just as you did. Here's a great resource for helping others understand how our salvation with Jesus works.

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


Covered Under the Supernatural Protection of God

What exactly does supernatural protection involve? Are we all covered under God's hand at all times?

I heard a story about a forest fire that destroyed a large area of forest. After the fire had burnt out, two park rangers hiked up the mountain to see the destruction. Everything was charred. As one of the rangers came upon a log on the ground, he saw the remains of a bird perched on the log with its wings outstretched. It was kind of eerie looking so he took a stick and gently knocked the bird's burnt body off the log. When he did that, baby birds scattered out from underneath the dead mother bird's outstretched wings. The mother bird instinctively knew the smoke rising high up in the tree would suffocate her babies, so she moved them close to the ground on the log and covered them with her wings. That is exactly how God feels about us. Psalm 91 says that God will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you shall take refuge. Isn't it nice to know we have a protector who is willing to cover us and protect us from harm? But can we assure we will have supernatural protection under God's covenant in our time of need?

God promises supernatural protection to all who obey his word in the bible and follow his teachings regardless of what trials they are facing. We also need to have faith and believe that God will protect us even when it seems like the situation is hopeless and nothing can be done. Just think how Shadrach,Meschach and Abendego must have felt as they were pushed into the fiery furnace.(Daniel 3) There was no way out! They had probably realized they would be burned to death and would soon be in heaven with God. But they believed God would take care of them and I think that is what actually saved them. Believing and having faith that God will deliver us from harm is very important in receiving God's supernatural protection. However,we also need to speak God's word(scripture)out of our mouths. Speaking God's word out loud is as powerful in the kingdom of heaven as shooting a bullet out of a gun on earth. Knowing God's word and speaking it builds a wall around us that cannot be penetrated. Below are some verses that are important to commit to memory so that you will have them memorized and be able to say them when necessary. Let's face it, we don't always have access to our bibles when we are in trouble, so memorizing these is important. Keep practicing learning to obey God, believing he will help you in your time of need. Continue meditating on scripture to speak out of your mouth in your time of need. You will then be covered under God's mighty wings just like the baby chicks who survived a raging fire under their mother's protective wings.

Deuteronomy 33:12 Psalm 91 Psalm 56:3 Philippians 4:8 Psalm 102:2 Romans 8:37

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


Tests,Trials and More Tests!

Tests, they are one thing that most of us definitely do not look forward to in school, but did you know that we are graded in more places than just at school. Yeah, I know you probably didn't want to hear that but it's true. The other trials we face usually involve circumstances out of our control in our everyday life. And how we respond to these determines what grade we receive from God. God puts us through all kinds of trying circumstances and it's not the trial we are facing, or even the outcome that is significant to God- it's how we react to it! Yep, that's right. God is more interested in whether we will turn to him, pray and have faith he will carry us through it than anything else. And you know what, he doesn't even care if we keep messing it up like thousands of times. He's like a daddy coaching a baby to take his first steps. He doesn't care how many times the kid falls but he's ready to embrace the baby when it toddles over to him. I know that goes against what most of us believe but it's true.

When you are facing a difficult circumstance, dilemma or receive heartbreaking news, God just wants us to 'let go and let God' take it over. For those of us who want to control and plan everything this is a bit of a bummer. But the sooner we come to terms with the fact that God can handle our lives better than we can then the better off we are. And just think when we have passed one of God's tests and think we are home free, there's always another test just around the corner waiting to happen. But don't get discouraged and think that tests are a punishment or reprimand from God, look at it as a promotion into being a mature Christian. God loves us soooo much that he is willing to watch us fall a couple of times in order for us to overcome our fears or character flaws. He just wants us to keep growing spiritually and changing from glory to glory. Why? Well because he has big plans for you and me. If you and I can't even pass a small test from God, then how is he going to give us more blessings? Remember with blessings come responsibility and responsibility is earned through the school of hard knocks. So the next time you feel like you are knocked down, get right back up and say "ok what cha got next for me God?! I'm ready for it." And realize that each test and trial that God gives you is a blessing in disguise. After passing that test you are that much closer to being promoted by God!

Deuteronomy 8:2 1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 4:12-14

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


God's Economy in an Upside Down,Crazy World

Are you aware of God's economy which is in opposition to the upside down crazy world we live in?

Christ taught us to be in the world but not to be of the world. What the heck does that mean? I mean if you live in this upside down, crazy world aren't you also of the world? This can be a difficult concept to understand but we'll try to shed some light on it. The world as we know it is highly influenced by the media, entertainment industry and those who are rich and influential. We are constantly bombarded with the influence of new music, styles and fads. These things are all praised by the world, and sometimes worshiped. Many of us go to great lengths to look like what we think is the 'it' thing happening in society. But God's economy doesn't want us to be of the world in this way. Why do you think that is?

There are many references in the Old Testament where God's chosen people were tempted to worship gold statues and idols. These idols were beautiful and very much the "in" thing. God gave Moses the commandment "thou shall have no other God's before me"(Exodus 23:32). Can you see the connection here? Even though thousands of years have passed, we have continued to put other things in front of God. The images have changed from golden idols to electronic equipment, cars, clothing etc, but they are still idols we worship. I know you're probably saying "idols, I don't worship any idols. I go to church and worship God there". But this is a different form of idol worship. When wanting a better job, car, house, clothing etc drives the desires of our heart, then those things become our idols and we are not honoring God's economy. So now you are probably thinking that God doesn't want us to have the best of everything right?!! No! That couldn't be further from the truth. You see, God is like an extremely wealthy householder. In God's economy, his desire is to pour out his riches on all of his people(Ephesians 3:8), but he can only do this if we follow his plan.

The entire New Testament reveals God's desire to pour out blessings onto his chosen people and to be their life supply.But how do we do that? How do we 'get' God's blessings and join in God's economy? Do we work really hard to change ourselves or maybe it's by going to church every week without ever missing? No, becoming part of God's economy doesn't require works. After we ask Jesus into our hearts by saying the sinners prayer we don't have to do anything. (Please see the link at the bottom of the page for a sample prayer if you have never asked Jesus into your life.)Although it's recommended that you study a bible to know what God expects of you. That's the awesome thing about God. Through the sacrifice of Jesus' death on the cross for our sins, we can just receive. But how do you receive and whom do you receive from? Well, Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross and acted as the gatekeeper allowing us into all the glory and riches of God. When we pray, we ask Jesus who intercedes for us before God to hear our prayers. As we receive the Holy Spirit(John 20:22), we are transformed into Christ's image.

That seems like a lot to swallow but really it is simple. If we have a right heart and we are seeking God with all our heart, not material things and praying for God to guide us, we are often blessed with the secret desires of our heart(aka material things). You see, when we seek God with all our hearts, it's like God pours out a double blessing on us. When we are constantly glorifying God and including him in our everyday life, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and as in John 7:38 'those who believe in him, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water'. Everything that was tired and boring before becomes new and exciting again. (I don't know about you, but that sounds to me like a fix for desiring the things of the world, don't you?) Some refer to this as baptism of the holy spirit. So, seek God and have a burning desire to please him, pray for His will in your life and be transformed!(Romans 12:2) After you have truly given your heart to God, miraculously the secret desires of your heart (worldly things) will become available to you and without any effort on your part. By learning to dwell in God's economy we can have everything God has promised us. Have faith and believe that God wants to bless you beyond belief and wait on God's timing. I think you may be pleasantly surprised to see that what God has to offer is much better than what the world has. And remember this- you can always count on God to deliver on his promises. See if you can find a guarantee like that from the world!

John 7:7 John 14:17 Romans 12:12 John 15:18 John 8:23 John 17:15-161 Timothy 6:7-12 1 John 2:17 1 John 4:4-5

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


The Dangers of Desiring Worldly Influences

King Solomon is a biblical figure who allowed worldly influences to bring a deep shadow of destruction over Israel. Although he was a faithful servant of God early in his life, he became addicted to worldly influences which later led to his downfall. Solomon was the son of David. Before King David died, he appointed Solomon King. David instructed Solomon to follow all of God's commandments so his family could occupy the throne as long as the house of David served him faithfully. Solomon was offered anything he wanted from God and Solomon chose wisdom which means he was very intelligent. God was so pleased with Solomon for choosing wisdom over riches or victory over his enemies that he blessed Solomon with a double portion of wisdom. God also decided that he would bless Solomon with glory, riches and respect due to Solomons decision to choose wisdom over these worldly resources. Solomon proved himself as a very wise and faithful king. He built a temple for God's glory which held the ark of God's covenant and a room called the holy of holies which was filled with the glory of God.

But Solomon later made a decision not to follow God faithfully like his father David had. Solomon gathered a harem of 1000 women in his palace. He listened to these women and they had a big influence over him. Many of these women were princesses from foreign lands and they brought with them their idols. Solomon listened to his emotions instead of God and allowed the women to persuade him to build temples and alters to worship these women's Gods. In allowing these false Gods and temples to be worshiped, Solomon broke his covenant or promise to God to worship only him.Unlike his father, David, who repented and asked God not to take his presence away from him, Solomon continued to be swayed and attracted to idols over God. God then acted on his promise to Davide and allowed Solomon's kingdom to be divided. Solomon's attraction to worldly influences(the women in his harem)ultimately cost him the judgment of God and his throne being taken from his family.

Often, when we are tempted to sin,we(like Solomon)become attracted to worldly influences. If we don't discipline ourselves then we become accepting of worldly influences and allow them to slowly trickle into our lives until they have taken over and become the most important thing. Finally, we get so involved with the world that we make it more important to us than God. This angers God who is a jealous God and it keeps us from receiving God's promises, just as it did for Solomon and his descendants(Deuteronomy 5:8-9).

Colossians 3:2 Matthew 6:33 John 8:23 Titus 2:12-13 Matthew 16:26 Romans 12:2

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


Ministering to Gods Presence through Praise and Worship

Why has praise and worship or ministering to Gods presence dwindled in our society? Because the present day contemporary Church does not value it and most feel that it no longer holds the importance it did in biblical times. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Throughout biblical history people such as the prophet Samuel and King David had their very identity wrapped up in praising and ministering to God's presence. God desires for us to minister to him the same way David did in Psalm 63:8 when he cried out to God "My soul follows hard after you". Today, more than ever the Lord seeks after each one of us to begin ministering to Gods presence both publicly and privately. David desired with all his heart to make sure that God was worshiped 24/7. This is why David established a new order of worship. The Levites were assigned to begin ministering to Gods presence day and night. But why the Levites?

The Levites were chosen and set apart for ministering to Gods presence because this was their God ordained blessing. There were 12 tribes of the Israelite people who were the descendants of Jacob. Each tribe was to receive a blessing which was a valuable portion of land to settle on. Each portion of land, from great cities to fertile farmlands and river valleys, were as unique as the tribes they were promised to. However when all the land had been distributed, one tribe received no land inheritance at all. These were the Levites.

Joshua 13:14 states "But to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance, since the offerings made by fire to the Lord, the God of Israel are their inheritance, as he promised them".

Would that upset you if all your brothers received a rich inheritance and you did not? Remember how God promised them through Moses that the land flowing with milk and honey would be given to them?

Actually the Levites received the greatest blessing of all, an invitation for ministering to God's presence by entering the holy of holies through praise of worship of the Lord. But how, you may ask could this be better than all the best land, vineyards or large and flourishing cities? The Levites received the greatest inheritance of all because they were the only tribe invited into the presence of God.

Today, however we are able to enter into or begin ministering to God's presence whenever we choose and without a special invitation. This is due to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross which ripped the curtain into two pieces. The ripping of the curtain signified the wall coming down between us and God and allowed us to experience God's presence whenever we wish. The curtain previously separated the holy of holies (where God's presence dwelled) from us. If we have received salvation and repented of our sins we can begin ministering to the presence of God just as the Levites did. Not only is this pleasing to God but it is also an incredibly satisfying experience for us.

We desperately need the presence of God and standing before him with humble hearts in a position of praise and worship glorifies him. He will then not only meet our specific needs but exceed them by blessing us with the desires of our heart. Praising and worshiping God through music, prayer or a combination of these is one of the easiest ways to usher in the presence of God. So what are you waiting for? Go and fulfill Psalm 100:1-4!!

For further reference to the Levites and ministering to the presence of God:

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt


What's So Great About 2008? Spiritual Significance of the Year of New Beginnings

2008, what makes it so special and why is it called the year of new beginnings? First, let's get acquainted with the Hebraic calendar. God works in cycles and within these cycles specific things are accomplished which are predetermined by God as part of his Master Plan. Last year, 2007, which is known on the Hebraic calendar as 5767 is known as the year of completion. God began bringing to completion promises or circumstances in your life that He started. As these opportunities in your life have reached fulfillment, the next year 5768 has begun. In the bible the number "7" is always associated with the end of a cycle or movement and means 'that which is spiritually complete'. An example of this is God setting Israel's cycle of captivity to a period of 70 years, while the cycle of restoration of Israel was 70 weeks. You can read more about these stories in the book of Daniel 9, verse 2 and 25. The most exciting thing about 2008 is that it is known as the year of new beginnings! How often do we have a fresh slate and get to start over leaving our past behind and pressing into all that God has for us? God wants us to forget the past so he can begin to unleash all he has for you in 2008. Isaiah 43:19 says "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert". The most important part of this revelation is that it requires us to let go our hurts, mindsets and ideas from the past. If we do not let go of things wrapped up in our past, then God cannot unleash and release the new annointings he has for us in 2008.

In the Hebraic calendar 2008 which is known as 5768 has special meanings relevant to us. The number 8, otherwise known in Hebrew as sh'moneh means 'to super-abound' or 'make fat'. The Hebraic name for 2008 is Samekh Chet which means we are coming into a new beginning. An interesting point about 2008 is that God commanded Moses to perform circumcisions on the 8th day. Circumcisions in the Bible are commonly referred to as cutting away of something old and beginning something new in our lives. The Bible also refers to circumcision when He circumcises our hearts and removes the old sinful nature and replaces it with a regenerated, spiritually new heart that beats for Christ. The number 8 signifies the covenant God has made with us. He promised to resurrect us from spiritual death and our old nature so we could begin a new victorious life with Christ.

New Beginnings and Revival for Youth in 2008

There is other spiritual significance associated with the number eight that involves resurrection. The number 8 is also linked with miracles and miraculous events. Many miracles will be performed by the Lord in 2008 and we can give God all the glory for these miraculous events. These miracles are available to those who believe Mark 16:17-18. This scripture is spoken by Jesus who says "And these signs will accompany those who believe in my name; they will cast out demons... they will speak in new tongues... they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." When we as the body of Christ begin by faith to believe this we will have the miracle working power of Christ within us and all of heaven will rush forth to cause these miracles to manifest themselves on Earth!!

There are two decisions we need to make in order to receive the new beginnings and power available to us in 2008. First, we have the responsibility of keeping expectation in our hearts which will in turn raise up faith in our spirits or inner man. As we begin to release our faith we will be filled with new hope and excitement that God will be moving in our life. We also need to let go of our our past. When we give up negative attitudes, bad habits and alliances with those people and things that are not of God we are in essence allowing those things to die within us. This is important because it gives God the opportunity to resurrect our dreams and plans we've held on to for so long and give them over to His power. These dreams will never come to fruition until we allow God to take them over.

Eight is the number associated with resurrection and regeneration. The scriptural part of this is that there are 8 resurrections recorded in the Bible(excluding the resurrection of Christ and the Saints). Here are the references to these verses:

1 Kings 17:17-24 II Kings 4:32-37II Kings 13:20-21 Luke 7:11-18Luke 8:40-42 and Luke 8:49-56 John 11:39-44 Acts 9:36-43 Acts 20:7-12

However the most important resurrection of all was that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2008 is the year of new beginnings because Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the new week. Since there are 7 days of the week, the first day of the new week is day 8. Just let that soak into your system for a while.

Through Christ we have been restored to a position of power, authority and dominion over the earth. With the advent of 2008, we need to claim, through the mighty name of Jesus, that power which belongs to us. As we repent of our sins and receive a refreshing from the Lord in this year of restoration, God can send his Son at the appointed time. God has planned this year of restoration since the beginning of time and this must be accomplished so that His divine plans and purposes can be fulfilled. In other words, in 2008, we should eagerly turn our backs on our past and claim the new beginnings God has in store for us!


Raising Up a Generation of Young Warriors

Deep rumblings are now being heard of a few young people whom God is raising up and have answered His calling to bring in the harvest of soul's before the second coming of Jesus Christ. God is raising up a new and great army of spiritual warriors who will lead the way in this upcoming movement.

In Joel 2:28, God is speaking about the end times and pouring out his spirit on us. "And afterward I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions". The old time prophecy will come to pass with our children (son's and daughter's) leading the way! We may not see it now but just as the sky looked clear with no signs of rain, as Elijah began to pray God sent a tiny cloud(the size of a fist)which appeared in the sky resulting in a powerful rainstorm as Elijah was calling down the rain. The tiny cloud of this young army God is raising up has already appeared in places such as South America, United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Soon it will become a rainstorm as the army disperses. Many teens and children will begin to wake up from their deep slumber and unite. It is up to us as adults to accept, encourage and guide them during this time as well as raising up our children to be obedient to the Lord. We must not hold them back, hinder them or forbid them from taking up their place in this end time army for God. Please understand what I mean by army. I do not mean arming our kids with automatic weapons and battle gear. God will be raising up these children and young people to unite like an army marching against the oppression that currently plagues our world, speaking God's word out of their mouths like a double edged sword and putting on their breastplates of righteousness and helmets of salvation.

Why would God choose children to carry out this crucial step? I believe it is because children do not have 'agendas' or a preconceived set of notions about how God should or will act. God needs those who are fully obedient, pure of heart and without worry or fear of how they will look to others. Many children exhibit those traits and will gladly and humbly fulfill God's calling on their lives. This great harvest will recognize no boundaries, barriers, or preferences. And children will be the agent to carry out this revival! God is looking for someone after His own heart to fill the role which focuses on the lowly, poor, outcast and forgotten. For more information on this movement and what you can do to prepare your children for it, a great resource is the International House of Prayer(IHOP)in Kansas City, Missouri. They hold training and informational sessions for all age groups. Please contact them with questions, as I am in no way affiliated with them.

Used by permission of Beth Rimstidt

Child Bible Lessons
Free Child Bible Lessons on topics such as the favor of God, Fruit of the Spirit, Righteousness of Christ. Also resources such as prayers for children, bible stories and scripture related to children.
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