Today’s Passage – Proverbs 25 – 27 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
Read the “0723 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage – “A True Friend”
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Recently, I received a letter from a dear couple whom I have known since before their wedding. This letter contained a unique request that I had not received before. They asked me to write an encouraging letter to their oldest child who is soon turning 13 years old, as he is entering his teenage years. As I sat in front of my computer, staring at a blank page, I asked the Lord for guidance on what to write. He laid it on my heart to write something that I would have needed at 13, as these principles would work for both boys and girls. After I sent off the letter, I began to reflect on what I wrote. I had several more thoughts cross my mind so I added them here. Those extra thoughts will be in italics.
I want to extend my warmest wishes to you on your 13th birthday. You’ve officially entered your teenage years, and I’m sure you’ve been eagerly anticipating this milestone. Remember, your teenage years are what you make of them. Make the most of it and enjoy this exciting new chapter in your life. I sincerely urge you to cherish and embrace your teenage years rather than rush to reach your 20s. Life is a precious blessing bestowed upon us by our Heavenly Father, and every phase of it has its unique charm. As we move on to a new chapter, we leave behind some experiences that can never be relived. Therefore, I encourage you to make the most of your teenage years and treasure every moment, for they will never come again.
I have vivid memories of my teenage years, but unfortunately, most of them were spent serving the world instead of my Lord. I want you to know how fortunate you are to have been blessed with two wonderful Christian parents. However, I understand that your youth may present challenges, so I want to offer some words of encouragement.
First, It’s important to cherish the time you spend with your family, whether it’s sharing meals, enjoying family time, or going on vacations together. If you and your brothers are sharing a room, know that as you grow older, you’ll look back with fondness on the memories you created together. Even the arguments and disagreements will become a source of laughter and joy in retrospect. I speak from experience, having been the youngest of four brothers. I have countless happy memories of us talking and joking around in our beds at night. Having brothers is a true blessing.
Second, as the eldest in the family, you hold a great responsibility to set a positive example for your younger siblings. Even if you don’t feel like a leader, they will look up to you and follow your actions. It’s important to remember that your words and behavior have a significant impact on them. My brother Edward was the oldest in our family, but he passed away in 1985 and I miss him greatly. He set the tone for us and we followed him because he was our big brother. Embrace this role with wisdom and make choices that are beneficial to all.
Third, As you venture into your teenage years, you will face new challenges and emotions. It may be difficult to fully appreciate now, but having godly parents is a blessing that you will come to understand as you grow older. Seeking counsel from your father and mother is the wisest thing you can do. Drawing from my own experiences, I recall sitting with my mother at the kitchen table for hours, discussing everything from our ancestors to current events. She was a delight to talk to. My relationship with my father was more challenging, as he was not a Christian man. However, both your parents have valuable life experience and a deep understanding of the world. They are aware of its dangers and pitfalls, and they want to help you avoid making the same mistakes they may have made.
Fourth, every young man wants friends and be careful of the ones that you make. Psalm 1 gives some wonderful advice in this department. Avoid any young man or any young lady who will try to take you away from the Lord or obedience to your parents. They are not your friends. Forming friendships with individuals who do not have love for the Lord or a desire to serve him will not be advantageous for you, and will only bring harm.
Fifth, it’s important to prioritize your relationship with God. Seek His guidance through prayer before making any decisions, and make sure everything you do aligns with His teachings. Though it may not be easy, being a Christian is more fulfilling than anything else this world can offer. I’m grateful that God touched my heart at 18 and transformed my life for the better. Those who serve Jesus Christ never regret their life’s journey. Attend church regularly, study the scriptures, heed your pastor’s teachings, and respect your parents in the Lord. Sadly I have seen too many young people ignore this advice and have watched them go off the rails.
Sixth, As you appreciate your current age, it’s crucial to consider the future. Every decision you make will guide you toward a particular destination. Your future is determined by the decisions you make in the present. Bad decisions can lead to negative consequences, while good decisions can bring positive outcomes. Remember to always make wise choices to create a better future for yourself. It is a fundamental truth in the Bible that decisions made without considering the Lord will inevitably lead to unfavorable outcomes.
Seventh, Do not sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the temporary. Some things in life are very precious and they should not be thrown away or treated lightly. Your purity and virtue are gifts and they should not be wasted on a fleeting moment. Follow what God teaches and you will have no regrets.
Dear friend, I hope these seven points of wisdom I shared with you are helpful. As you continue to grow, always remember to appreciate life for what it truly is – a beautiful gift from the almighty God, filled with wonder, excitement, and many blessings. Even though there may be moments of sorrow and heartache, these experiences only serve to help us cherish and appreciate the wonderful things that God in Heaven has provided for us. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.
Matthew B. Swiatkowski Sr.
Pastor Matthew Swiatkowski is the pastor of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Kearny, NJ
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