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So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
--2 Corinthians 4:18
Your Best Shot
On different days, you do different jobs with your hands: wash dishes, shovel snow, do math problems,
practice cheerleading routines, clean your room---and so much more. Instead of rushing through each activity, do your very best work. Don't just do enough to get by.
That sounds inspiring, but what if the job is something you don't understand? What if it's a task to do for someone who irritates you, like your bossy big brother? What if you're paired for a science project with a rude girl with scraggly hair who actually wears pink boots in the classroom? You don't want to go the extra mile. In fact, you're willing to take an F for the project if the science teacher will let you off the hook. That isn't going to happen,
so you grit your teeth and get to work with her.
Then one day you learn a great secret from Colossians 3:23 (NLT):
'Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for
'Whatever your hand finds to do,
do it with all your might.'
---Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV)
the Lord rather than for people.' Each day after that, when you walk into science class, you take a deep breath and say,
'You know I don't want to do this, Lord, but I'm doing it for you.'Then, with a fresh surge of energy, you work with all your strength.
Whatever you have to do today---whether it's stuff you love or stuff you hate---do it to the very best of your ability.
Be determined. There is much satisfaction to be found in a job well done.
More to Explore: 1 Corinthians 15:10
Did You Know . . .
one way to show love to others is to 'never be lazy in your work, but serve the
Romans 12:11 NLT
Lord, I want to do everything to the best of my ability. Help me to remember that I'm really doing it all for you. Amen
What activities, school subjects, or chores are the hardest for you to do 'with all your might'? If you performed them with excellence, might you feel differently about them?
Exercise with all your might too! A one-hundredpound,
twelve-year-old girl biking leisurely (under ten miles per hour) burns 181 calories in an hour. But by biking vigorously with all her strength (between sixteen and nineteen miles per hour), that same girl can burn 544
calories per hour!
'A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.'---Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)
A friend loves at all times. She shows unwavering devotion to others and is truehearted. A real friend keeps the promises she makes. Close friends are there to help when sudden suffering, distress, or trouble strikes.
Anna was worried about her best friend, Jessie. Jessie's dad had been arrested for taking money from the company where he worked. Jessie was afraid to go to school, fearing the remarks other kids were sure to make. The week after the arrest report appeared in the newspaper, many of her classmates did make nasty or thoughtless remarks. But
Anna stuck by Jessie, never leaving her side before school or during lunch or on the way home. She stuck up for her, shielded her from nosy questions,
and (most important) prayed for her and her family situation. 'A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother' (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV).
You may have brothers within your family circle at home.
But if you are a believer, you have many brothers (and sisters)---others who also love the Lord. You need to be loyal to them. The friend you must be most loyal to is Jesus. He said to his disciples, 'Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command' (John 15:13--14 TNIV).
You are never without friends. Jesus is your best friend,
and he will stick closer to you than anyone else can. What a privilege it is to have such a friend!
More to Explore: Ruth 1:16--17
Did You Know . . .
Jonathan was such a good friend to David that he made a special vow to David, and he sealed the pact by giving
David his robe, tunic, sword,
bow, and belt? See 1 Samuel
Father, thank you for giving me good friends. Help me be a loyal friend to others. Amen.
Can you think of a friend who has helped you through some trouble?
What friends have you helped through a tough time?
Are you a loyal friend? Your best friend's been feeling down. You
A.invite her to spend the night so you can talk through her problems.
B. call her to ask what's wrong.
C. tell her to snap out of it!
(Answer: A. Loyalty Plus!; B. average; C. zero)
People who do God's will during times of trial and testing are blessed and happy. Afterward they will receive the
'crown of life,' or eternal life. In biblical times, a crown was a wreath placed on the head of a victorious athlete.
You may be an athlete, but you may not feel victorious! You may be exhausted. When you join the track team, you dream of getting in shape and winning a ribbon at the first meet.
However, a week into the season you want to quit. Your shins hurt. Your ribs ache. Your lungs burn. Your big toes are bruised. And yet, you want that ribbon.
So you take a deep breath and head out to run those laps.
Ribbons aren't given simply for entering the race. Prizes aren't awarded for merely entering your art project in the contest. Diplomas aren't given just for starting high school. Starting isn't difficult.
'God blesses the people who patiently endure testing.
Afterward they will receive the crown of life that
God has promised to those who love him.'
---James 1:12 (NLT)