Category Archives: Teen Bible Study

The Posture of Faith

Part One The Posture of Hope and Part Two The Posture of Patience



 

As we complete this series I want to take a look back at the blind man from Luke 18:35-43. He was sitting by the road, begging for his daily needs, but he knew who Jesus was. The crowd wanted him to remain there and rebuked him for crying out to Christ. I feel as though a righteous anger welled up in him and he said enough was enough and hollered louder to get attention. He was bold and tired of being an afterthought. The blind man was in sharp contrast to the meek and feeble paralytic sitting by the pool in John 5:1-13. He too was tired of being in the same position but had no one to help him. The paralytic was too focused on getting his healing from a physical source instead of looking up to Jesus the Son of God that was standing beside him. The paralytic blamed the crowd for not helping him and when he was healed it wasn’t celebrated, they said he broke the law(Exodus 20:10) because he was not permitted to carry anything on the Sabbath. And this brings us to the Centurion who in his affluence as a Roman soldier commanded others to do what was needed, but he found himself in need of healing for his servant. The Centurion felt he needed a bridge. Someone that would speak on his behalf to the one he knew could save his servant.

Bridges are interesting structures. The engineering behind them can be beautifully elaborate or downright simplistic. I’ve crossed over small creeks using stones as pathways to steel beam suspension bridges. I’ve been with people who would hold their breath and those who would close their eyes in terror until we reached the other side safely.

Whether we realize it or not we build or tear down bridges every moment of every day. Communication serves as a bridge between us and God, as well as with others. The loudness of our actions is a factor in the type of bridge we build. Our relationship with God deepens when we learn how He hears us. He hears us in our bluntness, He hears us when we criticize others, He hears the bashful confidence of those who feel unworthy, and God hears the bridges, the people who speak up on behalf of others.

The centurion understood Jesus’ authority and how He could command the seen and unseen. The centurion’s statement was so powerful. He got it! He didn’t diminish what God was capable of he simply described his level of knowledge in comparison to the cosmic wonders of God. The centurion sent the Jewish elders to speak to Christ because he didn’t feel worthy to come into His presence. Wow! What a display of humility. Jesus marveled at the centurion’s display of faith. The centurion built his bridge with actions, communicating his love for God through his works and wisdom of faith.

In the Centurion’s his wealth, he felt poor, in his power he felt weak, in his authority, he felt unworthy. Raise your hand if you would be this humble. Especially if you have climbed from the bottom of the barrel. A centurion would have had to earn his spot. When we fight tooth and nail to get where we are it is hard to relinquish power to someone else. Isn’t that the point of elevating and success in this life? To feel worthy? Hmm…

The Centurion in his high position did not elevate himself to a place of authority where he knew he had no power. He chose to be humble. He did not want to risk the health of his servant. Are we willing to step aside and let someone else speak for us? If you are in a position of authority how easy is it for you to step back so God can step in?

Torrie


 I view repentance as the entrance of the bridge between us and God; with faith leading us to forgiveness while God’s mercy keeps us moving toward Him meeting us on the other side.

Journal Prompts:

  1. Will, I assess a situation and decide if it’s worth my time or more importantly if there is anything in it for me?
  2. Am I denying help to someone because I don’t see the immediate benefit?
  3. Am I someone who sees what needs to be done and graciously give my time?
  4. What am I using to build a bridge with God and others? 

 

 

The Posture of Patience


Think Quick!!! What are the first three things that come to mind when you think about yourself?

When I first studied this passage long ago it gripped my heart. I had to get serious about several things and at the top of that list was my physical health. I needed God to tell me to pick up my mat. No, I wasn’t as afflicted as the man sitting by the pool but I had my own insecurities, fears, and limitations.

The man had suffered a long time, thirty-eight years. THE CROWD. He blamed other people; no one helped him. No one wanted him to be healed because they were too busy looking out for themselves. The people in his midst just wanted to “get what was theirs” and move on. The afflicted man needed God.

While we wait… what do we do? Are we concerned about the welfare of others or are we just waiting for our turn? Who would we push aside to: grab the next promotion, get ahead in this life, use as a stepping stone or blame for our current financial or physical status?


I recall a story from either a book or movie about two women. They had won an all expenses paid vacation for two weeks at an extravagant resort. The flight would take ten hours but that was a sacrifice they were willing to make. Once they reached their destination a disheveled man, that looked like a criminal, was frantically beckoning them to get inside a vehicle that had seen better days. They were frightened! With a map in hand, they decided to walk, with their luggage, the two short miles to the resort. Well, that was a mistake. A walk that should have taken thirty minutes turned into two days of being lost in the wilderness of a foreign country. Finally, they emerged into a town with torn clothing, matted hair, and not the best of body aromas. (Hmm…) Seeing a cab driver casually reading a newspaper and sipping coffee they rushed over and pleaded with him to take them to address written on the brochure. Skeptical of their appearance the driver obliged placed their luggage in the trunk and drove them about 400 feet to their destination. Shocked, the only thing the women could do was pay him and laugh at their misfortune. (They never looked up to take in their surroundings). Once inside the lavish building the women quickly became self-conscious, however, a man in a tailored suit greeted them warmly and was so glad they finally made it. Relieved the women followed him to their suite where they were able to bathe, eat, and rest.

We see in this story where there was lots of blame to go around, if the man at the airport had dressed appropriately the women may not have feared him, if the map was easier to read they would not have gotten lost, if the cab driver had pointed to the resort instead of taking advantage of their foolishness they would not have wasted money. These ladies were in for one more shock. The man who attempted to pick them up from the airport was the same well-tailored man that greeted them in the resort lobby. He also followed them at a discreet distance through the wilderness leaving them water, bread, and fruit while they slept. He watched over them shewing animals away and making sure their campfire remained lit. None of that was revealed until the last day of their stay.

God sends his angels to watch over us. Just like the man sitting by the pool these women needed Christ to intervene and show mercy. The impulses we as humans have to check on someone or provide a need I believe is divinely orchestrated. God doesn’t need us but He blesses us with the opportunity to act on His behalf. Instead of looking at who we can blame for our current circumstances either physical, spiritual, financial, or mental we should look at our surroundings. Do we need God and God alone to meet us where we are and take our afflictions away?

Jesus teaches us that even in our pitiful, weak, confused minds He will show us a way up and out of our current circumstances. Many people were sitting by the pool in Bethesda but only one was healed. He had a desire he just didn’t know how to get it. Jesus was the way and he gave him a clear path. Jesus will make our path clear if we will believe just a little that the possibility of him being right may make all the difference in our world as we know it.

Have you been guilty of placing your faith in man instead of God? I know I have and while I could share story after story about my mistakes it would serve no purpose. Growing wiser and more sympathetic to the shortcomings of others has increased the wisdom of my own limitations. When I allowed God to put my life in perspective my bitterness was washed away and I was humbled into repentance for having the nerve to blame someone else. I knew I needed God but, turned to humans instead. It may be time to look up to our Lord to heal us of our afflictions.

~Torrie


Journal Prompts

  1. Who do I blame for my misfortunes? Is it the crowd, do I blame God?
  2. What are my go-to excuses for not being where I know God wants me to be?
  3. Do I use or mistreat people because I am focused on my own healing?

© Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com, and Our Given Purpose™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com, and Our Given Purpose™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Posture of Hope

(What is so perfect about God’s Word is that He allows us to be detectives. For the record, I am not questioning the validity of God’s Word. I believe these passages to be accurate eyewitness accounts. The focus of this devotional, The Posture of Hope, comes from Luke 18:35-43 LEB. I pray you will be inspired to connect with God and I encourage you to pray, meditate, and pour over God’s Word through your own study.)


  • Bible Reading: Luke 18:35-43; Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52
  • Focus Scripture: Luke 18:40-41 “So Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought to him. And when he approached, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I may regain my sight.”
  • The Facts- 
  1. The disciples and followers of Christ were close to Jericho.
  2. A blind man (Bartimaeus) was sitting by the road and learned that Jesus was there.
  3. The blind man cried out for mercy.
  4. The people near him told him to be quiet.
  5. The blind man cried out louder.
  6. Jesus stopped.
  7. Jesus asked a question.
  8. The blind man requested his sight be restored.
  9. Jesus healed him.
  10. The newly healed man followed.

As long as you’re quiet you can stay. Have you ever been told that? As long as you remain calm and in your place…as long as you let me do the talking…as long as you _____. We are introduced to the blind man sitting by the road. That was his posture; where he was expected to stay. But Jesus. Jesus was close; He was walking through Jericho and the blind man became aware. Aware of his opportunity to be healed. He obviously knew who Jesus was, he called Him Son of David. He could not see but, his heart knew the truth. His spirit was stirred and he cried out to the one True Living God that could change his circumstance.

The crowd! They hushed admonished, scolded…rebuked him. Why? Did they feel guilty for not doing more? Were they silencing him because they thought he was being foolish? Or were they being selfishly petty and thought that his life was meaningless, that he was better off sitting by the road, forgotten, and afflicted. Jesus stopped.

In His all-knowing power, He still asked the blind man what he wanted. Wow! My God!! You may be wondering why you haven’t moved beyond your present mental or physical condition; don’t let the crowds tell you that you’re ok with where you are. They may be threatened by Christ showing up in their life. Let God show up for you! Let God take the blinders off! Let God show you how to follow Him!

Christ cared, He showed mercy, He showed compassion. He removed the blind man from the roadside and the people surrounding him.

Has Christ, Jesus our Lord and Savior asked you to move? Is there an urgency or tension building? Are you noticing the people around you have no intention of letting you a be great disciple? Are you sitting on the road with people who want to remain in the same afflicted mental, physical, spiritual silence they are in? These people may be afraid and their fear becomes yours. Christ may have appeared to them in a form they weren’t ready to accept. They want to make sure you don’t accept Christ as being God. It is time to move. Raise your voice Believer! If this resonates in your spirit it is time to seek Christ our Lord and Savior; repent, cry out for mercy, and ask for His healing. Stand up. Look at the people who are willing to help that aren’t asking for anything in return, those who are pointing you toward God for your strength. Be in harmony with the community of Christ’s disciples and press forward with God as your guide and the Bible as your map.

~Torrie

Psalm 1:1-6


Journal Prompts

  1. Who is keeping you from seeking the source that can help you get to the next level, be healed of infirmities or grow your business,
  2. Who is selfishly telling you that you can’t do something?
  3.  Are you motivated to speak up boldly for yourself and get the help you need?

 


© Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and Our Given Purpose ™ 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and Our Given Purpose ™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Harsh Light

  • Bible Reading Matthew 5:13-16 
  • Focus Scripture Matthew 5:16, In the same way, let your light shine before people so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
  • Harsh Light- YouTube Video Link

As a photographer, I often look for well-lit areas and try to avoid direct sunlight if needed. Of course, it all depends on what the goal is. I recently went on a sunset photo shoot and afterward found myself driving down a country road. As the sun faded the sky gave way to the stars and it became increasingly darker. With no street lights to illuminate the way I found myself switching on my high beam headlights.
Occasionally a car would appear in the distance and I reminded myself to turn my high beams down. I noticed that they would do the same. With each car that came into view, overwhelming light reflected back into my eyes and we responded by turning down the level to balance the brightness. The moment we passed the lights would flick back up to its brightest exposure shining into the darkness ahead. How amazing??? Not knowing who was behind the wheel of the oncoming vehicle we each reacted with compassion because we knew what the other was experiencing. (Spiritual food for thought.)

Our light coming towards each other may be too bright and cause one of us to look away. Instead, if we adjust, the other can stay on course. Joining the individual light we are able to see more than we did alone, by working together to highlight the areas that were once hidden. We don’t have to dominate by blinding others out of fear of what cannot be seen.  We control the lights on our vehicles as a way of guiding others traveling alongside us. Using God’s light to, guide others, warn them, or adjusting to accommodate their vision is how we remain useful in God’s plan.

~Torrie


Journal Prompts 

  1. How Bright is Your light?
  2. Do you cause others to shy away?
  3. Is it a light of humility or prideful arrogance?

 

 

© Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com 2018-2048. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Ride or Die

  • ‘Ride or Die’ YouTube Video Link (Click to Listen)
  • Bible Reading: Acts 5:1-11
  • Focus Scripture: Acts 5:2 and he kept back for himself some of the proceeds, and his wife was aware of it. And he brought a certain part and placed it at the feet of the apostles.
  • Ride or Die: To stand by your partner no matter what, through the good and the bad, always taking their side even when you believe they are wrong, sticking up for them even over the most minute put-down someone flings their way, being completely protective of them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and sharing everything together as best friends with full trust and loyalty, to the death. – Urban Dictionary (Rae777Tanana)

Take a moment and think…who is your ‘ride or die’? Who, is the one person that no matter what, they will stand beside you through anything? Once you have that person in mind ask yourself, “would I be willing to do the same for them?”


Acts chapter five verse one introduces us to Ananias and Sapphira. They made a plan to keep a portion of the proceeds from selling their property but, have everyone think they had given 100% to the church. So what was the problem? What was the big deal in keeping some of the money?… THEY LIED! They pretended to be gracious philanthropists. Ananias and Sapphira did not have to give if they did not want to. (Acts 5:4) We learn as we read through this tragic story of dishonesty that Ananias falls dead after Peter, through the Holy Spirit, reveals that Ananias had lied to God. (Acts 5:4-5) 

(Acts 5:7) Three hours later Sapphira shows up, perhaps wondering what was keeping her husband away or why the transaction was taking so long. Let’s camp out here for a moment. When a lie begins we may be in on the plan but, somewhere, the execution changes. Satan…the father of lies wants to divide and conquer! Keeping the two of them separate was part of his scheme. When the apostle Peter asks Sapphira if the amount they received from the sale of the property was the amount they gave, Sapphira (thinking her husband was alive and well) continued to lie. She was her husbands ride or die because that is the story they agreed to. And the other issues are faith, trust, decency, and honor; Sapphira decided to honor the man who in this case was her husband and perhaps she feared to lose him. She stood in the temple before God and lied. Peter asked her a direct question and she chose to lie. Going with the plan. When we go with a plan that was built on dishonesty nothing good will come of it. It is the fruit of a poisonous tree. We will not be able to enjoy any of the fruit of our labor because it was ill-gotten gains. It could be our relationships, education, home, job, or our lives in general. How we get to where we are is based on a lie if we did not do it God’s way. Verses 1-10 serves as another example of: how all-knowing God is and who He uses to bring the truth to light. Peter was used in this instance to shine the light on deceit; Ananias and Sapphira were the unfortunate casualties of Satan’s plan. Their ride or die bond of deception buried both of them.


Are we loyal to God or man? God gives us opportunities to serve Him by serving others but; if we decide to fake our way through it by lying we are giving in to Satan. (Acts 5:3) Satan uses people to stack more responsibility onto our already full schedules and have us think we are not doing enough. This is not the way of our Lord, for His yoke is easy. (Matthew 11:29-30) Our God will not put more on us than we can bear. Competition, lack of focus, distorted priorities; these mindless, selfish thinkings will have us wanting to impress others, instead of obeying God. We do not please Him when we lie or take advantage of those willing to help us. No. God wants our cooperation and to be so closely knitted in a relationship with Him, that we seek His approval before anyone else’s. Christ offers us something that humans cannot, the choice to ride and live in Him.

~Torrie


Click to Listen to the Audio Recording

 

 

© Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com 2018-2048 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Torrie Slaughter, Torrie Slaughter Photography, and http://www.ourgivenpurpose.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.