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 Issue #67 Tue, 10 Jan 2006

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Female Number of posts : 2309
Age : 26
Real Name : Alyssa
Location : Eastern USA
Registration date : 2006-12-17

PostSubject: Issue #67 Tue, 10 Jan 2006   March 11th 2007, 22:58

HOLIDAY PLANNING
Dear Youth,

I'm sure that all of you are enjoying the holidays, right? A break from school, work maybe, or perhaps you're just enjoying the chance to slow down and use the time to pursue some hobbies and interests that somehow get pushed to the back of the list through the business of the year. Holidays bring many wonderful opportunities to spend time with our families, to enjoy nature, and to help out in some evangelistic mission (letter-boxing, colporteur work, visiting, giving Bible studies etc. included). But with the good and benefits of the holidays, there is always the bad and the dangers also. Satan really uses holiday times to get a grasp on young people. This week I would like us to look at some of the dangers we should avoid and how we should spend our holidays this year.

What did you have planned for the holidays? Have the holidays given you the opportunity to spend many more hours in front of the TV? Maybe you've used the time so far to hang around the malls in town with a bunch of friends. Some of you might ask, "Yeah, and what's so wrong about that?" Well, you tell me what usually happens when a group of youth all go out to a mall for the day. Are the conversations centered upon Christ? Not usually! Often young people can get bored walking around all day and so they begin to dare each other to do dangerous, foolish, and wicked things. Youth, even in our churches, often go to a movie theatre to watch the latest movie. And simply just the evil influences that are in the city should be enough to keep us away! Think of all the dreadful music and images that we have to face in a shopping mall each time we go to town!

Maybe some of you don't have a TV, or haven't had the opportunity to go to town with your friends. Is there anything that you could get yourself into that wouldn't be right? Yes, certainly! We may simply waste a whole day in amusements and pleasures even at home. "As Christian workers, whom have they helped to a better, higher, and purer life? What would they see if they should look over the record the angel wrote? A day lost! To their own souls a day lost, a day lost in the service of Christ, because no good was accomplished. They may have other days but never that day which was idled away in cheap, foolish talk, of girls with boys, and boys with girls." (The Adventist Home, p. 472)

It was to be a sign of the last days that men would be "Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." (2 Timothy 3:4) Can we see that today? "It is an alarming fact that the love of the world predominates in the minds of the young as a class. Many conduct themselves as if the precious hours of probation, while mercy lingers, were one grand holiday, and they were placed in the world merely for their own amusement, to be gratified with a continual round of excitement." (Messages to Young People, p. 367) If we truly loved God supremely, which is the first commandment* "There must be a straining of every nerve and muscle to leave the world, its customs, its practices and its fashions." (Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 155) We would spend much more time communing with God and reaching out to those who need Him. We are told: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

It is a sad fact that most youth today have such a burning desire to taste the things of the world. Satan paints the road to destruction in glittering colors, he makes it look like a bed of roses. He whispers in our ear, "If only you would try this, then you would be happy," but you know, young people, it's all a mirage. The ways of the world won't get you anywhere. It may look so good and appealing, but when you reach for it, it's not what you expected, and it hurts. I liken it to a fishing line. To an unsuspecting fish, the bait looks so good, and it eagerly swims toward it, but when the fish finally grabs hold of it, it hurts! Whatever we sow in this life, we must also reap. "God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. . . .Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:7, 9) "They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." (Job 4:8 )

Young people, DO NOT TURN TO THE WORLD EVEN FOR A SHORT SEASON! We have no guarantee of tomorrow, we may lose our last opportunity for Salvation! You all know what happened to Felix, he wasted his last opportunity of mercy. We cannot wait for a more convenient season, NOW is the time in which we must save our own soul and the souls of others. Not later, NOW! We cannot afford to spend these holidays in mere amusement and pleasure-seeking, we cannot afford to sit around in idle folly. We have this opportunity to grow closer as families, to spend time with our Maker in the seclusion of nature, and to reach out to the lost sheep.

There is a time for wholesome recreation, but not of amusement. There is a difference. "There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure, and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work, and thus proves a hindrance to life's true success." (Education, p. 207)

Here's just a few suggestions and some ideas, for wholesome recreation, that you might want to try out these holidays:

As far as fun, simple games are concerned, Ellen White, in The Adventist Home, page 499 states: "I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone."
Your family may like to take a short campout trip to some beautiful countryside, beside a lake, or nestled in a grove of trees. In the quietness, simplicity, and beauty of nature, we see Jesus. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork." (Psalm 19:1) "Nature and revelation alike testify of God's love. . . .In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses." (Steps to Christ, p. 9)
If you can't go on a whole campout, maybe you could go for a picnic somewhere, or if you live in the country, take a walk in some quite, secluded place. "Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." (Job 37:14)
We may find happiness and fun by working in the garden, or in the home, on an indoors project. Good, physical labor is good for us mentally, spiritually, and physically. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." (Proverbs 6:6)
Maybe you could organize some kind of mission outreach. You, along with friends from church and family, could go out giving away, or selling books to people in your church's local area, or your own neighborhood. A few books you might like to take out could be Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, or The Great Controversy. You could print up a flyer on the signs of the times, or some other topic that you have a burden for, and go out letter-boxing. You could try to letter-box a whole town over the holidays.
Start a prayer group for the young people in your church, and invite the whole family to attend.
Ask your parents and some adults in your church to instruct you (and other friends and youth in your church) on how to give Bible studies. You could practice on each other and learn to give answers to some seemingly "difficult" questions. "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." (1 Peter 3:15)

During the holidays this year, don't waste your precious time in self-gratification and pure amusements. These are a danger to your soul and salvation and to others also. Instead use the time to do good, so that in due season, you may also reap that which you have sown.

--Stephanie Fox

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PLEASE NOTE: All Bible Verses are taken from the King James Version, unless stated otherwise.
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* See Matthew 22:38, compare with Exodus 20:3-11---The first four of the Ten Commandments refer to our relationship with God, the last six refer to the relationship with our fellow men, which is the second commandment. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40)
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Issue #67 Tue, 10 Jan 2006
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