Encouragement for Teens

Ignoring Instagram – Teen Tuesday

Ignoring Phone

The mind is an amazing thing. It can carry on thousands of functions at the same time. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s not so good. For instance, when you check your phone while your parent is talking to you … that’s bad! There you are, right in front of them, and yet you’re thinking about something totally different.

Checking Out

What’s even more amazing than the mind’s capacity to wander is that your mom can tell when you’re not listening. How do they do that?! We think we’re clever. We nod at what we think is the right moment … yet they still catch us checking our phone.

Staying Focused 

Why is it so hard for us to focus? Here are just a few reasons. One is that we’re bombarded with entertainment, things, stuff. Phones have 100 different apps, games, and texting. Another is busyness. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against being busy. But we have to make time for others between extracurricular activities, practices, and hobbies.

Ignoring Instagram

When you’re with your family or hanging out with friends, the loving thing to do is be all there, both mentally and physically. This will take some concentration and effort on your part. But we’ll follow God’s Word—“Outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10)—when we train ourselves to ignore Instagram (at least for our conversations with others) and devote our full attention on others when we’re with them.

RESPOND

Dear Lord, please help me put real energy toward giving my full attention to the people I’m with. I want to honor them. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES
A Young Woman’s Walk with God offers wisdom for teens on how to develop godly qualities and please God in the midst of peer pressure, school activities, and physical changes.

Print out this FREE Prayer for Living After God’s Own Heart PDF!

REFLECT
“Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10)

How often do I check my phone when I’m in the middle of a face-to-face conversation with my family or friends? Is this honoring the person I’m speaking with?

REMEMBER

Teen Tuesday: Dating “A-List”

dating

The choices you make about dating will be some of the most important ones you make in your life. That’s why you should make plans now for when you may date in the future. Wait to date until you’re ready to look for a life partner. But until then, let’s do some homework.

Make a list of ideal qualities for your future spouse.
You can find these in the Bible. God’s Word has a lot to say about a godly woman’s character (see Proverbs 31).
And about a godly guy’s character (1 Timothy 6:11). Take your time to read and study these biblical standards.

Next, ask for God’s help to allow you to spot these qualities
in the lives of the girls or guys in your church or youth group.

And last, remember to ask for your parents’ advice.
Then, with all this input, make your “A list” of things you’d like in a person you will date.

Keep your list handy when you’re ready to date. Refer back to your list when you start the dating process, when you meet someone, and when you think you’re in love. These godly standards will be a useful guide for choosing the right person to date.

Meanwhile, while you are waiting and looking, prepare yourself to match the qualities on your list. Allow God to work on your godly characteristics. And remember to be patient …some qualities take years to develop.

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, please help me control my personal purity. Give me wisdom to do what is necessary to keep myself pure in body, soul, mind, and spirit. I will wait patiently wait for Your best to arrive. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
If you wish to encourage your son or daughter about additional teen-life issues, you will find a great resource in A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices or A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices.

REFLECTION
“… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11b)

Teens: What’s on my “A-List” of dating qualities?
Parents: What qualities do I desire the most in the person my teen will date? Have I shared these qualities with my teen?

REMEMBER
Godly standards are a useful guide for choosing the right person to date.

How to Build a Better Prayer Life

Prayer

Teen Tuesday—

You’ve read it in the Bible. You’ve heard it taught at church. And you hear people talk about it. Yes, by this time you already know that you are supposed to pray. Well, don’t give up on faithfully talking with God. Three simple acts will help you move forward in developing a better prayer life.

  1. “Head for bed.”As soon as dinner is over start getting ready for bed. Finish your school work and wash your face and brush your teeth. Then check your schedule for the next day. Begin a “to-do” list for tomorrow and get into your pj’s. Next, set out your prayer notebook and Bible in the place where you will have your devotions the next morning. You see, you are on a mission to get up in the morning and meet with God.
  2. “Something is better than nothing.”If you are looking for the “sweet hour of prayer” and it’s not happening, try for something more realistic. Start with “a sweet five minutes of prayer.” Then, in time, as you begin to experience the joy of time spent praying, you will find that, little by little, you are spending more and more of time in prayer.
  3. “Desire to pray.” You already know you need to pray. You’ve probably learned some skills and practices that help you pray. Yet, if you never desire to pray, your knowledge and skills will mean nothing. Praying will never become a habit or a spiritual  discipline if the one main ingredient—your desire—is missing.

In A Young Woman’s Guide to Prayer, Elizabeth George draws from her own journey, the Bible, and the lives of others to reveal the explosive power and dynamic impact of prayer on everyday life. 

Teen Tuesday – Making the Right Choices

Choices

Give your servant a discerning heart…to distinguish between right and wrong.
1 Kings 3:9

You’ve probably been to a camp or retreat or youth meeting where there was a “sharing time,” a time when those who were brave enough recounted some of the choices they made in their past. Even though the teens who shared were no longer living back in their past, they could still see, remember, and taste the consequences of their choices — both the good and the bad. Their sharing may have included phrases like…

  • I wandered off the path…
  • I fell away from the Lord…
  • I got sidetracked in sin…
  • I lost my first love…
  • I strayed from the truth…
  • I made some wrong decisions…
  • I got in with the wrong crowd…

Well, you know what happened, don’t you? Somehow, at some time, for some reason, they  made a wrong choice. Maybe it was just a little lie. Just a little shading of what is right. Just a little bending of a rule. And eventually, as this happens again and again, there comes a day when making wrong choices becomes all too easy. By then, their life has become a mess.

I’m sure you already know your actions are a matter of choice. Sure, some choices are made for you. They are out of your control, and are made by those who are responsible for you…like your parents, your teachers, your coaches, and your youth leaders. But many choices each day — and almost each minute of the day — are yours to make. They are a matter of your will. You get to decide what you will or won’t do, how you will or won’t act. You make the choices, which means you can’t blame anyone else for what happens next.

As you prepare to make the tough choices, pray. Then make the choice God wants you to make—the one that leads you to living your life God’s way.

Drawn from A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices by Jim George. Young men will enjoy Jim’s balance of biblical insight, personal anecdotes, and candid forthrightness. Plus, they’ll gain the skills they need to make right choices in response to all the challenges that come their way.

Teen Tuesday—Where Are You Headed?

Headed

Going to school can get old with day after day trudging off to the same classes, only to come home and do homework. But I want to encourage you! The good habits and disciplines you develop during the next few years will lay the foundation for the rest of your life. Here’s my story….

When I was in high school all I aspired to was teaching office management skills. I loved my classes in that area and wanted to give to others what my teachers gave me. I wasn’t a whiz kid or a genius. I struggled to get B’s and had to work really hard to get A’s. So I wanted to help others who were average like me fall in love with something helpful and fun, something they could use every day to make a living.

Well, trust me, you’ll never know what the future holds! Only in time did I use the teaching part of my education…and then it was to teach the Bible! And only in time did I use the typing part of my office skills training…to write books. And only in time did my other office skills help manage our ministry organization. And, my friend, only in time will you realize God’s bigger picture for your abilities and passions, all to be revealed and grown as you work at being a faithful student today.

Please acknowledge the importance of “today” each day. Take advantage of today…and every day…and any and every opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t waste or hate these critical years—years that can move you steadily down the road to success.

  • Today’s good decisions give you the freedom to choose greater opportunities tomorrow.
  • Today’s good habits give you greater discipline for accepting greater challenges tomorrow.
  • Today’s good attitudes equip you to run the greater race and win the greater prize tomorrow (1 Corinthians 9:24 ).

Drawn from A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices by Elizabeth George.  This book takes teens through the step–by–step process of making decisions that are life-affirming, godly, and wise in areas that include improving relationships.

Teen Tuesday — Loving the People at Home

Loving

Who are the people who make up your family? Whoever they are, they will always be vitally important to you (including the pesky ones), people you are to be loving toward. So…

  • How about Mom? You know what her busy life is like, so pray for her—her commitments, her job, her relationship with the Lord. Pray to be a Proverbs 31 daughter. Could she use some help in the kitchen? Setting or clearing the table? Moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer—maybe even folding it? See yourself as Mom’s right-hand helper.
  • How about Dad? Your dad needs prayer as the leader of the family. And there’s not a dad on the planet who doesn’t love a hug and an “I love you, Dad!” at least once a day. You can also volunteer to work alongside him—planting the garden, caring for the lawn, getting the trash out, painting, building, or washing the car.
  • How about your brothers and sisters? There are three key roles you can play in their lives: Encourage them, help them, and pray for them. Everyone can use a “Way to go!” “Good job!” “Hang in there!” “You’re the best!” “I’m so glad I’m your sister (or brother).” When they are stewing over their homework, late getting out the door, trying to learn their Bible verses for their Bible club meeting, lend a helping hand and an understanding heart. And always let them know you are praying for them.

When it comes to your family, the effort you put into those relationships is meaningful work, important work.

Surround yourself with inspiring Bible verses and encouraging guidance to discover purpose and confidence you’ve only dreamed of having with Beautiful In God’s Eyes for Young Women. If you want to see something really beautiful ― take a look at the incredible young woman God made you to be.

Teen Tuesday—Pursue Your Dreams

Dreams

It’s so much fun to pursue your dreams! It’s an opportunity to discover what you love to do—and what you are good at. And the Proverbs 31 woman (see Proverbs 31:24) gives you these two points to keep in mind as you pursue your own dreams:

  1. Don’t neglect your responsibilities. Be sure you take care of your relationships and duties at home, your schoolwork, and any other commitments you have. Your responsibilities come first—then dive in and work on your projects.
  2. Give it time. Start small. Watch for pockets of time you can fill with your projects. You can laze around and watch another TV show, or you can slip into your room and do your thing. Or you can work on your project on a table near the TV. That way, you are still with the family and joining in on their activity, but you are making progress on your goals and developing your skills. Also, make a habit of carrying items that you need for working on your projects in your backpack or a tote bag for those moments you spend waiting.

Now you’re ready to start spreading your wings in your new adventure! Talk your dreams and desires over with your parents. You will need them to back you up and support you and cheer you on. Then take the initiative.

It takes initiative to:

  • Make the phone call to enroll in a class or join a group that will help you develop your skills.
  • Go to a specialty store and purchase a magazine that targets your area of creativity.
  • Bring your dreams down to earth and finally set up a work station, the sewing machine, or the easel.
  • Find out where to send your samples of greeting cards, your manuscript, your book ideas, or your magazine article.
  • Enter your painting or sculpture in an art show.

As Proverbs16:3 advises, “Commit your works unto the Lord.” Then determine what your first step will be!

 

Surround yourself with inspiring Bible verses and Elizabeth’s encouraging guidance to discover purpose and confidence you’ve only dreamed of having in her book, Beautiful in God’s Eyes for Young Women.

Teen Tuesday—Can Others Depend on You?

 

Depend

There’s something in us that wants to be lazy, do it later, wait a little longer, or take a shortcut. But this was not so with Jesus! He was committed to faithfully doing and fulfilling the Father’s will. Jesus was faithful to His disciples, His family, and others. He also faithfully prayed for them. And now, He is faithfully praying for you and caring for you, His friend (see John 17:20).

As a young woman who is a Christian, it is vital that faithfulness be a quality that describes you. When you are faithful, you show that you are born of God and belong to Him through His Son.

The good news is you can develop the same faithfulness Jesus showed the world. You can grow in faithfulness that follows through, fulfills your responsibilities, shows up, and keeps your word and your commitments. Your whole family is blessed when they can depend on you and trust you.

If this sounds impossible or like a hard uphill climb, take Step One: Call out to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you get rid of laziness. Then start small—in the little things. Start right under your own roof at home by doing your work chores, your homework, and helping with your parents and siblings—even without being asked! And count on Jesus’ strength. In Him you can do all things, including being faithful (Philippians 4:13).

In Elizabeth George’s book, You Always Have a Friend in Jesus, you’ll explore how Jesus lived out character traits in His everyday life on earth, and you’ll discover what a good friend He is to you–and what a good friend you can be to others.

Teen Tuesday – The Joys of Giving

Giving

Here’s a challenge and a truth. When you decide to work on being more generous, you’ll have no trouble finding opportunities! Just to get you going down this path being a giver, try these ideas for starters:

  1. Begin at home—Your parents and siblings are first in line for your cheerfulness and help.
  1. Give to your church—Make it a point whenever you get your allowance, or some birthday money, or some cash from a babysitting or dog walking job, to give some of it the next time you’re at church. And pray as you give for those your giving will help.
  1. Keep your ear to the ground—Take time to notice people around you who are in need. Sign up to receive your church’s prayer list. Don’t let opportunities to do good to someone pass you by.
  1. Support a group or person—A few dollars a month from you can support a needy child through a worthy organization. These same dollars can actually provide water to people who are dying of thirst in other parts of the world!

(Just a thought—be sure you check with your parents about your plans to give money or assistance. Let them know how much and who will be the recipients of your giving. They can provide their wisdom and guidance, and they just might want to join you in your efforts.)

  1. Live out love—When asked what love looks like, the early church father Augustine replied,

Love has hands to help others.
It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrow of men.
This is what love looks like.

This kind of love is truly beautiful in God’s eyes!

In Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George provides an engaging and inspirational resource for every mom who wants to lead her daughter to a godly life by example, encouragement, study, and prayer.

Teen Tuesday—The One You Can Always Trust

Trust

When friendships are broken, it’s easy to stop trusting all people. But here’s good news: You can always, always trust Jesus! He is a friend you can definitely and totally trust all the time, every day, and in every way. In fact, Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Because you can T-R-U-S-T Jesus, your response should be to give Him your trust. Use T-R-U-S-T from Proverbs 3:5-6 to guide your response:

  • T-rust in the Lord—“Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” God knows 100 percent of the time what is 100 percent best for you.
  • R-efuse to trust in your own understanding—“… and lean not on your own understanding.” Instead, lean on God’s wisdom from His Word, the Bible.
  • U-nderstand and count on His presence—“In all your ways acknowledge Him.” Constantly acknowledge Jesus’ presence. Talk to Him about every decision and every problem.
  • S-traight paths come with God’s help—“… and He shall direct your paths.” God will make clear the way you should travel—the way that is best for you and pleases Him.
  • T-ake time to make your choices—Be sure you make the most important choice: Accept by faith that Jesus died in your place for your sins. Because of Jesus, you can have forgiveness!

In A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George, you’ll learn how to grow close to God, get along with your family and friends, make the right kinds of choices, become more like Jesus, prepare for the future, and fulfill the desires of your heart!

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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