Saturday, December 31, 2016

He is with us through everything

~New Years~

This has been an interesting year. Some things that have happened in my life are:

1. I graduated from high school
2. I got my driver's license
3. I survived my first semester in college
4. I have taken my first solo transatlantic flight
5. I've gone on a mission trip 
6. I have made friends
7. I have lost friends
8. I have been vulnerable
9. I have been a closed book
And a lot more.

This has been a really interesting year. I know I just said that. But it really has been. I'm so happy that God is with us through everything! And that He will see us through next year, no matter what it brings.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Befriend and be friends

~Friday for Friends~

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

Let us be this kind of friend to others! In this coming year, let us make it a priority to befriend and continue to be friends with those around us. And let us tell them of the good news!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Switching to Mailchimp and how you can help

~Random Tuesday~

Hey, y'all! Thank you so much for visiting and following Teens Live for Jesus. :) I've been procrastinating on this for quite some time, but I'm finally going to switch to Mailchimp for sending all of the fabulous emails (instead of Feedburner). I'll be making the switch at the beginning of the year, but I need a little bit of help from you... 

This little cry for help only applies to the people who are subscribed by email only and NOT the people who are following with Google. I'm sure there's an easier way to do this transition, but I haven't found it in my couple-hours search of the vast Internet. So I really hope you don't mind helping me out with  2 steps.

#1 - In the next few days, you'll be getting the normal emails after my blog posts come out. Sometime soon please UNSUBSCRIBE from those. And then...

#2 - If you still wish to get email updates from this blog, please comment on this post with your email address. I review all comments before they are posted, and these will NOT be posted. I will add your email address to a subscribers list on Mailchimp, and you'll start receiving emails from blog posts in January. :)

Thank y'all for reading my posts. It means a lot to me to be able to share insights, book reviews, and more with you.

God bless you guys and have a great Christmas season!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Still with us

~Monday Movies & Music~

David Dunn has a fun song, "I Wanna Go Back." 

"13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you." Psalm 139:13-18 (NIV)

Isn't it amazing that God sees us through every single time of our lives?! He formed us, and even now He is still with us. Whether we feel like it or not. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

His glory

~Christmas is here~

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[a] from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (ESV)

Merry Christmas! May we all remember our Savior on this day and on every day!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall

~Saturday Stories~

Typical Cassie: "My bed squeaks as I climb on top of it. Sitting against the wooden headboard, I place the typewriter in my lap and inhale its dusty scent - which is oddly comforting, like the pages within an old book. Words beg to burst forth through my fingertips as I adjust the paper. This is my therapy."

Typical James: "To put it simply, I have to pursue music. Not just for myself or for this passion, but for the people who may some day be touched through my songs. Those who might be affected by my music in a positive way."

All her life, Cassie has been sheltered. Her grandma sets a 7 p.m. curfew, doesn't let her go to birthday parties, doesn't let her drive, etc., etc., etc. And all her life Cassie has been obedient. But now she wants to do something out of the ordinary, to experience the life that she never got to have, to be a normal teenager. Will her new classmate James be the answer to any of that? Does she have the courage to step out of her small world of grandparents, a couple friends, and her song lyrics?

James was just on American Spotlight, living his dream. But now he can't seem to find the inspiration and words to even start a demo album. Coming to a town in the middle of nowhere with his mother, James wants to sort out his life and figure out what he wants to do after high school. But his past, the past he has tried so hard to forget, might haunt him even here. 

Unwritten Melody is a beautiful story, based somewhat on the sheltered life of the poet Emily Dickinson. The struggles of both Cassie and James are relatable and intricately woven into the story. Cassie learns how to be vulnerable and how to believe that her life holds meaning and purpose. James learns to learn from past mistakes, but not to let them hold him back. 

At some times during the story, I felt that it dragged. However, other times were extremely gripping. The story is not as faith-focused as it could be, but it does include a few mentions of God. More about the Bible is woven into the discussion questions after the story. 

For more on Tessa Emily Hall, visit her websiteFacebook page, and blog. She has also written the book, Purple Moon

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Love each other

~Friday for Friends~

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:12-13 (NIV)

How can you show love for others today? 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Blessed is the man...

~Tuesday Thoughts~

"Book One
The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
1 Blessed is the man[a]
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish." Psalm 1(ESV)

Sometimes I do a very bad job of this... God, please help us all do better! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Does anybody hear her?

~Monday Movies & Music~

"Does Anybody Hear Her" is a great song by Casting Crowns. Here are the lyrics.

 "All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 (ESV)

Let us remember this truth and tell of it to others! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016


~Saturday Stories~

(This is not about my actual yesterday)

It was really loud.
And I had fun. 
I really did. 
But I'm pretty sure
I annoyed 
All my friends. 
Just by being me.
And, no, they 
Would never tell me
And it might not even be true
But I feel like I'm the most 
Annoying person ever. 
And today has been 
Marked, for me, 
By the giant belief
That I am worse 
Than what everyone 
Wishes I would be. 
But see, it's probably all me. 
Or most of it. 
And, yes, I know 
I am loved by 
God, family, friends.
But sometimes it feels
Like there's a great chasm 
Between my worth 
And theirs. 
God, let me let go 
Of this fear. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Saying no?

~Friday for Friends~

"When I first became a Christian, I was saying no to everything: No to drugs, parties, my old friends, everything. Pretty soon, I was a total loner. I felt like the weirdest creature on the face of the earth ... Then I figured it out. Hey, I have to start saying yes to something. I mean, no is a good place to start but being empty doesn't satisfy. So, I started saying yes to Jesus." -Todd, A Whisper and a Wish

It is a good idea to say no to things and people that constantly bring us down, inciting us to sin. (Although we are the ones technically responsible for each sin).

"If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell." Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)

Yet Jesus Himself spent time with sinners, telling them of the amazing Good News. 

It's a delicate balance for us. Are our friends influencing us to sin or are we influencing them to learn more about God? Each relationship requires deep prayer and trust on God's guidance. But, whatever happens with our friendships, whether we say "yes" or "no" to each of them, we always need to say "yes" to God.

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35 (NIV)

How about you? Do you have friendships you are unsure if you should continue or not? Do you spend time with Christ, asking about those friendships or just talking and listening to our Savior?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It'd be crazy to...

~Tuesday Thougths~

"God's creation is so vast it'd be crazy to think we could ever understand it all." -Jake, Angel Eyes

This is so true. We serve a God whose creation is wonderful. And He Himself is the most glorious, magnificent, powerful, omniscient, merciful, loving, righteous and generous One in the world. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Party like a princess

~Monday Movies & Music~

Jamie Grace has a new song, "Party Like a Princess."

"The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God." John 1:9-13 (NIV)

We are children of God. Whether or not we are loved by others, we will always be loved by our King and Father. And that is such an amazing truth!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"He gives me an opportunity, and then I decide whether to take it or not "

~Saturday Stories~

"When Jesus 'shows' me something, it isn't like boom - there it is! It's more like he gives me an opportunity, and then I decide whether to take it or not." - Sophie, Sophie's World

"It was like God was reassuring me that it was okay. That I could really change." -Beka, The Masquerade

"I even prayed last night, sort of. Right now it's mostly yelling and being mad. God probably wishes I'd just shut up again."
"No way. ... As long as we're being honest with Him I think He's happy, since He already knows everything anyway." -Damien and Jacie, Stuck in the Sky

How does God show you things? Do you believe you can change? Do you talk with God? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Save a life

~Monday Movies & Music~

Manic Drive has a thought-provoking song, "Save a Life." Here are the lyrics.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[a]" Romans 10:14-15(NIV)

Can you tell someone today about the precious news of our loving Savior? Can you bring truth into a world full of lies? 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill

~Saturday Stories~

I have had the great privilege of having this book review posted on Rayleigh Gray's Literature Approved blog.

Please head over to her amazing website to read my review of Stephanie Morrill's The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Everyone is busy

~Friday for Friends~

We're having finals next week. It's really easy to start comparing my workload with someone else's and start complaining. However, one of my friends told our community group this week, "Everyone is busy. It might not look it, but everyone is busy this week. We should remember that." And we should strive to remember that, as we struggle, others are probably also struggling. 

That is not to say that we cannot unload ourselves on our friends and let them help us in our struggles. However, we should also be ready to do that for others. 

"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (NIV)