As a companion to the bestselling NIV Revolution Bible or as a way to jumpstart your devotional time, Revolution Devotional contains 90 readings written specifically for teen guys, which look at the big questions, issues, and decisions in our world and then connect the Bible to what you are facing today.
The world we live in is often in need of bold, revolutionary voices … and this devotional can help you make yours heard in your school, your town, and beyond. Each day’s reading breaks down a character trait that will assist you in developing the skills to stand up for what is important, as well as understand why your voice matters to God. There is also a challenge to put those skills into action, and fun facts and ideas that relate to the topic. Plus, since every devotion was written with guys 13 to 18 in mind, the words and ideas actually apply to things you’re going through and see happening around you, like environmental care, peer pressure, drug and alcohol use, relationships, and how to approach social media.
- contains 90 conversational and easy-to-read devotions written by guys for guys
- connects God’s Word to the real issues in your life
- helps you sharpen your character and decide what kind of man you want to be known as
About the Author
Formed in 1988, The Livingstone Corporation partners with Christian Publisher to produce Bible, books, Bible studies, curricula, and other resources.
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Revolution Devotional90 Daily Devotions for Guys
ZondervanCopyright © 2005 The Livingstone Corporation
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Genuine Relationship with God
Going Deep with God
So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, "Because I asked the Lord for him."
1 Samuel 1:20
More than anything in the world, Hannah wanted a son. Unfortunately she wasn't able to get pregnant. So she did what any God-loving woman would do in her situation. She prayed about it. She took her troubles to God and begged him to help her.
Year after year after year.
Every chance she got, Hannah went to the house of the Lord to pray. As you might imagine, each year her prayers became a little more intense. She begged, pleaded, and cried for God to answer her. She vowed to dedicate her son to God if God would allow her to get pregnant. And in response, God finally gave her a son.
Hannah understood the value of constant prayer and worship. She never lost faith in God. She never stopped praising him. Maybe that's why God came through for her in such a big way.
Do you understand the value of prayer and worship in your life? Not just as a way to get the desires of your heart, but as a way to deepen your relationship with God?
Don't make the mistake of treating prayer like a drive-up window at a fast-food restaurant. Don't just place your order and then wait for God to fill it, expecting to get what you want and get it now. Instead work on developing a complete prayer and worship time with God.
And include more than just your requests in your private conversations with God. Praise him for who he is. Confess the things that have damaged your relationship with him. Thank him for the things he's done in your life. And when you're finished with those things, talk to him about your needs and desires.
It worked for Hannah. And it will work for you, too.
For the full story of how God rewarded Hannah's prayer of faith, check out 1 Samuel 1:1-28.
Weird Things People Have Prayed For
The following list is real. People actually admitted to praying for these things. What odd prayers could you add to it?
"During football season, I pray every Sunday that the Bears will win and the Packers will lose." "When I was little, I used to pray for cartoon characters like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the X-Men." "I used to pray for lots of presents from Santa on Christmas." "This girl I liked was dating another guy, and I prayed she'd break up with him." "When I was late for curfew one night, I prayed that God would turn back time so I wouldn't get in trouble." "I used to pray that God would give me Kevin Garnet's basketball skills and give Garnet my skills." "After I bombed an English test, I prayed that God would burn the school down and destroy the evidence. I don't know why I didn't just pray for my test to get lost."
Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God or search for him.
How real is your love for God? Do you believe in him when things are going bad just like you do when things are going great? Are you aware of him in your daily life, or is he just someone you think about for an hour or two on Sundays? Are you confident that you know him well, or is he really just an acquaintance to you?
One more question: If someone treated you the way you treat God, would you believe that person really loved you?
Faking a relationship with God isn't hard to do. You just need to know a little about the Bible ... sprinkle a few Christian phrases in your conversations ... maintain an upbeat attitude ... and pretend to care about other people's problems. With a little effort, you could fool your parents, your youth leader, your girlfriend, and even your closest friends into believing that you're a faithful follower of Christ-when, in reality, you're nothing more than a spiritual poseur.
The two people you can't fool are you and God. If you don't have the fire of God's Holy Spirit in your heart, there's no way you can convince yourself that you do. And since God knows everything, he's not capable of being fooled.
That's why putting on a Christian act is ridiculous. Other people's opinions of your spiritual condition mean absolutely nothing in the long run. So you're left with a choice: either start a genuine relationship with God or abandon the whole Christian scene altogether.
Do yourself a favor: choose the first option. Stop trying to act like you think a Christian should act and start living according to God's Word. Stop trying to get credit for your spiritual resumé and start trying to please God with your life.
In other words ... stop talking the talk and start walking the walk.
For more about how you can please God, check out Hosea 6:1-6.
Blanking the Blank
"Walking the walk" and "talking the talk" are pretty common phrases -especially among Christians. But here are a few verb-noun combos that aren't nearly as well known. Can you believe that people actually say these?
1. Chalking the chalk
2. Stalking the stalk
3. Boring the bore
4. Ducking the duck
5. Winding the wind
6. Jamming the jam
7. Hiding the hide
8. Creeping the creep
9. Freaking the freak
10. Teaching the teach
Stirred, Not Shaken
The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers.
2 Chronicles 13:18
Abijah's army of Judah was outnumbered 800,000 to 400,000. His Israelite opponents had enough men to attack full-strength from the front and the rear. Those aren't the kind of scouting reports you want to hear when you're facing a life-and-death situation. To most observers, the outlook for Judah seemed bleak.
Yet when the time for battle came, Abijah never even hesitated. He and his men ignored the odds stacked against them. They engaged in battle with the spirit of champions, not underdogs. It's not that they were overly impressed with their own fighting skills. No, Abijah and his men were confident because they relied on God. Abijah did what he believed was right and trusted God to help him deal with the outcome. (You'll find the results of the battle in the verse above.)
Do you have that kind of confident faith in God?
Chances are you've faced your share of situations in which you felt outnumbered or overpowered-whether at home, at school, or at work. Perhaps it's a parent who refuses to talk about spiritual things. Or a teacher who seems to take delight in shooting down your beliefs. Or a boss who schedules you to work every Sunday morning, even after you've ask him not to.
If your confidence has been shaken by a particular situation, it's time to renew your strength. Invite God into the battle. Put your trust in him. Let him reverse the odds for you. And then do what Abijah and his men did. Tackle the situation with the spirit of a champion. Refuse to think of yourself as an underdog. Remind yourself who has your back. Rely on him to guide you ... protect you ... bless your efforts ... and engineer an eventual victory.
To find out the nitty gritty about Abijah's remarkable faith in God, read 2 Chronicles 13:1-14:1.
It's a good idea to rely on God. And some situations call for a little extra reliance. Such as ...
1. When your girlfriend says, "We need to talk."
2. When the pilot says, "Ladies and gentlemen, we will be experiencing severe turbulence for the next hour or so."
3. When your teacher says, "We need to talk."
4. When you see red lights flashing in your rear-view mirror.
5. When your parents say, "We need to talk."
6. When you go to the free-throw line for two shots ... with no time left on the clock ... and your team is trailing by one.
No Matter What
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
When was the last time you fired off a prayer like Habakkuk's in the passage above? Habakkuk wanted God to know that his faithfulness and joy didn't depend on his circumstances. No matter what happened, Habakkuk was committed to his Savior. If you're looking for a short-term goal in your Christian walk, try preparing yourself to offer a similar prayer of unconditional faithfulness to God.
Think about times when you've had trouble recognizing God's blessings in your life. Times when two or three difficult situations popped up at once and caused you to lose sight of the good things God has done for you. Ask God to forgive you for your shortsightedness. Make a commitment not to lose sight of his work again. Ask him to keep your vision clear so that you can see the good as well as the bad in your life. And then say a big "thank you" for all the things he does.
You might also want to memorize a few Bible passages that you can cling to in tough times to help you fulfill your commitment. You could start with the passage above. After you've mastered that one, you could move on to, say, Psalm 23:4 ("Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me"). Keep God's Word close to your heart. That way, when tough times come-and they will come-you'll have your response ready. You'll have a head start on remaining faithful to God. Not to mention the security, comfort, and protection that comes from staying close to him.
It takes a strong person to be able to say with Habakkuk, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord." Are you that person?
For Habakkuk's entire prayer, see Habakkuk 3:1-19.
Weird Things to Be Thankful For
Habakkuk was thankful when he had no crops and cattle. We present the following list of items for which you have probably never thought to be thankful. Aren't you glad that ...
deodorant was invented. the homecoming queen wasn't following you during your first time behind the wheel. it's no longer cool for guys to wear short shorts. braces aren't permanent. the picture on your license isn't the picture used in the yearbook. you'll never have to repeat that first day of freshman orientation. when you take your shirt off for swim class, you can focus on the fact that you haven't stopped growing yet.
Been There, Done That
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin.
There are two kinds of role models: the ones who say, "Do as I say and not as I do," and the ones who say, "Follow my example." Chances are you've known some people who fit into the first category-men and women whose positions demanded respect but whose actions have made them less than respect-worthy. Maybe it was a teacher who tried too hard to be one of the guys. Or a scout leader whose private life turned out to be ... messy, to say the least. How hard is it to take advice from people like that? To get life lessons from those who obviously haven't put those lessons to practice in their own lives?
The author of the book of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus definitely belongs in the second category of "follow my example" role models and leaders. Not only did he talk the talk, he walked the walk. In other words, he doesn't ask us to do anything he didn't do himself. Jesus had to deal with the same emotions you struggle with. He faced the same major temptations you face. (In fact, he went toe-to-toe with Satan, the great tempter.) The difference is, Jesus never gave in to temptation. He never allowed his urges to get the better of him. He left the earth with the only perfect record against sin.
That's great news for you. You see, no matter what you're going through, Jesus can relate to it. He can direct you-drawing not just on his unlimited wisdom but also on his personal experience. Even better, he can give you the strength you need to be victorious over sin.
All you have to do is call on him. The next time temptation comes calling, or the next time life seems confusing, contact Jesus, the world's greatest high priest.
If you're interested in Jesus' credentials as a high priest, check out Hebrews 4:14-5:10.
Recognizing Bad Leaders
We mentioned earlier that there are good leaders and not-so-good leaders. But how do you tell the difference? Here are some obvious clues for spotting a bad leader:
1. He has his own police mug shot framed on his desk.
2. He tells you to do something. You do it and get into all kinds of trouble. He says, "That's the exact same thing that happened to me."
3. He is unable to say, "You must respect me," with a straight face.
4. He constantly asks you what he can do to look cooler.
5. When someone asks him what makes him a good leader, he mentions his extreme hunger for power.
It's about Time
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.
Think of the most desperate prayer you've ever prayed. Maybe it was for a terminally ill loved one. Or for your parents to stop fighting. Or for a girlfriend to take you back. Or for a personal problem that seemed unsolvable. Or for a situation that seemed hopeless.
How did God respond to your prayer? Did he answer right away, exactly as you were hoping? Did he take some time to resolve the situation, perhaps in a way you weren't expecting? Did he help you see the situation from a different perspective, one that changed the way you prayed about it? Or are you still waiting for an answer from him?
Whatever the case, chances are you've asked yourself the same question Christians have asked for centuries: Why does God take his time answering prayers?
For one thing, God can see things we can't. All of time-past, present, and future-is laid out before him. He can see what lies ahead. What's more, he can see the consequences of every action. He knows exactly what will happen if a prayer is answered tomorrow ... or next month ... or three years from now.
Remember, God wants what's best for you in the long run. He won't sacrifice his long-term plan to give you temporary relief or pleasure. Because of his perfect knowledge, God knows exactly what to do and when to do it, so he's never actually late in answering any prayer. But since you don't know when his answer will come or what his answer will be, your best bet is to keep praying and get on with living your faith journey.
Don't get upset with God for answers to prayer that seem overdue to you. Instead, ask him for the patience to wait for his will and the wisdom to recognize it when it comes.
To read about what Jesus said about prayer, check out Luke 11:1-13.
Seven Things You Can Do While You Wait for God
1. Come up with a rhyme for the word orange. 2. Answer this question: Why do people park in a driveway and drive on a parkway?
3. Think of another word for synonym.
4. Come up with a twenty-seventh letter of the alphabet-something to go between "K" and "L."
5. Figure out why a baseball player can hit a ball traveling 100 miles per hour in front of 50,000 screaming fans, but a golfer needs complete silence to hit a stationary ball.
6. Write a song in pig Latin.
7. Discover where chalk goes when it's erased.
Excerpted from Revolution Devotional Copyright © 2005 by The Livingstone Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: First Things First
Section 1: A Genuine Relationship with God
Going Deep with God
Stirred, Not Shaken
No Matter What
Been There, Done That
It’s about Time
Time to Grow Up
What’s on Your Mind?
Thanksgiving Every Day
Section 2: God’s Identity
Let’s Get Serious
The Conquering King
It’s All Lies!
A Mighty Friend
Section 3: Being a Man of Faith
More Than Just Talk
Unleashing Your Inner Warrior
Loyalty to the King
Up and At ’Em
What Did You Expect?
The Write Stuff
Be on Your Toes
Section 4: When Things Get Tough...
Prepare for War
Going the Distance
Raising Your Game
Staring Down Your Fears
It’s Time for a Comeback!
Can You Handle the Truth?
True or False
Section 5: Peer Pressure
No Pain, No Gain
And Then There Was One
Are You Ready?
Who You Trying to Please?
Big Diff erence
Section 6: Where’s Your Passion?
With Everything You’ve Got
All Fired Up
The Deepest Satisfaction of All
Section 7: Relationships
Let It Go!
Keepin’ It Under Control
A Second Glance
What’s Mine Is Yours
Show Some Respect!
You Think You Know It All?
Section 8: The Buddy System
Get Your Hands Dirty
Section 9: Lust and Sex
Get Out of There!
Don’t Fight Alone
Worth the Wait
Section 10: Reaching Out
Time to Take Action
Helping the Underdogs
Section 11: Self-Image
Why Not You?
Life Beyond the Spotlight
Get a Grip
Who’s Behind the Wheel?
Who Can God Use?
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Section 12: Character
Pulling Your Weight
What’s Your Problem?
Take the Lead
Above and Beyond
Reapin’ the Rewards of Motivation
Get Out of the Mud