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Angel in Disguise

Author: Kelly Shor

With only five dollars to his name, Jon went to a nearby homeless shelter to spend the night. When he arrived, the mean security guard turned him away because there was no more room. As Jon turned around with giant tears in his eyes, he saw a bright light. As he squinted, he saw a man dressed in white that shone brightly under the dimly lit street lamp.

At first, Jon thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. “Surely that was no God!” he thought as he tried to bring himself to his senses. Jon blinked twice thinking his hunger must have made him hallucinate. However, he realized he was not hallucinating once the stranger stretched his hand toward Jon and called him by name.

He looked around but no one seemed to notice the stranger who stood quietly and shined brightly in their midst. It became obvious to him that he was the only one who could see this person. With curiosity taking the better side of him, Jon boldly approached him. He was determined to know who he was and more importantly, how he knew his name.

“Welcome Jon”, the stranger said in a calm voice with a smile on his face.

Jon could not remember the last time someone said his name. Usually, he was referred to as the homeless guy or the street boy. He also could not recall the last time someone smiled at him and that alone made him feel queasy. He spent many cold nights on the streets if the shelter reached capacity and many days rummaging the trash for makeshift meals. On rare lucky occasions, he would find a job that paid for that day. This allowed him to buy a decent meal. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side nowadays.

“W-who are you? H-how did you know my name?” said Jon. He was unsure if it was the cold that made him stutter or his nerves.
“I Am.” That was all the stranger said which left Jon more puzzled.

“He is? He is what or who exactly? Who addresses themselves that way? Doesn’t he have a last name? Where did he come from? How did he know my name? “Jon wondered.

At that moment, Jon did not seem hungry anymore. He was more preoccupied with where this person came from.

“Do not be troubled Jon. I have known you before you were born,” the stranger mentioned calmly. 
Jon’s eyebrows knitted together because he could not comprehend this information. Weirdly enough, something about him made Jon feel peaceful in his presence.

Jon finally found his voice, though barely audible, and asked, “What do you mean… you know me?”
“I’ve watched your every step and I have your name written in the palm of my hands. I won’t forsake you.”
“You won’t forsake me? I think it’s already too late for that Mister. I don’t know how you know me but I’ve been forsaken from the time I was born,” Jon said with a broken voice and tears stinging his eyes. 

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“I’m here to help you Jon.”

Jon’s eyes widened and waited for the stranger to continue.

“I am what you need.”
Jon smirked as he said, “You can’t even provide for my needs right now. I need food to eat.”
“I am the bread of life.”

Jon raised an eyebrow and continued, “I need a place to rest for the night.”
“Come unto me all who are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.”

Jon was shocked at his reply. He did not fully understand the stranger but he felt the need to keep sharing his problems in hope that a solution would come about. He simply wanted a place to lay his head for the night and prayed this stranger could help him.

“I need a job.” Jon said.
“I am the Way.” 
Feeling defeated, Jon kept silent for a while. He did not have much strength left to continue the conversation in this cold weather.  If the stranger had something to offer him, he was willing to take it. If it would keep him warm and sheltered, he was willing to do anything the stranger asked of him.
“What do you want from me?” Jon asked in a quivering voice.
“I need you to believe Jon. Believe in me. Always believe I will never forsake you. I will always be with you, because I love you Jon. You can meet and talk with me through my book, the Bible. I will always be ready to listen whenever you feel lonely.”

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Jon’s face fell and he felt something break within him. He was instantly filled with so much unexplainable peace, joy and comforting emotions. Hearing this stranger say, ‘I love you’ filled Jon’s emptiness and his eyes began to well up with uncontrollable tears. He was not sure who the stranger was but he knew he was more than an angel. When he finally composed himself and looked up, the stranger was gone. Jon noticed another man leave his car and head towards him.
“Are you Jon?  My name is Sam”, the man said softly.

Jon nodded with tears still swimming in his eyes.

“He said I would find you here and that you needed to find the Way. Will you come with me? I have a place for you to stay tonight and a warm meal that was prepared just for you,” Sam said with loving compassion in his eyes. 
Jon nodded with gratefulness in his heart. He walked with Sam with the hope of having all he asked but he knew deep down that he needed to believe in the words of the stranger.

For the first time in his life, Jon felt happy about being alive. He knew things would soon change for the better if only he believed.

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He Knows

Author: Kelly Shor

[ESV] Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Our God is Almighty and All-Powerful. He created the heavens, the earth and everything within it. By His right hand, He stretched out the heavens. He knows the number of stars and calls them each by their name. We can rest confidently in the fact that Our God knows all. We must not forget that He is a God of purpose. It resides in everything He has created, including (and especially) human beings. Before we were created, He knew us, who we would become, and assigned each of us a specific purpose. Psalms 139 reminds us that we cannot run away from the presence of the Lord because He knows everything we are facing. He sees when we sleep and when we wake up. He knows when we travel and when we return home. He knows when we are hungry and when we cry. He knows all of this because we are important to Him. We are His special possession and He loves us.

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If God can take care of the birds in the sky, who neither plants nor harvest grains, how much more you?

He is more than able to take care of your every need. You simply need to trust and believe in His capabilities. Jesus emphasized this point in Matthew 6:25-30. God is more than able to supply your everyday needs but first you need to seek Him. The creation of your being means a plan was set in place. Included in that plan is every resource you need to help you fulfill your divine purpose.

The book of 1st Kings 17:9-16 tells us an interesting story about a widow who lived in Zarephath (otherwise known as the Widow of Zaraphath). During her time, a famine struck her community and no rain or dew was present. As a result, this widow and her son had very little to eat and were preparing to die. To her surprise, the Lord sent the Prophet Elijah to feed the widow. The little food she thought would not last, ended up sustaining her for a long time.

photo courtesy of Michael Berger

Always remember that God is a provider and has everything in abundance. What you need from Him is readily available in your inheritance through Christ Jesus. Do not worry or be dismayed for He watches everything, just as a Shepherd watches His sheep. However, things need to be in place before you receive from His throne of abundance. You must seek Him first and His kingdom will be added unto you. Pursuing the opposite will not work. Secondly, trust His Word. Have faith in His abilities and His promises. He will never fail you because He is faithful to no end.

Christlike Foster Care

Author: Kelly Shor

Foster care is a formal system through which a child is given care. A foster family can also care for abandoned children. The system oversees the lives of many kids, all who need love and proper upbringing, but few receive it. My biggest concern about the foster care system is that these kids grow up without the knowledge of Christ. The Bible says “to train up a child in the way (s)he should grow so that (s)he does not depart from it”. That means it is possible for children to depart from the Word of God if they are not trained well in a godly environment.

How can a child depart from the Word of God?

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When children are not familiar with the Word, lack guidance from good mentors, or do not understand right from wrong, it can be hard for them to relate to their Heavenly Father. This can affect them negatively through acts of depression, stealing, sexual immorality, drinking, smoking, and the list goes on. These things are gateways for a hard life down the road, which is what the enemy desires.

Guiding children at a young age is imperative to creating a strong, stable, and effective generation. Having more Christian or Godly foster care systems can positively influence children to become better individuals. The more children are aware of Christ’s love for them is the less likely they will engage in negative behaviors. They will be more likely to change the world and serve as resourceful citizens of their communities. As they get older, the likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior will decrease.

Instead, they will shine as the Light the world desperately needs.Training them in their young age can help build their character that directly reflects the character of God (and those in the Kingdom).

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I would suggest the creation of more Christian foster care systems. These structures would be opened and governed by churches. Passionate people who have a heart for this ministry niche could take up the opportunity to get involved. The vision would revolve around simply saving these children from a potentially broken and abusive future. With a vision of building world changers, these new systems would aid in teaching children their value and worth. Through these new structures, more children would come to Christ and accept His love, which has the power to transform anyone. 

The more Godly kids raised, the more likely Jesus Christ is proclaimed in the earth through them. Always remember that a child raised well becomes a leader.We all have the potential to raise leaders who can impact this world for Jesus.

Leaders Are Servants

Author: Kelly Shor

[NIV] Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

Why would Jesus Christ tell his disciples that before they can be great, they must be servants? In this passage, He was speaking to His disciples about humility. The Pharisees and similar religious leaders serve as examples of those who loved to broadcast their good deeds. They took pride in their public righteousness and often forgot that Jesus Christ warned to avoid practicing it in front of others. By doing so, they risked receiving a reward from their Heavenly Father.

It is unfortunate that “Christians” like these Pharisees still exist today. Jesus warned his disciples to be weary of those who expect praises from men and love to be honored with every passing opportunity. This type of leadership is usually not effective because they spend majority of their time protecting their status, instead of doing what is required of them.

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Who is a servant? 

A servant is one that offers help to another person of some kind. The attitude of a servant was demonstrated through Christ Himself. Despite being the Son of God, He showed humility by washing the feet of His own disciples. Jesus Christ also stated that he did not come to be served but to serve. That is service and that is humility. Leaders who are servants view their leadership as an act of service.
Servant leadership is service to others. It is not about lobbying for a position, nor politicking for power. Instead it is about looking for opportunity to serve. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that often go unnoticed, such as taking out the trash or making the coffee at work. These acts do not have to be grand in order to be noticed by God.

Any leader that is preoccupied with personal interests, protection of status, and preservation of positions, may not be a good ambassador of Christ. True leaders are those who strive to please the Lord through their lives with integrity. The Bible is full of great people who were exalted because of their humble hearts. David, Joseph, Solomon and Samuel are a few. They learned how to serve people and God. Even as kings, they were lowly at heart and were able to be used as a vessel of honor.

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To be great you must first learn how to serve in a humble manner. Jesus Christ said, those who humble themselves will be exalted and 1st Peter 5:5 tells us God opposes the proud. A person who is proud or has pride is indirectly contending with God and would therefore not be exalted. Jesus Christ served for the glory of God. His ultimate service was laying down His life in love. Even though the Son of God, He was always ready to offer Himself. Our Lord Jesus is a perfect example of a servant leader.

Godly Advice

Author: Kelly Shor

http://college.monster.com/
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All around us are negative influences like alcohol, partying, skipping school, drugs, and pornography. These influences are found in public places, on social media, in the entertainment industry and even in schools. Living in that environment makes it difficult for teenagers to make positive decisions, especially Christian teenagers. By avoiding parties, staying single and celibate, refusing to cheat on exams, and telling the truth, we simply do not fit in. We are called names when we do not follow the patterns of this world. We may even lose friends in the process and through constant ridicule, wonder if it is even worth it.

 If you have ever been in a similar situation, know that you are not alone. Being a Christian is a big deal, in a great way. When you are focused on Christ, everything else pales in comparison. Do not give up because twenty-five years from now, even if you are struggling with these issues, you would have learned how to handle these situations. Jesus is strengthening you to face any challenges you will encounter.  He has a purpose for you and a plan to help you walk in that purpose.

 

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Christ has called you to be different from the world and not to conform to it. Romans 12:2 says, “Because you are the Light of this world, you are special, you are different, you are unique – because you carry Christ in you.” Always remember that Jesus loves you tremendously. He is in love with you and watches over you. He does not want anything bad to happen to you. As you draw closer to Him, express the issues you have in school. Also, if your parents are Christians, talk to them to ease your loneliness and take heed of their counsel.

 

Find wise Christian confidants with whom you can share your problems. To have a friend, you must be one. Be friendly, have a gentle spirit, and humble yourself. Stay radiant, keep smiling and remain cheerful.

 

Finally, Nehemiah 8:10b says, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Draw closer to Christ by getting to know Him. He alone can give you strength when you are weak and courage in times of trouble.  Jesus Christ is the King of all kings so walk boldly with your heads held high. You are a daughter or son of a King. Remember to never give up or give in. Keep going and know that Jesus loves you.