Let your Light Shine

"No one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, everyone who lights a lamp puts it on a lamp stand so that those who come in will see the light. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. 
“So pay attention to how you listen! Those who understand these mysteries will be given more knowledge. However, some people don’t understand these mysteries. Even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”
Luke 8: 16-18

THINK: Who are you...really? Does the answer to that question depend on: Who you are with? Where you are? What you are doing?
God created you for a specific purpose. He gave you specific gifts and abilities to carry out that purpose in your life. God is passionate about you succeeding in fulfilling His will for your life. God even says that He is jealous for you to worship Him and live your life in a way that is honoring to Him.

Each day you make choices that either let His light shine through you to a world that is desperately dark, or conceal His light under a blanket, depriving those with whom you interact.

Shining God’s light to others today could be as simple as encouraging someone who is having a bad day, or serving someone in need. It could be that God may bring someone into your life today that is ready to hear the gospel.
Are you willing to let God shine through you today?

DO: Choose today to live your life in a way that conspicuously shines God’s light to others.


READ: "God didn't give us a cowardly spirit but a spirit of power, love, and good judgment."
2 Timothy 1:7

THINK: Fear can come in different forms such as; the fear of trying something new, taking a test, being alone, failing, or fear of the future.  There are so many fears that keep us from being all that God has for us and  to live a free, abundant life.

God's Word tells us that we are never alone! Heb 13:5,6 tells us " I will never leave you and will and never forsake you. So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"  1 John 4:18 tells us that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."  "God loves us perfect and nothing is impossible for Him and nothing can separate us from His love."  Romans 8:35-39 " So do not fear, God is with you! He is there to help in any situation, relationship, or problem tha can happen in your life. He can turn ALL things to good for you and for His glory." Romans 8:28

DO: What is your fear today or for the future? Take it to God  in Prayer and ask Him to replace it with faith in Him, who is all powerful and all knowing and can take care of it and give you His peace and Joy! Pray with others too!

Matters of the Heart

The heart is often thought of as the seat of our emotions, like  I love him with all my heart. The heart, however, is the center of who we are! Unfortunately we often overlook the condition of our heart. We are blind to what drives us to be who we are. It is in the heart where we find the root of sin and the need for change.


Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you.  Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2


What does it mean to "offer your bodies as living sacrifices"?  What is being dedicated to God?  What struggles do you have in being "like the people of this world"?  What needs to change in your own heart so that you have a clearer understanding of what God wants? 


Give God thanks for what He is doing in your life. Continue to pray and seek God daily. Offer to Him this time of Media Fast that you can hear Him more clearly. Confess and turn from any sin or evil (1 John 2:1-2) so that you discover in your heart and ask God to help you walk in the direction of pleasing Him (2 Cor. 5:9).

In your Mind

READ:                          "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9
THINK:                     What we put into our minds determines what comes out in our words and actions.  Paul tells us to program our minds with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy or praise. 

DO:                             Do you have problems with impure thoughts and/or deeds?  Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, Internet, books, games, conversations, movies, and magazines.  Replace harmful input with wholesome material.  Above all, read God’s Word and pray.  Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure.  It takes practice, but it can be done.

Out of the Loop

READ: "Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable." 
--Philippians 4:8 
"Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things."
-- Colossians 3:2

THINK: About now, you are probably feeling a bit disconnected from the outside world. While your friends are talking about that movie that just came out or the hilarious Youtube video they just saw, you might be feeling out of the loop. Remember, you have an enemy who wants you in his zone. Satan loves it when we feel discouraged for it takes our eyes off Christ and onto the world around us.
Today, surrender those discouraging thoughts to Christ and be filled with the thoughts He would have for you, thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

DO: Take a moment to speak true thoughts to a friend. Send an e-mail, give a phone call or (dare I say) mail a card to a friend telling them something excellent, admirable or praiseworthy about the God you serve. Share with them how you have seen the Lord in them. Be Christ’s voice of truth as you center your thoughts on things above.

Down but not Out

READ:  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing. 
2 Corinthians 4:8

THINK:  Have you been through a period of life when everything looked bleak? When it seemed everything around you was coming unraveled? When you hoped the phone wouldn't ring for fear it would be more bad news?

During seasons like that, I'm often reminded of this story:
Karl, a Norwegian fisherman, had taken his two teenage sons out for a day of fishing. The morning had been beautiful when they started out, but the afternoon turned nasty--in a hurry--catching them too far at sea to beat the incoming storm to shore. The wind-whipped ocean began to work into a frenzy, until he and his sons were battling for their lives. As darkness fell on their frantic efforts, even the steady beacon of the seaside lighthouse was suddenly extinguished by a terrific bolt of lightning. Hope seemed lost.
But things were actually worse than Karl knew. Lightning had also struck his home and the structure quickly erupted into a fireball. So when Karl and his sons finally staggered ashore, exhausted, he was met by his wife with the bad news.
Strangely, Karl seemed unfazed, much to his wife's frustration. As he stroked her tear-lined face with his tough, leathery hands, he said, "Don't you understand, sweetheart? When the lighthouse went out, the glow on the horizon became my compass. The fire that destroyed our house guided us home."
You and your family may have  gone through times when there were "fires" burning. You'll discover that during these times, these crises have guided you "home," because they've forced you  to hunker down in faith, crying out in absolute dependence upon God. "Lord God, You know what You are doing! I don't know what You are up to, but I trust in You."

DO: Discuss an example of a trial you've experienced that turned out to have a good consequence from an eternal perspective?

PRAY: Pray that you will face the fires together and that your faith in Christ will grow stronger as you go through them.

Freedom and Temptation

READ:  "Then Yahweh Elohim took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to farm the land and to take care of it. Yahweh Elohim commanded the man. He said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.  But you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will certainly die.”  and " The snake was more clever than all the wild animals Yahweh Elohim had made. He asked the woman, “Did Elohim really say, ‘You must never eat the fruit of any tree in the garden’?” The woman answered the snake, “We’re allowed to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except the tree in the middle of the garden. Elohim said, ‘You must never eat it or touch it. If you do, you will die!’” “You certainly won’t die!” the snake told the woman. Elohim knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened. You’ll be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree had fruit that was good to eat, nice to look at, and desirable for making someone wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then their eyes were opened, and they both realized that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made clothes for themselves.
-- Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7

THINK:  When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, He gave them the freedom to eat (enjoy) “every tree in the garden” except one. He allowed them considerable freedom to enjoy life and gave them one simple command. But Adam and Eve failed to keep God’s one command. 

What do you do when no one else is watching?  Obeying parents, teachers, bosses and God is choosing freedom. Choosing not to do things you have been instructed to do is appealing. You may think, “Who cares? No one is watching. It won’t hurt this one time.” You may even have others telling you it is okay. But, in the end, it causes you to lose freedoms and sometimes to be separated from those who love you.  God gives us the freedom to live life to the fullest. He only asks us to trust and obey. 

DO:  Write down some freedoms you and your friends enjoy. Now ask God in prayer to help you be obedient to His simple commands, such as loving others before self, serving others cheerfully, and encouraging others. Choose to serve someone or encourage a friend today.  

Doing What's Hard

READ:   "The Messenger of Yahweh came and sat under the oak tree in Ophrah that belonged to Joash from Abiezer’s family. Joash’s son Gideon was beating out wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites.  The Messenger of Yahweh appeared to Gideon and said, “Yahweh is with you, brave man.”  Gideon responded, “Excuse me, sir! But if Yahweh is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles our ancestors have told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘Yahweh brought us out of Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has abandoned us and has handed us over to Midian.”Yahweh turned to him and said, “You will rescue Israel from Midian with the strength you have. I am sending you.” Gideon said to him, “Excuse me, sir! How can I rescue Israel? Look at my whole family. It’s the weakest one in Manasseh. And me? I’m the least important member of my family.”  Yahweh replied, “I will be with you. You will defeat Midian as if it were only one man.”  
Judges 6:11-16

THINK:  Sometimes God asks us to do things that seem too hard for us.  It might be a big thing like helping a friend who is making bad choices; it might be a difficult class at school; it might even be something as simple as turning off the TV during the Media Fast!  But in each case, it feels like what we need to do is just too hard.
When we feel like what God wants us to do is too hard, that is our chance to increase our trust in His power.  God gave Gideon a job that he thought was way too hard for him, but God promised Gideon that He would be with him.  And God promises that He will be with us, too!  So when you are faced with something that seems too hard for you, remember that God is with you and trust in His power.

DO:  What do you need to do today (or this week) that seems too big for you?  Remind yourself that God will give you the power for that task, then pray that your faith will increase as you see God give you His power.

Grace of God

READ: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," 
--Ephesians 2:8

THINK: When we admit to God that we are sinners and believe in Jesus for forgiveness, we experience His grace. God gives us forgiveness, love and eternal rewards not because we are good, but because HE IS. This is grace. When we understand this grace, we have peace. Peace to know that God is with us. Peace even in the storms of life because we know that God is on our side. While the world uses the various forms of media to achieve temporary peace, God offers eternal peace.  Reflect on His goodness and praise Him for the perfect grace of a loving God.

DO: What is going to be your most difficult challenge during this month of fasting?  Pray for the strength you will need to live without this item for one month, and share with your group the strategies you will use to help you accomplish your goal.

Thinking of Others

READ: "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now."
Philippians 1: 3-5

THINK:  Whom are thankful for today?  Take a moment to pray for that person.  The apostle Paul's joy was in his ministry to the people. Take a moment to pray for your friends who are doing the media fast too, thank God for their commitment to Him.  Finally take a moment to pray for your leaders.

DO: In the quiet time, find a moment to walk with your loving savior, ask Him what He wants to teach you today  and know that he has always been with you.  Today let the love of Christ fill up every corner of your heart. 

Gospel Listening Part 2

READ: “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” 
 Proverbs 1:5

THINK: God is an amazing servant-listener…How about you? Do you consider yourself a good listener? Would others consider you a good listener?

On a scale from 1-10 where would you rate yourself on the “good listener” scale?
With your Friends
1             2              3              4              5              6              7              8              9           
With church leaders
1              2              3              4              5              6              7              8              9              
With your Parents
1              2              3              4              5              6              7              8              9      
With God
1              2              3              4              5              6              7             8              9

DO: What questions might God be asking you right now in your life?

Gospel Listening Part 1

 As you go through the media fast this month, hopefully you are replacing some of the time that you would normally spend consuming media with both talking and listening to God. The goal of today’s devotion is to demonstrate that God is the perfect model of one who listens and we should follow his example.

READ: “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” 
                                                                                                        Proverbs 1:5

THINK: Why do you think that many people are poor listeners?
What or who are we often focused on when others are talking? Why is this?
What types of things need to change your heart and posture in order to make you a better listener?
How does it make you feel when someone really listens to you?
Who in your life has modeled good listening skills? What can you learn from them?

Throughout God’s story we find that he is a very good listener. He often asked questions that he obviously knew the answers to, just to reveal a person’s heart and draw them closer in relationship. In this way, God shows his love, patience, presence and care for us too.


Strangely Dim

READ:  Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.

I love the lyrics to the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:  Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow Strangely Dim, in the light of His glory and grace.  The song is  inspired by the life of Lilias Trotter, a brilliant artist who traded in worldly success to serve as a missionary in Algeria for 38 years.  

What I most appreciate about this song is that it acknowledges it's STRANGE when we're not focused on the world.  This song was written almost 100 years ago and yet even then, it seemed unnatural to turn away from the things around us. We are hardwired to love what the world has to offer whether its checking Instagram, watching reality shows or downloading the latest songs on iTunes. 

When I did the media fast a few years ago, I was amazed that after just 30 days the TV shows I once loved didn't have the same appeal.  The magazines I read suddenly weren't worth the money.  God changed my heart and opened my eyes to His way.   

When we truly fix our hearts and our minds on the Lord, all the things that take our attention away from Him start to fade away — they begin to grow "strangely dim." This month is an opportunity to get away from so many distractions.  But what will take its place?   I pray that God is filling your time and and opening your eyes to new things this month

DO: Think about how this media fast is already changing the way you look at the world!  Now commit 4 minutes to prayer throughout the day (the average length of a song) to thank God for opening your eyes to those things, and ask Him to continue working in your life.  

Loving Discipline

READ: "Whoever loves discipline loves to learn, but whoever hates correction is a dumb animal."
--Proverbs 12:1

THINK: Do you love discipline? Why, or why not? 
If loving discipline means loving knowledge… Do you love knowledge?
Do you hate being corrected? If yes, then why? You’re not stupid, right? RIGHT?

DOToday, when someone corrects you, or someone in authority disciplines
you, try to receive it as a gift of knowledge from God. Even if you feel the discipline isn't
fair, receive it with grace, and consider what God could be teaching you in that

Take A Leap

READ: Matthew 18:1-3

THINK: When Jesus confronted an issue, He had a way with making it make sense. In this passage, He is confronting a group of individuals who are acting childish, self-centered, and arguing about something that is not significant. Now the idea that those He is talking to are probably teenagers makes this incredibly relevant. How often have you been around a group of teenage or college-age guys that are trying to prove who is better than the other? 

But instead of Jesus sounding like a parent, or picking sides, He says (in a way), "Stop being childish, be child-like". Catchy... but what is He really talking about? Basically, these guys were arguing about who the greatest is, and Jesus turns it into a challenge for their faith. "Who are you trusting in? Yourself? Or Me? Your accomplishments? Or what God will do through you?"

A child-like faith... a faith that will jump into the arms of God and trust Him. Like when you were a kid, you didn't know how to swim or you were up on something tall and your dad was below saying, "trust me, I'll help you". That's a child-like faith. 

DO: Last summer, a group of our High School students "took a leap" when they jumped from a 20ft. cliff into the water. For some it was harder than others. This month, you are taking a pretty big leap that many are too afraid to try... you are on the Media fast. So today, or for this month, what is something else you can "take a leap" from and trust God with? Telling a friend about your relationship with Jesus? Inviting them to church? Pray about that today, and take time to listen to God. You might even ask your parents what they think!

Run the Race

READ: "Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Yeshua, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God."
 Hebrews 12:1,2

THINK: Listen to any medal winner from the Olympics talk about his or her "secrets of success" and you will almost always hear the word FOCUS. The athlete needs to set aside every thing but the goal he/she is seeking. Some athletes hire psychological coaches to help them stay focused on training, and many use music to block out any outside influences. The Bible speaks of the Christian life as an athletic contest: a long distance race with the goal of becoming like Jesus. Hebrews 12 commands us seek the same focus. Runners don't carry anything that would prevent them from using all of their resources for the run.  Some of the  things that would slow them down are everyday concerns; others are bigger issues that loom in their lives.  Runners, whether long distance skiers or marathoners,  must learn to focus on the finish line and block any distractions. They certainly would not wear weights or clothes that prevent movement. The Christian must also focus on the finish line, Jesus, from start to finish. What would hinder us from staying focused on the race of the Christian life?  Hebrews 12:1,2 instructs us to remove the weights that would prevent us from running the best race. The weights could be sin in our lives or everyday cares that burden us--anything that distracts us For example, negative influences of friends, worries about the future, or temptations. 

DO: Think of one thing that might distract you from running your best race in the Christian life, and pray for God to remove that distraction through the Holy Spirit and the Word.  Commit yourself to focus on on Jesus and the peace, love, and joy He wants to give you. 

Focusing on Jesus

Dear Students, 
Today is the first day of you Media Fast!  I hope the following Devotional prepares your heart for the next 30 days! 

     READ: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."
--Psalm 40:1-3

     THINK: Focus on four words you find in the first three verses:
  Turned, lifted, set, put. All action words. You can almost see the work of the Lord take place right before your eyes. Jesus Christ has righted an upside-down world. You see it in Psalm 40: the Lord taking pity on my upside-down-ness, turning, lifting, setting, and putting--giving me a new, noble purpose.

     Notice that there's an increase of intimacy in the progression of those four words.
    Jesus turns, He changes course, He considers me. Then He draws me near, pulling me up to Himself. Next, He sets me in a place of confidence, right beside Him as a participant with Him in His purposes for the world. And finally, He is the composer of the song that He Himself puts in my mouth.

    DO: When are you most disoriented? When does your upside-down life need a rescuer? Give thanks that when all other distractions are set aside, your walk with Christ is filled with his purposes.